On October 9, 2019, in the Jewish calendar the holiest of holidays Yom Kippur, an attacker attempted to storm a synagogue in the city of Halle with an arsenal of homemade weapons and improvised explosives. A camera on his helmet broadcast the attack live on the streaming platform “Twitch”. His opening words: “Hey, my name is Anon. And I think the Holocaust never happened.” His clear aim was to murder the 52 people inside – an attack that would have been the bloodiest antisemitic massacre in post-war Germany. Only a locked wooden door and his own incompetence spared those inside from a more gruesome fate. Out of frustration, he shot and killed a passerby, Jana L., and a guest in a nearby kebab shop, Kevin S. The accused has been charged with murder in two counts, attempted murder in 68 counts, as well as grievous bodily harm and a list of traffic misdemeanours. The trial against the attacker began on July 21, 2020 at the district court in Magdeburg. On Monday, 21 December 2020, the verdict will be announced.
At the beginning of the trial, a group of co-plaintiffs published a joint declaration in which they have called on media representatives not to mention the attacker’s name to deny him a platform. We have respected this wish in our coverage. And as the trial draws to a close, it’s vital to listen to the survivors of the attack and not the attacker. In this spirit, we have published the closing statements of survivors and co-plaintiffs in the trial, which were read out in court.
Read the statements here:
“What grew out of the misery of that day is solidarity.”
(Naomi Henkel-Guembel, survivor)
“Who of the people I grew up with might also be capable of such a crime?”
“Germany has an antisemitism and racism problem. That is a fact we cannot ignore any longer.”
(Christina Feist, survivor)
“The idea of ‘Never again’ has already been disproven.”
(An anonymous survivor from the synagogue)
“At least one man is guilty. But all of German society is responsible.”
(Jeremy Borovitz, survivor)
“In this trial, we have been disappointed time and again.”
“Sitting in this courtroom, I am constantly reminded that the law is not justice.”
(Talya Feldman, survivor)
“Why have I been having nightmares for over a year about him trying to kill me and about everything being so painful?”
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 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.