Monthly Archives: March 2014

27 March 2014

 “It is just a board game”- informer and contact officer

Today the court first finished the questioning of Juliane Walther which had begun yesterday. She continued her brazen game of on the one hand feigning memory gaps, on the other hand presenting herself and her comrades as the main victims of the press and a leftwing public. The highlight of her testimony was marked by her recollection of an evening playing “Pogromly” with Wohlleben, Gerlach, Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Zschäpe, which the witness recalls as the height of Normalcy: “It is just a board game, … it was just like playing a normal game.”

She was followed by Mr. Wießner, former contact officer for “Thuringia Home Guard”-leader Tino Brandt for the domestic secret service in Thuringia and now retired. His testimony today remained superficial, he will be called to testify again after Brandt’s testimony and was only asked to provide an overview today: Brandt had been recruited as an informer in 1994 and had been “switched off” for a short time in 2000 and for good in 2001. Brandt was always cooperative, would have done anything for money. He was the most important source regarding the extreme right, without Brandt the office would have been unable to provide decent information on that sector. (Of course, the fact that an office of the domestic secret service bases its political judgments solely on the testimony of an informer is in itself reason enough to shut down that agency.)

Wießner also stated that Andreas Rachhausen, who had driven back to Jena the car with which “the Three” had fled to Saxonia, as well as Juliane Walther had also provided information to him.

The testimony of Mr. Zweigert, Wießner’s substitute who had also been in contact with Brandt several times, was even shorter – he was sent home for now after he had shown no attempt to recall what had happened during these contacts.

26 March 2014

Lies and Trivialization, Part 5 – Juliane Walther

Today’s witness was Juliane Walther, Ralf Wohllebens’s girlfriend at the time when Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe went underground. After the police had found their bomb workshop, Böhnhardt and another “comrade” came to Walther’s vocational school, drove with her to Erfurt to warn Wohlleben, then back to Jena where she went into Zschäpe’s apartment to fetch some clothes for Zschäpe. She also tried to fetch clothes for Mundlos from his parents’ apartment, but she was met there by the police, who were just beginning to search the apartment and who used her as a witness to that search.

Her questioning was even more tedious than that of most witnesses from the right-wing scene. The witness claimed not to remember much at all. Presiding judge Götzl made more than clear to her that he did not buy her explanations – all the more because Walther had made a quite extensive statement to the police in 2011. The Zschäpe and Wohlleben defences tried several times to interrupt the questioning with senseless objections when the witness was under pressure by questions from court and victims’ counsel.

Walther remained steadfast in her claims to remember anything and tried to position herself as victim of those questioning her, who she claimed tried to confuse her, and of the press. Especially with regard to questions by victims’ counsel, she apparently felt that it was her position to decide whether questions had to be answered or not, which led to her being admonished by the presiding judge.

Asked about the ideological background of “the Three”, Wohlleben and Kapke, she also answered evasively, stating that they had been “a touch right wing”. She claims not to have seen anything remarkable in Zschäpe’s apartment, which according to her had been “totally normal” – it is known from other witness statements that there had been a Swastika flag on the living room wall.

The witness did relate that she had played the “Pogromly”- Spiel with Böhnhardt, Mundlos, Zschäpe, Holger Gerlach and Wohlleben. As in the rest of her statement, the witness did not distance herself from the disgusting anti-Semitic contents of that game. It seems that she is not currently engaged in active Nazi politics, and she describes herself as a “follower” – but she is also not willing to accept any responsibility on her part or that of her former friends for the NSU murders.

From the point of view of victims’ counsel, it is to be welcomed that the court has stopped accepting the “memory gaps” claimed by witnesses from the right wing scene.

Walther’s testimony will be concluded tomorrow morning.

25 March 2014

The testimony of Max-Florian B. incriminates Zschäpe and Eminger

Today’s trial day was entirely devoted to introducing the testimony of NSU supporter Max-Florian B. via the police officers who had questioned him – B himself refused to testify in court.

