News is just emerging of student disturbances in the University of Halle-Wittenburg, reminiscent of the unrest in the University of Oxford over the statue of Cecil Rhodes on the façade of Oriel College.
To mark the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, students are demanding the removal of a statue of founding father Martin Luther from the town square.
‘It’s obscene,’ said one student representative, ‘to be celebrating as a hero of our nation a rabid anti-Semite who spoke of burning synagogues and murdering Jews.’
Others pointed to the similarity of Luther’s language to that of the leaders of the Third Reich. ‘The new Germany of openness and tolerance can have nothing to do with the racism of the past.’ ‘This is our revenge for kristallnacht,’ said one Jewish student.
In a skirmish between students throwing stones and riot police in full body armour, the Anglican Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines, was dragged to safety within the doors of the Schlosskirche. Baines had been presenting a programme for the BBC celebrating the events of October 31, 1517.
The Chief Rabbi was not available for comment.