A low brown wooden door in a yellow-red brick wall, a camera eye on the top left, a brass sign on the right: "Jewish community in Halle (Saale) - synagogue". Stephan B. goes to it. He presses the latch. The door is locked. "Fuck!" He scolds, turns away and looks down the narrow Humboldtstraße. The assassin of Halle, emerging from the dark corners of the Internet and gaming world, has come across the reality. It resists his murderous plans.
The scene can be seen in the video that Stephan B. recorded with a smartphone attached to his helmet and streamed on the net. This is followed by 30 minutes of film. They document how Stephan B. fails with almost everything he has set out to do: the doors of the synagogue withstand his shotgun loads and explosives. His weapons have stoppages. His escape car has a plate because he accidentally shot through the front tire. Nevertheless, two people die: a 40-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man from Halle.
Who is this Stephan B., who scolds himself for failing?
One day after the assassination first contours of a man can be seen, which does not correspond to the usual patterns of the right-wing extremist scene. ZEIT ONLINE has analyzed the video of Stephan B. and his so-called manifesto, in addition records of the offender in the network. Reporters have spoken to people who know Stephan B., and to security agencies. From this it is possible to draw a still incomplete picture of an assassin, as it has not yet existed in this form in Germany. A man who radicalized himself in anti-Semitic and racist Internet platforms and planned his actions like a computer game.
One can understand Stephan B. as a copy of a copy of a copy: Anders Behring Breivik, who murdered 69 teenagers on the Norwegian island of Utøya in 2011, had still explicitly based his organizational model on al-Qaeda. The assassin, who shot dead 51 people in two mosques in March in Christchurch, New Zealand, again copied Breivik. Stephan B. finally imitated this assassination - much less professionally than his role models, but still deadly.
Attorney General Peter Frank speaks of terror. A man steeped in anti-Semitism and racism. His declared goal was to murder Jews. So it announced Stephan B. in his video. But so far there are no connections in the classical right-wing extremist scene. Even the federal security authorities did not know Stephan B., he was stored according to information from ZEIT ONLINE neither in the intelligence information system nor centrally at the Federal Criminal Police Office. At least for the past five years, he had apparently not noticed anyone as an extremist.
Anyone who wants to understand what Stephan B. means for a person must therefore search in two places: in his personal environment and in the virtual space of the Internet.
The area from which Stephan B. originates is located in the middle of Mansfelder Land, southern Saxony-Anhalt, about 50 kilometers west of Halle. The two communities in which he spent his previous life, like scattered residential neighborhoods, which drag along a straight straight road.