Chancellor Scholz (from left), Mayor Tschentscher and Prime Minister Günther attended the funeral service
Photo: POOL / REUTERS
Eleven days after the knife attack on a regional train between Kiel and Hamburg, more than 300 friends, helpers, church representatives and politicians mourned the victims at an ecumenical service in Neumünster.
A 33-year-old is said to have killed two young people on January 25 and injured five others, some of them critically.
In Neumünster, the two dead, a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old man, attended vocational school.
They recently became a couple.
The alleged perpetrator Ibrahim A., a Palestinian who has made multiple criminal appearances, is in custody after the crime on the train near Brokstedt in the Steinburg district.
A few days before the knife attack, he had been released from pre-trial detention, which he had served in Hamburg for another crime.
The service to which the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church had invited took place on Sunday afternoon in the Vicelin Church, just a few minutes' walk from the prison in Neumünster.
Among the guests were Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Schleswig-Holstein's Prime Minister Daniel Günther (CDU), Hamburg's Mayor Peter Tschentscher (SPD).
"What happened at Brokstedt overwhelms and exceeds our imagination," said Archbishop Stefan Hesse of Hamburg.
'A service like this undoes nothing.
The souls of many people will be sore for a long time to come." The great sympathy is overwhelming and encouraging, said Hesse.
Altar servers bring cross
Relief workers came, acquaintances and friends of the victims, railway workers, and CEO Richard Lutz.
Also there was a young man who, according to his own statements, resisted the attacker on the train, whereby the perpetrator lost the knife.
The 17-year-old who was killed was an altar boy in Elmshorn.
Their small cross, which she often carried with her to church, was brought by other altar boys from there to Neumünster and tied to a large cross there.
"A terrible thing happened, a senseless act of violence on a train that claimed many victims," said Gothart Magaard, Bishop of the Evangelical Church in Schleswig and Holstein.
People across the country were shocked.
Shura chairman speaks prayer for peace
The regional bishop of the North Church, Kristina Kühnbaum-Schmidt, also prayed for the victims and their relatives during the memorial service.
The people are "frightened and stunned, full of pain", also searching, doubting and questioning.
The deputy state chairwoman, Şeyda Sarıçam, spoke a prayer for peace on behalf of the Muslim religious community Schura.
According to the German Press Agency, a woman and a man briefly disrupted the service twice by holding out accusatory statements to top politicians and other guests.
Protest posters could be seen in front of the church.
Criticism of processing
The processing of the crime is accompanied by massive criticism of the communication between authorities in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia, where the alleged perpetrator lived for years after his first arrival in 2014, and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees.
There are differing statements from those involved regarding the flow of information between the Hamburg judicial authority and the immigration authority in Kiel, where the man lived for a time.
The debate about political consequences - for example more consistent deportation of repeat offenders - is in full swing.
In Neumünster, on the other hand, silence dominates this Sunday.