Kansas City man from Germany weighs in on Berlin terror attack

Posted at 4:14 PM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 17:54:47-05

When Toby von der Heyde sent his 15-year-old daughter to Germany for a year-long cultural exchange, his biggest fear was that she'd get homesick.

That was until Monday when a truck deliberately plowed through a crowded Christmas market.

"I am very sad but I also feel that this type of attack is occurring on so many places right now," he said. "You're not as excited or easily excited as you used to be years ago when such things were rare." 

While his daughter and other family who live in Germany were not among them, his heart still aches.

"Just as [they were] safe plenty of people weren't," said von der Heyde. "I read first it was nine people who were injured. Then it went to 48 and nine were dead. Now 12 are dead and I'm sure that's not the last we have heard."

And it's also not the last attack of this kind, von der Heyde worries. ISIS claimed responsibility for the similar attack in Nice, France this past summer.

"The effect this is supposed to have is it's supposed to scare people, but we want the opposite," he explained. "We want people to go places and live their life and not live in fear, knowing that that is exactly what people like these terrorists want."

And just as he refuses to live in fear, von der Heyde said he also refuses to hate an entire group of people because of the acts of a few individuals.

"We have to maintain that as a whole, these refugees mean well," said von der Heyde. "They are happy we are helping them. We should not be guided by fear. We should stay rational and embrace refugees because that is the Christmas spirit."

And while his spirit is bruised, it's not broken, something von der Heyde says is true for the whole of Germany.



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