As soon as 30-year-old Bayram Yildiz stepped onto a Munich bus on Wednesday, he said he became the target of "vicious insults" from a fellow passenger.
"I was a hangman at Dachau [concentration camp]," a 60-year-old passenger called to Yildiz. "I'm going to remember your face."
Yildiz, who was born in Bavaria and is of Turkish descent, told Münchner Tageszeitung (TZ) that he didn't know what to do.
"I'll get hold of you soon," the 60-year-old shouted. "Go back to where you came from."
But Yildiz said that others on the bus were quick to react, many standing up to defend him.
The bus driver even stopped the vehicle and threatened to call police if the older man did not leave immediately, to which passengers responded with applause.
"It went without saying that I had to step in," the driver modestly told TZ.
Yildiz said he wanted to thank those who came to his defense.
"The help I received was simply wonderful," he said.
"Because it all happened so quickly, I didn't get a chance to say thank you to everybody," he told TZ, "so I'd like to do that now."