Death Of German Minister Schäfer: Was It Really A Suicide Due To ‘Virus-Economic Worries’?


Schäfer had been widely expected to succeed state premier, Volker Bouffier if he decided not to stand for re-election in 2023.

Frankfurt| The body of a man identified as Thomas Schäfer, the finance minister of the German state of Hesse, was found on a high-speed train line in the town of Hochheim between Frankfurt and Mainz, police confirmed Saturday.

Popular and well-respected, Schaefer had long been touted as a possible successor to Bouffier. Like Bouffier, Schaefer belonged to Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU party. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

The presence of a body on the tracks was first reported by witnesses to paramedics, who were unable to initially identify the remains due to the extent of the injuries.

Investigators said an investigation on the scene confirmed the identity of the man as Schäfer and that the death was likely a suicide. Police did not immediately release further details of the case.

The politician apparently left a note before taking his own life, German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported, citing sources close to the investigation. The note, according to the report, referenced Schäfer’s reasons for his apparent suicide.

According to media in the state of Hesse, the 54-year-old regularly appeared in public in recent days, for example, to inform the public about financial assistance during the coronavirus crisis.

Most recently, Schäfer had signed a contract with the Anne Frank educational institution to combat right-wing extremism. The literally: “Employees of the educational institution train current and prospective finance officials in how to recognize right-wing extremism, discrimination and anti-Semitism and how to deal with it.”

Less than a year ago, Walter Luebke, the administrative chief of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) for the Kassel area was assassinated by a far-right extremist.

The official was found shot in the head and lying in a pool of blood outside his home in the state of Hesse on 2 June.

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Mr Luebcke was a pro-immigration politician, known for supporting Angela Merkel’s policy to welcome refugees in 2015 when hundreds and thousands of people fled the war in the Middle East and sought shelter in Germany.

The suspect had a string of prior convictions for anti-migrant crime.

Among his convictions for violent crime, which date from the late 1980s to 2009, is one for a 1993 pipe bomb attack on a refugee shelter in Hesse.

In 2015 the independent politician Henriette Reker, who later become mayor of Cologne, survived being stabbed in the neck by a 45-year-old man identified as Frank S who was motivated by Ms Reker’s welcoming stance on refugees.

The late Hessian finance minister Thomas Schäfer was a close confidante of the killed government president Walter Lübcke. After Lübcke’s death, Schäfer said: “For me, Walter Lübcke was the ideal embodiment of northern Hesse: hardworking, down-to-earth, reliable, clear in opinion, binding and always there for others as a person, friend and politician. It is a mad loss for the region, our party and also for me personally – still cannot believe it. ”

There are frequent hate crimes, including mass shootings in Germany and many reports of a ‘Hit List’ by a far-right extremist group/ neo-nazi group who are not welcoming of refugees in the country.

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