Two years after a far-right terror attack struck the German town of Hanau, migrant communities are still living in fear and anxiety, eyewitnesses from the night of the deadly attack told Anadolu Agency.
Ozkan Rutbil, who saw racist extremist Tobias Rathjen shooting at people he targeted as foreign-looking on the night of Feb. 19, said they are still struggling to cope with the trauma of this attack.
“Nothing will be the same. We live in fear for our lives, we’re seen as foreigners in this country,” he said.
“The attack has opened a deep wound. Nothing can heal this,” he added.
On Feb. 19, 2020, the 43-year-old assailant attacked two cafes in Hanau, killing nine young people and injuring five others. All the victims had migrant backgrounds.
Before the attack, the far-right extremist posted videos on the internet detailing his xenophobic views, and afterwards, he killed both his mother and himself.
Kadir Kose, who owns a small shop in Hanau and witnessed the attack on that night, said more and more people in the local Turkish community are feeling insecure, due to the rise of racism and far-right movements in the country.
“Things are getting worse. Hatred of foreigners is fueled by politicians and the media. They’re trying to shift the blame for economic problems and unemployment onto foreigners,” he said.
Henri Samkiran, the coach of an amateur football club in Hanau, said he knew almost all the victims in person, and will never forget the night of the attack, how people ran for their lives, and how many others tried to help those wounded.
“One of our friends tried to stop the assailant, and called the police so many times while driving behind his car, but no one picked up. The assailant later killed six more people, including our friend who tried to stop him,” he recounted.
“Two years have passed since the attack, but nothing has improved,” he said, and expressed his worry about growing racism and far-right violence.
“Feb. 19, 2020, was one of the worst days of our life, we will never forget our friends, their memory will live with us forever,” he said.