March 1. The Spreewald Elementary School in Berlin's Schöneberg district hired security guards to protect teachers and students from unruly students. Around 99% of the pupils at the school have a migration background. "Within the past year, the violence has increased so much that we now had to take this measure," said headmaster Doris Unzeit. "The violence is widespread and we want to take countermeasures with the security service. This should improve the reputation of the school and ensure that the children can learn here again in peace."
The Spreewald Elementary School in Berlin's Schöneberg district (pictured above) hired security guards to protect teachers and students from unruly students. Around 99% of the pupils at the school have a migration background. (Image source: Fridolin Freudenfett/Wikimedia Commons)
March 2. A 41-year-old Syrian, Abu Marwan, stabbed to death his 37-year-old wife in Mühlacker. The couple's three children, a girl and two boys, witnessed the murder. It later emerged that immediately after the killing, the blood-stained man posted a video on Facebook warning women not to irritate their husbands: "This is how you'll end."
March 4. A 30-year-old man who raped at least four women at or near subway stations in Berlin turned himself in after police published surveillance photos of him. The man chose his victims while riding on subway trains. He made eye contact with them, followed them out of the station and subsequently raped them. Berlin police blacked out information about the man's nationality. Berliner Zeitung filled in the missing details: he is from Egypt.
March 4. A group of ten migrants sexually assaulted several women at an outdoor festival in Lienen. The attack was a case of taharush, a practice in which groups of Arab males encircle females and assault them.
March 5. Middle Eastern crime families in Berlin are intimidating police by provoking officers during arrests and filming them with cell phones, according to Welt am Sonntag. They are also spreading false rumors, accusing police of seeking sexual favors from prostitutes who are pimped by the very same crime families. "This is a very observable tactic to discredit the colleagues," said the spokesman for the GdP police union in Berlin, Benjamin Jendro. "The criminals want to show that the state is losing control. This has become a popular sport."
March 5. Federal prosecutors in Hamburg charged a 20-year-old Syrian migrant, Yamen A., with planning to carry out a jihadist attack in Germany. "The accused is charged with planning an Islamist-motivated attack with explosives and had already begun with its preparation," prosecutors said. "The accused wanted to kill at least 200 people with his attack and thus tie in with the previous attacks attributable to the Islamic State in Europe. It was important for him to stir up a climate of fear and uncertainty among the population of the Federal Republic of Germany."
March 6. The trial began of four Eritreans who gang-raped a 56-year-old woman in Dessau. The men were drinking alcohol at an outdoor plaza when a woman collecting recyclable bottles and cans ventured into the area. The men offered the woman their bottles. As she approached them, they hit her on the head with a broken bottle, pulled her down the concrete steps of a nearby building and for more than an hour took turns raping her. Prosecutors described scenes of "unrestrained brutality." The defendants, who were identified by DNA, were remorseless. One of the accused, 21-year-old Sultan A., said he suffered from memory loss because he was drunk: "I am Muslim, I do not tolerate alcohol very well." The trial continues.
March 6. Parliamentarians with the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) traveled to Syria to assess the security situation there. The AfD has been pushing to declare Syria a safe country and send back half a million Syrian refugees currently living in Germany. Christian Blex, an AfD state parliamentarian from North Rhine-Westphalia, tweeted scenes from the Damascus bazaar: "Pure everyday life. Modern shops. Women with and without headscarves. It is hard to believe that thousands of Syrian men are now in Germany and that they also want to bring their families..." He also tweeted images of Syrian women in Damascus: "Blue jeans instead of a black veil! Women sit in bars. Barely imaginable in Mecca — also sadly not in Berlin-Neukölln."
March 10. Award-winning author Uwe Tellkamp was let go by his publisher, Suhrkamp Verlag, after he questioned Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door migration policy. In a public debate in Dresden, Tellkamp said, "Most migrants in Germany do not flee from war and persecution, more than 95% of them come here to immigrate to the social welfare system." Suhrkamp's move triggered an outpouring of support for Tellkamp and social media users referred to the publisher as "Stasi Verlag," a reference to the former East German secret police agency which suppressed dissent. Tellkamp has warned of an imminent "moral dictatorship" in Germany, where there exists a "mindset corridor between desired and tolerated opinion." Tellkamp added: "My opinion is tolerated, it is not desired."
