Father of the Hanau assassin: “He plays with our pain”

Status: 09.12.2022 1:01 p.m

Almost three years after the racist attack with nine dead, Hanau does not come to rest. Survivors and those left behind feel threatened by the perpetrator’s father. A solution is not in sight.

The man had often demonstratively appeared in front of her house with his German Shepherd. This is how Serpil Unvar describes encounters with Tobias Rathjen’s father, who killed her son Ferhat. The 75-year-old asked her with a racist undertone about her origins and why she came to Germany – a threatening situation for her. “He plays with our pain, he plays with our sadness,” she says.

The perpetrator’s father, the survivors and the bereaved still live in the immediate vicinity in the Hanau district of Kesselstadt. The row house in which the perpetrator’s father still lives is only a few hundred meters away from the place where his son Tobias shot several people. Apparently he shares his son’s right-wing extremist worldview.

On February 19, 2020, he murdered nine people for racist reasons. Before that, Tobias Rathjen puts texts and videos online that reveal his world view. After his murders, the 43-year-old returns to the terraced house where he lived with his parents. There the apparently mentally disturbed son first shoots his bedridden mother and then himself. His father is unharmed.

No evidence of direct involvement

Shortly thereafter, the police arrested the 75-year-old in his terraced house, where he still lives today. However, the investigators found nothing that proves that the father was directly involved in the crime. However, it is clear that he adheres to similar conspiracy theories and right-wing extremist ideas as his son. He later told the police that his son was the victim of a global secret service organization.

The Unvar family finds the activities of the 75-year-old increasingly threatening. They finally file a complaint and obtain a ban on contact by court order. “The police are on the Unvars’ front door from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” says Newroz Duman, spokeswoman for the “February 19 Initiative,” which brings together survivors and relatives of the night of terror. The father is said to have tried to approach the family. The police declined to comment for tactical reasons.

charge of defamation

In September of this year, the 75-year-old has to answer for insults in a lawsuit. The public prosecutor’s office accuses him of insulting people who had demonstrated near his home, including relatives of his son’s victims, as “wild strangers”. In addition, he described a police unit that was in his house on the night of the crime as a “terrorist squad” and “terrorist unit”.

The father uses the process to spread out his confused world view for hours. He claims, for example, that his son’s victims uncovered a secret organization. The court sentenced the father to a fine of 4,800 euros for insults, against which both the defense and the public prosecutor’s office have appealed.

The relatives and survivors wish dearly that the perpetrator’s father would disappear from their lives. But he doesn’t want to leave the district, you can’t force him. And so the clashes in Hanau-Kesselstadt will probably continue.

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