Goethe-Institut Director Henrike Grohs Killed in Terrorist Attack

Mourners have taken to social media to pay tribute.

Henrike Grohs.
Photo: Courtesy of Virginia Ryan.

Henrike Grohs, director of the Goethe-Institut‘s branch in the Ivory Coast, was among the 22 killed in a terrorist attack on Sunday near the economic capital of Abidjan.

Six gunmen, who have been identified as members of the North African affiliate of Al Qaeda, opened fire on beachgoers at popular vacation resort L’Etoile du Sud in the historic town of Grand-Bassam, according to the New York Times. The sleepy resort town, part of which is a Unesco World Heritage Site, has been a getaway for Ivorians and foreigners for years.

Of the 22 killed, 14 were civilians, 2 were soldiers, and 6 were the Al Qaeda assailants, according to the Washington Post.

According to the Daily Mail, Grohs, a 51-year-old German native, was among the murdered civilians. Grohs joined the German cultural association in December 2013, where she previously served as a culture and development professional at the Goethe-Institut in Johannesburg.

Tributes for Grohs by friends and colleagues, have since flooded social media channels.

“We are stunned that Henrike Grohs was torn so tragically and cruelly from life,” Johannes Ebert, secretary general of the Goethes Institut told the Daily Mail. “It’s a blow to the entire cultural field in the Ivory Coast,” local journalist M’bra Harding told Le Parisien.

The Goethe-Institut’s president Klaus-Dieter Lehmann said in a statement: “It is terrible that a woman who campaigned for a meaningful life with all her strength had to die so senselessly.”

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