Intervene instead of looking the other way (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

The mobile Opferberatung Together e. V. from Halle (Saale) announced on Thursday about an attack by a right-wing man in a tram:

On Friday at nine o’clock in the Halle district court, the trial of a right-wing politically motivated attack will open almost exactly a year ago. Only one week after the right-wing terrorist attack in Halle, three young women intervened when a 39-year-old man racially insulted three men on the street car because of the color of their skin and showed the Hitler salute on the evening of October 17. Two of the women themselves were offended and z. T. been seriously injured.

It is only thanks to the commitment of the injured women and their lawyers that the attack is even heard in court. The Halle public prosecutor’s office closed the investigation against the accused in February 2020 (…). Such an adjustment is possible, among other things, if the punishment to be expected is not significant alongside another one – here following an attempted manslaughter charge from December 2019. However, a guideline on the prosecution of politically motivated criminals by the Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of Justice states that “the effects of the offense on the victim and the public interest in prosecution (…) must be given special attention”. »From many years of experience we know how central the intervention of witnesses is for those affected by right-wing, racist and anti-Semitic attacks: not only in the situation itself, but also for processing what they have experienced. It is all the more important that courageous helpers who are affected by their intervention also find out from the judiciary that such acts are consistently pursued, ”said a spokeswoman for the mobile victim counseling service. After a complaint by the joint prosecutor’s representatives, the public prosecutor finally brought charges in May 2020 against the accused, who was known to the police and had multiple criminal records, of sedition, assault, insult and the use of symbols of unconstitutional organizations. (…)

Hubertus Zdebel, until 2016 member of the Bundestag commission »Storage of highly radioactive waste« and member of the Bundestag for Die Linke, criticized the cancellation of the face-to-face event planned in Kassel for the start of public participation in the search for a repository on Thursday:

The responsible federal authorities risk the failure of the new nuclear waste repository search before it has even started. The Federal Atomic Waste Authority only wants the public to be there from the video tube. Starting the public participation now exclusively as a video session despite all corona restrictions and other deficiencies is wrong. The search for a repository for such waste has not really made any headway for over 50 years. For decades, corporations and federal governments had hindered a sensible and appropriate search for a final repository with an arbitrary political commitment to Gorleben. Now, when the restart is overdue, citizens are supposed to foot the bill again and, under unacceptable conditions, simply listen to what the authorities announce via video and ask questions as a mere staging.

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Commemoration of the attack in Halle: even more love

A year after the attack on the Halle synagogue, the victims were commemorated. The deed has not been forgotten, but the hatred has not won either.

Is combative: Max Privorozki (left), head of the Jewish community in Halle Photo: Ronny Hartmann / afp

HALLE / BERLIN taz | On Friday afternoon they stand in the courtyard of the Jewish synagogue in Halle: Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey, Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff, Halle’s Lord Mayor Bernd Wiegand. The police have cordoned off the street, the politicians are unveiling a memorial, laying flowers and lowering their heads. Now are all there.

A year ago the Jewish community in Halle was still alone.

On October 9, 2019, shortly after 12 noon, right-wing extremist Stephan B. drove up to the synagogue, heavily armed. The congregation just celebrated Yom Kippur, their highest holiday there. The uniformed 28-year-old wanted to cause a massacre and broadcast it live on the Internet. Police were not on site at the time, and the community was not considered to be at risk. Stephan B. failed anyway, at the locked entrance door to the synagogue. But he shot two other people: the passer-by Jana L. and the painter trainee Kevin L., who was having lunch in the nearby Kiezdöner. The assassin continued to kill there, now out of racist hatred.

The deed was and is a beacon. Politicians reacted horrified and initiated packages of measures. The attack is still being negotiated before the Magdeburg Regional Court. On Friday, on the first anniversary, commemorations in Halle commemorated the act. At noon, at 12:01 p.m., the bells rang across the city. In the evening Steinmeier spoke in the Ulrichskirche, at the central memorial event, of “shame and anger”, which he continues to feel about the attack. Demanded better protection of Jewish institutions. And to show a stance against anti-Semitism. This is a seismograph for the state of democracy, said the Federal President. The more openly he expresses himself, the more strongly the values ​​of human dignity are challenged.

And it became clear: the wounds may not have healed, but hatred has not triumphed either.

Even after the attack, no services were canceled

In the afternoon, Max Privorozki, the community leader, also stands in the synagogue courtyard. He was in the prayer house during the attack, along with 51 other believers, some of whom have come from Berlin. After the attack, no service was canceled, said Privorozki in a conversation in advance. The first Shabbat was very well attended, including the Jewish Culture Days. And yet nothing was normal anymore. The believers received psychological support, politicians and journalists stormed the community.

