Neo-nazi Oktoberfest bombing not a ‘lone wolf’ crime

This is a 4 February 2015 German NDR TV video about new developments in investigating the 1980 Oktoberfest massacre in Munich.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Oktoberfest bomb inquiry: Severed hand may prove 1980 attack was carried out by neo-Nazis and not a lone wolf

New evidence leads to claims of political cover-up during original investigation into Germany’s deadliest post-war terrorist incident

Tony Paterson

Berlin, Wednesday 04 February 2015

New evidence surrounding a mystery “severed hand” found at the site of Munich’s infamous far-right bomb attack at the Oktoberfest in 1980 has raised suspicions that a political cover-up stifled the investigation into Germany’s deadliest post-war terrorist incident.

The annual Munich beer festival rates as Germany’s most popular tourist attraction, attracting six million visitors each autumn. But shortly after 10pm on 26 September 1980, a massive nail bomb ripped through the crowd pouring out of an exit gate, killing 13 people instantly and badly injuring more than 200 others.

Police called off a hunt for other perpetrators after concluding that the bomb was planted by Gundolf Köhler – a 21-year-old geology student and right-wing extremist who was himself killed in the explosion – acted alone.

Until late last year, Germany’s federal prosecutors had stuck rigidly to the outcome of that investigation. But growing concern about a potential cover-up prompted federal prosecutors to reopen the case in late 2014.

Now, fresh evidence has emerged which strongly suggests that Köhler did not act alone, but was instead part of an organised gang of right-wing extremists whose other members subsequently escaped police detection and fled Germany. The new evidence centres on a severed and badly mutilated hand, which a policeman found lying in the mud near the scene on the night of the bombing. At the time, investigators quickly concluded that the hand could only have belonged to Köhler – although none of its fingerprints were found in the car used by the student to travel to the beer festival. The only such fingerprints were found in Köhler’s flat.

But Germany’s ARD television channel broadcast testimony from a new and hitherto unheard witness which suggested that the hand may not have belonged to Köhler at all but rather to a possible second bomber. An unnamed nurse told ARD that shortly after the Munich bombing she recalled treating a young man whose lower arm was missing.

“The arm had been injured by an explosion and had to be amputated,” the nurse told ARD. “But he wouldn’t say how he got hurt – he was proud of it. I went into his room and he was smiling all over.

She said he was never visited by his parents but only by “groups of men”, and added: “He disappeared after a week without even having his stitches removed.”

Ulrich Chaussy, the journalist behind the ARD documentary, has suspected irregularities in the Oktoberfest attack investigation for decades. He has long-believed that the severed hand, which was destroyed by federal prosecutors in 1987, did not belong to Köhler.

Mr Chaussy points out that the bombing occurred only weeks before Germany’s October 1980 general election when the then right-wing conservative Bavarian Prime Minister, Franz Josef Strauss, was trying to fulfil his life’s ambition and replace the Social Democrat, Helmut Schmidt, as German Chancellor.

He claims to have evidence that during the crucial pre-election phase, Strauss deeply feared the likelihood of embarrassing charges that he had failed to clamp down on the activities of a major right-wing extremist group, and preferred to pin the attack on a lone and potentially deeply misguided geology student.

Mr Chaussy maintains that Strauss – who died in 1988 – initially instructed investigators to cover up the fact that the bombing was linked to a militant neo-Nazi organisations called Defence Sports Group Hoffmann, six of whose members were briefly detained after the attack but never charged.

The formal investigation into the bomb attack was stopped in 1982. Mr Chaussy’s investigations prompted the case to be reopened in December last year.

“As the evidence mounts, the lone attacker theory is crumbling,” he told Bild newspaper.

On February 4, the German ARD television channel broadcast the documentary “Assassins—A Single Perpetrator? Latest revelations about the Oktoberfest bombing,” by Daniel Harrich. It uncovers how government authorities stymied investigations into the worst terrorist act in postwar German history and suggests intelligence agents could have been involved in the attack: here.

School for Nazis: Parents’ horror as children in German school begin greeting one another with ‘Heil Hitler’ and using Nazi slogans: here.

Racist German Pegida movement collapsing?

This video says about itself:

Germany: Watch hundreds march against PEGIDA in Berlin

19 January 2015

While BERGIDA, the Berlin division of PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West) staged a rally in Berlin on Monday, hundreds of people took to the streets in opposition.

According to German weekly stern today, the German xenophobic movement Pegida‘s big shots are fighting among themselves.

Stern writes that at least four executive members are resigning: spokeswoman Kathrin Oertel; Achim Exner, also a member of the rightist political party AfD; business consultant Bernd-Volker Lincke; and Thomas Tallacker, ex-CDU local politician in Meißen city. Tallacker had caused controversy with his attacks on refugees on Facebook.

Similarly, the founder of Pegida, Lutz Bachmann, had also attacked refugees on Facebook, calling them ‘shitty gangs’, ‘waste’ and ‘criminal cattle’. Talking about crime: Herr Bachmann himself has a very long criminal record.

Bachmann also depicted himself as Adolf Hitler on his Facebook account. When this became known, Bachmann resigned as fuehrer of Pegida. However, it seems that unofficially, he still acted as Pegida boss, which caused quarreling in the Islamophobic organisation.

Pegida movement on verge of total implosion as five of its leading members resign in disgust due to fears of being taken over by Germany’s far right: here.

Denmark: On January 19, 2015, supporters of the Pegida movement participated in their first Copenhagen rally, following earlier anti-Islam events in Dresden. In response, four times as many people showed up for an anti-Pegida rally to oppose their efforts: here.

