A New York fireman for 20 years, Victor Sailer is also a well-known figure as a
photographer throughout the world of track and field athletics. In that
capacity he has been shooting the real,- BERLIN MARATHON for US newspapers and
magazines since 1995. As soon as the Berlin organisers ascertained that Sailer
was safe after the attack last week, they set up a fund, to which they hope all
40,000+ participants in this years race on September 30, will contribute.
Berlin race director, Horst Milde said: "As an organization in a big
city, we understand the role of institutions like the Fire and Police
Departments. This is also a way to express our thanks to the Americans who
protected Berlin for such a long time in the Cold War. Our personal friendship
with Victor, a New York firemen made it even more fitting".
Sailer, who is based in Queens, had just come off night-duty last Tuesday
when the terrorist attacks on the WTC began. Only when he arrived home on Long
Island, and saw the first tower collapse did he become aware of the full impact
of the attack. "Its the worse fear, as a firefighter in New York City. We
attack the fire from the interior, and at that point I knew I had lost at least
100 fellow firefighters, I couldn believe it.
"Then a note came across the TV screen, for all firefighters to return
to NYC. When the second building had collapsed, all I could think is that we
probably at least doubled the tragedy. I worked for hours, through the day and
night. No one photo can describe it. Thousands and thousands of police
officers, firefighters, emergency medical workers, volunteer firefighters from
as far away as Sacramento, working together, bucket by bucket, to sift through
the rubble; construction and iron workers, with cranes, trucks and every
imaginable piece of equipment to move girders, beams, etc".
"When the organizers of the BERLIN MARATHON said they would take up a
charity for the NYC Firefighters Widows and Orphan fund, it was such an
overwhelming emotion that an event so far away from New York would think of
doing something so special to remember all of these dedicated, hard working
individuals, their familes and friends who will miss them".
The Berlin organisers have asked all runners to wear a black ribbon in
sympathy, and details of the special bank account which has been opened are:
Berliner Bank; code 100 200 00; account number 0845 339 000/ Feuerwehr/Polizei