BERLIN: A German Mayor well known for his pro-refugee policies has been seriously injured in a knife attack at a kebab shop Monday evening.
Andreas Hollstein, the 54-year-old conservative Mayor of west German town of Altena credited the kebab shop owner, Abdullah Demir, his wife and his son Ahmet Demir for saving his life, The Washington Post reported.
“I’m sure that if they hadn’t reacted like that, I wouldn’t be alive now,” the Mayor told reporters on Tuesday with his neck wrapped in bandages.
Demir, a Turkish told the German tabloid Bild that the Hollstein was at the Kebab centre and had just ordered a Turkish kebab sandwich when the assailant identified as a 56-year-old Werner S, described by local media as drunk, approached and asked whether he was the town’s Mayor before loudly criticizing his migrant policies and slicing his neck with a 30-centimetre blade.
“He said: ‘You are leaving me die of thirst while you bring 200 refugees to Altena,'” Hollstein told reporters.
“I pushed the knife away, which didn’t work out too well as I have a cut on my throat. I was very lucky as the two owners of the kebab shop came to help me push the attacker to the ground,” Hollstein said.
The assailant was overpowered by people at the scene is now in custody. The attack which authorities said was likely politically motivated.
The Mayor blamed the attack on hate propaganda circulating on social media and other platforms “The handling of the subject of refugees is getting tougher and more ruthless, if they ask me about it, I see this as a decline in values in our society,” he said.
“I think that the poison that people spread on social media or other platforms enters into simple minds; as such, I would also designate the culprit. I have no hatred for these people. For me he has been a tool for others.”
In the video, Ahmet Demir recounted the moment when the assailant stabbed the town’s mayor.
Hollstein, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, gained national renown and won an award for his open migrant policies in Altena, often pushing to take in more people than required by official quotas.
The west German town of Altena has welcomed 370 refugees.
“I am horrified by the knife attack on Mayor Andreas Hollstein – and very relieved that he can be with his family again. Thanks also to those who helped him. # Altena,” Mrs Merkel said via her spokesman on Twitter.
Kanzlerin #Merkel: „Ich bin entsetzt über den Messerangriff auf Bürgermeister Andreas Hollstein – und sehr erleichtert, dass er schon wieder bei seiner Familie sein kann. Dank auch an die, die ihm geholfen haben.“ #Altena
— Steffen Seibert (@RegSprecher) November 28, 2017
The attack against Hollstein bore similar characteristics to a knife assault on Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker in 2015.
He also suffered injuries to the neck during an apparent assassination attempt, which the perpetrator later confessed was motivated by xenophobia and his opposition to the influx of refugees.
With agencies input