40 years of the Munich Oktoberfest attack: the first right-wing lone perpetrator

September 26th marks the anniversary of the crime. The worst terrorist attack in the history of the republic remains unsolved.

The mug shot of the Bavarian LKA from 1980 shows a photomontage by the 21-year-old student Gundolf Köhler Photo: Handout Polizei / dpa / picture alliance

As early as 1982, when Attorney General Rebmann stopped the investigation for the first time and presented Gundolf Köhler as a frustrated, lovesickly afflicted individual without political motives, a number of disagreements put this decision into question.

As if preprogrammed, the investigations at the time resulted in the thesis of the apolitical individual perpetrator. This is also made clear by the interrogations of Köhler’s friends. The investigators asked extensively about sexual preferences and romantic relationships. Questions about political background or contacts with right-wing groups, on the other hand, were asked rather sporadically and hardly followed up in detail.

Despite these tendentious investigations, it was completely obvious that Gundolf Köhler adhered to anti-Semitic, National Socialist and racist ideas and did not hold back with them. In the interviews there was repeated mention of a picture of Hitler over the bed or of statements against Jews.

Over the years, thanks in particular to victim lawyer Werner Dietrich and journalist Ulrich Chaussy, more and more contradictions came to light, of which the missing hand is probably the most prominent. Said hand was found at the crime scene after the explosion. Then as now, the investigators attributed it to Gundolf Köhler.

Internal betrayal

But that cannot be: Serologically it could not be assigned to the assassin and, in contrast to the rest of Koehler’s body, no traces of the bomb component nitrocellulose were found on the hand. Finally, a former BKA explosives expert came to the conclusion that the hand, which was barely damaged by burn marks, could not have come from Koehler because his hands and forearms were probably torn into tiny pieces by the force of the explosion.

Today, a DNA examination of the hand could determine whether it came from Koehler – but both the hand and the forensic medical report were made to disappear in the course of the investigation.

In 2014, the Federal Prosecutor finally gave in to the pressure and resumed the investigation into the Oktoberfest attack. However, the results with which she announced the hiring five years later are thin. It is true that the strategically communicated figures of the many surveys conducted and did not check traces of their target and were found in almost every press article. But the amount of individual investigative measures cannot outweigh what the investigations as a whole failed to do.

So the question arises why the Federal Prosecutor’s Office entrusted the Bavarian LKA with the investigation instead of the Federal Criminal Police Office, and thus precisely the institution that had carried out the original investigation without success. Bearing in mind the obvious assumption that these investigations were severely disrupted and influenced, for example, by the theft of evidence or the betrayal of internal investigations, this decision seems simply wrong.

Linked to this is a second omission: the resumed investigations did not deal with the errors of the first special commission as an independent investigation objective. However, this omission is incomprehensible in view of such fundamental errors as the disappearance of the hand. For what motives, with what effects, to what extent and with whose participation the investigations were sabotaged in the 1980s, was never the subject of the resumed proceedings – another knowingly missed chance to clear up the background to the attack.

Destroyed traces

The investigators were also unable to identify possible accomplices and associates of Köhler. The men in the green parkas, who were observed by various witnesses talking to Koehler immediately before the explosion and shortly afterwards on the run from the crime scene, remain unknown, as is the young woman with whom other witnesses saw Koehler at the scene. The traces from Köhler’s car are also puzzling: Who owned the green parka that was found in the car, to whom did the 48 cigarette butts of different brands and with different saliva accumulations belong? A DNA comparison is also ruled out here; the traces were destroyed.

The press release closes with the succinct statement “that questions remained open and that individual issues could not be fully ascertained or assessed”. These open questions and the failure of the highest investigative authority, which is badly concealed in this sentence, should form the core of the assessment, because the open questions touch the core of the subject. Who were the men Koehler was seen with just before the explosion? How was the bomb detonated, how did Koehler get the explosives, where and by whom was the bomb built? Who did the hand found at the crime scene belong to and who made it disappear?

A look at Italy shows that it is not a law of nature that investigations must remain inconclusive after 40 years. Later that year, the right-wing terrorist Gilberto Cavallini was sentenced to life imprisonment for providing logistical support to the attackers in the 1980 attack on Bologna train station.

It borders on insolence that 40 years after the bloody attack in Munich, on the one hand, not having contributed anything to the investigation and at the same time proclaiming the banality that the act was politically motivated.

The lone perpetrator

The termination of the investigation is a scandal. It reveals the entitlement of the bereaved, the injured and the dead to the investigation of the crime and the determination of the guilty. This claim remains unpaid. The attitude is also momentous in that it is historiography and thus works equally in the past and present. She contributes to the construction of a historical figure that never existed and that still causes damage today: the right-wing lone perpetrator.

The decision is doing the historical subject an injustice, because weighty circumstances indicate that Köhler did not act alone. It also contributes to the fact that present and future right-wing terrorism is not understood as the work of networks. Victims remain unpunished and perpetrators unknown.

The attack on the Munich Oktoberfest on September 26, 1980 remains unsolved and challenges us. Bertolt Brecht’s sentence applies: “Only as much truth prevails as we enforce.”

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Antigypsy attack near Ulm: more dangerous than the incendiary device

Two men were convicted of trying to set fire to a Roma family’s trailer. The verdict is mild, but the accessory prosecution is nevertheless satisfied.

