Last Thursday, Germany’s branch of Combat 18 let its mask slip: For the first time ever, the neo-Nazi group decided to release a video. Despite a balaclava, black gloves, zipped-up anorak, and an artificially distorted voice, it didn’t take long for antifascist research organization Exif to identify the man they believed was standing in some greenery in the video: Robin Schmiemann.
The disguised man believed to be Schmiemann, a leading figure of the group, read out a declaration saying that Combat 18 felt obliged to go public “due to recent incidents and the media’s cannibalizing of our name for the sole purpose of increasing circulation.”
“Germany has arrived at the point where every citizen is forced to protect himself and his family alone,” he says. “The citizens’ trust in politicians, judiciary, and the media has been completely destroyed.”
Schmiemann spent eight years in jail for shooting a Tunisian-born man during an armed robbery in Dortmund, and while behind bars exchanged letters in prison with Beate Zschäpe, a convicted member of the neo-Nazi terrorist cell the National Socialist Underground (NSU).
For some researchers, the fact that the video appeared at all shows that Combat 18 has been rattled by the attention created by the killing of politician Walter Lübcke. Since it emerged that the main suspect, Stephan E., had ties to the group, Germany’s Interior…