SHARE
COPY LINK

CRIME

Germany to investigate suspected 417 km/h Autobahn racer

Car-mad Germany may be known for its speed limit-less Autobahns, but a Czech businessman's suspected 417 kilometre-per-hour (260 mph) drag down a stretch of motorway has run into trouble with local law enforcement.

A sports car speeds down the Autobahn
A racing car speeds down the Autobahn. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/Maserati | Lorenzo Marcinno

The prosecutor’s office in Stendal in the northern state of Saxony-Anhalt said it had launched a probe into a potential illegal race over the incident.

The wealthy sports car owner from the Czech Republic posted videos of the drive in a Bugatti Chiron on YouTube, bringing attention to the incident.

“We thank God for the safety and good circumstances”, Radim Passer wrote in the video description on his channel.

Some of the videos display a virtual speedometer which reaches 417 km/h on a stretch of motorway between Berlin and Magdeburg, to the west of the capital.

READ ALSO: German Autobahns to remain speeders’ paradise as parties rule out limits

While the recordings were made in the middle of last year, the videos were only recently posted online but have since been viewed millions of times.

In response to comments that said the drive was irresponsible and dangerous, Passer said he had had “good visibility” and highlighted his Bugatti’s braking power.

Highway police initiated an investigation after the feat was reported widely across different media.

The results were handed over to the prosecutor’s office, which began a legal assessment of the incident.

According to the criminal code, a solo drive can still be classed as a prohibited race if the driver “advances at an inappropriate speed and in a manner that grossly violates the traffic code and is reckless.”

Germany’s Transport Minister Volker Wissing condemned the driver’s attitude, noting that while there is no speed limit, the car should always be “under control”.

Others have used the incident to make the case for introducing a legal limit, including the premier of Lower Saxony state, Stephan Weil, who told Spiegel magazine there were “many good reasons” to cap speed on motorways, including the environment and safety.

READ ALSO: Majority of Germans ‘want Autobahn speed limit’

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CRIME

Ukrainian Holocaust survivors find safe haven in Germany

Borys Shyfrin fled as a young child, along with other members of his Jewish family, from the Nazis.

Ukrainian Holocaust survivors find safe haven in Germany

More than eight decades on, the Ukrainian Holocaust survivor has been forced from his home once more – but this time he’s found a safe haven in Germany.

Shyfrin is among a number of Ukrainian Jews who lived through the Nazi terror and have now fled to the country from which Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich launched its drive try to wipe Jews out.

He never wanted to leave Mariupol, where he had lived for decades. But Russia’s brutal assault on the Ukrainian port city made it impossible to stay.

“There was no gas, no electricity, no water whatsoever,” the 81-year-old told AFP from a care home in Frankfurt, recalling the relentless bombardment by Moscow’s forces.

“We were waiting for the authorities to come… We waited for a day, two days a week.”

Bodies of people killed by bombs and gunfire littered the streets, recalled Shyfrin, a widower who had lost contact with his only son.

“There were so many of them… no one picked them up. People got used to it – no one paid attention.”

People scraped by finding what food they could, with water supplied by a fire engine that made regular visits to his neighbourhood.

Shyfrin’s apartment was damaged during the fighting in Mariupol – defended so fiercely that it became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance – and he spent much time sheltering in the cellar of his building.

Became homeless

The elderly man eventually left Mariupol with the aid of a rabbi, who helped the local Jewish population get out of the city.

He was evacuated to Crimea, and from there, travelled on a lengthy overland journey through Russia and Belarus, eventually arriving in Warsaw, Poland.

After some weeks in Poland, a place in a care home was found in Frankfurt.

In July, he was transported to Germany in an ambulance, with the help of the Claims Conference, a Jewish organisation that has been aiding the evacuation of Ukrainian Holocaust survivors.

Shyfrin, who walks with the aid of a stick, is still processing the whirlwind of events that carried him unexpectedly to Germany.

The outbreak of war was a “very big surprise”, he said.

“I used to love (Russian President Vladimir) Putin very much,” said Shyfrin, who is a native Russian speaker, did military service in the Soviet Union, and went on to work as a radio engineer with the military.

“Now I do not know whether Putin is right to be at war with Ukraine or not – but somehow, because of this war, I have become homeless.”

Shyfrin was born in 1941, in Gomel, Belarus.

When he was just three months old, his family fled to Tajikistan to escape German Nazi forces who were occupying the region.

Many of Belarus’s Jews died during the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed a total of six million European Jews.

In neighbouring Ukraine, the once-large Jewish community was also almost completely wiped out.

After the war, his family returned to Belarus and Shyfrin completed his studies, did military service, and settled in Ukraine, then part of the Soviet Union, in the mid-1970s.

“Traumatised”

The pensioner seemed philosophical about the twist of fate that has forced him to leave his home.

“Well, it’s not up to me,” he said, when asked about having to flee war for the second time in his life.

His most immediate concerns are more practical – such as how to access his money back home.

“I can’t even receive my honestly earned military pension,” he said.

He recently moved to a new care home run by the Jewish community, where there are more Russian speakers.

As well as helping Shyfrin on the final leg of his journey, the Claims Conference provided him with financial assistance.

It has evacuated over 90 Ukrainian Holocaust survivors to Germany since the outbreak of the conflict, a break from the organisation’s usual work of ensuring that survivors get compensation and ongoing support.

The body had long been helping to run care programmes for Holocaust victims in Ukraine.

But, as the conflict intensified, it became clear such care programmes could no longer be sustained, particularly in the east, said Ruediger Mahlo, the Conference’s representative in Germany.

“Because many of the survivors needed a lot of care and could not survive without this help, it was clear we had to try to do everything to evacuate (them),” he told AFP.

Getting them out involved huge logistical challenges, from finding ambulances in Ukraine to locating suitable care homes.

For many of the frail Holocaust survivors, it can be a struggle to grasp the fact that they have found refuge in Germany, said Mahlo.

They are fleeing to a country that “had in the past persecuted them, and done everything to kill them,” he said.

“Certainly, they are traumatised,” he said.

SHOW COMMENTS