Germany: New links found between Lübcke murder, neo-fascist NSU and the secret service

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting
21 January 2020

The links between the series of murders carried out by the neo-Nazi terrorist group National Socialist Underground (NSU), the murder of Kassel’s District President Walter Lübcke (Christian Democratic Union, CDU) and the secret service are closer than previously known. This is shown by investigative documents from the police headquarters of Middle Franconia, which were reported by the RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) on Saturday.

The documents substantiate the suspicion that the NSU continued to operate underground even after the death of its members Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, the arrest of Beate Zschäpe, and the murder of Walter Lübcke. A key figure in this network is Andreas Temme, who, as an employee of the Hesse state secret service, controlled undercover confidential informants (CIs) in the right-wing extremist scene in Kassel. Temme later moved to Walter Lübcke’s regional council, where he still works today.

Temme was already suspected in 2006 of being involved in the NSU’s murder series. He had been in Halit Yozgat’s Internet café, when the latter was the ninth victim of the NSU to be murdered, with two targeted shots to the head. He did not report to the police afterwards, and was therefore suspected of the crime, arrested and interrogated.

During the search of Temme’s apartment and his workplace at the secret service, investigators found drugs, illegal ammunition and right-wing-extremist propaganda in “large quantities,” according to a memo since discovered by broadcasters Bayerischer Rundfunk (BR) and Nürnberger Nachrichten (NN). Despite this—and although his reasons for his presence at the crime scene were contradictory and hardly plausible—Temme remained untouched.

Victims’ lawyers and police officers have also long suspected that Temme was untruthful at the time. The then-head of the Kassel homicide squad, Helmut W., for example, declared in 2014 in the Munich NSU trial that he considered Temme’s description of the events to be unlikely. In 2006, he and his colleagues had considered two variants conceivable: Either Temme witnessed the crime but concealed it, or Temme had something to do with the crime.

New investigation files from 2006, seen by the RND, now show that Temme is also linked to earlier NSU murders.

Jürgen S., Temme’s close friend, had also been questioned by the police at that time because his business mobile phone had been located twice in the immediate vicinity of NSU murders—on June 9, 2005, in Nuremberg and on June 15, 2005, in Munich. Although the investigators at that time did not yet consider the crimes to have a right-wing-extremist background, they knew that there was a connection between the killings because of the identical murder weapon.

Jürgen S. worked as a money transport driver for a company in Kassel. His business mobile phone was permanently connected to the money transporter. Investigators therefore believe it is possible that the Kassel money transporter was used to smuggle the perpetrator and the murder weapon unnoticed past possible police checks.

The relationship between Temme and Jürgen S. was very close. In 2006, Jürgen S. provided Temme with an alibi for the first NSU murder in Nuremberg on September 9, 2000, when investigators from the Kassel criminal investigation department checked his whereabouts during the earlier NSU murders. He claimed that they had been at the movies together.

Jürgen S. told Nuremberg criminal police officers around the same time that he had known Temme since 1990. They had travelled together in biker circles and had maintained relations with a motorcycle club called “Wheels of Steel.” In 2006, the police also found on Temme items of clothing with emblems of the rocker gang Hells Angels. Temme admitted to knowing the president of the Kassel-based Hells Angels. Jürgen S. had arranged the contact for him.

In another trial, Temme was even suspected as a mole, according to BR, because of his connections to the Hells Angels, who had passed on internal documents of the Hesse branch of the secret service to the rockers. However, it could never be finally clarified who was the leak in the Hesse security authorities, as the Hells Angels remained silent.

According to the investigation documents available to NN and BR, Temme and Jürgen S. also participated together in shooting practice. The chairman of a shooting club in Kassel stated that Temme had been a good shooter and had later even shot competitively with large-calibre weapons (45 calibre).

Jürgen S. used his service weapon—a revolver of the brand “Rossi,” model 27, calibre 38 Special—as a training weapon. Thirteen years later, CDU politician Walter Lübcke was shot with a gun of this type. According to RND, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office is currently investigating the whereabouts of revolvers and other weapons from Schleswig-Holstein, which biker clubs such as the Hells Angels and the Bandidos are said to have sold to Hesse neo-Nazis. Among them were revolvers of the “Rossi” type.

Temme remained untouched after the assassination of Yozgat, and his role was never fully clarified because former Hesse state Interior Minister and current state Premier Volker Bouffier (CDU), other government representatives and the secret service kept a protective hand over him. Files of the Hesse state branch of the secret service, which could shed light on the background, were originally to remain under lock and key for 120 years. When a protest was raised against this unusually long period of secrecy, it was shortened to 40 years (!).

The closed files also include a 230-page internal report summarising the findings of the Hesse secret service on the right-wing terrorist scene over the past 20 years. The cover-up of this right-wing-extremist network may have cost Lübcke his life.

The neo-Nazi Stephan Ernst, who is in custody because of strong suspicion and who has partially admitted his involvement in the Lübcke murder, moved in this scene. He is mentioned 11 times in the 230-page report. However, the parliamentary committee of inquiry only received an abridged, 30-page version in which Ernst’s name does not appear once.

Ernst was friends with Benjamin Gärtner (code name “Gemüse”), who worked as an informant for the secret service under Temme’s direction. Temme had talked to Gärtner on the phone immediately before Yozgat was murdered. Before that, Temme himself had dealt with Ernst at least twice in an official capacity, as state Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU) had to admit.

Also, the claim by the secret service that Ernst and his accomplice Markus H. had not attracted attention with right-wing extremist activities for about 10 years and had therefore not been under observation was demonstrably false. It served to cover up for the right-wing extremist scene in which the two neo-Nazis were active all the time.