Another mysterious death in the case of far-right NSU in Germany

On February 8, 31-year-old Sascha W. was found dead in his apartment in Kraichtal Baden-Württemberg. This news came to light last week through an article by journalist Thomas Moser, who has been investigating the murder of policewoman Michèle Kiesewetter. Sascha W. is at least the fourth witness who has died mysteriously as part of the investigation into the terrorist murders of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU).

Sascha W. was the fiancé of Melisa M., who died suddenly of a pulmonary embolism at the end of March 2015. Three weeks earlier, the 20-year-old had testified to the NSU committee of inquiry of the state legislature in Stuttgart regarding the alleged NSU murder of Kiesewetter in 2007 in Heilbronn.

The murder of Kiesewetter was the last of the 10 murders alleged to have been perpetrated by the NSU. Before that, the neo-Nazi terror group is accused of shooting nine immigrants between 2000 and 2006.

Why Kiesewetter was shot is one of the most mysterious questions concerning the NSU. The young police officer, a native of Thuringia, does not fit into the scheme of NSU racist victims. In an earlier article, the WSWS asked: “Did Kiesewetter have to die because she knew things about the right-wing scene—or about the relationship between the right-wing extremists and the security authorities—which should not come to light?”

Melisa M. had been invited to testify before the NSU Committee of Inquiry because she had briefly been the girlfriend of Florian Heilig. Even before the NSU fell apart, Nazi dropout Heilig had already claimed he knew who had shot Kiesewetter in Heilbronn. The NSU was not just the two neo-Nazis Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos, and Beate Zschäpe, who now stood before the Munich court, he claimed.

Heilig was interrogated by the state criminal police and was to be questioned a second time on the day of his death. Eight hours before his scheduled interrogation, the 21-year-old was agonisingly burnt to death in his car on September 16, 2013. After just a few hours, the authorities had claimed it was suicide, and that foul play was ruled out. They claimed the motive was frustration as a result of receiving bad grades, and then that he had suffered a broken heart.

But they neither interrogated Melisa M, the supposed source of the broken heart, nor took into account the objections of the family, who vehemently rejected the suicide theory. A forensic study of evidence at the crime scene was practically non-existent.

Moreover, in investigating Heilig’s cause of death, the Stuttgart Police employed an officer who had been the contact person between the police and the extreme right-wing Ku Klux Klan.

Sascha W. has now been found dead on the evening of February 8 in the same apartment where he had found his then-girlfriend Melisa dying almost a year ago. Since no natural cause of death could be determined, the Karlsruhe prosecutor ordered an autopsy. Their spokesman Tobias Wagner declared that they had “so far” found “no evidence of foul play”. One assumed a suicide, as there had also been a suicide note sent electronically.

The prosecution provided no further information about the death, Moser writes, “Neither about the content of the suicide note nor the addressee, nor regarding the nature of the suicide, nor the results from the autopsy. Not even about who had found the deceased.” And, one should add, no information was provided about how the prosecution knew Sascha W. had personally sent the electronic suicide message.

After the deceased, like his fiancé, had been autopsied in the same Institute of Forensic and Traffic Medicine in Heidelberg, he was buried last week.

It is not yet clear if and what Melisa M. and Sascha W. knew about the murder of Kiesewetter. On March 2, 2015, Melisa M. was interviewed by the members of the NSU committee of inquiry in Stuttgart—in a non-public session because she felt threatened. For this reason, she was driven from her home in Kraichgau to Stuttgart in the official car of the committee chairman, Wolfgang Drexler (SPD). Her friend Sascha W. accompanied her both on the journey and during her questioning by the committee.

In her hearing before the committee, according to the final report, Melisa M. said Florian had not spoken to her about the NSU. She also did not know who had shot police officer Kiesewetter. “This can also have been protected information”, Moser suspected, and asks: “Had Melisa M. known something of the possible secrets of her friend Florian—had she then perhaps also told her new partner Sascha W. about it?”

All three are dead. The two men are said to have committed suicide, Melisa to have died of a pulmonary embolism.

Questions remain regarding all three deaths. The pulmonary embolism was said to have been caused by “multiple blood clots”. These in turn are said to have formed as a result of a slight bruise on her knee after a minor motorcycle accident four days before Melisa’s death—even though she immediately sought hospital treatment and then also visited her doctor in order to avoid just that.

In addition to these deaths, there is at least another death in connection with the NSU. On April 3, 2014, 39-year-old Thomas Richter, aka “Corelli”, was found dead in his apartment. The official cause of death was given as a severe sugar imbalance resulting from undiscovered diabetes.

“Corelli” also had background information about Kiesewetter’s death. Up to 2012, he was an undercover informant for the secret service and a witness protection programme at the time of his death. Among other things, he had also been a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan in Baden-Württemberg. Two police officers who were part of Kiesewetter’s 10-strong squad at the time of her murder also belonged to this racist group.

Journalist Moser also thinks that the unexplained death of 18-year-old Arthur Christ can be attributed to the NSU. His burned body was found in January 2009 next to his car on a forest park north of Heilbronn. According to Moser, his name appears on the investigation files of the “Special Commission Car Park” regarding Kiesewetter’s murder. He is said to have resembled one of the Photofit images. He is also on a list of about 20 people in the investigation file. What is important about these people is unclear, according to Moser.

The circumstances of his tragic death are unclear. “It cannot be said exactly whether it was suicide or foul play”, said Harald Lustig, spokesman for the prosecutor in November 2009 when terminating the investigation. The investigators had found no evidence that the 18-year-old had even taken his own life. There had been neither a suicide note nor evidence of events before his death that pointed to suicide. But likewise, they found just as little evidence suggesting murder.

Since the NSU was uncovered in November 2011, evidence has been growing of many links connecting Mundlos and Böhnhardt—found dead in a mobile home—and Zschäpe, who now stands on trial in a Munich court, with a broad right-wing network in turn linked to the state itself.

The neo-Nazi scene, out of which the NSU emerged, had been built up and financed by the state secret service in Thuringia. The 10 murders for which the NSU is blamed took place under the eyes of the secret services. According to the most recent information, at least 24 undercover operatives of the various secret services were active in the environs of the NSU. Hesse secret service agent Andreas Temme had even been present at the scene of the murder of Halit Yozgat in Kassel. It is unclear whether Zschäpe, Mundlos, Böhnhardt or other neo-Nazis from the NSU were working for the state itself.

In any case, masses of files were shredded following the NSU breaking apart. Important existing files are still being kept secret. There are doubts whether Mundlos and Böhnhardt actually killed themselves, as the official version runs. The latest mysterious death connected to the investigation of the murder of policewoman Kiesewetter raises further questions.