15 July 2015

One of the most brazen witnesses so far: Mario Brehme

This morning, the court heard three witnesses on various topics: the first was a man from Chemnitz whose mother had lived in the house at the address Wolgograder Allee 76 in Chemnitz and who had come across Beate Zschäpe several times in the staircase. This was the house where the trio had lived shortly after having gone underground; the apartment had been provided by André Eminger. The witness related that his mother had complained about the new renters and had told him that they had sung Nazi songs and had thrown cigarette butts from the balcony. She had tried to talk to the woman, whom he identified as Beate Zschäpe in 2011, but had been verbally abused.

Next witness was a police officer from Thuringia who had written several reports on the development of the “Thuringia Home Guard” (THS) However, early in his testimony he revealed that he had simply summarized written reports by the secret service and the state security division of the criminal police and thus was able to report on anything he had seen or heard himself. He had also been involved in investigations against THS members, but was unable to answer any questions posed by victims’ counsel.

Finally, the court heard a federal criminal police detective who had conducted investigations concerning the aliases used by the trio. She revealed that those persons who had provided passports and other papers had also given the trio data about their family etc. in order to enable them to play their “roles” more easily. This again shows the close connections between the core NSU and the various supporters. Why the federal prosecution still insists on treating the NSU as an isolated group of three perpetrators is becoming increasingly hard to understand. The witness was unable to finish her testimony today, it will be continued in late July.

In the afternoon, the court heard a former leading cadre of the THS, Mario Brehme, who had been a law student back then and who works as a medical representative today. He appeared with a witness counsel and tried to act even more brazenly than all Nazi witnesses before him. His testimony could not be finished today and will be continued soon.

Brehme had been called as a witness based on a motion by the Wohlleben defense, who claimed that he would confirm that Wohlleben had always been opposed to violence of any kind and that he would report on a request by a reporter from German weekly “Der Stern” for an interview with the three who had gone underground. However, Brehme already began his testimony by refusing to state his occupation or address. He continued to refuse to give any details of former members or sympathizers of the THS – together with secret service informer Tino Brandt, he had led the THS, he claimed not to remember any other names, with the exception, after some prodding, of Kai Dalek, another informer. Brehme kept to this strategy throughout the trial day.

Together with André Kapke, another THS member from Jena, Brehme had traveled to South Africa in 1998 and visited Nazi author Claus Nordbruch. Several witnesses have stated that they had talked with Nordbruch about the possibility of Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt moving there. Today, Brehme at first denied having Nordbruch at all.

While Brehme presented a rather bourgeois façade, it was interesting that the jargon of the neo-National Socialist came to him rather easily. He also directly attacked the court, claiming that the THS had fought for a world “in which no one is kept in captivity for over three years without a judgment” – a clear reference to the continuing provisional detention of Wohlleben. Concerning the death of Uwe Böhnhardt, Brehme called into question his suicide: “He was not afraid of the police. He clearly would not have killed himself simply because of two police officers from Thuringia standing in front of his door.”

Of course, given the way he behaved in court, the witness is totally unbelievable and thus also of no use for the Wohlleben defense. It became clear once more that the witness surrounding the NSU have found out that the court shies away from any confrontation even with Nazi witnesses who brazenly tell lies in the courtroom.