It is almost 69 years since the end of World War 2 and the collapse of Nazism. Yet despite efforts made by the German government to prevent the creation of neo Nazi movements through a process known as denazification, neo-Nazism continues to exist. Between 2000 and 2006, eight Turkish and one Greek immigrant were heartlessly murdered by a racist neo-Nazi group in Germany. When the story of the killers surfaced, it dominated headlines for months and gave rise to one of the biggest scandals in post-war Germany. It turned out that intelligence agencies had had the group under surveillance for years, and even found a bomb-making factory in their garage back in 1998. So, why were they not stopped earlier? Why were they allowed to disappear and then stay underground? And why was it that security services blamed the murders on the Turkish mafia at the time? This film tries to answer these questions.
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After World War II and the defeat of the Nazis, former SS and Gestapo officers of Hitler’s army, were positioned among the police , intelligence forces, and the counter-intelligence agency.
Wolf Wetzel :
Gestapo members later entered the security forces or the military protection agency. After the year 1948 Gestapo officers who had practiced torture were given high ranking posts in organizations that use force.
Immigrating to a foreign land in search of new and better opportunities can be a sweet and exciting experience, but it is not always successful.
Instead of eradicating Nazism in Germany after the war, being a Nazi was encouraged. Documents have been found that prove 50 percent of the officials working in ministries and above the ranks of the police force and the secret police, are former members of the national German Workers Socialist Party, SS and Gestapo officers.
Man, Member of labor party:
All government organizations, from the justice department to the parliament to the police force and military…. just didn’t disintegrate all at once. It was a gradual transition which brought many new things to the new federal republic; new ideologies and worldviews. In short, the people who made up the old racist government were the ones who established the new federal republic in Germany. The powerful figures in the government were not suddenly all replaced and uprooted; all their ideologies can be seen in the new system.
The most difficult aspect of emigration for the immigrant must be when they realize they cannot consider themselves as a member of the new society. The meaningful and sometimes hateful stares of the people who do belong, can turn a good life into a nightmare. Nonetheless a foreigner can come to terms with all of this and slowly but surely, integrate into that society. He can learn the language and accent, and try to look and behave like them. The scary wakeup call comes when he opens up the paper and sees an article about foreigners like himself being killed by radical racist groups. Life becomes a nightmare from that moment on. You’re afraid of every shadow, you’re afraid you’re being watched or followed all the time, on the bus, in the underground, on the street; you see yourself as a sitting duck just waiting to be skewered by some racist.
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Between 2000 and 2005, nine foreigners were killed by a serial killer.
The first murder happened on the 29th of October 2000 in Nuremburg. In those days no one knew anything about the NSU. At that time, in the year 2000 in Nuremburg, a Turkish man called Enver Simsek who operated several flower stalls, was murdered by an unknown person in his shop. A short time later another murder took place. At first the police thought the murders might be the result of disputes among members of the Turkish mafia. But when the fourth homicide happened, it was established that all the killings had been committed with the same weapon. This led the police to believe a serial killer was involved. The murder that happened in Munich in 2001, was thought to be the killer's fourth hit. A green grocer called Habil Kiliç was the victim, and the weapon was the same. Now for Theodoros Boulgarides murder. He was a Greek man who owned a key shop. He opened his shop two weeks before he died. He was killed with the same weapon as before, on the 15th of June 2005, but they never found the shells because the gun had been fired from inside a plastic bag. Back then no one knew about the NSU. German government offices, which were more like interrogation offices, did their research looking into everything from narcotics and extortion, to turf wars and rivalry among salespersons… all these factors existed but they were not related to the serial killings. The Turks and foreigners in general were sure the murders were being committed by the neo-Nazis, racists who wanted the foreigners out of their country. That was the general consensus among the Turkish population.
The murders had sent a wave of terror through the foreigners living in Germany.
Yes, my client says he has been crushed, he’s always afraid that at any moment someone else will become the victim of the conspiracy, because no logical reason for the slayings has been found. Another revelation in 2011 intensified people’s fears. How did the neo-Nazis choose their victims, am I next on their list? You don’t have anything to do with the matter, and you don’t want to have anything to do with it. I think this fear has lingered, the fear that at any moment a bomb might go off right next to you. In general I think it is the feeling of uncertainty that breaks down the family.
