National Socialist Underground murders

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National Socialist Underground murders
Ddpimages 8.71706826-600x387.jpg
Suspects of Bosphorus serial murders.[1] The woman on the left is Beate Zschäpe.
Location Across Germany
Date 9 September 2000 to 25 April 2007
Target Immigrants
Attack type
Serial killing, hate crime
Weapons 7.65mm CZ 83 pistol
Deaths 10
Non-fatal injuries
Perpetrators National Socialist Underground (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund)

The National Socialist Underground murders (German: NSU-Morde) were a series of xenophobe murders by the German Neo-Nazi group National Socialist Underground (Nationalsozialistischer Untergrund) (NSU). NSU perpetrated the attacks between 2000 and 2007 throughout Germany, leaving ten people dead and one wounded. Primary targets were ethnic Turks but also Kurds, though the victims also included one ethnic Greek and one ethnic German policewoman.

Most of the victims were small business owners, including doner kebab vendors and greengrocers. They were murdered in daylight with gunshots to the face at close range with a silenced CZ 83 pistol. According to the parents of a Turkish victim who worked in an internet café, the police originally suspected foreign organised criminals. Policewoman Michèle Kiesewetter was also shot and killed and the police officer on patrol with her was critically wounded. Other crimes, including a bomb attack, may have been committed by the group. German authorities identified three suspects, Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and Beate Zschäpe as responsible for the murders. According to the acting Attorney General of Germany, Rainer Greisbaum, the suspects had Neo-Nazi links.[2] Böhnhardt and Mundlos were found dead by police after they robbed a bank on 4 November 2011. Police said they killed themselves.[3] Zschäpe surrendered on 11 November 2011. She will probably face charges of murder, attempted murder, arson, and belonging to a terrorist organization. Zschäpe said she was only willing to testify if she was considered a state witness, with mitigation of sentence.[citation needed] The police discovered an alleged hit-list of 88 names that included "two prominent members of the Bundestag and representatives of Turkish and Islamic groups".[4]

The serial murders were previously called Bosphorus serial murders (Bosporus-Morde) by German authorities[5] with the derogatory term Kebab Murders (Dönermorde) being frequently used by the yellow press.[6]

Crimes involved[edit]

Timeline of the years when murders were committed; each square shows number of murder(s) in the particular month (if any); series ends in April 2006; green mark shows time of detention of the suspect male
National Socialist Underground murders is located in Germany
Nuremberg#1: 2000‑09‑09#2: 2001‑06‑13#6: 2005‑06‑09
#1: 2000‑09‑09
#2: 2001‑06‑13
#6: 2005‑06‑09
Hamburg#3: 2001‑06‑27
#3: 2001‑06‑27
Munich#4: 2001‑08‑29#7: 2005‑06‑15
#4: 2001‑08‑29
#7: 2005‑06‑15
Rostock#5: 2004‑02‑25
#5: 2004‑02‑25
Dortmund#8: 2006‑04‑04
#8: 2006‑04‑04
Kassel#9: 2006‑04‑06
#9: 2006‑04‑06
Heilbronn#10: 2007‑04‑25
#10: 2007‑04‑25
Crime scenes of the Bosphorus murder series in Germany

Murder of Enver Şimşek[edit]

Enver Şimşek was a 38-year-old business man with Turkish roots who operated several flower stalls in southern Germany. When his employee running the stall in Nuremberg went on holidays, Şimşek himself stepped in for him, and in the afternoon of 9 September 2000 he was shot in the face by two gun men, and died from his wounds in hospital two days later. He was the first victim in the series. One of the guns used to kill Şimşek was used in nine more murders.[7]

Murder of Abdurrahim Özüdoğru[edit]

On 13 June 2001, Abdurrahim Özüdoğru was killed by two shots in the head with the same weapon already used in the murder of Enver Şimşek. Özüdoğru, who worked as a machinist for a big company in Nuremberg, had been helping out in a tailor's shop; the murder was discovered by a passer-by who looked through the shop window and saw the body sitting in the back of the shop, covered in blood.[7]

Murder of Süleyman Taşköprü[edit]

On 27 June 2001 between 10:45 and 11:15 a.m, Süleyman Taşköprü, aged 31, died in his greengrocer's shop in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld after being shot in the head three times. This was two weeks after the second murder, and the same guns as in the first case were used, a CZ 83 and a 6.35 mm gun.[8]

Murder of Habil Kılıç[edit]

