As he prepares to testify at a marathon trial during the Paris terrorist attacks on November 13, 2015, Bataclan survivor David Fritz Gopinger spoke to France 24 about what he went through that indescribable night and what he witnessed as a witness. How will he face the accused?
When asked how he has been feeling since then? The biggest test In modern French History Opened on September 8, Gopanger expressed relief: “I really thought it would get worse,” the 29-year-old said by telephone.
Gopinagar went to a concert. We Hard rock band Eagles of Death Metal at the East Bata Clan Concert Hall. Paris We November 13, 2015., And found himself held hostage by 10 other people – two. Islamic State Group terrorist Who stormed the venue with another. Jihadi Guppinger, a gunman who killed 90 people, was finally released thanks to a French operation. PoliceResearch and Intervention Brigade (BRI)
IS group jihadists killed 40 more people in and around Paris on November 13, 2015, in coordinated attacks on restaurants, bars and the Stade de France football stadium just outside the city.
For Gopangar, there is a kind of ritual every week. Trial. When he goes to see it unfold at the Palace de Justice in central Paris, he finds a “basic group” of people he knows, including relatives of those killed in the attacks. And leaders of civil society groups.
“It’s a kind of community, we exist for each other,” Gopinger said, highlighting the importance of this support in a community of people who have experienced the November 13 attacks and are “breaking from time to time.”
He needed to take a step back from the “once or twice” trial so that he could take action on what was happening. “I allow myself to follow the hearing in my own way,” he said. Gopinagar also hears trials using a live audio streaming platform specifically designed for victims of attacks.
Gopanger was 23 years old when he went through the Bataklan attack – an experience he recounted in his memoirs. One day in our lives. (“A Day in Our Lives”), published in 2020. In the book, he describes in detail the insightful trial of being held hostage and waiting for the police until the BRI finally enters. In his memoirs, Gopinger also described the difficult weeks and months that followed: a sense of home for his native Chile, his fight against post-traumatic stress disorder, and his November 13 survivors. A sense of empathy and becoming a French citizen in July 2017.
Gopinger returned in early September to write about his experience, writing a series of posts for the news website France Info – looking at the events of each day, the people he meets and his experiences. What they describe.
A life ‘bad’
Gopanger, a prolific photographer, also posts photos of other victims as they participate in the trial – as well as the provocative scenes they see in the corridors of the Palace of Justice. “I am trying to present a different perspective from a journalist or a victim,” he said.
“When my book was published, I realized that the written word has a special power that is very different from the power of photography, in which I am more proficient,” said Gopinger. “My approach was to tell the story as the case proceeds from three different angles – the author, the photographer and the victim.”
In this “log book” he is composing day by day. Gopangar never mentioned the names of the accused, leaving it to the journalists. Instead, he writes about those who took a stand, including the witnesses and loved ones of those who perished on this terrible night. “I admire the people who have amassed all the courage to stand up to the accused. […] The language of pain, trauma, courage, love and strength is pushed to its limits – and the courtroom becomes a vessel for collective memory in which the voices of victims can be heard. Following the events of the day at the Palace de Justice via audio link.
Before speaking to France 24, Gopinger had just left Paris for a long weekend, getting ready for his moment at the Witness Stand on October 19. He was preparing it with his wife Doris.
“I don’t want to talk about the latter,” he said. I want to focus on this event with my memories. I have a vision for photography. I want an organized process. I do not want the accused to enjoy the pain of me or my wife.
The trial is expected to continue until a final decision is made in May 2022. By the end of the process, Gopinger intends to devote full time to preserving memories of what happened on November 13, 2015.
But he still gives himself time to think – knowing that one day he will have to “hang up the phone” and step back from the media. The former bar manager will then decide what to do with the rest of his life, which was brutally “spoiled” by the events of that night in Bataklan, as he put it.
Memories of November 13, 2015 will always be with him – something he tattooed in Roman numerals on his left arm and wrote on his body: XIIIXIXV. Finally, the “V” is something he points out that he – along with four friends who were also in Bataklan – survived the massacre that killed 90 people.
This article has been translated. Original in French.