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Germany’s Ongoing Nazi Cover-Up

COMMENT: It comes as less than a shock to learn that German intelligence has destroyed a sensitive file on a neo-Nazi terror group that had eluded capture for many years, despite the commission of many serious crimes, including bank robbery and the murder of a policewoman. (Tip of the hat to R. Wilson on this story.)

Evolved from personnel and institutions inextricably linked with the Third Reich, the postwar German government has a history of being “less than vigorous” in investigations of criminality involving “neo” Nazis.

Note that the files were destroyed immediately before they were to be turned over to prosecutors! Previously, it had been reported that German domestic intelligence may have helped to fund the group.

“Nobody here but us chickens!”

It is against this background that we examined the acknowledgement of Nazi participation in the Olympics Massacre of 1972. Who provided the  false passports obtained by the Nazi element for the Palestinian killers? 

“Ger­man Secret Ser­vice Destroys Files on neo-Nazi Ter­ror­ist Gang the National Social­ist Underground: Vital Infor­ma­tion Was Shred­ded on the Day It Was Due to Be Handed to Fed­eral Prosecutors” by Tony Patterson; The Independent [UK]; 6/29/2012.

EXCERPT: Germany’s equiv­a­lent of MI5 has found itself at the cen­tre of a deep­en­ing intel­li­gence ser­vice scan­dal after it was con­firmed yes­ter­day that its agents had destroyed files con­tain­ing vital infor­ma­tion about a neo-Nazi ter­ror­ist gang hours before the mate­r­ial was due to be handed to fed­eral prosecutors.

The case con­cerns the National Social­ist Under­ground, a neo-Nazi group respon­si­ble for Germany’s worst acts of far-right vio­lence since the Sec­ond World War. Its mem­bers mur­dered a police­woman, shot dead nine immi­grants, mounted two bomb attacks and robbed 14 banks to finance their operations.

Police dis­cov­ered the bod­ies of the gang’s two ring­lead­ers, Uwe Mund­los and Uwe Böhn­hardt, in a burned-out car­a­van in east­ern Ger­many last Novem­ber. Inves­ti­ga­tors estab­lished that they had com­mit­ted sui­cide after rob­bing a bank. A third mem­ber of the gang, Beate Zschäpe, was caught and arrested. She is still being questioned.

Details of the scan­dal were leaked to the Ger­man news agency DPA yes­ter­day, prompt­ing Ger­man Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials to admit that domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice agents, who had been keep­ing the gang under sur­veil­lance for more than a decade, had destroyed files con­tain­ing infor­ma­tion about the group.

They revealed to a par­lia­men­tary inquiry that the agents had shred­ded the doc­u­ments on Novem­ber 11 – the day they were due to be handed to Germany’s Fed­eral Pros­e­cu­tor, who had taken over the investigation. . . .

Discussion

11 comments for “Germany’s Ongoing Nazi Cover-Up”

  1. Several things about this remind me of the Symbionese Liberation Army operation with its elements of mind control and its intelligence origins, even though that faux-left terror done by right handlers varies from this faux-right terror done by right handlers . The National Socialist Underground was heavily infiltrated (handled? generated? ) by police agencies, hence the voluminous records on them which were destroyed. Despite the polices’ ongoing knowledge of the NSU cell and its goals and capabilities, police insisted throughout that the string of murders were part of a Turkish mafia war by unknown parties. The assassinations of ethnic foreigners were efficiently and professionally done, usually with silenced weapons, implying a level of military training not evident in the young peoples’ backgrounds. And finally the ones who knew most conveniently suicided just before arrest.

    So, we get yet another reminder that the Nazi threat in Germany is limited to low level street thugs. short on theory but long on testosterone and focused hatred. With each of these (NEO?) groups discovered and smashed the men in suits, the government ministers the bankers, the EU representatives can distance themselves from the crudity of such people and denounce their ugly violence and racsism. Later perhaps we’ll see some well-researched articles about how current social and economic conditions give rise to such movements, ending with ambiguity over whether we cam blame them completely.

    We’ve heard this tune enough. Too much.

