NSomeone should have been surprised by the news that Franco A. has enrolled in law at Goethe University. After everything that was learned about him in the first two and a half months of the trial of the first lieutenant at the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, this step fits the picture perfectly. The thirty-two-year-old, who lives with his family in his hometown Offenbach and still receives half of his salary from the Bundeswehr as a lieutenant, portrayed himself as a harmless, simply broadly interested young man from the start. As someone who tried a lot and made lists of things that he happened to encounter and about which he wanted to find out more. Who was guided through life by his curiosity and was never afraid of contact, often just got on the train or the car and rang the doorbells of people whose books he had read or whose theories he found exciting.
In an interview with RT Deutsch, the broadcaster controlled by the Russian state, Franco A., who, with his hair tied in a knot, leather shoulder bag and good shirt, was more likely to give the image of a spoiled doctoral student than that of a suspected right-wing terrorist, shortly before the start of the trial Long and wide tell that the investigators targeted him for no reason. It is absurd, of all people, to accuse a constitutional soldier like him of preparing attacks on politically dissenters, to accuse him of having committed acts of violence disguised as a refugee and thus wanted to shake the order of the Federal Republic. “It is absolutely far from me that …” many sentences begin that he says in front of the judges of the State Security Senate.
Alone: The court has serious doubts about A’s self-portrayal. With good reason. How can it be, the presiding judge from A. wanted to know that on his allegedly harmless lists the names of politicians, activists and other people from the left spectrum are next to words like “shotgun” and “open the lock without a key”, plus one Sketch of the subway station near the house in Berlin where one of the named works? “One could also think that you are preparing for an assignment.”
“Hitler is above all things”
In this way it goes back and forth between the judge and the accused. Regarding the name of a Green politician, the chairman asks: “Did you know that she is a figure of hatred by the right?” Elsewhere he says to A: “The Holocaust is not an opinion, but a historical fact.” It’s all about one of A’s lists that says, “If Frau Haverbeck goes to prison, then liberation”. The woman has “her own view of the Holocaust,” says the defendant of the Holocaust denier, and that historical facts can also be discussed. In a voice recording from which the Federal Prosecutor quoted in an application, he speaks of the fact that Jews and Germans are not the same people and that the West is trying to impose “this dirty democratic system” on other states. Hitler is not a yardstick, it goes on, “he stands above all things”.
The judges make no secret of how implausible they find A’s reasoning for all of this. That he only photographed the car of the foundation’s founder Anetta Kahane in the parking garage in order to be able to recognize it at a possible later meeting? That he pretended to be a Syrian refugee for more than a year, driving back and forth between France, Bavaria and Hesse just to show how overloaded and error-prone the system is? That he warned in his master’s thesis against a “mixing of races” because he wanted to “scientifically turn every stone around”, “explore things without prejudice”? All of this is supposed to have come together by chance, without a pattern, out of pure curiosity?