Mevlüde Genç, who lost five members of her family in the right-wing extremist arson attack in Solingen almost 30 years ago, is dead. As the West German Broadcasting Corporation (WDR) reported on Sunday, Genç died at the age of 79.

She lost five family members in the right-wing extremist arson attack in Solingen almost 30 years ago and shortly thereafter called for reconciliation: Mevlüde Genç is dead. She died at the age of 79, as the State Chancellery announced on Sunday. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) praised Genç as “a great example of reconciliation”. Like few others, she embodied the belief in the good in people.

“She knew how to transform the immeasurable pain that was inflicted on her into strength to stand up for other people. She returned the hatred, violence and resentment that she was met with as generosity and tolerance,” emphasized Wüst. Her legacy and her memory would also live on through the Mevlüde Genç Medal of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, which was named after her.

Mevlüde Genç and her husband Durmus Genç lost two daughters, two grandchildren and a niece in May 1993 after right-wing extremists threw incendiary devices into their house in Solingen. 17 family members were seriously injured.

“North Rhine-Westphalia is losing a role model for peaceful and tolerant coexistence,” said State President André Kuper (CDU). “She met hate and violence with forgiveness and love,” he said. The greatness with which she turned pain and grief into forgiveness remains – even after her death. He announced that the regional parliament would commemorate Genç with a minute’s silence on Wednesday.

The NRW Integration Minister Josefine Paul (Greens) also remembered Genç: “All her life Mevlüde Genç called for tolerance and peaceful coexistence between cultures. For that, she deserves my thanks and those of our entire society.”

For her tireless commitment to reconciliation shortly after the assassination, Genç received the Federal Cross of Merit. The NRW state government donated a Mevlüde Genç medal in her honor in 2018. It is awarded annually around the anniversary of the arson attack in Solingen on May 29th to people who have made outstanding contributions to reconciliation, tolerance and solidarity.