    Posted by Dwight | July 3, 2012, 5:15 pm
  2. Exerpted from:
    Germany: Neo-Nazi terror and the secret service
    By Dietmar Henning
    24 December 2011

    A confidential paper by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (secret service) of July 2004 states: “Notwithstanding the fact that the ‘bomb-makers of Jena’ succeeded for years to evade arrest, there is no effective support network to conduct a sustained campaign from the underground”. At this time, the Nazis had already killed five immigrants—Enver Şimşek, Abdurrahim Özüdo&;ru, Süleyman Taşköprü, Habil Kılıç and Mehmet Turgut.

    Police “profilers” had come to the conclusion that the murders were the work of a right-wing serial killer. But the secret service would have none of it. The same year, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution disbanded its “right-wing extremism department”.

    The murder of the migrants was blamed on a “foreign drug mafia”. A 2006 BKA internal memo, quoted in the current edition of Der Spiegel, says, “Almost all the evidence” pointed to the victims of the trio being “involved in various ways in drug trafficking”. “Politically or religiously motivated murders”, according to the BKA, were “unlikely”.

    The men were supposedly killed as punishment by an “internationally organized” drug mafia; the murders were “carried out professionally”. The bereaved families of the victims were then put under pressure to admit to connections between their murdered relatives and “organized crime”.

    In one murder—that of Halit Yozgat in an Internet cafe in Kassel in 2006—it was proved that an officer of the Hesse State Secret Service was at the scene. Andrew T., who was called “little Adolf” by friends, was said to have also been in the vicinity of the crime scenes in five other murders.

    The Erfurt State Attorney is currently investigating “several persons” on suspicion of obstructing the course of justice in office. The spokesman for the prosecutor, Hannes Grüneisen, told Focus that it appears that this is now covered by the statute of limitations.
    Rumours are now emanating from the Interior Ministry that Beate Zschäpe, the only survivor of the terror trio, will not be tried for murder, accessory to murder, or membership of a terrorist organization. Since she has remained silent and will continue to do so in the view of the Interior Ministry, it would not be possible to prove conspiracy or participation in the 10 killings carried out by the NSU. A thinly veiled invitation for Zschäpe to keep quiet!

    The consequence would be that the NSU would not be considered a terrorist organization. Since according to Penal Code Section 129a this must consist of at least three people. Böhnhardt and Mundlos would then be regarded in a legal sense as lone perpetrators, reported the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, with reference to Interior Ministry circles.
    At least 10 dead, three bomb attacks in Cologne, Jena and Saarbrücken and 14 bank robberies are attributable to the three right-wing terrorists from Zwickau. Politicians and the media speak of “failures, bad luck and mishaps” and “breakdowns”. But the alleged “mishaps” or “failures” have assumed a scale that lead to only one conclusion: The far-right terrorist scene is being protected by the state.

    Posted by Dwight | July 3, 2012, 5:58 pm
  3. @Dwight: This also reminds me of the Tea Party wackos & and certain amongst the militias as well.
    What’s funny about the former, especially, is that it just suddenly and inexplicably appeared out of nowhere….a bolt out of the blue, in other words, in Feb. 2009, just a month after Obama was inaugurated. And also in the way that they’re supposedly just a bunch of street-level people who just happen to be a little ‘different’ and aren’t actually going to try to harm anyone. That, I believe, is HIGHLY fallacious, because already, the cries of sedition have gone up again with Roberts backing off on the A.C.A., and the fact that more and more people are waking up to the reality of election fraud and extreme-right terror…..one has to wonder when the balloon will go up and how bad things could get, especially if Obama wins by a good portion of the vote this year.
    Can you say ‘Turner Diaries’, anyone? =(

    Posted by Steve L. | July 4, 2012, 10:18 am
  4. I’m left wondering if … well maybe that they, Ger­man intel­li­gence, didn’t want to expose any agents who may have infiltrated the neo-Nazi group?

    Posted by Amino Acid Head | July 4, 2012, 2:03 pm
  5. A minor correction (sort of): according to this article, the agency didn’t destroy the files one day before they were to be handed over…instead, they are claiming that the files were on November 12, 2011, one day after the informant-status of the neo-nazi pair became public OR they were destroyed in January, 2011. It was all due to innocent confusion by a “misguided individual” that heads the agency department for procuring intelligence sources:

    06/29/2012

    Neo-Nazi Cell Scandal Intelligence Agency under Fire for Shredding Files

    By SPIEGEL Staff

    The official investigation into the National Socialist Underground (NSU), the neo-Nazi cell which is believed to have killed at least 10 people over a period of years, has been marked by a series of embarrassing failures and slip-ups by the authorities. But new revelations about the case threaten to trigger a major scandal with possible political consequences.

