A key witness at Germany’s neo-Nazi murder trial in Munich has described a subculture of hate behind fatal attacks on mainly Turkish shop proprietors during his teenage years some 15 years ago.
Carsten S, whose name was withheld under German privacy guidelines, was questioned in court on Wednesday about his experiences in the far-right scene in eastern Germany before he disavowed neo-Nazi views.
His face hidden by a jacket hood, the first witness at the Munich trial recounted attitudes that prevailed when he and his accomplices smashed the windows of two stalls selling doner kebabs and overturned a third in eastern Germany in the 1990s.
“All I can remember is that one of us had the idea and everyone joined in,” Carsten S said, when asked how the group justified the vandalism. “I think these stalls were ‘the enemy,’” he said, adding that he was against a multicultural society and finance capitalism.
“We turned it into fun, and taught them a lesson at the same time,” the 33-year-old told the Munich court.
Germany’s far-right scene
Carsten S, 33, was part of a network of hundreds of rightwing extremists. Three of those people, Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos and Beate Zschäpe, allegedly went on to form a neo-Nazi group which called itself the National Socialist Underground (NSU).
Prosecutors say the group was behind a series of murders between 2000 and 2007 that killed eight residents of Turkish origin, a resident of Greek origin and a German policewoman. Böhnhardt and Mundlos died in an apparent suicide pact in 2011.
Zschäpe, the NSU’s sole-surviving member, faces charges of complicity in the 10 murders as well as two bombings.
A certified car painter, Carsten S claims to have left the far-right circles in 2000 after he outed himself as being gay, which he said made him an outcast from the scene.
He said he had only been slightly acquainted with the older Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe when they founded the NSU.
On Tuesday, Carsten S had told the court he had delivered a handgun to the group and became worried that it was the weapon later used in the murder series.
Four men, including Carsten S and Holger G, are on trial for lesser charges. Carsten S and Holger G are considered the two most important witnesses for the prosecution in their case against Zschäpe. The two men have been cooperating with police and currently live in a witness protection program.
Carsten S’ testimony was the first of the trial, which opened on May 6. It is the biggest court case on far-right extremism in Germany since the Second World War.
dr/ipj (dpa, AFP)