The German state and the neo-Nazi killings

18 November 2011

Over the last two weeks, the German press has carried extensive reports on the operations of a group of three neo-Nazis in the city of Jena over the last 13 years. The gang murdered at least 10 Turkish and Greek immigrants and carried out other violent crimes under the noses of German domestic intelligence agencies that were actively involved in building the broader far-right networks within which the Jena group operated.

The three neo-Nazis emerged in the 1990s from the ultra-right Thuringian Homeland Security (THS) outfit, whose leader, Tino Brandt, was unmasked as an undercover agent in 2001. He told Der Spiegel that he had received more than 200,000 marks over seven years as an informer for the BVS intelligence service. He claimed to have spent every cent of this money to finance ultra-right groups.

The Jena group went underground in 1998 after police found a bomb workshop in a garage of one of its members. Even though they faced an international warrant for their arrest, they somehow managed to evade capture by the German state over the next 13 years, during which time they carried out at least 10 racially-motivated murders. Ultra-right groups penetrated by German secret service agents went so far as to organize three public solidarity concerts, the proceeds of which were handed over to the three terrorists.

The Jena group came to light on November 4 when two of its members were found shot shortly after fleeing the scene of a bank robbery.

It is impossible to believe that the three Jena terrorists evaded detection and capture for so long without the help of elements in the German security services. The role of Hessian secret service agent Andreas T. in particular is highly suspect. Nicknamed “little Adolf” in his home village for his far-right views, he was reportedly at the scene of no less than five of the Jena group’s murders—including the 2006 shooting of an Internet café owner in Kassel, when he refused to report voluntarily to the police as a witness.

According to reports from “parliamentary parties” cited by the Bild.de website, for several years Andreas T.’s assignments included supervising undercover agents in the THS.

The security services’ ties to violent fascists underline the anti-democratic character of the European capitalist states created after World War II by the European bourgeoisies collaborating with Washington and London. The crimes of the Jena group and its ties to the state emerge organically from this history.

In the first years of the Cold War, as they fought the threat of socialist revolution in Europe, the Western powers recruited numerous ex-Nazi officials into the German state. Nowhere was this more the case than in the German intelligence service. Founded in 1950 by the Allies as an instrument of the Cold War, it employed large numbers of former Gestapo members, who saw Communists as their main enemy.

In 2009, under the headline “Brown Cellar Spirits,” the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote: “For many SS officers and Gestapo men, the formative years of the republic were a happy phase in the resumption of their old professions. Many of the men active in the persecution and mass killing machinery of Hitler succeeded in making the leap into the security agencies after 1949... In the federal central police force, the foreign intelligence service and also in the federal intelligence agency (BVS), old comrades of the Wehrmacht and the SS imparted elements of their Nazi ideology to operational style and training during the first 20 years.”

When the Allies returned the BVS to German government control in 1955, the Adenauer government selected Hubert Schrübbers—who had served the Nazi regime as an SA member and as attorney general—to run the agency. Under his supervision, many former SS members took leading posts in the BVS. Schrübbers was ultimately forced to resign in 1982 when details of his Nazi past came to light.

As the record of the Jena neo-Nazi group makes clear, these connections between fascism and European bourgeois states continue to this day. They constitute a sharp warning to the working class in Germany and internationally of the reactionary forces being pushed to the fore in order to impose the savage cuts being demanded by finance capital amid the deepening crisis of capitalism.

The new “technocratic” regime in Greece, imposed by the banks to force further unpopular social cuts on the working class, includes several ministers of Greece’s fascistic LAOS party. As the right-wing New Democracy (ND) party takes control of the defense ministry, amid rumors of a possible coup, Greek workers opposing the austerity measures demanded by the banks now face a government that includes open supporters of the CIA-backed military junta that ruled Greece from 1967 to 1974.

The cold-blooded murders of innocent people of immigrant origin in Germany are the preparation for the mobilization of fascistic forces and the state machine against the working class and all social opposition to the capitalist crisis. They underscore the necessity to mobilize the entire working class in revolutionary struggle against the corrupt political structures of European capitalism.

Ulrich Rippert and Alex Lantier

Ulrich Rippert and Alex Lantier