The victims of the racist terrorist attack three years ago were remembered in Hanau on Sunday. At noon, around 500 representatives from politics, civil society and religious communities gathered at the market square for a memorial service. Federal Minister of the Interior, Nancy Faeser (SPD), the Chairwoman of the Evangelical Church in Germany, Annette Kurschus, and Hesse’s Prime Minister Boris Rhein (CDU) took part in the event.
Hanau’s mayor, Claus Kaminsky (SPD), called on people to resist hatred, racism and incitement and to stand up for a militant democracy. He mentioned the names of the victims. He said the perpetrator had arrogated to himself the right to decide on the life and death of others. “What insane racism,” the Lord Mayor exclaimed. “That is why we say to all racists, to all anti-democrats, indeed to all those who poison our country with their slogans: We are more! And we are stronger than your hatred!”
Kaminsky also defended himself against voices calling for an end to commemoration. In addition to remembering those murdered, 19 February must be “a permanent day of reflection, of examination, of self-assurance”. In addition, work must continue to uncover the background to the crime, the city leader demanded.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also remembered the dead. “We can only strengthen cohesion in our society by making the memory of the victims visible,” Scholz wrote on Twitter.
On Friday, Federal Interior Minister Faeser had pointed to the continuing danger from the extreme right. “Right-wing extremism continues to be the greatest extremist threat to our democracy,” Faeser said in Berlin. People experience right-wing extremist agitation and violence, hostility and exclusion on a daily basis and a climate of contempt for humanity continues to be stirred up in many dark corners of the internet, she added. “That is why combating right-wing extremism continues to be a special priority for us as the federal government and for the security authorities.”
Meanwhile, the Federal Government Commissioner for Victims, Pascal Kober (FDP), stated that the exact clarification of the circumstances of the attack in Hanau, “also beyond what is necessary under criminal law”, is of great importance for many of those affected in order to be able to process their grief.
On 19 February 2020, a 43-year-old German had shot nine immigrant people and injured others in Hanau. He then shot his mother and took his own life.