24 July 2013

More on the Frühlingsstraße – and an “entirely normal” Hitler portrait.

Today the court again heard several witnesses on the flat “the Three” inhabited in the Frühlingsstraße in Zwickau. First to testify was a neighbor of “the Three” who had hosted get-togethers in his basement, some of which included Beate Zschäpe. Zschäpe had given her name as Susanne Dienelt and had told him that she was living with her boyfriend and his brother. The witness remembered that cars and caravans would often be parked in front of the house, a fact which Zschäpe explained by stating that the two men made a living by transferring cars. The witness denies having had political discussion with Zschäpe, but claims to only have talked about “everyday stuff”. According to the witness, he was not annoyed at all that the two men had not participated in the social life of the neighbors, but was instead happy to have an attractive woman amongst them.

There were a number of questions concerning his political leanings given that the witness, who claims to be entirely apolitical, had a portrait of Adolf Hitler prominently displayed in his party basement. According to him, this was simply a remembrance for a neighbor who passed away and who had had the portrait displayed on top of his TV. Accordingly, he claims that there had never been any complaints from visitors. Of course, this testimony provides clear evidence for the witness having severe right-wing leanings – which may also explain why he does not want to remember much.

One interesting statement of his concerned regular visits from the so-called sister of Zschäpe, who, along with her boyfriend and their kids, had regularly visited “the Three”. The witness was shown photographs, on which he identified the wife of accused André Eminger as well as the accused himself or his twin brother respectively as having been the visitors.

A computer expert from Zwickau police reported on the contents of a computer used by Zschäpe which had been found in the apartment after the fire. According to the data, she was online until about 30 minutes before the fire started, searching for news about the two Uwes and afterwards for a place to leave her cats – apparently in preparation for setting the apartment in flames within half an hour of shutting down the computer. The case file also contains the entire Internet history of Zschäpe, which will have to be considered in detail at some point during the trial.

An expert witness from the Saxonian Office of Criminal Investigation gave an expert opinion on the danger emanating from the explosion and the fire. According to him, both events had been uncontrollable and had endangered the lives of all persons present in the house. The expert had a slight disagreement with the expert from the Bavarian Office of Criminal Investigation, who was also present, about the precise method used to light on fire the gas that had been poured out in the apartment.

Finally, a witness who was present by accident shortly after the outbreak of the fire reported that she had seen Beate Zschäpe approach from the direction of the house, two cat carriers under her arms. Having had the fire pointed out to her, she had left the cats with a neighbor and had run into the opposite direction on a pretext. The witness reported that Zschäpe had appeared remarkably calm during this meeting.