JournalismPakistan.com April 12, 2014
HOEXTER, Germany: Hundreds of mourners packed a church in central Germany on Saturday to remember Associated Press photographer Anja Niedringhaus, who was killed on assignment in Afghanistan last week after a life spent between the chaos of war and the serenity of her rural birthplace.
Friends, family and colleagues of Niedringhaus packed Corvey Abbey in a medieval monastery in Hoexter. She was remembered for her ability to find humanity amid terrible events.
A priest read out a letter from AP special correspondent Kathy Gannon, who was wounded in the April 4 attack that killed Niedringhaus. Gannon, 60, and Niedringhaus, 48, often teamed up on assignments.
Gannon recalled some of Niedringhaus' last words: "I am so happy."
"You were so happy," the letter read. "Your heart knew no bounds. You wanted to help everyone."
A black casket topped with a row of white flowers was surrounded by wreaths near steps leading up to the altar, where a large photograph of Niedringhaus was placed. Bells pealed before the start of the service, and mourners sang "We Shall Overcome" and heard a rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow."
After the service, a procession of mourners walked a few kilometers along the Weser River to the local cemetery for her burial on a bright, sunny day.
AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll said Niedringhaus loved to capture calm when there was chaos all around her.
Niedringhaus joined the AP in 2002, and while based in Geneva worked throughout the Middle East as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. She was part of the AP team that won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News Photography for coverage of Iraq, among many journalistic awards and honors for her work. In 2006-07, she studied at Harvard University under a Nieman Fellowship.
Niedringhaus was killed when an Afghan police unit commander walked up to the car where she was sitting in the back seat and opened fire after yelling "Allahu Akbar," or "God is Great." She and Gannon were traveling in a convoy of election workers delivering ballots in the eastern city of Khost, under the protection of security forces, when the shooting happened. - AP
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