4 March 2015

On the structure and ideology of the Jena scene

Beate Zschäpe was able to participate in the trial again, so it was continued today. However, upon being asked by the presiding judge whether Zschäpe had been able to follow the testimony last Tuesday, her defence told the court that she had not. Apparently they are unable to safeguard her rights without prompting by the court. The witness will now have to appear again – a result which the Zschäpe defense, which always insists on a speedy trial, could have avoided with a simple notice to the court. Presiding judge Götzl was rather irritated. In preparation for another day of Zschäpe being ill, he had already pushed the testimony of secret service officer Meyer-Plath to a later date.

Only witness today was the younger brother of André Kapke, formerly active in the Jena Nazi scene. He stated that he had left the scene in the early 2000s. He did leave the impression of actually trying to relate what he knew of the scene in the 1990s – a welcome change to many other (former) Nazi witnesses. He did, inter alia, provide a detailed description of the scene’s ideology, in particular the absolute racism and anti-Semitism, which he had shared at the time. However, he did seem to downplay the violence inherent in the scene.

His leaving the scene, he related, had been started when he gained contact to the fraternity “Jenensia” in Jena – the fraternity which had dispelled eleven members in 1999 for inviting extreme right wing speakers and contacts to the “Thuringia Home Guard”. Those eleven went on to form the fraternity “Normannia” which even conducted some events at the Nazi “brown house”.

The witness was active in the group surrounding the core members of the „Kameradschaft Jena”, but was also known in larger circles as part of the singer/songwriter-duo “Eichenlaub” (“Oak Leaf”). “Eichenlaub” had written a song for Zschäpe, Böhnhardt and Mundlos after they had gone underground – one more sign for their significance for the scene.

He discussed several interviews in scene publications which had been organized for him by Holger Gerlach and Ralf Wohlleben. He also related another interesting fact concerning Gerlach: in 1999, “Eichenlaub” had played at a “Blood & Honour” concert in Hildesheim, near Germany. Today Kapke related that their appearance had been organized by Gerlach, who had moved to Hannover. Apparently Gerlach had a good connection to the organizers from “Blood & Honour”.
According to him, Ralf Wohlleben was rather important for the scene in Jena, played a leading role. However, it was hard to know his ideology as he had led a rather low-key “citizen’s lifestyle”. Carsten Schultze, too, had gained some influence in the scene over time, his word had some weight.

There was a somewhat strange scene when accused Carsen Schultze himself asked the witness some questions concerning their first meeting – in the bus on the way to a Nazi march in Munich. Schultze apparently tried to show that at that time (when he just entered the scene) he had not yet played an important role. However, the witness did not remember any of the details Schultze wanted to hear.

Victims‘ counsel moved that another witness, an early member of the „Kameradschaft Jena“ whoch had left the group after about 2 months, also be summoned as a witness. He too should be able to give details on the group’s ideology and show once more that the core members were hardcore militant Nazis already at that time.