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Tuesday, 6 June, 2000, 19:46 GMT 20:46 UK
German tourists 'abused'
St Michael's Mount, Marazion, Cornwall
The youngsters were visiting one of Cornwall's best known landmarks
A group of German teenagers who said they were racially abused while on a school trip in England have been given an official apology.

Cornwall Tourist Board has offered the party of 44 students from Berlin an unreserved apology for what it described as an "appalling" incident.

The students were visiting Marazion, in Cornwall, when they said they were stoned and called "Nazis" by children as young as six.



It's appalling and very, very distressing

Cornwall Tourist Board
The youngsters were staying in Torquay, Devon, for a week and were on a weekend day trip to St Michael's Mount when the alleged incident happened.

Student Henrika Heyers told the BBC: "They were just giving in to hate. There were little children as young as six or seven shouting `fight, fight'.

"I just could not believe it, I was deeply, deeply shocked."

Teacher Gabbi Muller said the youngsters were encouraged by their parents to throw stones and waterbombs at the German group.

It was not the first time she had encountered anti-German feeling, she said.

"It's in the nightclubs and pubs and in the street - we are German bitches and Nazis," she said.

"The adults told their children to shout and throw stones and everything started."

'Very distressing'

Deborah Smith, of the Cornwall Tourist Board, said she wanted to offer them an unreserved apology.

"It's appalling and very, very distressing. The children appear to have been encouraged by their parents," she said.

She added: "All our research shows Cornwall is well known for giving a warm and friendly welcome and the German market is one of our strongest overseas markets."

Malcolm Bell, of South West Tourism, said the incident had left him "speechless".

"We've just gone through the Dunkirk remembrance and there was a lot of talk of how far we had come," he said.

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