A woman accused of being a neo-Nazi has gone on trial in Munich over a series of racist murders that exposed serious failings in Germany’s security service. Beate Zschaepe, 38, is charged with conspiracy to kill eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman. Zschaepe is understood to have been part of the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi gang, the existence of which was only discovered when its two founders committed suicide after a botched bank robbery. Four others are also on trial accused of assisting with two bombings in immigrant areas of Cologne and 15 bank robberies. Outside the heavily guarded courthouse, there was an equal show of strength from German-Turkish community groups and anti-racism demonstrators. There is widespread anger as some of the victims’ relatives came under suspicion because police did not consider a far-right motive. The German parliament is now investigating how the security services failed for so long to link the murders or share information, despite having informers
close to the group.