Wiesbaden – Hesse’s Prime Minister Volker Bouffier (CDU) does not want to spend much time deciding on his successor after the death of Finance Minister Thomas Schafer (CDU). There will be a timely decision, said a government spokesman in Wiesbaden on Monday. Until then, State Secretary Martin Worms would lead the official affairs in the Ministry of Finance. There will be an appropriate funeral service for shepherds at a later date. Events with a large number of people are currently not allowed due to the protective measures against infection with the coronavirus.
Two days after Schafer’s death, shock and grief continued to be the focus of Hessian state politics. The 54-year-old shepherd was found dead on a railroad track on Saturday. According to investigators, everything indicates that the minister has committed suicide. A spokesman for the police confirmed this stand on Monday in Wiesbaden, without providing any further details.
The employees in the Wiesbaden Ministry of Finance can register in a condolence book. A table with a candle and flowers is ready for this, alongside a photo of Schafer with black ribbon was placed. Since many people worked at home because of the Corona crisis, there is also the possibility that the employees send their words by email, said a ministry spokesman.
The sheets should then be printed out and added to the condolence book. Schafer was considered a very popular boss. For mourners who do not work in the ministry, an extra condolence table is set up at the entrance to the building. Due to the corona pandemic, visitors are currently not allowed in the house.
Bishop Peter Kohlgraf of Mainz expressed dismay at Schafer’s sudden death. “His tragic death makes me and many people in the diocese of Mainz sad and stunned,” he wrote to Bouffier in a letter of condolence. “He was a highly competent politician, who shaped financial policy with great innovative strength and extraordinary commitment,” says the letter published by the diocese. Schafer maintained close contact with representatives of the Hessian dioceses and always showed personal interest in church issues. The diocese of Mainz extends to about two thirds in Hesse.
The bishop of the Evangelical Church of Kurhessen-Waldeck, Beate Hofmann, was also shocked in a letter of condolence to Bouffier that a person no longer saw a way out and thus left life. According to a message from the church, Hofmann sent another very personal letter of condolence to the widow. The Hessian Association of Towns and Municipalities, the Advisory Board for Foreign Nationals as well as Frankfurt’s Mayor and Treasurer Uwe Becker (CDU) expressed deep mourning for the Minister’s death.