Then came the corona pandemic. Initially, only 19 believers were allowed into the synagogue. The Passover festival was canceled for the first time since 1945, and the memory of the Shoah victims had to take place virtually. For the Jewish New Year, traditionally celebrated with a festive meal, there were only food parcels home.

“It is difficult to speak of normality,” says Privorozki. Most of all, people in their mid-fifties today are exhausted. He is startled when he hears helicopters in the sky – just like a year ago over the synagogue. New Year’s Eve was also a burden. The community itself has hardly spoken about the attack recently. But certainly about security issues. Recently, prayers alerted the police because a stranger was filming in front of the synagogue entrance. The incident had no consequences, but shows the tension.

The synagogue door becomes a monument

Lidia Edel is also standing in the synagogue courtyard this Friday. “Today everyone carries on with their life, but of course the attack stays in the back of everyone’s mind,” says the 20-year-old. Edel has been part of the Halle community for years, giving children and young people art lessons there – even if she is not Jewish at all. Noble, however, belongs to the city’s Eastern European community, which is strongly represented in the municipality. When the attack happened she was at home and a friend was in the synagogue. Edel heard about the attack from her – and how the door held out.

The door is the reason why Lidia Edel also takes part in the commemoration on Friday. Because it was she who designed the monument that has now been unveiled. Central element: the synagogue door, which was shot through and replaced a few weeks ago. “Everyone wanted the door not to go away. But nobody knew exactly what to do with it, ”says Edel. “That’s when I had the idea of ​​an artistic redesign, because the symbolic power of the door is obvious.” The community approved the suggestion.

The monument now shows the door, encircled by an oak tree in the shape of a hand. 52 sheets hang behind the door, two in front of it. They stand for the 52 believers who were in the synagogue during the attack – and for Jana L. and Kevin S. Two more sheets have been added, which stand for the other injured who Stephan B. shot at. The memorial should remember all of these victims, says Edel. “But it is also a warning not to suppress anything. And it shows that life goes on, that everything is a cycle. “

Just recently another attack in Hamburg

Life goes on, but the danger remains. The police counted 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes nationwide in 2019, an increase of 13 percent. Only recently did a man hit a young believer in front of a synagogue in Hamburg with a spade. Again he was in uniform, again on a public holiday, this time the Feast of Tabernacles. The memory of Halle was immediately there. The fear in the Jewish community too.

The believers who experienced the attack in Halle also last described in the Magdeburg trial how they were sometimes still in therapy, how they suffered from anti-Semitism. Christina Feist, a philosophy doctoral student who has since moved to Paris, said it was “the sad everyday life of our everyday life”. “In Germany I live in fear.” You and others also criticized the police: after the fact, officials treated them insensitively without knowing the traditions on Yom Kippur. And far too little has been determined about the right-wing extremist network of the assassin.

Max Privorozki at least praises the security situation of his synagogue today. “Cooperation with the police is now different,” he says. There is constant contact, the officials know about all activities of the community. A police container is in front of the synagogue. But the truth also includes: Behind the scenes, the Jewish community in Saxony-Anhalt negotiated a security agreement with the state until the end. And this despite the fact that the interior ministers had unanimously promised better protection of Jewish institutions after the attack.

Long struggle for security agreement

Even if Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) put another 22 million euros into the budget for this purpose: Some municipalities complain that they are petitioners to this day when it comes to their safety; would have to take care of fences or their own security personnel. Saxony-Anhalt announced an agreement on Tuesday: The state will completely protect Jewish facilities, pay for renovations and security personnel, and invest 2.4 million euros in this. You are entering “new territory” nationwide. Privorozki was satisfied – now it is a matter of implementing the open list of security modifications for his community. “There is still a lot to do.”

When the community celebrated Yom Kippur again almost two weeks ago, this time because of Corona in the city’s cultural meeting place, the police showed their presence. Some of the believers from Berlin were there again. Of course, he couldn’t get the attack out of his head, says Privorozki. They prayed for the murdered Jana and Kevin. But it was a relief to say the closing prayer of Yom Kippur this time – which he was no longer able to do a year ago.

Prime Minister Haseloff also attended the service at noon and gave a short speech. It was supposed to be a sign of solidarity, but not everyone took it that way. Christina Feist then complained about a “PR showpiece” that the prayers on Yom Kippur had again been disrupted. Privorozki contradicts: he himself invited the delegation, the speech was “a nice sign”.

An anti-Semitic submission by the Interior Minister

Still, it wasn’t the only dissonance in the end. Only a few days ago, Saxony-Anhalt’s Minister of the Interior, Holger Stahlknecht, calculated the deployment times of police officers in front of Jewish institutions in the state – which would be missing elsewhere. An anti-Semitic steep template. Privorozki, who otherwise holds back politically, was outraged. “I couldn’t believe my ears.” The sentence is unbearable, it creates social unrest. And the community leader openly expresses this criticism on Friday at the commemoration in the Ulrichskirche, in which Stahlknecht also takes part.

