Press Statement of Federal Chancellor Merkel

Chancellor Merkel:  Ladies and gentlemen, this is an extremely sad day for our country. The deep pain that people in Hanau feel today after the violent death of so many fellow citizens weighs heavy on my heart and on the hearts of people throughout Germany.

In saying this, I am thinking above all about the families and friends of those who were murdered. None of us can truly sense how much sorrow the perpetrator has brought upon them. I mourn with them and convey my deepest sympathy. I hope the countless messages of condolence from people in Germany and beyond will give them at least some strength.

I am also thinking of those who have been injured and hope that not only their bodily injuries, but also the psychological ones they sustained from this horrible experience, will heal.

Since early this morning, I have been briefed on the state of investigations in Hanau. I have spoken with Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, with Justice Minister Lambrecht, with Minister-President Bouffier of Land Hesse, and with Hanau’s Mayor Kaminsky. I will continue receiving updates on the investigation and the condition of the injured – also during the European Council meeting in Brussels. Moreover, I have had an opportunity to speak with the Federal President about this appalling act.

It is still too early to draw any conclusions. We are making every possible effort to understand exactly what lies behind these horrible murders. Much, however, points to the perpetrator having had an extremist right-wing, racist mindset, to this being an act of hatred against people with a different origin, a different faith or a different appearance.

Racism is a poison. Hatred is a poison. This poison is in our society, and it has already caused far too many heinous crimes – from those perpetrated by the NSU to the murder of Walter Lübcke to the murders in Halle.

The Federal Government and all state institutions embody the rights and dignity of each and every person in our country. We do not distinguish between citizens of different origins or religions.

We most strongly and determinedly take a stand against all those who attempt to cause division in Germany.

Thank you.