German neo-Nazi cell may be linked to rabbi’s murder

Police in Germany and Switzerland are investigating possible links between the murder of an Orthodox rabbi in Zurich, and a killing spree by a terrorist neo-Nazi cell.

According to the Swiss paper Tagesanzeiger, the Israeli-born rabbi, Abraham Grünbaum, age 70, was shot at point-blank range and instantly killed on June 7, 2001, in the Agudas Achim synagogue in Zurich. The crime was recorded on a security camera, but the image quality was low, the report said. Police found two bullet casings and cigarette butts at the site. The rabbi was not robbed, thus the motive was considered likely to be hate.

A rash of murders that followed shortly after the rabbi’s killing now have been attributed to a German neo-Nazi gang, the National Socialist Underground. In all, the gang is
suspected of involvement at least ten killings over a decade, and police are now investigating whether the gang was involved in the rabbi’s death.

The main weapon, which has been found, was registered in Switzerland and reportedly also was used at Swiss shooting ranges.

The German group, based in Zwickau, is suspected to have had connections with Swiss right-wing extremists: German security forces had tapped phone conversations between the two countries, and witnesses in Germany have said the group used a vehicle with Swiss plates, according to the Swiss daily, the Basler Zeitung.