    Members of the parliamentary investigative committee reacted to the news with shock and outrage. “Such incidents make it difficult to convincingly refute the conspiracy theories,” said committee chairman Sebastian Edathy, a member of the center-left opposition Social Democrats. There has been persistent speculation that the domestic intelligence service may have used members of the NSU as informants.

    Other members of the committee were equally scathing. Hartfrid Wolff of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party described the incident as “unbelievable,” while Clemens Binninger of the center-right Christian Democratic Union said it created scope “for all kinds of theories.” “Clearly the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has a lot to hide,” said Petra Pau of the far-left Left Party, which has been particularly critical of the authorities’ handling of the case.

    Individual ‘Acted Alone’

    On Thursday, officials at the Office for the Protection of the Constitution told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the shredding of the documents was unprecedented. They insisted it was due to the misguided actions of an individual and not the result of an order to destroy the files.

    Sources in the intelligence community said that a legal investigation had been opened against an employee of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The officer is apparently head of a so-called “procurement” department, which is responsible for running sources and obtaining information from them. The agency’s management is “appalled” and “absolutely furious” about the incident, sources said, adding that officials were trying to reconstruct the files as best they could. Apparently seven files were destroyed.

    The agency has reconstructed the timeline of the documents’ destruction. The department head supposedly received orders on Nov. 10, 2011 to search his files for the names of the three NSU members — Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos and Beate Zschäpe — and look for possible connections to the far-right scene. Among other files, the officer looked at documents relating to Operation Rennsteig.

    The operation, whose name refers to a famous hiking trail in the state of Thuringia, was intended to recruit informers from a far-right group called the Thüringer Heimatschutz (“Thuringian Homeland Protection”) during the period from 1996 to 2003. Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe, who all used to live in the Thuringian city of Jena, were also active in the group for a time. Both the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Germany’s military intelligence agency, the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD), were involved in the operation.

    The department head allegedly did not find anything of interest in his files. One day later, on Nov. 11, he informed his superiors that he had not found the names of the three suspected terrorists or other evidence in his records. At the same time, he noted that seven so-called procurement files had been archived for too long. This type of file includes all the details about the recruitment of a source, including their codename and observations about their character. The agency is generally obliged to destroy such files after a maximum period of 10 years. The department head gave orders for the files to be destroyed immediately. A day later, on Nov. 12, another employee carried out the shredding as per instructions.

    Embarrassing Revelations

    The behavior of the department head appears odd, however. He told his superior officer in January 2012 that the seven files from Operation Rennsteig had already been destroyed in or around January 2011 because of the time limit on files. Only when Fromm, the agency head, asked follow-up questions did the officer admit that the files had actually been destroyed on Nov. 12, 2011 — in other words, just as the cell’s connection to the murder series was uncovered. At that time, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office had taken over the investigation and requested to see all the relevant documents.

    According to sources in the intelligence community, Operation Rennsteig was a large-scale attempt to infiltrate the far-right scene around Thüringer Heimatschutz. Intelligent agents initially selected 35 “prospective candidates” as potential sources. Eight of those people were later recruited as informers, with six of them being run by the federal intelligence agency and the others by the state-level intelligence agency in Thuringia. In addition, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution drew up a list of 73 men of “military service age” for the Military Counterintelligence Service. It is unclear what the military intelligence agency wanted to do with the list. But it is perhaps significant that the names of Mundlos and Bönhardt appeared on that list.

    ….

    It also sounds like the remaining files that are to be turned over are expected to demonstrate that the gang members were, indeed, working as informants, raising questions of just how damning was the evidence on the destroyed files. Also note that the military intelligence unit, MAD, which was also working on “Operation Rennsteig”, is cooperating…they just happened to not keep any files at all on the matter:

    Date 03.07.2012
    Right-Wing Extremism
    German intelligence grants access to files in neo-Nazi probe

    Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has offered the parliamentary committee access to 25 files relating to “Operation Rennsteig,” which was aimed at recruiting informants in right-wing circles in the eastern state of Thuringia between 1997 and 2003.

    The operation involved the federal domestic intelligence agency, the regional agency in Thuringia and, according to the committee, the military intelligence service MAD.

