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German chancellor offers condolences for Turkish woman who lost family members in 1993 arson

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has offered condolences for the passing of Mevlüde Genç, a Turkish expatriate in Germany who lost five of her family members in one of the deadliest racist attacks in the country in 1993.

The May 29, 1993 arson by right-wing extremists was the deadliest in a series of racist attacks that raised international concerns following the unification of east and west Germany in 1990. Two Turkish women and three girls died when a fire spread through their apartment building in the western German city of Solingen.

The victims were Genç’s two daughters, two granddaughters and one niece. Seventeen other family members were also seriously injured in the attack.

Genç, who won public appreciation and was granted several awards for her messages for peaceful coexistence and reconciliation, passed away at the age of 79 on Oct. 30.

Scholz shared his condolences for Genç on Twitter on Sunday. “Mevlüde Genç passed away today. Mevlüde Genç will not be forgotten as the voice of reconciliation. Mevlüde Genç lost her two daughters, two grandchildren and a niece in an arson attack in Solingen in 1993. My condolences to her family, başınız sağ olsun,” said the German chancellor, also offering his condolences in Turkish.



Genç received the Federal Cross of Merit in 1996 and the Order of Merit of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia in 2015 due to her messages promoting peace and reconciliation. She said in an interview with the German media a few years ago: “We are human beings and we have to respect and appreciate one another. We have to help one another and understand one another.”

Many other federal and local German politicians and prominent figures issued messages of condolence due to the death of Genç, who was known as a “Friedensbotschafterin” or an “ambassador of peace” in Germany.

“She will always be my great role model,” tweeted Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir from the Greens Party, whose parents, like Genç, were born in Turkey.

The Turkish Consulate General in Düsseldorf has announced that a funeral for Genç will be held in Solingen on Tuesday. She will be laid to rest in her hometown of Amasya in Turkey near her children.

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