German left slams authorities for covering up crimes of National Socialist Underground

Collusion between far-right criminal networks and state security services in Germany has been exposed in multiple cases, triggering widespread protests

November 01, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
NSU Files - Germany
An anti-fascist mobilization demanding justice for the victims of NSU crimes. (Photo: via JungeWelt)

Leftists and other anti-fascist sections across Germany have slammed the authorities and security forces of the State of Hesse for covering up the criminal activities of the notorious neo-Nazi terrorist group, National Socialist Underground (NSU). On October 28, FragDenStaat, a platform working to ensure freedom of information, and ZDF Magazin Royale’s Jan Böhmermann published files on the activities of the NSU that had been kept classified by the Hessian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV). 

On October 29, the federal and Hessian leadership of Die Linke (The Left) applauded the people and the platforms that released the NSU files, and slammed the authorities for covering up the crimes by classifying the report on NSU activities.

The NSU is an underground neo-Nazi terrorist group active in Germany, which was exposed in 2011. It has been accused of carrying out around at least nine xenophobic murders, the killing of a police woman, several bombings and bank robberies, and threatening leftists and other human rights activists. In 2019, four NSU terrorists were convicted by the Munich Higher Regional Court on 10 counts of murder and for running a terrorist organization. By that time, it had come to light that officers from the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution (BfV) and the police were aware of the crimes committed by the NSU, and were in some way complicit in many of these crimes. The revelations triggered widespread outrage and protests from anti-fascist groups, left-wing parties, and liberal sections and politicians across Germany, who demanded a detailed state inquiry into the NSU crimes and the complicity of the state security forces.

According to a JungeWelt report on October 31, the NSU files had originally been classified as “secret” for 120 years, but this period was reduced to 30 years after the murder of the Walter Lübcke, from the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), in Kassel by a neo-Nazi.

The credibility of the security forces in Germany has already been severely dented with several exposés on the collusion between them and far-right and neo-Nazi networks. In July 2021, 20 active and former officers from the special operations unit of the Frankfurt police were found sharing far-right symbols and hate messages in their group chats. This once again exposed the level of far-right entrenchment in the German security forces. Earlier, the federal authorities had disbanded the 2nd company of Bundeswehr’s Special Forces Command (KSK) for colluding with and covering up right-wing extremist activities. 

Frankfurt, in Hesse, has been identified by several observers as a hotspot of right-wing extremist activity in Germany. It was earlier found that certain threatening emails received by notable rights activists and left-wing politicians in Frankfurt from the NSU were traced back to a police computer in Frankfurt. The decision by the CDU-Greens coalition government in Hesse to classify NSU documents on the murder of Halit Yozgat, who was shot by NSU terrorists in Kassel in 2006, has also been met with widespread protests. While a mass petition for the publication of the NSU files with around 130,000 signatures was submitted earlier to the State authorities, the government in Hesse led by the CDU and Alliance 90/The Greens did not approve it.

On October 29, while addressing the convention of the Hesse committee of Die Linke, federal party leader Janine Wissler welcomed the publication of the Hessian NSU files and accused the Hessian State government of ‘’secrecy instead of enlightenment.” 

For years, many people have fought for this report on the NSU, which was initially classified as secret by the Hessian State Office for Constitutional Protection for 120 years (until 2134), to be published. Already, the downgrading of secrecy of parts of the report, so that its existence was made publicly known and cited in witness hearings of the investigative committee and in our final report, was 2017 a months-long battle. We have made petitions in the State House that the report be published in full, 130,000 people have signed a petition. It failed because of the reluctance of the state government. Good that this part of the files is now accessible,” she said. 

Torben Müller from the Socialist German Workers Youth (SDAJ) had earlier told Peoples Dispatch, “Till this day, the German state is unable to give us the answers who the NSU really was, but we know it wasn’t only the three known people. The NSU was supported by people of the far-right and also by the state. It’s an open secret that the far right groups that were founded in the 1990s only exist by the money of the state. There is no week in Germany without the discovery of a new fascist group in state organizations, police or army.”