Germany: NPD leader confesses neo-Nazi murderer worked for him as his driver
Uwe Mundlos, one of the perpetrators of a series of neo-Nazi murders of immigrants in Germany, worked as a driver for the vice-chair of the ultra-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD), Frank Schwerdt. An episode of an invesitigative news program on public television broadcaster ARD includes footage of Schwerdt himself admitting the link. Schwerdt is said to have also come into contact with other members and supporters of the extremist National Socialist Underground (NSU) group, which is responsible for taking the lives of at least 10 people between 2000 and 2007.
Schwerdt said Mundlos "worked as a driver at least once" for him at the end of the 1990s. During that same time, the politician was captured on film attending a neo-Nazi demonstration in Erfurt in the company of Beate Zschäpe, who founded the NSU with Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt shortly thereafter. Three weeks after their transition into the underground, a man identified as André K. turned to Schwerdt with a request of support for the extremist cell. André K. is suspected of assisting the NSU with perpetrating the murders. The NPD official, however, allegedly rejected his request.
German media are reporting that Schwerdt's statement proves a much greater degree of connectedness between the NPD and the NSU than has previously been known. Shortly after the identities of those who had perpetrated the series of murders throughout Germany were revealed last year, the discussion has been revived of whether to ban the ultra-right party, which is most strongly anchored in states of the former communist GDR, where NPD members already sit in two state parliaments. The German Government's first attempt to ban the NPD was rejected in 2003 by the Constitutional Court.
Today German Police performed an extensive raid against neo-Nazis in four states. According to the state prosecutor in Koblenz, police have also searched one of the centers of right-wing radicals in western Germany, the so-called "brown house" in the town of Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler on the Rhine. The raid targeted 33 people. The court has issued arrest warrants for 24 of them. This raid, however, is allegedly not connected to the NSU case.
NSU members murdered at least nine immigrants and one police officer. They were also responsible for two bomb attacks on Turkish neighborhoods in Cologne in 2001 and 2004, injuring more than 20 people, and are linked to a minimum of 14 bank robberies. They claimed responsibility for these crimes in a video recording discovered by detectives last fall after the group was uncovered. Mundlos and Böhnhardt committed suicide before they could be arrested, but Zschäpe is in custody along with another five alleged accomplices of the neo-Nazi trio, including André K. and a former NPD functionary, Ralf Wohlleben.