He promised the families: "I want to help ensure that their suffering continues to be recognized and acknowledged. And that it will be cleared up, where there have been mistakes and failures, that it will be talked about and if necessary also argued, what we have to learn from it!"
Ten murders between 2000 and 2007 attributed to neo-nazi trio. Gauck recalled in his funeral, according to the redemanuscript, that his predecessor christian wulff had already invited relatives of the murdered to bellevue castle in november 2011. At that time, it had just become known that the murders and attacks on nine small businessmen of turkish and greek origin and on a policewoman were the work of the zwickau neo-nazi terrorist cell. For many years, the right-wing terrorist background had not been uncovered. Instead, the environment of the victims was suspected.
Before the meeting, the cancellation of one of the members had caused disgruntlement. The sister of a murdered man from hamburg wanted to come only with a lawyer, but the prasidialamt refused with reference to the limited number of participants. In an open letter, aysen taskopru wrote: "mr. Gauck, my brother is only important to you because the NSU is a political issue in germany. What do they want to change about our suffering? Do you think it helps me if you are affected??" There were several cancellations, also for health reasons.
Gauck praised the work of the bundestag investigative committee and ombudswoman barbara john, who was present at the meeting with about 70 members on monday. John has given all the bereaved the certainty and the feeling that they are not alone. "The will to clarify is there," gauck said. However, there is still reason to be concerned.
"Why have there been such mistakes and wrong decisions in the investigations?" Asked gauck. The members were right to wait for answers – "with increasing impatience, because more than a year has passed. First consequences have been drawn, also for a better cooperation of constitutional protection and police, of the federal government and the federal states. "I too was shocked at the errors that were possible in some authorities."
Gauck went on to say: "all people in our country must be able to rely on our state to protect them. And that is why we need a functioning, strong, defensible state. I thank all those who protect this state, for example as police officers, even at the risk of their lives."
But it would be too short-sighted to call only for the state; reforms alone would not be enough. "The question is how to prevent prejudice and resentment from taking root in everyday life. It’s about different attitudes, in our authorities and institutions, but also among many citizens," said gauck.
The chairman of the turkish community in germany, kenan kolat, buried gauck’s invitation to the families, but accused the federal government of a lack of commitment in clearing up the neo-nazi murder series. Kolat told RBB-inforadio that interior minister hans-peter friedrich (CSU) was withholding information. "Some things are practically covered up, files are shredded. This is not acceptable."
Many relatives of neo-nazi victims wanted to be present at the trial of alleged right-wing terrorist beate zschape, which begins in mid-april, said ombudswoman barbara john on ZDF’s "morgenmagazin". Zschape is the only surviving member of the terror cell "national socialist underground" (NSU). The victims needed to regain control of their lives, said john. "To take part in the trial now, that is important for them, and to experience that the guilty are also seen and that the nation also sees what actually happened there."