Mother who sought reconciliation after racist attack dies

BERLIN (AP) — Mevlude Genc, who worked for reconcilition after five members of her family were killed in a racist attack that shook Germany in the early 1990s, has died.

Authorities in Northrhine-Westphalia state said Sunday that Genc died at 79, providing no further details.

Genc and her husband Durmus, who had immigrated from Turkey to Germany, lost two daughters, two granddaughters and a niece when far-right extremists set fire to their home in the western city of Solingen in 1993.

Four young Germans were later convicted of murder and attempted murder. They were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in prison for the arson in which 17 people were also seriously injured.

The attack and others that occurred around the same period stoked international concerns about resurgent neo-Nazi sentiment following German unification in 1990. Many of the victims were Turkish immigrants who came to Germany as “guest workers” after World War II.

Despite her devastating loss, Genc appealed to Turks and Germans alike to overcome hatred and reach out to each other.

“The death of my family should open us up to be friends,” she said during a memorial ceremony shortly after the attack. “Let’s live together hand in hand.”

State governor Hendrick Wuest said Genc “embodied like few others the belief in the goodness of human beings.”

“Her legacy will live on,” he wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts are with her family.”

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