Hanover – It should be a football festival. But it was the night that fear of terror reached Hanover …
The international match between Germany and Holland was supposed to kick off 5 years ago today, on November 17, 2015 at 8.45 p.m. It was canceled 90 minutes earlier, at 7.14 p.m. Foreign secret services gave indications of a possible terrorist attack.
From then on everything was different. More and more emergency services raced into the city. Light rail vehicles no longer stopped at the stadium, 30,000 visitors had to be sent home without panic breaking out.
It is unclear whether an attack was actually planned. The attorney general’s office closed the investigation in March 2017. Without a result.
Stefan Schostok was Lord Mayor of Hanover at the time and saw the evening first hand. The later 96 coach André Breitenreiter wanted to watch the international match with his family. Here they both remember the evening.
“During the silent march I got clues”
Hanover’s former mayor Stefan Schostok (56, SPD): “After the memorial event for the victims of the terrorist attack in Paris, the silent march to the stadium started at the town hall. I have always had information about a possible hazard situation reported to me.
Shortly after the arrival, the police sent fans and the people of the fairy lights home without spreading panic. I returned to the town hall with my crisis team late into the night. All security concepts took effect immediately, and preparations were made to evacuate other venues in the city.
The evening was nevertheless drastic for Hanover and fundamentally changed the planning and risk analysis of all subsequent major events. The cooperation between all security and rescue services is now even more sophisticated. You can feel safe in Hanover. “
“People shouted: ‘Attack planned, go away'”
Ex-96 trainer André Breitenreiter (47): “I was a Schalke coach at the time and used the international break to visit my family at home. With my wife Claudia, our then 13-year-old son Emil and the in-laws, we went into the city in the evening. Emil was really looking forward to the international match.
We parked near the town hall. At the Maschteich we were suddenly met by hectic people who shouted: ‘Terrorist attack planned, go away.’ I quickly googled what’s going on on my phone. And then we’re quickly back to the car. There was also the fear that there would be assassins in town.
I brought the family home and after the initial shock I phoned my Dutch striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who was supposed to be playing with the Netherlands against Germany that evening. We even thought about meeting at the Dutch team hotel. But the Hunter and the other players were then brought home in private cars.
At home, I followed the news closely with my family all evening. For the first time, the terrorist threat was within our grasp. The attacks in Paris had occurred a few days earlier. But still you had no thought that it could suddenly be on your own doorstep. “