SIX MARKET PHOTOS – THE 2016 BERLIN ATTACK SITE and MEMORIALS
PHOTO GALLERY > BREITSCHEIDPLATZ MEMORIAL (BERLIN)
The 2016 Christmas season in Germany and Berlin was far from normal. On Monday, 19 December 2016 at 8:02 p.m. Berlin time, a dispicable act of terrorism targeted a key element of the German Christmas celebration: Christmas markets. Twelve people died, including a Polish truck driver, and 56 more were injured when a Tunisian man deliberately drove a hijacked 32-ton semi-trailer onto the square and into the Christmas market on Breitscheidplatz in the heart of western Berlin, in what is known as City West.
The most significant landmark on Breitscheid Square is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Gedächtniskirche), a semi-ruin from World War II that was intentionally left standing as a warning against war. The original Protestant church was built in the 1890s. A new, smaller, octagonal church, designed by architect Egon Eiermann, was completed in 1963, along with the preservation of the damaged original church spire. A new hexagonal shaped 75-feet-high tower was also part of the project.
The so-called Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility for the attack, and released a video of Anis Amri pledging allegiance to the terror group’s leader. Hours before his attack, in the process of taking over the truck, Amri had shot and killed the Polish driver, Łukasz Robert Urban. An automatic braking system in the truck is believed to have prevented a worse catastrophe, halting the truck after it had struck several Christmas market stalls, but before it could inflict more damage. As a result, the truck only traveled a distance of about 160 feet through the market before coming to a stop.
After a brief mourning period, the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market reopened on Thursday, 21 December, with new concrete barriers installed along its perimeter. The attack site soon became a place of public mourning and commemoration for Berliners and visitors from all over the world.
Click on any photo for a larger view.
Breitscheidplatz Photo 1
Breitscheidplatz Photo 2
Breitscheidplatz Photo 3
Breitscheidplatz Photo 4
Breitscheidplatz Photo 5
Breitscheidplatz Photo 6
Our thanks to Berlin resident Andrea Goldmann for allowing us to share her photos on this page.
Also see our feature Christmas Customs in Austria, Germany and Switzerland and our Berlin City Guide.
More Photos | German Way Photo Gallery
- Read more about Christmas Customs in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
- See more Berlin Christmas photos: Christmas in Berlin – Part 1
- More photographs: Photo Gallery.
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AT THE GERMAN WAY
- Christmas from A to Z – German Christmas traditions and terms
- Christmas Markets in Germany and Europe – An overview of the top Weihnachtsmärkte in Germany, Austria and Switzerland
- German Christmas Carols – Lyrics in German and English
- Christmas in the USA and Germany – A comparison chart
- Barbarazweig – The legend and the Christmas custom
- Epiphany and the Sternsinger – January 6 in the Germanic Christmas tradition
- Holidays and Celebrations in Austria, Germany and Switzerland
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