German Jews ask for protection after neo-Nazi murders

German Jews ask for protection after neo-Nazi murders

A neo-Nazi accused of killing two people in a shooting near a synagogue in the central German city of Halle has admitted responsibility. 

The authorities said Stephan Balliet, 27, described the attack, which he live-streamed after posting a “manifesto” online, to a judge in Germany‘s federal court of justice and said he committed the crime with an anti-semitic motive.

The door to the synagogue in Halle was strong enough to keep Balliet out on Wednesday.

He failed to enter the synagogue but shot dead a female passerby and a man in a Turkish kebab shop before fleeing in a hijacked taxi when his homemade firearm jammed.

He was arrested after crashing about 16km south of Halle.

Balliet has been charged for the two murders and the attempted murder of nine others who were injured.

Germany’s chief federal prosecutor, Peter Frank, said Balliet was driven by “antisemitism, xenophobia and racism” and wanted to inspire similar attacks.

His lawyer Hans-Dieter Weber said Balliet stood by his actions.

“It would be nonsensical to deny it, and he didn’t do that. In his view of the world, he blames others for his own misery and that’s what ultimately triggered his action,” the lawyer told the media. 

The gunman streamed his attack online for 35 minutes using a headcam. Prosecutors say it is too early to say if he had accomplices or whether he was a member of any far-right group. 

Evidence from the Halle flat Balliet shared with his mother included a 3D printer he is thought to have used to produce his homemade weapons.

His mother told Der Spiegel he had taken drugs in his early 20s and become a “different person” as a result, having barely survived the experience.

His father told Bild that his son was a “friendless figure” who existed online and blamed others for his unhappiness. 

“He wasn’t at ease with himself or the world, always blaming others,” he told the tabloid. 

An 11-page manifesto referred to the gaming and online message board communities he purportedly used and outlined plans to attack a synagogue on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur.

“If something like the attack in Halle had happened in our community, there would have been a lot of deaths,” said Alexander Wassermann, chairman of the Jewish community in the eastern town of Dessau. “Our main door has been in use since 1904,” he added.

 

 

 

Halle. Picture credit: Wikimedia 

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