Germany's 'Nazi bride' gets life sentence for 10 far-right killings

Image: Beate Zschaepe
Beate Zschaepe in November 2017. Copyright Christof Stache
By Alexander Smith and Reuters with NBC News World News
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She is the sole surviving member of a neo-Nazi terrorist cell who called themselves the National Socialist Underground.


Germany's so-called "Nazi bride" was found guilty on 10 counts of murder Wednesday for her role in a neo-Nazi gang that carried out killings and bombings over the course of seven years.

Beate Zschaepe, 43, was sentenced to life in prison by a court in Munich, Reuters reported.

It marked the end of one of Germany's most high-profile and longest-running neo-Nazi trials.

Zschaepe is the sole surviving member of a white supremacist terrorist cell that called itself the National Socialist Underground (NSU).

Between 2000 and 2007, the three-member group was behind at least 10 murders — killing eight men of Turkish origin, a Greek migrant, and a German female police officer — as well as carrying two bombings in immigrant areas of Cologne and 15 bank robberies, according to prosecutors.

Lukas Barth-Tuttas
Protesters hold banners featuring the portraits of murder victims in front of the Higher Regional Court in Munich on Tuesday.Lukas Barth-Tuttas

The two other known members of the cell, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt, were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide after a bungled bank robbery in 2011. It was only then that investigators linked the killings and realized they were carried out by the same group.

Zschaepe turned herself in to police shortly after and has been on trial since 2013.

She denied the killings, speaking only twice during more than 400 days of hearings in the five-year case. She did apologize to the victims' families and said she felt morally responsible for not stopping Mundlos and Boehnhardt.

"I am a compassionate person and was able to see and feel the distress and despair of the families," she said in her closing statement to court last week.

In her only other testimony, she had previously denied being part of NSU altogether and claimed to have been horrified when the other two members told her about the killings.

Zschaepe's lawyers had urged the court to convict her of the lesser charges of arson and robbery.

She has been dubbed the "Nazi Bride" by German media and "Hitler child" by anti-racism demonstrators.

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