New evidence in murder of German police officer by far-right

By Dietmar Henning
17 March 2014

Earlier this month, the Parliamentary Committee of Investigation of the Thuringia state assembly heard evidence from a close friend of police officer Michèle Kiesewetter. Kiesewetter is believed to have been murdered in Heilbronn on April 25, 2007, by the neo-fascist National Socialist Underground (NSU). From the testimony given, it appears that there was a web of personal and family relationships linking Kiesewetter and the far-right scene.

Anja W., a 43-year-old Thuringia police officer, told the committee of inquiry that the daughter of her former partner, Mike W., possibly had ties with the drugs scene and a neo-Nazi group. Mike W. is Michèle Kiesewetter’s uncle; his daughter is her cousin. Under questioning by the parliamentary representatives, Anja W. mentioned a name that points to Kiesewetter’s cousin being linked to the now banned neo-Nazi movement “Blood and Honour”.

Mike W. was a police officer in the Oberweißenbach region in Thüringer Wald, where Michèle Kiesewetter went to school. The witness, Anja. W., knew Michèle well. In 2003, they went on holiday together to Hungary. On weekends they would met at Kiesewetter’s grandmother’s. Anja W. also helped Kiesewetter with her final police training assignment, which she wrote on Anja’s computer.

By no later than 2007, Anja W. herself then developed close links to the far-right milieu, including with supporters of the NSU. In the course of investigations, she got to know the owner of a security firm and married him in 2009. Her husband also had close contact with the far-right.

According to Anja W’s statement, Marcel W. was one of her husband’s employees. Marcel W. was a good friend of André Kapke, a suspected NSU supporter. Marcel W. also knew Stefan A., a cousin of one of the NSU trio, Beate Zschäpe. Anja W. claims to have heard that Marcel W. had stayed away from work because he and a colleague were going “Turk-bashing”. Another friend of Anja W. was said to be closely related to the operator of the club where the NSU terrorists obtained the Ceska pistol that they used to murder nine people.

Anja W’s husband, in turn, is related to Ronny W., who was part of the group of NSU supporters. He was allegedly in contact with Ralf Wohlleben, one of the accused in the Munich NSU trial. He is said to have personally known the three NSU members—Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe—and to have been present when their neo-Nazi group posed in the 1990s in front of a burning cross in the style of the racist Ku Klux Klan (KKK).

An attorney of one of the victims in the NSU trial also discovered that Ronny W. can be seen on video footage alongside two NSU members, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos, that was taken during the nail bomb attack in Cologne’s Keupstraße in June 2004.

Anja W. was suspended from duty because she ran queries on a police computer for personal matters, including communicating with individual neo-Nazis. The case against her for divulging secret information was subsequently shelved after she paid a fine. She has not returned to duty, but has been on long-term sick leave.

The statement by Anja W. sheds new light on the murder of Michèle Kiesewetter, which did not fit the pattern of the other nine murders attributed to the NSU. All the other murder victims ran small businesses, were of Turkish or Greek origin, apparently being killed for racist reasons. The murder of a German policewoman, however, was different. After Kiesewetter’s death, the series of murders then abruptly stopped.

The prosecutor in the Munich NSU trial had considered Kiesewetter to be an arbitrary victim. The head of the Federal Criminal Police (BKA) Jörg Zierke had initially stated that he suspected the crime had a personal motive. Later, the BKA assumed that the procurement of Kiesewetter’s service weapon was the motive for the crime. All of this is not very convincing.

Did Kiesewetter have to die because she had information about the far-right scene or about the relationship between far-right extremists and the security agencies?

In May 2007, shortly after the murder of his niece, detective Mike W. stated on record that in his opinion the murder of Kiesewetter was linked to the nationwide “Turk killings”. At that time, nobody officially knew about the connection between the murders and the far-right scene. Why did Mike W. know more?

Anja W. also told the committee of inquiry that Kiesewetter was involved in an altercation in 2006 on the outskirts of her hometown Oberweißenbach in Thuringia. She did not give any more details, but thought, “Maybe she saw something she should not have seen”.

Anja W. told the inquiry that she was threatened before giving her testimony. At the beginning of 2012, by which time she had already been questioned as a witness, Anja W. declared she had been visited at home and threatened by two men who told her it would be better if she “did not remember anything”. When asked by the committee members, she said the two had shown ID badges, which could have been from the secret service. Following her recent subpoena as a witness, one of her tires was slashed.

The Thuringia State Secret Service has played a highly dubious role in the NSU story. The so-called Thuringia Homeland Security, which spawned the NSU terrorist trio, was largely controlled and financed by the secret service. There have also been repeated indications that Beate Zschäpe, the only survivor of the trio, might even have worked for the Thuringia secret service.

The Kiesewetter murder case is teeming with oddities and inconsistencies. For example, it is known that at least two members of her 10-person strong police unit, including the group leader, had a far-right past. They had belonged to the German branch of the KKK. The German KKK was established by the Baden-Württemberg State Secret Service, with half of the organization consisting of undercover secret service agents.

Witnesses said they had also observed people other than the alleged perpetrators Mundlos and Böhnhart at the place where Kiesewetter was murdered. This raises the question of whether the NSU was part of a network of far-right terrorist groups that was responsible for the murder of other immigrants. After all, the NSU had good connections in Baden-Württemberg, where Kiesewetter was killed.

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