Stand: 31.01.2020

Person

Kurt Schneider was born in Königs Wusterhausen in 1961. He learned the profession of bricklayer and worked in it for some time afterwards. He lived with his mother in a small town in Brandenburg until 1994, when he moved to Berlin. He had only recently started living in Lichtenberg. For this reason we do not know any pictures of him or contact to friends or relatives. If you knew Kurt Schneider, we would be very grateful if you would contact us so that we can commemorate him in a worthy manner.

progression of events

On the night of October 6, 1999, Kurt Schneider was murdered by a group of neo-Nazis.
They became aware of the 38-year-old during their evening tour with the starting point “Café Germania”, one of the many neo-Nazi pubs in Berlin in the 1990s. The group had already attacked passers-by before and was seen making the Hitler salute. The neo-Nazis demanded money from Kurt Schneider, maltreated him with punches and kicks and left him badly injured in the former urn grove on Hoenerweg. A little later they came back and killed him with a knife they had brought along, as well as kicks to the head and body. Some of the neo-Nazis had been previously convicted and attributed themselves to the so-called “Hammerskins″.

official investigations/trial

Four neo-Nazis were arrested the next day in an apartment in Hoenerweg. A trail of blood and beer bottles led from the crime scene directly to the apartment of one of the perpetrators, the murder weapon was found in the courtyard.
A political background of the crime was excluded and a robbery-murder in the “drinking milieu” was suspected. According to their own statements, all four belong to the militant neo-Nazi organization Hammerskins, which is banned in Germany. In April 2000, the Berlin Regional Court sentenced the two 23-year-old perpetrators to lifelong imprisonment. The two other defendants, 18 and 19 years old, are sentenced to eight and eight and a half years in prison, respectively, under juvenile criminal law. Although the presiding judge refers to the right-wing sentiments of the perpetrators, he does not see any right-wing extremist motive and so the case was not categorized as right-wing murder until 2018. Thanks to the scientists at the Centre for Anti-Semitism Research at the TU Berlin, Kurt Schneider, among others, was reported as a victim of right-wing violence in 2018.

Perpetrators

Manuel Sandmann, born 1976 in Berlin, 23 years old at the time of the crime

Michael Voigt, born 1977 in Berlin, 22 years old at the time of the crime

Carsten Ufer, born 1981 in Potsdam, 18 years old at the time of the crime

Björn Oberjartel, born 1982 in Berlin, 17 years old at the time of the crime

Whether the group was actually involved in Hammerskin structures remains open: The Hammerskin background was not systematically investigated by the police and the public prosecutor’s office. Police confiscated a Hammerskin Nation t-shirt. This is assigned to Manuel Sandmann of all people, who according to the judgement is not supposed to belong to the Hammerskins. Carsten Ufer told the expert: “It was once said that he used to be one.”
Sandmann, however, is said to come from the environment of the “Kameradschaft Spreewacht”, according to his own statements he was founder of the Berliner Kameradschaft 14/88 as well as a neo-Nazi band.

Reactions

For Berlin’s former Senator of the Interior Frank Henkel, the act is not an offical right-wing homicide, as it is merely a “cover-up” to disguise the robbery that was committed earlier. When deadly attacks on welfare recipients are disguised as robberies, they must be treated for what they are: Right-wing extremist motivated murders. Contrary to what right-wingers often suggest – standing up for socially weak “Germans″ – the right-wing ideology stands for Social Darwinism. People who have no work and receive social assistance are considered “antisocial” and “inferior”. The ideological context must not be ignored, since it is the root cause for excessive violence against socially disadvantaged people.

Place of action

The “Café Germania” was closed in 1999 due to protests, today it houses a small bistro. The place where the murder took place, the former urn grove on Hoenerweg, is not far from Lichtenberg town hall and is now unkempt and overgrown. A few graffiti are reminding of Kurt Schneider since the day before the last demonstration.
In 2016, Stattbau GmbH invited to a participation procedure for the redesign of the site, so that “the green space can be carefully developed into a play and experience area”. Neighbours and interested people should bring in wishes & ideas for the design. Due to lack of resources, it was decided to suspend the project for the time being. In 2020 there will be another public event on the topic and it will be decided together with the citizens what will happen there.

Remembrance

In 2019, in the context of the 20th anniversary of Kurt Schneider’s death and the recategorization of the murder case in the previous year, there was the first commemoration event in memory of Kurt Schneider. This was organized by Antifaschistischen Vernetzung Lichtenberg, which also announced to provide in the future for the commemoration as well as for the establishment of a memorial at the former urn grove.

Article about the event in 2019 in the nd

 

 

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