19 November 2013

On the NSU as victims of arbitrary decisions by state organs – the testimony of Uwe Böhnhardt’s mother.

The only witness today was Uwe Böhnhardt’s mother. She mostly reported on her son’s vita, on the day he went underground and on contacts – phone calls and three personal meetings – thereafter.

The domestic secret service had contacted the family and asked them to convince the three who had gone underground to turn themselves in. “The three” were wanted for several propaganda and explosives offences, state agencies offered concession regarding the sentence. These offers – which “the Three” never took seriously anyway – were later rescinded. This meant that Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe would have to face a trial for these offences just like any other defendant – for Böhnhardt’s mother, this was nothing short of “fraud”.

This shows an aspect which was present in her entire testimony and which made it hard to listen to her – Ms. Böhnhardt has construed her own view of events in which her son, Beate Zschäpe and Uwe Mundlos appear solely as victims of arbitrary actions by state organs. That she, as a mother who did not share her son’s ideology, finds it hard to imagine that he killed ten people and committed several bombing attacks is understandable. However, this does not at all excuse, e.g., a statement that she was sorry for “the five adolescents here” – meaning the five accused – who according to her are only sitting in the dock because the secret service did not keep its promises and “the Three” therefore did not surrender. While she sees the three NSU members and the other accused only as victims of state agencies, her testimony contained not even a hint of compassion for the victims of her son’s crimes – or in her words, of the crimes he is claimed to have committed.

Her testimony will continue tomorrow, followed by André Kapke in the afternoon.

Towards the end of the trial day, the court dealt with several motions: a motion by victims‘ counsel that the case file against André Kapke be made part of the case file was denied, the court was of the opinion that there was no evidence that it would be of relevance. The defense of Carsten Schultze moved that an officer of the federal domestic secret service be heard as a witness in order to show that Schultze had played a minor role in the Nazi scene. However, that officer had never observed Schultze firsthand, but had only summarized reports by others. Accordingly, he is not suitable as witness for such questions, as stated by victim’s counsel Thomas Bliwier.