Their client is innocent, claim the defense lawyers of the convinced Nazi. Their plea is cynical and hard to take.
Ralf Wohlleben is a convinced Nazi – but doesn’t want to be considered a bad person because of that… Photo: dpa
For Olaf Klemke, it is clear that the court had already reached its verdict a long time ago, that his client will not receive justice and will be sentenced. The lawyer for NSU supporter Ralf Wohlleben addressed the bench again at the end of his plea on Thursday. "He will have to live with it," he says. "However, so will you. I hope you can …" That’s probably how the sentence would normally have ended. But Klemke adds one more word: "… not."
The nasty words are the final drumbeat in a plea that, although monotonously delivered, is rich in verbal outbursts. One of the highlights: Klemke compares Chief Public Prosecutor Jochen Weingarten to Hermann Goring. "Weingarten – loosely based on Hermann Goring: ‘I decide who is a Jew’ – claims to determine who is a Nazi." And he also determines how a Nazi should think. For him, "every Nazi is an inhuman being" who wants to kill foreigners all day long and indulges this desire extensively. And since Wohlleben was a Nazi and had "not betrayed" his convictions, he was also to be held jointly responsible for the deeds of NSU murderers Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Bohnhardt in the view of the prosecution and the court.
Wohlleben, now 43, is accused of having organized a pistol for the NSU – the Ceska 83 used to commit nine of the NSU murders. The federal prosecution has demanded twelve years in prison for him. Wohlleben does not deny having ordered the purchase of the weapon – but claims that it was not the murder weapon.
The same line of argumentation as Klemke was followed by his colleague Wolfram Nahrath in his plea, describing how Wohlleben had been turned by the prosecution into the "mastermind and supporter" of the NSU trio, into a "substitute Uwe", a "killer surrogate". The court is under a universal pressure of expectation, which it cannot withstand, and acts "passport-like, quasi at the push of a button of the Federal Prosecutor General". Nahrath also peppered his speech with deliberate, even announced provocations. His words would "drive one or two people out of the room," he says and sarcastically recommends: "Those affected and suffering are advised to rather visit their next do-gooder or their local political commissioner because of the risks and side effects of this final lecture.
Wohlleben allows himself to be defended by lawyers from the "scene".
Afterwards, he begins a "foray through historical facts", drawing the conclusion that "genocide crimes" are "not a singular privilege of the Germans". The thrust of the statement is clear, what it is supposed to have to do with Wohlleben’s presumed guilt, less so. One must know this: Wohlleben is not only the only one of the accused who continues to be revered in right-wing extremist circles. He is also the only one to be defended by lawyers from the "scene". Nahrath, for example, used to lead a youth league of the neo-Nazis.
Like the third of Wohlleben’s defenders, Nicole Schneiders, in her lecture on Tuesday, Klemke and Nahrath portray Wohlleben as a victim: "Anyone who is a National Socialist is a potential murderer. Especially if he is indigenous German."
Defense attorney Klemke compares senior prosecutor Jochen Weingarten to Hermann Goring
Nahrath then goes on to lecture about race, "a purely biological concept," people and language – and reads out a never-ending series of quotations about National Socialism, supposedly without comment, partly glorifying, partly belittling, from Winston Churchill to Joachim Fest, from Hitler to Goebbels. "Hitler is a wonderful man," former British Prime Minister Lloyd George, for example, had said. Allegedly a "strong indication" that the NSU trio had not dealt with historical National Socialism at all. Skillfully, Nahrath always pushes the envelope, but without provoking the court to call him to order.
Mundlos and Bohnhardt had not killed for ideological reasons, Klemke also finds, but had been "psychopathic serial killers". Wohlleben could therefore not have expected their crimes. The lawyers demand acquittal for their client.