Yarden Cohen (43), a craftsman, served in the Israeli army, has lived in Germany for eight years, is a naturalised citizen, pays taxes, and his three children are growing up here. He knows how to defend himself. In the Goerlitzer Park he was brutally beaten up.
He points to his hands. They are bloodshot, bruises on his knuckles and forearms. Together with the newspaper B.Z. he went back to the place where he was brutally beaten up by drug dealers at 6.25 p.m. on Wednesday.
In Görlitzer Park, which the police have long listed as a “crime-ridden area”. In 2020, there were more than 1,500 drug-related offences, as well as robberies and assaults.
Yarden Cohen had to learn the hard way what that means when he wanted to have a cigarette on a construction site after work. The weather was fine. The setting sun shone into the park.
Immediately he was approached by African men: “Do you want cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy?” Cohen got angry, shouting, “Leave me alone. Leave people alone. Nobody wants anything from you!” But the men did not let up, also harassing a young mother pushing a pram along the park. “The woman was annoyed, scared,” says the father of a family.
Suddenly he feels a sharp pain in his back. A kick from behind. The strong, stocky man (1.74 metres) falls down. Then all he can see are shoe tips and heels hitting him. He curls up, protects his face with his hands. The men continue to kick.
When Cohen is able to pull a knife out of his pocket, the attackers back away. “One,” he says, “already had a brick in his hand. I could have ended up as a corpse there …”
No one in the park intervened. When the police finally arrived, the perpetrators were gone. “It’s a cat-and-mouse game,” says Cohen, “when the police come in, they leave. Once the police are gone, they show up again.”
Now he has an urgent question for Andreas Geisel (55, Social Democratic Party): “Mr. Interior Senator, why don’t the police protect me in Görlitzer Park? Why are walkers beaten up who don’t want to buy drugs?”
A spokeswoman for the Berlin police confirmed the case, telling B.Z.: “On Wednesday, the Mobile Guard had a different location there.” All the beating victim was told by the officers who took the complaint was, “Don’t you know where you are? This is a dangerous place.”
Yarden Cohen knows this: “I have been here for eight years. My grandparents survived the Holocaust. I deliberately went from Israel to Germany. But here in Berlin, no one can protect me from drug dealers?” He shakes his head …