Walter Lübcke: sudden amnesia (neue-deutschland.de)

Again and again Chemnitz. Alexander S., formerly a leading activist of the violent Free Forces Schwalm-Eder (FKSE), testified on Thursday in the trial of the murder of the Kassel District President Walter Lübcke. Monosyllabic, with many “I can’t say exactly”, “I don’t remember” and “I don’t know anymore” as well as the assertion that I haven’t been active in the right-wing scene since 2014. He even claims to have changed his political attitude: “I can’t do anything with the ideology.” Although he then declared that he had been to AfD events afterwards, including 2018 in Chemnitz.

It is the 23rd day of the trial against Stephan Ernst, that of the murder, and Markus H., who is accused of psychological aid in the murder of Walter Lübcke. H. was recently released from custody and is still in the dock. According to a press release, the Higher Regional Court expects the trial to end in December – the most important witnesses invited have been heard, and the Senate recently turned its attention to the second charge: Ernst allegedly stabbed an Iraqi refugee in the back in 2016. Ahmad I is still suffering from the injuries today. He is a co-plaintiff in the trial and is due to take the stand on October 29. One is not much closer to the truth: Ernst has revoked two confessions and made a third, and not only has he made himself untrustworthy, several witnesses contradicted themselves or let themselves be caught lying.

Alexander S., blue jeans, sneakers, light-colored hooded sweater, comes to the stand with legal assistance. He has been friends with Markus H. for over ten years. He had only briefly known Ernst through H. What made him interesting for the investigators in addition to his political convictions: S. communicated with H. and Ernst in encrypted form via the Threema messenger service. All three deleted the chats after the murder of Lübcke. An expert confirmed in court on Thursday that the news could not be restored, there are only indications that “there was once more data.”

What were they talking about? Did they exchange radical right-wing ideas? Did they even talk about plans to kill? According to S., the chat with Ernst was quite harmless: he only wrote to him once when he needed help on a study project. He picked up the component from Ernst, and even then they spoke very little. He deleted the chat when it became more and more likely that Ernst had actually murdered Walter Lübcke. It was “emotionally very strange” for him to “have” a chat with a potential murderer on his smartphone.

He wants to have forgotten many other things. He couldn’t think of the name of a YouTube channel operated by himself, names of comrades who were in the car with him were unknown to him, last names had been forgotten. When asked whether he had seen Nazi devotional objects in Markus H.’s apartment, the only thing that occurred to him was a GDR flag that was said to have hung over his desk. When asked, he then mentioned tin figures that had been “a hobby” of H. He did not say that some of them showed the Hitler salute, as known from earlier negotiations. S. also did not mention an original Zyklon B can that H. used as a pen holder. He wanted to remember exactly, however, that both he and H. were surprised when they learned that Ernst Lübcke should have murdered.

When asked, he said that Ernst’s son was present at one of the demonstrations. And that he drove back from Chemnitz in a car with a man – the anti-fascist is known as the leading neo-Nazi from Central Hesse between 2010 and 2014.

This shows once again the importance of the funeral march in Chemnitz in 2018. It is considered to be the alliance of the neo-Nazi scene with Pegida and the AfD, who were killed after the fatal knife attack on 35-year-old Daniel H. for whom a Syrian and an Iraqi were arrested. mobilized there. At the demonstration there were attacks on migrants, as the Saxon State Criminal Police Office confirmed. Well-known neo-Nazis from the greater Chemnitz area are said to have agreed to violence against migrants. Ernst and H. also took part in the funeral march. S. claims to have been there independently of them.

After interviewing Alexander S., an expert was heard. He had looked at the thermal imaging camera that had been found on Ernst’s. A picture of Walter Lübcke’s house was taken with the camera. According to the expert’s calculations, the picture is from the late evening of May 31, 2019, the night before Walter Lübcke’s murder. Since the camera’s clock is running a little slower than it should, the displayed recording date (in summer 2018) does not match the actual recording date. The computer scientist explained that the calculation was nothing more than “a little math”.

