Neo-Nazis and leftists clash at assault trial

Right-wing extremists and leftists clashed in a Nuremberg courtroom on Thursday, spurring the judge to clear the hall in order to continue a trial against a neo-Nazi charged with beating a teenage boy so severely that he remains permanently disabled.

Neo-Nazis and leftists clash at assault trial
Photo: DPA

As the trial began a group of leftists reportedly chanted “Antifa, Antifa, get out Nazis!” in attempt to keep the defendant’s supporters from entering the courtroom. Antifa in German refers to “anti-fascist” supporters.

The courtroom, number 600, was used to try Nazi war criminals after the Second World War, and the leftist demonstrators said they did not want it occupied by modern right-wing extremists.

Court officials’ demands to keep apart were ignored and met with verbal sparring between the two sides, and the courtroom was cleared amid loud protests.

A 24-year-old man with admitted ties to the neo-Nazi scene in Fürth faces charges of attempted manslaughter and dangerous bodily harm after beating a 17-year-old student apprentice nearly to death in April 2010 in a Nuremberg U-Bahn metro.

The man became enraged when the teenager allegedly made a disparaging remark about a bum bag worn by his girlfriend from Thor Steinar, a well-known neo-Nazi clothing label.

The 24-year-old from Fürth denied he intended to maim or kill the teen before the court on Thursday, but did acknowledge beating the boy after he remarked “aggressively” on the bum bag. The defendant also said he regretted the incident, in particular the disabilities sustained by his victim.

The now 18-year-old was injured so severely that his heart stopped and he had to be repeatedly resuscitated by rescue workers. After a lengthy hospital stay he remains severely disabled and unable to work in his chosen field of carpentry.

Because he can’t remember the assault, the teen appeared in court as a joint plaintiff.

Though he has no memory of it, he told the court that he could certainly imagine making such a remark about the Thor Steinar bag.

“Because I think it’s wrong to wear this label that is used mainly by neo-Nazis,” he said, adding that he is an active supporter of the city’s leftist scene.

Another four days have been reserved for the trial, with a verdict expected on March 3.


Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

The German government says it is in talks over further compensation for victims of the attack on the Munich Olympics, as the 50th anniversary of the atrocity approaches.

Germany in talks on further payout for 1972 Olympics victims

Ahead of the commemoration in September, relatives of the Israelis killed have indicated they are unhappy with what Germany is offering.

“Conversations based on trust are taking place with representatives of the victims’ families,” a German interior ministry spokesman told AFP when asked about the negotiations.

He did not specify who would benefit or how much money had been earmarked, saying only that any package would “again” be financed by the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich.

On September 5th, 1972, eight gunmen broke into the Israeli team’s flat at the Olympic village, shooting dead two and taking nine Israelis hostage, threatening to kill them unless 232 Palestinian prisoners were released.

West German police responded with a bungled rescue operation in which all nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight hostage-takers and a police officer.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists  held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972.

An armed police officer in a tracksuit secures the block where terrorists held Israeli hostages at the Olympic Village in Munich on 5th September 1972. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Horst Ossingert

The spokeswoman for the victims’ families, Ankie Spitzer, told the German media group RND that the amount currently on the table was “insulting” and threatened a boycott of this year’s commemorations.

She said Berlin was offering a total of €10 million including around €4.5 million already provided in compensation between 1972 and 2002 — an amount she said did not correspond to international standards. 

“We are angry and disappointed,” said Spitzer, the widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer who was killed in the attack. “We never wanted to talk publicly about money but now we are forced to.”

RND reported that the German and Israeli governments would like to see an accord by August 15th.

The interior ministry spokesman said that beyond compensation, Germany intended to use the anniversary for fresh “historical appraisal, remembrance and recognition”.

He said this would include the formation of a commission of German and Israeli historians to “comprehensively” establish what happened “from the perspective of the year 2022”.

This would lead to “an offer of further acts of acknowledgement of the relatives of the victims of the attack” and the “grave consequences” they suffered.