After the verdict, Hans Wallow only drove home a few kilometers. He takes off his straw hat, which he wore in court as if he were a Hollywood star, and drops onto an armchair. Then he leans back and points through the open door towards the dining room. Because there he was, about five meters away. Lay the man who wanted to kill him. In any case, the former SPD member of the Bundestag Wallow, 80 years old, is convinced.

On December 18, 2019, as the 10th Grand Criminal Court at the Bonn Regional Court reconstructed in its verdict, 44-year-old Max H. stood in front of Wallow's house unannounced. He wanted to talk to him about politics, he said. He was holding a cloth bag in his hand, a pistol and a knife in it. Wallow replied that he had no time now, but H. didn't want to be fooled. He had a plan. And he wanted to pull it off. H. asked if he could briefly use the toilet. Wallow can hardly explain that he let him in the house. In any case, H. locked himself in the guest toilet. Wallow and his 38-year-old partner became suspicious. She got pepper spray. "Come out or I'll call the police," Wallow called. Twice.

Suddenly, H. stormed out of the bathroom and shouted: "Fucking politician, I'll finally catch one!" They roared, then Max H. pulled the revolver out of the bag and pulled the trigger. Wallow says: The perpetrator held the barrel directly to his head. The chamber later stated: It was probably the breast. It clicked twice. The sound still haunts him to sleep, says Wallow. He was very lucky. The perpetrator had loaded only two of the five chambers of his revolver and had found an empty one each time he pulled the trigger. What Wallow couldn't have known at the time: the weapon was a gas pistol. But for him it must have felt like Russian roulette.

The partner came to his aid, jumped at H. from behind and tried to knock him down. "It was a struggle for life and death," says Wallow. Max H. bit the woman's forearm until it bled. The scars can still be seen today. The three of them stumbled across the threshold where H. stumbled. He was now lying on his stomach on the floor. Wallow sprayed pepper spray on his face, then the attacker gave up. They called the police. "Where's the culprit?" Asked the 911 officer. "We're sitting on it," Wallow replied.

A German politician in his home. A hate-driven guest with a firearm. In Germany in 2020, these two sentences cannot be thought of without the name Walter Lübcke. The CDU politician and Kassel government president was allegedly executed on his terrace by a neo-Nazi just six months before the assassination attempt on Hans Wallow. The whole country spoke of the death of Walter Lübcke. Almost no one spoke about Hans Wallow.

The attack on Hans Wallow, who sat in the Bundestag for a total of twelve years between 1981 and 1998, was tried in just four trial days before the Bonn district court. State security had initially taken over the investigation because there was a suspicion of a political crime. However, during the searches, the officers found nothing that would indicate radical ideas. Max H. could not be located politically, neither left nor right. For people like him who just "hate" politicians, there is no ready-made drawer. But is that why it is less political? And: less dangerous?

The Bonn public prosecutor's office seems to see it that way. And did not accuse him of attempted homicide, but only of attempted dangerous bodily harm.

Max H. looks calm and concentrated in his black hooded sweater in the courtroom. It is difficult to interpret his emotions behind his thick glasses. But whoever listens to the witnesses in the court, the experts and investigators, not least himself, learns a lot about his life. His thinking. His beliefs.

It can certainly be said that this Max H. is a politically disappointed person. A deeply frustrated, bitter man. One who "cares for the social cohesion of society", as the presiding judge will later summarize in his reasoning for judgment.

It doesn't sound quite so harmless to the accused himself. Both in the police and in the court, Max H. speaks of "rotten elites", of a politician caste that cashes in instead of acting. Of people who, by doing nothing, would bring democracy and the whole planet to the grave.