Are you afraid for your daughters here?
I’m not afraid, but it’s a strange feeling, because they are biracial they have dark hair and eyes, and because of this they are discriminated against and ridiculed.
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There are those who think the radicals that murder and harass foreigners are backed by the police and security forces, because racism is ingrained in the mindset of the German police and security personnel.
Many office workers are Nazis outside the workplace, or are employed by the Nazis and have no problem with what their friends are doing. I am about to give you an example which I think is the most horrific manifestation of the cooperation between the security forces and the Neo-Nazis. The murder of a coffee-net owner in 2006 in the city of Der Castle . What’s interesting is that at the time of the murder, and a little after, a high ranking official in the security forces was there. His nick-name is little Adolf.
It was the 6th of April 2006, a day before my birthday. I was busy working in the coffee-net. My son came in at 3:00 pm. He’d given his mother some money to make arrangements for my birthday celebration. He said to me “Dad, mum’s waiting outside for you”. That was the last time I heard him say Dad. I went to the city center with my wife. When I came back to the shop at 5:00 pm I found my son in a pool of blood. He died in my arms and became a martyr. My birthday was the next day, and I decided never to celebrate it again.
This man is Andreas Temme, a member of the security forces. He is the leader of the Nazis, I mean he’s the leader of the neo-Nazis’ secret agents. Before the murder, Temme phoned Bejamin Gartner, an active known Nazi. Afterwards, this employee of the Hesse Province security agency, Andreas Temme goes to a coffee-net. Anyone familiar with German history should think why they would do that. Andreas Temme claims he went to the coffee-net because it’s a place frequented by foreigners, and Germans don’t like to go there, especially little Adolf. Apparently he goes there and starts chatting at the time of the murder. He does it at a place full of foreigners and little Adolf doesn’t seem to have a problem with it.
All the documents and evidence on security agency employee Andreas Temme were missing, and so the presiding judge dropped all charges against him.
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One of the complainants, named Angelica Lux said between 50 and 500 people had to appear in court, and that means even the security agency members. I haven’t just been to this court. I’ve been to the parliament’s investigative committee and the provincial council’s investigative committee in Bayern where I sat through the interrogation of security agency members. Members of the investigative committees say such things are a result of negligence on the part of the agents, and that it’s no accident because these murders have been blamed on right-wing supporters for years, and because they’ve always looked for the culprit among foreign nationals. Therefore, you can’t call this an accident anymore.
Apparently this group was comprised of three members: 20-year-old Uwe Bohnhardht, 24-year-old Uwe Mundlos, 24-year-old Beate Zschape. Before the police arrive, the two male members of the group first blow up the house they’d been living in and then commit suicide in the vehicle parked outside. The female member of the group is arrested but she denies any involvement in the murders. Some witnesses have helped draw images of the assassins, but the drawings do not look like the two young men who killed themselves, fuelling speculations they didn’t actually commit suicide. Rather, they were sacrificed to prevent the truth from being revealed.
We learned that somewhere in Hessen province which is near central Germany, two people had taken their own lives after robbing a bank, and that they were among those blamed for the serial killings. Then information started to trickle in, and after a while it got to a point where all the pieces of the puzzle came together. According to the dispatches, they shot each other dead after robbing a bank around mid-day. A few hours later in the city of Zwickau, a terrorist cell, meaning the house they lived in with Beate Zschape was blown up. The weapons they had used to carry out the murders were found in the house. That’s how the culprits were automatically tracked down. Yes, all of those incidents on the same day. I’ve got to admit I wasn’t at all surprised that a group of rightwing extremists or neo-Nazis were behind those murders. They’d been under investigation from 2006-2007.
A group from Germany’s intelligence and counter-intelligence agencies recruited and supported radical elements to carry out operations against their targets. In order to protect their other members, they blamed the assassination on those two young men. And they killed them in order to mislead investigators.
Women, Member of labor party:
No, surely this can’t be the job of just a few people. There’s a bigger network working behind the scenes. A system that takes advantage of these individuals and uses them as scapegoats branding them murderers and culprits . The fact is that there’s a system that tries to provoke people and has them at each other’s throats in order to distract them from the bigger issue. For instance, this system is taking advantage of everyone and treats everyone unfairly. It tries to divide people up and separate them from each other so they won’t be able to unite and fight against the injustices. To achieve that, they create such situations. In fact, by doing so, they incite and intensify hatred among the Germans on the one hand and on the other, among those with an immigrant background.
