Spiegel Online (German)
NSU-Prozess in München "Keine Tränen, sie hat nicht einmal geschluckt"
Beate Zschäpe schweigt beharrlich im NSU-Prozess, doch nach ihrer Festnahme plauderte sie noch mit Beamten. Zwei sagten nun vor dem Oberlandesgericht München aus, was Zschäpe ihnen über sich und ihre mutmaßlichen Komplizen verriet. Von Gisela Friedrichsen, München.
End of Quote
NSU-Trial in Munich: "No tears, she didn't even gulp once"
Beate Zschäpe keeps silent, tenaciously, during the NSU-trial, but after her arrest she had still chatted with police officers. Two of them appeared as witnesses before the Higher Regional Court in Munich and testified to what Zschäpe allegedly told them about herself and her accomplices. By Gisela Friedrichsen, Munich.
The article is very important because it reveals something Beate Zschäpe actually said, albeit allegedly, after her arrest and before the trial, to two police officers. I should also mention that while in custody, she wrote a letter to a person that is also known to have been active in the right-wing extremist movement in Germany. In that letter, she expresses affection to that person. Affection, yes. That means she is capable of it.
My summary of this German article's main points in English:
Beate Zschäpe also talked about her childhood, that she had been a child who had a much better relationship with her grandmother than with her mother. When asked whether new attacks had been planned that could now still be prevented, she allegedly said: No.
She said she called her two friends' parents and informed them that their sons had died. She also said she felt relieved to be able to use her real name again to sign documents.
When asked about her and her friends' upbringing, she supposedly declared that Mundlos and Böhnhardt grew up in stable homes, protected by their parents, and that she could not explain their progression to becoming what they became. That protected childhood of her friends was the opposite of her own childhood, she declared.
When asked if she had thought of taking her own life during the last few days before she turned herself in, she admitted to having considered it but not having had the strength to do it.
When the officers asked her if she had ever contemplated the extent of what was going to happen to her in the future, she said she had never been forced to do anything.
A few of the defense lawyers point to the fact that a police officer from Baden Württemberg was also present during these informal chats, from the state in which one of the victims was killed. When they press the police officer on the stand to tell them whether and what they asked Zschäpe with regard to that murder, they don't get an answer. The police officer basically makes it clear he is not allowed to say more, citing regulations. Also, the conversation with Zschäpe was casual, not an interrogation, he points out. Anything she said was revealed by her own volition and it was as much or little as she wanted to say. The officers had assured Zschäpe that they wouldn't use any interview methods that were not permitted. One of the police officers said they had been hopeful that Zschäpe would indeed come clean and reveal what happened, especially because she had at one point declared she didn't turn herself in to then not say anything. And she had stated she did not want to be represented by a lawyer from the right-wing extremist movement. Supposedly, she had said that she and her friends had known that one day it would all come out. Now that she was no longer in hiding, she said she was sleeping much better.
She calls herself a "fact-oriented person"
Again, she had talked about her cats and the dog they had planned to get but decided not to because they didn't want to get caught while registering the dog. The police officer on the stand who works for the Federal Criminal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt/BKA) said he had thought those reflections seemed to be pretty advanced thoughts for life in hiding.
The Spiegel article reveals something about Beate Zschäpe's thinking and feelings or lack thereof. While talking casually with the officers, she is concerned about her cats that she had left behind in the building she lived in and had set on fire after she found out that her two friends, Uwe Mundlos und Uwe Böhnhardt, had committed suicide rather than being caught by police. which was happening while they killed themselves. She wasn't concerend about what happened to the elderly woman she knew also lived in the house she burned down. Does this sound familiar?
It reminds me of the end of WW II and the bunker, and Hitler's fondness for his dog and hate for petty much any person at that point.
Since the beginning of the trial, Beate Zschäpe hasn't said one word but has let her lawyers do the talking. The prosecution must show that she has been a conspirator in any or all of the ten murders allegedly committed by her two friends (and lovers) with whom she lived during the time the murders were convicted, six of them in Bavaria. Evidence linking her and her friends to the murders include a video in which the creators, using gruesome pictures of the murdered victims, let the Pink Panther comment on the murders and how the police has no clue about who committed the murders, namely not radicals or drug dealers from minority groups in Germany but German neo-Nazis, i.e the National Socialist Underground (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund/NSU), their organization. Zschäpe and a few other co-defendants who are also allegedly connected because they bought the murder weapon and gave it to the NSU (the same gun was used in all cases) all lived first in the eastern part of the country where radical attitudes most recently rear their ugly head. But terror attacks from the extreme right have a long history, going back to the 1970's in West Germany. Since unification 1989, the eastern part of Germany has remained under much higher unemployment than the western part.
Even though one of the accused, namely the person who bought the gun, Carsten S., admitted in court to buying it and kept apologizing for what happened with the gun he delivered to the NSU, his testimony wasn't seen by many of the lawyers of the victims' families as sincere but rather as a strategy to escape harsh punishment. But at least he talked , never revealing his face in court but covered with a hoodie throughout.
Beate Zschäpe, on the other hand, dresses well or casual when in court, turns her back to the media and keeps silent.
Much went wrong when police tried to solve the crimes for more than ten years, and although there is a parliamentary committee investigating the police's blunders, the findings are a long way off.
But I want to mainly point here to the fact that Beate Zschäpe has expressed affection at least twice, towards her cats and a friend who was active in the neo-Nazi movement. No affection though for the victims, not even for her friends, at least not openly, when their fates were discussed in court.
Therein lies a parallel with what happened during the Nazi-era in Germany. Remember, the affection people expressed for the Führer but none at all for many millions of their fellow human beings, especially when they were Jewish. No excuse for Zschäpe if indeed she participated in the killings, even if only indirectly. No one forced her to do that, as she herself has declared. Blind hate against your fellow human being must not stand. Whatever went wrong in her life, every human being must at one point understand that we are all equally human. Human dignity is the core element of the German constitution, the Basic Law.
We will see how human dignity plays out in this trial.