Daniel Hillig never had a chance when he was killed in the early hours of Sunday morning. While he was withdrawing money from a bank machine, a man ordered him to give him his cash and his credit card.
He tried to flee, but was stabbed five times, leaving him dying on the sidewalk near a statue of Karl Marx that dominates the center of the city of Chemnitz in eastern Germany.
I was given this account of his death by someone who heard it firsthand from those who were with Daniel that night. In fact, this week I was taken by this friend of Daniel Hillig to the ATM, a few meters from the sanctuary where he fell.
The death of the 35-year-old German carpenter has sparked riots and demonstrations over the divisive issue of mass migration to Europe after it emerged that the main suspect was an Iraqi Kurd who arrived in Germany three years ago.
In front of the statue of Karl Marx, fascist protesters with dubious insignia have raised their weapons in grotesque Nazi salute, banned in Germany since Hitler's defeat in 1945, while calling for the resignation of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Daniel Hillig, 35, a married carpenter from Chemnitz, who was fatally injured around 3 a.m. Monday morning
The anti-Nazis on the left have responded with violence while the police with tear gas struggled to keep the two sides separate. Significantly, ordinary citizens of this city also marched on the streets, where almost one in four voted in favor of a growing right-wing anti-immigration party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), in recent elections.
Three summers ago, Merkel invited Syrians involved in a civil war to come to Germany.
More than a million immigrants arrived in a matter of months, their nationalities and the true purpose of their largely uncontrolled travel from a myriad of countries throughout the Third World impoverished and devastated by the war.
One of them, it is now said, was called Yousif, and it is the 22-year-old Iraqi Kurd who is being investigated for the knife attack against Daniel Hillig, a German of Cuban origin.
Yousif lived in an asylum lodge 32 kilometers from Chemnitz and had traveled to the city to enjoy a street festival with a migrant friend, a 23-year-old Syrian named Alaa. Both are in custody and are interrogated by the police.
The news that the immigrants were involved in the death instantaneously raised hairs of edge in this racially charged part of Germany.
As Utte, a 61-year-old woman who works at the local Ikea store, told me this week at Daniel's candles sanctuary in the center of Chemnitz: "I have a 33-year-old son who is half Mozambican. & # 39; I have a granddaughter who is half Indian and half German.
"I have always received immigrants here, and I know there is a terrible racism in this eastern part of Germany because my own family has suffered it, my granddaughter is shouted on the bus for having dark skin, my son is rejected in nightclubs because see a different color from a "thoroughbred" German.
"But we believe that the foreigners tried to rob Daniel Hillig in the bank and then stabbed him." I have to feel angry about that and feel sad about the future of Germany. "
Next to her, a young Afghan aged 21, who is also an emigrant, added: "I also knew Daniel, I had a girlfriend, Bianca, with whom I was in touch, I am here because I feel what happened.
"I do not dare to give you my name to print because the reaction against people like me is going to get worse in Chemnitz, even among those who welcomed us a few years ago."
This week, information emerged from a police document about Yousif and his past. A justice official in Dresden admitted on Thursday to the respected German newspaper Bild that he had leaked the arrest warrant after photographing it.
It is now known that after his arrival in Germany in the 2015 wave of migration, Yousif became a hairdresser and passed a language test for asylum seekers. There is even a photograph on his Facebook page of him standing proudly, apparently during a vacation, in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris holding a Kurdish flag.
An Iraqi man, aged 22, and a Syrian, aged 23, were arrested on suspicion of murder after the attack on Mr. Hillig married.
However, there is a darker side. According to the leak, he has a series of convictions for crimes committed as an asylum seeker. They include serious bodily harm, the smuggling of drugs to Germany, the use of pepper spray as a weapon in a migrant shelter, a violent street attack, property damage and fraud.
In March of last year he was included in the list of deportations to Iraq, but nothing happened. As Bild commented this week: "Many Germans will say that he should have been deported by the time he arrived in 2015. He comes from Kurdish Iraq and, anyway, is considered a safe place to live."
