Irish Independent, May 13, 2013
Enver Simsek was their first victim. On September 9, 2000, the Turkish immigrant and businessman was gunned down at one of the flower stalls he owned in Nuremberg, shot in the head eight times.
It was the start of an alleged killing spree by the far-right National Socialist Underground (NSU) that saw 10 people murdered between 2000 and 2007: eight men of Turkish origin, one of Greek descent and a German policewoman.
The case has left Germany reeling and has revealed not only severe failings on the part of the authorities but also a blind spot when it came to the threat posed by the extreme right. Continue reading
The Guardian, July 22, 2012
Expectations had been high for this year’s Bayreuth opera festival. For the first time a Russian would be taking a lead role, with rising opera star Yevgeny Nikitin preparing to make his debut in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.
Instead the Bavarian-based festival is struggling to repair the damage after Nikitin, a former heavy metal singer and drummer, quit the production just days ahead of Wednesday’s premiere amid controversy over a Nazi tattoo.
The scandal was unleashed on 20 July by a TV programme which showed old footage of Nikitin’s colourful heavy metal past. Highlighted playing the drums bare-chested, his many tattoos are visible including one that appears to be a large swastika, covered slightly by another symbol. He told ZDF’s Aspekte Aspekte programme that the tattoos had been “just part of our underground culture”. He has since covered up the offending tattoo with a different image.
Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/22/russian-singer-quits-bayreuth-festival
GlobalPost, Dec. 16, 2011
BERLIN, Germany — “I’m the one you’re looking for,” announced Beate Zschaepe when she reported to the police in Jena, eastern Germany, on Nov. 8.
Four days earlier, Zschaepe had blown up her apartment, apparently to hide evidence. Her two live-in companions had died of gunshot wounds, after botching a bank robbery. Authorities contend that one of the men, Uwe Mundlos, shot the other, Uwe Boehnhardt, before killing himself.
In mugshots seered into the German consciousness by non-stop media coverage, Zschaepe, 36, appears exhausted, her dark hair disheveled and smudged mascara ringing her eyes.
Officials quickly determined that she and her two dead companions were members of a far-right trio, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), that had been on the run for 13 years. Evidence emerged linking the group to a series of brutal murders of nine immigrant shop-owners and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007 — a hate crime spree that has unnerved Germany.
Zschaepe, it now seems, is an extreme example of a phenomenon that researchers have been warning of for years: Women are playing an increasingly prominent, and at times violent, role on the extreme right. They now account for an estimated one in five neo-Nazis. And because women are viewed with less suspicion, they have quietly infiltrated many mainstream organizations where they can spread their ideas — even targeting children. Continue reading
The Guardian, Nov. 15, 2011
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, promised a full investigation on Monday after it was revealed that a cell of neo-Nazis apparently carried out a series of killings over seven years without being detected.
The group, calling itself the “National Socialist Underground”, allegedly killed at least 10 people across the country, leading to accusations that the security authorities underestimated the threat of far-right violence in the country.
The cell was only discovered when the two main suspects, Uwe M and Uwe B, were found dead on 4 November in a mobile home following a botched bank robbery.
Another suspect, Beate Z, handed herself in to the police last week after allegedly setting fire to the house she shared with the two men in the city of Zwickau, Saxony. She was arrested on Sunday, and charged with founding a terrorist organisation and arson.
“We’re seeing something inconceivable,” Merkel said on Monday . “We suspect rightwing extremists are responsible for horrible acts of violence, for rightwing terror. It’s a disgrace and mortifying for Germany and we’ll do everything we can to get to the bottom of this. We owe that to the victims.” Continue reading
Most of the country may be in the grip of football fever but one group of Germans are resolutely not supporting the national team. The far-right scene rejects the new multicultural squad as un-German and says it can’t identify. For many, it is consistent with their rejection of the entire democratic state.
“I can no longer identify with the national team,” someone calling himself Blaue Narzisse writes, explaining why he isn’t supporting Germany in the World Cup. “The colors black, red, gold are being abused for the mega event by this motley Germany team.” It is a sentiment repeated widely across the far-right scene these days.
Germany may be awash with black, red and gold, as the national flag adorns cars, balconies and pubs. But while most of the country is urging the team on as it faces Argentina in Saturday’s quarter-final, for neo-Nazis it is next to impossible to back a team that includes players with names like Boateng, Özil or Podolski. This German national team is the most ethnically diverse ever, celebrated widely as finally being representative of the wider German society. But to the far right, a squad where 11 of the 23 have migrant backgrounds is no longer really German. Continue reading