We are here today because we have lived through an attack that was directed against a perceived “other” – against Jews, against women, migrants, Muslims, People of Color and anyone else who did not fit into a worldview which is dominated by hate.

This event. This event broke something within each and everyone of us – but not just us; also within our families and friends, our communities as well as our society at large.

We know with our very bones, with our very essence that hatred is NOT something that is far from us; that it is NOT out of reach.

No. It can affect all of us – if we do not strengthen and safeguard minorities and the most vulnerable of our society.

What broke that day, on October 9th 2019, are not just individual destinies – but our society. It is our society that cracked wide open.


Do not be mistaken – this is not the first time that this has happened. And with great sorrow, I have to say it also wasn’t the last time either. Rather, the tragedy of Halle stands in a long chain of deadly events which have been fueled by hatred. I want to remind us all that this is not an exceptional case, but rather an example of the continuity that has been – and still is –  overshadowing this country:  

From Amadeu António Kiowa who was among the first to lose his life in the newly reunified Germany in 1990 due to a group of young neo-Nazis feeling like “beating up strangers”, to the NSU-terror attacks in the early 2000s, to the  Munich Shopping Mall Attack in 2016, to the murder of the politician Walter Lübcke in 2019 to the Hanau Shooting earlier this year.




THIS. HAS. TO. STOP. Within less than 8 months, 3 heinous attacks took place, with the NSU 2.0 maybe another one on its way – all driven by a white supremacist worldview.

And with every claim that the attack at hand was committed by sole actors, who are acting independently and are detached from society, by declaring that an attack was executed by a “lone wolf”, by someone struggling with life and finding no other way than committing atrocious acts of violence against the perceived “other” those cracks grow bigger & bigger.

They are growing bigger & bigger, because we as society are turning a blind eye at what led up to these events. The failures of our educational system, welfare offices, of law enforcement, of us as society.

Thus we have to grapple with the question:

How could this event happen? How was this event even possible?

And as we are looking to pursue justice, we are staring into an abyss – which is dark and runs deep. An abyss that is filled with hate and spite towards any form or expression of diversity.

It is scary. And  it is frightening to look into the face of darkness.

BUT – and I do not say that with ease – we do have a choice:

We can give in to this reign of fear & terror, let it dictate our lives and let it cause further divides & frictions – among us who are affected, our communities, but also within German society.


We can make a step out of this place of darkness.

We can step out of this place of darkness and shed light and pursue a better future. We can shed light on the failings of our institutions, our government representatives, us as society as well as each and every one of us individually. Shed light on the prejudice and on the stigma.

I would like this to be an upheaval for the better. For a more just and inclusive society.

I do not want to see another Kassel. 

I do not want to see another Halle. 

I do not want to see another Hanau. 


However, the path leading up to this change is – and will be – painful. It will be challenging. We will face obstacles along the way, by those who try to discourage us. Those who tell us that we don’t have any space here, those who tell us that we do not belong here and who attribute all failures in their lives to anyone else but themselves.

Jewish tradition has a saying “the entire world is (like) a narrow bridge, but the main thing is to have no fear at all.”

Now, how do you get to this place of having no fear? It is my firm belief that it is a goal we have to aspire and that we cannot get there without a sense of unity. In a world in which more and more clefts open up, we have to build bridges. We have to reach out.

This is why I am here today: I am reaching out to you. I am reaching out to you, the fellow affected. I acknowledge and see your pain. Your anger and frustration of your voices not being heard. I am here today, because I do hear you. And I know we just have a chance for a better future if we give space for one another and stand together. 

I want to let you know: I HAVE YOUR BACK. 

To my fellow citizens – I am reaching out to you, because this fight doesn’t just involve minorities. No – it affects all of us and all of you. History has taught us the painful lesson of what happens if we just stand idly by. 

As someone, who has lost family at the hands of this nation and who left this country herself – I am here today to tell you that I do not want to give up this place. 

This is exactly what the assailant and likeminded want – that we give in, that we live in terror and fear. That we leave. 

But we are not going to give in. We are here to stay and to make our voices heard. We are here to stay, to stand up and to work towards a more just and inclusive society. 

And I am calling on you to join us in this pursuit.