Germany - Neo-Nazi Terrorism Convictions Already At A Peak in 2018

This week - blink and you'd have missed it - Beate Zschäpe, the sole surviving member of a Neo-Nazi Terrorist Group that called itself the National Socialist Underground was jailed for her part in 9 killings : seven migrant Turks, a migrant Greek, and a German female police Officer.

She will serve a Life Sentence. The other gang members Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt committed suicide rather than be arrested.

Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Böhnhardt
This comes after 8 members of the Freital Nazi Group earlier in the year were convicted of Terrorism Offences, and seven other individual trials and convictions.

This is largest number of arrests and convictions for Far Right Terrorism in one year since the reunification of Germany.

The question of why the authorities failed to recognise the NSU’s activities over such a long period of time led to an unusual number of parliamentary inquiries and executive investigations, some of which are still ongoing. The Bundestag itself has dedicated two inquiries to the topic.

The Freital 8
Nor is it clear what role German authorities played in the events. The domestic security service and police units run informants in the neo-Nazi scene, including some close to the trio and their connected groups. So why were they not more clued up about the NSU?

Most of the killings were investigated as being part of organised crime, or ethnic feuds. A xenophobic motif was often quickly rejected. Were the authorities incompetent? Did they even tolerate some neo-Nazi activities?

Issues of far-right politics and extremism continue to occupy the country. This trial has left some important questions unanswered, especially with regard to the role of authorities and the extent, and ways, in which informants are being used. For the victims’ families and many observers, further investigation into these questions is an absolute must.