• Germany's news in English
 
Neo-Nazi terror gang trauma still raw a year on
Photo: DPA

Neo-Nazi terror gang trauma still raw a year on

Published: 04 Nov 2012 07:22 GMT+01:00

“I can understand that for many citizens – especially for the victims’ families – trust in the country’s security framework and its officials is badly damaged,” Hans-Georg Maaßen, the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag.

Maaßen said it was his job to regain that trust, but he also defended officials.

“Unfortunately public criticism of constitutional protection doesn’t take into consideration that without the good work in the last 10 years in Germany of those protecting the constitution there would have been terrorist attacks that surely would have cost people their lives," he said.

He mentioned several steps officials have taken, including the establishment last December of a cooperative centre to protect against right extremists and the opening in September of a radical right database.

The comments come a year after a neo-Nazi terrorist gang likely behind a seven-year murder spree targeting immigrants was uncovered. While Germany has sought to mend security flaws, trauma still reverberates.

Feelings of shock and anger ran deep in Germany after details began to emerge on November 4 last year of the cold-blooded killings of nine men of Turkish and Greek origin and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

With a Turkish community of around three million people, Germany was jolted into an all-out security reform, especially of its domestic intelligence service, which came under fire for a botched probe that led to top-flight resignations.

Authorities have faced intense pressure to explain how the extremist gang was able to operate with impunity for 11 years, particularly as domestic intelligence services had informants close to the trio themselves.

Kenan Kolat, president of the Turkish Community of Germany, has said that one year on from the discovery of the extremist cell, he is "very disappointed" and "bitter" about the government's response.

"The political class doesn't want to recognise that there is an enormous problem of racism in Germany," he told reporters this week, saying more lessons needed to be drawn from the affair.

He called for a broad social debate on what he termed "institutional racism".

The neo-Nazi gang calling itself the National Socialist Underground (NSU) only came to light when two members, Uwe Böhnhardt, 34, and Uwe Mundlos, 38,

were found dead in an apparent suicide pact and a now 37-year-old woman Beate Zschäpe turned herself in.

She is still being held in custody and is expected to be charged with murder soon. Around 10 people are suspected of links to the trio. While a network of supporters spread across the country seems to have been proven, their multiple links to security services who failed to act on intelligence has kept a parliamentary investigative commission busy.

Head of that commission Sebastian Edathy, has highlighted "a mentality problem within the security services", including the police, and suggested more rigorous recruitment of officials.

Its hotly anticipated report is expected by the end of the year.

Leading investigators into the murders initially assumed that criminal elements from the Turkish community were behind the rash of killings. Suspicion also fell on the victims' relatives, a point Chancellor Angela Merkel called "particularly tormenting" at a memorial service in February.

The killings were "a disgrace for our country", Merkel said, vowing to do everything possible to shed light on them and bring those responsible and their supporters to justice.

In July, the head of the domestic intelligence agency, Heinz Fromm, stepped down after it emerged that the agency had destroyed files with information about the extremist group several days after the NSU came to light.

"We have to repair the security apparatus to restore confidence. Personnel changes will not be enough," Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said, quoted on Thursday by the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper.

The scandal claimed two other top officials in quick succession - the head of the secret service bureau in the eastern state of Saxony resigned, while the leader of Thuringia state's bureau was dismissed.

"We were promised a lot, also by Chancellor Merkel. Then we heard that files were destroyed and we have the feeling that we're not getting any closer to the bottom of this," Gamze Kubasik, whose father Mehmet was killed in 2006, told Friday's Tagesspiegel newspaper.

"We feel deceived and I am angry and sad."

AFP/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

17:13 November 4, 2012 by IchBinKönig
I would say, and many would agree, the Taking the Train is much more scary and traumatic. WHat, with the Left Wing Terrorists Hekla ACTUALLY still on the loose, committing acts of terror. Can't wait to see the shenanigans they pull on the 4 hour train to Munich...