Max-Florian B. is an important witness for the prosecution because he was involved in an important part of the NSU’s development after Zschäpe, Böhnhardt and Mundlos had gone underground. The importance to the court can be measured by the fact that presiding judge Götzl not only had both officers testify at length on their own, but also read out practically the entire minutes of his earlier questionings and had them confirm their content.

In the beginning, „the Three“ lived in B.‘s apartment and he lived with his girlfriend Mandy Struck, after the end of his relationship to Struck, all four lived in his apartment. But even after they had moved out, and even until 2009/2010, long after B. had apparently left the Nazi scene, B continued to occasionally meet with them or talk on the phone. In these calls and meetings, “the Three” casually asked about developments in his life, likely in order to be able to continue his identity – Mundlos had used a passport in B.’s name. B. also provided them with documents, such as letters from a bank where Mundlos had opened an account using the passport in B.’s name.

In several meetings with the police, B. has shown quite vividly that Beate Zschäpe was a member of the group on an equal footing with the two men, as can be seen with regard to her statements concerning a propaganda crime in 1996 consisting of the hanging of a puppet with the word “Jew” on its chest from a highway bridge and the dropping of a mock bomb: Zschäpe had stated that she had not been involved in the actual [Durchführung] as she lacked the necessary strength, but that she had been fully involved in the planning of this and other actions. After B.’s statement, it can be seen as established that Zschäpe was a full-fledged member of the group – not least because the first band robbery took place while the Three were still living in Chemnitz, showing that the group took the step towards armed actions in the situation described by B.

B. had also stated to the police that Thomas Starke, the Fiedler brothers and the group around them had been some of the main supporters in that phase. Starke had already provided the Three with explosives earlier, using his “Blood and Honour” contacts. Interestingly, Starke was an informer of the Berlin criminal police from 2000 to 2005. He will testify next week.

However, B.‘s testimony incriminates not only Zschäpe, but also his co-accused André Eminger. B. had stated that Eminger had visitied „The Three“ at least three times in his apartment. They had discussed the possibility of his providing an identity document, but had decided against doing so for reasons B. could not relate. Eminger had been a topic of conversation whenever B. had spoken with Böhnhardt and Mundlos, they had given him information regarding André Eminger, his kids, his job and his Tattoo of the words “Die Jew Die”. B had had assumed that Eminger had lived close to the “Three” as he had often visited them. In 2011, Eminger had called B. and had known information regarding B. which he could only have gotten from “the Three”.

All in all, Max-Florian B.‘s statements leave the obvious impression that Eminger had been closely connected to “the Three” after they had gone underground and had supported them early on.

Another important aspect of B’s testimony concerned the end of the stay of Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe in Chemnitz. Apparently there had been a number of discussions concerning the fact that their presence in Chemnitz was well-known in the “scene” and they thus had to move. Given the number of informers in the scene at that time, this cannot have escaped the notice of the domestic secret service.

20 March 2014

Kapke reveals his true colors

The third day of questioning of André Kapke, co-founder of the “Thuringia Home Guard” and NSU-supporter from the early days, finally brought clarity concerning the ideological background of the THS, both before and after Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe went underground. The deadly hatred against non-Germans, the enthusiasm for the mass murder of the European Jews which became apparent in the activities of the THS was also shared by Zschäpe and Wohlleben, as Kapke’s answers in court show.

Kapke’s testimony also showed that Wohlleben has not changed into a “moderate nationalist”, as his defence is trying to imply, but that he had been involved in National Socialist propaganda until shortly before his arrest.

What finally made it impossible for Kapke to play down his ideology was a series of photos of the “Fest der Völker” (“Festival of Peoples”), a political festical with music bands, political talks and visitors from all over Europe which Kapke and Wohlleben had organized together over several years. He was unable to lie away pictures of the main stage with a banner showing Waffen SS men marching under the flags of several nations, even though he rambled on about “peace in Europe.”

