Versione italiana | Search in site:

Lukasz Urban, the Righteous man from Berlin

the driver who tried to avert the massacre

Lukasz Urban's truck

Lukasz Urban's truck

A logistic problem. This is what caused the death of Lukasz Urban. After leaving on Friday from the hinterland of MIlan on board of his truck loaded with rolled metals, he arrived in Berlin on Monday about 7 o' clock in the morning. At that point he was told he would have to wait 24 hours before being able to unload, and he lost his temper.. he wanted to be home by Thursday to buy the Christmas presents. Thus he stopped in the German capital and decided to eat a kebab. About 3 o' clock in the afternoon he called up his wife to no avail, she called him back one hour later but this time it was Lukasz who didn't answer. Probably, over this time span Lukasz' truck had already been hijacked and used as a weapon to commit the massacre.

What happened then was reconstructed through the information released by the GPS. "The truck was started, stopped, then moved forward, and then back, as if someone had been trying to learn to drive. I knew there was something wrong” said Ariel Zurawski, cousing of the driver and owner of the company by which Lukasz was hired. Harrowing information, that show from the one hand the lacking preparation and the blatant improvisation, and on the other hand the hijacker's murderous resolve. The truck then definitevely was started again at 7.40, headed again for its final destination: the Christmas market of Breitscheidplatz.

Only thanks to the autopsy and the scars left on the corpse of Lukasz Urban, it was possible to get a glimpse of the horror that took place in the truck's cabin. His face is swollen, his corpse was tumefied and bloody, he reported numerous cut wounds and three bullet holes. In the last moments of his life, the driver would have opposed his assailant violently and with determination, he would have tried to use his sturdy building, 120 kg for one meter and eighty-three centimeters, to deviate the run of the truck. In fact, it would have been precisely this heroic deed to prevent the heavy vehicle from completing its run. The knife blows and gun shots, however, in the end would have wom

Lukasz Urban died at age 37, leaving a wife and a 17-year old son. He is the example of a Righteous, a Righteous by chance. Lukasz died suffering and aware of what was happening, but struggling until his last breath to try and rescue some strangers and prevent them from sharing his own fate. He became an example, probably without ever seeking this, and he reminds us that we are all called to fight against terror, from the simplest and trivial deeds to the most heroic ones. For all these reasons we demand that Lukasz be remembered with a tree in the Garden of the Righteous of Warsaw.

22 December 2016

Don’t miss the story of the Righteous and the memory of Good

Once a month you will receive articles and events selected by Gariwo Editorial Board. Please fill out the field below and click on subscribe.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Resistance against fundamentalism

Moderate Muslims in front of jihadist extremism

Valentina Colombo, Professor of Geopolitics of the Islamic world at the European University of Rome and curator of the collection of essays by Tarek Heggy The prisons of the Arab mind, says:

"The transition from fundamental principles of Islam to individual Muslims, is essential to be able to grasp the reality where the extremist interpretation of the Qur'anic text , which coesxists with personal faith of an individual. This is moving from the Islam in general to individual Muslims  -  we call these muslims the "Righteous". [...] it is necessary to trace and highlight those Muslims who struggle, even putting at risk their own lives, in the name of freedom of all human beings without if and buts. [...] "Righteous" in the Islamic world is the one who believes in freedom of religion and expression, those who are not deflected by ideologies that deprive man of objectivity in judging the Other. "Righteous" can be an intellectual, a politician, but also a simple person whose sensitivity, whose humanity prevail dominant ideology. in the contemporary Islamic world to defend a Christian or a jew, write a poem about the Holocaust, travel to Israel, and claim equal rights between men and women are increasingly risky. Unfortunately silence on national and international level does not protect the "righteous" in the Muslim world,
Telling the stories is the start of a list of "righteous"; it is crucial to help these people and to make sure that they are exemplary to others, giving courage. This way the ranks of "righteous" is being extended . We should fight together in the name of universal human rights regardless of ethnicity or religion. "

Featured story

Khaled al-Asaad

the keeper of Palmyra