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Anger burns a year after Cologne archive collapse

DPA/The Local · 3 Mar 2010, 17:29

Published: 03 Mar 2010 17:29 GMT+01:00

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In a memorial address, Mayor Jürgen Roters renewed his sharp criticism of firms responsible for building a new U-Bahn metro tunnel, part of which caved in underneath the archive building.

''Who among us would have been able to imagine that internationally active building firms deceive, manipulate and defraud on such a great scale?'' he said.

Click here for a photo gallery of the incident.

Roters also called on Walter Reinarz, the technical executive of Cologne’s Transit Authority (KVB), to step down.

The cave-in brought down the archive and two neighbouring buildings, killing two men and destroying countless historical documents.

Since then, numerous media reports have implicated organised crime in the collapse, claiming shoddy work practices and falsified work protocols were rife on the construction sites.

Many Cologne citizens expressed dismay Wednesday about the lack of political accountability throughout the unravelling scandal.

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René Böll, son of the late German author Heinrich Böll, told broadcaster Deutschlandradio Kultur that the primary responsibility lay with the city government, which had give the job to the KVB and then not properly monitored it.

Civic activist Frank Deja said: “We continue to ask about the responsibility for the catastrophe. We are not satisfied. The fact that today, a year after the catastrophe, no one has take political responsibility or part responsibility for the disaster, constitutes a second culpability and a mockery of the victims.”

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Your comments about this article

23:07 March 3, 2010 by Prufrock2010
"Since then, numerous media reports have implicated organised crime in the collapse, claiming shoddy work practices and falsified work protocols were rife on the construction sites."

And exactly how many people have been prosecuted so far?
08:21 March 4, 2010 by wood artist

Assuming most of what I've read is reasonably accurate, I wouldn't expect prosecutions before now. First, there was the basic investigation after the inital collapse, which was probably sidetracked a bit by the concerns for what had been lost in the archive. While the connection with the U-Bahn work was probably obvious, investigators wouldn't have wanted to jump to conclusion and then find out it was something else entirely.

Then, once they linked things, they needed some time to look at exactly how they were linked. Was it bad work, bad planning, or something else. Now they've had to disassemble some work to identify causes...the missing parts and such. Then comes the question of how that happened. Were they simply left out accidentally, or was somebody planning things? Who? What sort of inspections were done, and should they have noted the problem?

Then, after all that, they have to look at how far it might have gone, and who might be involved. It almost reminds me of the Watergate story in the US. It might have stopped at the original 7 guys, if others hadn't been willing to keep digging until they uncovered the whole thing. Sadly, that takes some time. Although I have no direct connection in any of this, I'd rather see a comprehensive investigation netting everyone than a simplistic one that nails just the "little guys."

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