“Now more than ever” – the bomb in the Probsteigasse and a victim who won’t back down
Today saw the testimony of the young woman who had been severely injured by a bomb placed in a grocery shop in the Probsteigasse in Cologne. A police officer who had seen her in the hospital related, visibly still deeply moved, that he felt unable to put into words what she had looked like at the point, that he had seen a lot of suffering in his professional life as a police detective but that this case had topped all that.
The young woman was put into an artificial coma and was on artificial respiration for weeks. Her eardrums were damaged, several further operations were necessary to remove wooden splinters that the explosion had driven into her face. She still carries the scars in her face today.
The witness left a lasting impression – a very level-headed, straightforward woman who after recovering from her wounds finished her schooling, began studying medicine and qualified as a physician. In very clear words and with great precision, she described what had happened, how she had been injured, but also what she had noticed about the police work both before and after the NSU had uncovered itself. She described that she had been fully conscious during her transport to the hospital and thus had witnesses the explosion as such, but had also quickly realized the full extent of her injuries.
It was only a significant time later that she became aware of the police investigation. The police had excluded a political motivation. The family had thought about Nazis as possible suspects, but the police theory had been that this had been a single perpetrator without an apparent motive. Back then, the witness related, her family had been naïve and had not consulted a lawyer and thus not had access to the case files. She was quite shocked at what those case files not revealed about the police work.
After the NSU had uncovered itself, she was interviewed by police again and stated that she feared reprisals by Nazis – all the police officers answered was that there was “no basis” for such fears. After that statement, she lost all trust and consulted a lawyer.
The witness was quite shocked because the crime had shown her “that there are people out there who will go after you based on where you come from – despite the fact that we all have an academic background – to see what they are willing to do for the ‘preservation of the German nation’”
Asked whether she had thought about leaving Germany, she answered: „When the NSU video was made public and it became clear that they had attacked me because of my national background, the first question I asked myself was ‘what am I still doing here?’ After all, I am a poster child for integration, and if even people like myself are attacked in this way… On the other hand, that would have been exactly what they wanted, and so I thought, ‘now more than ever’ and decided to stay.”