Whoever is active against the right will be terrorized until they give up. This is basically what the strategy of the neo-nazis can be summarized as. For many years they have been plaguing the Berlin district of Neukölln with a series of attacks and assaults. The victims of this series of attacks have been doing everything they can to block the neonazis’ strategy: They join forces, organize to raise awareness, and fight for the threats to be taken seriously and for adequate action to be taken. But time and again they feel abandoned by the state. But that’s not all: With the criminal investigation dragging on for years and ever more incongruities coming to light, the impression that the state authorities are not only unwilling or unable to put an end to the series of terrorist attacks but are personally involved grows stronger and stronger.
Particularly pronounced neo-nazi activity in the south of Neukölln is not a new phenomenon. Personal and structural continuities of the local right-wing scene can be traced back to the 1990s. In 2011, the area began to be rocked by a series of attacks on various local institutions (such as the socialist youth association Die Falken) and individual residents. There was no police investigation. For years, those affected had to fight for the attacks to be recognized as what they were: far-right terror.
The current series of attacks began in 2016 and has not stopped since; it comprises at least 72 attacks to date, including over 20 acts of arson, such as the arson attack on the house of Ferat Koçak’s family in February 2018. It was pure luck that nobody was injured. The attacks that target people who are active against right-wing hate span a broad range. Many of the people who have been the targets of these attacks demand that a committee of inquiry be established in parliament in the Bundestag (German Parliament) in Berlin and demand that it finally shed light on the Neukölln complex. . It was pure luck that nobody was injured. The attacks that target people who are active against right-wing hate span a broad range. Many of the people who have been the targets of these attacks demand that a committee of inquiry be established in parliament in the Bundestag (German Parliament) in Berlin and demand that it finally shed light on the Neukölln complex.
Regarding the investigation of these crimes, there are more questions than answers. The list of scandals relating to the investigating authorities is long; the perpetrators have not been caught despite years of criminal investigation. Why did the authorities, who knew that Ferat Koçak was being spied on by two neo-nazis not warn him? Why did the arson attack on his family happen when it could have been prevented? What is the story behind an officer of the LKA1 meeting one of the main crime suspects in a Neukölln bar, a meeting that was observed by third parties but that the police unconvincingly insisted did not happen? How and where did the perpetrators get the names and addresses of the victims, the names and addresses on their “Feindeslisten” (lists of designated enemies)? How can it be that a Berlin police officer was the “security officer” of the local branch of the far-right AfD party, which one of the main suspects in the series of attacks is also a member of? What about the police officer who was in charge of the investigation in 2016 and is now on trial himself for having committed a racist attack? Was the criminal investigation interfered with for years by the right-wing senior public prosecutor? Who protects the victims? Who protects the perpetrators?
One thing is clear: As long as the Neukölln complex is not solved, none of the past and potential future victims will be able to feel safe.
2011–2013: First series of attacks in Neukölln.
Since 2016: Second series of attacks in Neukölln.
February 2018: Arson attacks on the cars and homes of Ferat Koçak and Heinz Ostermann. It was later revealed that, Koçak for a long time prior to the attacks, authorities had been aware that Koçak was being spied on by the prime suspects Tilo Paulenz and Sebastian Thom.
February 2018: When the police searched Sebastian Thom’s house, they found a hard drive with a “Feindesliste” (list of designated enemies) comprising over 500 people. For years, the police claimed that they could not warn the people on this list as it was encrypted. But it was not encrypted. To this day, many people who are on this list have not been informed.
March 2018: Police officers observe a meeting of Pit Weber, an officer of the Berlin state office of criminal investigation, and Sebastian Thom, a known Berlin neo-nazi and one of the prime suspects of the series of attacks, in a bar in Neukölln. Police later claimed that it had been a case of mistaken identity.
January 2020: The trial of police officer Stefan Kollmann accused of racially insulting and beating up an Afghan refugee begins in Berlin. A few months later, it was revealed that Kollmann was part of an investigative unit set up specifically to tackle the Neukölln attacks in 2016. As of January 2021, he is still on duty, working in Treptow.
June 2018: It is revealed that the Berlin police officer Detlef M. is under investigation for breach of secrecy, on grounds of having passed on internal police data regarding the 2016 attack on Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz in an online AfD members chat group. It is revealed that Detlef M. had been the “security officer” of the Neukölln branch of the far-right party AfD and was also in close contact with Tilo Paulenz.
August 2020: Matthias Fenner, the senior public prosecutor who had been in charge of investigating the Neukölln complex, is taken off the case on grounds of suspected bias. This was based on a transcript of a spoken statement by the main suspect Tilo Paulenz, in which he states that there is no need to worry about the prosecution because the prosecutor had made it clear that he was “on our side” in terms of his political stance.
August 2020: The Berlin Data Protection Supervisor publicly criticizes the Berlin police for refusing to investigate a case of data misuse. The case in question dates back to the spring of 2019 when death threats were graffitied on the homes of several individuals. This cluster is likely connected to the Neukölln complex. The Berlin Data Protection Supervisor stated that two of these addresses had previously been queried in internal police databases.
30 August 2020: The police officers who had been summoned as witnesses are barred from testifying in the trial against Sebastian Thom and Tilo Paulenz. The two nazi terrorists are free to go home.
On 23 December 2020, after five years of investigation, Sebastian Thom and Thilo Paulenz are arrested – but they are released in January 2021. However, these arrests only happened because the Berlin Attorney General’s Office was put in charge of the case after the public prosecutor’s office, which had been in charge until then, had been taken off the case on grounds of bias.
January 2021: An investigation by Tagesspiegel reveals that Tilo Paulenz was chairman of the AfD’s nationalist “wing”.
21.02.2021 Die interne Sonderkommission zu den Ermittlungen in Neukölln kann keine gravierende Fehlleistungen der Polizei feststellen. Sie spricht von einem Kommunikationsproblem mit den Betroffenen und gibt der Presse Schuld an Vorverurteilungen. Die Betroffenen sind über diesen Bericht empört.