Berlin Mayor Denounces Debate Over Putting Terror Attack Truck in Museum

Michael Müller says the debate is too rushed, and “not dignified.”

The lorry truck that ploughed through a Christmas market in Berlin on December 19, 2016. Photo Michele Tantussi/Getty Images.
The lorry truck that ploughed through a Christmas market in Berlin on December 19, 2016. Photo Michele Tantussi/Getty Images.

Weighing in on a bubbling debate about how to memorialize the terrorist attack on a Berlin Christmas market that took place on December 19, the city’s mayor, Michael Müller, told the Tagesspiegel on Thursday that talking about putting the truck used as the murder weapon in a museum is “not dignified.”

Müller said that, although the Senate reviews all worthy appeals for memorials, it is too early to start a debate about one for Breitscheidplatz, the site of the deadly attack, where Anis Amri ran a hijacked truck into a crowded Christmas market outside the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church, killing 12 and leaving 56 injured.

Amri was killed four days later by police outside Milan and, as BBC reported, ISIS took credit for the attack.

“The relatives are mourning, they are still completely shocked by the events, and in the hospital lie seriously-injured victims. I find it’s too early for a debate about whether the crime weapon should be displayed, and also not dignified,” Müller said.

Berlin mayor Michael Müller writes condolences at a memorial for the December terrorist attack. Photo courtesy Michele Tantussi/Getty Images.

Berlin mayor Michael Müller writes condolences at a memorial for the December terrorist attack. Photo courtesy Michele Tantussi/Getty Images.

The question was initially raised after historian and president of the Haus der Geschichte Foundation in Bonn, Hans Walter Hütter, gave an interview to the German press agency DPA, in which he was asked whether the institution might take in the truck after investigations were completed.

The Haus der Geschichte is a museum of contemporary history with the motto “Experience history.” It shows exhibits on German life, politics, economy, and culture from 1945 until the present day, including objects like the door of a German armed forces vehicle that was shot in Afghanistan, and pieces of debris from the Twin Towers.

“It is still too early to give a definitive answer,” Hütter said, when asked if the museum would display the truck among its exhibits. “To be able to make the right choice, one needs a time gap,” he added.

Later in the interview, speaking in more general terms about the preservation of macabre historical objects, Hütter explained, “But then one must also be a museum man, who is responsible for the transmission of the material heritage of the past.”

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