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Martyrdom

Appeared in Tagesspiegel in 2008

Von Autor Frank Brunner

The death of a friend was the occasion of Franz Robeis’ rebirth. His decision to live as a true Christian has made his life since then very difficult.

Franz Robeis makes a living offering pony rides to children at county fairs. He spends what little he has to take in the poor, the sick, the handicapped, runaways. His neighbors hate him. Some of them enough to burn down his barns repeatedly or beat him senseless. The perpetrators may be Neonazis and Robeis a leftist, but the police don’t see the crimes as politically motivated. Even they can’t stand him. They ticketed his wife for putting flowerpots on public property - the sidewalk next to their stoop. “Please don’t write only negative things about the village of Melkers,” he begs the reporter. “There are so many nice people here …”