The son of a former German president has been stabbed to death while giving a lecture in Berlin. Richard von Weizsäcker’s son, the first president of reunified Germany, was attacked after delivering a medical lecture at Schlosspark Hospital on Wednesday and at died at the scene, the Guardian reports.
Fritz von Weizsäcker, a doctor and owner of a private clinic in the German capital, had just given a lecture on liver disease. According to witnesses the attacker, who was sitting in the front row, lunged at Weizsäcker and stabbed him repeatedly.
A police officer who was not on duty tried to stop the attack and was seriously injured.
About 20 people attending the lecture were able to stop the attacker as he tried to flee the venue. Despite the efforts of the medical team, Fritz von Weizsäcker eventually died in the hospital, where he was the head of the gastroenterology department.
A 57-year-old man was arrested and interrogated by police, who said he had no previous criminal record and suffers from “acute psychiatric illness” according to reporting in DW.
German magazine Der Spiegel says the attacker wanted to take revenge on the von Weizsäcker family for their involvement in supplying chemicals used in the Vietnam war.
Between 1962 and 1966, Richard von Weizsäcker was president of the pharmaceutical company Böhringer, which was the target of criticism for providing a herbicide used by the US Army to manufacture Agent Orange and Napalm, which it deployed during the Vietnam War.
Weizsäcker was one of four children of Richard von Weizsäcker, a former leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Von Weizsäcker was mayor of West Berlin from 1981 to 1984 – during the Cold War – and served as German president from 1984 to 1994. He passed away in 2015.