Although the party congress of “Alternative for Germany” (AfD) that took place in Bremen last weekend was focused almost exclusively on organizational questions, the disagreements actually concerned the fundamental orientation of the party. The issue was to determine how an extreme right-wing party similar to the National Front (FN) in France could be established: here.

Attacks on foreigners have risen 130% since the autumn, according to Danilo Starosta, an expert on the far-right with the Dresden group Kulturbüro Sachsen, who blames Pegida for creating a “poisonous atmosphere” in the city: here.

Anti-fascists in Germany push back Islamophobic Pegida: here.

Holocaust commemoration in Auschwitz

This video says about itself:

Behind the Scenes of Auschwitz Instagram video

27 January 2015

Steven Spielberg on ‎Auschwitz 70th Anniversary: “During this time of remembrance, efforts like these are vital to raising awareness of the Holocaust among young people and the importance of fighting prejudice and intolerance wherever it occurs.

As part of our partnership with the Shoah Foundation to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we made a video for Instagram about our visit to the camp.

Although the video is only 15 seconds long, it was meticulously crafted and edited. Using only an iPhone, our team captured striking images of the camp, recreating frame by frame some of the historic photos of Auschwitz that have become part of the public imagination.

”The video tells the story of one of the camp’s survivors, Roman Kent. It begins with a picture of Kent in his youth, and goes on to show the camp through “his eyes.” It ends with images of him now, 70 years later.

By Ben Chacko:

They lost their lives – we must honour them

Wednesday 28th January 2015

Holocaust survivors pay tribute to airbrushed out Soviet liberators 70 years after the Red Army freed Auschwitz

THREE hundred Auschwitz survivors returned to the nazis’ largest death camp yesterday to mark 70 years since its liberation by the Red Army.

Politicians from around the world marked Holocaust Memorial Day in memory of the six million Jews who were slaughtered by the nazi regime alongside Roma, gay and disabled people, Polish and Soviet prisoners of war and others.

But campaigners warned that fascism was once again on the rise in Europe — increasingly backed by the same Western states who sent representatives to Auschwitz yesterday.

French President Francois Hollande made an emotional plea for Jews to regard France as their homeland — but said nothing of his Prime Minister Manuel Valls’s public call for all French Roma to be deported.

And Britain was represented at the ceremony by Eric Pickles, who was condemned by the High Court this month for illegally discriminating against Roma and travellers.

Camp survivors expressed dismay at Poland’s decision not to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin when it was the Soviet Union that freed them seven decades ago.

Eighty-one-year-old Paula Lebovics remembered being a starving 11-year-old who was hugged and rocked by a Russian soldier “with tears in his eyes” as Soviet troops uncovered the horrific complex, where over a million Jews were gassed to death.

“Putin should be here,” she said. “They were our liberators.”

Fellow survivor Eva Mozes Kor agreed, saying that she had no sympathy with Mr Putin’s politics but “from a moral and historical perspective he should be here.”

Munich resident Natan Grossmann, another Auschwitz survivor, said: “They put their lives on the line to free us. They lost their lives and we should honour them.”

The failure to invite the Russian leader follows a concerted effort to rewrite the history of the second world war and as the European Union backs fascist militias in Ukraine.

Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna sparked outrage when he claimed “the Ukrainians” liberated the camp in a bid to minimise Russia’s role.

Ukraine’s current government has armed and deployed openly neonazi units like the Azov battalion, which claims to be on a “crusade of the white races” against “semite-led subhumanity,” in an attempt to crush the anti-fascist resistance forces in the country’s east. …

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk — who has previously referred to Russians as “subhuman” — claimed in Germany earlier this month that Russia had “invaded Ukraine and Germany” in the second world war, while the far-right parties of the Euromaidan movement openly revere nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, whose Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists murdered thousands of Jews and Poles during the Holocaust. …

A spokesman for anti-racist group Hope Not Hate told the Star: “Seventy years on from the liberation of Auschwitz and the horrendous images of the dead and dying in the camps seem hard to erase.

“Our recent report State of Hate revealed that organised far-right groups in the UK are having a hard time of things at the moment, suffering splits, defections and losing electoral support to Ukip.

“That said, the conditions have been fertile for populist and racist parties for some time, so it is wise we remain vigilant to that threat.”

On Tuesday, a public ceremony was held at Auschwitz to mark the 70th anniversary of the concentration camp’s liberation by elements of the Soviet Union’s Red Army on January 27, 1945. The very name of this Nazi death camp in southern Poland is synonymous with the greatest crimes and horrors of the 20th century, a byword for capitalist barbarism in its most extreme form: here.

Britain: David Cameron paid tribute yesterday to Soviet troops and civilians who helped defeat the nazis after a Tory MP called for their sacrifice to be remembered by Britain. David Tredinnick recalled at Prime Minister’s questions how the British army freed 60,000 inmates from the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. But, almost 70 years to the day since the Red Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp, the Bosworth MP added that Mr Cameron should recognise their effort: here.

The rape and sexual abuse of Jewish women during the Holocaust have been long overlooked. But when researchers probed, stories began to emerge as if they were old photographic film waiting for the right chemicals: here.

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet troops, German President Joachim Gauck made a commemorative speech on Tuesday in parliament. The sermonizing tone of the former East German clergyman was difficult to bear. But even worse was the cynicism with which Gauck used the Holocaust memorial day to legitimise the reemergence of German militarism: here.