Almost 60,000 contract workers from the Southeast Asian country were living in East Germany when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989.
Two years later, neo-Nazis attacked Vietnamese traders in Hoyerswerda in Saxony. They also formed a mob outside a migrant shelter and hurled abuse at the residents.
The worse anti-immigrant riots also took place in Rostock-Lichtenhagen in 1992, when around 2,000 right-wing extremists attacked and fire-bombed a housing block filled with Vietnamese contract workers.
Thousands of onlookers reportedly applauded the extremists, while the police did little to stop the attacks.
"This image shaped many people who are fighting against racism in Germany today," said Ferat Ali Kocak, a Berlin-based anti-racism activist. "It became clear to us that for various reasons, anti-Asian racism, even if it's not always visible, is strongly anchored in German society."
Rising anti-Asian racism since pandemic
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Germany last year, this prejudice has become increasingly visible. Filmmaker Pop Fan recalls being yelled at and called "corona" in the subway.
"I went to the police and told them they must do something. They did nothing. I asked them, what are you waiting for? For me to be shot by a gun?" he recalled
Fan has since decided to keep his distance from the public transport system in Berlin. The experience brings back traumatic memories.
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