21 July 2015

More Zschäpe defense antics, and more on the close connection between André Eminger and the trio

The trial day began with more theater: the presiding judge asked whether it was really necessary that he decide on yesterday’s motion concerning the seating order or whether the defense was able to reach an agreement. Counsel Heer responded like he usually does: generally speaking, he stated, he was willing to switch seats, but now that Zschäpe had once more moved for him to be relieved, maybe the other motion was obsolete. Counsel Grasel reacted by modifying the motion concerning seating order, asking that Heer be seated one seat further away from Zschäpe. The defense then changed seats, and by the time the first witness could be called, it was 10:15. Thus the defense, who always insists on the right to a speedy trial, once again wasted everybody’s time with their childish quarrels. The court will likely decide on the new motion for Heer’s removal, copies of which have not yet been provided to all parties, outside of the courtroom.

The first witness was a federal police detective who had investigated the NSU DVD and the so-called NSU letter sent out to other Nazis in 2002. As is often the case with the federal criminal police, she had simply summarized investigative actions by other colleagues, thus she could not report much herself. She also reported on the trip made by Beate Zschäpe to Lower Saxony in the summer of 2011 to pick up the passport for Uwe Mundlos from Holger Gerlach (see the report of 14 July 2015).

She had also dealt with a DVD found in the NSU apartment in the Frühlingsstraße. This DVD likely came from accused Eminger given that it contained Nazi books also found on his personal computer as well as private pictures of his family. The DVD also contained an image file, produced with an image editor, containing a picture of Rudolf Hess and the slogan “Today is not the end of days, we’ll be back, and come what may” – a slogan that is almost verbatim the same as that contained in the NSU DVD sent out in 2011. Thus the DVD shows not only a very close personal connection between Eminger and the trio, but also contains further evidence that Eminger was closer to the trio’s ideology and their crimes than is laid down in the indictment.
The witness also confirmed that the federal prosecutor and federal criminal police are conducting a “follow-up investigation” concerning the DVD “NSU-NSDAP” found with Thomas Richter a.k.a. Corelli, recently deceased former informer of the secret service (see the report of  29 April 2014).

The final witness was Henning H, formerly co-accused next to the trio, Wohlleben and Kapke in an investigation of 1996/1997 concerning several (mock) bombs placed in Jena. During a search of his apartment, the police had found a pipe bomb he had built himself. He claimed that this bomb – which had been filled with nails and screws! – was meant to be part of the fireworks during the New Year’s Party in a local youth club (he was 29 years old at the time). However, the investigation did not unearth any evidence of concrete connections to Zschäpe, Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Wohlleben. H. was friends, however, with the proprietors of the Nazi clothing shop Madley’s, Liebau and Schultz, and had visited several Nazi concerts with them – usually after drinking heavily, as he stressed in order to explain his claim not to remember anything about who had accompanied him.

As was to be expected, his testimony did not yield anything new. Given the half-hearted investigations both in the 1990s and after 2011, there was no chance today to find out whether there was something else which H. was able to hide, or whether he really was just a right-wing drunkard who happened to have built a pipe bomb at the same time as the trio.