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Rally on the 20th anniversary of the death of NSU victim Mehmet Turgut in Rostock

Photo: Frank Hormann / dpa

The federal government wants to set up a documentation center and a place of remembrance for the victims of the right-wing extremist terrorist group National Socialist Underground (NSU).

“A dignified remembrance will help counteract the relativization of right-wing extremism and develop new vigilance,” said Interior State Secretary Juliane Seifert to the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (SZ).

The concept for this comes from the Federal Agency for Civic Education and will initially be presented to relatives of the NSU victims.

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The location is still open, but should be determined this year.

The concept's primary goals are a "critical assessment of the NSU complex" including the "comprehensive failure of the state", the creation of a memorial site that focuses on those affected, and an educational offering that places the NSU crimes in "history of right-wing terrorism after 1945,” Seifert told the newspaper.

According to the report, the documentation center for the NSU series of murders should be built by 2030.

Memorials throughout Germany

In addition to the documentation center, there should also be “decentralized” memorial sites in other cities related to the crimes of the NSU.

Many relatives understandably wanted “a memorial near the victims’ hometowns,” said Seifert.

The Federal Agency for Civic Education is jointly responsible for the design.

Those affected should also be a key voice in the discussion about the location of the center, emphasized its president Thomas Krüger.

In the end, however, this is “a political decision by Parliament.”

The "SZ" reported, citing its own information, that a majority of the victims' relatives rejected a location for the central documentation center in East Germany because there were security concerns.

The “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) was a terrorist cell consisting of Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, which for years from 2000 onwards carried out ten murders undetected throughout Germany, five of them in Bavaria.

Their victims were nine traders of Turkish and Greek origin and a German policewoman.

Mundlos and Böhnhardt also carried out two bomb attacks in Cologne, injuring dozens of people.

The two killed themselves in 2011 to avoid arrest - only then was the NSU exposed.

Zschäpe, the only survivor of the trio, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2018 after a trial that lasted more than five years - as an accomplice, even if there is no evidence that she was at one of the crime scenes herself.

The coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP agreed in 2021 states: “We support the establishment of a memorial site and a documentation center for the victims of the NSU.”