„Solidarity was lacking“: More victims of the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße.
Today more victims of the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße testified as witnesses.
One thing that was common to all their testimonies was that they are still suffering immensely from the psychological damage inflicted on them. To give only one example, the owner of a shop opposite the barber shop, who was comparatively lucky to be hit by “only” three nails as more were absorbed by a parked car, stated: “Today, when I sit on the Keupstraße and see a bicyclist passing through, I my first thought is that it could happen again.”
The fate of a woman from the shop next to the barber shop again shows that the German authorities did not treat the people from the Keupstraße like “normal” victims: Immediately after the explosion, she had seen one the severely injured young men, had doused the flames still burning around his legs, had lost consciousness shortly thereafter – in other words, she was obviously deeply traumatized. The normal cause of action in case of any larger accident, let alone a large-scale crime, would be to immediately provide such victims with a trauma therapy. Not in the case of this witness: she did start psychotherapy, but was told after a few sessions that further sessions would not be covered. Only after the self-uncovering of the NSU in 2011, she was aided in finding a therapist able to deal with her case – whom she is still seeing as the psychological injuries are still present today.
Another customer of the barber shop, who luckily only suffered minor injuries to his hearing, summarized his feelings thus: “After 2011, my opinion has changed, I would say: solidarity was lacking.” He too was asked by the police what he knew of the red light district milieu, of the PKK, whether he was in contact with them, his DNA and fingerprints were taken – all this, it should be stressed, after the police already had photos showing the perpetrators to be of Western/Central European origin.
A similar fate befell the three men who in the police file are often referred to as customers from the “bouncer scene” – three young family men then in their early Thirties and working in such “suspicious” jobs as electricians and forklift operator. After their wounds had been cared for in the hospital, they too were questioned for several hours by the police and asked what they knew about the red light district milieu, drugs, the PKK. They too were asked to give their fingerprints and DNA samples. It was very touching to listen to those three men, all young and physically strong, tell in a rather open and emotional manner about the psychological injuries they are still suffering from today – sleep disorders, nightmares, fear of large crowds of people etc.
The final witness was the barber who was severely injured in the attack and who is the brother of the barber shop’s owner. He had seen the perpetrator placing the bicycle and had been able to describe him to the police quite well. He had described him as light-skinned and blonde – which did not keep the Cologne police from treating the victim, his family and the other people of Turkish origin in the Keupstraße as suspects, from tailing the victim over a period of several weeks in 2006 (!). He also reported on the severe economic damage suffered by the barber shop, but also by the other shop and restaurant owners in the Keupstraße: due to the many suspicions voiced by the police and the media, the number of people visiting the Keupstraße and the shops in the street declined drastically.
Thus the trial day showed once more that the bombers luckily did not realize their main goal of killing as many people as possible – but that they fully achieved their goal of bringing as much pain as suffering as possible to the Keupstraße. It was therefore a great relief to see that the people from the Keupstraße have not lost their will to fight – as shown in the very powerful rally and demonstration yesterday, but also in the answer of one of the witnesses – who described himself as a “Turkish-German Cologne-bred (“Kölscher” in the regional dialect) boy” – to the question whether he had thought of leaving Cologne and Germany: “No, why should I? I live in Cologne, that’s my home town, Germany is my home country. Why should I leave?”