26 July 2016

More on the „NSU letter“

Today the court questioned another editor of a Nazi fanzine – the “Standard Bearer” (Fahnenträger) from Saxony-Anhalt. The witness stated that in the summer of 2002, he had received the “NSU letter” and a 500€-bill via mail. Other than that, he claimed not to remember anything – the only thing he was sure of was that his zine had been called “Standard Bearer” and not “The Standard Bearer”.

The “memory gaps” presented by this witness proved too brazen even for the federal prosecution, who began to question him quite extensively. This culminated in a successful motion to exclude his witness counsel from the trial – counsel had “coached” the witness, who obviously did not want to answer a certain question, to falsely claim not to remember anything. Of course, the energy put into this display by the prosecution would have been better placed into the questioning of several earlier Nazi witnesses feigning memory gaps. The witness was sent home for today and will have to appear again in September, accompanied by a different counsel.

His testimony today did not bring out anything new regarding the “NSU letter” – some aspects had already been cleared up through the search of NPD parliamentarian David Petereit’s flat and Petereit’s testimony (see the report of 13 July 2016): Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt kept up to date as far as neo-Nazi fanzines, organizations and publishers were concerned while they lived in Chemnitz and Zwickau, they tried to support their activities with money stemming from the robberies.

However, a number of questions remain unanswered: the federal criminal police and federal prosecutor had conducted hardly any investigations at all into how the NSU chose the recipients, whether the zines were chosen because their ideology jibed with that shown in the NSU’s crimes, whether the recipients had personal connections to the NSU and its supporters. After all, had such investigations led to concrete results, they would have endangered the prosecution’s presentation of the NSU as an isolated group of three persons.

This shows that the severity shown by the prosecution today is only camouflage for its unwillingness to do the same with regards to actually important Nazi witnesses. The witness today had already stated that he had received the letter and the money, there are no signs that he of all persons had had a personal connection to the NSU or its supporters. By contrast, witnesses from the direct personal and organizational surroundings of the NSU had lied just as brazenly, but had not been attacked by the prosecution, quite to the contrary had even been protected from attacks by victims’ counsel.

The trial day on Thursday was canceled as the witness scheduled for that day is unable to attend.