After almost two months in custody on Mallorca, the cone brothers from the Münsterland are free again. About a day that will last but not least be remembered. By Ingo Wohlfeil, Eva Rullmann, Michael Wrobel and Peter Felder

A drama that began on May 20 ended shortly before midnight. That Friday, 13 bowling friends from the Münsterland traveled to Mallorca for a weekend, which was involuntarily extended to 56 days for some of them. Shortly after their arrival, the men are said to have set fire to the roof of a restaurant with cigarettes, which burst into flames. They were then arrested. The last eight bowlers were allowed to start their way back to freedom on Saturday night.

The pastor is beaming. “Today is a good day,” he says. “I’m celebrating my 27th wedding anniversary and at the same time the boys are finally free. What could be nicer?” To celebrate the day, he put on the jersey of his favorite club, Eintracht Frankfurt. There is Holmfried Braun, 54, member since 1974. There is also something very special as a wedding meal: a bag full of McDrive burgers that he and his wife, Pastor Martjje Mechels, eat in the blazing sun in front of the barren prison courtyard .

Braun and Mechels are pastors of the Protestant community in Mallorca. One of their tasks is looking after the prisoners and they have performed this task very intensively in the last two months.

From day one, he and his wife took care of only 13, and eventually eight, young men from the Münsterland who were accused of serious arson in Mallorca. Now the pastors have come to the end of their journey. The mission is almost over.

“The first two weeks were the hardest”

A small group of people gathered early Friday evening in front of the “Center Penitenciario”, the prison in Palma, including the German Consul Wolfgang Engstler, 53, lawyer Maria Barbancho, 31, and three relatives of the prisoners. The D. couple with their son Tim’s girlfriend from Albachten.

“The first two weeks were the hardest,” says Father D. “A lot of nonsense was spread there.” Despite his joy, you can see how stressed he has been over the past two months. He keeps trying to grab his heart. The situation weighs on him. What makes him happy: “The sympathy from all over Germany was simply overwhelming!”

“We’re just waiting for the court secretary, who has to take the decision to release him from prison,” says Consul Engstler. This still happens in Mallorca on the non-digital official channels. And that can take time.

From the Hipodrom de Pardo horse race track opposite, rock music echoes up to the prison walls. The sun sets. Nothing happens for hours. Out of boredom, the family members take pictures of themselves in front of the Guardia Civil’s cars, waiting reporters turn into chain smokers, the carers report on the exemplary behavior of the Germans during their stay in prison. “The warden jokingly said they could stay longer!” They worked on the food distribution, cleaned the windows, did everything without a murmur. There is also said to have been a strong group cohesion, where the strong supported the weak. In the last few meters, one of the eight caught Corona, but with a very mild course.

At 10:57 p.m., a man wearing a face mask appeared on the prison grounds. It’s Tim D. He’s holding a red beach bag in his hand. Inside his belongings. He signs his cease and desist papers. Two minutes later he is free. His parents and his girlfriend run towards him. Tim falls into his girlfriend’s arms and greets his parents warmly. Photos are taken, a live video for the friends who have been at home, spellbound, looking forward to their release. Father D. asks for your understanding that they don’t want to say anything to the reporters present. “It’s just too emotional a moment. We ask for your understanding,” he says politely but firmly.

Then the two Civil Guard officers asked everyone present to leave the prison premises. It is already late, for safety reasons you should please wait in front of the entrance. And so there are the parents, the consul, the pastor and Tim at a noisy freeway entrance to wait for the seven remaining. The situation is by no means characterized by sheer joy, it seems tense when the next two boys leave the prison wing fifteen minutes later. They are pale. Her skin shines from the heat that is gripping all of Mallorca. Everyone hugs in silence. Then the two get into one of the three cars provided. Cell phones are handed out immediately. To call home.

Mallorca: No cigarette to freedom

Gradually more freedmen come out of prison. It is 11:51 p.m. when the last of the eight is greeted with joy. Quiet and sincere. “They’re a bit upset. They didn’t find out until dinner that they were coming out.” says Pastor Brown. And then waited five hours. And while they were treated well in prison, the situation on release was rough, rough and tough, reports one onlooker. “That’s why the boys are not as euphoric as one would have expected.”

Pastor Braun says goodbye: “We’ll all see each other for the service. Sunday, at 11.30 a.m. in Cala Ratjada”. He laughs and gets in the car. Then they all drive away together. As RTL found out, they went straight to the vicarage on Playa de Palma, where the eight will also spend the night. But first there was a toast with a beer and freedom was celebrated. According to RTL information, no smoking should have taken place.

On Saturday morning, the cone brothers returned to their homeland. The German consul on the holiday island, Wolfgang Engstler, confirmed this to the German Press Agency. “Bild” reported that the line machine with the hobby bowlers had landed in Münster. The detention ordered because of the allegation of arson was lifted by a Spanish judge on bail of 12,000 euros per person. But the Germans are not off the hook yet. If convicted, they could face years in prison.

Editor’s note: This text first appeared on