Murder of Klaus Peter Beer

On the night of September 7, 1995, Klaus Peter Beer was murdered in Amberg. The two neo-Nazis Richard Lorenz and Dieter Müller knocked him down and kicked his head and body with combat boots until he was unconscious. Then they threw their helpless victim into the Vils where he drowned. The people didn’t care much about the murder of Klaus Peter Beer.

Commemoration of the murdered Klaus Peter Beer
Commemoration of the murdered Klaus Peter Beer
Verdi Jugend Oberpfalz

The reason for his death was only that he did not fit into the fascist world view of his murderers because of his homosexuality. After they had bragged about their crime at a concert they were caught and sentenced to eight and twelve years in prison. Despite the insidiousness and the base motives of their deed, they were not convicted of murder, but only of manslaughter.

The right-wing terror

The murder of Klaus Peter Beer took place at a time of real terror throughout Germany. It was a time when refugee shelters were burning and when the later members of the NSU began to organize themselves in the neo-Nazi comradeship Thüringer Heimatschutz.

It is often denied that the right-wing terror was or is not only at home in the east of the republic, but also here in the Upper Palatinate. One of the first deadly arson attacks by neo-Nazis took place in 1988 in Schwandorf, where FAP supporter Josef Saller killed four people. In 1995, the year in which Klaus Peter Beer was murdered, there were also several attacks by neo-Nazis in Amberg. The murder of Klaus Peter Beer, was therefore not a singular event, not an accidental act, in an otherwise peaceful town free of racism and neo-Nazism.

The politics of repression and ignorance

The handling of the cruel murder of Klaus Peter Beer, which was reported nationwide under the name Vilsmord, was scandalous. Correctly one would have to say that the contact did not take place. For years, the death of Klaus Peter Beer was shrouded in silence. A commemoration – a remembrance – did not exist and does not exist from official side until today.

Only in 2003 young Amberg anti-fascists wrested the deed from oblivion. We demanded not only an end to the silence but also an end to the ignoring of right-wing violence and the strengthening of the right-wing scene in Amberg by authorities and police.

At the beginning of the 2000s, there were more and more attacks in Amberg by neo-Nazis on dissenters and on people who did not fit into their racist and anti-Semitic world view. At this time, the Amberg area also became one of the most important centres of the South German right-wing rock scene. Numerous concerts with national and international stars of the right-wing music scene took place in the region. Until it was banned, the neo-Nazi network Blood & Honour, among others, had its Bavarian headquarters in Amberg and its right-wing rock fanzine United White & Proud, among others, was published in Amberg.

Despite the increasing right-wing violence at the beginning of the 2000s, the responsible authorities claimed that there was no right-wing scene in Amberg. In 2002 a press release by the city of Amberg stated: “No right-wing extremist activities, but more and more trouble by ethnic Russians.”

When young anti-fascists took to the streets for the first time in 2003 to commemorate Klaus Peter Beer, they were confronted with a policy of suppression and ignorance. They accused us of being nest-spotters.

Despite all odds, demonstrations and rallies in memory of Klaus Peter Beer took place again and again in the years to come, and despite all realities, those responsible in Amberg continued their policy of suppression and ignorance.

Even when the right-wing scene succeeded at the end of the 2000s in Amberg to further develop its structures, Amberg neo-Nazis were closely integrated into the neo-Nazi structures of the Free Network South and Amberg developed more and more into a place of retreat for lecture events and concerts of the South German neo-Nazi scene, according to official statements there were no neo-Nazis in Amberg and a commemoration for Klaus Peter Beer did not take place.

In 2010, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of Klaus Peter Beer’s death, hundreds of anti-fascists in Amberg set a sign for a dignified commemoration of Klaus Peter Beer. After the demand to put up a commemorative plaque for Klaus Peter Beer at the Vilsteg remained unheard for years, a commemorative plaque was donated from their own pocket and put up at the Vilsteg.

Already some days before the demonstration a vigil at Klaus Peter Beer was disturbed by neo-Nazis. Also during the minute of silence when the memorial plaque was put up, neo-Nazis tried to attack the demonstration. Afterwards, however, as in previous years, investigations were carried out – without success – against the applicants for the anti-fascist demonstration. Only a few days after the demonstration, the plaque was forcibly removed, presumably by Nazis. Instead, stickers of the Free Network South remained.

Against forgetting

Even today neo-Nazis are up to their mischief in Amberg and even today the existence of an organized right-wing scene is denied.

Today – 25 years after the murder of Klaus Peter Beer – there is still no place of commemoration. No memorial plaque commemorates him. No square or street is named after him. No prize is donated in his name.

Once again we will therefore take to the streets in Amberg on 12 September.

For a dignified commemoration of Klaus Peter Beer.

Against forgetting. Against right-wing terror in Amberg and elsewhere. Against the politics of suppression and ignorance.

(Guest contribution from union members)