A German Intelligence Agent Was at the Scene of a Neo-Nazi
Murder. He Can't Explain Why.
The unwitting star of this year's edition of Documenta,
Germany's leading art festival, was not an artist, but a
former intelligence agent, Andreas Temme.
Temme, who now works in the personnel department of the
local government in Kassel, where the art festival takes
place, was arrested 11 years ago in connection with the
murder of Halit Yozgat. A son of Turkish immigrants, Yozgat
was shot and killed while sitting at the front counter of
his family's internet cafe on the evening of April 6, 2006.
Although the police cleared Temme as a suspect after a
nine-month investigation -- and a neo-Nazi terror cell
calling itself the National Socialist Underground, or NSU,
later claimed responsibility for the murder -- Temme's
presence at the scene of the crime, at a time when he was
employed by a regional intelligence service to monitor
right-wing extremists, has never been fully explained.
Yozgat's family is not alone in suspecting that the domestic
intelligence agency Temme worked for -- the state of Hesse's
Office for the Protection of the Constitution, known as the
Verfassungsschutz -- has been engaged in a cover-up since
2006. The Kassel police detective in charge of the murder
investigation, Helmut Wetzel, told a parliamentary inquiry
in 2015 that the state's intelligence service had refused to
let his officers question any of Temme's contacts in the
local neo-Nazi scene, including a paid informant Temme had
spoken with by phone shortly before entering the cafe that
Rather than act to dispel fears of a cover-up with full
public disclosure, the intelligence agency has taken the
opposite approach. In 2012, the state's interior minister
ordered a secret internal review of why Temme and other
agents with confidential sources within the local neo-Nazi
scene had failed to realize that Yozgat was the ninth victim
in a nationwide killing spree carried out by white
supremacist terrorists. When that report was completed in
2014, after a review of 3,500 files, senior intelligence
officials ordered that portions of it should be kept from
public view for 120 years. Local legislators, who stumbled
across a heavily redacted version of the document during
oversight hearings, were not even notified of its
The possibility that a German intelligence agency was, and
still is, hiding something about the most deadly neo-Nazi
terror cell to have operated inside the country since the
Second World War briefly made Temme a household name across
Germany. But attention to the case waned in recent years, as
journalists attempting to gain new information have run into
a brick wall of official silence. The case attracted a new
level of scrutiny this summer, however, when a skeptical
analysis of Temme's testimony, based on leaked police files,
became the most-talked-about piece at Documenta, an event
that hosted 800,000 visitors between July and September.
Forensic Architecture, Die Gesellschaft der Freund_innen von
The installation "77sqm_9:26min" confronted visitors to this
year's Documenta art festival in Kassel, Germany with a
counter-investigation of the testimony of Andreas Temme, a
German intelligence agent who claims to have seen and heard
nothing at the scene of a neo-Nazi murder in 2006.
Photo: Mathias Völzke/documenta 14/Forensic Architecture
The three-screen video installation probing Temme's version
of events was not a work of imagination, but rather a
rigorous scientific investigation of whether he could have
been in the cafe during the murder, as the police still
believe, and somehow failed to either hear the shots or see
the body. The investigation was conducted by Forensic
Architecture, a team of experts in spatial analysis based at
Goldsmiths, University of London, who have previously
evaluated evidence of human rights abuses and potential war
crimes in Palestine, Syria, Pakistan, Cameroon and Mexico.
The mystery surrounding Temme's visit to the cafe that
evening -- he logged in to a computer in the back room less
than 15 minutes before Yozgat was fatally shot twice in the
head from close range -- starts with the question of why he
fled the scene and failed to report to the police as a
witness after news of the murder broke.
When the police tracked him down -- the intelligence agent
had logged in to the dating site iLove.de from a computer in
the cafe under the pseudonym "wildman70," but also typed in
his real phone number -- Temme said that he had failed to
give evidence because he had seen and heard nothing of the
crime, and was embarrassed to have been there flirting
online while his pregnant wife was at home. It was also
possible, Temme said, that he might have left the cafe
seconds before the killing, since he was certain that he had
not heard any gunshots while sitting in the back room and
had not seen Yozgat's body lying on the floor behind the
front desk when he placed a coin on it and walked out.
