An Israeli citizen who was found killed in the ruins of a Berlin church had approached the Jewish community last week asking for food and a place to sleep, a rabbi said Wednesday.
Rabbi Yehuda Teichtal told The Associated Press that the Israeli, who had suffered massive head injuries, was a “man in his early 20s who came to us during the day last Friday and didn’t have a place to sleep and didn’t have anything to eat.”
Teichtal, who is a community rabbi in Berlin and also the head of the Chabad Jewish Education Center in the city, said a fellow rabbi arranged a place to sleep for the man at a community center near Alexanderplatz — less than a kilometer from where the victim was found Sunday morning.
“We arranged everything for him, but then he didn’t show up again,” Teichtal said.
Israel’s embassy in Germany confirmed Wednesday that the man found in the ruins of the Franciscan monastery was an Israeli citizen.
The embassy said in a statement that its consul, Eyal Siso, had received confirmation of the man’s identity. It declined to release the victim’s name or age.
Berlin police said the man was found by passers-by in the early hours of Sunday with “massive injuries to his head.” Three people have come forward with information in the case, police said without providing further details.
Despite Germany’s past as home of the Nazis who organized the Holocaust of Europe’s Jews, Berlin has become a popular destination for Israeli tourists in recent years. Some 20,000 to 30,000 mostly young Israelis have moved to Berlin in the past few years.
In recent months, police have stepped up patrols around Alexanderplatz in an attempt to crack down on violent crime.