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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