A witness also testified to have seen a man at Walter Lübcke’s place of residence at the time. The man got out of a car that at least resembled Ernst’s VW Caddy, took out a rucksack, and went first towards the street of the Lübckes. When people approached from there, he changed direction. Ernst denies having been in Istha that evening. It could be one more lie.

The trial will continue on October 27th. A police officer is loaded. Ahmad I is supposed to testify on October 29th. The April 6th initiative calls for solidarity observation of the trial and a rally in front of the General Public Prosecutor’s Office at noon.

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Einbeck: charges against neo-Nazis (neue-deutschland.de)

After an explosives attack in Einbeck in southern Lower Saxony, the public prosecutor’s office in Celle brought charges against two 23 and 26 year old men. In June you are said to have thrown an unauthorized firecracker into the mailbox of a woman’s private house who is committed against right-wing extremist activities and for refugee aid.

Photo: dpa / Swen gatekeeper

Because of the bomb attack on the house of a woman who campaigns against right-wing extremism and for refugees, the public prosecutor’s office in Celle has now brought charges against two neo-Nazis from the town of Einbeck in southern Lower Saxony. The suspects had ignited an “unauthorized pyrotechnic object” on the morning of June 10, 2020 and threw it into the mailbox, which was in the wooden apartment door of the injured party, the investigating authority announced on Tuesday.

The explosive device, a so-called “Poland Firecracker”, had exploded and destroyed the mailbox. “The explosive effect was so strong that debris from the mailbox was thrown several meters into the living area,” said the Göttingen lawyer Rasmus Kahlen, who represents the woman concerned. The extent of the destruction caused shows how dangerous the explosive device was obviously: “It is impossible to imagine what could have happened if a person had been behind the door.”

One of the accused sustained injuries to both hands from the explosion. According to the investigators, a trail of blood led from the scene of the crime to the 26-year-old’s apartment. One hand was bandaged when the police arrived and the man had to be treated in hospital. The second alleged perpetrator lives in the same apartment. Both men were provisionally arrested. During the subsequent search of the apartment, the police also confiscated weapons, but they did not specify them. The two men have been in custody since June 18, a court ordered that.

A spokesman for the Attorney General’s office said yesterday that the accused have been charged with property damage, attempted severe arson and attempted causing an explosive explosion. The accused had “as avowed supporters of right-wing thought” through the act to express their disregard for the injured party and their work for the organization “Seebrücke”, gave her a “memo” and wanted to intimidate her. In order to achieve this goal, they had intended to cause “as much damage as possible” inside the building through the explosion and the resulting fire.

According to the lawyer Kahlen, the woman concerned is committed to both the “Seebrücke” and the Einbeck neo-Nazi scene. She had already been an addressee of threats from right-wing extremists in the past. Earlier threats against the person concerned also confirmed Silke Doepner from the right-wing extremism prevention advice center in the nearby district town of Northeim.

According to the public prosecutor’s office, however, the investigations into the accused did not provide sufficient evidence of formation or membership in a criminal organization. The investigations against another 21-year-old suspect had also been discontinued due to a lack of sufficient suspicion.

Einbeck has long been considered a neo-Nazi stronghold. The right-wing extremist “Kameradschaft Einbeck” and the party “Dierechte” are active in the small town. Last November, right-wing extremists from Einbeck provoked the staff on a tour of the nearby Moringen concentration camp memorial. They then posed in front of the memorial with their thumbs up. The jackets opened for the photo revealed T-shirts with the words “Zensiert!” Written in Gothic script as well as the words “Fuck you Israel” and a crossed out Star of David.

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Pistorius wants to stifle anti-democratic pockets of fire (neue-deutschland.de)

Boris Pistorius (SPD), Interior Minister Lower Saxony, telephoned in front of a police vehicle.

Photo: Julian Stratenschulte / dpa

The Interior Minister of Lower Saxony, Boris Pistorius, was very angry about a poster from the Greens. A person can be seen on it, looking into the distance with binoculars. Underneath is the opposition party’s demand: “Look to the right – also in the Lower Saxony police”. In the most recent state parliament session, the SPD politician held the poster against the plenum in Hanover and castigated it: “That gives the impression that we have a huge problem with right-wing extremism.”

