Aid provided by the Emingers.
Today the court questioned several police officers who had dealt with the telephones of accused Eminger and his wife. Susan Eminger had several times sent her husband texts concering her activities with “Lise and Gerry” – alias names of Beate Zschäpe and Uwe Böhnhardt.
At 3.19 pm on 4 November 2011, there was a call from the cell phone used by Zschäpe to André Eminger’s cell phone, 11 minutes later a text was sent from his phone to his wife’s – all this took place directly after the bank robbery in Eisenach, the death of Mundlos and Böhnhardt and Zschäpe starting the fire in the Frühlingsstraße in Zwickau. This is strong evidence that Zschäpe asked Eminger for help in her flight. On the next day, there were two phone calls from public call booths to the Eminger’s landline.
Thus, after one year of trial days, the court finally begins hearing evidence concerning the charges against André Eminger. As these first details already show, however, he was in very close contact to “the Three” from directly after their having gone underground in 1998 until Zschäpe’s arrest in 2011. The aim will be to show that Eminger and his wife were not only supporters of the terrorist organization NSU over the entire time, but may well themselves have been members of that group.
Following up on a motion by victims’ counsel (see our reports of 8 January and 14 January 2014), the court today heard a former partner in crime of a man detained in Poland. The latter states that in 2004, he had provided accused Ralf Wohlleben with a tool to overcome anti-theft devices for VW vans and had received a pistol in exchange.
Since it will not be all that easy to have the witness detained in Poland appear before the court in Munich, the court is now trying to check the plausibility of his statement by first hearing today’s witness as well as another witness who is also a former partner.
The witness heard today did state that his former partner was “looking for a way to come to Germany”. However, he also confirmed several key points in his former partner’s statement. Among others, he stated that they had had the need for a number of guns, that they had continually bought and sometimes sold guns, that they had worked with tools for car theft, and that there had once been some sort of “deal” involving a gun or a technical tool the details of which he had not been privy to. He had thought at the time that a third partner had tried to make a deal with a group of Russion criminals in Thuringia.
The trial day tomorrow was canceled as the witness has called in sick. On Wednesday, the trial day will take place as scheduled.
On the death of Böhnhardt and Mundlos, and on a provocation by accused Eminger wearing a Nazi shirt
Testimony today was to focus again on the bank robbery and subsequent discovery of Mundlos and Böhnhardt in Eisenach. Called as witnesses were a pathologist who had performed the post-mortems, two police officers who had been first on the scene as well as weapons expert Nennstiel concerning the pistols Bruni and Ceska used by the NSU.
However, the early parts of the trial day focused on a hooded sweat shirt worn by accused Eminger, showing a masked person holding two assault rifles. Victims’ counsel moved that the shirt be confiscated since his wearing a shirt with that motive, in connection with his appearance as an accused in the NSU trial, must be considered a speech act which shows him glamorizing armed attacks. That Eminger presents himself this way in the trial shows that he endorses the NSU murders and still believes in murder as a method in political struggles. The motive comes from an album cover a Finnish black metal band whose song texts consist in no small part of Nazi propaganda.
The federal prosecution did not feel the same way and did not find it necessary to confiscate the shirt. The presiding judge did, however, at least order that photos of the shirt be taken into evidence. Whether Eminger’s appearance also constitutes a criminal act remains to be checked.
The pathologist described the post-mortems he had performed on Mundlos and Böhnhardt. He stated that there had been no smoke in their lungs or evidence that they had breathed in smoke. Such evidence would likely have been present had they still been breathing once the mobile home had gone up in flames.
The two police officers stated that they had approached the mobile home when they had heard two cracks in short order followed by a third one a few seconds later. They had then seen a darting flame in the inside of the mobile home. Both were adamant that no third person had left the mobile home. This is very likely true as there is absolutely no indication that a third person had been present. On the other hand, it also became obvious that both police officers had been subject to intense witness preparation in their questioning by federal police.
Weapons expert Nennstiel again confirmed that it had been discovered already before the uncovering of the NSU that the same silenced Ceska pistol had been used in the string of NSU murders.
On the bank robbery in Eisenach, and a motion by victims’ counsel to hear secret service informers
Today’s trial day focused on the bank robbery in Eisenach on 4 November 2011, after which Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt were found by the police in a residential street in Eisenach. Witnesses heard include employees and customers of the savings bank as well as a passerby.