The list of speakers and bands which appeared at the “Fest der Völker” between 2005 and 2009, also speaks for itself: the main stage was filled with everybody who was somebody in the fascist and National Socialist movement in Europe, including a large number of “Blood and Honour” bands. The “Fest der Völker” – the title is based in a film of Hitler’s favorite director Leni Riefenstahl on the 1936 Berlin Olympics – brings together those groups whose members are involved in spreading hatred against migrants, Jews and supposed or actual political opponents and often also in attacks and murders perpetrated against these groups. In addition, it should be noted that many of the known supporters of the NSU also come from a “Blood and Honour”-background.

This trial day thus clearly refuted Kapke’s attempts to depict the THS as a group of youths concerned about the environment and generally “opposed to the system”.

20 March 2014 – Press Release

Press Release of several victims’ counsel in the NSU trial.

Munich, 20 March 2014

“We are not the court of last judgment!”
Federal prosecution again prevents victims’ counsel from questioning a Nazi witness

During yesterday’s questioning of witness Carsten R., who had rented a flat for Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Zschäpe after they had gone underground, and who was obviously lying to the court, the federal prosecution torpedoed critical questioning by victims’ counsel.

Questioned by victim’s counsel whether he had not cared at all why “the Three” had gone underground in 1998, the witness stated that he had not cared at all whether they had stolen chocolate bars or killed someone. He was then asked about his thoughts when he found out via the media in 2011 that “the Three” had in fact committed several murders. At this crucial point, the federal prosecution interrupted questioning by the victims’ counsel, in violation of the rules of criminal procedure, and stated that „We are not the court of last judgment, it is not the duty of a witness to justify himself for his attitudes, but rather to testify on his factual experiences.“
The prosecution thus kept the witness from answering the question. They have shown that they are trying to prevent a critical examination of his truthfulness and of his motivation to make false statements in court. A worthwhile examination of the witness by victims’ counsel was thus factually prevented.

The federal prosecution has shown similar behavior several times previously when victims’ counsel questioned witnesses who were part of the right wing scene. The undersigned counsel cannot help but gain the impression that the federal prosecution is actively opposing an actual elucidation of the structures which have led to the NSU coming into being and continuing to exist and which have supported the NSU in the crimes attributed to it. Now that several witnesses from the Nazi scene have been questioned, the news has apparently spread among them that they can lie or feign memory gaps with impunity and even be supported by the federal prosecution in doing so.

Victims’ counsel, Attorneys at Law
Alkan, Basay, von der Behrens, Bogazkaya, Clemm, Daimagüler, Dr. Elberling, Hoffmann, Ilius, Kaniuka, Kara, Kienzle, Kolloge, Kuhn, Lex, Lunnebach, Narin, Parlayan, Pinar, Reinecke, Scharmer, Sariyar, Sfatkidis, Sidiropoulos, Stolle, Top, Ünlücay, Wierig

19 March 2014

Federal prosecution again hinders victims’ counsel from questioning a Nazi witness – “We are not the court of last judgment!”

Today’s trial day led to a showdown during the questioning of a witness who had rented a flat for Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe in Chemnitz in 1998. Like many, the witness prevaricated and claimed not to remember anything. Like many Nazi witnesses, he was not pressured by the court to quit lying: Presiding judge Goetzl questioned the witness until the few facts the prosecution based on this witness were “taken care of” and then lost all interest. Like many Nazi witnesses, he was questioned critically by victims’ counsel. And like many Nazi witnesses, he was protected by the federal prosecution who intervened and interrupted such questioning.

The following is a statement by several victims’ counsel which was read out in open court in reaction to these interruptions:

„In the criminal case against Beate Zschäpe et al.

the undersigned victims’ counsel make the following statement in reaction to the objections of federal prosecutor Dr. Diemer:

Questioned by victim’s counsel whether he had not cared at all why “the Three” had gone underground in 1998, the witness had stated that he had not cared at all whether they had stolen chocolate bars or killed someone. The witness was then asked about his thoughts when he found out via the media in 2011 that “the Three” had in fact committed several murders.

