Day of remembrance for Alberto Adriano
Dessau, Germany 11th June 2007
7 years after his death at the hands of right-wing extremists in Dessau, the town remembered the Dessau citizen, Alberto Adriano. The ceremony, held in a town centre park, was designed not only as a memorial to Adriano, but also as a demonstration that citizens of Dessau should not forget his name, nor how he died. The assault of ethnic minorities in Dessau is a Taboo subject in the town, and the publicity that today’s meeting brought will not have sat easily with many inhabitants.
Minister for health and social welfare for Saxon-Anhalt, Dr. Gerlinde Kuppe spoke passionately about Adriano. “He was a Dessauer”, she said. “He worked here, he raised a family here. He had a wife and three children.” She went on to say that such intolerance of ethnic minorities, in Dessau and in Saxon-Anhalt as a whole will not be tolerated.
Dessau has a large African community. A society for friendship and understanding between Africans and Germans thrives in the town. It evidently does not go far enough. Adriano is not the only member of the African community in Dessau whose life has been ended by racial intolerance. In 2005 Oury Jalloh, another member of Dessau’s African community, died in Police custody in the town. The court-case about his death is still on-going, and few are confident that the truth surrounding his death will ever emerge.
Halberstadt is a small, quiet town also in Saxon-Anhalt. Outside the town is an open-air theatre, currently showing a production of the Rocky-Horror show. Nazi extremists assaulted actors there this weekend, another example of the active right-wing extremism that exists in this area of Germany.
Today in Dessau, flowers were laid at the memorial to Adriano in the town park. Apart from the speech from Dr. Kuppe, Japanese songs were sung by Mika Kaiyama, Prayers were offered by Priest Martin Stegmann and African Drumming from Ben Kadi opened and ended the service. Active member of the Dessau African-German Initiative and solo oboist in the Anhaltische Philharmonie, based at Dessau’s theatre, Uwe Staedter, performed a haunting piece from Korean composer Isang Yun with colleague Maddy Aldis-Evans.