Poles bid farewell to truck driver killed in Ber­lin at­tack

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

BANIE:

The bells of a brown stone church rang across a Pol­ish vil­lage as hun­dreds of mourn­ers gath­ered yes­ter­day to bid farewell to a truck driver killed in the Ber­lin Christ­mas mar­ket at­tack.

Lukasz Ur­ban, 37, has been de­scribed as the first vic­tim of the at­tack on Dec. 19 that killed a to­tal of 12 peo­ple. He was wait­ing to de­liver a ship­ment of steel in Ber­lin when his truck was hi­jacked by the Tu­nisian per­pe­tra­tor of the at­tack. He was shot and his body was found in the cab of the truck.

Pol­ish Pres­i­dent An­drzej Duda joined Ur­ban’s fam­ily, friends and neigh­bors, gath­er­ing with them in the vil­lage church in Banie, near the border with Ger­many.

A day ear­lier, the pres­i­dent’s spokesman said that Duda would at­tend the fu­neral to ex­press his “huge re­spect for Lukasz Ur­ban, who in the eyes of many Poles is def­i­nitely a hero, a coura­geous per­son.”

Sev­eral other Pol­ish po­lit­i­cal of­fi­cials and a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Ger­man Em­bassy in Poland were also there. A let­ter from Prime Min­is­ter Beata Szydlo was read out in which she de­scribed her “great pain and sad­ness” and ex­pressed her sym­pa­thy to Ur­ban’s fam­ily.

“Poles have fallen vic­tim to ter­ror­ist at­tacks car­ried out by Is­lamic fun­da­men­tal­ists but the tragedy that hap­pened in Ber­lin is unique when it comes to the ruth­less­ness and cru­elty of the per­pe­tra­tor,” Szydlo said.

A bishop, Hen­ryk We­j­man, de­scribed Ur­ban as a man who was open to oth­ers and con­sci­en­tious in his work.

“His will­ing­ness to work and serve oth­ers awak­ened the trust of other peo­ple and open­ness to oth­ers,” We­j­man said in his homily.

As the Mass was wind­ing down the pres­i­dent bowed his head be­fore Ur­ban’s white cof­fin be­fore ap­proach­ing Ur­ban’s wife and teenage son, whis­per­ing to them, shak­ing their hands and kiss­ing the wife’s hand.

The cof­fin was then car­ried out of the church and placed in a hearse, which drove slowly through the vil­lage to a ceme­tery for burial, mourn­ers walk­ing with it. Be­fore and af­ter the burial, a group of truck driv­ers honked the horns of their trucks to honor Ur­ban. — AP

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