March 11. Incoming Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced a "master plan" to speed-up deportations of illegal migrants. He said there would be "zero tolerance for criminal offenders and no-go zones." Seehofer said his goal is more security and his role model is Bavaria: "Bavaria is one of the safest regions in Europe, and that must be possible for all of Germany."
March 11. Kurds were suspected of carrying out an arson attack on the Turkish Koca Sinan mosque in Berlin. The attack was one of several, reflecting an upsurge in violence between nationalist Turks and militant Kurds on German soil.
March 12. A labor court in Hanover ordered Volkswagen to rehire a 30-year-old German-Algerian man, Samir B. The carmaker had fired the man in November 2016 because it feared he might carry out a jihadist attack at its main factory in Wolfsburg. The man had threatened his co-workers — "you all will die" — and said he wanted to join the Islamic State. In 2014, B. was arrested at Hanover airport. He was carrying a drone and 10,000 euros in cash and was heading to Syria. German authorities revoked his passport. The Administrative Court of Braunschweig later determined that B. "was involved in the recruitment and support of jihadists from Wolfsburg." The Hanover court ruled that VW had failed to prove that B. specifically disturbed the company peace.
March 14. Germany's lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, formally elected Angela Merkel to a fourth term as chancellor. The vote margin was tight: only nine votes. In all, 364 members of the Bundestag voted for Merkel, while 315 voted against her. There were nine abstentions, and 21 parliamentarians were either absent or did not cast valid ballots.
March 14. Around 50 West African migrants went on a rampage after police tried to deport a Gambian asylum seeker at a migrant shelter in Donauwörth, a town in Bavaria. Police suspended the operation and called for reinforcements. The migrants threw bottles and chairs at police and poured hot water on them from above. Later, more than 150 West Africans gathered to protest at the railway station, thereby triggering a large-scale police deployment. In all, 32 people were arrested. "On the one hand, they seek protection and security here with us, but on the other hand, to organize such riots and disregard our legal system at the same time is unacceptable," said Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann.
March 15. A 23-year-old Afghan asylum seeker shouting words that sounded like "Allahu Akbar" rushed toward Chancellor Angela Merkel as she was leaving the Reichstag building in Berlin. The man was intercepted by her body guards and admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
March 16. In his first interview since being sworn in on March 14, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer was asked if Islam belongs to Germany. He responded: "No. Islam does not belong to Germany. Germany is shaped by Christianity. This tradition includes work-free Sundays and church holidays and rituals such as Easter, Pentecost and Christmas." Seehofer's remarks prompted an immediate firestorm of criticism from the self-appointed guardians of German multiculturalism, including from Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has repeatedly insisted that "Islam belongs to Germany." German voters, however, appear to agree with Seehofer. A poll for Focus magazine found that 74% of those surveyed said that Islam does not belong to Germany. Only 6.4% said that Islam definitely belongs to Germany.
March 19. Germany's top court rejected a Muslim woman's request to suspend a ban on driving while wearing a face veil. The woman had argued that the ban for drivers violated her religious freedom. The court found the woman, who has worn the niqab for seven years, failed to explain how the law violated her religious freedom or why she faced harm driving unveiled.
March 21. Chancellor Angela Merkel, in the first major speech of her new term, said that her decision to allow into the country more than a million migrants was a "humanitarian exception" that would not be repeated. She said that Germany would do more to strengthen United Nations aid programs while at the same time pushing for beefed-up security on the European Union's external borders. She added that Germany would continue to take in political refugees, but that the government would also focus on deportations. "People who have no right to protection will have to leave our country, preferably voluntarily, but if necessary by state deportations," Merkel said. She repeated her government's pledge in the coalition agreement that the numbers of migrants per year would be capped at 200,000 or fewer. She added: "It is beyond question that our country was historically formed by Christianity and Judaism. But it's also the case that with 4.5 million Muslims living with us, their religion, Islam, has also become a part of Germany."
March 23. Police in Flensburg classified parts of the city center as a "danger zone" after violent clashes among youths of different nationalities. The classification allows police to search anyone in the area regardless of whether they are suspected of committing a crime. Police blame the youths for an increase in robberies, assaults and thefts in the area.
