A German man has been arrested on suspicion of helping in the murder and attempted murder of 20 people at a fire at an asylum seekers hostel three decades ago — one of a series of attacks on foreigners after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The arrest comes after prosecutors charged another man, identified as Peter S. in line with German privacy laws, with murder, attempted murder and arson in August.
Federal prosecutors said the new suspect, named as Peter St., nurtured an ideology formed by Nazi and racist beliefs.
On the night before the attack, the suspect met far-right radicals, including Peter S., in Saarlouis, near the French border, and discussed several racially motivated attacks on migrant shelters in eastern Germany, prosecutors said.
Peter St., who played a prominent role in the skinhead milieu and was more senior than Peter S. in the hierarchy, made clear he approved of such attacks and said: “Something like this should go down here,” prosecutors said in a statement.
Influenced by this, Peter S. set fire to a shelter for asylum seekers in Saarlouis, causing a blaze that spread rapidly and killed a 27-year-old Ghanaian man, prosecutors said. Two other residents broke bones by jumping out of windows. The remaining 18 residents escaped without injury, prosecutors said.
Similar acts of violence against foreigners followed in 1992 and 1993, including riots in Rostock in northern Germany and a fatal arson attack in the western city of Solingen.