27. July 2017

Prosecution closing statement, day 3 – central attack on the interests of the victims and their representatives in the trial.

On the third day of the prosecution’s closing statement, prosecutor Greger continued to explain why accused Zschäpe is to be punished as a co-perpetrator of the NSU’s crimes, but only partially fulfilled the standards she had set for herself. As to the political background of the crimes, she referred to short statements in the “NSU letter” as well as several precursors to the video in which the NSU claimed responsibility for its crimes. One such statement was that “we, the NSU, will not gain attention with many words, but with deeds. As long as there are no far-ranging changes in the press, political institutions and with respect to freedom of speech, we will continue with our actions.” However, as the prosecution is proceeding from the assumption that the NSU as an isolated was not influenced by others at all, it could not convincingly portray the group’s ideology, its origins and its developments.

The least that could have been expected in this regard was a short reference to the ideological bits and pieces floating around in the neo-Nazi scene surrounding the accused. The simple hatred against people of Turkish origin, as presented in the anti-“Ali” poem known to the group since their “Thuringia Home Guard” days, is a clear representation of racism, but not in itself sufficient explanation for an ideology of destruction which lead the group to assassinate ten persons and set several bombs, including a nail bomb.

The ideology of racial war, symbolically represented in the NSU’s videos with their reference to the parole of the “14 words” propagated by militant proponents of that ideology, was spread in the 1990s by groups such as “Blood and Honour”, the very groups which provided Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Zschäpe with shelter from 1998 to 2000 in Chemnitz. The “White Brotherhood in the Iron Mountains” led by co-accused Eminger also propagated that parole (“We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children”). For sub-cultural Blood and Honour activists, this parole was to be understood in connection with “leaderless restistance”, i.e. the buildup of decentralized armed groups who were to begin with armed activities immediately.

The Nazi party NPD, reference point for accused Wohlleben and Schultze, was a bit more hesitant in its publicized statements, but at the same, organized book readings with the author of one of the most famous books propagating this kind of “racial war” in the time prior to the trio going underground.

Unsurprisingly, Greger came to the conclusion that Zschäpe had been a full member of the NSU, fully involved in the planning of the group’s crimes, tasked with keeping the “command base” in the Frühlingsstraße safe while the men committed the actual crimes, and involved in preparing the NSU video, which she later also spread.

Greger continued by discussing in detail the murders and bombing attacks committed by the NSU, as well as Zschäpe’s setting fire to the house in the Frühlingsstraße in Zwickau. This part again was rather superficial, without any detailed examination of the evidence and often simply referring to the fact that Zschäpe had confessed that the crimes had been committed by Böhnhardt and Mundlos.

Greger did not spend any time dealing with the many doubts, voiced time and again above all by victims’ counsel, concerning the prosecution claim that the NSU had been an isolated group of three people. Instead, after simply sweeping aside any doubts concerning the role of witness and secret service officer Andreas Temme, Greger squarely and brazenly attacked the victims and their representatives in the trial:

„The existence of right-wing backers at the crime scenes, which has apparently been promised to the victims by some attorneys, has found no confirmation in six years of investigation, in 360 days of in-court evidence, which considered all possible angles, or in the large body of evidence considered in the many parliamentary inquiry commissions.”

Thus, the prosecution now tries to present the doubts concerning its theory of an isolated group and concerning the role of secret service agencies – doubts presented by victims and their counsel based on a solid foundation of facts – as a wild theory of ambulance-chasing and self-aggrandizing attorneys. The prosecution does does this after having spent most of its energy during the trial arguing precisely against the taking of evidence requested by victims’ counsel, while doing nothing to challenge the many lying Nazi witnesses. Today the prosecution’s closing statement has fully become part of the fight for the prerogative of interpretation concerning the NSU, directed squarely against the full elucidation of the facts and thus against the interests of the NSU’s victims.

You find the transcription here.