After a transfer of 300 million euros from German state-owned bank Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau to Lehman Brothers on Monday, just before Lehman's meltdown, German account holders are in a panic; some fear runs on the bank.
Germans frightened by global financial turbulence are turning to therapists, running to their banks and facing unwanted reminders of their history even though their direct exposure to the turmoil is limited.
The financial crisis has been dominating German news broadcasts and headlines all week, fuelling a wave of angst. Conversations at the water cooler and on commuter trains invariably turn to worries over jobs, mortgages and savings.
"There's a very high degree of uncertainty out there right now," said Gerrit Grahl, a psychotherapist in
Grahl got many new patients after
"It's a strange feeling," said Grahl, whose office stays open until midnight as a service for bankers and managers. "I had one banker in for an appointment last night at 11 p.m. and he told me to get ready for more colleagues ready to come in."
"These are motivated, hard-working professionals trying to maintain composure but are actually having severe problems. They say everything's falling apart and they're losing control but have to keep a stable appearance. It's eating them up."
Germans are especially sensitive to financial troubles.
The hyper-inflation of the 1920s
"Certainly there are fears running deep in
Despite their limited exposure to the crisis, they were rocked by news that state-owned Kreditanstalt fuer Wiederaufbau (KfW) bank made an ill-timed 300 million euro ($426 million) transfer to Lehman Brothers on the day it filed for bankruptcy protection.
Winkler said KfW's move was unfathomable for many Germans.
"It's an incredible scandal, just shocking," he said.
Winkler said the fact that Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck and Axel Weber, president of
An executive at a large chain of German savings banks in
"We've never seen anything like this," he told Reuters. "Some of the customers are demanding a guarantee in writing."
Ordinary Germans admit they are becoming unhinged by the steady drumbeat of "banking crisis" reports on the news.
"It's serious this time," said Dieter Koch, a 52-year-old from
Date created : 2008-09-19