It now seems to be questionable whether Pistorius was absolutely certain of this statement. Because now he has expressed the intention to commission a study on extremism among police officers. At least in Lower Saxony, this should happen very quickly, the minister announced to the “Rheinische Post” and stated: “Obviously there are always nests of embers of anti-democratic behavior that we have to quickly identify and smother.”

The Social Democrat does not only want this for Lower Saxony, but for all of Germany. First of all, the topic is to be discussed at the conference of the SPD-led state interior ministries at the end of October. Berlin, ruled by Red-Red-Green, also wants to participate in the planned transnational study. This was confirmed by a spokesman for the interior administration.

As a next step, the Social Democrats want to bring the study up at the Federal Interior Ministers’ Conference, which will meet in Weimar in December. It can be doubted that they will be well received by their federal colleague Horst Seehofer. The CSU man thinks that the police can be placed under general suspicion if a study is aimed solely at the security authorities. The Federal Minister of the Interior, on the other hand, can well imagine an investigation into everyday police operations.

The topic is also controversial in the federal government. “There have been disturbing cases of racist and anti-democratic attitudes in the police over and over again recently,” said Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) recently. “That’s why we urgently need more information about where we stand. We need to know whether and to what extent the existing organizational structures in the police are sufficient to prevent such cases in the future. “

Pistorius also considers it particularly important that every possible case of racism and extremism in the police is investigated “consistently and precisely” and that the necessary conclusions are drawn from this.

The Greens had demanded in the state parliament that “a situation report on right-wing extremism” should be prepared in the Lower Saxony police as quickly as possible. The state government made up of the SPD and CDU should commission a study on this. No decision has yet been made on this requirement. First, the matter is discussed in the interior committee of the state parliament, the members of the parliament decided unanimously at the time. In view of the latest statements by Pistorius on the subject of the study, it can be assumed that the parliament of the second largest federal state will approve the study.

Weeks ago, the events of right-wing extremist chats within the police, among others in North Rhine-Westphalia, triggered a discussion about the question of whether a study on racism in the police was called for. When asked whether the police union (GdP) in Lower Saxony was in favor of or against such a scientific investigation, Dietmar Schilff, state chairman of the GdP, told the Hanover television broadcaster H1: Until a study on extremism, racism or racial profiling has been completed, a lot will happen Time to land.

The GdP think it makes sense to “act faster”, to deal with the situation of people in the police, and to review legal provisions that lead to “that people may feel that they have been treated with racial profiling”.

In this respect, Pistorius agrees with the GdP: The study he is now calling for should also provide insights into everyday police work. He has already suggested to his SPD counterparts that scientists should accompany the police on the mission. Within a year, the interior ministries should collect the findings from all federal states and be able to make statements on “whether and to what extent racism, extremist statements or so-called racial profiling” are encouraged in the everyday life of the police.

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Detached from the brown network (neue-deutschland.de)

To understand what kind of guy Lukas Bals was, you have to look back five or six years. 2014 and 2015 were among the years in which the Dortmund neo-Nazi scene received more attention than seldom. Another reason for this: Bals’ activities. Lousy sayings about the Nazi victim Anne Frank, making fun of Mehmet Kubaşık, who was murdered by the NSU in Dortmund, or the mockery of the neo-Nazi victim Thomas Schulz, who was stabbed to death by a Nazi skinhead at the Dortmund subway station in Kampstrasse in 2005 has been. Bals happily shouted hateful slogans with his comrades at the time.

Lukas Bals: Detached from the brown net

A photo of the former neo-Nazi even went around the world. It shows him on the evening of the 2014 local elections, when the party Dierechte moved into Dortmund’s city council, with a bottle of champagne in his hand in front of the town hall. Shortly after the picture was taken, an argument with supporters of democratic parties ensued. More than a year later, Lukas Bals was sentenced to a fine of 800 euros for punching a politician from the Pirate Party. It is one of many criminal cases against him at this time.

