The German Jens Soering has spent the last three decades of his life in a prison in the United States. He was convicted of a double murder in 1985 by the parents of his then girlfriend. To this day, he ensures his innocence.
Now the diplomat's son should be released, expelled from the country and a ban on re-entry issued again. The German Embassy is in talks with the American authorities. When Söring leaves the United States, he is so open. (Read more about the case of Jens Söring here.)
Söring contacted prison journalists, gave interviews and made a documentary film about him. Over the years, he has built a circle of supporters and friends. One of these is Petra Hermanns.
The literary agent in Frankfurt am Main worked with the inmate on several books he wrote in prison. They sent the manuscripts back and forth. Hermanns never visited Söring in the United States, but he phoned regularly with him. Together with other friends he made the first preparations for his arrival in Germany. He is waiting for a call at any time.
To the person
From communication agency ways
Petra HermannsBorn in 1967, a literary agent in Frankfurt am Main, he met Jens Soering about 15 years ago. At that time he was looking for a book agent in Germany for custody in the United States. Through their joint work on his books, Hermanns and Soering have become friends.
Good king News: Mrs. Hermanns, you belong to the circle of supporters of Jens Söring. Since when did you suspect that a reversal could emerge in your case?
Petra Hermanns: We heard about the hearing of the Virginia Parole Board, the competent appeals committee, in August. Since then, we have known that a decision could be made by the end of the year. But when and how, we could only speculate about it – so the Monday night news came as a surprise to us all.
Good king News: How did you hear about Söring's release from prison?
Hermann: For this case, I set various Google alerts with his name, the state of Virginia or his detention center. In fact, a supporter of our circle of friends called me. We called a few minutes earlier because of Jens. Shortly after hanging up, my phone rang again. When I resumed, he said: "Now the time has come". At the same time, the first warning appeared on my phone.
Good king News: What did you do then?
Hermann: I was paralyzed with joy. At one point I jumped back and forth in the room. This was a long-awaited, unforgettable moment. Jens and I had only been on the phone the day before – and suddenly it was clear that we would see each other for the first time.
Good king News: What did they both talk about in the last phone call?
DPA / color film
Jens Söring has sought contacts with journalists in recent years. In 2016 the documentary "The Promise – First Love Lifelong" was published
Hermann: On our daily life. I told him about my cold, he talked about how he got over the week. Last time we called once a week. Sometimes I used to play music or discuss German politics. But he was always concerned with developments in his case. We waited for the decision of the procedure, played through the various scenarios and annoyed by the arbitrariness of the authorities and our impotence.
Good king News: Have you encouraged?
Hermann: Every phone call. Perhaps in your second life you will become Foreign Minister again, I told him jokingly. I was convinced that Jens would do it and I showed him again and again that here in Germany a future is waiting for him.
Good king News: Jens Soering is a doomed double murderer.
Hermann: I think Jens is innocent, I think he deserves to be sorry.
Good king News: What do you think of his future in Germany?
Hermann: He is a talented writer in my opinion and will continue to write books. I could also imagine that he could make a career as a speaker or coach. Who would be better suited to teaching others, not losing heart even in hopeless situations?
Good king News: What does Söring think of the professional plans you designed for him?
Hermann: He was pleased and allowed the idea of freedom. He finally wants to do what he wants.
Good king News: What don't you see now?
Hermann: He wants everything that makes a life in freedom. This includes trivial things, for example in sports. He dreams of not having to walk in circles for hours. He hasn't seen a forest for decades. How will it be for him to be able to run straight without limits? It's about everything that's normal for us.
Carlos Santos / AP
Jens Söring in 2003: after more than 30 years, the German is released from prison, but is not pardoned
Good king News: After more than 30 years in prison, it will certainly not be easy for him to catch on in everyday life.
Hermann: Theoretically, he knows all about life here. Jens is mentally strong and has worked for this moment. However, he will first have to face the new freedom. We want to support it as much as possible. It's already an apartment for him, we bought a smartphone for him – even if he has yet to learn how to use it. Other friends will help him with visits to the authorities and doctors, buy him a Bahncard and show him how to travel by train.
Good king News: What did you do for him?
Hermann: I bought him some clothes because I think I have a good taste in men's clothing, even if I'm not a professional. Obviously I have already sent him pictures of jackets, shirts and trousers. As soon as he is free, he should choose his own clothes. My only concern was that he would leave prison as soon as possible.
Good king News: So it's also basic things.
Hermann: Yes, for example, long for new glasses. It was just a model in prison. I don't want to take the pleasure out of choosing a new frame. However, I never take care of contact lenses if I don't want to wear his old glasses anymore.
Good king News: Do you already know when you will see Jens Soering now?
Hermann: No. At the moment there is no contact with him. It may be that he is simply put on a plane without knowing the destination or informing his friends in advance. In this case, it has one or two phone numbers on its head that it can call after landing. Of course it will be difficult without a mobile phone, but it is a communicative type. I said, "Ask a friendly hostess if she will lend you her phone for a second."
Good king News: Will you take it then?
Hermann: He wanted a small circle of friends at the airport to welcome him. As soon as it is clear on which day and in which place it lands, I leave everything, I lie down and leave.