The day belonged to the mourners. Relatives, friends and helpers commemorated the victims of the Garmisch train accident with representatives of politics. State buildings throughout Bavaria wore mourning flags. Thanks to the helpers - and concern to the injured.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen (dpa/lby) - A sea of candles around a simple wooden cross in front of the altar - they light up for the victims of the Garmisch-Partenkirchen train accident. In the parish church of Maria Himmelfahrt in the market town, the Catholic and Protestant churches celebrated a moving service on Saturday with relatives, rescue workers, locals and politicians.
The accident had "brutally hit" people's lives, it was also a turning point for the place, said the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, in the church, which was occupied by 300 people. The service is an expression of sadness and dismay, "but also an expression of our hope". "We try to put into words what cannot be put into words," said Marx, who organized the service with the evangelical regional bishop Christian Kopp. "We stand empty-handed before God. But he can fill them with his consolation," said the cardinal.
"You now have to live with the fact that you were there on June 3, 2022 - and that your world is different now," Kopp said to relatives and survivors, to rescue workers and other helpers in the church. "In the middle of the finest moments in life, the terrible, shitty life pops up," said Kopp, who himself lost a son. "The swath that this storm of misfortune has cut through life isn't just growing over quickly." A small plant could be the service. "Together we are here and we strengthen each other. It only works together."
The bishops thanked the emergency services - and said comfort to the injured. For these, the police called new, higher numbers on Sunday. Accordingly, 16 people were seriously injured and 52 slightly injured. Of particular concern is a 34-year-old woman whose condition remains critical. Most recently, more than 40 injuries were mentioned. Recently, however, a number of other injuries had been reported.
Throughout Bavaria, government offices wore mourning flags. Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) ordered this for Saturday.
At noon on June 3, a regional train bound for Munich derailed. On the last day before the Pentecost holidays, it was also occupied by many students. A 13-year-old from the region, a 51-year-old from Wiesbaden and a 70-year-old woman from the Munich district died - and two 30 and 39-year-old mothers from Ukraine who had fled the war with their children.
Sung prayers in the Ukrainian language set a sign for the fate of these women and their children - who are now orphans. Bavaria's Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann (CSU) addresses this particular tragedy. It was women "who hoped for security in our country and just died here."
On behalf of the state government, he expresses condolences to the victims' families and thanks the rescue workers, including many volunteers, who could have saved the lives of seriously injured people with their quick action. It was 750 that helped to the limit of performance, says Herrmann. Many of the helpers in uniform sit in the church and, like the other visitors, set up a lit tea light after the service.
Among others, Economics Minister Hubert Aiwanger (Free Voters), Head of State Florian Herrmann (CSU), District Administrator Anton Speer (FW), Mayor Elisabeth Koch (CSU) and representatives of the railways came to the service. State President Ilse Aigner (CSU) brought a bouquet of white roses as decoration for the altar. Behind is a large bouquet of red and white roses.
Flowers are a reminder of the accident near the scene of the accident - where the locomotive and a wagon are still standing on the tracks, right next to the main road to Garmisch-Partenkirchen: an unmistakable sign for the day-trippers who flocked to the weekend in brilliant weather. Motorists could also see salvaged smashed wagons, seized chassis and parts of rails in a place next to the road.
When looking for the cause, the focus is on a technical defect. The public prosecutor's office is investigating an initial suspicion of negligent homicide against three Deutsche Bahn employees. The approximately 50 employees Soko "Zug" is working at full speed to clarify the reasons for the accident. Dozens of passengers were heard.
Investigators are still looking for passengers who have not previously had contact with the police. They are important witnesses. The officials also called for pictures and videos from the day of the accident to be made available for the investigation. An upload portal was set up for this purpose.
The railway has started to repair the tracks north of the accident site in order to transport the locomotive and the last wagon away. While railway workers are there, visitors in the church fight back tears. "Take the victims of the devastating train accident in your loving hands and give strength, love and confidence to the bereaved," someone wrote in the intercession book. The cause of the accident has not yet been clarified, says Interior Minister Herrmann - and "the tearful questions as to why our boy, our mother in particular, cannot be answered technically anyway".