If you talk to Lukas Bals about events from back then, it quickly becomes clear that he is ashamed of what he did. Sentences like: “I was so crazy.” Or “That was bad!” Lukas Bals has been out of the extreme right-wing scene for three and a half years and is now being looked after by a dropout program. Now he’s going public. He wants to tell his “hate stories” on YouTube and Twitter. However, Bals does not want to be the next in the dropout business. He doesn’t want to write a book to market it, just wipe it clean, he explains. Educate about his past. Whenever he got to know people in recent years, sooner or later they would have found out what he was up to, says Bals, either because he told it or they stumbled upon it on the net. Some would have believed him that he had nothing more to do with Nazis. Others turned away. That’s one of the reasons why he’s going public. Lukas Bals is now positioning himself against extremism and “without exception against violence”. But how did this change come about?

Lukas Bals’ political biography is quite interesting. It all started in 2010 with the left, autonomous May 1st in Wuppertal. Friends he knew from football – he was a fan of FC Remscheid – took him there because there was “action” there. Running a little, nudging the police, he liked that. He says he didn’t take much of the content of the left with him. During this time he drove from demo to demo because he was looking for adventure there. But he was never in a left group. In retrospect, he says that he was not “politically correct” enough for the radical left. He was a “complete bugger”. At the same time, the conflicts with a growing, young Nazi scene in Wuppertal came to a head. Bals claims that leftists invented an assault. It was enough for him. He knew one of the Nazi activists, went to her and told her about it. Then he switched sides.

The right-wing extremists are friendly to him. “I quickly felt at home there,” he says. After getting to know some of them, he no longer believed that Nazis were “shit”. In Wuppertal he worked his way up in the Nazi scene. Known for standing in the front row of demos and engaging in brawls. He then has to go to prison for nine months because of a brawl, albeit a non-political one. There he is strengthened by the Nazi scene. There is a lot of visitors and because he is on an international “prisoner list” there is mail from all over the world for Christmas. The Nazis are doing this consciously to keep people engaged, says Bals.

After his release from prison he dives back into the brown scene, first in Wuppertal, then in 2014 he moved to Dortmund. To the city with the largest and most noticeable Nazi scene in the Ruhr area. In the beginning it was a “high feeling”. He moves into one of the Nazi houses in the Dorstfeld district. All around him were “comrades”. It becomes an asset. Participates in actions and accompanies them with the camera and is one of the creative people in the scene. The Nazis presented a local journalist with a »Golden Pinocchio«, an idea by Bals. When a neo-Nazi rally took place at the same time as the CSD, he suggested calling for Paragraph 175 to be reintroduced. These are provocations that sit well. At the same time, he breaks off old contacts: “In my private life I tore everything down during that time,” he says. His family didn’t like the extreme right-wing commitment at all. Because of this, there were always arguments.

For Bals, the crash will soon follow. House searches, job losses, a breakup and debt. He crawls into his apartment. He received no support from the “comrades”. The question “How are you?” Would only be asked superficially by Nazis. It’s always about showing strength. Bals has suicidal thoughts. He fled Dortmund for a job at a freight forwarding company in Munich. In Bavaria he moves between the Identitarian Movement, Pegida, the Danubia fraternity and the AfD. Even if he comes from the party The Right, which more or less openly professes National Socialism, he is openly accepted by these moderate groups. Now he says there were hardly any ideological differences. He also takes part in numerous campaigns in Munich. When an anti-fascist demonstration turned up at an AfD election party in September 2016, arguments broke out. Bals is involved as well as right-wing rapper Chris Ares. He will experience his last right-wing event in spring 2017, a lecture by Alexander Gauland. Looking back, he says, “that was too much hatred”. What was said there would have fit into any Nazi demonstration.

Lukas Bals flees again. He goes to Mallorca, works in the restaurant business and distances himself from the right-wing scene. But his past accompanies him and criminal proceedings continue. State pressure was the main driver for turning away from the right-wing scene, he says today. His old “comrades” disapprove of his departure from the scene. Dortmund Nazis photograph him on the Spanish island; He is attacked so badly by a former member of the Kameradschaft Aachener Land that he has to be hospitalized. Bals seeks help and contacts a dropout program. It is there that he begins to deal with the right-wing ideology that he represented. He always “knew a lot” about National Socialism, as a Nazi he only had to “turn this knowledge around” and evaluate it differently. Today he is ashamed of the racist agitation against refugees he represented, he says. In his neo-Nazi time he did not allow any facts to touch him.