After the attack, the community experienced one thing above all else: solidarity. When Privorozki recently testified at the Magdeburg trial, he reported on the rallies, the first on the day of the crime. The perpetrator belongs to an “absolute minority”. The majority would consist of “good people”.

At the commemoration on Friday in the synagogue courtyard, Privorozki also presented a thick book. This includes letters from all over the world that the community received after the attack, says the community leader. “That was encouraging.”

Solidarity among those affected

The victims of the attack also show solidarity with each other: some believers have now networked with those affected from the Kiezdöner. They spoke together at rallies, met this week for a festival in Berlin. On Wednesday, Privorozki informed the takeaway operator Ismet Tekin that his community would buy him food vouchers worth 1,000 euros. At the same time, the Jewish Student Union presented Tekin with just under 30,000 euros in donations that it had collected because business had faltered after the attack.

In the end, the attack also ensured: self-assertion. In the process, those affected repeatedly affirmed that they would continue their lives and their faith. Jewish life will continue to flourish in Germany. Ismet Tekin said to the assassin in the face: “You have failed all along the line. The result is even more solidarity and love. ”Privorozki also declared:“ After October 9th, I feel more at home here than before. ”

In his congregation, Yom Kippur believers remembered how the Jewish people never lost their optimism, even in the worst of times. It should apply again this time. On the holiday, the believers began to collect donations for a new Torah scroll.

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Felix Klein one year after the attack in Halle: “Fears are back”

One year after the attack in Halle, the anti-Semitism officer Felix Klein worries about the Jewish community – and criticizes Saxony-Anhalt’s interior minister.

This is where the assassin failed a year ago: the door to the synagogue in Halle Photo: Hendrik Schmidt / dpa

taz: Mr. Klein, A year ago a right-wing extremist attacked the synagogue in Halle and killed two people. Do you remember how you found out about it back then?

Felix Klein: Yes, my wife and I were on the way from the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial back to Berlin. It was a shock to me as it was to everyone. We had just launched important structures against anti-Semitism, a federal-state commission, the Rias reporting system. And then that. I felt very powerless.

The perpetrator wanted to cause a massacre. Only the synagogue door prevented him from doing so. Would you have thought such an act possible?

I thought that an attack was possible. Especially when you saw how radical the tone was on the Internet. But I did not expect such a hateful, inhuman act in this dimension.

The synagogue was not protected by the police at the time. An unforgivable mistake?

It would have been unforgivable if it had happened willfully. But apparently the police didn’t even know that Yom Kippur was being celebrated there and that there was an increased need for security.

But that’s also a problem.

the lawyer and diplomat is the Federal Government Commissioner for Jewish life and the fight against anti-Semitism.

Yes of course. That was a negligence that is unacceptable. And this anti-Semitic attack, which ultimately cost the lives of two non-Jews, was also a turning point. He shook up the security authorities. Today the community in Halle is permanently guarded. And the police have evolved, the handling of religious holidays has improved.

A few days ago, however, a man attacked a believer in front of a synagogue in Hamburg, seriously injuring him. How safe do Jews still live in Germany?

Hamburg has shown that this time protective measures took effect. The police had the holiday on their radar there. And the police property guards immediately arrested the attacker and prevented further violence.

But not the attack on the young believer.

There can be no absolute protection. But of course the attack should be an occasion to re-examine the security measures in front of Jewish institutions.

So too little has happened since the attack in Halle?

In my opinion the opposite is the case. The federal government and the states are doing their utmost here. The Federal Ministry of the Interior has just made available 22 million euros for structural protection measures, and the federal states have also taken money into their hands again. In addition, the federal government has launched a comprehensive package of measures, such as the obligation to report online hate postings to the BKA, which I expect a lot from in the fight against anti-Semitism. Because the clientele backs away when they receive counter pressure and the police are at the door. And we saw in Halle that the root of the threat was radicalization on the Internet.

Is that enough? After the Hamburg attack, the Central Council of Jews once again called for more protection for religious institutions and a resolute social commitment against anti-Semitism.

There are certainly further opportunities for improvement. For example, I would like the police nationwide to know the Jewish calendar and on which occasions special protection is necessary. And it is also correct that the state cannot resolve the matter alone. This requires a courageous civil society that counteracts when anti-Semitism is expressed. That is the most important thing. I think the best protection would be if Jewish life were perceived much more as something that is taken for granted, as part of German diversity. We have to do more for that.

After the attack in Halle and the attack in Hambrug, the situation is different: the Jewish community feels seriously threatened.