A handcuffed defendant in the courtroom is now on parole Photo: Stefan Puchner / dpa

KARLSRUHE taz | Nothing is left of the murder allegation against five neo-Nazis, and yet Daniel Strauss, state chairman of the Association of Sinti and Roma, says: The probationary sentences, which at first glance seem mild, have strengthened his confidence in the rule of law. Because as far as he knows, this is the first ever verdict for expelling Sinti or Roma in Germany.

The Ulm regional court has sentenced five young men to suspended sentences of between ten months and one year and four months. They confessed to having thrown a wax torch from a car at night into the warehouse of 18 caravans of a French Roma family who had rented a campsite in the village of Erbach-Dellmensingen. The court followed an appraiser’s assessment that the incendiary device was not life-threatening and dropped the murder charge.

But in essence, the trial was not about the danger of the torch: the court wanted to name and punish the perpetrators’ obviously antiziganistic motives. They had already detonated firecrackers and placed a dead swan in front of the camp. The juvenile criminal division of the Ulm Regional Court therefore found that the young men had committed the crimes for “racist, xenophobic and antigypsy motives”. “They wanted to create a climate of fear and horror in order to drive the Roma family out”. You are convicted in 45 cases of complete coercion.

The defendants did not even attempt to cover up their motives. They showed themselves on cell phone photos with a Nazi salute and Reich flags. Apparently, those around them found nothing unusual about it, as the defendants freely admitted. “If you go to the pictures on the cell phone, you could put something in every second person in the village,” said one of the defendants in the trial. The parents also left their children’s racist SMS messages unchallenged.

Fight prejudice

In juvenile criminal law, it is about bringing about a change in the accused, emphasizes Mehmet Daimagüler, who represented the interests of the victims in the process as a joint plaintiff. He does not believe that imprisonment would make the defendants better people. He therefore remained in his pleading under the demands of the public prosecutor and is now satisfied with the verdict.

After all, in the eyes of the court, one of the defendants credibly broke away from right-wing extremism after the fact. At least in the closing words, all five men regret their act and some of them have already voluntarily paid 5,000 euros for offender-victim compensation. In the end, however, says Daimagüler, one cannot look into the heads of the accused.

What remains is the attempt to clarify. Even before the incident, the regional association of Sinti and Roma, together with the city of Ulm and other partners, planned an advice center in Ulm’s old town. Now the branch of the regional association is to take on another task: political education work to combat prejudice.

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Attack on Oktoberfest: Compensation 40 years later

Decades after the Oktoberfest attack, the victims should still be compensated: with 1.2 million euros. A victim lawyer thinks this is not enough.

Oktoberfest attack in Munich in 1980 – corpses are removed in coffins Photo: Werek / image

BERLIN / MUNICH taz | The bomb detonated on September 26, 1980 at 10:19 p.m. at the entrance to the Munich Oktoberfest. It killed 13 people, including the right-wing extremist Gundolf Köhler, and injured another 211. It is the most serious right-wing terrorist attack in the Federal Republic to date. And many victims continue to suffer from the act. Now they are being compensated.

Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht announced on Wednesday that those affected – 40 years after the attack – should receive “support payments” totaling 1.2 million euros. The attack remains “a deep turning point in post-war history,” said the SPD politician, with injuries to this day. The aim of the compensation is to “send a late but important sign of solidarity with those affected by this devastating attack”. The state must “be more there for those affected by right-wing extremism, racism and hatred”.

The fund is to be financed by the federal government and the Free State of Bavaria at EUR 500,000 each, plus EUR 200,000 from the city of Munich. The federal government had approved the post on Wednesday in its draft for the federal budget 2021. The Bavarian cabinet had already decided its part on Tuesday. In Munich, the city council is still pending a resolution.

Bavaria’s Minister of Social Affairs, Carolina Trautner (CSU), also called the fund a “sign against right-wing extremism”. “It is indescribable how much suffering the attack on the Munich Oktoberfest caused.” For Munich’s Lord Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD), the joint fund comes “much too late”, but it shows “that all political levels are willing To give people of this incredibly cruel right-wing terrorist attack the attention and financial support they have long deserved ”.

Reassessment of the attack

The compensation comes about because the federal prosecutor’s office reassessed the attack in July. For almost six years, the authority had reopened the investigation after the single perpetrator thesis was repeatedly questioned and new indications of accomplices were found. The search for clues was unsuccessful – the federal prosecutor’s office now officially classified the act as right-wing extremist for the first time. The conviction of the assassin and his relevant contacts to the right-wing extremist military sports group Hoffmann speak for this.

The victims had long fought for this recognition as a right-wing extremist act. Shortly after the reclassification in July 2020, Lambrecht’s Ministry announced compensation from the federal government. Now, shortly before the 40th anniversary of the assassination, this is being redeemed. The federal government, Bavaria and the city of Munich had struggled to the last about what the fund should look like and how it should reach the victims. Reiter was satisfied with the solution on Wednesday: It was Munich’s claim to “help the survivors as unbureaucratically as possible”.

