Coming to terms with the NSU series of murders: “A failure of the authorities”

Status: 04.11.2021 12:22 p.m.

The NSU members are dead or in prison, but for critics, the process of coming to terms with the crimes is not over. You accuse the authorities of failure. There is partial racism within the police.

Ten years after the right-wing extremist terror cell “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) was exposed, the educational work of the authorities continues to be criticized. Victim attorneys do not believe that a line can be drawn under the investigation. “We have more unanswered questions today than ten years ago,” said Mehmet Daimagüler, a well-known attorney at the NSU trial joint morning magazine from ARD and ZDF.

It was “window dressing” to say that all questions had been answered. The state becomes “very tight-lipped when it comes to the involvement of state organs”. His colleague Seda Basay-Yildiz called for more pressure on the political level on the radio station Bayern 2, all existing files would have to be released. She spoke of a “great failure of the state and a failure of the authorities”. That must be cleared up.

The Turkish community in Germany also insisted on further efforts in view of the anniversary. “Politicians promised a complete clarification of the NSU complex, but the criminal process ended three years ago without having established legal peace.”

Its chairman, Gökay Sofuoglu, emphasized that errors in investigative authorities such as the police and the offices for the protection of the constitution must be dealt with.

“Lots of Blind Spots”

The NSU was active for years. The group was only exposed on November 4, 2011, after two members were found dead in a mobile home and confessional videos emerged. Only then did the police establish that it was members of the group who had killed nine tradespeople, mostly with Turkish roots, and one policewoman between 2000 and 2007. For years after the attacks, investigations had been carried out in the wrong direction. The third member of the group, Beate Zschäpe, has been serving a life sentence since 2018.

The attitude of the security authorities towards right-wing crimes is therefore moving into the focus of the critics. “In order for something to change, you first have to realize that you have made mistakes,” said lawyer Yildiz to the editorial network Germany (RND). However, this processing never took place by the police. “The many racist chat groups in the police force have shown that racism appears to be perceived as normal.”

Right-wing extremism researcher Gideon Botsch from the Moses Mendelsohn Center at the University of Potsdam sees it similarly. “There are still blind spots in the police force, including structural racism,” he told the “Passauer Neue Presse”. The recognition by the investigative authorities that there is right-wing terrorism has increased. “But we’re only halfway there.”

“Consistently illuminating racist motives”

The acting Federal Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht also criticized the fact that the obvious right-wing extremist background to the acts had not been examined for far too long. The right-wing terrorists of the NSU could have murdered undetected for many years, she told the RND newspapers.

“Racist motives must always be consistently illuminated when crimes against people with a history of immigration are committed in Germany,” she demanded. Awareness of inhuman acts must be further sharpened. That remains a permanent task in training at the police, judiciary and security authorities.

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