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Two tons of weapons and no judgment TIME ONLINE


The two boys accidentally came across the wooden boxes with the mortar grenades a few weeks ago. They actually wanted to steal a tractor from a nearby barn. But here, in Frederic F.'s shed, you can find explosives and ammunition in large quantities on a trailer. A little later, when the police pick them up, the two tell of their find.

The next morning, officials raided the building at Meierei-Platz in Winnert, a small village in Schleswig-Holstein, near Husum. The police find the boxes and also the grenades. When they hear who the barn tenant is, they drive on to a small new development on the outskirts of the village. There, in Frederic F.'s house, they encounter guns, pistols and revolvers. It is not the first time that the police are here. They have already dug a huge arsenal of weapons from F.

The Frederic F. case came at a time when the country was only discussing terrorist attacks from the right after the NSU murders. And it reveals a massive deficit in the rule of law in dealing with the current terrorist threat.

Just over two weeks after the search in Winnert, Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer sits in front of the press in Berlin, alongside Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht and the heads of the German security authorities. Seehofer answers questions about the Hanau terrorist attacks. Says that right-wing extremism poses the greatest threat to security in the country today. And that he would increase the police presence in the country, at the borders and also at the airports. Shortly afterwards, Parliament President Wolfgang Schäuble declared in the Bundestag: "Self-criticism, decisive action – we owe this to the murdered people of Hanau." Seehofer, Lambrecht, Schäuble, all vow vigilance. Want to convey the feeling that the state can guarantee the security of its citizens, despite everything.

Winnert's find tells a different story: that of a man who hoarded tons of weapons, bought and sold them, sent them across Europe by post – but was not punished.

"When I heard about it, I thought it couldn't be that they would find something with him again," says Jutta Rese on the phone. She is the mayor of Winnert. Rese speaks in a tight voice and in short sentences. You can hear how angry she is that her place is now in the headlines again. Frederic F. is a nice, solid guy, people from the village tell, sometimes he pushes one of his children through the village in the car. Everyone knows that Winnert has only 730 inhabitants. Frederic F., 40 years old, works as an IT specialist for a company that builds wind turbines. He is "indispensable there," says someone who knows him. From the stories, F. doesn't sound like someone hoarding explosives, machine guns, launcher grenades, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. And where the investigators find a swastika and imperial war flag.

The authorities came across him for the first time in 2015. The Federal Criminal Police Office receives a tip from colleagues from Slovakia. A man by the name of Frederic F. bought several submachine guns through the arms dealer AFG-Security in 2014. A shop based in the city of Partizánske, from which, according to media reports, also came the weapons used to assassinate a kosher Parisian supermarket five years ago. The Slovaks pass the process on to the BKA, since the "salute weapons" ordered can be converted into fully functional firearms with little effort. A little later, in July 2015, the investigators went to Winnert, Frederic F.'s house, for the first time

The mayor Jutta Rese lives only a few streets away from F. In the evening she walks past the property with the dog. "Everything was full of police here on the day of 2015," she says. Two tons of weapons are found at F., including 200 grenades, over 10,000 cartridges, several MG34, the machine gun of the German Wehrmacht. One of the hand grenades is so badly secured that the ordnance disposal service blows it up on the spot. "We residents had to leave all of our apartments," Jutta Rese recalls. Bazookas had been lying in the yard, three trucks were needed to remove all the material.

The Flensburg public prosecutor's office begins the investigation. F. testifies three times, gives passwords for his laptop and his online accounts. The picture emerges of a delusional collector who has bought weapons from Slovakia, Austria and Germany for years and then stores them with him in Winnert. First in his house in the new development in Osterheck, later also in a rented barn in the town center. But F. also names names: those of his buyers. Because he sold weapons himself several times, sent to collectors by post, as his lawyer ZEIT says, sometimes under a false name. He earned 13,740 euros this way. He sent weapons to Corfu, Vienna and Spießen-Elversberg in the Saarland.


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