Shortly after the attack, the Free State paid the injured person 500,000 DM as a kind of compensation for pain and suffering. From 1982 the city of Munich raised one million DM as emergency aid for the victims, and in the following year another 200,000 DM, also collected with donations. From 2018, the city paid a further 100,000 euros to finance treatment costs for those affected that were not paid by the pension offices. However, these payments were not considered official compensation.

Victims were “treated shabbily”

The Munich lawyer Werner Dietrich, who represents 16 victims of the attack, had long been demanding compensation from the federal government. According to his information, many of those affected never received the first compensation for pain and suffering from 1980. Dietrich was ambivalent about the current fund. “It is a success and great progress that the long stories of suffering of those affected are finally recognized,” he told the taz. Some of the victims had been “treated rather shabbily” by the authorities in the past. A “quick and unbureaucratic” payment is now decisive.

At the same time, Dietrich considers the sum of 1.2 million euros to be too low. The lawyer assumes there are still almost 100 victims of the attack who, according to his opinion, should be paid between 30,000 and 100,000 euros depending on the severity of the injury. The 1.2 million euros would not be enough for that. It would therefore have made more sense to have a “breathing upper limit” for the compensation, said Dietrich.

The victims of the attack will be remembered with a memorial ceremony on Saturday in Munich. In addition to survivors, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) should also speak there. At the same time, a new documentation site is to be opened for the attack.

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One year after the attack in Halle: Länder protect synagogues better

Almost a year has passed since the anti-Semitic attack in Halle. Today more money is being used to protect Jewish institutions. But is that enough?

October 10, 2019: Police officers in front of the New Synagogue in Berlin Photo: Christian Mang / reuters

BERLIN taz | A year ago Naomi Henkel-Gümbel was in the synagogue in Halle on Yom Kippur, the highest Jewish holiday, when a right-wing extremist tried to storm the building. Henkel-Gümbel was a guest in Halle, actually she lives in Berlin. She feels pretty safe here, she says, but the city is an exception. Small Jewish communities in particular often lack the money to effectively protect their institutions.

Henkel-Gümbel, who is also a joint plaintiff in the trial against the alleged assassin from Halle, is sitting in the New Synagogue in Berlin, the media service has invited to a press conference. “One year after Halle: How well are synagogues protected?” Is the question to be discussed.

The media service asked all federal states what they had changed since the attack. The result: Jewish institutions are more closely guarded in almost all federal states. In addition, almost all countries have made additional funds available to better protect synagogues, daycare centers or schools – for example with bulletproof doors, fences or sluices at the entrance. Bavaria has pledged eight million, Hesse four, and Saxony-Anhalt 2.4 million euros. In addition, there are 22 million from the federal government.

The litmus test is whether there is really construction going on, says Ronen Steinke, lawyer and journalist whose book “Terror gegen Juden” has just been published. For far too long, the Jewish communities had to rely on themselves to implement the police’s safety recommendations, and some communities would have to bear up to 50 percent of the costs themselves. Before the attack, not a single euro of tax money flowed into the synagogue in Halle for the protection of the building, said Steinke. “That was clearly a failure of the state.”

A double dark field

“Avoidance of danger is the task of the state”, emphasized the author. That is why the police must see it as their duty to counter this danger. Less than one hundred percent financing of security measures is not acceptable. “If we don’t ensure that, the right to practice one’s religion is not worth much.”

“The protection of Jewish communities has become better, but it is not yet good across the board,” admitted Jürgen Peter, Deputy Head of the Federal Criminal Police Office. “A lot more dialogue” between the Jewish communities and the police is also necessary. In the past year, the security authorities established 2023 anti-Semitic crimes, most of which are right-wing motivated, said Peter. “More than five crimes per day, that’s unbearable.” In addition, there is a double dark field: The police do not recognize anti-Semitic crimes as such – or they would not even report the offenses.

This was confirmed by Sigmount Königsberg, anti-Semitism commissioner for the Jewish community in Berlin. Incidents are often only recorded by the police as bodily harm, but not the anti-Semitic background of an act. In addition, according to an EU study, only every fifth anti-Semitic crime is reported.

Steinke emphasized how “perverse” the situation is that Jewish institutions have to be guarded and spoke of a state of siege. “So that we can go to school or to church services, the police are standing at the door.”

Henkel-Gümbel – the survivor of the Halle attack, had also sharply criticized the behavior of the police after the attack and the investigations in the past. On Tuesday, however, she emphasized that, despite everything, Germany was the country in which she would continue to live in the future. “I can’t leave the people here alone,” said the budding rabbi. One should not leave room for right-wing extremist ideologies and show solidarity. “I have to do my part.”

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Oktoberfest attack: 1.2 million euros for the victims – Munich

When you ask Renate Martinez these days whether someone has already contacted her about compensation from the state, she sighs audibly and a little bitterly. “Hopefully I’ll see it again,” she says with a touch of gallows humor.

As a young woman, Renate Martinez was seriously injured in the legs in the Oktoberfest attack on September 26, 1980 by the bomb of the right-wing extremist assassin Gundolf Köhler. Today she can only walk with difficulty on the rollator. Until recently, she did not really believe that after 40 years the state would still pull itself together to help the injured and victims of the Oktoberfest attack financially. Nice words, she said, nothing else.

