Unfortunately, not much is known about the person Eugeniu Botnari. If you knew him, we would be very grateful for any further information about him that would help us to keep him in good memory.
In 2015 Eugeniu Botnari came to Germany from Moldova at the age of 33. Here he probably did not have his own permanent residence but stayed with friends and relatives. He left behind a woman who appeared as a joint plaintiff at the trial of his murderer. The only photos we know of him are police photos, on which the injuries on his head are clearly visible. These are not shown here due to the degrading nature of police photos.
Progression of events
On September 17, 2016, Eugeniu Botnari was observed in this Edeka branch in Berlin-Lichtenberg by branch manager André Siebert. Shortly afterward, Siebert took the 34-year-old into a locked room of the supermarket and accused him of theft. He put on his quartz gloves and beat the defenseless Botnari several times before kicking him and pushing him out a back door into the courtyard. The store manager filmed his act and commented on it with racist remarks. Later he sent the recording to the employees via socialmedia.
The following day, Botnari visited his family, marked by serious injuries. He described the incident and said that he had been beaten up “like a dog”. His family members advised him to see a doctor. But Botnari had to wait until a doctor, who treated him without a health insurance card, had consultation hours. A few days later he visited a friend. Here he complained of severe headaches and could not sleep all night. When the friend wanted to call an emergency doctor, Botnari left his apartment. Around September 19, Botnari went to the doctor, who immediately admitted him to the hospital. Here he died a short time later of a cerebral hemorrhage.
The court case, a state investigation
According to the Berlin advice center Reach Out, investigations against the Lichtenberg branch manager André S. were started at the end of January 2017 and legal proceedings were opened against him. Throughout the entire trial, the racist and social-chauvinist attitudes of the defendant and some witnesses became apparent. It became clear to all trial observers that similar acts had occurred several times before. For example, according to witnesses statements, the store manager regularly used his quartz sand gloves against those he recognized as alleged “foreigners. These were mostly homeless. The rule was to take them to a storage room, beat them there, and film this. On March 27, 2017, the court found the accused guilty of bodily injury resulting in death and sentenced him to 3 years and 3 months imprisonment. In the oral statement of the sentence, the presiding judge referred to the contempt for humanity, racism, and cynicism that the accused had shown when committing the crime.
The court was convinced that at least one blow by the branch manager was partly responsible for the death of Eugeniu Botnari.
Neither the court nor the subsidiary prosecution addressed the social racism and social chauvinism in the context of which the crime was made possible. In court, the crime was individualized and reduced to the individual attitudes of those involved in the crime.
In press texts, the social-chauvinist portrayal is particularly striking. Botnari is repeatedly reduced to the alleged crime of theft, thus implying partial guilt for his own death. Some reports get along almost without mentioning the name, instead, the victim is already accused in the headline of an act based on the perpetrator’s statement, which he could never be convicted of anyway. While the presumption of innocence is used for the offender, this does not seem to apply to Botnari. The fact that precisely the social chauvinism reproduced here was the cause of the crime is not addressed or reflected upon.
The first commemoration of Eugeniu Botnari took place in 2018. It was organized in cooperation with Aktiv in Lichtenberg, the VVN-BdA and local residents and supported by the CURA Victims’ Fund for victims of right-wing violence.
In 2020, a rally of the same groups took place again. The demand for the creation of a memorial for Eugeniu Botnari was raised, the naming of the station forecourt. Since then, the initiatives have been trying to put public pressure on those responsible to put their plans into practice. Several parties have promised the renaming of the station forecourt in their programs for the Lichtenberg district council elections in 2021.
- In memory of Eugeniu Botnari and Kurt Schneider – Anti-fascist commemoration in Lichtenberg (08.08.2021) – 17.08.2021 | 12 p.m. | Rudolf-Reusch-Straße 8 | Official dedication of the memorial plaque for Kurt Schneider by the district of Lichtenberg 17.08.2021 | 6 p.m. | Rudolf-Reusch-Straße 8 | Anti-fascist rally for the inauguration of the memorial plaque for Kurt Schneider 20.09.2021 | 5 p.m. | Eugeniu-Botnari-Platz at S+U Lichtenberg (exit Weitlingstraße) | Anti-fascist demonstration "In memory of Eugeniu Botnari - Nazis out of the neighborhood!" 06.10.2021 | 6 p.m. | City Hall Lichtenberg (Möllendorffstraße 6) | Antifascist commemorative walk on the anniversary of the death of Kurt Schneider… (Weiterlesen…)
- Commemorative brochures available for Lichtenberg (17.09.2020) – Since we started the commemoration work last year on the anniversary of the murder of Kurt Schneider with the rally on October 6, we have not been idle. Encouraged by the popularity and the networking in the "Nobody is forgotten" campaign, the commemoration work for Eugeniu Botnari was also resumed. We were fortunate to be able to network with initiatives, experts and committed people, whose experiences and expertise we put on paper together. The result is two brochures that thematically frame the memory of Eugeniu Botnari and Kurt Schneider and… (Weiterlesen…)