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One year after the terrorist attack

Germany remembers the victims of the Breitscheidplatz

"Today is a day of mourning, but it is also a day of the will to improve what has not worked well," declared the Chancellor on Tuesday at the memorial service to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attack on Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz.

The official unveiling of the memorial at Berlin's Breitscheidplatz The golden line in the asphalt of the Breitscheidplatz is a memorial to the victims of the attack Photo: Reuters/Fabrizio Bensch

The day before, she met with the families of victims and those who survived the attack.

"We have mourned today with the families of victims, and we have officially unveiled the memorial with them and with those injured in the attack," said Chancellor Angela Merkel following the service. She also mentioned her meeting on Monday at the Federal Chancellery with those directly affected by the attack. The discussion, she reported was "very frank and very unsparing" and had shown her the weaknesses the state had demonstrated in this situation.

Doing everything possible to ensure security

"And for me, and for the entire German government, that means working to make sure that the things that did not work well work better in future. It means that we will do everything possible not only to ensure security but also to give those whose lives have been destroyed or adversely affected a chance to find their feet again as far as possible," the Chancellor reaffirmed.

To mark the first anniversary of the attack which cost twelve people their lives on 19 December 2016, the Evangelical Church of Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia, the Senate of Berlin and the Berlin Parliament organised a joint memorial service in Berlin along with the German government.

Alongside Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and numerous representatives of the realms of politics, the churches and civil society, Chancellor Angela Merkel, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Federal Minister for Family Affairs Katarina Barley attended the memorial service. Families of the twelve victims of the attack, and people injured in the attack with their families were also present, as were police officers and ambulance crews who helped at the scene.

The Islamist terrorist attack on the Christmas market at Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz on 19 December 2016 cost twelve people their lives. More than 70 people were injured, some severely. This Islamist motivated crime met with shock and dismay around the world. The attacker, Anis Amri fled but was shot four days later by the Italian police during a routine control near Milan.

A memorial for victims of terrorism

The Chancellor firstly attended the ceremony to unveil the memorial to the victims of the terrorist attack. The memorial at Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz is a place of remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attack. A golden line runs down the steps from the foundations of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Gedächtniskirche) on to the actual square. The names of the victims are engraved along the line.

Later, the Chancellor attended the interfaith memorial service in the Gedächtniskirche. The Bishop of the German Evangelical Church of Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia, Markus Dröge and the Catholic Archbishop of Berlin Heiner Koch had issued the invitation jointly.

"We will not leave you alone with everything "

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier spoke during the service. He too remembered the victims of the attack. "We mourn for twelve people from Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Ukraine, Israel and Italy, women and men who lived and worked in Berlin or who were here to visit the city."

The head of state addressed the families of the victims and the survivors of the attack. "I would like to assure you that we will not leave you alone with everything." With a view to reappraising the terrorist attack, Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, "First of all we must openly state and recognise where avoidable errors were made."

Chancellor met with families

On Monday (18 December), Chancellor Angela Merkel met at the Federal Chancellery with the families of victims and with survivors of the terrorist attack. After the publication of the report of Kurt Beck, the government’s official commissioner for the victims of the attack and their families, the Chancellor wanted to discuss with the people directly affected how "the state has helped during this year or how it was unable to help," explained government spokesperson Steffen Seibert on Monday at the government press conference, before the meeting took place.

Last Tuesday (12 December) the Chancellor paid a visit to Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz in order to talk to stall-holders and visitors at the Christmas market. She made the most of the opportunity to talk to police offers too, who are responsible for security at the Breitscheidplatz.

Dec 19, 2017