Neo-Nazism in Germany and the Beate Zschaepe Trial

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Her alleged accomplices are dead and she is accused of being part of their murderous Neo-Nazi cell but though Beate Zschaepe's trial began today, the German government and its citizens are also pointing a finger at the police who for more than a decade missed or ignored evidence linking a string of murders to racism .. a fact that has the nation questioning its own institutional bias.



Co-author of The Cell, John Goetz

Markus Löning admits his country's justice system has lots of reasons to be sorry. He's Germany's UN Human Rights Ombudsman. And he's apologizing on behalf of the German Government for its handling of a series of murders-- killings that not only took years to solve but took years to understand the terrible motivations behind them.

The trial against one of the accused began today. Police say Beate Zschaepe is a neo-Nazi -- the only surviving member of an alleged terror cell. The two men police accuse of being her co-conspirators killed themselves following a bank robbery. If they did what police say they did -- then the three are responsible for 10 murders, 14 bank robberies and 2 terrifying nail bombings.

Many Germans are more than shocked, they are outraged. They demand to know why the authorities spent so much time investigating the victim's families - most of whom were Turkish immigrants ... rather than going with the theory that these were racially motivated crimes.

With more on this, we were joined by John Goetz. He is a journalist and co-author of The Cell (Die Zelle), a book chronicling the murders and the investigation. John Goetz joined us from Berlin.

German Parliament committee member investigating NSU, Sebastian Edathy

For the families of the victims, the trial of Beate Zschaepe may bring at least some answers and perhaps some vindication.

For more than a decade, police acted as if the victims and their families were somehow involved -- even to blame. Barbara John is the German government ombudsperson for the victims' families, she highlights the uncomfortable relationship that victims face with German authorities -- and with German society.

Our next guest is the Chair of the German Parliamentary Committee examining what went wrong in the investigations of these crimes. Sebastian Edathy joined us from Hanover, Germany.

Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Ralph Melzer

As we've heard, right-wing extremism in Germany can make for uncomfortable conversation. But a study published last year by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation found a significant number of Germans hold these views. Ralph Melzer is the project leader on that study. He joined us from Berlin.

This segment was produced by The Current's Catherine Kalbfleisch, Shannon Higgins and Melissa Shaw.

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Other segments from today's show:

Jeremy Scahill on Barack Obama's 'Dirty Wars'

Boar Wars: Controlling the wild boar population

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