Brutal migrant attack on EU official’s daughter jeopardizes Merkel’s reelection bid

After encouraging an influx of over a million refugees into her nation, the German chancellor’s political fortune may fall on one highly publicized rape and murder committed by a migrant from Afghanistan.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was already facing a backlash over her ‘open door’ asylum policy following last year’s New Year’s Eve sexual assaults of over 1000 women by large groups of young male refugees. Now one well-publicized brutal assault is putting a face to all the anonymous victims of earlier crimes. That personalization of the crime wave has led to an outrage that may spell trouble for the chancellor as she heads to elections in September.

Model student

The victim, Maria Ladenburger, was a 19-year-old medical student and daughter of a high-ranking EU official. In addition to excelling academically, Maria was a social activist. She volunteered, ironically, at a migrant home, and pushed for immigrant rights on social media, joining the Facebook initiative ‘Refugee Help Freiburg.’

Maria, an active bicyclist, also stood out socially, posting smiling ‘selfies’ and messages such as “Children laugh 400 times a day, adults only 15 times… let’s not grow up!!!” She made sure to thank anyone who made a positive comment about her on social media, frequently reminded her friends how she missed them and posted a picture of the word “love” spelled out on people’s hands.

Read  Germany to buy Israel's Arrow-3 missile defense system

Horrific attack

Maria was returning by bicycle from a late night party in the university city of Freiburg when a 17-year-old asylum seeker assaulted her on a cycle path. He violently attacked her before raping and then drowning her in the nearby River Dreisam.

An intense investigation was spurred on by strong public interest in the case. Police removed an entire hedge from the scene of the crime. Laboratory testing isolated a hair belonging to the suspect in the bush and examined the victim’s scarf and bicycle, both of which contained the suspect’s DNA. Sixty-eight detectives used those clues to interview 1,400 potential witnesses, eventually identifying the suspect.

Political reaction

When news of the arrest of a refugee in the case spread on Sunday, demonstrators, led by the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, gathered to label Maria “the victim of Merkel’s welcome culture.” Outraged, they reminded the chancellor of her 2006 campaign promise: “Zero tolerance when it comes to interior security.” A major German news shows, Tagesschau, also came under fire for refusing to report on the story.

The head of the German police force, Rainer Wendt, added, “She and many other victims would not exist if our country had been prepared for the dangers that are always associated with massive immigration. And while relatives mourn and victims experience unspeakable suffering, the representatives of the ‘welcome culture’ are silent.”

Read  Lufthansa adopts IHRA definition of antisemitism after 100 Orthodox Jews were barred from flying

Not all reaction was anti-immigrant, however. Three hundred counter demonstrators came to show their support for open borders and the mayor of Freiburg,  Dieter Salomon of the Green party, said people should “not use the origin of the culprit to make generalizations about migrants, but instead see this as an isolated case”.

Local police are now investigating whether the suspect is linked to the rape and murder of a local woman who was jogging in the same spot in early November.

By: Eli Stein, World Israel News