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Germany

Is the truck used in the Berlin Christmas market attack headed for a museum?

The Bonn Museum of Contemporary History could picture putting on display the truck used in the deadly Berlin Christmas market attack. But visitors shouldn't count on seeing it anytime soon.

The December 19 attack on a Christmas market in Berlin that killed 12 people and left dozens injured is proof that "Islamic State" (IS) terror has reached German soil full-force.

At some point when investigations have concluded, the truck used in the Berlin attack might end up part of a collection on IS terror in one of Germany's most popular museums, Bonn's Museum of Contemporary History.

"The museum deals with matters of relevant contemporary history and collects objects accordingly," said museum spokesman Peter Hoffmann, adding that terror has become part of recent German history and "IS terror is relevant."

A matter of context

But Hoffmann told DW that the museum is by no means actively seeking to purchase the truck or even parts of it.

"We have not taken such an initiative, nor have we put in a request," he said.

The investigation into the terrorist attack is still ongoing with prosecutors focusing on 24-year-old Tunisian suspect Anis Amri. The vehicle also belongs to a Polish trucking company, Hoffmann said.

Still, if the issue of a purchase came up, it would be considered - and meticulously planned, Hoffmann added. "We would never glorify a terrorist by simply displaying the truck. You have to put things in context and take the victims into account."

The museum, which exhibits hundreds of thousands of objects of contemporary German history dating from 1945 to the present, is scheduled to close its permanent collection from March to December 2017 for reconstruction of the building's glass roof - an opportunity for curators to reorganize old exhibits and add new aspects.

 RAF gun (Axel Thünker, Haus der Geschichte, Bonn)

The radical leftist RAF gang was aso known as the Baader-Meinhof gang after two of its early leaders

While the Bonn museum has yet to acquire objects pertaining to IS terror, it already displays objects related to terrorism, including a gun used by the Red Army Faction militant group that terrorized Germany for decades. The museum also recently acquired parts of the facade of the World Trade Center in New York, and the ID card of a Deutsche Bank employee who died in one of the Twin Towers in the September 11 attack.

The arrival of over a million refugees is another aspect of German history that is sure to be included in a permanent exhibition. "We've been collecting objects for the past two years - you have to start collecting immediately, otherwise objects disappear - including children's drawings, backpacks, a photo series of an asylum-seeker's journey across the sea and a wall painting from a refugee shelter," Hoffmann said.

Let some time pass

Emails have poured into the museum with reaction to media reports this week suggesting a much more active interest on part of the museum in purchasing the truck, Hoffmann added. "Some people wrote they have mixed feelings, others called it an 'absurd idea.'"

Berlin MayorMichael Müller has meanwhile called a debate at this time about adding the truck to a museum collection "anything but dignified." It's too early to even think about such things, he told a Berlin newspaper on Thursday, adding that some of the victims are still hospitalized.

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