• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'The NSU trial is an aim in itself'

The Local · 7 May 2013, 10:13

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."

Story continues below…

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
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?

Trump protesters rebuild and tear down 'Berlin Wall'
The 'Stop Trump' protest at the Brandenburg Gate. Photo: DPA.

US expats gathered at the Berlin's iconic Brandenburg Gate on Friday "rebuild" the Berlin Wall and protest US presidential candidate Donald Trump's own proposed wall-building.

Accusation of sexism within Merkel's party creates uproar
Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen and Chancellor Angela Merkel, two leading women in the CDU party. Photo: DPA.

A young politician from the ranks of Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has caused a storm by suggesting that the party is institutionally sexist.

EasyJet 'in talks to buy German airline' to duck Brexit
Photo: DPA

EasyJet is in talks to acquire TUIfly, a board member of the German carrier said Friday, as the British no-frills airline looks for ways to keep flying freely within the EU after Britain quits the bloc.

Symbols of migrant plight to go on show in Bonn museum
Photo: DPA

A people smugglers' car, a dinghy and a life jacket are among items related to Europe's migration crisis due to go on display at a German museum.

Brexit
Green party demand 'quick and easy' citizenship for Brits
Photo: DPA

The Green party has called for Brits living in Germany to be offered a painless path to obtaining dual citizenship as to "reassure them over the future".

Berlin the new London? 10m2 flat to rent for €750 a month
Photo: Immonet.de.

This shoebox apartment in the gentrified Bergmann-Kiez neighbourhood may be a sign that the tides are turning for Berlin’s comparatively cheap housing market.

Far-right AfD reach record high in national poll
AfD leader Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) was backed by 16 percent of respondents in a new poll, which was a new high for the upstart populist party.

Bautzen youth beat up pensioner in racist attack
Photo: DPA

In the Saxon town of Bautzen, which has become a byword for racism and anti-migrant sentiment, two youths have attacked a 72-year-old man, shouting 'foreigners out'.

German lawmakers ratify landmark Paris climate accord
The German parliament (Bundestag). Photo: DPA.

Germany's lower of house of parliament on Thursday ratified the Paris agreement on climate change, following in the footsteps of 60 other countries that have committed to the landmark agreement designed to stem the planet's rising temperatures.

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
5,781
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd