What was the reaction of the AfD to the NSU murders?

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The NSU was a Nazi terrorist organization in Germany which murdered 10 people in the early 2000s. The case was prominently discussed in Germany not only because of the murders, but also because of possibly racially motivated investigation errors by the police and the role of the Verfassungsschutz (the German domestic security agency).

Reactions to this are among other still running inqueries in some states (Untersuchungsausschüsse), financial compensations, various memorial services, a trial convicting a member and some of the supporters of the NSU, and calls by some to reform or abolish the domestic security agency.

What is the stance of the AfD in regards to these terror attacks and the reaction to them?

It seems that the local AfD in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is against further investigations in "Untersuchungsausschüssen", that the local AfD in Thüringen is against memorials and further compensation, and that at least some politicians of the AfD see the trial skeptical. But is there an official (or semi-official) statement or documents by the national AfD stating their stance in regards to these issues?

tim

Posted 2018-07-23T12:11:27.157

Reputation: 28 226

Answers

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Note that when the terror attacks were revealed, the AfD didn't exist yet, so their current stance is mainly in relation to the NSU process where the surviving NSU member Beate Zschäpe and several supporters were convicted for murder or assistance.

Note also that there is no unified stance of the AfD, as the party is far from homogeneous and contains a broad spectrum from conservative politicians to activists rooted in or with close connections to neo-nazi movements.

A general trend of the party is to question the belief in the current system of the Federal Republic. This seems to be the stance the officials of the party have taken in this place as well:

https://afdkompakt.de/2018/07/11/prozess-gegen-beate-zschaepe-hat-kein-licht-ins-dunkel-gebracht/

Der Prozess gegen Beate Zschäpe hat trotz aufwendiger Arbeit kein Licht ins Dunkel gebracht. Die Bevölkerung muss sich wohl damit abfinden, dass die volle Wahrheit im Verborgenen bleiben wird. Umso unverständlicher ist diese Verurteilung als Ergebnis eines reinen Indizienprozesses. Das Prinzip ‚Im Zweifel für den Angeklagten‘ wurde meiner Meinung nach aus rein politischen Gründen missachtet – und berechtigte Zweifel sind mehr als genug geblieben. Der Staat hat es versäumt, die Zweifel an der offiziellen Version auszuräumen, weshalb weiterhin Misstrauen in der Bevölkerung gegen ihn und diverse Sicherheitsbehörden bestehen bleiben wird.

Nicht nur bei mir drängt sich der Eindruck auf, dass Beate Zschäpe stellvertretend für einen unfähigen und zur vollständigen Aufklärung nicht bereiten Staatsapparat verurteilt wurde. Der Prozess ist eine Enttäuschung für alle Betroffenen, insbesondere die Opferfamilien, die nicht nur eine Verurteilung, sondern vor allem Aufklärung wollten.

Translation (to my best knowledge, I am no native English speaker):

The trial against Beate Zschäpe has not shed any light in the dark, despite elaborate work. The public probably has to accept that the full truth will remain in secrecy. The conviction as a result of a trial purely based on circumstancial evidence is thus especially inconceivable. The principle "benefit of the doubt" has in my opinion been disregarded due to solely political reasons - and ample justifiable doubts have remained. The state has failed to settle the doubts concerning the official version, so that mistrust in the population will remain against it and various national security agencies.

I am not the only one to have the impression that Beate Zschäpe has been convicted in place of an incompetent state apparatus that is unwilling to reach complete clarification. The trial is a disappointment for all persons concerned, especially the families of the victims, who did not only want a conviction, but mainly clarification.

So, to sum up, the stance is that not the actual suspects should have been convicted (or at least not for murder/assistance), but the allegedly incompetent actors of the state. Specifically, Beate Zschäpe is not viewed as guilty of murder, or at least large doubts remain for the AfD.

Thern

Posted 2018-07-23T12:11:27.157

Reputation: 3 721

1I think your bottom line isn't quite right. I don't think they say the actual suspects shouldn't be convicted, but that the role of the intelligence services should've been examined. As for Beate Zschäpe, it appears that the concerns are that she was found guilty of murder when she was most likely only an accessory/conspirator, but not actually killing people, since german law doesn't include joint criminal enterprises (see also ISIS members who are not convicted for the crimes they helped commit if they did not murder people themselves). – janh – 2018-07-23T16:48:50.953

@janh I understand it differently. The combination of "the principle "benefit of the doubt" has been disregarded", "ample doubts have remained", and "she has been convicted in place of the state apparatus" quite strongly suggests that the conviction is rejected. Maybe you are right that they are okay with a conviction if it wasn't for murder, but this remains speculative. I edited the sentence a bit to leave more room for possible motives. – Thern – 2018-07-23T16:54:08.017

@Thern +1 Thanks for your answer! The statement is quite short and a bit more vague than I'd like. It would be interesting what "doubt" there is for the AfD and why it is there. I think it's widely accepted that there are a number of unknowns about the entire issue, especially the role of the national security agency (the role of Andreas Temme, the destruction of evidence, the financing of Nazi structures in the sphere of the NSU, etc), but it would be interesting to know what doubt the AfD has in the role of Zschäpe. – tim – 2018-07-23T17:58:45.147

@janh I haven't read the official court document, but according to Wikipedia she was convicted because of her membership in a terrorist organization (probably §129a, which does cover joint criminal enterprises), as an accomplice to murder (probably §25) and for arson; but not for murder itself. – tim – 2018-07-23T17:59:52.887

@tim: She was convicted of jointly committed murder, the same as if she personally had pulled the trigger. (In addition, the arson was considered attempted murder on a neighbour.) https://www.lto.de/recht/nachrichten/n/nsu-beate-zschaepe-mittaeterschaft-lebenslange-haft-besondere-schwere-der-schuld/

– chirlu – 2018-07-23T18:55:26.147

1@tim Maybe it got changed, but Wikipedia currently states that she was convicted for murder, not as an accomplice. The major newspapers do the same. §129a does not create JCE, it punishes people for being part of a terrorist organization, not for the crimes committed by other members. – janh – 2018-07-23T18:56:15.323

@janh Most of the articles I could find talk about "Mittäterschaft" (compared to eg Wohlleben who was convicted for "Beihilfe"). I misunderstood what you meant by joint criminal enterprises; but I think we are talking about the same thing here: the crime is the membership in a terrorist organization.

– tim – 2018-07-23T19:19:02.130

@tim: The conviction because of membership in a terrorist organization is a completely separate thing (which she was also, separately, convicted for). As I said, from the law’s point of view, the murder conviction is the same as if she had shot herself. – chirlu – 2018-07-23T19:34:44.757

1For comparison: Two people agree to rob a bank. One of them never enters the building, but waits outside in the getaway car. Both will be convicted for robbery; it doesn’t matter who fetched the money and who drove the car. – chirlu – 2018-07-23T19:38:39.207

@chirlu Right, that's also the way I understand it (the conviction is still for "Mittäterschaft" though). But that's the way "Mittäterschaft" is always handled; there doesn't seem to be anything specifically odd in the case of Zschäpe. And I don't think that the AfD wants to question the concept of "Mittäterschaft" altogether, so they probably question the facts of her involvement. But at least based on the source from OP, we can only guess because it doesn't go into detail. – tim – 2018-07-23T19:45:08.843

3@tim: Mittäterschaft is not a step down from Täterschaft, it only indicates that more than one person was involved. – chirlu – 2018-07-23T19:49:47.297

2@tim: Another attempt to make the distinction clearer … The written judgement will say that Ralf Wohlleben is convicted “wegen Beihilfe zum Mord”, but Beate Zschäpe “wegen Mordes”. There will be no qualification (no “wegen Mittäterschaft zum Mord” or similar). – chirlu – 2018-07-23T20:00:48.907

@tim I'd speculate that, if they accept the official storyline (those three working alone, not being led/handled by the BfV), they see Zschäpe as an knowing accomplice, but not as a primary perpetrator, similar to the ISIS-verdicts, where those that "only guarded the victims" prior to rape/execution were given short sentences (with suppliers getting suspended sentences), because there was no proof of them actually comitting war crimes (even with the defendant having previously claimed active involvement in murders). – janh – 2018-07-23T20:12:15.723