BERLIN (AA) – A memorial tree planted to remember the first victim of far-right terrorist group NSU has been destroyed by suspected neo-Nazis, authorities said on Friday.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert strongly condemned the attack and called for a full investigation into the crime.
“The killing spree of the NSU, which has been undetected over a long period of time, is really a shame for Germany,” Seibert said during a regular press conference in Berlin.
“Remembering victims of this killing spree…We owe this to the victims, their families but also to ourselves….to our struggle for democracy and pluralism in our country,” he stressed.
The memorial tree for Enver Simsek, the NSU’s first victim, was planted last month in the eastern town of Zwickau, where the terrorist group’s three members lived from 2000-2011.
The shadowy neo-Nazi group killed at least eight Turkish immigrants, a Greek worker, and a German policewoman in a seven-year period from 2000-2007.
The German public first learned about the group’s existence in 2011, when two of its members died during a bank robbery attempt.
Until 2011, Germany’s police and intelligence services ruled out any racial motive for the murders and instead treated immigrant families as suspects in the case and even harassed them for alleged connections with mafia groups and drug traffickers.