And now? From the perspective of the former Nazi, what helps against right-wing danger? “Repression,” he says quickly. And the Nazi instincts “don’t talk bigger than they are”. In Dortmund there was often a lot of excitement for little things. Pepper spray that was distributed at information stands, tours as “city protection” were only done to attract attention. “A couple of photos and that’s it,” he says. The police must intervene where criminal offenses are taking place. It is wrong, however, to give the right-wing propaganda successes through legally untenable actions.

In an interview today, Bals repeatedly says that he is “against all extremism”. He doesn’t want to run to the next Antifa café and unpack either. That would perhaps also be implausible. But what he wants to do is tell how he experienced events. How recognition works in the Nazi scene and how the state and civil society can offer fewer points of attack for Nazis. But mainly it should “be about my guilt,” he says. He “never wants to be politically active again”. A normal job, a normal life. Lukas Bals wishes that for the future.

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Until today in shock (neue-deutschland.de)

People have gathered for a demonstration in front of the Kiez kebab shop in Halle / Saale.

Photo: dpa / Hendrik Schmidt

The way from the Halle synagogue to the kebab shop on Ludwig-Wucherer-Straße is about 500 meters and leads through the Paulusviertel, where the middle-class Halle lives, past chic old buildings and the »Café Polenka« with its rustic, hip charm . The road is quite bumpy, half paved, half cobblestone. The assassin Stephan B. drove along this path in his rental car on October 9, 2019 at exactly 12.07 p.m. after he had given up the attack on the synagogue.

At this point he had already shot a person: 40-year-old Jana, who happened to pass the synagogue. He had actually wanted to cause a bloodbath in the synagogue, where Yom Kippur, the most important Jewish holiday, was being celebrated, but failed at the door.

When the assassin arrived at the end of Schillerstrasse and wanted to turn onto Ludwig-Wucherer-Strasse, he discovered the “Kiez-Döner” on the other side of the street. “Doner kebab, let’s take,” he said at the time – this is documented in the videos that he recorded on his helmet camera and his body cam and which are now used as evidence before the court. Then he broke into the kebab shop and finally committed his second act of killing. He shot Kevin crouching in a corner.

There were moments of shock in which a city not only lost two people, but also had to understand that right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism, which has been around for a long time in Halle as elsewhere, can lead to just as bloody acts.

A visit to the »Kiez« doner, a few days before the anniversary of the attack: red and white scarves and soccer jerseys from Kevin’s favorite club, Halleschen FC, hang on the wall; also a small memorial plaque for the two victims, with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “Where love grows, life thrives – where hatred arises, ruin threatens.”

Ismet Tekin is behind the counter and is stressed. Today’s takeaway operator, who took over the shop from his predecessor Izzet Cagac after the assassination, has to go to an outside appointment. However, he takes a few minutes to talk to the “nd”. “There are moments when I’m fine, but also moments when I’m not fine. It’s everyday life, ”says Tekin, visibly depressed. At the time of the crime he was not there, but his brother Rifat, who still has psychological problems to this day; so he reported as a witness before the Magdeburg Regional Court, where the assassin has been tried since July.

The “Kiez-Döner” was not doing well for a long time either, the guests stayed away and so did the income. According to Tekin, you can’t say exactly why: “It can be fear, it can be sadness, it can be Corona, it can be dislike.” For about two weeks things have been better again, the future is secure of the snack but not yet.

Tekin’s depression turns into anger at this moment. The takeaway operator misses solidarity, not just financial: “In the beginning everyone was full with us. They said they support us. But the city left us alone in the end. “Tekin’s criticism is directed at Mayor Bernd Wiegand:” He missed a few nice words, a few nice ideas, financial support “. Basically, Tekin likes to live in Halle and feels good: “The people are very nice and friendly, I can say that. It’s a beautiful, quiet city. “

A little later, Lord Mayor Wiegand and Max Privorozki from the Halle Jewish Community sit together with Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff and Interior Minister Holger Stahlknecht (both CDU) at a press conference in a tiny room of the Halle Multimedia Center and look back on the past year. “The city is still in shock. We are still trying to process, “admits Wiegand, consciously speaking of” trying “. It is an indisputable fact that this processing has not been completed, but rather that right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism are still present in the city.

