According to confidential police messages and emails obtained by the newspaper, authorities in Cologne sent a message to the State Ministry of the Interior in Dusseldorf at 1:21 pm on New Year’s Day, about a “Major Event.”
“The content is highly explosive – because even then it was clear that the event was the kind of mass crime committed by large groups that had not happened before in this scale in Germany, or in Europe,” Express.de wrote.
“Rape, sexual assault, theft and robberies have been committed by large groups of foreigners,” the authorities in Cologne informed the interior ministry.
“Up to now we know of 11 attacks, mainly on young women, committed by groups of 40 to 50 people during New Year’s Eve celebrations at the city’s train station square,” the message continued, Express.de reported.
“The women were surrounded by the groups, groped through their clothing, were robbed and had jewelry stolen,” and the police said they knew of one incident of rape.
“The groups of perpetrators were consistently described by their victims as North Africans aged 17-28. Investigations are continuing. There are expected to be further reports during the course of the day.”
The report is “incredible,” Express.de wrote, and even more incredible was the response from the State Office for Central Police Services (LZPD) in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), part of the state’s interior ministry.
The LZPD made a telephone call to the police to request, “At the wish of the Ministry,” that the message be “canceled,” or the term “rape” erased.
Express.de reported that confidential police memos make reference to the phone call, including correspondence between deputy police chief Heidemarie Wiehler and the state director for criminal policing Dieter Schurmann.
On Wednesday a spokesman for NRW Interior Minister Ralf Jager denied that the ministry had ordered the message to be deleted, and claimed instead that the subject of the phone call had been the “coordination” of operations between the Cologne police and the state police authority.