Photo: Neo-Nazis march under police protection in Dortmund in 2008 Photo: Neo-Nazis march under police protection in Dortmund in 2008

The Neo-Nazi Murder Trial and Germany’s Darkest Secrets

National Socialist Underground (NSU) perpetrated random attacks between 2000 and 2007 throughout Germany, leaving ten people dead and one wounded. Primary targets were ethnic Turks but also Kurds, though the victims also included one ethnic Greek and one ethnic German policewoman. They were murdered in daylight with gunshots to the face at close range with a silenced CZ 83 pistol.
The NSU murder investigation trial suggest that the organisation may have been carefully supported and protected by German state intelligence agency, known as the BfV, and its state-level branches, known as the LfV. The agency allegedly either turned a blind eye to the NSU murders or supported the group’s aims.
The BfV has long been regarded as right-leaning: it was founded after the second world war by the Americans, who welcomed Nazis and former Gestapo members into its ranks. Its mission was to spy on and root out the KPD, as the German communist party was known, as well as members of the Social Democratic party. The first head of the organisation, Otto John, defected to East Germany in 1954, citing the overwhelming number of Nazis in the organisation. His successor was Hubert Schrübbers, a former member of the SS. For now, neither police nor trial investigators have the right to subpoena BfV documents that may contain vital evidence about the NSU killings.
The German ministry of the interior counted around 14,000 far-right-related crimes in 2015, about 30% more than in the previous year. By April 2016, police counted three attacks per day against housing facilities for asylum seekers. Last year, a small group – one woman and two men – threw a molotov cocktail into a Zimbabwean child’s bedroom at an asylum centre in Lower Saxony.

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