Wiegand also comes, without having to be explicitly pointed out, to talk about what is going on “in the marketplace”. A well-known right-wing extremist has been up to mischief there for years. This was also the case on the Day of German Unity, when he held a rally during a music event. This man, who was active in the right-wing extremist network “Blood and Honor” in the 90s and was recently sentenced to an eleven-month suspended sentence for sedition, has been bombarding the marketplace with countless rallies against everything possible for years – the main thing is that it fits into the right-wing extremist spectrum .

The state government reacted to the man’s constant hustle and bustle with an amendment to the state assembly law, which should serve as a basis to more easily ban demos by extremists – but Bernd Wiegand remains skeptical in view of years of experience: »My satisfaction is limited. It is still hard work promoting tolerance. “

Community leader Privorozki can also look back on a difficult year, and on a day that he will probably never forget. “Everyone who was in the synagogue on October 9, 2019 will remember the terrorist attack forever,” he says, and reports on how the congregation tried to put together the ten most important events in its history. According to Privorozki, October 9, 2019 was as important for many community members as November 9, 1938, when synagogues were burning in Nazi Germany. But Privorotsky is also someone who does not want to be completely guided by these terrible events. He emphasizes this again and again: »Life is like this. We remain optimistic. “

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Attack in front of the synagogue (neue-deutschland.de)

The alleged anti-Semitic attack on Sunday in Hamburg is provoking national and international reactions. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) stated on Twitter that this attack was not an isolated incident. The Hamburg Interior Senator Andy Grote (SPD) also emphasized the omnipresent danger of right-wing violence. “The situation that Jews are increasingly becoming the target of hatred must not leave anyone indifferent in a democratic constitutional state like Germany,” said Josef Schuster, President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany. He also demanded that Hamburg appoint an anti-Semitism officer in coordination with the Jewish community.

On the occasion of the Jewish tabernacle festival Sukkot, people gathered for celebrations in the Synagogue Hohe Weide in Eimsbüttel. In front of the entrance the attacker suddenly hit a student with a folding spade, who was clearly recognizable as a Jew by his kippah, and inflicted a serious head injury. The perpetrator is in police custody after he was arrested at the scene. The interrogation is difficult, however, because the attacker appears “confused”. The police and the attorney general have now classified the attack as an attempted murder with a suspected anti-Semitic background. A note with a swastika and a penknife were found in the attacker’s pocket.

A year after the assassination attempt in Halle, this attack, also by a man dressed in military clothing, causes consternation. The chairman of the Jewish community in Hamburg, Philipp Stricharz, said in an interview with the NDR that references to mental confusion were unsatisfactory and spoke of a terrorist attack.

On Monday night, the police searched the perpetrator’s apartment and seized data media, but there have been no indications of accomplices. The origin of the Bundeswehr uniform is also determined.

“The thought that this terrible act was motivated anti-Semitically and deliberately carried out for the Sukkot festival is unbearable,” commented Deniz Celik, spokesman for anti-fascism for the left-wing parliamentary group in Hamburg. “In view of the number of attacks and attacks in recent months, it is more necessary than ever to fight anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism by all means.”

There had been several incidents in the past few weeks: In September a mezuzah, a door post containing parchment, was broken open in Berlin-Charlottenburg at the entrance to the Tifferet Isreal synagogue and a swastika smeared on it. In Heidelberg on August 29, in the house of the Normannia fraternity, a student was belted, insulted with anti-Semitic insults and pelted with coins. There are repeated attacks on demonstrations with a right-wing and conspiracy-theoretical orientation. Anti-Jewish symbols or caricatures that ridicule the persecution of Jews are part of the repertoire. By September, the Anti-Semitism Research and Information Center counted 75 anti-Semitic incidents related to the coronavirus in Berlin alone.

