Frankfurt attack: where is the debate leading?

A man pushed a woman and her young son in front of an ICE train at Frankfurt's main railway station on Monday. The boy died immediately. Commentators discuss what the debate triggered by the crime says about the state of German society.

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Frankfurter Rundschau (DE) /

The right has distorted the debate

Even if the presumed murderer comes from Eritrea, Frankfurter Rundschau's editor-in-chief Bascha Mika sees no reason to conduct a debate about the dangers of immigration now:

“Every kind of violence you can think of, all kinds of atrocities, have been and are perpetrated by people with German passports here in Germany. Rape - happens on a massive scale in the German family setting. Abuse - the child molesters are to be found in German schools and churches. Murder and manslaughter - how many of the convicted are proud of their German roots? But every case in which a migrant plays a role is supposed to be proof of the dangers of immigration. As if this would be a peaceful, violence-free country if only we could eliminate the alleged threat from outside. Absurd. But this is now a common mindset, and it shows the extent to which the far right has managed to hijack the public debate.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

Statistics no good against loss of trust

The German debate about the murder at Frankfurt's main station shows that people's trust in the state is diminishing, Lidové noviny concludes:

“In spring the German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced a sharp drop in the crime rate. That was true. ... But people are used to not being attacked, injured or killed in public. It's a matter of trust, not a matter of statistics. Trust is more important than money. When citizens lose their trust in the state, money won't help either.”

Die Presse (AT) /

Politicians have a poor grip on reality

The state is in danger of failing, warns German journalist Karl-Peter Schwarz in Die Presse:

“Could it be that the politicians underestimate the signal this murder of an eight-year-old boy has sent? What happened on Platform 7 at Frankfurt's main train station can be repeated everywhere; there were dozens of similar cases, for example with the U3 train line at Vienna's Westbahnhof. People's basic trust in being in a safe environment is disappearing. Those 'who have been here for a long time' are having to accept more risks and limitations. At the same time migrants live in fear of being attacked by racists. Faced with the problems that have accumulated over decades of purportedly humane, but in reality irresponsible migration policy, the state is in danger of failing.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Uncertainty and frustration

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung looks at reactions in Germany:

“Something is wrong in Germany. The country seems unusually insecure and fragile. The deadly attack by an Eritrean living in Switzerland against an eight-year-old boy can't be seen as proof that Germany's refugee and security policy has failed. The reactions, however, show that many people don't agree with Germany's immigration policy; the discussion about new security measures at train stations shows that many people no longer feel safe. They are quite rightly frustrated at the state's failure to implement deportations and expel troublemakers who exploit Germany's asylum system. They are probably also frustrated at what they see as an 'erosion of values' taking place in Germany, as Seehofer put it.”

Bild (DE) /

A fatal gap in the system

Bild editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt sees no reason to suppress a debate about the origins of the perpetrator:

“The question is not just how a person can do such a thing. The question is also why this specific person and many other potential or already active violent criminals can enter Germany unhindered. ... There is no longer any systematic control of who comes to Germany or moves freely within the country. The EU abolished these controls with Schengen without putting in place effective protection of the outer borders (as promised) or ensuring exchange of data among states so that police can determine at any time whether they are dealing with a wanted person. ... It must be the Merkel government's top priority to finally change this!”

Der Standard (AT) /

Looking for scapegoats won't help

The anger must not turn into rabble-rousing, Der Standard comments:

“If there were a motive the whole thing would be far easier to understand. As it is we have been left aghast. Some accept this, others still want answers - and a scapegoat. This brings us back to the young man and Angela Merkel. But with this we oversimplify the situation. Despite the understandable anger scapegoats and racist rhetoric are not the solution. Or as another man put it on Tuesday at Frankfurt's central train station: the perpetrator's origin is irrelevant. It doesn't make the crime any worse or any better - nor does it help to understand it.”

Origo (HU) /

Germany has lost control

Immigration has turned Germany into a trouble spot, the pro-government website Origo polemicises:

“Innocent people pushed in front of trains, beaches you don't want to stay at because of the uproarious migrants, stabbings on the streets - this, in short, is what everyday life in Germany is like since Angela Merkel allowed half a million immigrants into Germany without any checks being carried out in 2015. Naturally, despite all the propaganda to the contrary the influx of refugees hasn't tapered off in recent years - while the native Germans are leaving the country. And the police are powerless in the face of the increasingly rampant migrant violence.”