• Germany's news in English

Two accused in neo-Nazi trial 'will talk'

The Local · 17 May 2013, 11:45

Published: 17 May 2013 11:45 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Although Beate Zschäpe, 38, on trial in connection with nine racially motivated murders and that of a German policewoman, has not made any comment to the Munich court hearing the case, it seems two of her four alleged accomplices may testify.

She is said to have been, along with Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, part of the nucleus of the killer cell. The other two died in a murder-suicide in November 2011 after being surrounded by police in the wake of a botched bank robbery. It was only then that the cell was uncovered.

When the court resumes its work on June 4th, the judges plan to start cross-examining the four alleged supporters and helpers of the neo-Nazi terror gang the National Socialist Underground.

Two men identified only as Holger G. and Carsten S. - accused of various crimes such as supplying the murder weapon, identity papers and rental vehicles to the killers - are in witness protection programmes and are expected to turn state's evidence.

"We expect that the accused will very openly put their cards on the table," said Reinhard Schön, a lawyer for victims of a nail bomb attack the NSU is also accused of.

"We are very eager to hear their testimony."

The other two, Ralf Wohlleben and Andre E., are not expected to speak.

The Munich office of lawyers representing relatives of those killed by the gang were smeared with faeces and urine this week, while last week paint was thrown at a building in which antifascist campaigners live. The office of the Bavarian refugee council was also attacked and a window smashed, the Süddeutsche Zeitung reported.

Meanwhile a parliamentary investigative committee reported this week on the shambolic performance of the police and various levels of security services over the seven years during which the NSU seemed to murder, set off bombs and rob banks with impunity.

Friday's Die Tageszeitung newspaper reported the main findings of the report.

- When in 1998 the NSU trio went into hiding after police found the garage where they had been building bombs, they left a list of addresses which included two of the four people now on trial with Zschäpe. Ten entries were in Chemnitz, where the trio spent the following two years. This list was never given to the relevant security service, but is thought to have been sent to the state criminal police.

- There were so many paid neo-Nazi informants in the circles surrounding the NSU trio that the authorities must have been able to deduce that they had formed an armed gang. One even told military intelligence he thought they were acting as terrorists. Yet none of this information was passed to police by security officials who wanted to protect their sources.

- The right questions were asked - as early as 2004 - with a paper within the Office for the Protection of the Constitution discussing the danger of armed right-wing extremists in Germany. The paper even specifically named Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Zschäpe, but concluded there was no evidence that they were active. By this time the gang had killed five people and let off two bombs. The neo-Nazi magazine Der Weisse Wolf carried a note saying thanks to the NSU.

- In 2006, after the ninth NSU murder, a Bavarian police profiler produced an analysis suggesting the murderers were right-wing extremists. But other investigators dismissed his work and a paper from the Baden-Württemberg police insisted the victims had been involved with a south-eastern European crime gang whose head had ordered the killings to save face.

- The NSU investigative committee repeatedly heard from police and intelligence officers who said they could not remember details they were being asked for. In Nuremberg and Munich, the committee heard, intelligence agencies paid people to set up kebab shops and deliberately not pay for deliveries in order to flush out the "kebab killer commandos".

- The Hamburg police even had to admit having hired a medium who promised to contact one of the murder victims - free of charge.

- After a bomb was set off in Cologne and a video was found showing two men pushing the bomb to the attack site on a bike, the fact that two men on bikes were often seen at the murder sites was ignored. A woman who was near the murder spot in Nuremberg said there were similarities between the men on bikes she saw and those on the video, but was ignored.

Story continues below…

- In the wake of the 2001 al Qaida attacks on the USA, with many of those involved having studied in Hamburg, security service priority was put on Islamist terrorism - and the danger from neo-Nazis was side-lined, even though they had radicalized during the late 1990s.

- Several officers told the investigative committee they had not recognized the attacks as fascist because there were no claims of responsibility. It seemed to have been accepted wisdom that neo-Nazis would always send letters claiming any attacks for themselves, even though this was not the case.

The conduct of the security services "was not becoming of a state with the rule of law, and this must not happen again," said the head of the committee, Sebastian Edathy.

He said the multiple intelligence failures were "without historic precedent".

The Local/hc

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd