Postcard from... Freiberg


Click to follow
The Independent Online


Set in the heart of East Germany’s Ore mountains, Freiberg is known as home to the world’s oldest mining university and for its Mormon Temple, which attracts followers from all over Eastern Europe. But thanks to local TV journalist and driving instructor, Werner Helfen, Freiberg is suddenly enjoying media attention for a bizarre reason. Mr Helfen, 56, whose surname, incidentally, translates as “help”, was there during the first video shoot for his motoring programme Werner Kann Helfen (Werner Can Help) in which he seeks to warn drivers of the perils of Freiberg’s accident black spots. As he was standing in front of a particularly dangerous intersection, telling viewers about its inherent dangers, behind him two cars just happened to smash into each other to illustrate his point right on cue. Mr Helfen retained his composure – “Car accidents happen all the time. Perhaps I’m just used to it,” explained the motoring guru. Needless to say, the first programme in the series, which normally gets an audience of less than 15,000, has since gone viral, with hundreds of thousands viewing it online. Car crashes involving only two vehicles don’t often make the news, but the one on Mr Helfen’s show has been reported by every major news outlet.