• Germany's news in English
 

'The NSU trial is an aim in itself'

Published: 07 May 2013 10:13 GMT+02:00

Much of this attention was on the trial itself - and on Zschäpe, who as a female "face of evil" seemed even more fascinating than her erstwhile male fellow gang members. But many commentators also pointed to wider problems in Germany that needed to be examined and tackled. Not just institutional incompetence but also widespread racism which is not usually acknowledged.

"Evil has a face," said the tabloid Bild. "An ordinary face. Beate Zschäpe. The trial is about her guilt and her punishment for ten vile murders. But it is about more! The acts of the brown serial killers tore us from our complacency. We believed in a Germany without swastikas. We believed the state security services had the far right in hand. It had nothing in hand! Here a black man kicked to death, there a migrant shot - we were too comfortable to look more closely.

"The Munich trial will, day for day, open our eyes. The truth hits us in the face. The media, which was such a burden at first for the judges, will make sure that everyone sees how justice is administered in Germany - neutral, incorruptible, and with passion for fairness. The trial will sharpen our consciences."

A contrasting view was offered by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung which said that the point of the trial should be explained. "The entire process has an enormous meaning, but this is not to satisfy the expectations of all of those involved - neither German politicians nor the Turkish government. This is also not a trial for the media - and even the victims of the terrible crimes about which things in Munich turn, could easily be disappointed.

"It is the paradox of a trial that the accused often seem to be the victims. But they are in fact not perpetrators - they are being tried by the state's powers. And their aim is not to convict the accused - this also applies in the NSU trial - rather it is to produce an as objective as possible decision about their guilt.

"The strict formality of the criminal process serves the aim of a fair trial. Therefore Frau Zschäpe does not have to make a statement; therefore her defence lawyers can and must do everything possible within the rules to get the best for her."

Those involved have various different wishes for the outcome of this trial - not all can be satisfied, the paper said. "But all must recognize - the trial itself is an aim in itself," it concludes.

The Bavaria-based Augsburg Allgemeine newspaper was less optimistic. "The process of working through the biggest Nazi murder series in the history of the Federal Republic started with legal skirmishes, which must be taken as signals for how it will continue.

"The Munich judges have the job of reconstructing the acts as closely as possible. Human and political failures as well as unfit security services and authorities could be illuminated. Questions of those left behind might be answered. But not necessarily."

The Berliner Zeitung said the court only had a limited responsibility. "The court must, briefly said, check the contents of the charges. It cannot repair the failures of the state. Those who gee up greater expectations only create frustration among the weakest - the relatives of the dead. But even so, the trial has started. It started in the presence of Turkish journalists and without disturbance from far right radicals. That alone is good news."

The Münster-based Westfälische Nachrichten warned that people must not get bored as the legal process is followed. "The NSU trial will last for at least until 2014. The public interest will suffer. It is thus all the more important that alongside the careful legal processing, the political consequences also come more into focus. Independently from a possible guilty verdict for Beate Zschäpe - it must not be that the bosses and structures of the security and secret services escape punishment for this incredible investigation disaster."

The Rhein Zeitung also focussed on the relatives of those killed. "Above all, the trial will hardly be able to salve the personal pain of the relatives. Many of them have lived for years in uncertainty. They still want to know why their father or brother was killed. The atonement for this injustice can hardly be find a suitable expression in whatever kind of harsh punishment may be handed to Zschäpe and her alleged helpers.

"But perhaps the visible efforts and the greatest possible explanation of what happened may convince some that the legal state is not afraid of consequences - and does not recognize second-class citizenship. That it can make mistakes - but that it then tirelessly hunts for the reasons behind them."

The Local/DPA/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'
Photo: Uli Deck/dpa

Amazon 'paying local tax on sales in Germany'

According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, online retailer Amazon has started paying tax on profits from its sales to German customers in Germany instead of in Luxembourg READ  

German woman, 65, has quadruplets
Photo: DPA

German woman, 65, has quadruplets

A 65-year-old German woman, who already has 13 children, has given birth to quadruplets after undergoing an artificial insemination procedure in Ukraine. READ  

German WWII remains exhumed in Bosnia
Photo: DPA

German WWII remains exhumed in Bosnia

The remains of about 20 people, thought to be German and Italian soldiers killed in Bosnia during World War II, have been exhumed in the east of the country, officials said Friday. READ  

Sotherby's sells Nazi-era art trove find
Some 1,600 works of art were found behind this door in 2012. Photo: DPA

Sotherby's sells Nazi-era art trove find

A painting by Max Liebermann from a Nazi-era art trove found in Germany last year will go on sale in London next month, the first from the collection to be sold off, Sotheby's said on Friday. READ  

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son
Jeremiah Duggan. Photo: Justice for Jeremy

Family's ten-year quest for truth about dead son

The family of a British student killed in Wiesbaden over 12 years ago made a fresh step towards justice on Thursday, after a London coroner disagreed with German authorities' belief that he killed himself. READ  

Property of the week
Property of the Week: May 22nd
Photo: Mr Lodge

Property of the Week: May 22nd

Modern and sophisticated: This week’s property combines classic architecture with chic furnishings to create an elegant and luxurious living experience. READ  

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence
The judge said, given his age, he was not the ideal candidate for therapy. Photo:DPA

83-year-old gets second drug dealing sentence

An 83-year-old man was handed a six month suspended sentence on Thursday after being caught carrying seven bags of heroin in Düsseldorf. READ  

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks
The dazzling colour of 2014's festival parade. Photo: Karneval der Kulturen

Carnival of Cultures in Berlin: six top picks

This weekend Berlin will be lit up by the vibrancy and colour of the Carnival of Cultures, an annual four-day urban festival that celebrates the diversity of Germany's capital. Here are six things not to miss. READ  

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light
FC Bayern's first team in 1925, the year of the commemorative publication. Photo: Jewish Museum

Bayern fans bring club's earliest years to light

For decades the early history of FC Bayern München was forgotten, but FCB fans have re-discovered a book from 1925 documenting the club's founding moments. READ  

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA
Gerhard Schindler admitted that the BND had made mistakes in its handling of NSA requests. Photo: DPA

Top spy admits: We're 'dependent' on NSA

The head of the German Intelligence Agency (BND) told a special parliamentary committee on Thursday that his agency is 'dependent on' the American National Security Agency (NSA). READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
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

6,744
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd