Jewish student aid owner of kebab shop hits in Synagogue attack

Berlin – When a heavily armed, far-right extremist tried to bring a storm to a synagogue in East Germany a year ago, the failed attack revived the worst anti-Jewish fears. Thanks to clumsy explosives and a closed door, the narrowly inside congregation survived a massacre.

The trembling gunman then trained his weapons at other bases of his hatred in the town of Halle, killing a youth to have lunch at a nearby kebab shop, where he speculated that he would find Muslims.

Since then, the kebab shop and the Turkish brothers who own it have fallen on hard times. But their plight recently attracted the attention of many young Jews who had also survived the October 9 attack, and decided to try to help launch a GoFundMe campaign that immediately exceeded their expectations. .

“We wanted to do something that would” draw attention to the owners’ struggles, “but also provide solid financial support,” said Reuben Gerzyko, vice president of the Jewish Students Association in Germany, which opened the drive last week.

“We were surprised by the positive response,” Mr. Gerczikow said. “We never even thought in the dream that we could raise so quickly.” He passed his goal of collecting 5,000 Euros, or $ 5,940 within days, and decided to extend the expedition to Yom Kippur, which falls on 28 September this year.

That display of solidarity provides a hopeful response to the trend of hatred crimes being created in Germany, even as a right-wing political fringe tries its best to revive old demons. The fund-raiser quietly demonstrated that many Germans still reward the country’s wide diversity and generosity postwar ethos that have been part of Germany’s widespread atonement for Nazi crimes of the last century.

This week Chancellor Angela Merkel sparked anti-Semitism in Germany, warning in a speech to the Central Council of Jews that it is a reality “that many Jews do not feel safe and respected in our country.”

“Racism and anti-Semitism never faded, but for some time now they have become more visible and uninhabited,” the Chancellor said.

In particular, she cited the attack in Halle – the most serious of 2,032 anti-Semitic crimes recorded in Germany last year – as “how quickly words can become deeds.”

The man arrested in the attack, 28-year-old Stephen Balit, is now facing trial and has spoken openly in court about hating not only Jews but also Muslims and other foreigners and a far-fetched one for two. The extremist attack is affected by mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 51 people.

He said he regrets that the two men he shot were a 40-year-old woman outside the synagogue and a 20-year-old man in a kebab shop, who were white Germans, not members of an ethnic minority. He also shot and injured two other people.

With their funding drive, organizers hope to raise awareness of the danger that white supremacists pose to all minorities, Mr. Gerczikow said.

“We, the Jewish Students Association in Germany believe in a multicultural society in this country,” he wrote on the campaign page. “We believe in a peaceful coexistence regardless of religion, nationality or skin color. We believe in solidarity. “

The recent attack against minorities in Germany was an attack by Halle that left officials worried as they grappled severely with far-flung networks and sympathies in Germany called new energy by more esoteric movements such as Qion Was given

Less than a year later, in addition to the attack in Halle, far-right extremists also killed a politician in the central city of Kassel and shot dead nine people of immigrant origin in the western city of Hanau.

A month after Halle’s attack, the original owner of the kebab shop gave it to Ismat and Rifat Tekin, who worked for them. In a public function he described it as a gesture of support from the men who were working at the shop on the day of the attack. The event attracted widespread support from the community and beyond, with regional politicians vowing that they would not allow the place to be founding.

“It is very important that the kebab shop reopens, as it is part of Halle,” Saxeni Enamel State Governor Rainer Hasseloff said upon reopening. “It is part of cultural identity.”

But months have been marked by grief and anguish for the brothers and their businesses as the stigma of the attack lingers on the store.

“Since this happened, everything is difficult and these difficulties make it even more difficult for us to process that day,” Isam Tekin, a Turkish citizen living in Germany for 12 years, said in an interview before Radio Corex in July. Trial started in “It’s not something simple that we can just say, ‘It’s over.”

Then, in March, measures to slow the spread of coronaviruses forced residents to stay largely at home and reduce all restaurants to offer only pickup or delivery service, allowing the brothers to close their doors for weeks Was forced to do. After their reopening, many customers stayed away.

Running the business also left very little time to process the trauma of the attack. In particular, Rifat Tekin, who witnessed the fatal shooting inside the store, has suffered psychologically, said Onur Ozta, a lawyer who is representing Ismet Tekin in court.

Ismet desperately wanted to participate in the trial as a co-plaintiff, but because he was outside the store when the gunman entered, the court initially recognized him as the victim of the attack. On July 21, just a few days before the trial began, the court overturned the verdict from which it could participate. He said “Mr. Ojata” has not missed a session.

“It is very important for them to be there every day,” said Mr. Ojata. “He wants to understand who the attacker is and how he can do something like that.”

Mr. Ballet has been charged with two counts of murder and 68 counts of murder and other offenses. If convicted of murder, he faces life in prison.

Other co-plaintiffs, some of whom belong to the Jewish Students’ Union, helped provide assistance to the brothers before they started the funding campaign, Mr. Ojata said. “They are a very tight-knit group. “

Rabbi Jeremy Borowitz, Who was in the synagogue at the time of the attack and is also a co-plaintiff, appealed to his friends on Twitter to support the kebab shop, calling Ismet Tekin “An incredibly civilized man in the world went crazy.”

Rabbi Borowitz said in an interview, “For me, it was important to support this campaign, because as a survivor of the Halle attack, I am aware of the severe emotional stress of this experience.”

“I can’t imagine what it must be like to go back to that shop every day,” he said.