Munich Neonazis

Johannes Schneider Johannes.Schneider at
Fri Sep 19 02:46:47 MDT 2003

>From the latest FAZ weekly

Apparent neo-Nazi network probed
Investigators looking across Germany after 12 arrested over alleged plot to
bomb Jewish center in Munich

By Michael Gavin

Police arrested a 12th person on Thursday in connection with an alleged plot
to bomb the site of Munich's planned Jewish community center, and are
intensifying their probe across Germany to see if the suspected plotters are
part of a wider neo-Nazi network.
The latest suspect, a young man whose name and age were not released, lives
in the town of Güstrow, in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. The eastern state
is home to two of the 11 members of the Kameradschaft Süd-Aktionsbüro
Süddeutschland picked up earlier, and the home state of its leader. All the
others come from the Munich area or elsewhere in southern Bavaria, police
Police say that the neo-Nazi group - which translates as the Society of
Comrades Action Bureau, Southern Germany - was planning to bomb the
community center site, which is to include a synagogue, on Nov. 9, when
prominent politicians including German President Johannes Rau and Bavarian
Premier Edmund Stoiber are scheduled to join Jewish leaders for the laying
of the cornerstone. Officials said they had not yet determined if the
intention was to harm the participants at the ceremony.
Six of the suspects were arrested late last week, when some 14 kilograms, or
31 lbs., of explosives were seized, along with weapons and ammunition. Most
of the other suspects were picked up over the weekend, but the Federal
Public Prosecutors' Office, which has taken the investigation over from
Bavarian officials, said charges were not imminent.
"We're right at the start of our investigation," said Frauke-Katrin
Scheuten, a spokeswoman for the office. "First we have to piece a full
picture together."
The Bavarian interior minister, Günther Beckstein, said he was "absolutely
convinced" that the Kameradschaft Süd-Aktionsbüro Süddeutschland represented
"a new dimension in right-wing violence" and had forged ties to neo-Nazi
groups in eastern Germany and Hamburg through its alleged leader,
27-year-old Martin Wiese. The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania native, now a
Munich resident, is among those being held.
"This is a big swamp full of people with ideologically fanatical
convictions," Beckstein said, adding that while some of the right-wing
extremists appeared to want only to strike a symbolic blow against a Jewish
target, he had information that some were prepared to cause deaths. He said
that Muslims, as well as Italian and Greek community groups, may have been
According to a report in Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper, investigators are
trying to determine whether the group was in any way connected with at least
nine incidents of anti-Semitic or far-right violence around Germany in
recent years. The newspaper said that among the incidents getting renewed
attention were three bombings - one in December 1998 that targeted the
Berlin grave of the former president of the Central Council of Jews in
Germany, Heinz Galinski; another, four months later in Saarbrücken, that
damaged a controversial exhibition on German army atrocities during World
War II; and a July 2000 bomb attack on a group of foreigners, among them a
number of Jews, that left several people injured in Düsseldorf.
Scheuten said the federal prosecutors' office could not comment yet on any
links between these attacks and the recent arrests. She confirmed, however,
reports published earlier this week that local Jewish groups and the Munich
mayor had received letters in February containing a yellow powder and
warnings that there would be violence if work continued on the community
center, which is planned for a large site in central Munich.
The letters were signed by an individual or individuals purporting to belong
to the "International Anti-Jews Taskforce."
In addition to the explosives and ammunition seized at various sites around
Munich, police also found a number of propaganda documents. Among the
objects of keenest interest was an election brochure on the Social
Democrats' lead candidate in this Sunday's Bavarian state election, Franz
Maget, that was found in Wiese's home.
The discovery led German Interior Minister Otto Schily to state that an
attack was apparently planned on his fellow Social Democrat. But Beckstein,
a Christian Social Union representative, dismissed that claim, saying it
appeared that Wiese had simply accepted the flyer from a neighbor who was an
election campaign volunteer for Maget's party.

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