5 February 2014

Lies and Trivialization, Part 3 – Further Testimony of André Kapke.

Today André Kapke, one of the closest “comrades” of Böhnhardt, Mundlos, Zschäpe, Gerlach, Schultze and Wohlleben, was questioned for the second time. Again, he made a brazen show, claiming time and again not to remember much. Again, presiding judge Götzl did not succeed in putting enough pressure on Kapke to pierce his blockades.

He did, at least, testify that the Jena group of the “Thuringia Home Guard”, which all NSU murderers belonged to, used a system of communications involving public phone cells and a “decoding table”, allowing rather clandestine operations. Kapke hat supported “the Three” in their flight and at least for the first period afterwards. He also stated again that, through contacts provided by secret service informer Tino Brandt, he had gotten fake passports for them.

When the pressure on Kapke first started to rise a bit, the questioning was interrupted because the Zschäpe defence wished to challenge one of the judged, judge Lang, for bias: Defense attorney Herr claimed that Lang had carried a folder marked “NSU trial”, which showed that he had already made up his mind on the existence of the terrorist organization NSU and was thus biased against Zschäpe. Although this challenge is obviously without merit, it did lead to a longer break in the proceedings and thus gave Kapke some breathing room.

Götzl did ask a number of questions on a “birthday newspaper” which Wohlleben and others had given to Kapke in 1998 and which contained open calls for the murder of Ignatz Bubis, then president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and contemptuous statements concerning the victims of the Holocaust. Kapke stated that these were “satirical” statements – his answer showed clearly that he still holds the same views today.

The federal prosecution put on a little more pressure and did receive some important answers:

  • Böhnhardt, Mundlos, Gerlach and Kapke were the central figures in the Jena Nazi scene, involved in networking in the form of weekly meetings every Wednesday.
  • The board game „Pogromly“, an anti-Semitic variation on Monopoly, was played by all of them.
  • Kapke and Wohlleben discussed how to involve accused Schultze in the support of the three who had gone underground.

One example of the surprisingly lenient way the presiding judge reacts to Nazi witnesses feigning memory loss arose during the questioning of Kapke by assistant federal prosecutor Weingarten. Weingarten answered one of Kapke’s claims not to remember by the statement, half directed at Götzl, that if he was in charge of the courtroom, he would stringently advise Kapke to start answering questions. Götzl did not use the opportunity to support the prosecution, but simply remained silent.

That he uses kid gloves on lying Nazi witnesses, particularly given the way the Nazi scene seems to be playing the court, is all the more surprising given that earlier trials Götzl presided over have left him with a fearsome reputation for dealing very harshly with witness. His lenient conduct surely contributes to a deeper elucidation of facts becoming harder and harder. Obviously Götzl does not want such deeper elucidation, but simply a guilty verdict according to the indictment, and as he holds the evidence provided so far to be sufficient for that he does not wish to make his way to a judgment more cumbersome by dealing with contempt proceedings and the like.

Kapke’s questioning by victims’ counsel will continue some time during the next weeks.