Defendant in German neo-Nazi trial Beate Zschaepe denies active role in murders, feels moral guilt for deaths
The lone surviving suspect in a neo-Nazi murder case that shocked Germany denied playing any role in a seven-year racist killing spree by two close friends but admitted feeling moral guilt for the deaths.
Breaking her two-and-a-half-year silence in a closely watched trial in Munich, Beate Zschaepe said in a statement read out by her lawyer that Uwe Boehnhardt and Uwe Mundlos, who are seen as the ringleaders of the small gang, only informed her about the murders after they had committed them.
Prosecutors accuse Zschaepe, 40, of being part of a covert cell called the National Socialist Underground (NSU) that murdered eight Turks, a Greek and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007, as well as conducting two bombings in immigrant areas of Cologne and 15 bank robberies.
She faces life imprisonment if found guilty.
“I had nothing to do with the murders,” Zschaepe said in the statement.
“I sincerely apologise to all of the victims of the criminal offences committed by Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt.”
Kerim Simsek, a victim’s relative, said this meant nothing as she denied everything and was “still ice-cold and brainless”.
Zschaepe had close relationships with Boehnhardt and Mundlos, who both committed suicide in 2011 when police discovered the gang by chance.
The trio were based in eastern Germany, where right-wing violence grew after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and collapse of the communist state.