    The files are expected to reveal that the authorities were working with informants from the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU), an extremist group that is believed to have killed 10 people with non-German backgrounds over more than a decade before their cover was blown earlier this year.

    Last week, it became apparent that some of the files relating to the operation were shredded by the federal intelligence agency last year. On Monday, the head of the agency, Heinz Fromm, resigned his post.

    Another head rolls

    On Tuesday, Fromm’s counterpart at Thuringia’s intelligence agency, Thomas Sippel, also stepped down in connection with the revelations. He will go into early retirement.

    The chairman of the parliamentary committee, Sebastian Edathy, also urged the MAD to release their files, while the MAD insists it is cooperating. It also said on Tuesday that it does not have “Operation Rennsteig” files.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 4, 2012, 11:58 pm
  6. And speaking of neo-nazi movements worth investigating and infiltrating…Germany’s fraternities appear to have been heavily infiltrated by the far-right for decades now. Winning hearts and minds, one kegger at a time:

    DW
    How right-wing are Germany’s fraternities?
    Date 05.07.2012
    Author: Klaus Dahmann / cmk
    Editor: Gregg Benzow

    It’s a serious accusation: according to the defendant Christian Joachim Becker, many of Germany’s fraternities have been saturated by right-wing extremism in the past decades. Some of the country’s most significant student fraternities, steeped in tradition, have already been completely infiltrated.

    For this reason, Becker launched the initiative known as Burschenschafter gegen Neonazis (Fraternities Against Neonazis). With its online portal QuoVadisBuxe, the organization denounces all forms of right-wing extremism.

    One example is Norbert Weidner, who called the theologian and resistance fighter Dietrich Bonhoeffer, executed by the Nazis, a “traitor.” Weidner said his sentencing was “legally justified.”

    Weidner is currently the editor-in-chief of the ‘Burschenschaftlichen Blätter’, Germany’s fraternity quarterly publication, and is therefore one of the most influential and highest-paid officials in the larger umbrella organization of Germany’s fraternities, the ‘Deutschen Burschenschaft.’

    Infiltration by right-wing extremists

    In his youth, Weidner was part of the far-right Viking Youth organization, and then moved on to become an official in the Free German Workers’ Party. After this far-right party was banned in 1995, Weidner disappeared for a short while, only to re-emerge in the Bonn area fraternity ‘Alten Breslauer Burschenschaft der Raczeks zu Bonn’, the same fraternity to which Becker belongs.

    Becker, however, does not want their fight to be reduced to a matter of personal animosity. On the contrary, he thinks the problem of right-wing extremism is one faced by the wider community of German fraternities.

    We would like the topic of right-wing extremism at the academic level to be discussed, and that politicians and the authorities deal with the issue,” he said. The situation is serious, he adds. “Writings by these academic neo-Nazis give rise to far-right slogans, and this then sparks violence.”

    Neo-Nazis spring into the breach

    No wonder, then, that many fraternities are finding it hard to keep up the membership numbers – a problem that, according to critics, the neo-Nazis have exploited. Of the 10,000 active fraternity members, about 1,500 are right-wing extremists, according to Becker. And Weidner is one of the “heads of the right-wing movement” that has entwined the far-right NPD party and a part of the fraternities.

    Weidner has strongly denied these claims – and has taken his complaint to the Bonn District Court. “These structures do not exist,” said his lawyer Björn Clemens. “Accordingly, my client has no leading role in such structures. These are flights of fancy.”

    Weidner plans to sue Becker for up to 250,000 euros ($313,375) if he repeats these, or similar, allegations. Clemens deferred the question of whether his client could be called a “right-wing extremist,” saying, “You should ask him yourself.” However, the lawyer, once one of the leading right-leaning figure himself, adds, “I don’t think so.”

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 5, 2012, 12:12 am
  7. http://wsws.org/articles/2012/jul2012/nazi-j16.shtml

    “Every passing day brings new revelations confirming that the murder rampage carried out by the neo-Nazi organization “National Socialist underground” (NSU) would have been impossible without the active support of the German secret services.”

    Posted by ironcloudz | July 16, 2012, 9:04 am
  8. Nazi war criminal Laszlo Csatary arrested in Budapest

    By Markus Salzmann
    23 July 2012

    The Budapest state attorney has placed Hungarian war criminal Laszlo Csatary under house arrest. The 97-year-old is accused of being involved in the murder of 16,000 Hungarian Jews during the Second World War. In 1948, he was sentenced to death in absentia in Czechoslovakia.

