Immigration and its links to crime and victimization continue to receive widespread and ambiguous attention in Germany. When two immigrant youths in December 2007 assaulted and seriously injured an old person in a Munich subway station a nationwide debate ensued on how to deal with juvenile immigrant chronic offenders. The Munich subway case figured also prominently in the January 2008 election campaigns in the state of Hesse1 (although the outcome of elections demonstrated clearly that the conservative Christian-Democratic Union party could not profit from emphasizing immigration and violence 2). Beside demands for toughening youth criminal law, requests for stricter enforcement of deportation orders were voiced; the debate then centred around questions of integration of immigrants, in particular also the question of what efforts with respect to integration should be exacted from immigrants and immigrant communities. Some weeks later a fire destroyed an apartment building in Ludwigshafen, a middle-sized city in the southwest of Germany, leaving nine people of Turkish descent dead and several others seriously injured. In the wake of the deadly fire it was quickly assumed that right-wing extremists may have been responsible for setting fire to the apartment building. Parallels were drawn to the deadly fire bombings of Turkish-owned houses in the first half of the 1990s (Moelln and Solingen) which fell into a period of dramatic increase in hate violence shortly after reunification and of political conflicts on asylum and restrictions on asylum.3 While responsibility for the deadly incident remains unclear today, the case has resulted in heavy coverage in Turkish media, in Turkish investigators being sent to Germany for working with German police as well as in being placed high on the agenda of a rather uneasy meeting between the German chancellor and her Turkish counterpart in

2 www.forschungsgruppe.de/Studien/Wahlanalysen/Kurzanalysen/Newsl_Hess_ Nied08.pdf

3 Esser (1999).