Renate Martinez was wrong. She will receive a letter from Mayor Dieter Reiter in the next few weeks, announcing that the federal government, the state and the city now want to help her and the other more than 200 people injured in the attack. After months of negotiations, the federal government, the state of Bavaria and the city of Munich have agreed to set up a fund of 1.2 million euros from which the victims of the attack will receive unbureaucratic help. The federal government is paying € 500,000, Bavaria € 500,000, and the city of Munich € 200,000. A full four decades after the fact.

It should be noted in the words of Federal Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht, the Bavarian Social Minister Carolina Trautner and OB Reiter how urgently they consider this help to be – and how little they can understand that it took so long for this help to reach the victims . “A late, but nevertheless important sign of solidarity with those affected by this devastating attack,” said Justice Minister Lambrecht. And Reiter says: “Even if we cannot undo the suffering and painful memories of the survivors, this joint fund of the federal government, the Free State and the city shows – albeit much too late – that all political levels are willing to give the people this To give incredibly cruel right-wing terrorist attacks the attention and financial support they have long deserved. ” Long earned, much too late – these are characteristic words that suggest how much the state is behind in recognizing the victims.

Investigations were restarted – and only concluded in the summer

The city of Munich has given 100,000 euros in recent years. But the federal and state governments have been waiting for the assessment of the federal prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe. The had resumed the investigation into the Oktoberfest attack in December 2014 and only now, in summer 2020, completed. Although it did not find anyone behind the attack, it turned the assessment of the act 180 degrees. Up until now, the assassination was considered an act of a lovesick young man, but not a right-wing terror. The fact that Gundolf Köhler trained with the right-wing extremist military sports group Hoffmann and had a picture of Hitler hanging over the bed was not taken by the investigators in 1980 as evidence of a political motive. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office sees it differently today: For them, the attack is clearly right-wing terror. Köhler wanted to influence the federal election ten days later, in which Franz Josef Strauss (CSU) ran against Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (SPD).

This new assessment is important for the victims. Because only it allows the authorities to fall back on the victim fund for victims of terrorism. It was only she who made the agreement between the federal government, the Free State and the city possible. The city of Munich will now organize the distribution of the money. And the mayor expressly wants it to be unbureaucratic. Nobody should have to beg for their money. So no more lengthy reports on the physical damage and its long-term consequences – because they are obvious after 40 years. No delay in paying out, because many of those affected are now of retirement age, their complaints are not getting any easier and they are not getting younger. Not all of the 211 people who survived the attack were injured are already living. The city of Munich still knows around 170 survivors. And they are now being written to.

In addition, there should be fixed contact persons for the victims so that they are not passed on from office to office. And the severity of the injuries should also play a role in the payment. There will be a phased procedure for this. Victim attorney Werner Dietrich had asked for something similar, but on a different financial scale.

The fund still has to go through the vote in the Bundestag, but, it is said in Berlin, one cannot imagine anyone voting against it. The city council in Munich still has to agree. But there shouldn’t be any resistance either. The money could be paid out from early 2021.

In a joint declaration on Wednesday, the federal government, the state and the city made it clear how important it is to them not to leave the victims alone. “We want to support the people who are still suffering from the consequences of the attack today. The state must be more there for those affected by right-wing extremism, racism and human hatred,” said Federal Justice Minister Lambrecht (SPD). Bavaria’s Minister of Social Affairs Trautner (CSU) said: “The Free State is taking a stand against right-wing extremism and is on the side of those affected, to whom our solidarity and our sympathy go.”

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Trial of the Nazi attack in Halle: The pain of the victims

In the trial of the attack in Halle, the father of the shot Kevin S. reveals how the act changed his life. A statement leads to applause.

Painful memories: photos of the victims of the Halle attack in front of the Magdeburg district court Photo: Jan Woitas / dpa

MAGDEBURG taz | Nothing is processed. Karsten L. stops, trembles, fights back tears, then he can no longer. “I tried to call Kevin. 20, 30 times. He didn’t answer. Nothing, nothing, nothing. ”In the evening, after six hours of anxiety, he placed a missing person ad on Facebook. Then a friend wrote to him that he would send him something. It was the video in which Kevin, Karsten L.’s son, is shot. “I looked at it.” Then he can no longer speak, the tears overwhelm him. He cries for several minutes, and several co-plaintiffs also cry. The judge must interrupt the questioning.

The man who took his son Kevin S.’s life is sitting diagonally across from Karsten L. in the Magdeburg district court on Tuesday: Stephan B., charged with two murders and 68 attempted murders. On October 9, 2019, B. tried to storm the synagogue in Halle and posted the crime on the Internet. The 28-year-old failed, but he shot and killed Jana L. Then he drove to the nearby “Kiezdöner” to murder migrants. There he murdered Kevin S., who was having lunch there.

The attack is a beacon to this day, negotiations have been taking place in Magdeburg since July. On Tuesday Karsten L. is now a witness. It will be the only appearance by a bereaved of the two murder victims in the trial. Jana L.’s mother also takes part in the trial as a joint plaintiff, but according to the court she asked not to have to make a statement. Karsten L., however, wants to talk.