Yes, that’s how I perceive it, she is very worried. And that is also very understandable. After politics reacted to Halle, my impression was that the community had settled down somewhat. But now the fears are back. We have to take that very seriously.

Isn’t that an indictment of poverty, especially for Germany with its history?

These concerns must alarm us, absolutely. The very fact that Jewish families are discussing whether they can continue to live in Germany is more than an alarm signal.

As the anti-Semitism commissioner, you report to the federal government. Don’t you have to put more pressure on in view of this?

We are making a significant effort. The Chancellor herself is also very committed. Everyone is aware of the seriousness of the situation.

But many of those affected say: we don’t want more encouragement, we want to see action.

It has already existed. Many of the measures decided must now be implemented first. Nevertheless, there will be another catalog of measures shortly, from the cabinet committee to combat right-wing extremism.

Last year the number of anti-Semitic crimes rose by 13 percent to a good 2,000 crimes. What’s your explanation for that?

The increase is mainly due to the brutality on the Internet and the local incitement to hatred and Holocaust denial. But there is also a positive explanation: those affected report these incidents more strongly. This is a good development and something that I also encourage. Making hatred visible is the first step in combating it.

Why does such hatred always end up in anti-Semitic attacks?

That does not surprise me. Anti-Semitism is so practiced in our culture that it is used again and again, especially in times of uncertainty. Jews were blamed for the plague as far back as the Middle Ages; today this is repeated with the corona virus. This is really fatal.

Even Saxony-Anhalt’s Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht (CDU) has just promoted anti-Semitism by referring to the times of police officers in front of Jewish buildings that were missing elsewhere.

To portray Jews as privileged people, for whom action would be taken at the expense of the general public, actually fuels anti-Semitism. It is not possible that groups are played off against each other. Unfortunately, Jewish communities need increased security, but that’s not because of the Jews, but because of the threats against them. And the state has a duty to ensure that they can practice their religion without restriction. I think he has to bear 100 percent of the security costs for this. Because this is a fundamental right.

Do you think anti-Semitism can one day be defeated?

It can at least be pushed back so far that the quality of life can be significantly improved. The whole of society benefits from this, not just the Jews. The vast majority in Germany is democratic and vigilant. That gives me hope.

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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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Halle commemorates those affected by the attack (neue-deutschland.de)

At exactly 12:01 p.m., public life in Halle stood still for three minutes on Friday: the trams stopped and people fell silent. Several hundred Halle residents had gathered in the market square and paused. Church bells were ringing all over town. At this point in time, a year ago, the right-wing extremist Stephan B. started shooting at the synagogue door. A little later he killed 40-year-old Jana L., who happened to be passing by, and 20-year-old Kevin S., who was spending his lunch break in a kebab shop.

Now, a year later, Halle commemorated those affected by the attack. Fans of Halleschen FC, Kevin S.’s favorite football club, stood alongside politicians, families and students. Some of them drew chains of sticks on the floor with chalk as a sign of interpersonal bond. A young man told the nd that the attack had changed the city. It is constantly being talked about. At the same time, a young woman warned to pay more attention to racism and hatred towards LGBTQ people.

Shortly afterwards, a democracy conference began in the town hall, to which representatives from politics and democracy networks, as well as those affected, were invited. “It was an attack on all of us and thus on our democracy,” said Max Privorozki, chairman of the Halle Jewish Community, and compared democracy to a flower that needs to be cultivated. Halle’s Lord Mayor Bernd Wiegand reminded that racism and anti-Semitism are still present in the city in the face of a well-known right-wing extremist who constantly holds rallies on the market square.

An exhibition had previously been opened on the grounds of the Steintor campus of Luther University, which is intended to give the victims of the attack a voice. They are still not heard enough, said Valentin Hacken from the alliance “Halle gegen Rechts”. In the afternoon, a memorial plaque at the synagogue and a plaque in front of the »Kiez-Döner« were unveiled. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had announced that he would attend the memorial event in Ulrichskirche. In his speech, which was spread in advance, it says: “The hate of the perpetrator from Halle is not only directed against Jews, it is also directed against Muslims, against people with a migration history, against women, against leftists.”

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Yom Kippur after the assassination attempt in Halle: “There will be a next time”

Iona Berger was on Yom Kippur during the attack in the synagogue in Halle in 2019. To this day, she struggles with feelings of guilt.

Iona Berger was in the Halle synagogue at the time of the attack Photo: Rolf Peter Stoffels / image

taz: Ms. Berger, last year on Yom Kippur you were in the synagogue in Halle when a right-wing extremist assassin tried to storm the synagogue and then killed Jana L. and Kevin S. September 28th is Yom Kippur again. What does this time mean for you personally?