In the shelter where he lived, fellow migrants told reporters this week that he often took drugs, especially cannabis, and he liked alcohol. Sometimes his behavior was erratic. & # 39; He always had a knife because he had a lot of money. He said it was for self-defense on the street, "explained one.
Right-wing activists are uniting after the carpenter's murder and fueling more hatred in the country, which alone in 2015 led to more than one million immigrants
Friends of the hostel say that last Saturday Yousif kept calling them from the festival on their mobile phone to say: "You must come. We're having a lot of fun. "But when he did not return on Sunday-Daniel Hallig was killed before dawn that morning-they began to think something was wrong.
In fact, something was. Those who have spoken to a witness of the stabbing say that when Daniel fled the banking machine, refusing to hand over his card or money, there was a lot of activity.
They say the man who approached him made a call on his cell phone, after which a group of men turned the corner and helped chase the carpenter.
Now it is feverishly spoken in the streets of Chemnitz that others in the circle of Yousif had a role in the death of Daniel, and that does not bode well for the emigrants of Mrs. Merkel here in Saxony.
While the exact circumstances of this murder will be proven in court, there is no doubt that the threat of violence against other immigrants has increased substantially.
Some have been persecuted on the streets and attacked in recent days. The mood I witnessed this week is ugly, and it can still get worse.
Riots continued in the city on Thursday evening when protesters waved banners and shouted that Chemnitz had become an "African enclave."
Organizers Pro Chemnitz – a nationalist group with 18,000 followers – warned them not to give Nazi greetings to prevent photographs of the hateful gesture from being taken and shown all over the world.
Floral tributes in Germany to Daniel Hillig who was stabbed to death. The police believe that his murderer may have been an Iraqi immigrant
The right-wing PEGIDA groups (Patriotic Europeans against West Islamization) and the AfD promise another march on Daniel's death.
The situation has been inflamed by the publication on Thursday of a new book by a leading figure of the German New Right, the former senior banker turned politician and author Thilo Sarrazin.
It is provocatively titled Hostile Acquisition: How Islam hinders progress and threatens society. Pre-orders made the book the most immediate bestseller in Germany at Amazon online retailer.
The neo-Nazis are a strong presence in this part of Germany, which has long been a breeding ground for far-right politics. The bombing of a mosque in 2016 and the condemnation of 2017 of a terrorist cell that planned attacks against migrants consolidated this reputation.
Now, the legacy of Merkel's policy has made migration the source of intense national debate. As an AfD politician recently told me in his office in Leipzig, 64 kilometers from Chemnitz: "In the past, the Germans stayed on their sofas and did not bother to vote.
"Now they're interested in politics because they do not like Ms. Merkel's immigration policies, they see immigrants sitting in shelters with nothing to do but look at their cell phones or television, and they think that's not fair when I have to find a job. "
It is true that many ordinary Germans are very alarmed by the massive influx caused by Ms. Merkel's invitation to immigrants.
Many people in Britain will sympathize with their concerns. But the resurgence of the extreme right in Germany is more than all together.
Because a truly frightening xenophobia has taken over here.
Until the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, paving the way for the reunification of the country, cities such as Chemnitz, which used to be called City of Karl Marx, were cut off from the outside world in the East German communist bloc.
For that reason, the immigrant population was minimal, and the largest group came from the "brotherly socialist state" of Vietnam, which had been recruited as a day laborer.
The other foreign faces were students from left-wing countries invited to study about scholarships. Residents were not allowed to go abroad until they retired, and then only other communist nations.
"We were blind, but they were all friends," says Helene, a 43-year-old car insurance agent who I found walking down the street near the sanctuary to Daniel Hillig. – There was no racial hostility. Most people only knew the Germans. When the Wall fell, that changed. We find ourselves mingling with people of different cultures. Some, particularly the elderly, have found it difficult to adapt. "
Taking advantage of this discontent came the PEGIDA movement. Since 2014, he has conducted a violent weekly march through the state capital of Dresden, Dresden, blaming all the evils of migration. (Dresden is also an iconic meeting place for German neo-nazis embittered by the aerial bombardment of the city at the end of World War II).
Although the percentage of immigrants in Saxony is small, and unemployment is low (the area has seen so much investment in high technology that it is known as 'Silicon Saxony'), a recent survey found that 58 percent of the residents here believe that Germany is invaded by foreigners.
