Neo-Nazis on trial over Munich synagogue plot

23rd November 2004, Comments 0 comments

23 November 2004, MUNICH - Amid concern over rightwing extremists in Germany, a trial begins on Wednesday against four neo-Nazis on terrorism charges in connection with a plot to blow up a Munich synagogue last year. Prosecutors say they will seek to prove the neo-Nazis, who had obtained 1.7 kilogrammes of bomb-making TNT for the attack, were also planning other bombings in the Bavarian capital. The four men going on trial belonged to a neo-Nazi group called the "Southern Comrades" and include its leader,

23 November 2004

MUNICH - Amid concern over rightwing extremists in Germany, a trial begins on Wednesday against four neo-Nazis on terrorism charges in connection with a plot to blow up a Munich synagogue last year.

Prosecutors say they will seek to prove the neo-Nazis, who had obtained 1.7 kilogrammes of bomb-making TNT for the attack, were also planning other bombings in the Bavarian capital.

The four men going on trial belonged to a neo-Nazi group called the "Southern Comrades" and include its leader, Martin Wiese, 28, and three of his followers, also in their 20s.

According to German Chief Federal Prosecutor General Kay Nehm, the evidence shows the group were preparing to set off a bomb on the synagogue site near Munich's Jakobsplatz square to disrupt the cornerstone-laying ceremonies last 9 November.

The group bought explosives in Poland and tested them in small blasts in remote areas, officials say. Police seized a total of 14 kilogrammes of explosives in September, including the 1.4 kilogrammes of TNT high explosive. The group had intended to hide their bomb in a sewer pipe under the site.

In mid-August last year, the plot was cancelled after several members of the group were questioned by police. Police arrested the men in September and discovered the explosives.

Nehm said the group had also contemplated setting off a bomb in the Marienplatz, Munich's main square and a magnet for tourists. It also considered attacking persons it considered leftist, including the state Social Democratic leader, Franz Maget.

The date of the synagogue foundation ceremony - 9 November - is full of symbolism: It would have been 65 years after Kristallnacht on 9 November 1938, when Nazi thugs vandalised and burned synagogues all over Germany and their policy of persecution of Jews was turned into the naked violence of the Holocaust.

It also marks the anniversary of Adolf Hitler's abortive Munich Beer Hall Putsch on 9 November 1923, which his fledgling Nazi party attempted to seize power violently.

Today, most German Jewish community centres are under almost permanent police protection for fear of attacks by Islamists or neo- Nazis, with roads outside closed to traffic and the compounds walled off.

The Munich trial opens after far-right political parties made strong gains in two regional elections in September.

In eastern German Saxony state, the anti-immigrant National Democratic Party (NPD) won 9 percent, while in Brandenburg state the German People's Union (DVU) garnered 6 percent.

Under Germany's proportional representation system both parties will gain seats in the state parliaments for having crossed the 5 percent hurdle.

DPA

Subject: German news
 

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