Hekla is still pissed about Stuttgart 21, and i don't see that changing anytime soon.
Today's headlines
Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law
Photo: DPA

Ethics Council rejects assisted suicide law

The German Ethics Council said the law should not be changed to permit assisted suicide in a paper published on Friday. READ  

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin
Swan Lake. An abandoned ride in the Spreewald pleasure park. Photo: DPA

Abandoned themepark needs 14m says Berlin

The iconic ruined themepark in the centre of Berlin - a long-time favourite of hipster adventurers - needs a clean-up costing at least 14 million euros, the Berlin government has revealed. READ  

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer
File photo of Nuremberg main station: Shutterstock

Police nab Nuremberg station bomb hoaxer

Officers in Nuremberg arrested a man on Thursday evening after he called in a false bomb threat against the main train station READ  

Opinion
Angela, David...and Nigel
So near...and yet so far Photo: DPA

Angela, David...and Nigel

The rise of UKIP broke up what had been a good 2014 for Cameron and Merkel. READ  

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead
Dr Gunther von Hagens. Photo: DPA

'Dr Death' corpse museum gets go-ahead

A Berlin court has said that infamous human taxidermist Gunther von Hagens can open a museum in the capital - over objections from local officials. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech
Photo: Phorms Education

Phorms bilingual schools boast top-notch tech

As parents fret over children’s internet habits, a network of bilingual schools in Germany shows that putting computers in the classroom from an early age yields positive results. READ  

Networks scramble to patch mobile security
Chancellor Angela Merkel has herself been the victim of phone hacking. Photo: DPA

Networks scramble to patch mobile security

IT experts led by Berlin-based Karsten Nohl said on Thursday they had discovered security flaws in the mobile phone networks that would allow attackers to read users' messages. READ  

Turkish 'spies' arrested at Frankfurt airport
Photo: DPA

Turkish 'spies' arrested at Frankfurt airport

Three men suspected of being Turkish agents have been arrested by police, federal prosecutors said on Thursday. READ  

Tax take jumps 7.3 percent in November
Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is having an excellent month. Photo: DPA

Tax take jumps 7.3 percent in November

Germany collected 7.3 percent more in tax in November 2014 than the same month last year thanks to the strengthening economy, the Finance Ministry said in its monthly report on Thursday, while pollsters found rising consumer confidence. READ  

Ramelow bunks off his first Bundesrat sitting
Bodo Ramelow looking low on energy at a sitting of the Thuringia state parliament. Photo: DPA

Ramelow bunks off his first Bundesrat sitting

Controversial new Thuringia minister-president Bodo Ramelow of the Left (Linke) party missed his first session of Germany's second house of parliament, the Bundesrat, to go on holiday with his family. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Willy Brandt at his inauguration in 1972. Photo: DPA
National
Willy Brandt: the man, the chancellor... the airport?
Dresden skyline and river by night. Photo: DPA
Politics
What does Dresden have against Muslims?
Sponsored Article
Why are these International Baccalaureate students cheering?
Germany's national football team lifts the World Cup trophy
Gallery
Germany's most-Googled words of 2014
National
Why has The Local got a new logo?
Photo: DPA
National
This German was abducted and tortured by the CIA
Culture
10 top tips for partying in Germany
Sponsored Article
Top ten gifts for an expat Christmas
Photo: DPA
Technology
What does the Chancellor see as the future of the internet?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Stuff your face with these festive German cookies
Photo: DPA
Culture
What do beer, breakfast cereal and dildos have in common?
Culture
The Local's guide to German Christmas markets
Sponsored Article
Top five quirky Christmas jumpers
Photo: DPA
Culture
Get ready for Christmas like a German. We tell you how.
Photo: DPA
Munich
She did what with her dead mother?
Photo: DPA
National
Germany still paying for crisis fall out
Photo: DPA
Culture
Saxon wurst is the worst, Christmas market declares.
Photo: DPA
Politics
Can 'sorry' ever be enough for the Linke?
Sponsored Article
Shop Christmas gifts at Debenhams international store
Photo: DPA
Berlin
The Local's series on 25 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles through December 19th
Photo: DPA
Gallery
See how Berlin has changed in 22 photos
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,185
jobs available
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists.
Details and how to apply
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd