The Reversal of Perpetrator and Victim – Remembering the Murder of Shlomo Lewin and Frida Poeschke

This podcast episode commemorates the murder of Shlomo Lewin and Frida Poeschke. The guests are Annafrom the “initiative kritisches gedenken erlangen” (Initiative attain critical remembrance) andUffa Jensen, deputy director of the Centre for Research on Anti-Semitism at the Technical University in Berlin. The conversation revolves, among other things, around the perpetrator-victim reversal and the removal of the anti-Semitic motive for the crime in the treatment and media coverage of the act of violence.

About the event

On the evening of December 19, 1980, Rabbi Shlomo Lewin and his partner Frida Poeschke are shot dead in their home in Erlangen by a neo-Nazi. Even though substantial clues pointed to the local neo-Nazi scene, the police first investigate this anti-Semitic murder in the victim’s surroundings. The media, too, portrays Lewin and Poeschke as dishonest persons. The murderer, a member of the right-wing extremist Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann (WSG), manages to escape abroad.

These events, including the public posthumous defamation of the murder victim Shlomo Lewin and the fabrication of the anti-Semitic conspiracy narrative by the right-wing extremist Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, have been researched and elaborated since 2011 by Ulrich Chaussy for the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation and the city of Erlangen. They can be found in his books “Oktoberfest. The Assassination. Wie die Verdrängung des Rechtssterrors begann” (2014) and “Das Oktoberfestattentat und der Doppelmord von Erlangen. How right-wing terrorism and anti-Semitism have been repressed since 1980” (2020).

Use of Shlomo Lewin’s speech excerpt with the kind permission of the Institute for Social Science Research, Education and Counseling (ISFBB) e.V.

Literature, links and background information

Website of „initiative kritisches gedenken erlangen

Uffa Jensen (2022): „Ein antisemitischer Doppelmord – die vergessene Geschichte des Rechtsterrorismus in der Bundesrepublik“. The publication of the book has been postponed. It will be published by Suhrkamp Verlag on September 22, 2022.

Website of the Jewish community in Erlangen

The interview with Paul Spiegel can be seen in the documentary “Propaganda, Hass, Mord. Die Geschichte des Rechten Terrors“, (Propaganda, hate, murder. The history of right-wing terror) first broadcast: ARD, 26.3.2012, available on YouTube.

A right-wing extremist terrorist attack at the main entrance of the Oktoberfest in Munich killed 13 people on September 26, 1980, when a handmade bomb exploded.

On August 22, 1980, the two Vietnamese Nguyễn Ngọc Châu and Đỗ Anh Lân died in an arson attack on a transitional home for refugees in Halskestraße in Hamburg-Billbrook. The perpetrators were members of the neo-Nazi terrorist organisation Deutsche Aktionsgruppen. The attack is considered one of the first racist murders in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The murder of the two Vietnamese refugees is also the subject of an episode of Rice & Shine.

General information on the murder, character assassination and on Shlomo Lewin and Frida Poeschke:

Ronen Steinke on the murder and the investigation

Blumenthaler on Lewin’s life, the Hoffmann military sports group, the murder and the investigations

Article by Przybilla and Ramelsberger in the Süddeutsche Zeitung about “ The Trauma of Erlangen

In memory of Shlomo Lewin and Frida Poeschke:

Stadt Erlangen

Redebeitrag zur Woche der Brüderlichkeit, unter anderem von Ulrich Chaussy

Artikel der Jüdischen Allgemeinen Zeitung zur 40. Jährung des Doppelmords

On the subject of the continuities of anti-Semitism and right-wing terrorism:

Dissens-Podcast with guest Ronen Steinke

Ronen Steinke in conversation with Philipp Schnee in the audio play “Lehrbeispiel für den Umgang mit rechtem Terror“ (example of dealing with right-wing terror)

On the subject of violence by the Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann (WSG):

The extreme right-wing paramilitary Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann (WSG) was founded in 1973 by Karl-Heinz Hoffmann and consisted of up to 400 members. The WSG is associated with right-wing terrorism; for example, the murderer of Lewin and Poeschke and the bomber of the Oktoberfest attack, which took place in the same year, were associated with the WSG.

Book by Ulrich Chaussy “Das Oktoberfest-Attentat und der Doppelmord von Erlangen: Wie Rechtsterrorismus und Antisemitismus seit 1980 verdrängt werden” (2020)


Editors: Tanja Thomas, Fabian Virchow and Tobias Fernholz
Co-conceptualization and production: grasshopper kreativ
Hosts: Tanja Thomas and Fabian Virchow
Sound logo: Martin Pfeilsticker and Pia Fruth

The event review was produced by Master’s students from Eberhard Karls University Tübingen and Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences.

Credits event review

Soundbites: Representative of Initiative Kritisches Gedenken Erlangen( the Erlangen Critical Commemoration Initiative), Sebastian Wehrhahn
Speakers: Pia Fruth and Daniel Jacob
Project management: Carolin Wenzel
Research & Shownotes: Jana Machacek & Luisa Simon
Storyboard & voice over text: Julia Glass & Joerg Müller
Interview & editing: Daniel Jacob
Excerpts: Anna Siemen