Drinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Geoff Roberts

There are now two boards of inquiry looking into how three neo-Nazis could have travelled around Germany and killed ten people before the security services (16 branches in total, not counting special police units whose job is to keep an eye on right-wing groups) tracked them down last November. Two of the suspects died as the police were closing in on them in Eisenach; the third, Beate Zschäpe, is in jail awaiting trial.

There are many gaps in the evidence being placed before the inquiries. A department head in the Thüringen Security Service shredded a dozen files on right-wing activists in November 2011, just as the members of the National Socialist Underground were being rounded up. Not a serious problem, his boss says. Another file shows that one security agent had an informant who was fond of cats and close to her grandmother. The head of the agency says that this informant was not Zschäpe, although she too loves cats and is fond of her grandmother.

A member of one of the boards of inquiry, who represents the Linke, has posted some of the odder statements made in open sessions by leading officials from the Thüringen Security Service. The following statements were made by a former department head who was suspended after making an official complaint about his boss, Helmut Roewer.

The major agents were Andre Kapke, he was the bad cop and Ralf Wohlleben – he was the intelligent one. We once hired them an aircraft so that they could follow their suspect without being spotted.

Roewer was seen one day riding a bicycle around the sixth floor of the office building. When asked about this he told us that he wanted to be sure that they were suitable for observation purposes.

Once I went into Roewer's office. There was a buffet with candles, wine and cheese laid out for six or seven female guests and Roewer was paying court to them all at once. He wanted me to give him a secret briefing while his guests stood around drinking wine and chatting.

Herr Roewer always walked about barefoot in summer. He put his dirty feet on my desk as we talked.

Roewer had his own special source – nobody else knew who this was but his name was Günther. He was well-paid. Nobody except Roewer was allowed to make contact with him.

Roewer and Frau Timpel, the head of the department for foreign crime, used the same information sources for a book that they wrote on the security service. They were photographed at a book presentation where they gave their full names and their official titles. One day one of her agents threw a brick through the window of her house and she was immediately transferred to Erfurt – at state expense. She was Roewer's girlfriend and later became his wife.

Roewer’s evidence is even better:

As far as I know, I am the only person in the Thüringen Security Service who has enjoyed professional training in security work.

I don't know how many sources we have at any one time. We have four departments that all recruited agents and we also founded fake companies, that is quite normal.

I was a civil servant in the Interior Ministry when they asked me if I would like to be head of the Thüringen Security Service. I was obviously a civil servant with a good reputation.

Many of the people in the service were incompetent and only a few were fit for further training. I am regarded as an expert on training agents in Security Service matters.

I have often been to (right-wing) meetings in Jena, where I have calmed things down and recruited agents for our security work.

I went to concerts where I tried to recruit skinheads as agents, but they were all drunk and forgot what they were supposed to do.

Once I had to fire an agent who crashed his car when he was drunk. There is not always a competent head on an agent's shoulders.

There were 50 people in the Security Service, none of whom had the necessary professional training. My superiors expected me to train them – I had an excellent reputation as an expert on domestic security.

One of my staff sent a fax to the Green Party with a list of the members of the Linke whom we were observing as potential dangers to the established order. It was supposed to go to the CDU and it was not authorised. I was on holiday at the time.

How did I become head of the Security Service? One evening – it was about 11 p.m. – an unknown person brought me a document appointing me in a yellow envelope. It was dark, I could not see his face. I was drunk anyway. Next morning I found the envelope in my pocket.


  • 28 July 2012 at 4:59am
    John Cowan says:
    Sounds like he was also drunk while giving the evidence, and indeed, why not?