Who or what is a “white warrior”? The question was asked by an attorney for the co-lawsuit on the second day of the trial against the Halle assassin. Stephan B., who was heavily armed through the city of Saxony-Anhalt on October 9, 2019; who wanted to cause a bloodbath in the synagogue on Yom Kippur’s highest Jewish holiday and, after this plan had failed, threw explosives at a snack bar in search of “enemies”; who shot two people in cold blood and seriously injured others shrugs. White warrior? These are two words, nothing more, he says. A concept? An ideal? He knew nothing about this.
Not true, says Kristin Pietrzyk. She is one of 21 lawyers who sit opposite B. in room C 24 of the Magdeburg Regional Court and represent 43 victims and victims of the attack. Some of them, together with their clients, have to endure for hours what the defendant said in a bossy tone: conspiracy myths about the “repression” of white Europeans by Muslims; Sentences like: “By the way, feminism is Jewish!”; widespread error analysis about his self-made weapons.
The way B. appears in the trial; the fact that, despite all the legal disadvantages, he saw it as a stage for the dissemination of his theories and was obviously not interested in the advice of his two defenders: all this, says Pietrzyk, reminds them of others who also saw themselves as “white warriors”: the Norwegian right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik, for example, who murdered 77 people in Oslo and on the island of Utoya on July 22, 2011, by accident exactly nine years before this second day of negotiations against Stephan B. Or Brenton Tarrant, who murdered 51 people in two mosques on March 15, 2019 in Christchurch, New Zealand. B. read the Tarrants manifesto published online in the context of the crime, “The Great Exchange” one day after the attack in Christchurch, says B., who also posted an explanatory “document” on the Internet before the crime. “He is extremely positive about Breivik and Tarrant,” says Pietrzyk.
An arsenal of weapons with potentially devastating effects
The man against whom, since Tuesday, the 1st State Protection Senate of the Higher Regional Court of Saxony-Anhalt has been tried and who has not been indicted by the local public prosecutor, but the Attorney General, because the deeds are done, assumes fundamental social values such as the peaceful coexistence of religions shake – according to the indictment, this man is considered a lone offender. And no doubt B. was alone in Halle on October 9: in camouflage clothing and a helmet, equipped with eight rifles and submachine guns, with knives, a sword, dozens of explosive devices, many hundreds of rounds of ammunition. It was an arsenal of potentially devastating effects that only occurred because machine guns kept jamming and detonators did not detonate. He “failed terrificly,” says B.
He most likely prepared the crime on his own: on the computer in his mother’s room in Benndorf, Mansfeld, where the 28-year-old still lived after dropping out of chemistry; on the 3D printer in his father’s house. B. draws from himself in court the picture of an absolute loner with sociopathic features: already at school without friends; distrustful of others and above all any kind of political grouping, because there are “only constitutional protection officers” anyway. Did he have helpers? Asked the presiding judge Ursula Mertens at one point. B. laughs scornfully: “I don’t know anyone well enough to carry out a terrorist attack with him.”
Quite a few, of course, consider the thesis that it was a lone perpetrator, with whose foreseeable life-long imprisonment the danger was averted, as extremely dangerous – and as misleading as attempts at explanation that stamp the perpetrator as a “psychopath” and as a “loser”, who got nothing in line in life and was embroiled in frustration. During the trial, Pietrzyk sees the accused as “extremely cold-blooded, very manipulative and surprisingly manageable”. His calculation was to take every question as an opportunity to spread his assist ideology again. It is that of a “struggle” for a “white” Europe, for which supposedly “no peaceful way is being left” and which should prevent what B. dismissively calls “browning”: migration and the influx of people from other cultures.
With this idea, B. is anything but alone. However, says Pietrzyk, one has to separate from the idea that networks can only be established at concerts, demonstrations and camaraderie evenings. The role is now taken over by image boards and forums on the Internet just as well: “This completely replaces previous places of communication,” emphasizes the lawyer. Perpetrators like Stephan B., who quotes “Internet” as his only area of interest, would be “ideologically supported” in forums as in more traditional right-wing networks. It became clear that B. viewed this as a kind of home when a lawyer asked him to provide the addresses of corresponding websites. He refused: “I’m protecting my own people.”
Networked online in an alt-right community
The network in which perpetrators like B. are located is not limited to a village or a country, but extends far beyond. According to a blog from co-plaintiffs, he is networked with an »online› alt-right ‹community, which has also been the terrorist attacks of Christchurch, Poway, El Paso and Oslo« and many other attacks on Jews, Muslims, black people and Have “inspired and stimulated women worldwide” and continue to “celebrate and encourage” those on social networks. In the process, he confirmed that B. sees himself as part of such a global community of like-minded people, by admitting that he has “made himself ridiculous” with his own amateurish approach. The fact that each of the “guys” whom he addressed in his video, which was broadcast directly on the Internet, witnessed the mishaps in addition to the killing live, weighs all the more as perpetrators such as B. perceive the media spread of the attacks as more important than these themselves: ” The transference is more important than the deed itself, «he said – because it is intended to incite and encourage imitators. Co-prosecutor Pietrzyk assumes that even the most widespread weapon-related explanations Bs can be seen in court in this context – because he hopes that later perpetrators will benefit from it. When asked by a lawyer what he had learned from the act, B. said that he now knew “the muzzle energy of my submachine gun.” She wanted to know whether the deed was a “valuable contribution” to the supposedly necessary fight? Others, replied B., now knew: “You shouldn’t do it that way.”
But the Halle assassin’s network encompasses more than just virtual, extremely violent global rights. He is also embedded in right-wing discourses, such as are cultivated in Benndorf, Halle, Magdeburg and elsewhere in the Federal Republic, in places that B. does not tend to visit: at round tables, at demonstrations, in parliaments. They revolve around theses like those of the alleged “refugee wave” of 2015 as an epochal break-up event: At the time, he had “decided not to do anything more for this society,” said the accused. They are also based on claims such as those alleged by the “dictatorship of opinion” or “narrowed corridors of opinion”.
He had “already known at school that there are taboo topics in Germany that cannot be addressed,” said B .; He also did not join a party because “in Germany one should not freely express one’s opinion”. The same thing, says lawyer Kristin Pietrzyk, can of course be heard “at every AfD rally and on every walk from Pegida.” The Halle assassin shared these “worries” of the so-called anger citizens – and decided to use force to combat the alleged causes. “One has to start,” he said in court. The terror that led to the decision – in the opinion of lawyer Pietrzyk, it shows “how deadly these” worries “are.”