At this crucial point of the questioning, Dr. Diemer interrupted, without being granted the floor, and stated that he would object to the question unless victims’ counsel could explain its relevance. He stated verbatim:

„We are not the court of last judgment, it is not the duty of a witness to justify himself for his attitudes, but rather to testify on his factual experiences.“

Dr. Diemer thus showed that the elucidation of the truth plays no role for him. It is quite obvious that the question aimed at testing the truthfulness of the witness overall, given that he had shown that he still does not care at all about the series of NSU murders.

It is precisely this examination of the truthfulness of the witness which the prosecution is trying to prevent. The witness was made aware by the prosecution that his behavior on the stand is being backed by state organs.

The question speaks for itself and is obviously permissible. However, given the statement of Dr. Diemer, a further questioning of the witness is nonetheless useless.

Attorneys at law Kienzle, Pinar, Top, Hoffmann, Ilius, von der Behrens”

18 March 2014

Today’s trial did not bring much news beyond two motions for evidence by victims‘ counsel. The only witness for today, Enrico Theile, was sent home again and asked to appear again at a later time, accompanied by counsel. The court had followed Bavarian custom and refused Theile’s motion that counsel be assigned to him, as it had earlier done with other witnesses who are under suspicion. Rather than leading to Theile testifying, as the court may have hoped, this tactic led to further delays. Theile is suspected of having been part of the chain of custody of the silenced Ceska 83 pistol from its origins in Switzerland to the proprietors of Nazi store “Madley” in Jena. One interesting tidbit is that one of the two proprietors had given him the name of a lawyer – the same lawyer who will now accompany him in court. It seems that the Nazi scene is preparing for the trial in its own way.

Victims‘ counsel moved, first of all, that former secret service informer „Tariff“, Michael von Dolsperg née See, be heard as a witness. Von Dolsperg, who currently lives in Sweden, had recently stated in an interview with weekly “Der Spiegel” that André Kapke had asked him, shortly after “the Three” had gone underground in 1998, whether he could provide an apartment for them. He had discussed this with his secret service contact officer and had declined – the secret service had felt the danger of his being uncovered as an informer to be more important than a chance to arrest the three who had gone underground. In his time as “Tariff”, von Dolsperg had inter alia published a monthly magazine in which he called upon Nazis to form “cells” and to prepare for life underground.

The second motion aims at witness testimony of Thomas Gerlach, a member of the “Thuringia Home Guard” and former boyfriend of Beate Zschäpe. Gerlach is a multiple functionary of the militant Nazi scene and as such has often worked together with accused Wohlleben and Eminger during the last fifteen years. One of his projects is the buildup of leaderless cells. He knows practically all known supporters of the NSU. It seems that Gerlach has already been questioned by the police, but the minutes of that interview are not part of the case file known to the court and the parties.

13 March 2014

Statement by Halit Yozgat’s father; “birthday newspaper” filled with hate speech just “teenage nonsense”?

Today’s trial day began with a statement by the father of Halit Yozgat, the murder victim from Kassel. His statement was interrupted once by Zschäpe defence attorney Heer, who claimed that Yozgat had misrepresented his client in calling her a murderer and had not kept to an evaluation of the evidence. After this cynical interruption, Mr. Yozgat was able to finish his statement without further disturbances.

The Yozgat family still feels left alone by the German society and its representatives. Despite a statement of the German chancellor last year promising to do everything it takes to clear up the NSU crimes, hardly any progress has been made. The Court still has not taken into its case file all relevant files, including those from the investigation of domestic secret service agent Temme. Neither has anybody really acknowledged the suffering caused to the family by the police investigation, which had focused on the Yozgat family.

Mr. Yozgat’s has the heartfelt wish that the street Holländische Straße in Kassel, where his son was not only killed, but also born, be renamed Halit-Street – a wish which so far has not been fulfilled. The city of Kassel has named a square after Halit Yozgat, but this is not what the family had wished. In his despair, Mr. Yozgat ended his statement with a plea to the court that it make possible this renaming of the street.

“If you decide that the Holländische Straße be renamed Halit-Street, I will invite the fathers of Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt to the renaming ceremony and we will release white Doves as a symbol of peace.”

If anybody in a position of authority is actually interested in reconciliation concerning the NSU murders, they will ensure that this plea, albeit directed at the wrong authority, be considered.

This rather depressing statement was followed by the testimony of Jana J., a former close friend of André Kapke and thus closely connected to the Jena Nazi scene, including the NSU members, in the years 1996 to 2000. In 1998, J. and Wohlleben had given to Kapke a self-made “birthday paper”, modeled on the boulevard paper “Bild”. Kapke had traveled to South Africa, where he had tried to find a hiding place for “the Three”, and was given this paper upon his return.

The paper is full of anti-Semitic and racist paroles, incitement to murder and other disgusting content. The witness stated that she had produced this paper, but did not remember details. Looking back today, she classifies this paper as despicable and is ashamed of it, but from the point of view of an eighteen year old who was part of the right wing scene, it was simply “teenage nonsense” in reaction to what she felt was an unjunst criminalization of the Nazi scene.

The witness stated that at that time, everybody in Jena was right wing and xenophobic, the younger people had just been more extreme in this regard. There had been a big Nazi scene in Jena, those that had felt part of it had been able to fit in well, “that was the general atmosphere in Eastern Germany back then”. She described her then-boyfriend André Kapke as being clearly nationalistic, xenophobic and racist. She also stated that she does not have bad memories of anyone from back then.

The witness also recalled a “girls’ night” with Beate Zschäpe in Zschäpe’s apartment in 1997. Zschäpe had shown her a pistol, which she lovingly called Walli. The witness could not recall exactly what type of pistol Zschäpe had shown her, but did recall that Zschäpe had had a shoulder holster so as to be able to carry it around under her clothing.

After Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt had gone underground, the witness stated, they had become more important than before for those in the scene. Everybody had talked about “the Three”, albeit not openly, and there had been a game of cat and mouse with the police. André Kapke’s brother had given a concert in order to collect money for the three who had gone underground.

The case of Jana J. shows quite clearly that a strong and dynamic Nazi movement which is accepted, or in any event not openly opposed, by large parts of society is able to integrate large parts of the country’s youth. Apparently it was largely for opportunistic reasons that Jana J. became part of the Nazi scene, took over its ideology, lifestyle etc. and thus fit into her surrounding. Today, living in Berlin and working in the social field, her surroundings have changed and she is opposed to what she used to believe.

J.‘s testimony will be continued on 16 April.

12 March 2014

The Hessian domestic secret service – where protecting the office is job number one.

Today saw the testimony of Lutz Irrgang, former director of the Hessian “Office for the Protection of the Constitution”, i.e. the domestic secret service, as well as that of former agent Andreas Temme. After the murder of Halit Yozgat, the secret service had done all it could to cover for Temme, who had been at the crime scene, and his sources. The Hessian interior ministry had severely hampered the work of the police and influenced the investigations.

Irrgang claims not to have noticed any of this, a claim that can be explained in two ways: either he perjured himself today or his rather small office in fact succeeded in keeping important information from its director and sabotaging the work of police and prosecution behind his back. Irrgang stated that he had been on vacation at the time of the murder, that he had only been informed of Temme’s presence at the crime scene a week later, and that he had promised the police chief that his office would “retreat from the case”.

When Temme was taken into detention and his involvement became public, the witness went on, the agency’s most important task was to keep up the work of its Kassel office and ensure its security. This task had been made tougher by the fact that the police had “accompanied” the work of the office with “technical measures” – in other words, the police had tapped the secret service’s phones. It seems that the entire focus of the secret service at that time was to safeguard its own work and protect it informers from being publicly identified.

