31 years ago today, the attacks on the Central Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers and a residence for Vietnamese former contract workers in the so-called „Sonnenblumenhaus“ in Rostock-Lichtenhagen began. The pogrom is considered the most devastating racist attack in Germany since World War 2. 

In the course of the attacks, in which several hundred partly right-wing extremist rioters took part, the house, in which more than 100 residents as well as a television crew of the ZDF were still located, was set on fire. At times, more than 3,000 spectators cheered on the riots and significantly hindered the police and fire brigade. At the climax, the police withdrew completely, leaving the residents of the house defenceless against the right-wing extremist mob. 

The attack is part of a series of racist and right-wing extremist attacks in the 1990s. In the reaction to the attacks, there was an attempt, especially on the part of the CDU, to play down the events, to deny mistakes by state authorities, to blame left-wing extremists for the events and ultimately to promote more restrictive asylum laws. For example, Chancellor Helmut Kohl (CDU) claimed that the attacks had been instigated and directed by the Stasi. In fact, the asylum law was subsequently tightened. Internationally, the riots were compared to the Nazi Pogrom Night.  

To this day there has been no compensation for the victims of the attack, until 1997 they had to fight for their residence permit. Ultras of the Hansa Rostock football club adorn themselves to this day with a Lichtenhagen banner containing a sunflower and alluding to the „Sonnenblumenhaus“.