Russian Consulate in Bad Godesberg Protesters remember children killed in Ukraine
Schweinheim · The 197 shoes in front of the Russian Consulate General in Bad Godesberg are intended to serve as a reminder of the children who died in the war in Ukraine. They are part of an initiative organized by Ukrainian native Alex Hoffmann. It took place on Good Friday.
Rubber boots, sandals and sneakers - 197 children's shoes, in all colors and varieties, were on display in front of the entrance gate of the Russian Consulate General in Bad Godesberg on Good Friday. They were an art initiative staged and organized by Alex Hoffmann, who was born in Kyiv and has lived in Germany for 23 years.
"I saw a photo of a similar initiative in Tbilisi (Georgia). That inspired me to do it in Germany. Public awareness is very important. It would be great if other cities would hold similar initiatives," Hoffmann said.
According to a report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), most of the recorded civilian casualties in Ukraine were caused by the use of explosive weapons. OHCHR believes that there are considerably more victims than previously known. This is because information from some places, such as Mariupol and Izium, where there has been intense fighting, is arriving with a delay - many reports are also still unconfirmed, it said.
25 protesters gather in front of consulate
About 25 demonstrators answered his call and held up their signs and Ukrainian flags on Waldstrasse. The police were on hand for the demonstration which they said was a registered private event. Chanting, the participants stressed that they were not afraid of Russia. Although many Russian citizens passed them on the road to get to the consulate, the rally, which lasted several hours, remained peaceful. Germans were also among the demonstrators, choosing not to be identified.
"I want to draw attention to the killing of the innocent children. I am a father myself, I have two children whom I love more than anything. What is happening in Ukraine tears my heart apart," Hoffmann shouted into his megaphone. Some 197 Ukrainian children are believed to have lost their lives in Ukraine so far. Most of the shoes, which were placed in front of the consulate in representation of the young victims, had been collected through donations from neighbors and acquaintances.
"Putin and the Russian government bear full responsibility for the war. Today the dead Ukrainian children come to visit the Russian Federation," Hoffmann said. He also wanted to use the initiative to send a message to Russian-Germans who support Putin: "They use freedom, opportunities and security in Germany, but support a war criminal. Unlike the many people in Russia and Belarus who have been turned into zombies by years of propaganda without alternatives, you in Germany have access to free media. Open your eyes. Just because you or your parents have Russian roots doesn't mean you have to support it," Hoffmann said.
Yevheniia Skrypnyk was also at the rally. The 25-year-old is from Kharkiv and now lives in Bonn. "It was painful to accept that there is war in my home country," said the demonstrator. Now she fears for her parents, who live near Kharkiv. "I hate Russia. Still, we have to counter terror with peaceful demonstrations," the Ukrainian said.
Traveled from Krefeld to the demonstration
Achim Trappmann traveled all the way from Krefeld to express his frustration with Germany's Russia politics. "Millions of euros we pay every day to the dictator Putin - this can not continue. Germany has to wake up. Scholz, Habeck and Lindner should take a stand and travel to Kiev," the 58-year-old urged.
Anton Malkim was born in Russia and lived in Belarus for a long time. On Friday, the 47-year-old from Bad Godesberg wanted to express his solidarity with Ukraine. Malkim condemned Russian war propaganda and called on the German government to supply more weapons to Ukraine. "The Ukrainian army defends us from a cruel power that tramples humanitarian values. The pictures from Mariupol, Irpin, Butscha speak for themselves," Hoffmann said.
The organizer spoke of war crimes and called on the Western world to act. "The Ukrainians need weapons - urgently! They are defending our Western values. Humanism, freedom, democracy, individualism, independent media - this is a great achievement that must be defended. With all force," the 39-year-old said.
Orig. text: Niklas Schröder