Computer records from the cafe available to the police,
however, showed that Temme had logged out of PC-2 in the
cafe's back room at 5:01:40 p.m. that evening. By comparing
metadata from all the computers and phones in use in the
cafe that evening with the statements of witnesses who heard
loud sounds corresponding to two gunshots fired through a
silencer, detectives concluded that the murder most likely
occurred about 20 seconds before Temme logged out.
Despite the fact that Temme's story failed to convince the
police -- one detective called his account
"incomprehensible" in court -- the murder case against him
was dropped for want of evidence after nine months.
When it later emerged that Yozgat had been the ninth victim
in an anti-immigrant killing spree carried out by the
neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground between 2000 and
2006, Temme's presence in the cafe that evening fueled
speculation that the intelligence service might have had
advanced warning of the terror cell's plans, but still
failed to prevent the murder. The lack of a convincing
explanation for what Temme was doing at the scene of the
crime also prompted darker speculation. "The government's
intelligence agent either killed my son, or he saw the
murderers," the victim's father, Ismail Yozgat, said at a
memorial service for Halit in April.
Leaked crime scene photographs show blood on the front desk
Andreas Temme left a coin on as he exited the Yozgat
internet cafe on April 6, 2006.
Photo: NSU Leaks
For a modern state, officially committed to multicultural
living, in which rights are bestowed on citizens equally,
regardless of their national or ethnic origin, Germany is
struggling to explain how its security apparatus failed for
more than a decade to stop the NSU before the neo-Nazis
killed nine ethnic minorities, detonated two bombs in
immigrant communities, killed a police officer, and carried
out 15 armed robberies.
ARCHIV: Die Aufnahme einer Ueberwachungskamera in einer
Bankfiliale in Arnstadt vom 7. September 2011 zeigt zwei
Bankraeuber beim Ueberfall auf die Filiale. Am 4. November
2011 wurden die Leichen von Uwe Mundlos und Uwe Boehnhard in
einem ausgebrannten Wohnmobil in Eisenach entdeckt. Am 4.
November 2011 wurden die Leichen von Uwe Mundlos und Uwe
Boehnhardt in einem ausgebrannten Wohnmobil in Eisenach
entdeckt. Am gleichen Tag explodierte das Wohnhaus in der
Fruehlingsstrasse in Zwickau, wo Mundlos und Boehnhardt
gemeinsam mit Beate Zschaepe gelebt haben und im Zuge der
anschliessenden Ermittlungen als das Zwickauer Terror-Trio
"Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund" (NSU) bekannt geworden
sind. (zu dapd-Text)Foto: Polizei/dapd
Security camera video caught Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt
during a National Socialist Underground bank raid in
Arnstadt, Germany in September 2011.
Photo: Police Handout/DAPD
In fact, the intelligence failure was more profound than not
stopping the NSU attacks: it extended to not even suspecting
that right-wing extremists were behind the killing spree.
Before November 2011, when two members of the cell, Uwe
Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, killed themselves following a
botched robbery, and the third, Beate Zschäpe, turned
herself in, the German police had spent years pursuing the
theory that all nine murders were somehow connected to the
Turkish underworld. The special police investigation of what
the German media had called the "döner murders," in
reference to the kebabs sold by Turkish immigrants, was even
code-named "Bosporus," after the strait that separates
Europe from Asia.
One week after Yozgat's murder in 2006, the head of the
Bosporus unit told the media that he could see "no
connection" between the victims (eight of them had family
roots in Turkey, one in Greece).
Ein Bildschirmfoto aus dem Bekennervideo der Mitglieder der
terroristischen Vereinigung "Nationalsozialistischer
Untergrund" (NSU) zeigt die Figur "Paulchen Panther" aus der
Zeichentrick-Serie "Pink Panther", die neben einem Bild mit
einer Deutschland-Karte, einem Foto von Halit Yozgat, dem 9.
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