Hoyerswerda, Rostock-Lichtenhagen, Mölln and Solingen are synonymous for the social upheavals of the reunified Federal Republic of Germany in the 1990s. In August 1992, Rostock-Lichtenhagen was where the most violent and biggest xenophobic riots in the history of the Federal Republic has happened. The “central reception center for asylum seekers” (ZAST) of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania was located in the “Mecklenburger Allee” in Lichtenhagen. The adjacent building next to the ZAST has been a dormitory for Vietnamese contract workers since the early 1980s already.
Within the year of 1992, the ZAST had become a “social hotspot” with considerable potential for conflict – it has been overcrowded by the increased refugee influx of Eastern European people and the situation was neglected by the responsible political authorities. The catastrophic and problematic conditions of the living inside and outside the Zast linked Romanian Roma to the traditional racial prejudices of German’s majority. The mood that has been heating up for months has also been fueled by right-wing parties and initiatives.
Then in August, hundreds of violent criminals were attacking the building by throwing stones and molotov cocktails for days – accompanied by media and almost completely unhindered by police. Thousands of residents living in Lichtenhagen cheered for and supported the racist attacks. After the evacuation of the ZAST the mob set fire to the adjacent unprotected dorm of the Vietnamese contract workers. More than a hundred Vietnamese residents as well as supporters and a ZDF television crew were threatened with death and caught up in flames. They fled over the roofs of other adjacent buildings after they have been able to break up the entrances.
As result of the pogrom – the repatriation agreement between Germany and Romania as well as the constitutional amendment of the forced restriction of law for asylum were pushed by the Federal Republic then.