Nearly 40 percent said that Muslim immigration should be banned and 18 percent, and worst of all, insisted that Germans & # 39; by their nature & # 39; They are superior to other nationalities.
Susanna Feldman was found dead in a wooded area near the train tracks a few kilometers from her house. The 14-year-old boy had been raped and strangled
But it is not only in Saxony that German political sentiment is turning to the right, as 10,000 immigrants per month continue to enter the country.
A murder now infamous this spring of a 14-year-old German girl became the focal point of the intense uneasiness among the Germans in the mainstream, and a trigger for protests against Mrs. Merkel. The victim, Susanna Maria Feldman, from Mainz, a city in the heart of the country, was found dead in a wooded area near the train tracks a few kilometers from her home. She had been raped and strangled.
His alleged killer emerged as Ali Bashar, a 29-year-old Iraqi Kurd who arrived in Germany, as Yousif, during the big wave of migration in 2015 with his parents and five brothers.
Bashar fled to his homeland, but was transported back to Germany from Iraq (some say he is willing because there is the death penalty) where authorities said he had confessed to the murder and rape of Susanna. Now he is being detained while the German authorities continue to investigate.
Such stories have been used by the AfD, which has used them as a war cry for interested Germans to join their ranks. In last fall's elections, the party won almost 13 percent of the votes and 94 seats in the Berlin parliament.
Recently, in an emotional speech, the leader of AfD, Alice Weidel, 39, demanded the resignation of Mrs. Merkel to immigration, citing several murders of girls in which immigrants have been involved. She complained: "Susanna de Mainz is dead. Maria de Freiburg: Mia de Kandel, Mireille de Flensburg.
"The death of Susanna is not a blind blow to fate, it is the result of many years of scandalous failure of our asylum and immigration policies." Susanna is the victim of a multicultural left-leaning ideology that does not stop at nothing to impose their moral superiority [on the people]. & # 39;
She later added in a Twitter video message to Ms. Merkel's cabinet: "Open the way for an asylum policy built around law and order, so that fathers and mothers in our country no longer have fear for their children & # 39;
His words were deliberately provocative. But Rainer Wendt, head of one of the largest police syndicates in Germany, took over. "People feel that the German state has lost control," he said recently.
"There are thousands of people in this country and we do not know who they are, that is a huge security risk." Another police union boss, pointing out the growing vigilantism in the east, explained: "When it is perceived that the state can no longer protect citizens, citizens take the law into their own hands. "
Nowhere was this type of controversy exceeded more than in Saxony, and that was before the murder of Daniel Hillig, who was out with two German Russians the night of his death.
They were also stabbed, but they survived and are in the hospital.
Now, Chemnitz is preparing for more unpleasant protests for this latest murder.
Many, particularly politicians on the left, have accused the far right of exploiting their death for political ends. Daniel's friends have also said that his murder is being eclipsed by the outbreak of racist violence.
A Chemnitz carpenter was stabbed five times after withdrawing money from an ATM
This week, one pointed out that the dead man was not interested in politics. Fernando Herrmann, a roofing contractor, 41, said: "He was not from the left or from the right, he would not have wanted any of the disturbances about his death, he was a lover of peace and enjoyed life, always with a smile on his face. "
However, calls for calm can fall on deaf ears. Werner Patzelt, a respected political analyst at the Technical University of Dresden, said this week that many in eastern Germany believe they were imposed on immigration "against their will".
"They have a deep resentment against the government and the entire political class whom they consider responsible for the influx of immigrants to Germany."
The Chemnitz riots would be, he added, "another nail in Mrs. Merkel's coffin."
For his part, the troubled chancellor has condemned the riots and insists that "hatred in the streets" has no place in modern multicultural Germany. It seems unlikely that it will be heard. A flurry of messages filled Chemnitz's social networking sites this week.
One of the most printable said succinctly: "People are not ready to be attacked, robbed and killed any longer … the accusations of being called a Nazi or a racist no longer scare them to turn the other cheek, they are fighting."
And that is a feeling that really cools the heart.