The scaffolding builder reports how his first son died shortly after he was born. His second, Kevin, was diagnosed with mental and physical disabilities. But Kevin fought. He finished the special school, completed internships at a painting company in Halle and finally started an apprenticeship there. “His dream job. He really blossomed. ”And Kevin became a passionate fan of Halleschen FC, built up a circle of friends there, traveled to games, and stapled every ticket. “He built it up himself,” says Karsten L. “He was extremely proud.” And so was the father, the witness appearance leaves no doubt about that.

One life – destroyed

But then came October 9, 2019, nine days after Kevin’s training began. The father reports that he spoke to his son on the phone that morning. Then he heard about the attack in Halle and tried to reach his son, his mother did too. Without success. “That wasn’t normal. I was hoping he lost his cell phone. But that was unlikely. ”Then he got the video of the fact. Saw his son still hiding behind a refrigerator, how he shouted: “Please don’t!”. The 20-year-old had no chance.

For Karsten L., life has been destroyed since then. Kevin’s mother and he are still receiving psychological treatment, partly inpatient, he reports. Three times he thought it couldn’t go any further, called the police. “It’s difficult, we need extreme help.” Stephan B. stares at the fighting father, motionless. A victim attorney points out to the judge that the defendant rolled his eyes. He says no. At the beginning of the trial, B. had regretted killing Kevin S., mistaking him for a Muslim. He shows no more remorse in the process.

Ismet and Rifat Tekin’s lives have not been the same since the attack. The brothers have been living in Halle for twelve and five years, working in the Kiezdöner, now as owners. Now they too are witnesses to the trial. Rifat stood behind the counter during the attack.

At first he thought a soldier was coming into the shop, he says. Then shots were fired, he was hiding behind the counter. When the perpetrator turned his back on him, he ran out of the store. Ismet had left the shop shortly before, and a pavement bullet shot past him too. He hid behind cars. When Stephan fled and he came into the shop, Kevin S. was already dead.

“We want to stand firm”

He still suffers from insomnia today, says Rifat Tekin. Ismet adds that his brother used to make everyone laugh that it was over. “It pains me to see him like that.” He has also been telling lies to his mother in Turkey for months so that she doesn’t worry.

He doesn’t actually want to go to the store anymore, says Rifat Tekin. But his brother wants to keep it running. “That’s why I support him. We want to stand firm, we want to stay here, we want to stand up for this country. ”Ismet Tekin does not want the assassin to win either:“ We will not go away and we will not give up our shop. ”

Photos of the murdered people and shirts from Halleschen FC are still hanging in the Kiezdöner. The snack bar is now also a memorial, says Ismet Tekin before the day of the trial. And sales have collapsed. Fewer and fewer guests are coming, after the Corona outbreak, the snack bar had to close completely for three weeks. The support promised by politicians also failed to materialize. “It is very difficult.”

In the meantime, a fundraising for the Kiezdöner is underway – initiated by the Jewish Student Union and a group of young Jews who were in the synagogue during the attack and celebrated Yom Kippur there. “We believe in a multicultural society in this country,” it says in their appeal.

One last message

Jeremy Borovitz, one of the believers from the synagogue, appealed: “Please donate”, Ismet Tekin is “an extremely decent man in a world gone mad”. A good 6,400 euros have been raised so far. Ismet Tekin is touched by the solidarity. He wants to use the money to expand the snack bar to include a breakfast café, he says. Maybe things will look better again.

Ismet Tekin has traveled to the trial almost every day of the trial. On Tuesday he spoke to the accused directly, calling him a “coward”. Stephan B. smiles. “Nobody deserves to die like that. Can you imagine how much strength it takes a mother to raise a child? What kind of pain does it mean when it loses its life in this way? “

Ismet Tekin said he couldn’t believe that no one was aware of the bomber’s plans. Even though he chatted so much on the internet and made guns at home with his parents. “It is not an act of an individual.” He also does not understand the hatred. All people are foreigners somewhere in the world. Stephan B.’s defense attorney intervenes, believes the execution is too dissolute, but the judge lets Ismet Tekin continue to speak.

And he announces a final message to Stephan B. “You didn’t win. You have failed all along the line. The result is even more solidarity and love. We won’t go away. And guess what? I’m going to be a father, I’m having a child. And I’ll do my best to raise it here. ”Applause breaks out in the hall. The judge lets it go.

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Links to right-wing extremists: Soldier under suspicion of terrorism

In Neubrandenburg, the police searched the house of a soldier. According to taz research, it is a martial artist.

The SEK searched the house of a soldier in Sponholz because of links to right-wing extremists Photo: Felix Gadewolz / dpa

BERLIN taz | SEK deployment on Monday morning in Sponholz near Neubrandenburg: Around 70 officers from the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania police search the living and office space of a house directly on the B96. A security company has its headquarters here. And a soldier lives here who is being investigated for preparing a serious state-endangering act of violence. Suspicion of terrorism.

According to taz information, the soldier is called Matthias D., is 40 years old and stationed in the Tollense barracks in Neubrandenburg. This is the location of the 41st Panzer Grenadier Brigade. According to an older local newspaper report, he has been to Afghanistan several times in the past to train a special unit there. According to Nordkurier D. is currently working for a security company that is not in his name.

The Rostock public prosecutor announced that the search was mainly carried out using electronic media in order to substantiate or refute the suspicion. The public prosecutor’s spokesman, Harald Nowack, did not want to say how the suspect was supposed to have planned to endanger public safety. Just this much: Don’t assume that the accused is part of a group. Nor that there is or was any danger to the population.

Rather, the plans are said to have been directed against individuals who are, however, active in security-related positions. “It’s not about a specific number of people who should be attacked by him. It’s about individual people, ”Nowack told taz. And: “It can sometimes be that you are a little big of age.” It could therefore be that the suspect was not aware of the seriousness of certain statements.

Nickname “Odin”

A spokeswoman for the MAD told the taz that the searches on Monday were also preceded by extensive investigations by the military counter-intelligence service and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

The accused Matthias D. has been a martial artist for a Rostock martial arts club for many years. In the past, D. also offered self-defense courses for children. The former kickboxing world champion entered the ring under the name “Odin” at an annual martial arts event organized by the La Familia Fightclub in Halle an der Saale. Well-known right-wing extremists and organized neo-Nazis can also be found among the participants.

D. also competes for the First Fight Team Neubrandenburg. In the past, this was repeatedly noticed due to right-wing extremist activities by its members. The head coach of the martial arts club is Ronny S., the security company in D’s house is registered under the same surname.

A spokesman for the Tollense barracks told the taz that they would first wait for the investigation before deciding on drastic disciplinary measures, such as a ban on wearing a uniform. The person concerned will not continue to perform his service for the time being.

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Trial of the Nazi attack in Halle: Fled in fear of death

In the trial of the attack in Halle on Wednesday it was about what was happening in the “Kiez-Döner”. Here the defendant shot and killed one of his victims.

Candles at the crime scene in front of the Kiez Döner in Halle on October 11, 2019 Photo: Felix Abraham / imago

MAGDEBURG taz | In the trial of the right-wing terrorist attack in Halle on Wednesday, it was for the first time what was happening around the Kiez-Döner snack bar. It was the assassin’s second target, after the synagogue, in front of which he had killed a passerby and a planned attack had failed. Full of anger, he drove to the nearby diner, where he shot Kevin S. and injured other people.

Five pieces of stuff: inside were invited for Wednesday, three of them finally appear, plus a spontaneously called up witness – an LKA commissioner who secured the crime scene. Ismet and Rifat Tekin, the new owners of the Kiez-Döner, should also testify. However, the court was unable to provide them with a translator, so they could not testify.

The eleventh day of the negotiation is primarily about how people experienced the crime who narrowly escaped the attacker at the Kiez-Döner. It starts with a 78-year-old pensioner from Halle, who was only a few meters away from the perpetrator when he threw a self-made explosive device at the snack bar. A nail about four centimeters long hit her on the foot, another got stuck in the shoe.

“I thought: why isn’t anyone calling the police?” Says the witness. On the day of the act, she wondered why it was taking so long. She was able to flee from the assassin unnoticed: “He didn’t say anything, I didn’t say anything either. That was certainly my great luck, otherwise I would have felt like the woman at the synagogue. “

Witness data passed on to the press?

The second witness is a professor from Göttingen who was also in the Kiez-Döner during the attack. He appears as a joint plaintiff, speaks of the rule of law and moral principles of society. The perpetrator listens carefully to him. The witness speaks slowly, in detail, describes the process meticulously – and leaves little doubt as to the authenticity of his description.

He describes the attack on the snack bar and how he escaped through a window in a storage room. Like many other things: inside before – especially the survivors – he also reports psychological problems after the crime. And from a visit to the press just three days after the attack. The judge Ursula Mertens wonders how the press knew his address. “There is only one way. Someone must have had access to the investigation file or the police statement, “says the witness and judge Mertens confirms:” Someone must have passed on the address. “Neither of them know who that was.

A survivor who was on his way to university is invited as the last witness. He is the only migrant witness of the day and says the perpetrator shot him. “When I heard the shots, I just thought: Away, away,” says the witness. He fled in fear of death, but he no longer knows exactly what happened.

In addition to the witness statements, a video of the crime is shown again – this time, however, not filmed from the helmet camera, but from the perspective of the camera that the perpetrator had attached to his body. When photos of the crime scene are shown, the court turns off public screens. The photos show, among other things, the body of Kevin S. Not again, says a lawyer, if the survivors and relatives are to be confronted with these pictures.

In the trial, 43 people appear as co-plaintiffs, including relatives of those killed, from the synagogue, the area around the kebab shop, stuff and police officers. The charges in the trial for the racist and anti-Semitic attack are: double murder and attempted murder in 68 cases.

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Convicted arms supplier to the NSU: First prison sentence served

Carsten S. was convicted of supplying arms to the NSU trio and was the only one to fully unpack. Now he has served his sentence.

He was the only one to fully unpack in the NSU trial: Carsten S., now in freedom Photo: Andreas Gebert, dpa

BERLIN / MUNICH taz | He was the only one who gave full testimony in the NSU trial who credibly regretted his actions. And the only one who accepted the judgment of July 11, 2018 and began his prison sentence: Carsten S., sentenced to three years of youth imprisonment, as a weapons supplier for the terror trio. Now he is also the first to have served his sentence and to be free again.