On 29 August 2001 Habil Kılıç became the fourth victim. Kılıç, aged 38, who was married and had a daughter, was shot at point-blank range in his greengrocer's shop in Munich-Ramersdorf. This was the first of two murders in Munich.[9]

Murder of Mehmet Turgut[edit]

Two and a half years later, in Rostock-Toitenwinkel, on the morning of Ash Wednesday, 25 February 2004, between 10:10 and 10:20,[10] Mehmet Turgut was shot three times in the head and neck with a silenced CZ 83 and died instantaneously. Turgut, who had been living illegally in Hamburg, was in Rostock on a visit and had been asked by an acquaintance to open up a doner kebab shop that day. Because of Turgut's link to Hamburg, Rostock police made the connection to the third victim, Süleyman Taşköprü, thus establishing the term döner murders.[11]

Murder of İsmail Yaşar[edit]

On 9 June 2005 the murderers struck for the third time in Nuremberg. İsmail Yaşar, aged 50, had come from Suruc, Turkey to Nuremberg, and owned a kebab shop in Scharrerstrasse. He was found dead at approximately 10:15 with five gunshot wounds. Witness statements led Police to believe he had been killed between 9:50 and 10:05.[12]

Murder of Theodoros Boulgarides[edit]

On 15 June 2005 between 18:15 and 19:00 locksmith Theodoros Boulgarides was killed in his shop in the vicinity of the other murder in Munich. Boulgarides left a wife and two daughters; he was the second murder victim in Munich. A Greek, he was the first non-Turk to die.[13]

Murder of Mehmet Kubaşık[edit]

In Dortmund, in the early afternoon of 4 April 2006, kiosk vendor Mehmet Kubaşık, a German citizen of Turkish origin, was found dead in his shop. Like the majority of the other victims, Kubaşık had been shot in the head.[14]

Murder of Halit Yozgat[edit]

On 6 April 2006, just two days after the murder of Kubaşık, Halit Yozgat became the penultimate victim in the series of murders, and the last of ethnic Turkish origin. Yozgat, who ran an internet café in Kassel, Hesse, was also shot in the head with a silenced gun. On the occasion of this murder an agent of the Hessian Office for the Protection of the Constitution was present. The agent claimed first to have left the premises shortly before the murder, but later changed his statement when presented with evidence of witnesses who had seen him present when the murder happened. His involvement with the case gave rise to suspicions that government agencies might be linked to the organisation responsible for the murders.[15][16]

Murder of Michèle Kiesewetter[edit]

On 25 April 2007, police officer Michèle Kiesewetter and her duty-partner were attacked during their lunch break. Kiesewetter, age 22, was killed and her partner was critically wounded but survived with no memory of the attack. Both were shot involving directly aimed headshots at point blank range while sitting in the patrol car with the shooters approaching their vehicle from both sides. Kiesewetter died on site, her male partner was in coma for several weeks. While in the other cases the motive is assumed to be xenophobia and/or racism, it is unclear why Kiesewetter and her partner were attacked; theories include a variety of motives, such as a personal link between Kiesewetter, who came from Oberweissbach in Thuringia, and the alleged perpetrators who all came from Thuringia, or the acquisition of firearms. The duty-pistols of Kiesewetter and her partner were found on 4 November 2011 at the caravan where Böhnhardt and Mundlos died, giving rise to the belief that this attack was linked to the Bosphorus murder series.


A handgun CZ 83 caliber 7.65 mm as used for the murders

Original Suspicions[edit]

Originally, suspicions surrounded the family and friends of the victims.[17] German security services also blamed the murders on the Turkish mafia during the period of killings.[18] Right-wing groups were never mentioned and investigated.[18]


  • Germany German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that "the cold-blooded murders of nine immigrant shopkeepers by Neo-Nazis is an "inconceivable" crime for Germany and a national disgrace."[19]

In 2011, the term "Döner murders" (English: Kebab Murders) was named the German Un-Word of the Year by a jury of linguistic scholars, who considered its usage as inappropriate and inhuman.[20]

  • Turkey On November 4, 2016, following the recent meetings in German parliament on the topic; Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ of Turkey has openly criticized Germany's handling of the inexcusable hatred crimes against people of different-origin, mainly Turks. Bozdağ voiced his country's 'deep concern' over the slow and vague case process.[21]

List of victims[edit]

