In the latest outbreak of xenophobic violence in the former East Germany, a mob of 50 German youths screaming neo-Nazi slogans chased down and violently attacked eight Indian visitors and the man who tried to give them refuge.

The Aug. 19 attack came during a town festival in Mügeln, about 50 miles south of Berlin in the state of Saxony. The attack began at a beer tent at the festival where witnesses said the youths began shouting slogans including "Foreigners out!" and "National resistance rules here!" The Indian victims, at least some of who were merchants, fled to a local pizzeria, owned by an Indian man who let them in.

The pursuing mob, soon joined by more than 100 onlookers, smashed in the door of the pizzeria, damaged the owner's car, and assaulted the Indians, injuring all of them. Some 70 police officers arrived just in time to prevent worse violence.

The mayor and other local officials, who did not report the case until a day after it occurred, denied that the attack came from right-wingers or said that if it did, the perpetrators had come from elsewhere. Other locals, however, said officials had been warned that violent neo-Nazis intended to crash the festival. The festival's date coincided with neo-Nazi commemorations of the death of Rudolf Hess.

More than most German states, Saxony has been afflicted by racist violence and ideology. The neofascist National Democratic Party has had a presence in the regional legislature since 2004, when it won 9% of the vote. Last spring, Holger Apfel, an NPD legislator, directed a series of racist insults at foreigners.

Since 1990, more than 130 foreigners and Germans have been murdered in racially motivated, right-wing violence in Germany. A 2007 Forsa Institute poll found that one in two youths in eastern Germany believe that National Socialism — the official ideology of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis — had "its good sides."