At the 2. October 2015 appeared in the MIRROR a Text from Claas Relotius in the section “A message”. Under the Heading of “loss” was the line: “A refugee from Syria takes place 1000 Euro on the street and gives the money to the German police.”

Relotius tells the story of a young Syrian, who is on the road a Savings account, two 500-Euro Bills. The young man who wrote Relotius at the time, name is Mahmoud Abdullah. This have briefly thought about what he could do with the money; then he went to the police and have handed in the money. The owner of the Passbook have reported, and Abdullah, reward offered. Abdullah had rejected. In Syria, so his reasoning is not to be honest, “to be a good and righteous person”.

A bitter poor Syrian refugee, the place 1000 Euro on the street that brings to the police and not even a finder’s fee will? This sounds a lot like a story that is too good to be true.

all The more since it became known that Relotius invented parts of many of his texts. Now the truth of all its texts is called into question. And the story of Mahmoud Abdullah, the honest Syrians, especially in the social networks of right-wing circles.

The operation is recorded in the files

But Relotius was not the only and certainly not the first, the story reported. To the public by a press release from the Aachen police. There, the process is on record, the authority confirmed at the request of the MIRROR.

On the 20. July 2015 to 14 at entered, therefore, “a man who could only speak very broken German,” the police station in Alsdorf. He handed over to the officials of 1000 Euro in the two Seem to be à 500 euros and refused to self-reward. The police recorded his details, confirming his identity.

Relotius learned of this story, because shortly afterwards, the news Agency dpa and a number of media reported about it – Relotius was a message of the “süddeutsche Zeitung”. He worked for the short LEVEL Format “A message”. Thus, the piece was characterised as a reaction to previous reporting: Abdullah’s story had been reported at this time already in several articles.

the author of many stories about the Syrians Mahmoud Abdullah Beatrix Oprée, editor of the “Aachener Zeitung/Aachener Nachrichten”. She met with Abdullah for its first report, had. after several times to contact him and his family, and knew of events, which should also give Claas Relotius later in his MIRROR-history

In the summer of 2015 Relotius turned to you to get the contact to Abdullah. Oprée: “He must have then left for a while time, because he enters into in his article on the reunification of the family. Abdullah’s wife Shirin was still in Germany when the first article appeared about the case.”

The case Relotius opinion of the editor-in-chief met with New Details about the discovery of the affair, The answers to the important questions, such As Juan Moreno was able to uncover the fraud, such As the MIRROR backup system to the limits Interview with the last Survivor of the “White Rose” affected residents of Fergus Falls comment to the fakes A reconstruction in their own right, such As the MIRROR on the fakes reactions from readers and journalists

Relotius article in the MIRROR based not only on the knowledge of the first messages, but on a significantly later point in time responding. The contents of the Relotius article can confirm Oprée for the most part. She also notes, however, that operations appear to have been shown in abbreviated form.

Where Relotius’ history of the, the Oprée itself based on conversations with Abdullah recorded, differs, especially the depiction of the escape of the family of Abdullah, who followed him in a time interval:

Oprée had learned that Abdullah’s wife Shirin is not alone, but with family accompaniment fled. The contact between Abdullah and his wife demolition during the escape several times, can confirm, but not the temporal relations. In the Relotius article, the uncertainty about the whereabouts of his family is paired with the Fund of 1000 Euro a emotional climax of the text. That Abdullah found the money, just as he had lost contact with his wife and was about to lose his hope, therefore, is a dramatization. How and in which way, Abdullah and his wife ultimately came together, is also shown in a shorter form.

In total, to find that the presentation of the case of the “honest Syrian” by Claas Relotius in the right way, smoothed in Details but possibly, and perhaps also from a dramaturgical reasons, fined was reduced.

the Following facts are assured:

Abdullah was held on 20. July 2015 the 1000 euros on the road. He brought the money to the police. He refused a reward. The officials found this so impressive that you made it in a press release to the public.

Mahmoud Abdullah does not want to talk at the moment. “He keeps his German is still not good enough,” says Oprée to the subtleties in a newspaper article can be adequately assessed. In addition, more than three years had passed since.

With the media Abdullah does not want to talk to currently. Beatrix Oprée has contacted him since Thursday on several occasions and also a question of the LEVEL transmitted. He has decided to let his answer you submit.

Oprée: “Mahmoud told me that he can’t remember exactly if it was Claas Relotius, in all cases, someone from the MIRROR was there. Most of the conversations had led his brother-in-law.” In the meantime, Oprée also had contact to Abdullah’s brother-in-law: He and Abdullah want to go through the article in the coming days.

We know that the story about Mahmoud Abdullah in the core is true. What Relotius told in his Version of the story, it can have a direct conversation with Mahmoud Abdullah and his brother-in-law. We currently cannot exclude, however, that he used from other sources. Because all the Essentials, which you can see in the Relotius article, you could read the past in the articles of Beatrix Oprée in the “Aachener Zeitung/Aachener Nachrichten” – and more.

Should decide, Mahmoud Abdullah, to complement his view of things in more detail, we will make also the public. Until then, is to determine: The defamation of his Person in social networks and by the protagonists of the right of the spectrum devoid of any Foundation. The story of the honest Syrians is and remains true.

Discuss it here! MIRROR ONLINE MIRROR-Forum Discuss about the case Relotius

Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.