March 24. A 17-year-old Syrian migrant stabbed and seriously injured a 24-year-old German woman at a supermarket in Lower Saxony. The woman was attacked after she intervened in a dispute between her boyfriend and two migrants, aged 13 and 14. The 17-year-old is the brother of one of the younger teenagers. She was in an induced coma; doctors removed her spleen and parts of the pancreas. Police reportedly were considering dropping murder charges against the 17-year-old and charge him with the lesser crime of grievous bodily injury. The boy's lawyer said he acted in self-defense.
March 25. Anti-Semitism is running rampant at German primary schools, according to Heinz-Peter Meidinger, president of the President of the German Teachers' Association (Deutschen Lehrerverbandes, DL). He also said that videos of beheadings are commonplace at German schools, and that female pupils are being threatened with murder. "Unfortunately, these are no longer individual cases, not even with very young students at elementary schools. Such incidents now exist at many schools in Germany. One thing is certain: Cruel violent videos in social networks have long since become a part of student life. In chat forums like WhatsApp, movies such as ISIS beheading videos are spreading like wildfire."
March 25. The German government bears responsibility for growing Arab anti-Semitism, which has worsened with the refugee crisis, according to Julian Reichelt, Editor-in-Chief of Bild:
"It is unacceptable that non-Muslim and above all Jewish children have to be afraid of going to school in this country because they are being labeled as 'unbelievers' and even threatened with death. Our government claims it should not be accepted. But while it could act now, it has failed miserably for months. Since autumn, the humiliating verdict of the district court of Frankfurt stated that it is 'unreasonable' for the Arabian airline Kuwait Airways to transport Israelis (meaning in the Arab world: Jews). Kuwait Airways is allowed to discriminate against Jews at Frankfurt Airport, and the Federal Government does not object. Let us not fool ourselves: it is the Federal Government, which, for inexplicable reasons, allows Jews in Germany to be treated like this. Discriminating against citizens of the state that emerged from the Holocaust is expressly allowed by a court in this country and the government does nothing to stop it."
March 26. Northern Germany is experiencing an outbreak of scabies, an infectious skin disease transmitted by mites. The disease is prevalent in refugee shelters but experts reportedly are at a loss to explain the cause of the outbreak.
March 26. Lübecker Nachrichten posted a video of a Turkish wedding celebration in which clan members shut down the Lübeck-Kücknitz Autobahn (highway) and shot firearms into the air from parked vehicles. The practice has spread to other parts of Germany (here, here and here).
March 28. A state of emergency was declared in Duisburg after dozens of Lebanese, Kurdish and Turkish men armed with machetes and iron rods gathered on city streets to do battle. A cellphone video showed the men, who police said comprise a "cross-section" of the local population, smashing store windows and attacking police officers. "A constitutional state cannot accept that individuals or groups think that they can operate outside of our value system," said Duisburg Mayor Sören Link. "Mass gatherings that degenerate into violence are incompatible with our understanding of democracy. Humanity, tolerance, respect and dealing with each other in a democratic way are the basic values on which our coexistence is oriented. We all want to live in a peaceful, open and democratic society."
March 28. The Federal Statistics Office reported that in 2016 Germany registered its highest birthrate since 1973. Migration had a significant impact on the birth rate: 184,660 children were born to mothers of foreign nationality — an increase of 25% compared to 2015. The birth rate among German women rose from 1.43 children in 2015 to 1.46 children per woman. The birth rate among non-German women increased from 1.95 to 2.28 children per woman.
March 30. Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the highest representative of the Catholic Church in Germany, on Good Friday urged Christians to "reconcile" with Muslims: "Without friendship, without encounters, without openness for others, there is no understanding, no reconciliation, no community, but instead the creation of mistrust, fear and violence."
March 31. A 32-year-old Syrian asylum seeker set fire to a six-story apartment building in Leipzig. One person was killed and 16 were injured; 34 people lost their homes. The Syrian was charged with murder, attempted murder and arson. A 30-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker stabbed to death a 44-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker in downtown Wetzlar.
March 31. Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble said that Islam is in Germany to stay: "We cannot stop history, everyone has to deal with the fact that Islam has become part of our country."