Standing room forever (neue-deutschland.de)

From now on there is an altar in Kevin S.’s traditional place, which his father unveiled on Friday.

Photo: imago images / VIADATA

Halleschen FC’s stadium is never as empty as it was last Friday. The crescendo of an opera singer sounds out of the speakers where a stadium announcer announces the substitutions and the lead singers whip the fan curve.

The attack in Halle, in which two people died, was exactly a year ago. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s speech in the Ulrichskirche will be broadcast in various places in the city. Even in the football stadium. Because it hit one of them. About 30 people have gathered here. They look like football fans look like: denim frocks with lots of patches, tattoos and cigarettes. Everyone wears red: the club’s colors.

When the door of the synagogue in Halle held out on October 9, 2020 and the attempted mass murder of Jews on the holiday of Yom Kippur failed, the perpetrator decided to look for other victims. Kevin S. was hit, among others. He was shot in a snack bar. The 20-year-old is not a Jew, not a leftist, not an Islamist. None of those against whom the perpetrator Stephan B. was on the field that day.

20-year-old Kevin was a painter and football fan. Videos can be seen how he sings loudly: “This is the land of idiots who think love of home equals treason. We are not neo-Nazis and no anarchists, we are just the same as you, from here. «Even more than the songs of Freiwild, he sings the hymns of his association:» I’ll go for you, no matter where, chemistry you are my meaning in life. ” Halle has long been called Hallescher FC. The club plays in the third division. Parts of the fan scene are known for their right-wing attitudes. Once they attacked slices of an Asian diner and sprayed “Jude” on the walls. The group “Saalefront” was involved in numerous proceedings. The club also often had to pay for its fans. Many are now banned from stadiums.

“Saalefront” was also briefly on the Facebook profile of Kevin S. It is not known whether he shared right-wing ideologies. A friend of his, who is in the stadium in Halle that evening, says: “He was always left out when there was stress.”
How does the club deal with the fact that it hit one of them? An altar will be inaugurated in the stadium on Friday. Where Kevin S. always stood while his FC played, flowers and a gold plaque remind of the victim of the attack. It will now have a place forever, not just in the hearts of fans.

The memorial was inaugurated by club president Jens Rauschenbach and Kevin’s father. He remembers the last phone call with his son exactly, said the 44-year-old scaffolding builder recently in court in the trial against the perpetrator. Kevin asked him if he could eat a doner kebab during his lunch break, even though his mother had forbidden it out of concern about his weight. “Okay,” he said, “get your kebab, but this is the last one this week.”

Kevin S. was born with a disability. Doctors predicted a life expectancy of ten years. His father never believed it. After various internships, the son gets an apprenticeship as a painter. In the fan scenes of Merseburg and Halle he finds home, friends and security. “You protected him,” says the father. That Kevin finds friends, goes to away games by himself, fits into a community, finds an apprenticeship position, many did not trust him at the time of his diagnosis. The father repeats one sentence over and over again: “I was very proud!”

The painting company where Kevin S. begins his training is not far from the Kiez kebab shop. Shortly after the phone call with his father, a heavily armed attacker attacks the store. Kevin S. pleaded for his life, but it was taken from him anyway. At the other end of the room where he was shot, mourners have set up an altar. There are red scarves, stickers and pennants hanging there. There are signatures on a shirt. The back number: Two tilted eights. Infinite. You will not forget him.

Several fan groups come to the snack bar during the anniversary and eat kebab. There is a lot of beer being drunk and even more weeping. Operators and fans greet each other with a handshake. Grief connects. But alongside this a split can be felt. Many people who see themselves as leftists are also here. They are on the phone frantically to prepare memorial events. You are writing speeches for a rally. You eye each other – also skeptically. If you met at night, maybe one party would cross the street.

There are also different views on the commemoration among the fans. In the evening in the stadium, a small group stands on the edge of the action. One of them, with a shaved head and two large tunnels in his ears, is annoyed: The “dignitaries who have traveled” are primarily concerned with the synagogue, but the victims were different. And that should be mourned.

Another vehemently contradicts: They were the victims, but the attack was aimed at the synagogue. The man says he met Jana L., the second victim, more often. He did not know Kevin S. That both were murdered in a “cowardly way” is tragic. “But it was an anti-Semitic attack,” he says aloud.

At the next home game, the club wants to remember the victims again. This Monday the team will play against Zwickau in a special jersey. “Never again – together against oblivion” should be written there. People argue about the form of remembering in Halle, and not just in the fan curve.

A young woman with brightly colored hair breaks away from the group of arguing fans. “It might look different now, but the lesson has already been learned here,” she says. What lesson is that? “Oh, you already know that,” she says, and disappears into a rainy night.

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