NSU Trial Testimony: Defendant 'Felt Strong' as a Neo-Nazi
One of the co-defendants in the NSU trial, Carsten S., said on Wednesday that being a neo-Nazi made him feel strong and gave him a feeling of "belonging." He described how he had kicked victims and smashed the windows of Turkish snack stalls.
On the sixth day of Germany's NSU trial in Munich, one of the co-defendants, Carsten S., gave insights into his life as a neo-Nazi.
He said he had smashed the windows of Turkish doner kebab shops and once joined in when his group beat up two men. He recalled "that I kicked once or two times -- I don't know anymore." Afterwards, he told the court, he had read that the two men had been seriously injured in the attack.
When the judge asked him what his motive was for joining in racist attacks, he said: "All I know is that one of us had the idea -- and then we all went along. I don't have exact memories. I assume of course that this doner stall represented a certain image of the enemy." Then he paused and said: "We did it for a laugh -- and of course to get one over on them."
Carsten S., now 33, is charged with being an accessory to murder. He allegedly helped the National Socialist Underground by providing the murder weapon used in all 10 of the killings, a Ceska 83 pistol with a silencer.
The main defendant in the trial is Beate Zschäpe, accused of being the sole surviving member of the trio that made up the NSU. The two other members, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos, committed suicide as the police closed in on them after a bank robbery in November 2011.
He said the deicisive motivation for him was that he felt good being part of a neo-Nazi group. "I felt respected. I felt good. I felt strong." He also said: "The feeling of belonging, I thought it was great."
Carsten S. is one of the most important witnesses for the prosecution. He said he quit the neo-Nazi scene in 2000 and moved from Jena in eastern Germany to Düsseldorf to study social pedagogy. He has been cooperating with the police since his arrest in 2012. If found guilty, he could face a jail term of three to 15 years.
cro -- with wire reports
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Charge: complicity in 10 homicides, two bomb attacks and 15 armed robberies, membership in a terrorist organization, attempted murder and arson
Pre-trial detention: since November 8, 2011
NSU links: Zschäpe is believed to be a founding member of the NSU terror cell. According to the federal prosecutor's office, she and the group's two other members, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos -- both of whom are deceased -- held roles of equal importance within the cell. It is believed that Zschäpe did not carry out any murders herself, but was indispensable to the NSU group. According to the prosecution, Zschäpe helped to create a veneer of normalcy for the terror cell. She was in charge of logistics, served as accountant and rented vehicles for the group. In addition, she archived articles discussing the crimes of the terror cell and allegedly was involved in procuring a weapon and false documents. Finally, the 37-year-old is believed to have set fire to the apartment that had served as the final hiding place for the trio and to have sent out DVDs in which the group claimed responsibility for the crimes.
Charge: accessory to murder in nine cases
Pre-trial detention: since November 29, 2011
NSU links: Wohlleben, born in 1975, allegedly helped the terror trio financially when they went into hiding in 1998 and provided them with money later. In late 1999 or early 2000, Wohlleben, a former functionary of the far-right NPD party, allegedly helped the group acquire a handgun and ammunition with the aid of a courier. The semi-automatic Ceska 83 was identified as the murder weapon in nine cases of homicide involving small business owners and employees of foreign descent.
Charge: support of a terrorist organization in three cases
Pre-trial detention: November 13, 2011 until May 25, 2012
NSU links: Holger G., born in 1974, is believed to have been in contact with the terror trio since the late 1990s. He allegedly gave over his drivers' license, a health insurance card and his passport to the NSU, enabling its members to act covertly and commit racially motivated crimes. He also transported a weapon for the terrorists. G. confessed his crimes in a comprehensive statement to the investigators.
Charge: accessory to murder in nine cases
Pre-trial detention: February 1 until May 29, 2012
NSU links: Carsten S. -- allegedly with money from Ralf Wohlleben -- bought the weapon that killed nine small business owners and employees. The 32-year-old also delivered the handgun to the terror cell in Chemnitz. S. has acknowledged his involvement in a comprehensive confession to the federal prosecutor's office.
Charge: support of a terrorist organization, complicity in a bomb attack and accessory to robbery
Pre-trial detention: November 23, 2011 until June 14, 2012
NSU links: The trained stonemason allegedly assisted the terror cell starting in the 1990s, helping them with car rentals and the lease for an apartment. The 33-year-old and his wife allegedly visited the NSU-members regularly, and E. allowed Zschäpe to pose as his wife in 2006.