• Germany's news in English

Train drivers plead against suicide on the tracks

DDP/The Local · 22 Nov 2009, 14:03

Published: 22 Nov 2009 14:03 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

After national football goalkeeper Robert Enke killed himself on November 10 by putting himself in the path of a train, increased attention has been focussed on clinical depression, from which he suffered.

But Lutz Schreiber, head of the drivers’ union in northern Germany told weekly magazine Focus that it should also be recognised that choosing to use a train to commit suicide was unfair.

He said the decision to commit suicide was “a private decision which must be respected.” But he added, “Train drivers suffer terribly when the railway is abused in this way to take life.”

Statistics show that train drivers could expect to be unwillingly involved in two or three suicides during their career, he said.

The shock, horror and feelings of guilt experienced by train drivers put in this position were not to be underestimated, he added.

This was also mentioned during a church service shortly after Enke’s death. Hannover state evangelical bishop Margot Käßmann said, “We cannot pretend otherwise – this is a very brutal death.”

Story continues below…

She called for those at the service to consider train drivers. “Our counsellors could tell you much about what it means to be such a train driver, or to have to collect body parts after such an accident. That must in no way be made to look better than it is.”

Adolf Merckle, a billionaire businessman whose business empire which included pharmaceutical firm Ratiopharm, killed himself early this year by throwing himself in front of a train after his company hit serious financial problems.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

04:42 November 23, 2009 by parografik
"Hmmm...opportunism...I wonder if the train drivers' union is planning on negotiations soon."

It's a shame this should be starting the discussion. I know a number of conductors on our commuter line, and they say this (suicide by train) is inevitable, but dreaded by all of the engineers. They recently did an article on this in our local paper (NY Newsday), which said pretty much what this Union is asserting. I certainly don't see it as "opportunism," but perhaps a desperate plea that hopefully echoes in the thoughts of of people trying to leave this world, whatever the reason for that might be.

Happened to hear one terribly competent but arrogant person say recently, upon hearing the news of an excellent local doctor's botched suicide attempt, "he even screwed that up." I find this type of talk not just slanderous, but more importantly, dismissive of the life of this wonderful doctor and the unknown circumstances of his situation and life. There but for the grace...
08:26 November 23, 2009 by Johnne
I beg my western brothers and sisters to stop this disastrous act. I´m half nigerian/german & what I found amazing the last time I went to africa after loosing a girlfriend in the UK to sucide was that, even though the level of peverty/hardship in some parts of the continent, commiting sucide is a "no-go area" no one sees it as a solution..or something to even think of. I believe we can learn from one another as-per mental strength. Some people don´t even have 3square meals over there, they still make sure they hustle & survive.Thanx
00:41 November 24, 2009 by Stuart1977
'By all means kill yourself, just go and do it somewhere else'
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd