Worldwide shock at attack in Berlin
"This is a very black day," declared Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday. An attack on a Berlin Christmas market cost twelve people their lives, and dozens more were injured.
Horror and sorrow
Politicians and representatives of civil society have expressed their deepest sympathy for the families and friends of those killed and injured, and have wished those wounded in the attack a speedy recovery and the strength to carry on.
Numerous reactions reflected their shock and sorrow in the wake of the attack – but also their will to carry on living as freely and openly as they have to date. Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière called on the people, "We must not allow fear to shape our lives."
"This affects us all"
At a press conference on Tuesday Thomas de Maizière declared, "We must not allow anything to destroy our free and responsible lifestyle. If we give ground, then the enemies of freedom have won." He added, "We are mourning, but we will fight for our freedom."
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed his deepest sympathy to the families, relatives and friends of victims on Monday. "We do not know yet with certainty what really happened this evening. The security authorities are working flat out to gather evidence at the scene of the incident and to find the perpetrators," he posted on Twitter.
This crime strikes at the heart of Berlin, but not only Berlin, said Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas, "It affects us all. Our sympathy goes to the families and friends of the victims." He stressed, "We must do everything to investigate this appalling attack carefully and to get to the bottom of it."
"This is a sad evening for Berlin and for our country, an evening that has appalled me, as it has so many other people," said Federal President Joachim Gauck on Monday evening. "My thoughts are with the victims, their families, and with all those who fear for their family members or friends. The Federal President thanked the helpers and the security forces for all they had done.
On Tuesday Joachim Gauck said in Berlin, "The hatred demonstrated by the perpetrators will not lead us to hate. They will not divide us, as we live together. Our cohesion will not be weakened. Under attack it will only become stronger." In view of this horrifying crime, people in Germany are realising "We live in a strong community, in which the law prevails, and humanity."
Sympathy from around the world
From around the world there have been political reactions and expressions of sympathy following the events in Berlin. French President François Hollande said, "The French people grieve with the Germans in the face in this tragedy which affects all of Europe". Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni posted on Twitter his "Solidarity with Angela Merkel and the German people".
American President Barack Obama condemned the attack in Berlin "in the strongest possible terms" and added, "We stand should to shoulder with Berlin in the fight against all those who threaten our way of life and our society." The USA is ready and willing to provide assistance, also in investigating the attack, he said. In a telephone call with Chancellor Angela Merkel he expressed his deep sympathy. He asked the Chancellor to convey his condolences to the families of the victims and wished those injured a speedy recovery.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said, "My thoughts and those of the entire European Commission are with the families of all those killed and injured in Berlin. We are united with the victims in deep mourning." Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, posted on Twitter that he was "profoundly moved". "My thoughts are with the victims. Europe is ready and willing to help," he stated. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the attack as a "vile crime".
Turkey also sent a message to Berlin, condemning the attack and assuring Germany of its solidarity.