I! Am! A Victim! Accused Wohlleben claims to be entirely innocent.
Accused Ralf Wohlleben read out his statement on the charges against him today, taking parties by surprise that he did so already today. Wohlleben has stated that he will answer questions by all participants in the trial, but only answer questions concerning his personal life tomorrow as he would need to prepare further to answer questions concerning the charges.
Wohlleben denies the charges against him, claiming that he had helped his friends go undercover, but that he had never believed possible that they would commit crimes like these. He also admitted having given accused Carsten Schultze a hint where he could by a gun, but claimed to have believed that Uwe Böhnhardt only needed that gun to kill himself in case of impending arrest. He himself, Wohlleben claimed, had always argued against violence, especially xenophobic violence, both privately and in his politics. He thus refers back to the characterization of his own person as an “angel of peace” by André Kapke and tries to present himself as a victim: A victim of re-unification, which had brought the nationalist politics he had hoped for, but rather globalization, migration and capitalism; a victim of the police who had arbitrarily persecuted “nationalists”; a victim of the antifa who had time and again attacked him and his comrades; a victim of co-accused Gerlach and Schultze who incriminated not only themselves, but also Wohlleben.
Interestingly, Wohlleben stated that he met Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt several times in Chemnitz as well as once in Zwickau after Tino Brandt had been uncovered as an informer (this happened in May 2001). One of the meetings in Chemnitz had also been attended by a skinhead unknown to him who had known details about the flight, he had also talked to an unknown man on the telephone once. He thus confirms his important function for the Three who had gone underground, including with respect to Brandt and possible dangers emanating from his knowledge.
Remarkably, Wohlleben’s statement, like Zschäpe’s, is based to a large extent on a claimed plan by Böhnhardt to kill himself. However, where Zschäpe presents incredible explanations for certain claims, Wohlleben limits himself to simple denials. Where Zschäpe tries to hide her political ideology, Wohlleben uses the courtroom for political propaganda, reads out parts of the invitation to the “Festival of Peoples” he had co-organized, asks that a propaganda video of young neo-Nazis explaining “ethnopluralist” theories be played.
What both have in common is that they disclaim all personal responsibility. And what they both have in common is that they are totally unbelievable even as read out, as well as disproven by the evidence taken so far. And like Zschäpe tried to prevent victims from being able to attend the trial day on which she made her statement, Wohlleben tried the same – and was successful with his unannounced statement. He had, however, apparently informed a number of neo Nazi supporters who were seated in the public gallery of the courtroom.
The most unbelievable part of Wohlleben’s declaration concerns his attempts to present himself as an “angel of peace” who was always deeply opposed to violence and who also did not want to give ideological training to his “comrades”: Katharina König, a member of the Thuringian parliament hailing from Jena, only needs four times 140 characters (in German) to prove the opposite: “what about the lecture on the “Third Reich’s policy of peace”?”, she asks. She also refers to the Nazi who Wohlleben had named as a witness for his asking that others refrain from using violence – a witness who happens to have been convicted for a violent attack on a leftist summer camp.
Similarly, that Wohlleben organized the „Festival of Peoples“ – which hosted a number of infamous bands from the „Blood and Honour“ network, during which members of openly pro-national Socialist parties from several European countries posed in front of a transparent glorifying the SS divisions from their countries – will hardly convince the court that Wohlleben is to be acquitted based on his “peacefulness”.
Contrary to Wohlleben’s statement, the statements of co-accused Schultze and Gerlach, which severely incriminate Wohlleben, were made at an early stage in the proceedings and to the police. He will not succeed in refuting them by simply denying facts, particularly since a statement towards the end of the trial, obviously in response to the evidence taken to far, only has limited evidentiary value.
Finally, Wohlleben showed already today that he will not follow through on his announcement to answer all questions: asked about the password to an encrypted hard drive found in his PC, he refused to give it, claiming that the data on it was identical to that on a non-encrypted drive. Of course, it that were true, there would be no reason not to give out the password.