    The Hungarian authorities only pursued Csatary after reporters from the British tabloid the Sun tracked him down and published photos of him. He was living in his apartment in a posh district of Budapest.

    The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) in Jerusalem has been pursuing Csatary for decades. As SWC director Efraim Zuroff reported, the Hungarian justice system had evidence in 2006 that Csatary was in Budapest. For two years, the authorities had been aware of his address but had done nothing.

    Csatary was high on the SWC wanted list. As chief of police in 1944 in Kassa—now the Slovak town of Kosice—he is accused of being responsible for the deportation of nearly 15,700 Hungarian Jews to Auschwitz, and to have acted with sadistic brutality. As early as 1941, he is said to have deported 300 Jews from the Ukrainian city of Kamianets-Podilskyi. The area was conquered by the German Wehrmacht (army), and shortly afterwards the Nazis perpetrated a massacre of 23,600 Jews there.

    After he was sentenced to death in 1948, Csatary fled to Canada, where he lived with a new identity until his expulsion in 1997. After his return to Hungary, he was able to disappear without hindrance.

    Csatary, who is said to be in good physical and mental condition, was questioned last Wednesday for the first time by the prosecutor’s office in Budapest. Following a report by the Hungarian news agency MTI, the authorities then sought an arrest warrant.

    According to media reports, when questioned, the 97-year-old rejected all charges against him on the grounds that he had at that time “only been following orders” and “doing his duty” as chief of police.

    The fact that Csatary could live undisturbed for years in Hungary raises doubts whether he will ever stand trial and face conviction. “I’m not sure that the discovery will have legal consequences under this conservative government,” Serge Klarsfeld, the “Nazi hunter,” told the news agency AFP.

    The Hungarian government of the right-wing Citizens Federation (Fidesz) under Victor Orban is currently reviving fascist and authoritarian traditions.

    The constitution adopted under Fidesz enshrines God, Christianity and pride in the thousand-year history of Hungary as legally binding standards. The text refers to the “historical” heritage of Hungary and, according to Orban, has ended the period in which “the Hungarians [were] systematically suppressed”. The content of the new constitution has links to the fascist dictatorship of Miklos Horthy in the 1930s and 1940s. The term “republic” has disappeared from the name of the country.

    Under Horthy, the Hungarian authorities deported more than 400,000 Jews to Auschwitz or had them murdered. Today, under the influence of Orban and the far-right party Jobbik, a veritable Horthy cult has developed. In mid-May, a statue of Horthy was set up in Kereki in southwest Hungary—the first to be erected since the end of the dictatorship in 1945. In Debrecen, a commemorative plaque to Horthy was recently unveiled, and in the town of Gyömrö, southeast of Budapest, a park now bears his name. Further Horthy statues are to be erected in various cities, including Budapest.

    In addition to representatives of Jobbik, which draws on the tradition of the Nazi Arrow Cross, and the Catholic Church, Fidesz politicians are also regularly present at inauguration festivities. Orban claims that this is solely the doing of the local municipalities, which are often run by right-wing Fidesz and Jobbik politicians. “Why does Fidesz stand alongside the Arrow Cross—how far have things come with us?” commented political scientist Zoltan Somogyi on this development.

    In addition to Horthy, other Nazi figures are also being reinstated. At the behest of the Hungarian parliament, writer Jozsef Nyiro, who died in 1953 and was once sought for war crimes, has been reburied in Transylvania with a state funeral. Nyiro was a cultural ideologist under Horthy. After the takeover of the fascist Arrow Cross in October 1944, he was a member of the Hungarian National Assembly and fled from the Red Army to Austria. Under the protection of Franco, he was finally able to settle down in Madrid.

    Orban is pursuing his right-wing course against the backdrop of massive attacks on the living standards of broad sections of society. The austerity measures adopted by his right-wing government must, sooner or later, trigger protests and social conflicts. Orban wants to prevent this through the revival of fascist traditions and the fomenting of nationalism.

    In this political climate, a serious case against Laszlo Csatary is hardly likely. This is clear from the preliminary excuses made by the Budapest state attorney’s office. They have stated that the investigation would be “very difficult” because the crime scene lies in another country and the events happened more than half a century ago.

