One of the NSU crime scenes, as captured by artist Regina Schmeken for a current exhibition at Berlin's Martin-Gropius-Bau museum that explores the crimes Image: Regina Schmeken, 2013
NSU: State parliament votes to compensate victims' families
September 29, 2017
The right-wing extremist Nationalist Socialist Underground group killed, bombed, and robbed. The families of its victims are now set to receive compensation from the eastern German state of Thuringia.
The state parliament in Thuringia in eastern Germany voted on Friday to establish a fund to compensate the families of victims of the National Socialist Underground (NSU).
Members of the right-wing extremist group, who hailed from Thuringia, committed ten murders, two bombings, and 15 robberies across Germany between 2000 and 2007.
The trial against Beate Zschäpe, who was allegedly involved in those attacks along with two other men, Uwe Mundlos und Uwe Böhnhardt, has been closely watched in Germany since it began in 2014. Mundlos and Bönhardt were found dead in November 2011 after a bank robbery near the Thuringian capital, Erfurt.
The governing coalition in Thuringia – consisting of the Social Democrats, Left party, and the Greens – had proposed the compensation fund to cover the financial costs many victims' families incurred through the attacks, a speaker from The Left said on Friday.
The coalition wrote in the bill that the state of Thuringia was obligated to finance the fund, citing the findings of a parliamentary committee that had determined state security services had failed to carry out their investigations properly.
"The cooperation between the Thuringia Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the Thuringia state police office was marked by rivalry and mutual distrust that prevented successful investigative work," the committee said in its findings.
In the bill to create the fund, the coalition parties wrote that "the state parliament acknowledges its political responsibility to the victims, relatives, and aggrieved parties of the right-wing terrorist murders, attacks, and robberies of the NSU."
45 MPs voted for that bill and another measure to build a memorial to the victims. 36 members from the opposition center-right Christian Democrats (CDU) and the far-right populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) parties voted against both measures.
CDU MP Jörg Kellner accused the ruling coalition of preempting the courts. He said the justice system was responsible for establishing whether the state was partly at fault for the NSU's crimes.
The bill did not say how much money will be invested in the fund, but the final amount will reportedly be negotiated in upcoming budget consultations.
Parliamentarians will also decide where to build the memorial. The three governing parties say multiple sites would be fitting, including the city of Jena where the three NSU members were from.