A German woman believed to be the last surviving member of a neo-Nazi group accused of killing nine immigrants and a policewoman broke her silence on Wednesday for the first time since her case began over two years ago, admitting to a Munich court that she was “morally guilty” for failing to prevent the group’s crimes but denying any part in the murders. Beate Zschäpe, 40, turned herself into a police station after two male associates of neo-Nazi group the National Socialist Underground were found dead in the wake of a failed bank robbery. She refused to speak once her trial began, but has now released a statement in which she admits meeting two of the group’s members as a troubled teenager in East Germany, and disappearing with them in 1998.
The group is believed to have killed 8 men of Turkish descent, a man of Greek descent, and a policewoman, as well as conducting two bombings in Cologne that injured 23 people. Their purpose, say prosecutors, was to kill “as many people as possible only because of their non-German origin.” The case garnered national attention as it exposed failings in Germany’s intelligence services, and many view the current trial as a stress-test of relations between Germans and ethnic minorities.
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