German Police Sought Help in 2007: FBI Saw Racist Motive Behind Killings of Ethnic Turks
For years, German police were baffled by the nine murders of ethnic Turks and one Greek man committed by the Zwickau cell of neo-Nazi terrorists. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, they even asked the FBI for help. The profilers submitted a report clearly stating that the victims were killed because of their ethnic origin.
The report headlined Serial Murder Analysis is seven pages long and bears the seal of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation on its first page. In June 2007, German police had asked the highly specialized US analysts to examine the serial killings of nine immigrants — eight ethnic Turks and one Greek man — that took place between 2000 and 2006 and had mystified the authorities here.
The US profilers came up with a clear conclusion, SPIEGEL has learned. The perpetrator, the report concluded, was a “disciplined, mature individual who is shooting the victims because they are of Turkish ethnic origin or appear to be Turkish.”
“The motivation is a combination of personal cause and thrill,” the report said. “The offender has a personal, deep rooted animosity towards people of Turkish origin, for some real or perceived unknown reason.” It noted that there was a component of thrill involved because he was taking high risks by committing the crimes in broad daylight.
German police solved the case by accident four years later, when they found the murder weapons, including a Czech-made Ceska 83 pistol, following a botched bank robbery by Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos, two neo-Nazis who are believed to have committed suicide in their camper van in Eisenach, eastern Germany, last November.
Police found a wealth of evidence in an apartment in the city of Zwickau where the two had lived with Beate Zschäpe, who was arrested. Among the items found was a DVD in which the trio calling themselves the National Socialist Underground claimed responsibility for the killings and other attacks, including the killing of a policewoman in 2007 and a nail bomb attack in Cologne in 2004 that injured 22 people in a part of the city where many ethnic Turks live.
German police and intelligence have been criticized for their handling of the case and for failing for a long time to investigate a possible racist motive vigorously enough.