8/9 October 2013

Clues from the wreckage of the Frühlingsstraße flat incriminate Zschäpe and Eminger

The first witness on Tuesday was the neighbor of the witness from Dortmund who had testified last week that she had seen a brawny skin head together with Zschäpe, Böhnhardt and Mundlos at the neighboring lot. The witness today denied having any contacts to the Nazi scene – of course, anything else would have made him a suspect. However, his denial is hardly credible: the names of his children invite a link to Nazi ideology, at soccer games he has no problem sharing a fan section with leading Nazis from Germany, and he stated that he did not feel that the slogan “Zick Zack Kanackenpack” was in any way right-wing – “Kanacke”, of course, is a clearly xenophobic slur referring to foreigners, particularly of Turkish origin.

His testimony can thus not refute the testimony of his neighbor. That testimony is, however, problematic in that the observations were made seven years ago and the neighbor only recognized the three NSU members in late 2011 after having seen their pictures on TV. Her identification alone will not suffice for a conviction. The importance of her testimony will become apparent as the trial goes on. If further clues are found as to Zschäpe’s presence at the crime scenes, the testimony of the Dortmund witness will come to the foreground again. Until then, it needs to be stressed that Zschäpe’s presence at the crime scenes is not a necessary condition for her being convicted of murder as a co-perpetrator.

A police officer testified as to the contents of a hard drive found in the burnt down Frühlingsstraße apartment. It contained inter alia the video the NSU used to claim responsibility for its murders, two earlier versions of that video and work product of their being prepared. The video was ready to be burned on disc, a list of addresses of recipients was also prepared. It seems that the distribution of the video had been prepared well in advance.

Another folder on the same hard drive contained a number of files belonging to accused Eminger, such as Christmas letters containing Swastika symbols send to his parents, in-laws and other family members, templates for tattoos and pictures of his wife and children. This argues for Eminger, who is after all a self-employed professional in image editing, worked on the NSU’s videos.

On Wednesday further clues were discussed which again incriminated accused Zschäpe: The Frühlingsstraße wreckage also contained an archive of 68 newspaper articles concerning the NSU’s murders. Although it is rather hard to locate finger prints on paper, Zschäpe’s prints were found on two papers.

The afternoon was devoted to the testimony of a police officer who had taken the rental agreements for cars and caravans and had ascertained, from his desk, which routes had been driven with these vehicles.

According to his testimony, vehicles had been rented from four rental agencies, first under the name of André Eminger and using his ID card, later under the name of Holger Gerlach. However, according to the testimony of agency employees who had been shown photos, the vehicles were apparently in fact rented by Uwe Böhnhardt. Zschäpe, too, had been recognized by employees. In one instance of a car being rented unter the name of Eminger, a telephone number had been used which belonged to a cell phone actually used by him personally, which tends to show that he had not only provided his ID, but was in direct contact with “the Three”.

The witness reported that there had been a total of 65 vehicle rentals, 15 of which overlapped with 17 of the NSU’s crimes. The kilometers driven were also in line with the vehicles being used to drive to and from the crime scenes. Other rentals had been in the context of vacations. According to police calculations, the total amount spent on vehicle rentals and gas money from 2000 to 2011 was about € 27,622.62. One of the vehicles had been sighted after the murder of police officer Kiesewetter in Heilbronn.