5 August 2014

Lies and Trivialization, Part 9 – Jürgen Länger

Witness Jürgen Länger was questioned today. Like a number of witnesses before him, he was accompanied by Nazi lawyer Jauch. According to the indictment, Länger received the Ceska pistol used for the NSU murders from Theile, who testified a few weeks ago, and sold it to witness Schultz, proprietor of scene shop “Madley’s”. At first, Länger stated that he wished to outright refuse to testify as there was an ongoing investigation against him. Defense counsel for Zschäpe and Wohlleben supported him: his acts according to the indictment fulfilled the actus reus for aiding and abetting murder, Wohlleben’s attorney Klemke stated, and the mens rea was an “open field.” Of course, this is all the more the case for his client Wohlleben, who according to the evidence presented so far (see the report of 3 July 2014) not only provided the weapon to Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt via co-accused Zschäpe, but who was also much closer to them in ideology than Länger.

The court disagreed and had the witness report on the provision of the weapon to Schultz. Länger denied having done so, just as he had done in his interview with federal criminal police. He claimed that Schultze was only a casual acquaintance; as to Theile, he had known him for a while, but had only come into closer contact within the last two years: “now we’re connected by the NSU.”

Länger tried to present himself as victim of the press and of federal police, as a “politically neutral” person who had taken part in Nazi marches, but also in left wing demonstration, seeking fun and adventure. Neither he himself nor Theile, Länger claimed, had had anything to do with guns. The presiding judge read parts from Theile’s police interviews, from files found on his hard drive etc. which let things appear in a totally different light – according to these documents, Länger was part of the “old right wing scene” in Jena, had Nazi documents on his computer, stated that maybe Theile had had something to do with guns. Theile prevaricated: other witnesses were lying, the police had simply invented answers in the police interviews, etc. When confronted with chat protocols dating from 2011 in which he had written things like “Sieg H…”, he tried to claim that his chat partner was from Austria and that was just the way people did things there.

Through persistent questioning, victims‘ counsel were able to clear up certain details, and this despite attempts by Wohlleben defense attorney Klemke who tried to torpedo the questioning with nonsense objections.

While Länger had in the beginning claimed not to have known Uwe Böhnhardt or Uwe Mundlos, to never have been part of the Nazi scene in Jena, and to never have had anything to do with guns, it became clear in the end that he was closely connected to members of the “Thuringia Home Guard” since the early 1990s and that he had been found in possession of a gun at a demonstration. His computer inter alia contained a video of a Nazi soccer tournament including André Kapke, Uwe Böhnhardt and accused Holger Gerlach. It seems likely that Länger also personally knew the other known members of the NSU. The existing clues pointing to the Ceska taking its way from Switzerland via Theile, Länger and Schultz to Wohlleben and Schultze were thus strengthened rather than weakened by his testimony. It remains to be seen whether Länger will be successful with his prevarications or whether he, too, will have to expect an investigation for perjury.

The Wohlleben defense requested that Länger be asked to swear an oath given the “decisive importance” of his statement – small wonder given that Länger is the only one who disputes the statements by Schultz and accused Schultze that it was Wohlleben who got the gun for “the Three.” However, as stated by the federal prosecution in its statement, Länger’s statement will hardly prove to be decisive for the simple reason that it is totally unbelievable. The court decided not to require an oath from Länger since witnesses who are suspected of involvement in the crimes charged in the indictment may not be put under oath in any event.
After his testimony, Länger showed once more that he is not as harmless and apolitical as he tried to present himself in court: he verbally attacked a journalist who had found out his home address, threatened him with consequences if he ever showed up in Jena again. Länger was accompanied by a man who also threatened that “you always meet twice in life” – and who, in leaving, gave his name as “Rosemann” – in all likelihood, this was Sven Rosemann, an old friend of Länger’s who was already active in the Nazi scene in Thuringia when the “Thuringia Home Guard” was founded and who was known to be particularly dangerous given his affinity for guns.