• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Expert: Neo-Nazi terror gang had more members

The Local · 25 Jan 2013, 11:40

Published: 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."

Story continues below…

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
The Local List
The 10 worst German cities for students to find digs
Photo: DPA

It's the start of autumn, which means the start of the university year. But along with the excitement comes the stress of finding housing - and in some glamorous locations this can be a nightmare.

German broadcaster sues Turkey over confiscated video
Akif Cagatay Kilic. Photo: DPA

German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle said Monday it had filed a civil complaint after a Turkish minister's office confiscated a taped video interview with him.

Germany's 'James Bond' goes on trial over tax evasion
Werner Mauss. Photo: DPA.

Germany's former top spy, Werner Mauss, went on trial on Monday accused of hiding millions of euros from authorities.

Germany holds first national 'mermaiding' championship
Photo: DPA

Ariel would be proud.

Gallery
15 pics that prove Germany is totally enchanting in autumn
The Max-Eyth-See in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA.

As summer fades into a distant memory and you start to begrudge trading Birkenstocks for boots, these pictures may help change your perspective on the new chill in the air.

Left politician who smuggled refugee could lose immunity
Diether Dehm. Photo: DPA.

Die Linke (Left Party) politician Diether Dehm could lose his immunity as an elected official after he admitted to smuggling a refugee into Germany.

Merkel party leader admits sexism is a problem
Jenna Behrends complained that a member of CDU's Berlin government had called her a "big sweet mouse" in front of a large group. Photo: Sophia Kembowski/dpa

A leader of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party admitted Sunday that it has a problem with sexism in its ranks.

Ethiopia's Bekele nears record in Berlin marathon win
Participants in the Berlin marathon take to the streets on Sunday. Photo:Paul Zinken/dpa

Kenenisa Bekele narrowly missed out on the world record on Sunday as the Ethiopian won the Berlin marathon ahead of former winner Wilson Kipsang.

Europe needs deals to send migrants home: Merkel
Angela Merkal poses with Bulgaria's Prime minister Boyko Borissov (L) and Austrian chancellor Christian Kern (R) in Vienna. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP

Europe needs to secure more deals to send rejected migrants home, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has told counterparts in Vienna.

Germany sees 'turning point' in birth rate decline
Children at a a kindergarten in Swabia. Photo: Nikolaus Lenau/Flickr

Is Germany's three-decade decline in birth rate now over?

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
6,580
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd