Memorial outside of Halle synagogue, October 9th 2020
Memorial outside of Halle synagogue, October 9th 2020Reuters

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz along with other federal politicians commemorated the third anniversary of the deadly attack in Halle outside a synagogue during Yom Kippur prayers.

“This anniversary reminds us never to look away. We commemorate the victims and reaffirm our determination to fight right-wing extremism in all forms,” Scholz said.

After failing to storm the synagogue in Halle on October 9, 2019, Stephan Balliet, 28, shot dead a female passerby and a man at a kebab shop.

A bolted door at the synagogue in the eastern city of Halle, with 52 worshippers inside marking Yom Kippur, was the only thing that prevented the heavily armed attacker from carrying out a planned bloodbath.

During his five-month trial, Balliet denied the Holocaust in open court – a crime in Germany – and expressed no remorse to those targeted, many of whom were co-plaintiffs in the case.

He was convicted of two counts of murder and multiple counts of attempted murder and given a life sentence in a case that deeply rattled the country and fuelled fears about rising right-wing extremism and anti-Jewish violence, 75 years after the end of the Nazi era.

“Nothing can undo what happened, but we are learning our lessons,” Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said. “We want Jews in Germany to be able to live safely and without fear and we protect them.”

Vice President of the Bundestag Katrin Göring-Eckardt said in a statement that her thoughts were with the victims. She described right-wing extremism as the greatest threat to Germany and said that the country needed “our full resistance.”

Justice Minister Marco Buschmann said that the country needed to do more than to respond to assaults and murder. According to Buschmann, actions have to be taken to counter belief in conspiracy theories and resentment that encourages acts of violence.