Activists’ tribunal into neo-Nazi murders plans to name those responsible
Martin Kreickenbaum and Dietmar Henning
25 May 2017
Last week, the “Dissolve the NSU Complex” action group opened its tribunal in Cologne.
The National Socialist Underground (NSU), was a right-wing terrorist group responsible for the murder of nine immigrants and a policewoman between 2000 and 2006. The group included Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, both of whom died under suspicious circumstances, and Beate Zschäpe, who is now on trial for her role in the killings.
“The tribunal is a political intervention. We will name the perpetrators and try to shed light on the entire network that supported the NSU,” commented Tim Klodzko, spokesman for the action group.
“We have 100 names, including members of the secret service, politicians, journalists, whom we accuse,” Klodzko said. “We will hand over the indictment to the public on Saturday.”
The tribunal has been organized to counter the attempts by the German authorities and the judiciary to cover up the background to the ten murders and three bombings carried out by the NSU. Despite numerous official committees of investigation and a criminal case before the Munich Higher Regional Court against Beate Zschäpe and four presumed accomplices and supporters, the uncovering of the full extent of the NSU complex is still being hindered to this day.
Immediately before the tribunal, the 45th secret service undercover informant working in the milieu of the NSU gang was revealed. However, the involvement of the secret services in the murders is hardly ever questioned by politicians or in the media.
The tribunal was overshadowed by the deportation of 28-year-old musician and Roma activist Selami Prizreni, scheduled to speak at a workshop on state racism against Sinti and Roma on Friday, and who was due to appear on Sunday with his band “K.A.G.E”. Prizreni was picked up last Tuesday by the police from an apartment in Essen and immediately deported to Kosovo.
Prizreni, whose family fled from the Yugoslav war in the early 1990s, was born and grew up in Germany. He was deported for the first time in 2010, but a court later ruled the deportation illegal. He was not granted a right of return, however.
When he returned to Essen in 2014, he was treated as an “illegal immigrant” and called on to leave, although his entire professional and private relations are in German;, he has no future in Kosovo as a Roma and is subject to racial discrimination.
In a press release, the NSU Tribunal called for “the immediate withdrawal of the deportation order and the granting of a permanent residence permit for Selami and all other Roma. Selami should be able to participate in the NSU Tribunal as planned.”
Relatives of the victims speak out
During the numerous workshops, panel discussions and lectures at the tribunal, relatives of the victims of the NSU spoke prominently, some of whom have been stigmatized by the state authorities for many years. The police and the media, who contemptuously described the criminal actions of the NSU as “kebab killings”, had criminalized, threatened and intimidated them.
One of those affected by the bombing in Cologne Keupstrasse reported that he had been bawled out by police officers when he said the perpetrators were neo-Nazis. “The police do not want to hear that,” he was told.
Gavriil Boulgarides, whose brother Theodorus was shot dead in 2007 in Munich, the seventh victim of the NSU, reported that he had expressed the opinion that it was “a German person gone mad, traveling through the country and killing foreigners”. In response, police demanded to know what he thought he was doing, telling such stories.
“Theodoros is buried in Greece,” reported Gavriil Boulgaruides, “next to my father and next to my grandfather. He was murdered in the Second World War by collaborating Bulgarians on the order of Germans. They killed 130 men in a forest. What an irony. First the father of my father, and then the son of his son.”
On Thursday, two actors re-enacted the events on Keupstrasse over a period of three years, where a nail bomb exploded on June 9, 2004. Through the compilation and presentation of internal files, notes and interviews of the investigative and secret service authorities, various interior ministries and the state prosecutor’s office, as well as witness testimony and newspaper articles, an impressive picture emerged of how the state authorities and media suppressed any reference to the right-wing background of the crime.
Testimony and logs were doctored by the investigating authorities. “The insights that our security authorities have gained so far do not point to a terrorist background, but to a criminal milieu,” said the then federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (Social Democratic Party), immediately following the bombing that injured 22 people, some seriously.
