Tuesday. 21.05.2024

Police in Germany have responded to widespread criticism following a report that investigators were carrying out "genealogy research" to determine whether youths involved in recent violence against police were the children of migrants.

Following a Stuttgarter Zeitung report on Saturday that a local police chief had announced research into the family trees of suspects with German passports, police in the southern city of Stuttgart responded on Sunday that this was a routine procedure.

Germany, with its history of Nazis using ancestry research to hunt down individuals with Jewish bloodlines, is extremely sensitive to the concept of genealogy research conducted by police.

Officials have been investigating after late-night riots against police erupted in the usually orderly city of Stuttgart in late June, with 30 businesses damaged or looted and 19 officers injured while trying to break up a group of several hundred youths.

The ministry said the police had been investigating the living conditions and family circumstances of the suspects in an effort to understand their motivation for rioting.

Migration background

"In certain cases, the nationality of the parents of suspects is being determined by inquiries at the registry office in order to clarify whether there is a migration background," Interior Minister Thomas Strobl said.

Strobl said the investigation did not amount to "family tree research" but that police were assessing whether or not the parents were born in Germany.

Stuttgart's riots against police were some of the most violent that took place in Germany during a month of anti-racism protests in solidarity with victims of police brutality, notably George Floyd, a black man who suffocated under the knee of a US police officer.

German police respond to criticism over reported genealogy research