26 July 2017

Prosecution closing statement, day 2 – continued attempts to reframe the NSU.

And: transcripts of the closing statement will continue.

Prosecutor Greger continued her closing statement today. Today she mostly focuses on proving, based on many small details, that Beate Zschäpe had played such a central role in the trio with Böhnhardt and Mundlos that she can be convicted as co-perpetrator of all NSU crimes, which would have been impossible without her involvement. In great detail, Greger presented Zschäpe’s involvement in renting apartments, upholding the ordinary façade vis-à-vis neighbors, providing mobile phones and SIM cards, renting cars and interacting with supporters.

In similar detail, the closing statement dealt with files found on the computer in Zschäpe’s room in the Frühlingsstraße apartment, a computer which was used by all three persons and which contained, inter alia, evidence of Zschäpe’s planning a trip to visit co-accused Gerlach, from whom she picked up a falsified passport as late as August 2011, but also documents concerning a trip to scout out potential targets for attacks. Greger also referred to DVDs with documents concerning such scouting trips, as well as preparations for attacks.

A particularly believable witness as to Zschäpe’s position in the group, according to the prosecution, is Holger Gerlach, who had time and again referred to “the trio” as a cohesive group.

One problem with Greger’s argument is that statements by supporters and other Nazis surrounding the NSU, by investigators and by other persons are simply placed next to each other and declared believable where needed, without making clear who these witnesses are or explaining the basis for these evaluations.

One such evaluation, which supports the prosecution claim that the NSU was an isolated group of three, was simply presented without any connection to the evidence heard in court: Greger claimed that the move to Zwickau was part of an attempt by the group to put distance between itself and the larger right wing scene in Chemnitz. The evidence heard proves that this is not true:

it is true that state agencies were preparing a ban on Blood and Honour, where the supporters in Saxony were organized, and that this was already known in the scene, which had likely been informed by one of the secret service informers in its ranks. Blood and Honour Saxony managed to evade that ban by dissolving in time and accordingly also avoided the house searches and investigations which followed the ban of Blood and Honour Germany later that year. Accordingly, there were good reasons for Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt to move away from Chemnitz.

However, the evidence has also shown the group was visited in Zwickau both by supporters from Chemnitz, such as Thomas Rothe, who had provided them with an apartment for a while and who was a friend of Mundlos’, or Max-Florian B., and by co-accused Wohlleben and Gerlach. In addition, the group was quick to establish ties to the Nazi scene in Zwickau and environs, to which belonged accused Andre Eminger. Victims’ counsel have brought extensive motions for evidence concerning the cooperation with this scene, including secret service informer Marschner, all of which were rejected. All this shows that the move to Zwickau, contrary to the unsupported claim by the prosecution, does not at all show the group further isolating itself.

The prosecution’s attempts to reframe the NSU complex according to its own political parameters reached their high point when Greger claimed that the NSU’s crimes had thrown the entire German population into a state of terror:

„With their crimes, the group has terrorized the population over a period of years. Nobody could escape their focus, as shown by the scouting material found. The group spent years scouting out and cataloguing institutions, political decision makers and potential targets of attacks. Their collection of date comprised political, religious and social institutions, with a particular focus on Turkish and Islamic institutions and institutions for asylum seekers”

It is apparent that the prosecution totally ignores the racist motives behind the NSU’s crimes. What’s more, it also totally ignores the institutionalized racism in the investigative agencies, which led to investigations which for years were directed almost entirely against the victims – in the Keupstraße in Cologne, this is known as the “bomb after the bomb”. As intended by the NSU, its attacks threw the migrant population in Germany into a state of terror, whereas the only connection for large parts of the general German population and “political decision makers” to these crimes was that they read newspaper articles propagating racist ideas about “Kebap killings”.

We will continue to publish transcripts of the prosecution closing statements. Our own closing statements will be very critical of the prosecution’s claims, which is why we wish to document their statement it in its entirety and not only by means of selected quotes. We are aware of the risk that the defense may be thankful to us for this activity, but are willing to run that risk.

However, we will in the future not publish the statements on the day they are presented, but a few days later, due to the amount of work involved in finalizing them. You find the german transcription here.