Memorial service years after death Calls for further investigations in the Jens Bleck case

Bonn · Pastor Siegfried Eckert and a private initiative demand that the case of the dead student Jens Bleck be reopened. It is six years since the unexplained death of the student. After a visit to a disco he had disappeared, a few weeks later his body was found in the Rhine.

 A memorial service in the Kreuzkirche (archive picture).

A memorial service in the Kreuzkirche (archive picture).

Foto: Benjamin Westhoff

Six years after the unexplained death of Jens Bleck, Pastor Siegfried Eckert invites you to a memorial service in the Pauluskirche in Friesdorf for Thursday, December 5, starting at 6.30 pm. On this occasion Jan Maresch and Änne von Bülow, the founders of the private initiative Jens Bleck, want to start a new appeal for donations. With the money an on-line Petition aimed at national justice minister Peter Biesenbach is to be financed to roll up the determinations in the case Bleck again.

"Even six years later, the case continues to affect many people in Bonn," explains Eckert, who has been providing pastoral care for Bleck's parents ever since. He sees the divine service as a political event. After all, only twice in his life did he have doubts about the German rule of law - when dealing with the anti-nuclear protests in Wackersdorf and in the Bleck case.

The law student Bleck disappeared on the night of 9 November 2013 after a visit to the Bad Honnef discotheque "Rheinsubstanz". Weeks later, the body of the 19-year-old from Cologne was recovered from the Rhine. The police and the public prosecutor's office had initially ruled out a capital crime. Only belatedly they began with investigations and stopped these soon without result.

Numerous inconsistencies had become known early on. Bleck, who was bleeding heavily from his nose, had asked several patrolmen for help on the evening of his disappearance. Important witnesses were questioned only one year later. Only pressure from the public led to the resumption of the proceedings on the instructions of the Cologne Public Prosecutor's Office. On 3 May 2019, it was closed again. The case is currently pending before the Cologne Attorney General. Therefore, no comment will be made on the case, explains the Bonn authority spokesman Robin Faßbender at the GA's request.

GA chief reporter Wolfgang Kaes has meticulously reconstructed the circumstances for his novel "Endstation" (Rowohlt Verlag). He suggests references to organized crime in Bonn and Cologne. There is also suspicion that investigations may have been deliberately suppressed. "After the reading here in the Pauluskirche on 8 November, the idea arose to bring light into this case in a last attempt with a petition", Eckert explains.

By 2017, the initiators had already collected 17,000 Euro as a reward for information. Since the public prosecutor's office was not allowed to accept the private money, it had been handed over to an important witness, Eckert reports. WDR will also support the investigative work. As Eckert reports, in a TV programme on 3 January, Jens Bleck's father will be speaking for the first time in public alongside author Kaes.

Original text: Martin Wein

Translation: Mareike Graepel