“For me personally, by 2005 it was clear that there was a xenophobic background. No one in the investigating group ‘Bosporus’ really had any doubts on this question.”
This clear statement, made during the trial on 6 August by Manfred Hänßler, the chief of the murder unit of Nuremberg police, stands in clear contrast to the way the investigating group ‘Bosporus’ conducted its investigation until 2011. Whether his statement is true, or whether it is an attempt to conceal his mistakes, is a question that will have to be answered by the testimony of further investigators.
Of course, given the evidence heard on the last trial day before the summer break, a racist background to the murder of Nuremberg kebap shop owner Ismail Yasar all but suggested itself. Hänßler reported that the there had been two main leads: one was the so-called bike lead – several witness had seen two bicyclists directly in front of the kebap shop and heard shots very close in time to those sightings. The other was the so-called Cologne lead given similarities between the descriptions of bicyclists in Nuremberg and the two suspects in Cologne – one of the investigators from Cologne had contacted the Nuremberg police. The connection thus arising between the nail bomb attack in the Keupstraße in Cologne, inhabited mostly by Turkish and Kurdish people, and the murder series against migrants left little doubt that there was a xenophobic motive.
Hänßler reported that the Nuremberg police had also investigated the militant Nazi scene. However, the Bavarian “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” hat not provided them with the data requested, but only with a selection of some 600 data sets concerning Nazis from around Nuremberg. The witness was unable to discuss the reason why investigators had not received the material requested or to answer the question whether the Federal “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” or the equivalent offices in other federal Länder had been included at this point. He referred to a colleague who had conducted this aspect of the investigation.
A number of questions are raised by the fact that the police continued to conduct investigations against the victims’ families from 2005 to 2011, and that they failed to conduct adequate investigations concerning the militant Nazi scene, while according to the witness no investigator had any doubts as to a xenophobic motivation of these crimes. It remains to be seen whether these questions will be allowed during the trial.
Another police officer testified that possible targets of attacks, among them the kebap shop of Ismail Yasar, had been marked in city maps and on computers found in the remains of the burned NSU flat in the Frühlingsstraße in Zwickau. Given this evidence as well as the NSU video in which the group claimed responsibility for the murder of Yasar, establishing that this was an NSU murder should prove to be easy enough.
The next trial days after the summer break will take place on 5 and 6 September.