The President of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, stated that the causes of the hatred must be asked. “Why does this keep happening? Why is anti-Semitism flourishing? «He demanded that the German government assume more responsibility and protect the Jewish community in order to be able to practice the faith freely and without fear.

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Cottbus is not only brown (neue-deutschland.de)

The rainbow flag on the roof flutters happily in the afternoon September sun, the first autumn leaves are freshly fallen and still quite noticeable in the gutter. The street in front of the building project “Cell79” on the left is empty except for a brightly colored cat. “It was a long time ago that the colors were used,” says Maren, pointing to the gray spots on the shutters of the three-story Wilhelminian style house, which were lowered along the entire front. The 22-year-old, who is a few years younger than the “cell” founded in 1994, does not want to read her last name in the newspaper. She has been studying social work at the Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) since 2017. Together with Sandra Hettmann, with whom she is involved in a variety of left-wing politics in the “action collective Cottbus”, she took time for a small alternative tour in the center of the Lusatian metropolis. Hettmann, 36, also moved to the local Spree three years ago. The queer feminist activist previously lived in Berlin and Buenos Aires. In Cottbus, she says, she sometimes has “availability fantasies” when she thinks about the cultural offerings of the megacities – and misses it. Then she raves a bit about the many options that are available here.

From the organic store Schömmel, which is popular as a meeting point, you go through the Straße der Jugend, past cafés such as “Seitensprung” and “Marie 23”, which can compete with any trendy bar in Leipzig or Berlin-Kreuzberg. Directly opposite is the »Gladhouse«, a youth culture center whose size and range many young people – whether in the city or in the country – can only dream of: In addition to a cinema, there are several event rooms for readings, concerts or parties . On October 3rd, it is not German unity that will be celebrated here, but a Depeche Mode party. Those in the know know that, as it was over 30 years ago, this is definitely not an event for supporters of national fantasies: Depeche Mode fans viewed neo-Nazis in the GDR as a similar enemy to foreigners, punks and gays.

The university campus, on the other hand, is located in the Sachsendorf district in the south of the city – the neighborhood was notorious for a long time as a neo-Nazi stronghold and is still not a particularly good place for people like the left-wing student Maren. And Sachsendorf is no exception: brutal right-wing violence against people like the alcoholic Mathias Scheydt, who was stabbed here in 1997 by the neo-Nazi skinhead Reinhold K., has existed in Cottbus for decades. It takes place against the background of broad right-wing extremist networks that have spread unmolested by the police and security authorities in the vicinity of rocker gangs, football hooligans and drug-related crime.

The »cell« with its dark pink facade, in the middle of which is emblazoned with a rather unusual, but expressive stucco work with the women’s fight symbol, stands gracefully in the sun on this beautiful day. But the atmosphere in the area is by no means always so peaceful. “This is where Energie Cottbus fans go straight to the stadium for home games,” explains Sandra Hettmann. Among them are always ultra-right hooligans who have places like the left house project on their radar. Beer bottles always fly, tell the women. In 2015 there was an arson attack involving a group of 50 people after a game. After violent energy fans tried to break into the house almost a year ago and destroyed the shutters on the ground floor, they had to be replaced with new security blinds. “It’s a miracle that nothing worse has happened here in all these years,” says Hettmann. The passionate racing cyclist knows what she’s talking about: She was seriously injured in a targeted attack by a car driver and later insulted and insulted by him so much that there was hardly any doubt about his right attitude. But anyone who is out and about in a group on a bicycle in Cottbus “with glittery shoes and a rainbow-colored cap” is quickly identified as a target – especially if the bicycle meeting is an anti-fascist protest. Such colorful actions are also made more difficult by the Cottbus police, who repeatedly take disproportionate action against them. Just two weeks ago, a group of “colored cyclists”, as they call themselves, including children, “surrounded” the old city wall for hours while a right-wing extremist rally took place within earshot and striking distance.

In general, people seem to be more lenient with neo-Nazis. For years, hundreds of rights marched through the city center of Cottbus on February 15, taking the anniversary of the bombing of the city in the winter of 1945 as an opportunity to carry out revisionist propaganda with their “memorial to the dead” and to march in a martial manner. It was only after the broad-based alliance Cottbus Nazi-free was founded that it finally succeeded in 2014 to completely block the right elevator. Even the former mayor Frank Szymanski (SPD) had regularly been part of the blockade.

