German soda tips off police to suspected child molester

A raspberry soda popular in the former East Germany helped tip off police to the location of a man suspected of molesting his young son for five years, prosecutors in the eastern city of Halle said on Monday.

Police arrested the 36-year-old man from the eastern town of Günthersdorf on Thursday after a six-month investigation that spanned two continents. He admitted to posting photos on the internet of himself sexually abusing his son, Klaus Wiechmann, public prosecutor in Halle, told The Local.

Canadian authorities found the photos, about 30 in all, on the internet and realized they were probably from Germany, Weichmann said.

“For a start, it was this soda bottle, where you could see who the maker was,” he said.

Though the soda – a raspberry lemonade from German maker Frankenbrunnen – is available throughout Germany, it is especially popular in Saxony, Wiechmann said. German Federal Criminal Police Office investigators recognized the drink and were also able to identify a schoolbook in the pictures as being from elementary schools in Germany’s former east.

Investigators showed a picture of the child to teachers in 600 elementary schools in the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt, Wiechmann said. One was able to identify the boy, who was 9 years old in 2003, when investigators believe the sexual abuse started. Prosecutors say the abuse continued until this year.

The boy’s father appeared before an investigating judge on Friday and remains in custody, Wiechmann said. The investigation is ongoing. Wiechmann declined to comment on whether investigators believe other children were involved, but the boy is the man’s only son.


Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.