I saw a play yesterday that was about… Well, it’s called “Die Lücke”, “The Gap”, and it’s about the Keupstraße, a street in Cologne where mostly Turkish people live, and where about ten years ago, a nazi terrorist organisation planted a nail bomb. The play is about that, and about the investigations afterwards (which were horribly bungled; the police was dead set on blaming the attack on criminal activity in the Turkish quarter) and the trials when the perpetrators were caught (still ongoing, incredible farce). The play was interesting, but not great; you could see it trying to come to terms with the gap between mainstream German and Keupstraße society, trying but failing to bridge it.
They also used, apart from the theatre’s actors, laymen and -women who are residents of the street, and interviews. Which was an interesting idea, but only panned out in some parts.
So - an interesting effort, but it stopped short of having all that much new to say, I felt, and didn’t really use the storytelling potential of the theatre, but rather kept stuck in a discourse that was too much of an everyday discussion, and too little actual stagework. But it was an interesting experiment nonetheless.
Here’s an article about the whole Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund thing. It’s really quite an astonishing story that includes all the hallmarks of an intelligence conspiracy, including the national intelligence agency shredding documents to hide what was going on, and witnesses during the trials mysteriously and suddenly dying.
More damaging evidence has emerged of the German authorities’ failure to stop a group of neo-Nazi terrorists who killed 10 people, robbed 14 banks and planted two nail bombs during 13 years on the run.
On Tuesday, the Hessen branch of the domestic intelligence service, the Verfassungsschutz, or BfV, admitted that one of its agents had been present in April 2006 when two members of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) shot dead a 21-year-old Turk in an internet café.
It has now emerged that the agent, who was transferred to less-sensitive work following an investigation at the time, openly held rightwing views and was known in the village where he grew up as “Little Adolf”. When police raided his flat following the murder, they found a cache of guns, for which he had a legitimate licence, and extracts from Mein Kampf, according to Der Spiegel. There are unconfirmed reports that the man was present at three or more other neo-Nazi murder scenes.
Hajo Funke, one of Germany’s most foremost experts in rightwing extremism, said on ARD television: “It can’t be ruled out that his BfV employee took part in the murder, and that is a scandal.” He has called the case “a Watergate-scale” crisis for German secret intelligence.
The interior minister, Hans-Peter Friedrich, has called for a national register listing all neo-Nazis. The database should hold “information about potentially violent rightwing extremists and rightwing politically motivated acts of violence”, he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung. It should be accessible to all 16 regional branches of the domestic intelligence service, as well as the national umbrella organisation, plus police authorities, he said.
Following the discovery of the terror cell’s base in the quiet town of Zwickau, near the Czech border, the German government is under pressure to explain how the group managed to carry out their murderous acts undetected for so long. The two men and one woman believed to be founder members of the NSU were known to police in their home town of Jena, east Germany, after a bomb-making factory was discovered in the garage rented by the woman, Beate Zschäpe, in 1998.
The local branch of the Thuringian secret service allegedly had 24 lever-arch files on the trio and yet they only uncovered the cell years after they carried out at least 10 murders – and after the men were found dead, apparently following a joint suicide pact, and Zschäpe turned herself in to police.
Zschäpe has remained silent since turning herself in to police last week, but some local media reports suggested she had told police she was ready to be interviewed about her involvement on Wednesday.