“At times afraid that panic would break out”

Cologne's former cathedral architect Barbara Schock-Werner © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

Cologne Cathedral on New Year's Eve © Maja Hitij

Former Cologne Cathedral master builder Barbara Schock-Werner complains of "massive rocket and firecracker fire never before experienced on New Year's Eve" against the cathedral and criticized lack of police intervention.

With the apparently arranged attacks starting from approximately 18.30 o'clock it had been a deliberate disruption of the year-end Mass, she told the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung". "Again and again, the north window of the cathedral was lit up red because rocket after rocket flew against it."In addition, it was very loud in the crowded cathedral. "I was afraid at times that panic would break out," Schock-Werner said.

After similar events about twelve years ago, he said, the police had always been asked on New Year's Eve to prevent firecrackers from being fired at the cathedral during church services. "And this has also largely succeeded. Hence my astonishment that this did not work at all this year."Accordingly, "on that terrible New Year's Eve", "something must have gone fundamentally wrong", said Schock-Werner, Cologne Cathedral's master builder from 1999 to 2012.

Outrage over bombardment of the cathedral faded into the background in view of the attacks

She attributed the lack of outrage over the attack on the cathedral so far to the events surrounding the train station. "The many sexually motivated attacks on women in the course of the later evening were so terrible that the terrible prelude was pushed into the background."However, rockets have always been fired at the cathedral on New Year's Eve, at least in isolated cases. "Perhaps because it makes such a beautiful backdrop," says the art historian. "People's thinking is sometimes strange."However, she did not want to claim that the attacks were intended to harm or "offend" the cathedral. Meant probably the symbol. "Whereby the Cologne Cathedral is both. It is a religious place, but as a landmark it also stands for the whole city."

Apart from the general fire hazard, the missiles could have melted the waxy protective covering of the bronze portals, art historians said. In addition, the remains of rockets and firecrackers sometimes clogged the rain drainage system on the roofs of the cathedral.

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Christina Cherry
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