16 September 2015

On the early development of the „Kameradschaft Jena“

The only witness today was Tom Turner, a co-founder of the “Kameradschaft Jena” with the Trio, Wohlleben, Gerlach and others who had left the group after a few months since the regulations within the Kameradschaft proved too strict for him and he wanted to focus on his Skinhead band instead. Turner had been summoned to testify several times before, but had never appeared; on the last date in question he had submitted a doctor’s note. Today he appeared and gave rather detailed evidence. However, his testimony had to be interrupted in the early afternoon, it will be continued in October.

Turner had, already in his police interview, given rather detailed statements concerning the ideological underpinnings of the “Kameradschaft Jena”, including that Mundlos had been a committed and inexorable national Socialist who never backed down in political arguments, that Böhnhardt had a “thing for weapons” and was prone to violence already back then, and that Beate Zschäpe had “of course” been a member of the Kameradschaft from the start, even if he did not remember any concrete political statements by her. He had also related that Wohlleben and Kapke agreed with Mundlos’ political statements and that Gerlach too was an equal member of the Kameradschaft from the beginning. Finally, he had also related that the group had watched videos of militant Nazi groups from Scandinavia and had led discussions concerning the use of violence – accused Gerlach had also talked about these discussions in his statement before the court.

Today, Turner generally confirmed all this, but tried to downplay some of his statements – it seems possible that he, who is not active in Nazi organizations anymore, is afraid of reprisals by his former “comrades” if he incriminates Zschäpe with his testimony.

Following his testimony, victims’ counsel brought a detailed motion concerning the documents seized from witness Görlitz, formerly of the domestic secret service of Brandenburg (see the report of 29 July 2015). The Ministry of the Interior of Brandenburg had blocked these documents with based on rather far-fetched arguments, counsel now moved that the court request that the ministry rethink that decision. Also, they asked that the ministry be prompted to provide to the court the documents Görlitz had used to prepare for his testimony. Given the outrageous “memory gaps” claimed by Görlitz and the importance that the statement of informer Szczepanski could have for the case in Munich, it is to be hoped that the court will grant this motion.