Berlin mayor sends condolences to terror victims - two months late
Only days after a young Tunisian drove a truck into a Berlin Christmas market, the city's biggest hospital has sent relatives of the dead a threatening bill. They also had to wait much longer for official condolences.
Within days of the December 19th attack, relatives of the 12 people who died had received a bill from the Charite hospital, demanding payment for the identification of the bodies, Tagesspiegel reported on Tuesday.
In the letters, which were sent out on December 22nd and arrived at some homes before Christmas, the hospital demanded a payment of €51 for the identification of the body and the issuance of a death certificate.
The letters further threatened to send bailiffs if the families did not pay on time.
The hospital has since apologized for sending the letters, blaming it on an administrative oversight during the chaotic days after the attack. The families will not have to pay anything, the hospital assured.
Meanwhile official condolences on the part of the state took much longer to reach the grieving families. Mayor Michael Müller has only just sent letters to the families of the 12 victims, as well as to the roughly 50 people who were injured.
A spokesperson for the Berlin government told Tagesspiegel that the delay was due to the fact that it had taken several weeks to gather complete information on the addresses of the victims.
Families of the victims met with President Joachim Gauck and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière on Friday to express their anger at how they had been treated since the attack.
They described going from hospital to hospital in the days after the incident to try and find information on their loved ones. But at every hospital, they were refused information after the police ordered doctors not to give out details about the victims.
Furthermore, some relatives who tried to attend a memorial service at the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church on the day after the attack reported being turned away because there were high-level politicians inside.
Other relatives reported being dealt with insensitively by Berlin police who demanded to be given DNA material without saying what it was for. When they asked, they were reportedly told: “If you can’t figure it out yourself, that’s your fault.”