There were no changes to the structure or personnel of the agency in the aftermath of this case – the office simply suspended Temme and decided that this solved all problems.

One statement made by the former director showed that he had indeed understood the importance of what had happened in Kassel: he stated that he was convinced that clearing up this crime would become harder once it became public that an officer of the secret service was present at the crime scene, as this would force the perpetrators to “re-position” themselves. He presented this as a reason why Temme’s involvement should have been kept from the public.

This statement shows the cynicism of an agency concerned only with its own interests. In order to protect its own personnel and for a vague hope of an accelerated clearing of the crime, the office wanted to keep the involvement of Temme secret. The witness claims today that the press reports on Temme led the perpetrators to believe that the secret service was on to them and therefore to change their strategy. In fact, the murder in Kassel was the last of the NSU’s murders of migrant men, the NSU switched targets and in 2007 killed a police officer and attempted to kill her partner. According to Irrgang’s theory, then, the press reports on Temme led to the series of NSU murders being interrupted – but until today, the witness wishes that Temme’s identity had been kept secret and would have accepted further murders. His hope that this would have led to a quicker solution of the murders has been debunked – after all, the secret service, like the police and other agencies, followed the theory that they had been committed by migrants, Turks or islamists. It should be noted, however, that Irrgang’s thesis only makes sense if he was convinced of a political background to the murders back then.

Temme himself was unable to clear up the many contradictions to his own statement. He continues to claim that he does not remember anything. His questioning could, again, not be completed today. He will have to appear in court at least one more time.

11 March 2014

The Hessian Domestic Secret Service – Lots of questions remain unanswered

Today and tomorrow, the court is concerned above all with the Hessian Domestic Secret Service. Today, a supervisor of former secret service agent Temme was questioned in court. Tomorrow the former head of the office will testify, as will Temme himself once more. Temme’s direct supervisor is currently ill and will testify at a later date.

The first piece of evidence, however, was a video from 2006 in which the police the police tried to reconstruct Temme’s movement in the Internet café in Kassel where Halit Yozgat was killed. Most importantly, the video showed him turning to leave the store, then returning and putting some money on the counter, leaning over the counter due to his height. Accordingly, this film again shows that Temme must have seen the dead or dying Halit Yozgat lying behind the counter. His claims not to have seen anything thus become ever less believable.

That Temme’s statements simply make no sense also became clear when his supervisor testified. According to her, she had asked Temme a few days after the murder to ask the state security branch of the criminal police whether they had any clues regarding that crime – the domestic secret service had tried to find out whether there was an Islamist background to the murder given that the murder victim had been a “Turkish cohabitant.” She claimed that Temme had stated that the murder could be part of a killing spree, but that she did not remember when he had said so and what he had based that statement on – in any event, she had not asked him any questions.

According to the witness, Temme had not told her that he had been in the Internet café –secret service officers were generally barred from using such cafés since they were usually situated “in areas where there were many foreigners”. Her testimony again showed the low standards of intelligence and the amount of racism that was common in the Hessian domestic secret service.

Her testimony also runs directly counter to some of Temme’s claims – he had claimed that, while he had visited the criminal police shortly after the murder, he had only talked about the murder in passing. He had also stated that he was only barred from using the specific internet café where the murder later took place, for the rather more concrete reason that it was close to a mosque that was frequented by persons who were under observation.

At the same time, the testimony today also contradicts written memos of other secret service personnel concerning their discussions with Temme. The Hessian secret service has thus been a guarantor of confusion rather than of elucidation of the facts.

One aspect of her testimony which was quite remarkable and which can probably serve as benchmark for the quality of the entire office concerns the way that Temme – the witness who lied to the police and led them astray over a period of months and who claims until this day that he “saw nothing” – was seen by his supervisors and colleagues: to them he was ambitious, hardworking, some had even seen him as a role model. Enough said.