Three pillars of German society left shaking from Berlin attack

Irish Times

At 11am on Thursday the shutters went up again on the Breitscheidplatz Christmas market in western Berlin, but it was far from business as usual.

It was a smaller, quieter market than on Monday evening, and the section demolished by a truck – where 12 people were killed in a terrorist attack – was cordoned off for the ongoing investigation.

Staff from other stands, tears in their eyes, laid candles and flowers in front of two plaques. Michael Roden, head of Berlin’s market association, said it was a miracle no market staff were among the victims.

“But many are still in shock as they saw it first hand,” he said.

As the first visitors arrived – some ordering a mulled wine with an extra shot of rum – there was plenty to talk about. Where was the main suspect? Why was he not deported? A far bigger question, as Germany heads into Christmas and a new, election year: has the attack changed Germany?

As in other countries, public opinion is divided here between those whose shock has tipped into anger and those whose shock hardens turns into stoicism.

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