20 January 2015

First witness statements on the nail bomb in the Keupstraße – and on the „bomb after the bomb“.

Today, the court heard the first witness statements of those injured by the nail bomb attack on 9 June 2004 in the Keupstraße in Cologne. Their witness statements were followed by statements from surgeons who had treated their injuries.

First to testify were two young men who had walked directly past the bomb when it exploded. They reported on their experiences in a very composed manner, which could not however mask how much they suffer to this day. Both were hit by several nails which embedded themselves in their legs and backs, they suffered fractures, serious burns, injuries to their ear drums and further injuries, both are still dealing with the aftereffects of these injuries today. Of course, the psychological damages were just as serious: both reported very clearly how long it took them to get back to a normal life; both are still in treatment with therapists.

Their statements affirmed the impression left by the statements of the police bomb experts last week: that none of the two suffered life-threatening injuries is only due to severe luck. One of the surgeons stated that, had his patient stood a bit further away from the bomb, he would have been hit in the torso instead of the legs and lower back – better not to think about the injuries they would have caused then.

The witnesses also reported on what people in Cologne call „the bomb after the bomb”: the suspicions raised against the victims, against the people in the Keupstraße by the police. Thus the two friends were not allowed to talk to each other during the first two weeks of their hospital stay as they were suspected of having planted the bomb. Later, the police took their photos as well as fingerprints and DNA samples.

One of them had, already in his first police interview in the hospital, voiced his suspicion that this bomb had been planted by Nazis in order to kill as many foreigners as possible. Today, he summarized his thoughts as follows: “That’s self-explanatory if I detonate a bomb in the middle of the day in a street where old ladies and kids are passing by – you don’t have to be a detective to see that.” This statement was met with applause from the public gallery, much to displeasure of presiding judge Götzl. As is well-known, the police did not follow up on this rather reasonable suspicion voiced by this witness and many others.

The fate of the next witness, who was a customer in the barber shop in front of which the bomb was placed, was quite similar: He also suffered several injuries due to nails and glass fragments, he still suffers from the psychological aftereffects such as sleep disorders, panic attacks brought about by being in large gatherings of people, etc. The witness, who was self-employed before the attack, is still incapable of working today.

Another victim stated in summary that he had fled from Turkey as a political refugee, only to suffer in Germany what he had managed to avoid in Turkey.

All in all, the day left no doubt that there is no possible explanation for the fact that the police did not investigate possible racist motivations for this attack and instead chose to investigate and criminalize the victims.

Through the day, victims and their supporters held a rally in front of the court building. At the end of the trial day, they held a demonstration from the court building towards Munich’s inner city, which was attended by about 1.500 people. The demonstrators, led and organized by solidarity initiative [link] “Keupstraße is everywhere” from Cologne, thus showed that they will keep up the public pressure to investigate and clear up the NSU’s crimes.