Neo-Nazi murders, film confession shock Germany
Berlin: Germany's Interior Minister warned on Sunday of a "new form of far-right terrorism" as details emerged of a grotesque film left by members of a neo-Nazi cell in eastern Germany, in which they claimed the murder of nine immigrants between 2000 and 2006.
Prosecutors said on Sunday that police had arrested a suspected accomplice of the group, which referred to itself in the film as the "Nationalist Socialist Underground”, and which is also thought to be behind the murder of a policewoman in 2007 and a bomb attack on a Turkish area of Cologne in 2004.
The revelations, which have caused shock and outrage across Germany, began after police found the bodies of two men, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt, both with far-right links, in a mobile home in Eisenach last week. Police believe they committed suicide after a botched bank robbery.
Shortly after the discovery investigators searched a burned-out house in Zwickau, used by the men and one woman, "Beate Z”, who later handed herself in to police. There they found guns used in the murder of the policewoman and of the nine vendors, eight of whom were of Turkish background and the other a Greek.
All had run small businesses or fast-food stands, in cities across Germany, leading to the killings being dubbed the "doner murders”.
Police also found a 15-minute film recorded on DVDs ready to be sent to Islamic cultural organisations and the media.
The German magazine Spiegel printed stills from the film showing the murder victims' bodies and carried grotesque montages using the cartoon figure of the Pink Panther to point out the scenes of the killings.
"Germany Tour -- Nine Turks shot" said a placard in one cartoon scene.
Chancellor Angela Merkel called investigators' initial findings alarming, and said they revealed "structures" which authorities had been unaware of. Germany must be alert to all forms of extremism, she added.
Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said all unsolved crimes with a suspected far-right connection dating back to 1998 would be re-examined for connections to the group, originating in Jena, in the eastern state of Thuringia.
"It looks as if we are dealing here with a new form of far-right terrorism," Friedrich said.
Protesters, many with Turkish roots, gathered at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Sunday night, to protest against neo-Nazis. Opposition politicians expressed anger that the cell went undetected for so long.
"Beate Z" faces charges of murder, attempted murder, arson and belonging to a terrorist organisation.