Third anniversary of the Halle attack: commemoration in the hustle and bustle of the marathon

Three years ago, an assassin attacked the synagogue in Halle. Initiatives criticize that the commemoration takes place parallel to a marathon.

View of the door of the synagogue in Halle

On the third anniversary of the attack on the synagogue, a marathon takes place in Halle Photo: Hendrik Schmidt/dpa

BERLIN taz | At 12.03 p.m. on Sunday it should be quiet in Halle. At the time when three years ago an assassin attacked the synagogue in the city, on the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur. The right-wing extremist failed at the front door, but he shot a passer-by, Jana Lange, and a guest in the nearby Kiezdöner Kevin Black. As he fled, the attacker shot other people, seriously injuring them. The act remains an anti-Semitic and racist beacon to this day.

The assassination is to be commemorated at the synagogue on Sunday, Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) is arriving. At the same time, there should be a pause throughout the city at 12.03 p.m.: The Havag transport association wants to stop its vehicles, church bells are to ring, and a prayer service in the market church will follow.

But whether it will really be quiet is questionable. Because at the same time the Central German Marathon will take place in the city – which several civil society initiatives, the Evangelical Church District, the Volunteer Agency and the Mobile Victims’ Advice Center clearly criticize.

“Remembrance, sympathy, pausing and solidarity at the same time and a big, loud sporting event in the middle of the city do not go together,” says one common message. All the more so since the marathon will also lead through the market square, where thousands of people have laid flowers and candles in memory of the attack in recent years.

The city and the Jewish community reject criticism

The initiatives criticize the fact that no other date could be found for the marathon, which is “hardly understandable”. They have exchanged information about the commemoration day since the spring. In the last meeting, the city “surprisingly” announced the marathon plan. Now a waiver of music and commentary on the marathon in the commemoration period between 12 and 1 p.m. is “an expected minimum”.

The city defends itself. The marathon has been known for months, explains this when asked by the taz. It was agreed with the Jewish community that this time the commemoration would take place primarily at the synagogue. There will also be opportunities in other places to “commemorate appropriately” on the day.

In addition, the marathon organizers had promised to reduce their volume “strongly” during the minute of silence and the prayer in the market church and to clear the market square by late afternoon. Then in the evening an “individual commemoration and remembrance” would also be possible there.

Max Privorozky, head of the Jewish community, comes to the aid of the city. He has “no problem at all” with the marathon and doesn’t understand the excitement, he told the taz. “Life goes on. People do sports, get married, have children, go to the cinema, celebrate birthdays – also on memorial days.” The Jewish community will also celebrate the beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles on Sunday evening.

The Kiezdöner is closed – still?

Privorotsky appealed not to “politicize” the anniversary. There are enough opportunities outside of this day to criticize or to deal with the misanthropic ideology of the perpetrator. But Sunday must “really remain a day of remembrance for the murder victims and the seriously injured,” Privorozki demanded. On this day we want to remember and pray for them.

However, the initiatives, which are also in contact with those affected by the attack, see a fundamental problem: dealing with the commemoration is “a sign that the scope of the attack has still not sufficiently manifested itself in the city’s memory,” they criticize. The Halle against right-wing alliance calls for “an open offer to all relatives, survivors and those affected by the attack to have a say in shaping the anniversary, unlike this year”.

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In addition to the synagogue, those affected by the attack also want to attend a rally in front of the synagogue on Sunday afternoon Tekiez, the former Kiezdöner, meeting. Those affected by further right-wing extremist attacks in Germany have also been announced. One stands “in solidarity and solidarity with all those affected by right-wing violence,” it says in one call.

The Tekiez, which reopened as a breakfast café, had to close in May. After the attack, there were no guests, and the corona pandemic became an additional burden. However, the restaurant continues to exist as an event space and is currently hoping for state funding as a place of remembrance and remembrance.

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