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Saturday, July 14, 2018

The cold German 'Nazi bride'

Por Rory

Cold as the queen of the night, with her wild black hair cascading down her shoulders, her gaze lost in the ceiling and her hands hidden from the cameras, probably sweaty by the transcendence of the moment but with the manicure done, the German neo-Nazi Beate Zschäpe listened this Wednesday to the judgment of the Territorial Hearing of Munich after a process of five years that never lost the attention of the media of this country, that nicknamed her 'the Nazi bride'. Zschäpe, the relatives of the victims and the hundreds of people who managed to access the room to hear the expected verdict, heard ten times the word guilty. One for each murder committed between 2000 and 2007 by the National Socialist Clandestine (NSU), a terrorist cell to which she belonged and of which she is the only survivor.

It could not be proved that Zschäpe was directly responsible for those deaths and that was the main line of argument of her lawyers, but she will pay for them with life imprisonment. For ten murders - eight Turkish citizens, one Greek and one policeman - in addition to fifteen robberies and attacks with explosives. If the recourse to the Federal Court that has already announced the defense does not prosper and the analysts foresee that this will be the case, Zschäpe, 43, will add 23 of prison to the 7 that she has been in preventive detention.

She will be released after having reached the age of retirement. She will be an old woman who can only count one-third of her past in color. Zschäpe formed a terrorist trio with Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt. With one of them, she shared a bed and with both of them a clandestine, criminal and xenophobic way of life, which the Interior authorities only discovered when it was too late. Nothing made them think that the murders of Turkish citizens, always chosen at random, were racially motivated. No thread to throw in ballistics, because as it was discovered later, the weapons used were fired with ammunition with different caliber and inferior to the one that corresponded to them and nobody could imagine that a 9 millimeter Makarov could work with 9mm bullets short Browing.

In 2011 cornered by the police after a frustrated robbery Mundlos and Böhnhardt committed suicide. Four days later, Zschäpe went to the garret where they lived in Zwickau (eastern Germany) and turned herself in to the police. The flames respected part of the incriminating material, also several Makarov pistols. Since the beginning of the process in 2013, Zschäpe has been silent and there have been 430 sessions. She only addressed the court last week to apologize to the victims. It was too late a repentance and therefore with the patina of lies. She could have done it much earlier, because the process, which started 2013 with a 488-page indictment, leaves spectacular figures. Zschäpe, who always came well-groomed to the views, dressed even in fashion, with dark colors complemented by a wide colored scarf wound around her neck, left to dilate the times. In these more than five and a half years of trial 540 witnesses have passed, 263 requests for receipt have been made on trial and the private prosecution, with 58 lawyers, has represented 91 plaintiffs, most of them relatives of the victims. The court records now add up to half a million.

And, despite so much time, so much effort and so much expert examination, Zschäpse remains an unknown. Two months before the trial began, the defendant sent a letter to the neo-Nazi Robin S. "I think you've found a teacher in me," she wrote in a missive with some misspellings and drawings of ducks and giraffes between the lines. The letter had 13 pages and turned out to be very valuable to analyze the state of health of the defendant. "Here I am offered medication, antidepressants and other psychotropics" but "I reject them" and "the most fun of the case is that I do not have nervous attacks, not a single tear, no confession for sadness, nothing." Zschäpe, surrendered to the hardened justice. Fourteen years living in hiding with two murderous friends whom she never betrayed, questioned or abandoned. On November 4, 2011, before setting fire to the house she shared with Böhnhardt, she sent fifteen addresses of Germany videos and photos of her friends with the mortal victims they caused. When the Prosecutor's Office had them projected in the room, Zschäpe did not move a hair.

Neither when the days 57 and 58 of the trial, the prosecution called as a witness to Böhnardt's mother. She told how the trio lived in hiding, that she always had a good relationship with Zschäpe and that, from time to time, she gave them money. Once the interrogation ended, the woman thanked the accusation that on November 5, 2011, they were kind enough to call her and announce the death of her son and her friend. Beate Zschäpe did not flinch. The court has accompanied the sentence to life imprisonment with the connotation of "special guilt", which means in the German criminal code will have more difficulty in accessing penitentiary benefits. The relatives of the victims want it.