Talya Feldman’s Closing Statement at the Halle Trial
This statement was published together with several other statements from survivors of the attack, which you can read here.
We have now heard the final statement of the Attorney General and of many lawyers representing co-plaintiffs from the Kiez-Döner shop, from Weidersdorf, Kai’s Garage, from those targeted and run-over on the street, from the synagogue. We are all here to find justice in its varying forms, from that day, that evil, that we all experienced differently.
I became a co-plaintiff in this case when I became aware that the Attorney General had not been intending to include any of the Jewish survivors from the synagogue, the pre-meditated targets of this attack – as victims of attempted murder in the original indictment. Not at first.
And now, after months of listening to this man spew racist and anti-Semitic ideologies, Aftax I., Ibrahim and Ismet Tekin have still yet to be recognized as attempted murder victims – when it is evident that they were targeted due to the color of their skin, because of where they come from, and because of what they believe in. It is incredibly disheartening and devastating to see – to see that this justice is not yet there.
Yet sitting in this courtroom, I am constantly reminded that the law is not justice. We know what this man did, his motives have been clear from the beginning. I hope, I trust, that you will put him in prison for life. But he is a symptom of a right-wing extremist, white supremacist ideology that is rapidly permeating our society, filtering into the words of our politicians and mainstream media – not just here in Germany, but in the world. To quote one of my fellow co-plaintiffs, Conrad R., this man may have acted alone that day in Halle, but he did not think alone. And he does not think alone still.
None of the hate-filled conspiracies that this man has voiced are new. We’ve heard them all before. And we know where they lead. We know what happens when this propaganda and this speech goes unchecked. Germany knows it. I know it.
On the 9th of October, I survived because of the quick actions of the community in Halle, and of the community in Halle alone. At the moment of the attack, I knew we would do whatever we needed to do to keep each other safe, and because of this, I was not frightened.
But participating in this trial, I have become frightened. And I have become angry. Angry by the number of witnesses who safely share their casual attitudes towards racism, their unwillingness to intervene when derogatory terms are used against minorities, their own involvement in hate groups and in propagating antisemitic attitudes.
Angry at the BKA – who by stating that it’s not their job to understand context, to make the evident connections between this attack and other forms of online and offline radicalization – are actually saying that they do not believe in keeping any of us safe from violence like this in the future. That they do not believe that white supremacist extremists, who are racially and ethnically motivated, are a lethal and persistent threat within our governments, our law enforcement, our civil society – because it is not their job to do so. And I am angry at the testifying police officers who carelessly throw around racial slurs and stereotypes – and ignorantly state everything that we, the survivors, did wrong, rather than acknowledging their own fault in allowing this to happen. We did not ask for this to happen to us. And it is not an anger, a pain, a grief, that we can or should bear alone. It is a pain that we and all of you must bear.
Jana Karin Lange. Kevin Schwarze. Say their names. Let their loss and the pain of their families weigh heavily on your hearts and on your conscience.
At this point I would like to address the press and the media specifically. This man is using this trial as a platform to disseminate hate and encourage further violence on all of us. He will use his final statement as an opportunity to inspire others, just like he was inspired. Do not be complicit in this. Do not quote him. Do not use his name. Do not print his picture. If you do, you will be guilty of contributing to a cycle of brutality that must end here and now.
Enough is enough.
Listen to the victims, consider their perspective – and not just that of the attacker! This is a collective action organised by the Association of Counselling Centers for Victims of Right-wing, Racist and Antisemitic Violence in Germany (VBRG), in cooperation with Belltower.News, NSU Watch, democ.de, OFEK and RIAS. We have documented the closing statements of some of the people who were attacked. We would like to thank the victim counselling services that have supported people throughout this trial.