• Germany edition
 
Expert: Neo-Nazi terror gang had more members
Photo: DPA

Expert: Neo-Nazi terror gang had more members

Published: 25 Jan 2013 11:40 GMT+01:00
Updated: 25 Jan 2013 11:40 GMT+01:00

Hajo Funke, a political scientist at Berlin's Free University, has been advising the parliamentary committees currently investigating the police's failure to track down the NSU, which up until now has been reported as having three members: Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, both dead, and Beate Zschäpe, currently in custody.

He said the evidence that more people were actively involved in terrorist activity was overwhelming, and he named the murder of policewoman Michèle Kiesewetter in 2007 as one example.

"Several witnesses reported separately that they saw two males with bloody clothes fleeing frantically, and another three people who helped them to escape," he said in an interview with news agency DPA.

Federal prosecutors are currently working on the assumption that Zschäpe was the last surviving member of the gang. She gave herself up a few days after Mundlos killed Böhnhardt and then himself in a camper van surrounded by police in November 2011.

Zschäpe is facing trial in Munich for her part in ten murders carried out from 2000 to 2007, while four other people have been charged with helping the group. But Funke believes that the border between "accomplice" and "co-perpetrator" was often very fluid.

"The role of supporter or helper went a long way for some people," he said. The former National Democratic Party official Ralf Wohlleben was "not just a political comrade, but a close personal friend" to the group. "There's a good reason why he's still in custody," said Funke.

Funke's statements are significant in light of a recent court ruling that allowed the conditions of Zschäpe's imprisonment to be eased, on the grounds that, as the last living member of the NSU, she is unlikely to commit further acts of terrorism.

Funke also had harsh criticism for Germany's security forces. While the cross-party efforts of politicians to uncover the details of the botched investigation constituted "democracy's finest moments," he added, "The investigation is being thwarted by a sometimes massive blockade by a part of the security authorities."

Four parliamentary committees (one federal, and three state ones in Bavaria, Thuringia and Saxony) are currently trying to assess why the security forces were unable to catch the NSU in over a decade of investigation, despite the help of scores of publicly-paid informants in Germany's far-right scene.

Of these, Funke said the Saxony committee was having the biggest obstacles put in its way. "The pressure from politicians, the media, and the public needs to be significantly increased," Funke said. Only then can what he calls the "biggest security scandal in the history of the Federal Republic" be cleared up.

The Local/DPA/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

12:09 January 25, 2013 by raandy
"Funke's statements are significant in light of a recent court ruling that allowed the conditions of Zschäpe's imprisonment to be eased, on the grounds that, as the last living member of the NSU, she is unlikely to commit further acts of terrorism."

"Clear evidence" there are more than 3, yes and Iam sure that Zschäpe was a major factor in that clear evidence, and rewarded for her cooperation. As she turned herself in the argument that she would not be a terrorist anymore was moot.
16:07 January 25, 2013 by catjones
Whatever happened to no-names, no-faces in the news?
Today's headlines
Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall
Photo: Paul Sullivan

Expats reveal another side of Berlin Wall

Two expats who walked the Mauerweg - the 160-kilometre trail that runs the length of the former Berlin Wall - have written a book about forgotten aspects of its past and present. READ  

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat
Photo: DPA

Karstadt closes six stores to stay afloat

Germany's biggest department store chain Karstadt will close at least six stores, putting around 2,000 jobs at risk, in a drastic bid by its new boss to return it to profit. READ  

Quiz
How well do you know Germany?
Photos: DPA/Shutterstock

How well do you know Germany?

Do you know your Saxony facts from your Saxony-Anhalt ones? Test your knowledge of Germany's federal states in The Local's quiz. READ  

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal
Pollution from a coal-fired power station in Frimmersdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA

Climate chief hails Bonn greenhouse gas deal

The UN's climate chief hailed a European agreement in Bonn on greenhouse gases on Friday as providing "valuable momentum" for a world pact to be inked in Paris next year. READ  

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth
Photo: DPA

Germany gets €780m EU rebate for poor growth

Germany will get an early Christmas present of around €779 million from the EU, thanks to weaker than expected GDP growth. READ  

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told
Photo: DPA

Stay inside after blast, Ludwigshafen told

It will take several days to find out what caused a massive explosion on Thursday which rocked a town on the Rhine, killing a builder and injuring 26 others. READ  

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'
An NH90 helicopter. Photo: DPA

German helicopter fleet 'not fit for Nato'

Germany's fleet of NH90 helicopters is undergoing engineering checks after one of them suffered a serious engine failure, in the latest blow to the country's military capabilities. READ  

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m
Rainer Schwarz at a court hearing in September into the case. Photo: DPA

Ex-boss of Berlin Airport farce gets €1.2m

The man who was blamed for Berlin's miserable attempt to build a new airport must be paid more than €1 million - after being fired. READ  

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Kurds watching the attack on Kobane. Photo: DPA

Steinmeier challenges UN over Isis gas reports

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pressed UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon to bring possible poison gas use by Isis in Iraq before the Security Council. READ  

Spring back in German consumers' step?
Photo: DPA

Spring back in German consumers' step?

Update: Consumer confidence in Germany has stopped falling, as households appear to be no longer fazed by concerns about the economic fallout from geopolitical crises, a new poll found on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
Politics
Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: Huge explosion rocks Ludwigshafen
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
Which high school cliche is your German city?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Storm hits southern Germany
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
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

3,528
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd