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Ein Mitglied der Seelsorge der Berliner Feuerwehr (l) nimmt neben Christian Stäblein, Bischof der Evangelischen Kirche Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz, an einer Gedenk-Andacht in der Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche teil. Ein Auto ist in der Nähe der Gedächtniskirche in Berlin in eine Personengruppe gefahren, ein Mensch ist gestorben. (Quelle: dpa/C. Soeder)

“When the teacher’s death was confirmed, the students were emotional”

Interview | Norbert Versus, Emergency pastor of the Diocese of Berlin

“When the teacher’s death was confirmed, the students were emotional”


Built in: dpa / C. Soder

Berlin’s frenzy over Tauentzienstraße not only physically hurt people. Eyewitnesses can also be psychologically traumatized. That is why the pastors took care of the local people. A pastor reports on his work.

rbb | 24: Brother Norbert, you were called by the police as a pastor to the scene of the accident near the Memorial Church on Wednesday. What was your impression when you got there?

Norbert verse: On the way to the memorial church, the memory of the attack on the 2016 Christmas market kept me very busy. We help you be well-trained and prepared for situations like this when you are challenged. At the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the police instructed us to take personal details of passers-by, eyewitnesses and the uninjured into the safe room. We were able to clarify which rooms to go with and which people to look out for. The structure of the Memorial Church was also very helpful.

rbb | 24: As a pastor, how did you approach people in such a situation?

Norbert verse: We do it wisely. Identified by our purple underwear, we were spotted at some point in the church, signaling: If you want to speak, we are by your side. We offer drinks and also provide a separate space, a place of peace and durability.

When talking about impressions and images that impress people, is it our job to listen carefully to find out what that person needs right now? What assistance can we provide not only during this time but also in the coming weeks, for example the Berlin Crisis Service or the Telephone Counseling Service. We then send the relevant contacts and information; Everyone decides for themselves how to proceed. Above all, we offer to listen, comfort, and endure the situation.

Per person

Norbert verse (Correct form of address: Brother Norbert), 52, works as an emergency pastor in Berlin’s High Diocese. He is also a qualified religious educator and a member of the Catholic Salvadoriana Organization.

Otherwise, we advised people to do something good. Couples or groups can strengthen and comfort each other. Maybe you can walk somewhere else in Berlin or go to the concert you want to go to in the evening. It’s about strengthening the positive things in you and gaining perspectives.

Thank God there are no other serious situations in pastoral care. For some, the circulatory system is not compatible. Firefighters subsequently intervened.

rbb | 24: What did people tell you?

Norbert verse: People working near the crime scene have already witnessed the 2016 attack. Their reactions were different, but after 2016 they found ways to self-efficacy. Often they can re-think it. It is important that they take good care of themselves and their mental and physical reactions.

The students from Hess were the most affected and shocked; Two colleagues looked after her in a separate room. In the afternoon, those unharmed can be shielded on a fire brigade bus and taken to their hotel. My colleagues there still got them.

rbb | 24: How were the students there?

Norbert verse: When it was officially confirmed that his teacher was dead, things got emotional. Some students have become very quiet. But there were tears. We stood in a circle with the students and the police pastor gave a moment of silence and finally prayed. We saw students strengthening each other as a group. Of course, if someone wanted to talk to each other, we did it too.

The parents of some of the students came and hugged them and they were free. The opportunity to return home in their familiar security drove them out of this situation at the hotel.

Thanks for the interview!

Philip Bornstorf was interviewed by Brother Norbert.

Broadcast: rbb24 Inforadio, 06/09/22, 9:05 am

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