Their testimony confirmed what was already known so far: two men entered the bank, forced the employees at gunpoint to hand over 70,000 Euros, struck down one employee, and fled on bikes. A passerby saw them arrive at a mobile home, put their bikes in the mobile home and drive away at high speed. He quickly told two police officers searching for bicyclists. He stated today that he had looked at press photos and recognized Uwe Mundlos as one of the bicyclists.
At the end of the trial day, victims’ counsel moved that former secret service informer Szczepanski be summoned as a witness. They announced that they will bring similar motions for other informers known to have been close to the NSU.
Szepanski spent many years in the militant Nazi scene and committed a serious of grave politically motivated crimes. He was aware of the discussions within Blood and Honour Saxonia concerning support for Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt after they had gone underground, of how one member was asked to procure weapons for them paid with “Blood and Honour”-money. Szepanski was himself a member of “Blood and Honour” and also participated in discussions concerning armed violence.
The participation of secret service informers in criminal activities led to a complaint by the federal office of criminal investigations in 1997 that, “in order to safeguard its sources”, the federal domestic secret service often told police of planned Nazi activities only at the last minute and thus too late for them to be preventable, that it often informed its informers of planned searches of apartments, allowing them to remove evidence of any wrongdoing, that many informers found to have committed criminal acts could neither be indicted nor convicted, and all this in spite of the fact that the vast majority of informers were “staunch right wing extremists” who believed that “under the protection of the secret service, they could act with impunity in furtherance of their ideology and without having to take the executive organs seriously.”
The federal prosecution has not named many of these informers as witnesses, despite the fact that they could provide valuable information regarding the way the NSU was set up and its cooperation with various networks of militant neo-Nazis. It is trying to uphold its thesis on an isolated group of just three persons. The testimony of various informers provides at least a small chance to gain information on these important issues despite the federal prosecution’s tactics.
Lies and Trivialization, Part VIII – Jürgen Helbig
Today’s witness was Jürgen Helbig, a childhood friend of Uwe Böhnhardt’s, member of the Nazi party NPD from 1998 on and active in the Jena Nazi scene at the material time. Helbig’s reactions to questions asked alternated between stammering and silence. Just like he had when questioned by military intelligence, the Thuringia office of criminal investigations, the federal office of criminal investigations and the federal prosecution, Helbig related only those facts which could be proven anyway: for a period of over one year, he was the go-between of accused Schultze and Wohlleben on the one hand and on the other Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt, who had just gone underground. He made phone calls, provided materials and sold the “Pogromly” board game in order to raise money for the “comrades” underground.
Once Helbig transported a packet which he now believes may have contained a weapon. As other Nazi witnesses before him, he denies remembering anything which could incriminate others: he claims to never have recognized any person he talked to, he claims to never have talked about the plans of “the Three”, he claims to never have taken part in a discussion concerning guns or violence.
When questioned by military intelligence in 1999, Helbig had stated that he considered Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe to be on the same level as right wing terrorists. He described Böhnhardt as a gun nut who hates foreigners. This statement by a person who was already then known as a supporter should have been enough for German intelligence and police services to know that “the Three” were more than likely to conduct deadly attacks on foreigners. The claims by agencies that they had no reason to suspect anything are thus – again – shown to be transparently untrue.
Zschäpe is still ill
Today’s trial day was cancelled as a doctor has diagnosed Beate Zschäpe as suffering from a „beginning infection with unclear circulatory reaction”.
Zschäpes “Infection” endured the 8 May.
One year anniversary of the NSU trial – Zschäpe has fallen ill
Today’s trial was interrupted several times, no concrete evidence was taken. After about 20 minutes of witness testimony, the Zschäpe defence asked for an interruption, which was soon followed by further interruptions. In the early afternoon, it was revealed that in the morning, Zschäpe had received a document which had caused her “nausea.” She refused to tell the examining physician the nature of that document.
It seems plausible that the document in question is a notice that the court is planning to confiscate three letters sent by Zschäpe to Neonazi Robin Schmiemann, detained at another prison. These letters are to be used for a linguistic expert opinion, requested by victims’ counsel, on whether there are similiarities between NSU publications and Zschäpe’s writing. It would presumably be tough on Zschäpe if her rather emotional letters to her “comrade” were made subject to public discussions.
The trial day ended with a challenge for bias brought by the Zschäpe defence against the court physician. The court will decide on that challenge outside of the courtroom.