    Posted by ironcloudz | July 23, 2012, 9:02 am
  9. Wagners at war over Nazi past

    Daily Mail 7-29-12

    A feud has broken out between members of the Wagner opera family in Germany as the leader of the clan threatens legal action unless they co-operate with a ‘moral house cleaning’ aimed at de-Nazifying the world’s leading opera festival.

    Katharina Wagner, who now directs the annual Bayreuth Festival of Richard Wagner’s operas, wants family members to turn over every document they have in a bid to exorcise the ghosts of the Third Reich – including ‘potentially explosive’ letters penned by Hitler to Winifred Wagner, the Englishwoman who became head of the family in wartime.

    Katharina Wagner, 34, said silence on the part of her family will not be tolerated as the links that the festival had during the 12 year lifespan of the Third Reich with the Nazi hierarchy, including Hitler, are probed.

    Posted by Dwight | July 31, 2012, 11:33 pm
  10. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/170011#.UebOpm2nfRo

    Neo-Nazi ‘Werewolf Squad’ Ferreted Out by German Police

    The neo-Nazi ‘Werewolf Squad’ was hunted down by German police in three European nations this week in an effort to prevent bombing attacks

    By Chana Ya’ar
    First Publish: 7/17/2013, 5:21 PM

    A neo-Nazi terrorist group calling itself the ‘Werewolf Squad’ was hunted down by German police in three European nations this week as investigators tracked down evidence of plans to carry out bombings.

    The sting operation by police and anti-terrorism units swept through 11 homes, offices and prison cells in the Netherlands, Germany and Switzerland. They confiscated computers and other data storage devices in their raids, but no arrests were made.

    German prosecutors said the joint operation was the culmination of a secret investigation launched months ago, according to Der Spiegel.

    Six neo-Nazis are suspected of plotting to overthrow the German government through a series of bomb attacks in a plan code-named “Werewolf,” investigators said.

    “It is suspected the group intended to carry out violent terrorist acts for this purpose,” the prosecutor’s office said in its statement.

    Two Swiss right-wing extremists are suspected of leading the group. Police named them only as Robert S., 54, and Sebastien N., 25.

    The latter, a prisoner in Switzerland, is tattooed with Nazi symbols over much of his body, prosecutors said.

    The group models itself on the “Werewolf” commandos that were to be sent by the Nazis behind enemy lines towards the end of World War II.

    Posted by Vanfield | July 17, 2013, 9:12 am
  11. http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/08/25/beate-zschaepe-trial-reveals-secret-life-of-nazi-bride-behind-germanys-kebab-killings/

    ‘She was a dear neighbour’: Trial reveals secret life of ‘Nazi bride’ behind Germany’s ‘kebab killings’
    Republish Reprint

    Jeevan Vasagar, The Telegraph | 13/08/25 8:51 PM ET
    More from The Telegraph
    Beate Zschaepe who is charged with complicity in the murders of eight ethnic Turks, a Greek immigrant and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007 as a founding member and sole survivor of the far-right gang dubbed the National Socialist Underground (NSU), enters the courtroom prior to the start of her trial at a Munich courthouse in Germany.

    To her neighbours in the quiet German town of Zwickau, she was the “friendly, sociable and generous” young woman who liked to drop by for a glass of prosecco. To her comrades on the German far Right, she was a smart, assertive and violent member of their secret terrorist militia.

    Revealed in a Munich court, the hidden life of Beate Zschaepe, a mousy, bespectacled 38-year-old with the looks of a librarian, has given Germany a chilling insight into its neo-Nazi movement.

    In the biggest home-grown terrorist scandal since the days of the Baader-Meinhof gang in the 1970s, her group is accused of carrying out ten murders, two bombings and 15 bank robberies during a 13-year campaign.

    Worse still, Germany’s police and spy agencies thought the killings, dubbed the “kebab murders” because they targeted mainly Turkish immigrants, were part of a feud within the Turkish mafia.

    On Thursday, a parliamentary report into how Miss Zschaepe’s gang went undetected branded the affair “a humiliating defeat” for the security services, saying they had “dramatically underestimated” the neo-Nazi threat.