The prosecutor’s office says: We have a number of lists and are investigating 130 people. They are all accomplices. But to this moment, except for the four people sitting in the defendants seats who have used a weapon, or rather provided weapons to those three main suspects, no one else has been named. Of course the prosecutor’s office has announced: “We’re continuing our investigation.”
I admit this is very vague to me too. You see on the one hand there was this small group, I mean NSU, made up of three members, who had their own supporters, but I don’t know whether or not their supporters were aware of what they were doing. That will become clear in court.
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The government’s inability is unfathomable. A police force that spends every day dealing with criminals such as drug dealers, and immigrants involved in criminal activity, would soon conclude that immigrants are all potential criminals. But I blame their superiors because they are the ones who should prevent members of the police force from thinking like this.
By putting pressure on the victims’ families in the past ten years, police have been trying to blame the assassinations on immigrant criminal gangs taking revenge on each other. They have been trying to portray the issue as a feud among members of the immigrant community.
We returned to Germany after 10 days. My son wasn’t with us anymore. Of my five children, only four were left. My son wasn’t there anymore. I couldn’t even go into my son’s room because the police had sealed it off. I didn’t even have time to relive my memories with my son. I was constantly in touch with my relatives when I was at the coffee net. Police called every number I had saved on the computer and asked very unpleasant questions. The people they called are all very respectable people. For about ten years, they leveled all kinds of accusations against our friends and relatives. They accused us of being in cahoots with drugs traffickers, the mafia and other criminals. I felt the pressure so acutely I had a heart attack and had to be hospitalized for two months.
Apart from those killed in the assassinations, several others were injured in failed attacks, the most important of which was the bombing in the city of Cologne that left members of an Iranian family injured.
Edi Grone Backh:
A tall blonde haired man walks into the store, picks up a basket and buys a few presents, but when it comes to paying, he pretends he has forgotten his wallet. Then he says, “I’m going to leave the basket with the things inside it here, and go get my wallet.” He leaves the store, never to come back. The owners keep the basket full of presents in a corner hoping he’ll come back. Once they are sure he isn’t coming back, they take the stuff from the shop floor to the back where the rest was to give to him if he came round. The eldest daughter of the family, like other members of the family, but before everyone else, thinks of checking the items in the basket. She notices a can that’s been gift-wrapped with starry wrapping paper and a few other Christmas things. She opens it a bit and immediately realizes she’s looking at explosives, not a tin can. But unfortunately, by doing so she activates the bomb which explodes in her face. She suffered severe burns and injuries to the face and was in a hospital unconscious for three months. In the years that followed, she faced a lot of problems. It’s been twelve years since, that girl and her family are still suffering because of the explosion and the scars it left behind. This was an everyday reality.
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The Iranian family did not want to be interviewed for fear of angering the neo-Nazis.
Since the murder in the year 2000, any support from the government, any attempts to cover up crime and murder, or to prevent the revelation of a crime like in the case of the Cologne bombing, and the proof that attempts were made to protect the perpetrators, are all considered evidence of (government) complicity.
During the court process, it was revealed that in 1998, German police had caught the three young neo-Nazis with explosives and home-made bombs, but they didn’t arrest them. They let them get away.
We’re now going to take a quick look at this list. I think it’s a good idea to see it on camera. This is a secret document and you’ll know why it is secret. But I explained briefly earlier how in 1998 three leading socialist-nationalist (NSU) groups went into hiding and how in Yener which is near here, a parking lot was searched and 1.4 kilos of explosives were found. In addition to that, several pipe-bombs and other equipment that belonged to the Nazis were discovered. Then the rights the government cared about suddenly became important. So the police go to the location where those three known neo-Nazis, the two Uwe’s and Beate Zschape, are. The search begins, the explosives are found, but they say goodbye and leave. In general, not many people understand the legal aspect of this. So let me break it down. For instance, if the police found 1.4 kilos of explosives or a bomb, in my house or yours, even if they didn’t have a search and arrest warrant, they’d arrest us immediately and throw the book at us. But when it came to those three people, they said they didn’t arrest them because they didn’t have a warrant. They went to their hideout, they saw how well-equipped they were. But then an officer tells Uwe Bohnhardht, “I’d hurry if I were you, your arrest warrant could be issued any minute.”