Name Location Date
Şimşek, Enver Nuremberg 9 September 2000
Özüdoğru, Abdurrahim Nuremberg 13 June 2001
Taşköprü, Süleyman Hamburg 27 June 2001
Kılıç, Habil Munich 29 August 2001
Turgut, Mehmet Rostock 25 February 2004
Yaşar, İsmail Nuremberg 9 June 2005
Boulgarides, Theodoros Munich 15 June 2005
Kubaşık, Mehmet Dortmund 4 April 2006
Yozgat, Halit Kassel 6 April 2006
Kiesewetter, Michèle Heilbronn 25 April 2007

Trial of Beate Zschäpe[edit]

The hearing began with two motions from the defence lawyers alleging that the presiding judge was biased. Judge Manfred Goetzl put proceedings on hold until May 14 to consider the defence request that he recuse himself from the trial, which is the highest-profile neo-Nazi murder trial in Germany in decades and could last at least a year.

Zschäpe, 38, is accused by prosecutors of murder for alleged complicity in the killing of eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007. If convicted, she faces life imprisonment. Four others face lesser charges of assisting the cell.

Zschäpe is also accused of involvement in at least two bombings and 15 bank robberies allegedly carried out by her accomplices Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boenhardt, who died in an apparent murder-suicide in November 2011.[22]


— Ralf Wohlleben, 38, and Carsten Schultze, 33, are accused of being accessories to murder in the killing of the nine male victims. Prosecutors allege that they supplied the trio with the handgun and silencer used in the killings. Wohlleben was once a member of Germany's far-right National Democratic Party, which has seats in two state parliaments in eastern Germany.

— Andre Eminger, 33, is accused of being an accessory in two of the bank robberies and in a 2001 bombing in Cologne. He is also accused of two counts of supporting a terrorist organization.

— Holger Gerlach, 38, is accused of three counts of supporting a terrorist organization.

Like Zschäpe, the co-defendants were known to German authorities before the existence of the NSU — whose name alludes to the official name of Adolf Hitler's National Socialist German Workers' Party — came to light.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Döner-Mörder: Waren sie Einzeltäter oder gibt es ein Netzwerk?". Deutsch Türkische Nachrichten (in German). Retrieved 13 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Video – Bundesstaatsanwalt: Polizisten- und Döner-Morde wohl Tat von Neonazis". Stern (in German). Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Mordserie in Deutschland: Bundesrichter erlässt Haftbefehl gegen Beate Z". Focus (in German). Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  4. ^ Pidd, Helen; Harding, Luke (16 November 2011). "German neo-Nazi terrorists had 'hitlist' of 88 political targets". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Ungeklärte Fälle – Landespolizei Mecklenburg-Vorpommern" (in German). Archived from the original on 7 December 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Kulish, Nicholas (14 November 2011). "Neo-Nazis Suspected in Wave of Crimes in Germany". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  7. ^ a b Przybilla, Olaf. "Mysteriöse Mordserie – Es geschah am helllichten Tag". Süddeutsche Zeitung Digitale Medien. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Polizeinews. Hamburg Hansestadt, Hamburg, 18 July 2007]
  9. ^ "München: Zwei der neun Döner-Morde in Ramersdorf und im Westend" (in German). merkur-online. Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "ARD-Doku über Neonazi-Opfer. Die Schande". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "Neonazi-Verbrechen: Der fünfte Mord". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  12. ^ BKA Bosporus Archived 24 December 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Münchner Abendzeitung, 14 November 2011
  14. ^ "Kopfschüsse in Dortmund: Serienmörder schlägt zum achten Mal zu". Der Spiegel (in German). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Kasseler Mord in neuem Licht: Verdächtiger Verfassungsschützer". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 16 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Die Zeit, 17 November 2011
  17. ^ Sultan, Christopher; ANDREA BRANDT; JÜRGEN DAHLKAMP; MAXIMILIAN POPP; UFUK UCTA (13 December 2011). "Suspicions Destroyed Lives of Victims' Relatives". Der Spiegel. Retrieved 15 January 2012. 
  18. ^ a b Adler, Katya (27 March 2012). "Germany's new breed of neo-Nazis pose a threat". BBC. Retrieved 2 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "World News: Series of murders by neo-Nazis 'a disgrace,' says Germany's Merkel". Toronto Star. 14 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Kebab-Murders called worst word of 2011.". The Local, 17 January 2012
  21. ^ "Merkel'in haddine değil". Deutsche Welle. 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016. 
  22. ^ Schrader, Matthias (May 6, 2013). "Trial of alleged German neo-Nazi accused in immigrant killings opens with judicial bias claims". The Associated Press. Retrieved 6 May 2013.