22 October 2014

On the 1996 trial concerning a dummy, and on the Ceska murder weapon

The first three witnesses today were police officers who had questioned Beate Zschäpe and Ralf Wohlleben 1996 in the context of an investigation concerning incitement to hatred after a dummy wearing a yellow “Jew star” had been hung from a highway bridge and a fake bomb had been placed next to it. Police had found Böhnhardt’s fingerprint on the dummy.

The officers did not really remember the questioning they had conducted 18 years ago, but still remembered very well certain impressions they had reached at the time. The officer who had first questioned Zschäpe stated her impression that Zschäpe had made an impression of being very “together”, of always knowing exactly which topics she wanted to discuss and which she did not. She also stated that Zschäpe had always stood by her “right wing” convictions. The second officer, whom Zschäpe had presented an alibi for Böhnhardt, still remembered very well his feeling of being presented lies by the Nazi scene.

Finally the court heard a victim’s counsel as witness. He had been approached by Hans-Ulrich Müller, who according to the indictment brought the Ceska murder weapon to Thuringia, in the context of witness statements by Müller and his acquaintance in Switzerland. Müller had claimed that the gun had been sold by a Swiss gun dealer to a different man from Jena who had had extensive contacts into the Nazi scene. Müller had also claimed to be able to prove his statements, but refused to do so unless the courts provided him with immunity from prosecution.

This statement shows one thing above all: The statements of Müller, who denies all involvement in providing the gun, who within the space of one day tells one story to the Swiss prosecutor and an entirely different story to the victim’s counsel, is far from reliable. On the other hand, the statement incriminating Müller made by his acquaintance, who also provided information on Müller’s contacts to Thuringia etc., are coherent and convincing.