Daily Archives: 12. June 2013

11 June 2013

Accused Schultze provides evidence concerning a further bombing attack carried out by the NSU

Today, accused Carsten Schultze provided concrete evidence concerning an as-yet unknown bombing attack carried out by the NSU in a shop in Nuremberg. In his testimony on 5 June 2013, he had pretended to remember very few details of what had happened in 1999/2000. Now he revealed details that he had never spoken about before. Of particular relevance is his statement that, during his meeting with Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe in the fist half of 2000, the two men had told him that they had placed a “flashlight” in a shop in Nuremberg, making insinutations he had not understood at the time. He claims that the conversation on this topic stopped when Beate Zschäpe joined the three men. Directly after this conversation, he had given the silenced Ceska pistol and 50 rounds of ammunition to “the Three”. Afterwards, he had been afraid that the two men could have told him about a concrete bombing attack.

As German weekly “Der Stern” has reported on the basis of information from local daily “Nürnberger Nachrichten”, a bombing attack did in fact take place in Nuremberg in June of 1999. A cleaner in a Turkish pub found an object shaped like a flashlight which exploded in his hands, causing burn wounds. In a press conference, the federal prosecutor’s office stated that there was currently no information on this attack. A number of attacks had been “checked” as to possible connections to the NSU, but there was currently no concrete information concerning this specific attack. If it turns out that the attack in Nuremberg has not been “checked”, this would again cast the investigation by German police and prosecutors in a very bad light.

If Schultze’s testimony checks out, it would certainly be a massive boost to his credibility and a sign that the pressure of the punishment awaiting him leads him to give a thorough testimony and to close any “memory gaps”.

Schultze’s testimony that Böhnhardt and Mundlos had stopped the conversation concerning the Nuremberg attack when Zschäpe arrived does not exonerate Zschäpe. The fact that the two had talked to a supporter like Schultze about a concrete attack in a crowded restaurant was a violation of every security protocol an underground group would have agreed on, which is reason alone for the two men to try and hide their boasting from Zschäpe. And even if Zschäpe had not known about this attack in 1999, this would not change the fact that she played a vital role in the group in the following years, a role without which their further crimes would not have been possible. The indictment charging Zschäpe with co-perpetration is based on her actions from 2000 on.

Schultze also incriminated co-accused Wohlleben, noting that it was Wohlleben who had ordered him to buy a semi-automatic weapon, preferably from a German manufacturer, and sufficient ammunition. When he had met Böhnhardt and Mundlos, the two had told him that they were always armed and had access to a machine pistol/Uzi. The money he had been given for the gun had still been wrapped in a bank banderole, showing that it came come from a bank robbery. Schultzes also stated that Wohlleben had reported after a telephone conversation with “the Three” that they had talked about having shot and wounded someone. Finally, he also noted that after a violent attack on two men by a group of Nazis, Wohlleben had boasted about having “jumped on the face” of one of the victims.

Of course, this further evidence will have to scrutinized futher, but the incriminating nature vis-a-vis Wohlleben is evident. Much more than is the case in the indictment, Schultze has described Wohlleben as akin to a co-perpetrator of “the Three”. But Schultze also incrimated himself – after all, according to his evidence, when he gave the Ceska pistol to “the Three”, he already knew that they had carried out a bombing attack. Compared to his cagey testimony of last week, this week’s makes it much more likely that he will benefit from the crown witness rule and a significant reduction of his penalty. At the same time, Schultze has also given the court the evidence needed to convict him of aiding and abetting the nine murders committed using the Ceska pistol.

Earlier in the day, there had been a dispute between victims’ counsel and the federal prosecutor’s office when the latter stated out of the blue that the “list of 129”, containing other NSU accused as well as contact persons of the NSU, had grown to about 500 persons. In the end, trial attorney Diemer of the federal prosecutor’s office had to promise to provice the entire list next week.

6 June 2013

Accused Gerlach apologizes to the victims, but claims to have known nothing.

At the request of accused Carsten Schultze, the rest of his testimony was moved to next week, when expert witness Prof. Leygraf will be back in the courtroom. This trial day was instead devoted to the testimony of co-accused Holger Gerlach. He is charged with having provided the members of the NSU who had gone underground with his driver’s licence and passport as well as other documents. In addition, he is accused of having transported a pistol to “the Three” in 2001 at the behest of co-accused Ralf Wohlleben. However, since the investigation did not resolve the question whether this pistol was used in the NSU’s crimes, this crime is statute-bared.
Gerlach admitted having committed all these acts and apologized to the victims of the NSU for the suffering which Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe had caused them. However, he stressed that these had solely been acts in support of friends. He claims to not have had any idea that the three would commit violent crimes. He stressed several times that he was just as clueless as all German police and secret service agencies had been at the time. Gerlach read a pre-written statement and was not willing to answer questions.
Earlier, he had made statements on his curriculum vitae and had also answered the presiding judge’s questions on that topic. In contrast to co-accused Schultze, he freely admitted to having been a neo-Nazi and to having harbored xenophobic views. He also stressed that he and his friends had not been Skinheads who “run around beating people up”, but had tried to achieve real political change. He claims to have exited the scene in 2004, but admits to still being friends with some of his old political allies.
His apology and his claim of having known nothing about the murders of “the Three” are not very believable. Gerlach acknowledged again today that he had provided “the Three” with a gun in 2001. In an earlier statement during the investigation, he claimed to have said that one could not “presume to try and save the world with five people”. Today, he claimed not to have used those exact words. Nonetheless, it seems likely that he saw himself, Wohlleben and “the Three” as a coherent group of three illegal members and two legal members who could provide support for their deeds. This obviously stands in clear contradiction to his claim to not have had any idea that the NSU would commit violent crimes. Another reason not to believe his claim is that he was active for many years in the Nazi scenes of Jena and Hannover, scenes which were particularly militant and openly propagated violence against different-minded people and “Nongermans.”
His claims of having “exited” the Nazi scene will also have to be thoroughly scrutinized – for example, he has admitted to having participated in several Nazi marches in 2005, but had claimed that this was simply a friendly turn.
One of the NSU victims asked for the opportunity to comment on Gerlach’s statement, but the presiding judge did not give him the floor.