Iona Berger: During this time it is decided whether to be inscribed in the Book of Life, and on Yom Kippur it is then sealed. It’s about asking people to forgive you before you can ask God for forgiveness. It is traditionally a time when you reflect a lot. This year I find it very difficult to get involved in this time. I feel unprepared for Yom Kippur. The last year has been so chaotic, not just because of Halle, but for all of us. What does repentance to God mean after what has happened? How can I deal with my own guilt?

You have already said in court that you feel guilty for the victims because the attack was actually aimed at you. Has Halle become a place that you avoid?

Not at all. There was just no reason for me to go to Halle. I was there on the day of Jana’s funeral. Before that I was in the synagogue and looked around again.

Are you in Halle again for Yom Kippur this year?

No. Halle is problematic because of the Corona distance rules. But it was clear to me: I want to spend Yom Kippur with “Base Berlin” – no matter where. “Base Berlin” is the group with whom I drove from Berlin to the synagogue in Halle last year, and I want to spend this difficult day with the same people again. I will be back in Halle on October 9th, when it will be the anniversary of the attack.

What will be different about Yom Kippur this year?

Due to the distance rules, not everyone can go to the synagogue, there is simply not enough space for that. That is why “Base Berlin” has rented space in Berlin. What has also changed: In the past, “Base Berlin” never had security guards, there was no reason for them. From now on there will always be. There will also be psychological support on the day.

30, studied in England with a Masters degree in International Security. In 2019 she traveled to Yom Kippur with a young Jewish group from Berlin to Halle.

According to your statement, you noticed that there was no police in front of the synagogue in Halle the day before Yom Kippur. But “the idea that someone in Halle was shooting at the synagogue struck me as completely absurd,” you said in court. How do you rate the security of synagogues in Germany today?

There is a difference between rational knowledge and the subjective feeling of security when I go into a synagogue. Rationally, it is incredibly unlikely that anything would happen in this very synagogue. It was the first time it was attacked, and it is even more improbable that it will happen again in the synagogue I am in, of all places. On the other hand, I now always look around twice to see where the officers are, for example.

Should police presence in front of synagogues be compulsory?

Before the attack I was sometimes amused by the increased police presence, now I don’t do that anymore. I still don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but if the police had been in front of the synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur last year, Jana and Kevin would probably still be alive. It’s not just about our own safety, but also about that of the people around us. The attack clearly showed that again.

Some co-plaintiffs expressed their lack of trust in the police in court. Do you share that?

I know that the police in Halle and the police in Berlin are not the same. The police themselves testified in court that they had never experienced a situation like this before. I think the police in Berlin are simply better prepared for such a dangerous situation and have more experience in operations involving firearms. I don’t generally think that all police officers are maliciously hired or incapable. I have a basic trust in this, although I know that there are systematic problems.

There are increasing reports of additional trauma caused by the behavior of the officers on site.

I think it is important to also criticize the police approach in Halle without accusing certain female police officers. I hope that the next attack on a synagogue or mosque or the like will go better and that the next survivors will not be additionally traumatized by the police operation. And yes, I think there will be a next time, unfortunately.

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State of Saxony-Anhalt (daily newspaper Junge Welt)

Hendrik Schmidt / dpa / dpa-Zentralbild

Police officers in autumn 2019 on the market square in Halle in front of the neo-Nazi squad Sven Liebich (right on the bus)

In some authorities in Saxony-Anhalt neo-Nazis obviously enjoy sympathy. In Halle an der Saale, the police department approved a right-wing rally without the knowledge of the city administration – in the middle of the memorial event for the victims of the neo-fascist terrorist attack a year ago. In neighboring Merseburg, the head of the immigration office had to take his hat off because he allegedly used Nazi symbols and harassed an asylum seeker.

The Halle city administration has apparently been wrestling with the police for a long time. As the assembly authority, the latter has repeatedly approved rallies by the neo-Nazi Sven Liebich on the market. In some cases, she did not even respond to the city’s contradictions, reported Halle’s independent mayor, Bernd Wiegand, at a press conference on Tuesday.

On Monday, the city opened an exhibition in the market on the occasion of the first anniversary of the right-wing terrorist attack on the synagogue and a kebab shop. The neo-Nazi Stephan Balliet wanted to »kill Jews« on October 9, 2019 and ultimately shot a 40-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man outside the synagogue after he had failed to break into the building. The Higher Regional Court of Saxony-Anhalt tried him for two murders, 68 times attempted murder, dangerous bodily harm, predatory extortion and sedition. The memorial event had just opened, said Wiegand, when Liebich, a right-wing extremist run by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, came and held a rally. The Halle police station did not inform the city. “That is clearly a mockery of the victims,” ​​said the mayor.

The police were informed that the marketplace would be fully occupied in the next few weeks. Therefore, »I ask the question very clearly: Who is responsible for the fact that the police, as the assembly authority, put a right-wing extremist precisely in the exhibition on the occasion of the anniversary of the anti-Semitic attack?« It is not about restricting the right of assembly, but about the location, said Wiegand clear. He also wants to clarify: “Who is interested in disregarding the city’s right to self-government?”

The town hall chief complained that only in the two largest cities of Saxony-Anhalt, Halle and Magdeburg, the police were on meetings, not the city. The governing coalition of the CDU, SPD and Greens wanted to change this for a long time. “We informed the state government about the case and asked them to implement the coalition agreement,” explained Wiegand. Next week the city council wants to decide on an administrative action against the state of Saxony-Anhalt – specifically the Halle police station. Such attacks are unacceptable, warned Wiegand.

Sven Liebich is known in Halle. He cavorted at neo-Nazi concerts and demonstrations, and for a long time he has regularly registered rallies in the city himself. He was reported again and again. Last week, the Halle district court sentenced him for the first time to 11 months probation and 200 hours of work for sedition, slander and insult.

Last week there was also a scandal in Merseburg in the Saalekreis, 20 kilometers from Halle. The district administration removed the head of the immigration office, Jan Rosenstein, from office. According to reports from regional media, he is said to have used Nazi symbols and harassed a client of his agency. The spokeswoman for the Refugee Council of Saxony-Anhalt, Cynthia Zimmermann, welcomed the decision, but criticized the Rosenstein personnel as only the tip of an iceberg. “For years, refugees in the Saalekreis have been treated particularly restrictively by the authorities,” she said in an interview with jW. This ranges from severe cuts in benefits to overpriced rents for a place in a shared room of up to 500 euros per month. “That is a structural problem,” says Zimmermann. She fears “that the impeachment will not be followed up”.

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One year after the attack in Halle: Länder protect synagogues better

Almost a year has passed since the anti-Semitic attack in Halle. Today more money is being used to protect Jewish institutions. But is that enough?

October 10, 2019: Police officers in front of the New Synagogue in Berlin Photo: Christian Mang / reuters

BERLIN taz | A year ago Naomi Henkel-Gümbel was in the synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur, the highest Jewish holiday, when a right-wing extremist tried to storm the building. Henkel-Gümbel was a guest in Halle, actually she lives in Berlin. She feels pretty safe here, she says, but the city is an exception. Small Jewish communities in particular often lack the money to effectively protect their institutions.

Henkel-Gümbel, who is also a joint plaintiff in the trial against the alleged assassin from Halle, is sitting in the New Synagogue in Berlin, the media service has invited to a press conference. “One year after Halle: How well are synagogues protected?” Is the question to be discussed.

The media service asked all federal states what they had changed since the attack. The result: Jewish institutions are more closely guarded in almost all federal states. In addition, almost all countries have made additional funds available to better protect synagogues, daycare centers or schools – for example with bulletproof doors, fences or sluices at the entrance. Bavaria has pledged eight million, Hesse four, and Saxony-Anhalt 2.4 million euros. In addition, there are 22 million from the federal government.

The litmus test is whether there is really construction going on, says Ronen Steinke, lawyer and journalist whose book “Terror gegen Juden” has just been published. For far too long, the Jewish communities had to rely on themselves to implement the police’s safety recommendations, and some communities would have to bear up to 50 percent of the costs themselves. Before the attack, not a single euro of tax money flowed into the synagogue in Halle for the protection of the building, said Steinke. “That was clearly a failure of the state.”

A double dark field

“Avoidance of danger is the task of the state”, emphasized the author. That is why the police must see it as their duty to counter this danger. Less than one hundred percent financing of security measures is not acceptable. “If we don’t ensure that, the right to practice one’s religion is not worth much.”

“The protection of Jewish communities has become better, but it is not yet good across the board,” admitted Jürgen Peter, Deputy Head of the Federal Criminal Police Office. “A lot more dialogue” between the Jewish communities and the police is also necessary. In the past year, the security authorities established 2023 anti-Semitic crimes, most of which are right-wing motivated, said Peter. “More than five crimes per day, that’s unbearable.” In addition, there is a double dark field: The police do not recognize anti-Semitic crimes as such – or they would not even report the offenses.

This was confirmed by Sigmount Königsberg, anti-Semitism commissioner for the Jewish community in Berlin. Incidents are often only recorded by the police as bodily harm, but not the anti-Semitic background of an act. In addition, according to an EU study, only every fifth anti-Semitic crime is reported.

Steinke emphasized how “perverse” the situation is that Jewish institutions have to be guarded and spoke of a state of siege. “So that we can go to school or to church services, the police are standing at the door.”

Henkel-Gümbel – the survivor of the Halle attack, had also sharply criticized the behavior of the police after the attack and the investigations in the past. On Tuesday, however, she emphasized that, despite everything, Germany was the country in which she would continue to live in the future. “I can’t leave the people here alone,” said the budding rabbi. One should not leave room for right-wing extremist ideologies and show solidarity. “I have to do my part.”

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Trial of the Nazi attack in Halle: The pain of the victims

In the trial of the attack in Halle, the father of the shot Kevin S. reveals how the act changed his life. A statement leads to applause.

Painful memories: photos of the victims of the Halle attack in front of the Magdeburg district court Photo: Jan Woitas / dpa

MAGDEBURG taz | Nothing is processed. Karsten L. stops, trembles, fights back tears, then he can no longer. “I tried to call Kevin. 20, 30 times. He didn’t answer. Nothing, nothing, nothing. ”In the evening, after six hours of anxiety, he placed a missing person ad on Facebook. Then a friend wrote to him that he would send him something. It was the video in which Kevin, Karsten L.’s son, is shot. “I looked at it.” Then he can no longer speak, the tears overwhelm him. He cries for several minutes, and several co-plaintiffs also cry. The judge must interrupt the questioning.

The man who took his son Kevin S.’s life is sitting diagonally across from Karsten L. in the Magdeburg district court on Tuesday: Stephan B., charged with two murders and 68 attempted murders. On October 9, 2019, B. tried to storm the synagogue in Halle and posted the crime on the Internet. The 28-year-old failed, but he shot and killed Jana L. Then he drove to the nearby “Kiezdöner” to murder migrants. There he murdered Kevin S., who was having lunch there.

The attack is a beacon to this day, negotiations have been taking place in Magdeburg since July. On Tuesday Karsten L. is now a witness. It will be the only appearance by a bereaved of the two murder victims in the trial. Jana L.’s mother also takes part in the trial as a joint plaintiff, but according to the court she asked not to have to make a statement. Karsten L., however, wants to talk.

The scaffolding builder reports how his first son died shortly after he was born. His second, Kevin, was diagnosed with mental and physical disabilities. But Kevin fought. He finished the special school, completed internships at a painting company in Halle and finally started an apprenticeship there. “His dream job. He really blossomed. ”And Kevin became a passionate fan of Halleschen FC, built up a circle of friends there, traveled to games, and stapled every ticket. “He built it up himself,” says Karsten L. “He was extremely proud.” And so was the father, the witness appearance leaves no doubt about that.

One life – destroyed

But then came October 9, 2019, nine days after Kevin’s training began. The father reports that he spoke to his son on the phone that morning. Then he heard about the attack in Halle and tried to reach his son, his mother did too. Without success. “That wasn’t normal. I was hoping he lost his cell phone. But that was unlikely. ”Then he got the video of the fact. Saw his son still hiding behind a refrigerator, how he shouted: “Please don’t!”. The 20-year-old had no chance.

For Karsten L., life has been destroyed since then. Kevin’s mother and he are still receiving psychological treatment, partly inpatient, he reports. Three times he thought it couldn’t go any further, called the police. “It’s difficult, we need extreme help.” Stephan B. stares at the fighting father, motionless. A victim attorney points out to the judge that the defendant rolled his eyes. He says no. At the beginning of the trial, B. had regretted killing Kevin S., mistaking him for a Muslim. He shows no more remorse in the process.

Ismet and Rifat Tekin’s lives have not been the same since the attack. The brothers have been living in Halle for twelve and five years, working in the Kiezdöner, now as owners. Now they too are witnesses to the trial. Rifat stood behind the counter during the attack.

At first he thought a soldier was coming into the shop, he says. Then shots were fired, he was hiding behind the counter. When the perpetrator turned his back on him, he ran out of the store. Ismet had left the shop shortly before, and a pavement bullet shot past him too. He hid behind cars. When Stephan fled and he came into the shop, Kevin S. was already dead.

“We want to stand firm”

He still suffers from insomnia today, says Rifat Tekin. Ismet adds that his brother used to make everyone laugh that it was over. “It pains me to see him like that.” He has also been telling lies to his mother in Turkey for months so that she doesn’t worry.

He doesn’t actually want to go to the store anymore, says Rifat Tekin. But his brother wants to keep it running. “That’s why I support him. We want to stand firm, we want to stay here, we want to stand up for this country. ”Ismet Tekin does not want the assassin to win either:“ We will not go away and we will not give up our shop. ”

Photos of the murdered people and shirts from Halleschen FC are still hanging in the Kiezdöner. The snack bar is now also a memorial, says Ismet Tekin before the day of the trial. And sales have collapsed. Fewer and fewer guests are coming, after the Corona outbreak, the snack bar had to close completely for three weeks. The support promised by politicians also failed to materialize. “It is very difficult.”

In the meantime, a fundraising for the Kiezdöner is underway – initiated by the Jewish Student Union and a group of young Jews who were in the synagogue during the attack and celebrated Yom Kippur there. “We believe in a multicultural society in this country,” it says in their appeal.

One last message

Jeremy Borovitz, one of the believers from the synagogue, appealed: “Please donate”, Ismet Tekin is “an extremely decent man in a world gone mad”. A good 6,400 euros have been raised so far. Ismet Tekin is touched by the solidarity. He wants to use the money to expand the snack bar to include a breakfast café, he says. Maybe things will look better again.

Ismet Tekin has traveled to the trial almost every day of the trial. On Tuesday he spoke to the accused directly, calling him a “coward”. Stephan B. smiles. “Nobody deserves to die like that. Can you imagine how much strength it takes a mother to raise a child? What kind of pain does it mean when it loses its life in this way? “

Ismet Tekin said he couldn’t believe that no one was aware of the bomber’s plans. Even though he chatted so much on the internet and made guns at home with his parents. “It is not an act of an individual.” He also does not understand the hatred. All people are foreigners somewhere in the world. Stephan B.’s defense attorney intervenes, believes the execution is too dissolute, but the judge lets Ismet Tekin continue to speak.

And he announces a final message to Stephan B. “You didn’t win. You have failed all along the line. The result is even more solidarity and love. We won’t go away. And guess what? I’m going to be a father, I’m having a child. And I’ll do my best to raise it here. ”Applause breaks out in the hall. The judge lets it go.

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“We want to stand firm” (neue-deutschland.de)

Stephan B. in court on Tuesday

Photo: Reuters / Ronny Hartmann

Rifat Tekin was there when it happened. The 32-year-old works in the »Kiez-Döner« in Halle, which Stephan B. stormed on October 9, 2019. The attacker shot and killed the 20-year-old Kevin S .; he had previously tried to cause a bloodbath in the synagogue in Halle. On Tuesday, Tekin was called as a witness in the trial against the defendant.

He described the incident, spoke calmly and carefully. “I saw the attacker coming and I thought it might be a soldier,” he said. Then Stephan B. shot at the shop and penetrated. He ducked, said Tekin. Then he heard screams: “Please don’t, please don’t!” That was Kevin S., who was shot by Stephan B. shortly afterwards. Tekin immediately fled the store, across the street, to a restaurant across the street. There he then notified his family and heard more shots, followed the exchange of fire between Stephan B. and the police on Ludwig-Wucherer-Straße.

Tekin reported on mental health problems that have remained with him to this day. Nevertheless, he continues to work in the shop, supporting his brother Ismet, who does not want to give up the kebab shop. Judge Ursula Mertens wanted to know what plans he had for the future. Tekin said, “The future cannot be foreseen. We want to stand firm, we want to stay here. We want to stand up for this country. ”When Tekin stepped off the stand, the audience applauded. Judge Mertens let the applause go.

Stephan B. followed the proceedings in court, as almost always, with a stoic expression. Also, when Rifat’s brother Ismet Tekin later turned directly to the defendant: “He’s a coward,” he said in a loud, urgent voice. And it became very clear: “We are all foreigners on this planet. You live where you feel comfortable, where you feel safe. “And addressed to the security authorities:” I wonder why such incidents happen again and again and are not prevented. I am absolutely sure that the German state can solve these things. “

Stephan B.’s defense lawyer, Hans-Dieter Weber, complained that Tekin’s statements had nothing to do with the proceedings. The lawyer Tekins replied: “We have had to listen to Stephan B.’s anti-Semitic nonsense here several times.”

Overall, it was a very emotional day in the Magdeburg district court. First, the father of Kevin S., who was killed in the kebab shop, testified. Several times he tried to reach his son by phone. Later he saw the assassin’s video; at that moment the sad certainty reached him. Kevin S. was proud of his new job as a painter, full of hope for a bright future. In addition, football meant a lot to him. Kevin S. was a passionate fan of Halleschen FC. The father cried and Judge Mertens interrupted the session for 15 minutes.

Later, Ezra Waxman, who was in the synagogue at the time of the crime, took the stand. The scientist reported on the terrible moments of uncertainty when Stephan B. was in front of the synagogue and shot 40-year-old Jana L. Touching moment at the end: Waxman sang in the courtroom in Yiddish.

And it is also one of these touching moments that the Jewish Student Union (JSUD) of all places is now financially helping the economically ailing kebab snack bar. Because since the attack on October 9th, the »Kiez-Döner« has stopped and the guests stay away. The JSUD has therefore launched a fundraising campaign – with success: 6,706 euros (as of Tuesday lunchtime) have come together so far and thus a large part of the target of 7,000 euros.

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