It is an inconceivable act, followed by deep grief. Shocked and rigid – this is how people stand in front of flowers on platform 7 at Frankfurt’s main train station, where a little boy was pushed in front of an ICE train on Monday.
The day after, almost everything is as usual at Frankfurt’s main train station. People running wildly or rushing to the platform to catch their train. Only in front of platform 7, a crowd of people forms again and again on Tuesday, who remain frozen in place. They look at a rectangular area about five by two meters, cordoned off with black and yellow tape, lined with hundreds of bouquets of flowers, plush teddy bears, painted pictures and red cemetery candles. Several TV cameras are on the scene.
At this track 7 had on Monday morning around 9.50 o’clock a man pushed a mother and her eight-year-old boy in front of an arriving ICE on the track. According to police, the 40-year-old mother was able to save herself in the last second, the boy was hit by the train and killed. A 40-year-old Eritrean was arrested as a suspect in the crime. The man apparently did not know his victims. About the motives was not yet known on Tuesday afternoon.
Frankfurt "stiff with shock
The inconceivably cruel act leaves no one cold. "The whole city, the summer-casual Frankfurt is frozen, as I have not yet experienced," Frankfurt’s Catholic city dean Johannes zu Eltz told this site on Tuesday.EN. The busy Main metropolis is "stiff with shock, disgust and pity, especially for the mother who saw her child die next to her".
In the sea of flowers, a yellow note is pinned to a teddy bear, with just one word written on it: "Why?" There is also a sealed "letter to the boy’s mom". And then there is a colorful picture, with a rainbow and a dripping heart: "May the angels be with you. Have a good trip over the rainbow", it says there. The picture is painted "by Marlon, 8 years old", a boy as old as the victim of the attack.
Not everyone who passes by stops. Some hurry with a straight face and their wheeled suitcases to platform 6, where trains are running as usual, as on all the other tracks. That’s also true of the now infamous Track 7, where just for 13.10 o’clock the departure of the ICE 722 to Dusseldorf is indicated and people are already standing close to the platform edge.
Not everyone passing by knows what happened here on Monday morning. "A child died there yesterday," is explained to a young woman who inquires. "Oh no! Oh no!", she exclaims.
Others come deliberately to this place. Ruben (37) from near Frankfurt had a job interview with the railroad at the main station on Monday. He had to wait at first because there was suddenly an "emergency meeting," he says. Then, he said, he heard, "The boy is dead." Now he had come once again to the station to be able to process the event better. He stands quietly in front of the flowers for minutes at a distance of three meters, introspective. As did hundreds of people that afternoon. Remarkably few take cell phone photos of the mourning site. Enduring brutal reality apparently triumphs over escaping into the digital for a short time.
The consternation of the people is unbelievably great, says also the head of the station mission, Carsten Baumann. He is one of the speakers at the ecumenical service announced for Tuesday evening on the station forecourt, as is Pastor Jutta Jekel from the Protestant Hope Church in Frankfurt.
No to xenophobic agitation
Jekel told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) that she would use the biblical Psalm 22 to try to "express the horror of this horrible act and the horrible experience that the relatives, the witnesses of the act and employees of the railroad have had". Psalm 22 begins with the words "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"Jekel also wants to make clear that the act, which was presumably committed by a foreigner, should not be misused for xenophobic agitation.
Zu Eltz also says, "It is imperative that we make sure that this act does not lead to a general revulsion against migrants." He said the first thing he did was call the leaders of the Catholic-Eritrean community and invite them to the funeral service at the train station. "If they are afraid, I will hold their hand and stand with them," ared the clergyman.