We recently wrote about some Mancunians helping a stricken German: well he's written back, and it's wonderful

We published this article on 9 November. It was an account from Jonathan Schofield about a German guest to the city that had taken a bad tumble. It revealed how Mancunians had sprinted to help him. 

"(Manchester) didn't just selflessly help me, but furthermore nurtured my faith in humanity."

Jürgen was on a tour looking at Manchester's world-signficant radical history. The tour also included information about his countryman, Friedrich Engels' twenty-two years in the city.

Without prompting from Confidentials, the story was picked up in Germany. This is Jürgen's response, translated by his son's partner. We have left it exactly as we received it. It's magnificent and moving. 

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Jürgen and his clan on one of Jonathan Schofield's tours Image: Confidentials

23 November 2022

Dear Jonathan,

Thank you for the account of our tour on your website and the appreciation and the admiration that you've expressed for the wonderful Mancunians. I have asked myself again and again how I could show my gratitude for the admirable willingness to help and the patience of the passers-by and have since regretted that I wasn't able to express it in a way I would have liked.

Perhaps, dear Jonathan, you could do that for me in case someone reaches out. I could also picture publishing the account in a newspaper within the city of Manchester. That's why I would like to add a few people who have taken over when you've brought the rest of the group – who naturally were equally shaken by the event – back to the hotel once everything was taken care of.

There was a young woman who – even though my sense of time hadn't been the best in that situation – had dealt with the ambulance for at least half an hour, thoroughly depicted my state and my symptoms, repeatedly checked back with me and my partner Ulrike and showed a lot of patience with my poor English speaking skills, all so that the ambulance could do a triage by phone.

Obviously, my accident wasn't the only one at that time and certainly not the most grave one at that and priorities had to be set.

Then there's the Uber-driver, who had taken me and my two companions to the hospital. He refused to be paid for it! That this type of job isn't a bed of roses, is well known in Germany too, so many thanks to him in particular!

At the emergency department of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, I thought that, in face of the crowded waiting room, I would have to wait at least till next morning. However, in this case too, there's been an efficient organisation, so that it was barely 10 minutes till admission and a first assessment. Then, after approximately 30 minutes, I was called to be examined by a nurse to evaluate the urgency of my case. Since I was roughly about 3 hours without neither a headache nor vertigo or other symptoms indicating a fractured skull and the appointed waiting time till I would be seen by a doctor was estimated to be around 5 hours, I decided to go back to the hotel.

We received a lot of advice so as to what my partner should pay attention to and in which cases I should return immediately.

Thus I would like to express my deepest admiration for these people who do such a phenomenal job despite unfavourable circumstances and bad wages (as it is the case in Germany at least). It is they who should receive our solidarity!

I would like to thank another person. When we intended to leave the hospital, we had to somehow get back to the hotel. So, calling a taxi it is. But how? We had neither a number to call nor an idea how to get ahold of one. So we asked one of the security guards in the waiting room of the MRI and since he wasn't a native speaker either, he immediately realised that his explanations were met with incomprehension. Without hesitation he promptly left his duty behind and took us to the freephone that allows you to call a taxi and made sure that the call my partner made was to be understood and a success. I hope he didn't have to face any repercussions for that.

All these people I would like to thank! You didn't just selflessly help me, but furthermore nurtured my faith in humanity.

In Manchester, the cradle of capitalism, there also grew the idea of solidarity of the people against cold profit-seeking. Keep it up!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

If getting in touch with these great people should be a success, I would like to invite them as well as all other Mancunians to the city of Wuppertal to take a tour with me through the former central of the textile industry, the “Manchester of Germany“ and the birthplace of Friedrich Engels.

Jürgen Handschick, Wuppertal

Header Image: Jai Redman’s head of Engels as a climbing wall at the University of Salford

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Jürgen Handschick is the gentleman with the black eye, first on the right. They're in Chetham's Library, Manchester Image: Confidentials

Read next: 'The kindness of strangers': a Manchester story

Read again: This City: Tower of Light wins, 18-storey pool and bloody Bridgewater Way cycle lanes

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