In the spring of 2019 Carsten S. started his imprisonment. A spokesman for the Munich Higher Regional Court of the taz confirmed that he was released on June 12 this year. He has served half of his sentence, the rest has been suspended. This is possible for juvenile prisoners. Carsten S.’s lawyer, Johannes Pausch, also confirmed the release. “He regrets what he did to this day, she will never let go of him. But he is also confident that he can start a new life now. “

Where Carsten S. was in custody remains a secret to this day, as the 40-year-old is in a witness protection program because of his statements. Even his lawyers do not know, according to their own information. Just as little where S. now lives – under a new name. He is currently reorganizing his everyday life and looking for a job, said Pausch.

Carsten S. belonged to the right-wing extremist scene in Jena in the 1990s, as did the later NSU terrorists Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Böhnhardt and Beate Zschäpe. When they went into hiding, supporters used him to keep phone contact. In 2000, the then 19-year-old brought the trio their later murder weapon, the Ceska pistol, including a silencer and ammunition. Böhnhardt and Mundlos shot nine people with a migration background with this. The first victim was Enver Şimşek in Nuremberg, exactly 20 years ago.

Carsten S. broke with the right-wing extremist scene shortly after the weapons were handed in and after a preventive detention in another matter. He moved to Düsseldorf, came out as gay and worked for the AIDS service. When the NSU was exposed in 2011 – Böhnhardt and Mundlos had shot each other after a failed bank robbery, Zschäpe had blown up the shelter in Zwickau – the past caught up with S.: He was arrested and was initially imprisoned for four months.

The bereaved forgave him

In contrast to Zschäpe and the three other co-accused helpers, S. testified in the process full of tears, burdened himself and the former NPD functionary Ralf Wohlleben heavily. He apologized to the victims of the NSU. Some accepted this, and asked the court for leniency for Carsten S. There was even a meeting of the bereaved with him.

Carsten S.’s defense lawyers had demanded an acquittal in the process: Your client never thought the murders were possible. The court saw it differently and sentenced him to an accessory to murder. Because S. was an adolescent at the time of the crime, he was sentenced to a youth prison term. Unlike Zschäpe, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, and the other co-defendants, he did not appeal.

In April there was a hearing for Carsten S. before the Munich Higher Regional Court, under the direction of Judge Manfred Götzl, who also spoke the NSU judgment. The convicted person was then certified as having a favorable social prognosis and was granted parole.

The Federal Court of Justice is now dealing with the revisions by Zschäpe and the co-defendants Wohlleben, Eminger and Holger G. In the case of Eminger, the federal prosecutor’s office also appealed. A decision on this is not expected until next year. Zschäpe has been in custody for nine years. The other co-defendants, who received sentences of up to ten years, are still at large for the time being.

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20 years after the first NSU murder: Damaged memorial plaques

The NSU series of murders began 20 years ago in Nuremberg. Enver Şimşek was the first victim. Two more murders followed in the city.

The florist Enver Şimşek was murdered by the NSU on September 9, 2000 on this street Photo: Mark Mühlhaus / Attention / Agentur Focus

The cars roar past on Liegnitzer Strasse in Langwasser, on the southeastern edge of Nuremberg. Colorful gerberas are available for purchase under a red and yellow parasol. Ali Toy, 66 years old, is waiting for customers in his station wagon and reads the Koran in Arabic.

On September 9, 2000, the series of murders and terrorism of the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU) began here in the Şimşek van. At that time, the flower wholesaler of Turkish origin Enver Şimşek was shot several times. Nine more murders of people with a migration history and of a policewoman from Thuringia as well as two bomb attacks in Cologne followed. In 1999 a bomb exploded in a pub in the southern part of Nuremberg, which was probably also laid by the NSU.

Ali Toy, the former employee of Enver Şimşek, lives in the Gleißhammer district, close to the snack bar of İsmail Yaşar, the father of two and the sixth victim of the NSU. Yaşar was killed on June 9, 2005 by the NSU murderers with five shots in the head and upper body. “İsmail Yaşar was a neighbor, I live a little further away,” says Ali Toy and you can tell that of the 47 years he has lived in Germany, he has spent several years in Franconia.

“When I went to the tram, I would greet him, he was always very friendly and we talked a little. He was also innocent. “” Innocent, Toy repeats this word several times in our conversation. When asked whether he feels comfortable in Germany, he says “Yes, of course. Germany is my second home. “

Enver Simsek war als Vertretung too

Toy only works at the flower stand on Saturdays and Sundays when the weather is nice. He receives a commission on the flowers sold. He takes a winter break from November to February. Actually he would have been standing on September 9, where Enver Şimşek was hit by eight bullets. “I asked Enver Şimşek if he could take my place,” said Ali Toy, “because I wanted to go on vacation. I was in Turkey, like every autumn. And so he sold the flowers himself, which I usually get from him. “

Two days later, the father of two, Enver Şimşek, died of serious injuries in the South Hospital in Langwasser. “I found out from my neighbors, who gave me a newspaper clipping and said: ‘Your boss was killed.’ There I was … “, Toy’s voice faltered,” shocked. Enver Şimşek was a good man. “

Toy told the police that he suspected that Enver Şimşek had been killed by a German terrorist group. The investigators ruled out a right-wing extremist background. Only the then Interior Minister Günther Beckstein (CSU), who also lives in Langwasser, pointed out this possibility in a note.