But the neo-Nazis came back. Since 2015, the anti-refugee association Zukunft Heimat around hardliner Christoph Berndt has been ensuring that the Cottbus anti-fascists cannot find peace. The racist AfD with people like Berndt, who is being traded as a possible successor to the slain parliamentary group leader Andreas Kalbitz, has one of its East German strongholds in Lusatia. Thousands cheered the fascist Björn Höcke in Cottbus in 2019. However, on the other side there were also several thousand people who protested, the two activists remember. Unfortunately, too little was reported about it.

The Cottbus Nazi-Free Alliance recently announced its dissolution. But the people who were involved in it are still there. Instead of mobilizing on a large scale once a year, they are looking for new formats of resistance in view of the success of right-wing alliances. They are sorely needed.

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Christof Gramm: The MAD problem (neue-deutschland.de)

Generals plan their action on the defensive and offensive. The Defense Minister apparently does the same. After she decided on the offensive and took over the combat plans of her predecessor, she can no longer turn back without losses. Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer named right-wing extremism in the Bundeswehr as a structural problem and now has to adapt her approach to this finding. The dissolution of a company from the Special Forces Command showed that she was serious about this. What Kramp-Karrenbauer cannot do without, therefore, are determined, devoted loyalists if necessary. Christof Gramm does not seem to have been such.

The MAD boss was charged with clearing up right-wing extremism as a structural problem. In his time there were more publicity gestures than in previous ones. But gestures are not enough. Statistics on right-wing extremist incidents in the Bundeswehr that Gramm introduced do not yet replace the fight against the causes of such incidents. And Gramm also nourished the version of the right-wing extremist individual cases, the exceptions that only confirm the rule of a blooming vest for the Bundeswehr. What he gleaned from his attempts to explain, not only suggests a lack of determination against right-wing structures, but also the suspicion of parallel views or even structures in the military counterintelligence service itself , remains to be seen.

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Not just individual soldiers (neue-deutschland.de)

MAD boss Gramm has not fought extremism enough and has to go.

For five years, Christof Gramm was at the head of the Military Counter-Intelligence Service, the smallest of the German secret services, which is specifically responsible for defense against danger within the Bundeswehr, i.e. within its ranks. On Thursday, his boss, Federal Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, traveled to the MAD headquarters in Cologne to notify Gramm of the dismissal from October. His transfer to temporary retirement is nothing more than that for the 62-year-old – the dismissal.

A personal arrival of the minister for this purpose seems quite unusual. The impression arises of a boss trying to be lenient at the moment of separation. Their reasoning does not sound reproachful either: The new section in the fight against extremist tendencies in the Bundeswehr and in the modernization of the MAD requires “additional efforts and dynamism”.

In 2017, the ministry commissioned the MAD to get to the bottom of the situation in the Bundeswehr, which led to a steadily growing number of incidents with a right-wing extremist background. The responsible minister, then still Ursula von der Leyen, made the internal command of the Bundeswehr the subject of public debate, a taboo zone that had been well-guarded until then. Whether and what resistance from der Leyen and later, after handing over to Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, this felt in the ranks and at the top of the MAD, can only be speculated about. It soon became apparent that they had a difficult time with their resolute action, not only in public but also in the ranks of the Bundeswehr. Reforms of the MAD were initiated in October 2019, which, according to the Ministry of Defense, are now producing results. The investigation of incidents in the Special Forces Command reportedly also went back to investigations by the MAD.

These incidents and the fact that they reached the public eye through the media, of course, put the minister under pressure again. Thousands of rounds of ammunition, undetectable explosives and right-wing extremist activities in the ranks of the elite unit led to the dissolution of a company. According to critics, Christof Kramm, who is by nature a lawyer and not a military man, had followed the mantra that has been common for decades that it is not the Bundeswehr but individual soldiers who have a right-wing extremism problem. This is clearly not enough for the ambitions of his minister. Comment on page 8

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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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