29 July 2015

Secret service officer from Brandenburg: masquerading instead of telling the truth

Today the court continued the questioning of secret service officer Reiner Görlitz from Brandenburg, who had for several years “led” Nazi cadre and informer Carsten Szczepanski (on the first part of his testimony, see the report of 1 July 2015). His testimony became a farce. Görlitz again appeared in a hooded sweater with the hood pulled far into his face and wearing a wig, he also tried to not look at parties in court.

He began early on to refuse to answer questions by claiming that he was not authorized to do so, beginning with a question on another informer, Toni Stadler. He did state that he had once more read several folders of files in preparation for his testimony – quite surprising, then, that everything of substance he had related on 1 July 2015 would easily have fit onto a sheet of paper.

Today, he had brought a folder with documents which he read during his questioning. When asked about them, he claimed that these were copies of documents which he made in preparation for his testimony. Victims’ counsel requested that he give these documents to the court, but he refused. Thus began a strange discussion with his witness counsel who related several different and partly contradictory explanations concerning the contents of the folder. Finally presiding judge Götzl stated that the documents were to be given to the court and that the court would not look at them immediately, but wait for a decision by the Brandenburg Ministry of the Interior whether or not the documents would be declared off limits for the court or not. Görlitz’ testimony was interrupted for quite some time, the court in the meantime heard further testimony from a police officer on her investigations concerning aliases used by the trio (on her earlier testimony see the report of 15 July 2015). After the break, the presiding judge reported that the Ministry had agreed to his proposal that the documents remain with the court for now and that it was now considering whether or not to declare the documents off limit. Görlitz will thus have to appear in Munich at least once more.

The documents could be declared off limits if the Ministry holds that the German state or one of the Länder would suffer serious negative consequences if their content became known. Given that Szczepanski had reported to the service on provision of guns to the NSU by a “Blood and Honour” member, on Böhnhardt, Zschäpe and Mundlos living in Chemnitz and conducting bank robberies, all issues of some importance for the trial, and considering furthermore that both Szczepanski and his contact officers in the service had claimed extensive memory loss when questioned in court, it would seem that the state would suffer more serious negative consequences if the documents were indeed declared off limits as this would constitute a clear refusal of helping clear up the facts of the case. More importantly, the court should go further and make part of the case file the several folders used by the witness to prepare for his testimony – these are as of now not known to the court.