22 September 2014

Information on Uwe Böhnhardt’s youth

The court only heard one witness today, a man who in the early 1990s was a member of a group of criminal youths together with Uwe Böhnhardt and Enrico Theile. According to the indictment, Theile was involved in procuring the Ceska pistol for Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe. Already in 1993, today’s witness had reported to the police that Böhnhardt, Theile and their acquaintance Länger had access to guns. He confirmed this statement in 2012 when interviewed by the federal criminal police.

Shortly after his 1993 statement, the witness had suffered life-threatening injuries when he crashed a stolen car. His “comrades” left him to die – apparently they had heard of his witness statement. Only one of the developed a “guilty conscience” and called the police. While the witness was recuperating in a hospital, some members of the group tried to enter that hospital – his family members were afraid that he was to be killed for making statements to the police. The witness was placed under police protection and in order to prevent further attacks, his family spread the rumor that he had been killed in the accident.

In his testimony today, the witness confirmed his 2012 statement according to which Böhnhardt often behaved very aggressively, but also very strategically planned certain acts such as car thefts. He also confirmed that Theile had had several weapons. However, it was also evident that the witness tried to downplay parts of his 2012 statement which incriminated Theile, Böhnhardt and others. Another part of his statement explained why he behaved in this way: he stated that he had drunk massive quantities of alcohol already in his youth, but that he had been sober for many years after the accident. It was only after his statement in 2012 that the events of the early 1990s, including the accident and the threats received thereafter, had come back in force. He started drinking shortly thereafter and is also currently suffering from anxiety attacks, for which he has recently started treatment.

His testimony today provided important insights into the mixed scene of Nazis and ordinary criminals in Jena. They not only confirm Böhnhardt’s propensity for violence, but also show that Theile was a logical contact when it came to buying a gun.