More testimony by Keupstraße victims.
Today several more Keupstraße victims testified as witnesses. The first witness was the restaurateur from the Keupstraße who was in the barber shop as a customer when the bomb exploded. He showed up in court wearing a T-shirt of the solidarity initiative “Keupstraße is everywhere”.
The witness was comparatively luck to “only” sustain an injury to the ear-drum, he also managed to leave the psychological after-effects behind rather quickly. However, he reported on the enormous economic damage suffered due to the suspicions voiced against the Keupstraße by the police and in the press – many of the former customers of shops and restaurants, particularly those of German origin, simply did not dare go there anymore.
Like many, the witness had immediately realized that this was a racist attack and had told the police that he did not believe that “the bouncers” were responsible: “I think that this has a radical right background. They are trying to disrupt the coexistence of the Turks in the street.” Today, he referred to that statement and expressed his hope that people of Turkish and of German origin are able to return to a coexistence based on trusting each other.
The next witness was a young woman who was advanced in pregnancy and lying down in her flat on the opposite side of the street when the bomb exploded. When she looked out of her window, she saw scenes of destruction, the many injured persons with bloody wounds – a picture, the witness reported today, which is still in her head today. Seeing the nails on the ground, the witness imagined what would have happened if her seven year old son had played on the street as he often does. It is far from surprising that the witness still suffers immensely from the psychological damage inflicted on that day.
Further witnesses reported similar details. Several of them stressed once more that they were very disappointed by the police investigation, which was directed mostly against them and the others in the Keupstraße. Even a former officer of the Turkish army – hardly a natural ally of those suspected by the police, namely the “red light district milieu” and the PKK – was questioned rather intensively and asked at first not to leave Germany.
At the end of the trial day, the court heard the report of a bomb expert on experiments with bombs built to function like the Keupstraße nail bomb. These showed that many of the nails were easily able to penetrate metal sheets of 1.5 mm thickness in a distance of 5 meters – a human being hit in the head or the torso by such a nail would likely suffer fatal injuries. However, the area in which fatal injuries could be expected was likely much larger – many of the nails had more than 2.5 times the kinetic energy required for fatal wounds, i.e. being hit would have been fatal even over much larger distances. Many witnesses today related that it was only due to luck that they had not been hit by the nails, e.g. because a car was parked between them and the bomb.
In addition, there was a very significant danger of injury due to fragments of the gas container used as the body of the bomb – during the experiments, these were found up to 55m from the site of the explosion. The leading expert witness on the issue of the bomb will report next week.
The Zschäpe defense again showed itself from its most unpleasant side: when one of the witnesses, who was visibly very nervous, began his statement with a few introductory sentences in order to ease into the topics at hand, defense counsel Heer interrupted him rather quickly and demanded that he immediately get to the point. The presiding judge chose not to play such undignified games and allowed the witness to proceed on his own pace – unsurprisingly, it took just a few more introductory sentences after which he turned to the events of 9 June 2004.
During the entire week, it was refreshing to see that the Keupstraße victims were able, with the support and solidarity of [link] “Keupstraße is everywhere” and other supporters present outside the courtroom, to tell their story. The witnesses took the space they needed to report not only on the crime itself and on their injuries, but also on the way they themselves were considered suspects, on the way the trust among neighbors was destroyed by suspicions voiced by the police – all those things which many from the Keupstraße now call “the attack after the attack.”
Next week, the court will hear several more victims from the Keupstraße as well as the expert witnesses.