Germany’s right-wing terror network – the NSU on trial

As the NSU neo-Nazi murder trial comes to a close, Beate Zschäpe has been given a life sentence for her part in a string of racially motivated killings.

After more than five years, one of the most complex trials in post-war German history is coming to an end. Five defendants were charged with participating in or supporting the crimes of the National Socialist Union, or NSU – a neo-Nazi group suspected of orchestrating a killing spree that targeted migrants and left ten people dead. Much of the focus of the proceedings was on Beate Zschäpe, the only known surviving member of the NSU terrorist trio. During their 14 years underground, Zschäpe and her associates Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos were never entirely isolated. They were aided and abetted by a network of right-wing supporters who provided them with weapons, forged identity papers and hideouts. One of the prosecution’s key witnesses was a former neo-Nazi who turned state’s evidence and provided investigators with comprehensive testimony. It helped authorities to track down the source of the gun used in many of the NSU murders. But the other defendants never renounced their neo-Nazi sympathies, and were even hailed as heroes by members of the far-right during the trial. Our report goes behind the scenes. Courtroom observers, lawyers for the joint plaintiffs, security experts, and a forensic psychiatrist analyze the defendants’ testimony, their roles in the crimes, and their possible motives to provide a comprehensive picture of the NSU support network. The documentary also examines the controversy surrounding German security agencies’ mistakes and the role played by their informants in the neo-Nazi scene during the 14 years the NSU evaded arrest.

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Category: Education

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