• Germany edition
 
German of the Week
'At his final heartbeat I knew I had to act'
Photo: DPA

'At his final heartbeat I knew I had to act'

Published: 16 May 2013 08:08 GMT+02:00
Updated: 16 May 2013 08:08 GMT+02:00

The trial of a group of young men suspected of beating to death 20-year-old Jonny K. began in Berlin this week. His older sister's tireless campaigning for a safer capital in the wake of his death makes her our German of the Week.

Tina K. held her younger brother Jonny K.'s hand as she watched him die in hospital last October, after he was attacked by a group of young men late at night near the city's town hall. Six young men now face trial, four of them charged with aggravated battery resulting in death.

“At his final heartbeat, I knew I had to act,” the 28-year-old wrote in an open letter posted on the website of "I am Jonny," the anti-violence foundation she set up late last year. “We are not only responsible for what we do, but also for what we don't do,” it continues.

The only member of Jonny K's family in the courtroom on Monday, Tina has become the public face of the campaign against violence. It was, she told Bild newspaper, the first time she had seen the suspects, all aged between 19 and 24.

"I tried to look them in the eyes and some of them looked back but others wouldn't. Those who did had empty gazes," she said.

In the run-up to the trial, Tina also organised a charity concert held on what would have been her brother's 21st birthday. She has also been running workshops in schools to work towards creating a safer Berlin.

Regular television appearances and newspaper interviews have become the norm, and last year she received a Bambi media award, and was nominated for a regional paper and broadcaster's Berliner of the Year award.

Yet she did not plan to put herself into the public eye until she saw the media reports that followed Jonny K.'s death. “The newspapers said he was so drunk he couldn't stand, and concentrated just on him being Vietnamese,” she said.

In reality, it was Jonny's friend who was struggling to walk. Jonny had put him on a chair so he could go and get him a taxi when the group of young men arrived. The suspected ringleader, 19-year-old Onur U., denied this on Monday.

“I am convinced that 'I am Jonny' can find a way to change our increasingly unscrupulous society,” Tina K. told the Bild newspaper. “We want a safer Berlin, one in which we don't have to be scared every time our family, friends, or children go outside.”

Her work was praised by Berlin Interior Minister Frank Henkel on Monday morning. He told regional broadcaster RBB that Tina K. was an important force in the city's struggle against violence.

“No matter now painful it is, I will be [in the court room] each day,” she told Berliner Morgenpost. “I want them to tell me to my face what they did.”

The Local/jcw

Related links:

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Dortmund's Klopp again rules out Man U job
Photo: DPA

Dortmund's Klopp again rules out Man U job

Borussia Dortmund's charismatic coach Jürgen Klopp has reiterated he would not be joining Manchester United despite UK media reports linking him to the vacant manager's job following David Moyes' dismissal. READ () »

Minister's jet grounded twice in a month
Foreign Minister Steinmeier reboards his plane after the delay. Photo: DPA

Minister's jet grounded twice in a month

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had to wait for two hours on a runway on Wednesday night due to a technical glitch on his plane - the second problem the jet has had in a month. READ () »

German of the Week
'It's important people are confronted with cancer'
Photo: Marina Proksch-Park

'It's important people are confronted with cancer'

Images of children with cancer often evoke weakness and defeat. But Marina Proksch-Park shows them enjoying life. The photographer who has sparked an online campaign with her pictures is The Local's German of the Week. READ () »

CDU candidate forced to remove Turkish logo
Yasar Calik. Photo: Facebook/Yasar Calik

CDU candidate forced to remove Turkish logo

A Christian Democrat (CDU) town council candidate has apologized and withdrawn campaign bags on which he had printed a new party logo where the Turkish crescent appeared inside the "C" for Christian. READ () »

Cheap flights get pricier as airlines expand
Lufthansa's daughter company Germanwings is one of the faster-growing budget airlines in Germany. Photo: DPA

Cheap flights get pricier as airlines expand

Budget airlines are expanding their range of routes from Germany but ticket prices are climbing along with them, a report from the German Aeronautics Centre (DLR) revealed on Thursday. READ () »

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened
Bernie Ecclestone with his lawyers in a Munich court on Thursday morning. Photo: DPA

Ecclestone lawyers: Bribes never happened

UPDATE: Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone went on trial in Germany on Thursday, denying charges of bribery that threaten to land the British billionaire in jail. READ () »

Minister praises Erasmus 'success story'
Photo: DPA

Minister praises Erasmus 'success story'

A revamped version of European student exchange programme Erasmus officially launched in Berlin on Thursday with Germany's education minister praising the scheme as a Europe-wide “success story”. READ () »

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid
Photo: DPA

Turkey tourists lose call to prayer refund bid

A German couple has lost their legal fight to get a refund for a Turkish holiday which they said was ruined by the calls to prayer from a nearby mosque. It is just one of a series of court claims by picky German tourists. READ () »

Germany halts arms sales to Russia
Russian troops surround a Ukrainian base in Crimea. Photo: DPA

Germany halts arms sales to Russia

Germany has stopped selling arms to Russia due to the current “political situation”, according to reports on Thursday. The sale of military equipment to Russia by German firms has been criticized by the country’s Nato allies. READ () »

Truck kills man lying in middle of road
Photo: DPA

Truck kills man lying in middle of road

Police were searching for witnesses on Wednesday morning following a mysterious road accident in which a 25-year-old man was killed as he lay in the middle of the road. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
National
Germany sold €40 million of arms to Russia
Photo: DPA
National
Girls find live ammunition in Easter bonfire
Photo: Facebook/screenshot
Berlin
Germany's most viral advert for an apartment?
Gallery
11 things you need to know about German beer
Photo: DPA
Politics
Interview with AfD - 'If Britain goes, Europe is lost'
Photo: DPA
National
Police damage own water cannon with eggs
Photo: DPA
National
Let us start work later after World Cup nights, unions says
Photo: DPA
Society
Crystal meth use hits record level
Photo: DPA
Rhineland
Elderly man taped €200,000 to his genitals
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
What's the unemployment rate in your area of Germany?
Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt
Gallery
World War I in colour photos
Photo: DPA
Society
JobTalk: Why you should teach English in Germany
Advertisement:
Photo: DPA
National
330,000 sign up against TV licence fee
Photo: Submitted
Frankfurt
'I'll get even with my old pal Schwarzenegger'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten great inventions you (probably) didn't know were German
Photo: J. Arthur White
Berlin
Clashes in Berlin as refugees tear down their own camp
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The 10 best German employers to work for
CurrencyFair
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Mr. Lodge
Sponsored Article
How to find a furnished rental in Munich
Sponsored Article
How to make a lasting impression in business
Photo: DPA
Society
Nine jobs you can only do in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,072
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd