Nazi attack on synagogue in 2019: halle assailant tried to escape from custody

Stephan B. tried to attack the synagogue in Halle. Now he climbed over a wall in the correctional facility, but was caught again shortly afterwards.

Here still with police escort: the arrested Halle attacker Stephan B. in October 2019 Photo: Uli Deck/dpa

Halle bomber Stephan B. made a brief escape attempt. According to the Ministry of Justice of Saxony-Anhalt, he climbed over the fence of a recreation yard at Halle Prison on Pentecost Saturday. He then "moved around unsupervised inside the prison" for about five minutes. Then prison officials took him back into custody. Stephan B. did not offer any resistance.

Stephan B. had tried to storm the synagogue in Halle in October 2019, heavily armed. When this failed, he shot a passerby and a customer in a kebab restaurant. The 28-year-old broadcast his crime on the Internet. After fleeing for several hours, he was arrested by the police.

Since then, Stephan B. has been held in custody in Halle Prison under strict conditions. His room is monitored by camera and he is not allowed to move around outside this room without supervision. Minister of Justice Anne-Marie Keding (CDU) announced that they are now investigating why Stephan B. was still able to climb over the fence. The officials responsible for his supervision have been transferred. It will also be clarified why the incident was reported to the ministry only on Tuesday morning.

The left-wing faction in Saxony-Anhalt demanded a special session of the legal committee in the state parliament because of the escape attempt. Henriette Quade, the Left’s expert on internal affairs in Saxony-Anhalt, called the incident "inconceivable". "It must be urgently clarified how this could happen, why the right-wing terrorist was unobserved and why the Ministry of Justice and the public are only now being informed about this," she said via Twitter.

New threats against Halle synagogue

Stephan B. is expected to be tried at the Magdeburg Justice Center starting July 21. However, the indictment of the Federal Prosecutor’s Office has not yet been admitted. There, the right-wing extremist is accused of two counts of murder and 68 counts of attempted murder for the attempted attack on the well-attended synagogue and several passers-by. A court spokesman could not yet tell the taz on Wednesday whether the incident in the correctional facility will have an impact on the trial and the security concept there.

Only on Tuesday, unknown persons had placed a swastika made of cellulose on the sidewalk in front of the Jewish community in Halle, according to police. The same incident had already occurred on Sunday. Another Jewish community in Halle also received a threatening letter last week. The police are investigating all incidents.