Monthly Archives: May 2015

20 May 2015

Lies and Trivialization, Part 14 – a short appearance by Marcel Degner

The first and only witness today was – once more – Marcel Degner a.k.a. “Giant” (“Riese”), former leader of “Blood and Honour” Thuringia and for some time of three leaders of “B&H” Germany (on his former testimony, see the report of 11 March 2015). He claimed once more that he had never been an informer for the secret service – even after he was confronted with testimony by a secret service agent that he had been an informer (see the report of 22 April 2015) and with the fact that several reports from that time still existed.

After Degner’s brazen lie, victims’ counsel decided not to ask any more questions, but instead moved that the court hear the testimony of another secret service agent who had “led” informer Degner in order to then confront Degner with his testimony. This motion will be laid down in written at the next trial day, the court will decide thereafter.

Degner seemed to be certain to be successful with his lie since the files with the comprehensive reports of informer “Hail” (“Hagel”) – Degner’s alias according to the secret service agent who had already testified – have been shredded. The court only has access to a number of short reports. The first secret service agent was clear in his testimony that Degner had been an informer, but had not provided many details. Accordingly, the court should now question Degner’s former “lead officer” who will be able to provide more details.

It seems that, apart from victims’ counsel, no one is particularly interested in finding out more details about this informer’s activities. Presiding judge Götzl did not even confront Degner with the testimony of the secret service agent. Only after victims’ counsel had done so and had announced that they would move that Degner be summoned again after the testimony of the further witness did Götzl take over the questioning and (once more) confront Degner. At least the court did lay down clearly in the minutes that Degner had denied any involvement with the secret service – the federal prosecution stated that they would ask the local prosecutor to consider perjury proceedings against Degner.

There will be no trial days in the next two weeks, the trial resumes on 9 June 2015.

19 May 2015

On the chain of custody of the murder weapon, on a „confessed” liar and on “misunderstandings” of the Zschäpe defense.

The first half of the trial day was full of interruptions based on attempts by the Zschäpe defense to keep expert witness psychiatrist Prof. Sass from fully observing their client. The result is that Saß now sits about two feet further away from Zschäpe. Incidentally, these proceedings showed that the defense has so far paid very little attention to the everyday needs of their client: when they remarked that, Zschäpe was not allowed, during interruptions, to use her laptop with the case file in the court’s holding cell, the presiding judge simply replied that she was of course allowed to do so, if this had been denied in the past that was the result of a misunderstanding. Apparently, for more than 200 trial days, the defense had simply never complained about this actual constraint on their client.

After lunch the court could finally question the first witness, a police officer from the Bernese Oberland. He had been summoned, based on a motion by the Wohlleben defense, to testify on an investigation against the proprietors of a gun shop which had sold the murder weapon Ceska. According to the indictment, the first buyer had given the Ceska to Swiss Hans-Ulrich Müller, Müller had brought it Thuringia and after several further holders, it had ended up with accused Wohlleben and Schultze. The chain of custody has been proven by several items of evidence, the court has recently held when reviewing the provisional detention of Wohlleben that there was still a “strong suspicion” against Wohlleben, a decision that was upheld by the Federal Court of Justice.

The motion for summons of today’s witness is a Hail Mary attempt by the Wohlleben defense to call into question this evidence. However, the witness did not even confirm what the defense wanted to hear from him, namely that the gun shop’s records were unreliable. Quite to the contrary, he stated that he had looked at the records several times over a period of more than a decade and had always found everything in order. He did not have any knowledge of “shady” deals which the defense had found in other files.

The next witness was – once more – Bernd Tödter, transported to Munich from the Kassel jail where he is once more detained on suspicion of violent crimes (on his earlier testimony, see the reports of 11 February 2015 and 23 April 2015). Tödter clearly announced his line at the beginning of his testimony: everything he had told the police back then was a lie, he had never seen any of the accused or Böhnhardt and Mundlos, he had simply parroted information found online in order to obtain lenient treatment in criminal proceedings against himself: “I thought I’d climb on the bandwagon and see what happens.”

The presiding judge could not quite follow this change of heart, particularly since Tödter had indeed had opportunities to come into contact with “the Three”, had several times visited his brother in Zwickau, had lines of connection within the Nazi scene. Victims’ counsel also asked several critical questions – inter alia, they established that Tödter had been in detention before his statement to the police and had not had any opportunity to go online to research the NSU as he claimed to have done. Tödter remained steadfast: everything he had said had been information found online or simply invented by him, or the police had put words in his mouth and he had simply confirmed what they wanted to hear.

Which of Tödter’s contradictory statements is true is hard to say. One thing is clear, however: it is inconceivable that the NSU was able to commit murders all over Germany without any local support. This is true above all for the 2006 murders in Kassel and Dortmund. Victims’ counsel have moved for summonses to additional witnesses regarding these issues; it is to be hoped that these witnesses will make clearer statements than Tödter.

13 May 2015

Once more on the robberies, and on “keeping traditions” within the Nazi scene.

The first witness today was a courageous teller working in a Zwickau bank which was robbed by Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos on 23 September 2003. Even though one of the two hit her in the face with his gun and loudly asked the other “should I shoot her dead?”, she did not open the safe. Her colleague confirmed her statement; she too was attacked in order to force her to hand over money, but was able to flee the bank after a short while.

The two perpetrators escaped with a little under € 500. According to the indictment, they fled the scene via bike and mobile home – again very similar to the modus operandi concerning other bank robberies and the murders.

A police detective reported on the investigations after 4 November 2011: Guns and clothes found in the NSU apartment in the Frühlingsstraße corresponded to those seen on the surveillance camera footage from the bank. Also found in the apartment were shoes corresponding to footprints left in the bank and a map on which the bank was marked. The mobile home was rented in the name of André Eminger, according to the indictment by Eminger himself.

The last witness was Edda Schmidt, longtime Nazi activist and currently inter alia member of the executive council of the Nazi party NPD in the federal Land of Baden-Württemberg. She was speaker at an NPD-organized training section in Thuringia. Both Tino Brandt and the brother of André Kapke had reported, with some variation in the details, that sometime during the weekend, a “Blood & Honour” activist from Saxony had reported that “the Three” were doing okay. Kapke stated that Edda Schmidt had organized this conversation.

Schmidt herself claimed today that this conversation had never happened. She clearly tried not to clear up anything in her testimony, stated in response to a question “I am not a traitor.” Kapke’s testimony that Schmidt had organized the conversation concerning the NSU members in the underground is thus not called into question by Schmidt’s denial.

Her testimony also showed quite clearly how young people are influenced within the Nazi scene: she stated that over two days, she had given a lecture on “traditions” and Heathen religion, had tried to “bring some culture” to the young people. This was the way in which young people were indoctrinated in a proclaimed Heathen pseudo-religion based mostly on racist and anti-Semitic thought and the idea that the “Germanic people” was superior to all others. People like Edda Schmidt, whose father was a proud SS member, whose mother was active in the Nazi “Bund deutscher Mädel”, who was active in Nazi circles since her childhood, provided to young people the “cultural” background which they would later use as justification for their racist crimes of violence.

12 May 2015

More on the robberies, and on the ideology of Mundlos and Zschäpe

Today a childhood friend of Uwe Mundlos continued his testimony – on his earlier statements see the report of 15 April 2015. He reported several details about the violence of the Nazi scene, inter alia about a brutal attack on someone who “did not fit into the picture”, and about a fight in which Beate Zschäpe hit someone with a drinking glass. Mundlos had owned several weapons, inter alia a crossbow, knives and likely also a gas pistol.

His statement also showed that “the Three” had known quite well how to characterize their crimes in Jena and the likely police reaction – Zschäpe always checked whether she was being followed by the police, wrote down the licence plates of unmarked police cards, Mundlos told him that he was under suspicion for terrorist offences and asked him to get rid of evidence such as a computer in case of a concrete investigation.

The witness also related that Mundlos had, already back then, had many contacts in Chemnitz, had visited people there and also received visits from Chemnitz friends in Jena.

The witness was obviously at pains to make a true statement and to differentiate which details he could still remember 18 years later and which he could not. The Zschäpe and Wohlleben defense tried hard to represent this as contradictions in his statement, even accused the witness of lying. However, this transparent strategy was without success as not only victims’ counsel, but also the prosecution intervened several times and the court decided against the defense in each case.

The court also dealt with another NSU robbery, on a bank in Zwickau on 25 September 2002. According to several witnesses, Mundlos and Böhnhardt stormed into the building, sprayed tear gas at everyone present and threatened them with guns. The loot was approximately € 50,000, the two perpetrators fled on bicycles, just as they did after the murders.

11 May 2015

On the NSU’s robberies

This week, the court will deal primarily with some of the 15 robberies committed by the NSU.
The first witnesses today testified on the first of these crimes, a robbery on 18 December 1998 in a supermarket in Chemnitz. The perpetrators robbed the main cashier of the day’s earnings and fled on foot. A young customer followed them on foot, but stopped when they fired at him three times. The spent cartridges showed the same markings as ammunition found in 2011 in the NSU apartment in the Frühlingsstraße in Zwickau – the gun, however, was not found. The customer was just recently found again and will probably testify in one of the next weeks.
A witness described the bullet holes in the outer wall of the supermarket, at least one of which was at a height of about 1.60 m, i.e. at the pursuer’s head height. This unscrupulous use of firearms shows that even in the first year after going underground and in the pursuit of a robbery meant “only” to procure money, Böhnhardt and Mundlos were willing to cause the death of human beings.

It also shows that all supporters of “the Three” must have known this: Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt were living in Chemnitz, the brutal robbery was the talk of the town, the live-threatening shots were known to all in Chemnitz. It was no secret that Böhnhardt and Mundlos were conducting robberies, the scene talked about their not needing any more gifts of money as they were “doing jobs”, several secret service informers knew about the robbery. At this point in time, all Chemnitz supporters knew that Böhnhardt and Mundlos were willing to kill in pursuance of their goals.

There was only one witness today concerning a later crime, a robbery on a Chemnitz post office on 30 November 2000, namely a police officer who had dealt with evidence found in the NSU apartment in Zwickau. She found several correspondences between several pieces of clothing and a gun used in the robbery. Also, a mobile home was rented over the period of the crime in the name of André Eminger – according to the indictment, this was done by Eminger himself.
Several victims’ counsel moved for evidence to be taken concerning the theoretical and ideological background of “leaderless resistance” as shown inter alia in the “Blood & Honour” magazine. This magazine was found in a sort of newspaper archive in a garage used by the “Kameradschaft Jena”, where police also found several pipe bombs during a search in 1998.