The gang had many members. There was this house with a garage where explosives were discovered. The amount of explosives, their hiding place, and the rest of the group’s activities showed they have made fast and dangerous progress in bomb-making and have sinister plans.
Edi Grone Backh:
The important thing was to find out what happened to the police investigation and the information collected by intelligence agencies between 1998 and 2000.
Couldn’t they have nipped the whole thing in the bud, before this conspiracy unfolded, before the bombing, only half an hour before it, the first murder took place, Schimeshk.
If all the intelligence agencies safeguarding the constitution and their lazy employees had taken legal action and had had the police really assess and handle the information they had obtained properly when the group went into hiding in 1998, couldn’t they have been busted?
Now that we know most of the information in the case, we can say they could have arrested them! They had all the intel they needed. They didn’t have to find it in places like Columbia.
In the parking lot where the explosives were discovered, there was a list of 150 other neo-Nazis on the wall. Among them, were the names of five of Germany’s counterintelligence agency employees.
Now the interesting thing that leads us to the complex combination of NSU vs. KOMPLEX is that it took 13 years for them to realize that this list was on the wall in that parking garage right next to where they found the explosives and bomb.
When a group runs away and leaves behind such a list, it’s like robbing a bank and leaving behind your ID. The police could simply have gone to those addresses and prevented all these murders. The Socialist-Nationalist group (NSU) could never have escaped because it had contacted almost everyone on this list. The list also includes the names of all the cities where assassinations have been carried out, and also all the names and addresses of those selling weapons and other equipment.
Now I want to talk about two points: Firstly, there was no mention of this list for 13 years.
If it came to pass that the list was found back in 1998, then we’d all say well, you could have gone to each and every one of these addresses. It would have taken less time going after them without an address or traumatizing the families of the victims. More than 400 hundred agents were sent into action just to shock and awe the victims’ families. If those 400 agents, or even 40 of them, had gone to those addresses, the NSU could neither move about or access weapons, nor could it have gone into hiding or anything like that. I just want to put an end to this. That’s why this list is so important and had been kept secret for 13 long years. Now it’s accidentally been found, though I think it was more a result of negligence. There were employees that couldn’t take it anymore and decide to go public with the list.
They didn’t take them seriously. They didn’t at all take the danger from such radical groups seriously and they didn’t even suspect they could be devising deadly plots. That’s why they didn’t get to the heart of the matter. Surely, there are many other theories about this, like the government organizations’ confusion, or the fact that intelligence agencies were very close to resolving the issue, or that they were aware of the horrifying saga created by these extremists.
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But they didn’t arrest them before they could implement their vicious plans. They didn’t arrest them in order to protect themselves and their own activities. If they had arrested them, all the accomplices and their future schemes would have been exposed and none of those bombings and murders would have happened.
We all know about those shiftless individuals who pretended to work for intelligence and security agencies, made a fortune that way and transferred all their money into the coffers of extremist movements. The least that can be said is that they were very incompetent, or maybe they were linked to certain individuals or cliques.
The Neo-Nazis activities aren’t confined to bombings and serial killings. They have been active in the 70s. Some of the victims of their attacks were Aryans and Germans who have been ignored by the police and security forces. The most prominent of their operations was the 1980 bombing during the October festival (Oktoberfest).
The government routinely has fascists do its dirty work. These are things that happened in the 70s and 80s and there’s evidence to prove it. But today the government claims it put an end to all such actions in 1990.
But this is state terrorism. We’re talking about murder. The 1980 bombing of Oktoberfest happened along the same lines. That’s how the murders took place, that means the government was complicit. But they never talk about the murder that took place at the 1980 Oktoberfest. It’s horrible to see the security agency, the interior ministry and fascist groups use dead people to withhold the truth.
For instance, he’d planned to go on a trip so he hadn’t expected to die. So you can’t say he’d lost the will to live, and that it was a suicide.
So that’s what it means. Many don’t believe it was the job only one person. Despite what the prosecutor’s office says, he had been seen arguing with other young men near the crime scene. You can interpret this in various ways, like they could have been arguing over whether or not to commit the crime.
