Stuttgart. A group of around 40 school children who survived the hostage drama in the Russian town of Beslan in September 2004 visited Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG, Stuttgart, today. The children and young people saw the trainee workshop and the sports car manufacturer's museum in Zuffenhausen.
The group has been in Germany since May 23. They were invited by Europa-Park in Rust together with the Bundeskanzleramt (German Federal Chancellery) and the Bundesfamilienministerium (German Federal Ministry for Families). Porsche has paid the costs of the flights of EUR 18,000. "These children have suffered a horrific experience. We wanted to offer them a few hours of distraction and new impressions at Porsche. I hope that their stay in Germany will help these young people to lead normal lives again," said CEO of Porsche AG, Dr. Wendelin Wiedeking, explaining the sports car manufacturer's commitment.
The 8 to 18-year-olds watched the trainees at work in Porsche's trainee workshop while they milled metal, stitched leather seat covers, and practiced engine assembly. The young Russians were allowed to sit in the historiscal Porsche vehicles in the museum, including the winning car from the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1998 and a fire engine constructed by Ferdinand Porsche more than 90 years ago. "It was an enormous pleasure to see how open-minded and interested the young people were in our trainee work-shop and our sports cars," said Porsche's Head of PR Anton Hunger. "I was also surprised by the pull that our brand's vehicles have for young people in Russia," continued Hunger.
In the afternoon, the visitors traveled on to "Wilhelma" in Stuttgart. On Tuesday, the youngsters will go on an excursion to Alsace and Strasbourg where they will be received by the Council of Europe. They will then fly back to Beslan on Thursday.
The world was horrified when these young people were taken hostage in their school last summer. As a result of the massacre, more than 330 people lost their lives altogether, and a further 560 were injured – the victims were mainly children.
Note: Photos are available to accredited journalists in the Porsche press database on the Internet at http://presse.porsche.de .