Even after profilers had developed a description of the perpetrators in 2006/07, according to which those wanted for murder and causing explosions could be right-wing racists, this was rejected as “of little help”.
Instead, the investigation focused upon those close to the victims. This was justified by the racist argument that the perpetrators probably “grew up abroad or still live there”. Since the fact that “in our culture, the killing of people is subject to a great taboo, it must be deduced that the perpetrator is located far beyond the local system of standards and values with regard to his behavioural system.”
The investigations continued to focus on “organized crime,” which for the police boils down to foreigners. For years, the victims were subjected to constant ID checks and suspicion. Özcan Yildirim, in front of whose barber shop the bomb exploded in the Keupstrasse in June 2004, told the tribunal, “Wounds were caused that will never heal again”.
Chancellor Angela Merkel had promised five years ago: “We are doing everything we can to solve the murders and uncover the accomplices and those in the background.” However, the more it was revealed that the state and federal secret services were directly and indirectly involved in the series murders by the NSU, the more the committees of investigation and the criminal trial in Munich turned out to be orchestrated cover-ups.
Leader of “Blood and Honor” was undercover operative
Immediately before the NSU tribunal, the long-standing leader of the “German Division” of the internationally active Nazi skinhead network “Blood and Honor,” Stephan L., was unmasked as an undercover informant of the federal secret service.
The extreme racist and violent group “Blood and Honor”, which has been banned in Germany since 2000, advocates expulsions, terror and murder as a means of creating a racially “pure” white society. It organizes Nazi concerts throughout Europe and has a terrorist arm with the group “Combat 18”. Several members of “Blood and Honor” supported the trio of Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe with housing, weapons and logistics.
Research by Fakt and Report Mainz have now shown that Stephan L. was passed over to the federal secret service in 2000 by the Berlin state criminal police to become an undercover informant for them. In return for his work, a prison sentence he faced was converted into a fine.
According to information from various secret service agencies, Stephan L. is said to have left the right-wing scene in 2000, immediately before “Blood and Honor” was banned. In fact, he was active at least until 2007, and thus until the end of the series of murders carried out by the NSU, which had since gone underground.
Since the leaders of the Saxony and Thuringia state chapters of “Blood and Honor,” Jan Werner and Marco Dienel, were active as undercover informants for the secret service, it becomes increasingly apparent that “Blood and Honor” was established and organized with the help of the state. The organization played an important logistical and ideological role in the NSU murders.
Murder in Kassel re-enacted
During the tribunal, the ninth murder by the NSU in Kassel was re-enacted. On April 6, 2006, Halit Yozgat was shot dead at his Internet cafe. Andreas Temme, a secret service informant, was there at the time of the murder, but claimed he knew nothing about it.
On behalf of “Initiative June 6”, researchers from Goldsmiths College of the University of London, reconstructed the “Forensic Architecture” of the crime scene. The architects Eyal Weizman and Christina Varvia showed their presentation in Cologne, which they had presented to the public for the first time in early April. They not only reproduced a digital 3-D model of the Yozgat family’s Internet café, in which the 21-year-old Halit was murdered, but also a scale model.
From her research, Christina Varvia drew the conclusion: “We are strongly convinced that Temme’s statement is untrue.” Andreas Temme, who was also known as “Little Adolf” in his hometown, and in whose apartment numerous Nazi memorabilia were found, must have noticed the murder and seen the corpse.
Tim Klodzko said at the press conference of the NSU tribunal: “The secret service authorities always knew about the activities of the neo-Nazi groups through their numerous undercover informants. But they did not intervene in the murders of the NSU, the group was not stopped.”
Since almost one in three supporters of the three NSU killers was an informant or an employee on the secret service payroll, it is clear that the series of murders was committed under the eyes, or even with the direct involvement, of the secret services, which are now trying to stop the truth from coming to light.