    Her trial has also cast a shadow over next month’s elections, with Chancellor, Angela Merkel, pondering the darker side of the German psyche during a visit last week to the Dachau concentration camp, just outside Munich. “How could Germans go so far as to deny people human dignity and the right to live based on their race, religion, political persuasion or sexual orientation?” she asked.

    Some contemporary answers to that question have been aired in Munich’s Higher Regional Court, where Miss Zschaepe’s trial has been running for the last four months.

    The existence of the National Socialist Underground, as her gang called itself, was uncovered only in late 2011, when police found the bodies of her two alleged accomplices, Uwe Bohnhardt, then 34, and Uwe Mundlos, then 38, in a camper van near their home town of Zwickau. They died in a suicide pact following a botched bank robbery.

    The court has heard that shortly afterwards, their flat was set ablaze by Miss Zschaepe, who lived there with them. She then turned herself in to police, saying: “I’m the one you’re looking for.”

    Searches of the flat’s burnt-out wreckage revealed a Czech-made pistol used in the killings of the nine foreigners – eight Turks and a Greek – and another used to shoot dead a policewoman.

    A DVD was also found showing the murder scenes, including footage that allegedly only someone present at the killings could have shot.

    It later emerged all three suspects were already known to the German police, with Bohnhardt once arrested for hanging a “Jewish” dummy from a highway bridge, and Miss Zschaepe being charged with hate speech after a police raid found that she owned a Monopoly board with a “concentration camp” square.

    In 1998, and accused of a pipe bomb plot, the trio are said to have gone on the run, carrying out their murderous rampage despite being the subjects of an “extensive manhunt” by police.

    Some believe Germany’s recent experience of Islamic terrorists – in particular, the so-called Hamburg cell, key to the September 11 attacks – led the country’s security services to overlook domestic threats.

    Miss Zschaepe, who denies the charges against her, has refused to give evidence.

    But a detailed picture of her double life has emerged, as neighbours and ex-members of the neo-Nazi movement have given evidence.

    Neighbours believed Miss Zschaepe was actually IT worker Susann Dienelt. She told them Bohnhardt and Mundlos were her live-in boyfriend and his brother, who had a business converting cars – which provided a plausible explanation for the vehicles that turned up outside their home.

    “She was a dear and good neighbour, and if she had political views she kept them to herself,” said Olaf Busch. The nearest Miss Zschaepe came to xenophobia, he said, was complaining about the smell from a Greek restaurant – which, he agreed, “stank of garlic.”
    CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images
    CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty ImagesBeate Zschaepe, accused of being at the heart of neo-Nazi killer cell NSU, arrives for another session of her trial on June 13, 2013 at the regional courthouse in Munich, southern Germany.

    In reality, Miss Zschaepe was living in a menage a trois with Bohnhardt and Mundlos. Another alleged gang member, Holger Gerlach, 39, said in police interviews she was an “equal partner” in the trio – strong-willed and not afraid to carry out acts of violence. Mr Gerlach told police that Miss Zschaepe, nicknamed die Nazi-Braut (the Nazi bride) by the German press for her relationships with the two men — controlled the gang’s finances, channelling funds raised for them by other neo-Nazis through “benefit gigs” at far-Right music festivals.

    Miss Zschaepe and her lovers grew up in the former east Germany and were in their teens when the Communist system fell.

    She never knew her father, a Romanian student, and had a bad relationship with her mother. A police officer, who interviewed Miss Zschaepe after her arrest, testified she talked of friends in the neo-Nazi scene had effectively become her family. More clues as to why she joined the movement came from Carsten Schultze, 33, a local neo-Nazi who reformed in 2000. His old life caught up with him last year when he was arrested and accused of procuring a gun used in the multiple murders. He has since turned state’s evidence.

    In an echo of the question Ms Merkel posed at Dachau, the trial judge asked Mr Schultze why neo-Nazism attracted him. “People who used to bully me started saying hello to me,” he said. “I felt strong.” At this point, Miss Zschaepe smiled.

    Miss Zschaepe, who faces life imprisonment if convicted, is being held on remand in Stadelheim prison in Munich.

    German newspapers have printed details of letters written to another far Right prisoner, in which she claimed to have had marriage offers while behind bars. Whatever horror her gang’s alleged crimes may have brought the wider German public, she still seems to have a few male admirers now Bohnhardt and Mundlos are gone

    The Sunday Telegraph

    Posted by Vanfield | August 27, 2013, 9:58 am

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