Early one Thursday morning in late February, shortly after two, Claudia von Gélieu looked out of her first-floor bedroom window and wondered what that bright flickering was. It was her car, it turned out. And it was on fire.
A couple of days later, the only evidence left of the arson attack was a rust spot in the driveway and a pile of scrap parts, all that remained of the car’s air conditioning and bumpers.
The insurance assessor told the von Gélieus they had been lucky. The flames could have easily spread to the house. Indeed, the von Gélieus are upset that in a press release about the incident, the local police wrote that no people were in danger. “We feel abandoned by them,” Ms. von Gélieu’s husband, Christian, said.
The couple’s townhouse is in the south of Rudow, part of Berlin’s Neukölln district. The border to Brandenburg is just over 400 yards away. She is a political scientist, he a judge. The attack on their car was part of a series of incidents in the district suspected to have been perpetrated by right-wing extremists.
Since last summer, there have been more than 80 assaults, threats of assault and smashed windows in the area.