Moving commemoration for those affected by the attack at the University of Heidelberg

With a moving service in St. Peter’s Church, the University of Heidelberg commemorated those affected by the attack on January 24, 2022. Students laid roses.

Representatives of the University of Heidelberg, rescue workers, students and Vice Prime Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) for the state government lit candles and placed them on a symbolic small Wailing Wall in the chancel of the university church. The university preacher at Heidelberg University, Helmut Schwier, began the memorial service with thoughtful words.

“We try to put into words what seems difficult and unbearable.”

Schwier said you pause on this day to get over the shock and find your way back to life. Pause and mourn, you do that together. Now we have to stand by each other. Schwier emphasized that experiences can only be overcome if you talk to each other. And process what happened in Neuenheimer Feld together.

Interior Minister Strobl: “The brutal act of violence fills us with deep sadness”

Baden-Württemberg Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) said the entire state government was mourning with the family. According to Strobl, the university must remain an open place. Our thoughts are with everyone who had to witness the terrible act up close.

“The brutal act of violence that happened exactly a week ago today still fills us with deep sadness and with questions about why, questions about the meaning. My sincere condolences go to the bereaved family.”

University rector Eitel: “We stand together”

The university rector, Bernhard Eitel, said that questions of understanding and guilt, of fear and worry now arose. The questions about a meaningless event are present.

“An attack from within us is also an attack on our scientific way of life.”

Everyone is affected and affected, as an academic community. Eitel warned that it could have affected any other course, anyone, any other. But you don’t retreat into a supposed snail shell. Because you are embedded in an international community. You are not alone, not in the city, not in the country, not in this world.

Mayor of Würzner: “The whole of Heidelberg stands by”

Eckart Würzner (non-party), the mayor of the city of Heidelberg, said people mourn and stick together. One should be sure that no one will be left alone with the grief. The whole of Heidelberg stands by the side of those affected. It is a free, diverse city and will remain so.

Science Minister Theresia Bauer (Greens) and Baden-Württemberg Finance Minister and Heidelberg Danyal Bayaz (Greens) were among many other guests in St. Peter’s Church.

Bishop Bundschuh: “Rediscover basic trust”

The Regional Bishop of the Evangelical Church in Baden, Jochen Cornelius-Bundschuh, said that suddenly the ease with which people met one another seemed to be in question. One is shocked at how strong anti-life forces are. We are looking for ways to regain basic trust. You are not alone, that became apparent immediately after the fact.

“We are not alone in terror and fear. God’s power is with us. It strengthens us. God does not downplay fear, God supports it. God’s love strengthens and unites us.”

People stand in front of the main entrance of the new university for the minute of silence.

picture alliance/dpa | Uwe Anspach

Students lay roses

Peter Abelmann (student of the University of Heidelberg) said for the student body of the University of Heidelberg that this act affects everyone. It doesn’t just hit the core of student life. You have to endure the deed and not suppress anything. You have to remember that you are there for each other. At the end of the service, students and guests at the commemoration symbolically laid down white roses.

Commemoration for those affected

The celebration was intended to bring consolation, and it was initiated by the students and employees of the university. You had expressly requested the commemoration event with 250 people in the Peterskirche in Heidelberg. After the service, many people hugged each other and cried. In addition to dealing with the alleged killing spree, the commemoration on Monday should also be a sign to look ahead.

Student shot around – motive still unknown

On Monday, January 24, 2022, an 18-year-old student shot several times at other students in a Heidelberg lecture hall on the campus in Neuenheimer Feld. A 23-year-old student from the southern Palatinate died as a result of a shot in the head. She will be buried in her home country on Monday. Three other people were injured. After the crime, the 18-year-old killed himself.

The perpetrator, who, like the victim, was studying biology in his first semester, bought three long guns in Austria about a week before the crime, police and prosecutors said. The 18-year-old bought the two weapons used in the crime from an arms dealer and the third from a private individual. The motive for the attack is still unclear, according to investigators.

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