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National Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Terror: Confusion over the death toll – Politics

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The occasion is sad, a gesture against oblivion seemed overdue. This Thursday, the Federal Republic of Germany celebrates for the first time the “National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorist Violence”, which will be repeated every year on March 11. The Federal Government decided in February that the European Union has been commemorating the victims of terrorist attacks around the world since 2005.

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The President of the Federal Constitutional Court, Stephan Harbarth, and the Federal Commissioner for Victims, Pascal Kober, will deliver commemorative speeches at the Kronprinzenpalais in Berlin. March 11 is not a random date, Islamist terrorists killed 191 commuter train passengers in Madrid on March 11, 2004 with backpack bombs. More than 2,000 were injured.

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) also recalled the attacks in Germany in February, including those in Halle, Hanau and Breitscheidplatz in Berlin. “We want the victims to never be forgotten,” Faeser said. But questions remain.

The security authorities cannot name exactly the number of victims of terrorist violence in Germany. The full extent of the suffering inflicted on people by politically motivated fanatics is unknown. At the request of the Tagesspiegel, the Federal Criminal Police Office reported that a total of 35 deaths – 26 men and nine women – had been recorded throughout the country since 2001 in cases “with the criminal quality of terrorism.” There were also 239 injured.

In 2001, the police introduced the “Political Motivated Offenses (PMK)” registration system. The number of 35 deaths cited by the BKA comes from the central file of the case number PMK LAPOS (status report on the assessment of politically motivated crimes). That is where the State Criminal Police deliver their findings. They appear to be incomplete.

Ten people were killed in NSU attacks alone

A look at the death toll from far-right terrorism shows this. The BKA speaks of 18 people, 16 men, two women, who died in the terror of the right. Specific cases are not mentioned. What is known, however, is that in just four extreme cases, a total of 22 people lost their lives. These were the ten fatalities in the NSU bombings, the Kassel district president Walter Lübcke who was assassinated by a neo-Nazi, the two killed when an anti-Semite attacked the Halle synagogue and the nine people from immigrant families who were shot. by a racist in Hanau.

The BKA provides an indirect explanation for balance sheet deficits. Terrorist killings are said to be linked in particular to crimes under articles 129a and 129b of the Penal Code. Terrorism is defined there by the fact of the “formation of terrorist organizations” in Germany or abroad. According to this, terror only exists under criminal law in Germany if at least three people act.

Therefore, the cases of Lübcke, Halle and Hanau, in which only one perpetrator fired, are not terrorism. However, it remains questionable how the police arrived at the 18 deaths of right-wing terrorists since 2001, if only the NSU is classified as a terrorist organization.

Many German victims in terrorist attacks abroad

The other figures are obviously just an approximation. The BKA has reported 16 deaths from Islamist terrorism since 2001. In the case of another death, the specific political background of the perpetrator is unclear. There have been no deaths from leftist terrorism since 2001. It is also unclear how many Germans died abroad in terrorist attacks. According to a Tagesspiegel investigation, there have been more than 120 since reunification.

Apparently, victims of attacks abroad do not know who to turn to in Germany either. that the coordinating office NOAH (follow-up care, help for victims and relatives) of the Federal Government “after serious accidents, terrorist attacks and natural disasters abroad in which Germans are affected, offers acute and long-term psychosocial care”, often seems to be unknown.

For example, Ella Paravyan (25), who survived the Islamist terror attack in Nice on July 14, 2016 as a schoolgirl from Berlin, complains in a video that the federal government has a casualty officer who is only responsible for domestic terrorist attacks. “Accountability is like a multi-tiered system without understanding which level is responsible for what.”

“We feel like second-rate victims”

Shirley Zapf from Berlin, who lost her parents in a terrorist attack in Istanbul on January 12, 2016, says in a video: “Even if we live in the same country, maybe even in the same city: there are differences. Those affected who have become victims on German soil have a victim representative here. However, this does exist for people who have met abroad, that is, for us relatives, it does not exist. So we still don’t have a person who is our contact person, through whom we can exchange ideas, who can tell us what options are out there for us. Yeah, that still makes you lonely. We still do not feel supported by the federal government. Sometimes we feel like second-class victims.”

According to Astrid Passin, spokesperson for the victims of the surviving dependents and those affected by the Islamist attack on Berlin in December 2016, the powers of the Victims Commissioner of the Federal Government should be expanded. “Otherwise, many of those affected will always end up in a dead end.” (with Raissa Brunnauer)

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