The email to Holger Kelch couldn’t have been clearer. “It said there are plenty of trees around town, enough to hang each of your family members from,” the mayor of Cottbus recalls.
This chilling threat came a year ago, after Mr Kelch appealed for calm in the north-eastern town in the wake of a Syrian refugee’s arrest over the murder of an elderly woman.
Death threats against local politicians have become commonplace in Germany since Berlin decided to take in hundreds of thousands of refugees in 2015.
Local officials have learned to cope with abuse as part of their job. But this week’s arrest of an alleged far-Right extremist for the murder of a regional politician has put the threats into sharp focus.
Walter Lübcke, head of government in the central German town of Kassel, was shot in his garden on June 2. He had become a regular target of far-Right abuse after he was filmed in 2015 telling critics of Berlin’s refugee policy that they were free to leave the country.
Initially police said they didn’t have a motive, leaving open the possibility that Lübcke had been killed in a private feud.
But the investigation turned decisively when detectives found the DNA of a criminal with a long neo-Nazi history at the murder scene. The 45-year-old man arrested has allegedly blamed his action on his anger at an influx of refugees and migrants to Germany.
Prosecutors are now looking into the possibility that the murder was carried out by a far-Right network, after a neighbour reported seeing two cars fleeing the scene at high speed.
In the aftermath, far-Right adherents gloated over the death online. Meanwhile the slaying has unleashed a new wave of death threats against pro-refugee politicians.
On Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel insisted on the state’s determination to stamp out the neo-Nazi resurgence.
Far-Right violence "must be resisted from the outset and without any taboos," she said during an address to the Protestant Church Congress in the western city of Dortmund.
Lübcke’s murder was "not just a terrible act but also a major challenge for us to examine on all fronts where there are extreme-right tendencies," Mrs Merkel added.
Before her speech, Heiko Maas, the foreign minister, warned that "Germany has a terrorism problem", saying there were more than 12,000 violent Right-wing extremists in the country.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer meanwhile said the government would be looking at ways of placing restrictions on the far Right.
"This killing moves me to do everything possible to reinforce security," Mr Seehofer told the Funke media group in an interview.
One possible restriction is curbing the right to express extremist views online and making them subject to legal action for "inciting hatred".
Mr Kelch has not been the subject of renewed threats but he says the police must “stay on guard.”
“There are people walking around out there who aren’t quite right in their heads. You can never tell what they are going to do. It’s not so much my own well being I’m concerned about, it’s that of my children,” the father of three says.
He laments the lax treatment his harasser received. After police tracked the culprit down, prosecutors didn’t pursue charges, saying the threat was covered by freedom of expression.
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Local politicians are left to deal with public anger over policies made in Berlin, he adds, complaining that German towns were "left to drown" by the government’s ill-managed and underfunded refugee policy.
Burkhard Jung, the mayor of Leipzig, has also received police protection after repeated abuse. This week he received a letter calling him a “filthy traitor who should be hung from the gallows.”
“Walter Lübcke’s murder needs to kick off a nationwide debate," Mr Jung says. "We can’t allow that public officials are treated in such an inhuman way. It starts with words and ends in deeds.”