Commemoration of the victims of the Volkmarsen rampage

District Administrator Dr. Reinhard Kubat comments:

"It is now exactly one year ago that 150 happy and celebrating people were deliberately attacked by a rampage driver at the Shrove Monday parade in Volkmarsen and some were seriously injured. Many of the victims are still suffering from the consequences of the act today and will perhaps carry this burden with them throughout their lives. It should have been a day of joy and exuberant celebration, the highlight of the carnival season, but it became a day of horror. No one would have expected something like this, not in our country. Terrorist attacks in London, Paris or Berlin, in other metropolises, at least that's what people were prepared for. But not here in tranquil and rural northern Hesse!

But it was precisely us who were hit. Nobody knows why, the perpetrator is still silent about the motives of his mad act. I was at the Shrove Monday procession in Volkmarsen a year ago. Not directly on the spot, where the unimaginable took place, but I rushed there immediately after the terrible news had spread. I still think of the horrified and stunned faces of the people who were eyewitnesses to the crime, including many children. I remember the helplessness, the despair, which then turned into anger and rage in many people.

But I also remember the rescue workers who were immediately on the scene, I remember the reinforcements who rushed in from the district, but also from neighboring districts, immediately after the event. This quick help certainly contributed to the fact that we did not have to mourn any fatalities. For that, at least, we are grateful. I saw how the helpers brought structure back into the chaos, how they were able to convey to the people that something like security and order had returned. That was very important in this situation and I think with respect and gratitude to all those who so selflessly put themselves at the service of their fellow human beings.

But how can we deal with what has happened, what lessons can we learn from it? First of all, that in an open and tolerant society there can be no 100 percent protection against such acts of terrorism. This makes the actions of the perpetrators even more reprehensible, who abuse freedom and liberty to bring pain and death.

We can resist to a certain extent, but we can also show the assassins that we stand together, that we will not let ourselves be intimidated and manipulated by them. That is exactly what we are doing with this commemoration. "We are more", that is the message we send out, we stand together and we will defend freedom and democracy against all attacks. We are an open, free, tolerant and pluralistic society and we will uphold and defend these values.

On this anniversary, my thoughts are with the victims who are still suffering from the traumatic experiences of Rose Monday 2020. I want them to know that they are not alone and that we will do everything we can to pave their way back to life. I thank those who provided first aid at the time and prevented the worst from happening. Likewise, to all those who still today care for the well-being of the victims and do not leave them alone. Above all, the families, the circles of friends and the professional assistants.

We demand an investigation of the crime and a punishment of the perpetrator(s) and we make it clear that we as a society are in solidarity and will not let ourselves be divided. The memorial event, in which all people can participate via the Internet, is intended to convey a message: Hate, delusion and intolerance have no chance with us!"