BONN (Sep. 11)
Karl-Heinz Hoffman, a prominent neo-Nazi leader who has a long record of cooperation with the Palestine Liberation Organization, will go on trial tomorrow in Nuremberg for allegedly having plotted the murder of Jewish publisher Shlomo Levin and his female companion Frida Poeschke. The murder took place December 19, 1980, in the couple’s house in Erlangen, near Nuremberg.
The trial is characterized by several highly symbolic elements. First, it takes place in the very same hall of the Nuremberg court, in which the allies tried the Nazi leadership after World War II.
Secondly, it attracts public attention to the leader of one of the most extremist neo-Nazi organizations in the country, the banned para-military group named after Hoffman. And thirdly, it gives a nationwide coverage to the cooperation between West German neo-Nazis and the PLO, which has been training the Hoffman group for many years.
Rudolf Brunner, the Nuremberg prosecutor, told journalists that 60 witnesses, 21 experts and many documents and objects will be brought to court to convince the judges that Hoffman was the man behind the murder. But the actual killing was carried out, according to the prosecution, by 29-year-old Uwe Behrendt, a member of the Hoffman group who committed suicide in a PLO military camp in Lebanon September 16, 1981.
A few weeks ago, West German police officers went to the former camp, where they found the body along with other evidence on the contacts between Hoffman’s group and the PLO.