Germany: Neo-Nazi terrorist gang linked to 10 murders


The burnt-out remains of the apartment in Zwickau, Germany, from where the gang planned their attacks.


Marco Prosch

BERLIN, Germany — German police believe a gang of neo-Nazi terrorists may have been responsible for the murders of at least 10 people, mostly immigrants.

Two suspected gang members killed themselves after a botched robbery attempt last week. Another two were arrested Sunday, prosecutors said.

In videos found by police, the alleged terrorists claim to have killed eight Turkish men, one Greek man and a policewoman.

The killings, which became known in Germany as the "doner kebab murders" because two took place in kebab restaurants, were committed in a number of German cities between 2000 and 2007, reported The Local. Most of the victims were shot in the face in broad daylight while they worked.

Police also suspect that the gang was involved in several other crimes, said the Guardian, including a nail bombing in a Turkish neighborhood in Cologne.

The gang members called themselves the "National Socialist Underground" after Adolf Hitler's National Socialist (Nazi) party, and threatened to carry out more attacks.

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Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday described the affair as "a disgrace for Germany" and vowed to do everything possible to discover why police failed to discover the gang sooner.

Officers were unaware of the gang's existence until two of the suspects, identified as Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, attempted to rob a bank in eastern Germany on November 4. Police stopped them as they escaped and they shot themselves.

Found with them in their vehicle were two police guns taken from the scene of an unsolved police murder in 2007, in which officer Michele Kiesewetter was shot in the head.

At the apartment the two men shared with a third suspect in the nearby town of Zwickau, police found the pistol used in the series of kebab murders, along with several other weapons and videos detailing the gang's alleged crimes.

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The third suspect, a woman named Beate Zschäpe, had apparently attempted to destroy the evidence by setting fire to the apartment up before fleeing. She later handed herself in to police.

She was formally arrested Sunday on charges of murder, attempted murder, arson and belonging to a terrorist organisation.

A fourth man, Holger G., was also arrested near Hannover, in central Germany. He is said to have been in contact with the others since the 1990s, allegedly aiding them by renting vehicles and giving them his driving licence.

The revelations have prompted soul searching in Germany, with Deutsche Welle arguing the affair indicates that racism continues to be socially acceptable. Meanwhile authorities are so concerned with the risk of Islamist and extreme-left terrorism that they have ignored the right-wing threat, suggested Der Spiegel.

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