Investigations into the murders committed by the National Socialist Underground (NSU), a far-right German neo-Nazi terrorist cell, were impeded by Germany's domestic intelligence service, renowned right-wing extremism analyst Hajo Funke said.
"The killings remain unsolved. On the contrary, they weren't fully examined, therefore there are still a lot of unknowns," Funke said, criticizing the German secret service BfV (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz) for destroying private documents and preventing agents and informants from testifying before judicial and parliamentary committees.
The NSU carried out nine murders of people with immigrant backgrounds, including eight Turkish immigrants and a Greek national, and the killing of a German police officer. Committed in various parts of Germany, the killings have long gone unsolved.
The German public first learned of the group's existence and its role in the murders in 2011 when two members, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Bohnhardt, died after a bank heist, on Nov. 4, 2011.
Beate Zschape, the sole survivor of the group, was given a life sentence by Munich's Higher Regional Court in 2018 following a five-year trial.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel promised the victims' families that she would do everything in her power to investigate the murders and expose the neo-Nazi organization.
"All issues must be developed and litigated," Merkel stated emphatically. But nothing happened.
Funke asserts that contrary to what the police reported, the NSU was supported by a wider network of neo-Nazis nationwide. He also said that powerful secret service forces were hindering the investigations into the murders. "They were keen to disguise things, people, and informants from coming to the fore," he alleged.
According to Funke, "I'm guessing that there are a lot (of others) who perpetrated similar acts and a lot of networking particularly in the municipalities of Chemnitz and Zwickau, that is abundantly obvious," he said.
"Additionally, there were secret service agents who worked for the agency, lived close by and interacted with them. Therefore, in my opinion, the secret service knew and still knows," he added.
Recent media reports have revealed that the BfV and its regional divisions had a large number of informants who had previous contacts with the NSU suspects.
Officials, however, denied any involvement. Funke claims that the NSU crisis has pointed to the "structural racism" among German security institutions and that these organizations require reform.
He added that although lessons could be learned from the NSU disaster, it was a complete failure and that the victims' families had been considered suspicious for years solely because they were immigrants. He also pointed out that the state's security institutions as well as the media and all other social institutions had failed.
According to Funke, the public and government institutions in Germany are now more aware of the issue of racism and the necessity for effective action is a must. He added that politicians and the media are responsible for confronting the racism issue in Germany.