He did not, however, press for this lead to be pursued further. The contact with the German police has always been very good, emphasizes Toy. For the Şimşek family, on the other hand, there were difficult days: the officials showed them the photo of a supposed lover, accused their murdered father of drug trafficking, investigated in the direction of extortion, the special commissions had names with racist connotations such as “Crescent” and “Bosporus”.

Officials suspected relatives

“Without evidence, the murder victims were accused of being involved in a serious criminal environment,” says right-wing extremism expert Birgit Mair and describes an example from Nuremberg: “A witness was shown a film that was made shortly before the attack on Cologne’s Keupstrasse. The woman from Nuremberg then recognized one of the men she had seen shortly before the murder of İsmail Yaşar near the Nuremberg crime scene on Scharrerstrasse. Although the witness said that the men were light-skinned, the investigating officers subsequently only presented her with photos of dark-skinned suspects. “

Mair shares the view of co-prosecutor Seda Başay-Yıldız and Carsten Ilius, who represented victims’ relatives at the NSU trial, that “institutional racism” was a central reason why the series of murders was not stopped. So for the bereaved, shame was added to pain. “For eleven years we weren’t even allowed to be victims with a clear conscience,” said the 34-year-old daughter Semiya Şimşek-Demirtas in 2012 at a memorial event in Berlin.

After Ali Toys boss was murdered, the police regularly patrolled the flower stand to offer him protection, he says. Until the core trio of the NSU was exposed: for ten years. His fear has not disappeared to this day because it is not over yet and there are still many people in the background. When Beate Zschäpe, whom he only calls “this one woman”, was arrested, he was happy. And yet many questions remain. He thinks it is funny that NSU files are kept under lock and key for 30 years. Because the protection of the constitution wants to protect its sources.

“After all, some NSU investigative committees clearly revealed that the neo-Nazi scene was systematically played down by both the investigative authorities and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution,” says Birgit Mair. “Dozens of neo-Nazi informers from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution cavorted around the NSU, police work was hampered by the domestic secret service, which in the case of the NSU crimes was more part of the problem than the solution.”

Memorial plaques damaged at all crime scenes

And she goes even further: “Instead of helping to solve the crimes, various authorities have been and are being shredded and bricked up. Particularly bitter: The constitutional protection authorities continue to work with neo-Nazis and other extreme right-wingers in the form of the informal system. “

In spring 2014 the anti-fascist initiative “Breaking the Silence” was founded with the aim of commemorating the people who were murdered by the right-wing terrorists of the NSU in Nuremberg: Enver Şimşek, Abdurrahim Özüdoğru and İsmail Yaşar. For several years she has also been addressing the NSU’s first bomb attack on the “Sonnenschein” pub, in which the young pub owner Mehmet O. was seriously injured on June 23, 1999 in the southern part of Nuremberg.

“We put up the first memorial plaques in June 2014 as part of a commemorative week,” says Marek Berger from the initiative. “The memorial plaques at all Nuremberg crime scenes were damaged. We had to renew the memorial plaque for Enver Şimşek on Liegnitzer Strasse twice. “

The term “foreigner” for a person who had lived in Germany for 15 years was irritating

Mair points out the uncertainty surrounding the commemoration: “It is commendable that a small stele was erected by local parishes in memory of Enver Şimşek in Liegnitzer Strasse. But this caused a lot of irritation among visitors. The religiously inspired text says, among other things: ‘If a stranger lives with you in your country, you shouldn’t oppress him.’ ”The term“ stranger ”for a person who has lived in Germany for 15 years was particularly irritating.

“The Nazis applauded”

The judgments already passed in the NSU trial are not only appalling to Ali Toy. On the occasion of the written reasons for the verdict in April, 19 lawyers for the accessory prosecution declared the verdict to be a “memorial to the failure of the rule of law that criminalized the relatives of the NSU murder victims for years and has now finally left them in the lurch”. Elif Kubaşık, the widow of Mehmet Kubaşık who was murdered in Dortmund, had already spoken of another slap in the face at the end of the trial.

Nils Hüttinger, street worker in the district where Şimşek was murdered, sees it the same way. “There is nothing worse in victim counseling than: ‘I’m not just passed out, I’m misunderstood.’ Over and over again this setting of hope in something: There are places that listen to me, there is a public that listens to me, maybe justice will be spoken there. And then again no justice is given. “

“What many do not know is that the flower seller and former employee of Mr. Şimşek planted a tree in memory of the murdered man near the former crime scene every year,” said Mair. Ali Toy was born just over 100 kilometers from Şimşek’s birthplace Salur in Turkey. Where there are many flowers. He knows Şimşek’s children from the memorial services. Enver Şimşek’s wife lives again in Turkey, where he was born, says Ali Toy. She no longer wants to be in Germany, where she lost her husband.

Last Saturday, the “Alliance for the Nazi Stop” called for a demonstration at the crime scene in Langwasser under the motto “And we are still calling for clarification”. More than 300 people took part in the commemoration. Abdulkerim Şimşek, the son of Enver Şimşek, said at the rally: “To this day we do not know why our father was killed. It wasn’t a coincidence. And the trial was also a big disappointment. Except for Beate Zschäpe, all of the accused are free. The Nazis applauded when the verdict was pronounced. “

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