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Right now, the immigrant community in Germany and the victims’ families are all awaiting one thing and that’s justice!
I’ll never forget the return from the cemetery. Who gave them the right to kill my son? How are you going to pay for his blood?!
What justice?! What is worse than killing a father or a child?! There is no justice. The injustice is horrendous. Even if you sentenced Ms Cheppe to 700 years in prison, it’s not going to mitigate the injustice. The grief and the wrongs that have been done to these people cannot be compensated. Every judge knows this can’t be undone, but they can only create a balance within the confines of the law and hand down punishments proportionate to the crime. But they know they can’t rectify the situation.
I could have been murdered instead of this young Turk or my son could have been killed. I can’t get my head around the magnitude of the grief and the horror caused by it. All the immigrant families living in Germany are scared. A group of Turk immigrants have staged a protest here.
It was a very difficult time for me, because I am a perfect example of those victims. A man between the ages of 20 and 40 . Those who died were like my family and friends. Sometimes it’s hard for me to keep my distance and think rationally. Sometimes I don’t want to keep my distance, I put myself in their place. I am on the families of the victims side all the way. I wanted to start debates that might spark some changes and make our country a better place to live in.
But this Neo-Nazi group can murder like this because it is so devious and deceitful. If one could see the danger as plain as day in the streets, then everyone would have to be afraid. They choose their victim and then kill him, and set his blood on fire. Anyone and any home can be the target. The individual cannot defend himself against their devious ways on his own, but there’s no doubt that if one sees the danger or senses it he will run for his life. He will take refuge in a safe place and do what he can to protect himself, but unfortunately this is not the case. They get more deceitful every day. They set fire to people’s houses at night, something that happened in the 90s in Sulingen and Muhlen. And now a decade later, they have more devious ways of killing people. Fear doesn’t protect you.
Does Germany’s Federal Republic want to blow the lid off all this?
Women , labor party partial :
No, they try to hide everything somehow, they destroy all the documents and evidence. They don’t want things to become clear for everyone. They try to keep things under wraps as much as they can. We consider it our duty to get the word out, and what has to be done is for every German citizen, either of German race or otherwise, to stand up to the aggressors and fight them. We can’t achieve anything if we don’t. We are here to tell people about all this, and ask them to join us in the fight against racism.
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What do your families think about this?
Women , labor party partial :
My family thinks the same as those present here.
They might even have more experience than us. They have been the victims of racism, they’ve really been discriminated against, because they can’t speak German as fluently as me. They’ve been through some hard times. I don’t have it as hard as they do. I’ve been living in Germany for eleven years and have no problem with the language, and have never had a problem with anyone, either German or otherwise. Everyone is of the opinion that these matters have to be exposed for the public to see, one person shouldn’t be blamed, there are a lot of things going on behind the scenes, everything is planned, we have to find our way to the control centers of these racist and radical organizations and cults.
Germany’s justice system is being tested to the limit. Are they prepared to put in the effort to clarify the situation and fix the security and police forces or not?
The crimes committed by the NSU, are crimes against humanity, they are not ordinary cases for us.
It is clear to us that their crimes are aimed at striking fear into the hearts of immigrants living in Germany. I think the German government has to take notice of this, because there are many foreigners living in this country.
We have many friends too, who are following up on this issue, but they too often come up with questions that cannot be answered, especially questions concerning the government officials involved, the role the security forces play and the secret police.
We know from the verdict passed by the parliamentary research committee that certain files have been destroyed, and information kept from the public. They are trying to destroy all the evidence. We know this and so we want to find out more.
This is a difficult situation for them. Ten years ago they lost their fathers, and they have been under suspicion, others have been killed because they were immigrants. The families are stuck between giving in fate and hoping justice will be served. Justice for them is not just for the culprits to be tried, but for them to understand why they had to die, and who is responsible.
The NSU saga has shaken the nation. I must admit I was one of those people who, considering our history, thought people couldn’t just be killed because the color of their skin is different, because they have different names, and were born in a foreign land, I never thought this would happen.
The director of the German Intelligence and Security Agency has resigned his post, and certain other officials are under pressure to do the same, but the question is, is that enough to eradicate racism altogether?