tv Focus on Europe PBS May 12, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PDT
michelle: hello and welcome to "fokus on europe." i'm michelle henery. glad you could join us. it was a series of killings that shook germany to its core. people, mostly of turkish ethnicity, were murdered across the country in broad daylight in the early 2000's. and for years, the suspects, a neo-nazi terror cell, got away with it. it took more than a decade to capture a key member of the so-called national socialist underground, beeahtuh chaypuh. it wasn't until 2011 that authorities discovered that the nsu had been active for years and allegedly killed 10 people while police and prosecutors looked for perpetrators in the immigrant community. the subsequent trial has dragged on for already five years.
but despite the verdict not being far off now, many relatives of the victims, like abdul kerim shimshek, say justice continues to elude them. after having to endure such a long trial, they are still left disappointed and disillusioned with more questions than answers. our reporter visited the family of the terror group's first victim. reporter: abdulkerim simsek and his uncle hursit bas. life has not been the same for them since abdulkerim's father was murdered in 2000. his uncle is still unable to talk about the attack. abdulkerim: he fell into a depression because of all the pressure he had to bear, and eventually he had a break-down. reporter: for years the uncle was himself a police suspect. he and his brother ran a successful flower-delivery service that they had built up from modest means into a wholesale business. abdulkerim: this is how it all
began. this is my uncle's car. he used to drive it to buy the first flowers. reporter: a textbook tale of integration. one that was shattered on september the 9th, 2000. enver simsek was shot dead in one of the family's delivery cars, more than a two-hour drive away from home on a busy road in nuremberg. it was the first attack carried out by the self-styled national socialist underground or nsu. the police spent years following false leads, even suspecting the victims' relatives. 11 years later the truth came to light, when two members of the neo-nazi nsu were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide. a third member was put on trial, set to end soon. abdulkerim: the authorities have
to expose the nsu and everyone connected to them, but that's not happening. my lawyer says that once the trial is over, it will all be swept under the carpet, and there will be no further prosecutions. reporter: attention has also focused on nsu collaborators from the neo-nazi scene in nuremberg. the three suspected terrorists hailed from jena in eastern germany, 300 kilometers away. stephan doll heads a local association that combats right-wing extremism in the nuremberg area. this monument commemorates all the victims of the nsu's campaign of xenophic terror, eight people of turkish origin, one greek man, and a german policewoman, murdered in different towns across the country. but why was it nuremberg where the series of murders began? stephan: this is where the nazi party held its rallies and passed the racial purity laws, just in a building around the corner from here.
reporter: the infamous nazi party rally grounds. another iconic image is from the same location, u.s. troops blowing up the swastika on top of the central rally building after the nazi surrender in 1945. stephan doll believes that the neo-nazi scene consciously chose the city in northern bavaria over 20 years ago, and that it was home to a high number of nsu supporters. stephan: these people have never been brought to justice or properly investigated. reporter: a catalogue of failures that continuinues to this day? dieter: from the police's perspective, i would like to stress that we did everything at the time to investigate the right-wing extremist scene in the region. we conducted criminal investigations where appropriate, as we are still doing today.
reporter: this man disagress. herbert fuehr is a retired journalist who conducted research into the neo-nazi scene for the local newspaper. he believes that extremist leaders knew the terrorists and appeared with them in public before the latter went underground. once the police identified the three suspected perpetrators, uwe bohnhardt, beate zschape, and uwe mundlos in 2011, the nsu claimed responsibility in a cynical video, sent by mail, except for one copy that arrived at herbert fuehr's newspaper. herbert: it couldn't have got here by mail, because there was no stamp. reporter: meaning...? herbert: i think the dvd was left in our mailbox by someone from the nuremberg scene. reporter: one of the many active supporters who have still not
been identified. abdulkerim simsek and his family's lawyer are in no doubt. seda: i call on the authorities to continue their investigations after the trial of the fife -- the five defendants, and look at the nsu's network. we assume that there must have been more supporters and accessories, and we know nothing about these people. the trio were not some isolated little group. reporter: the trial of beate zschape and the four alleged collaborators is expected to be concluded in the near future. but 18 years after the murder of the flower-seller, many questions remain unanswered. michelle: london has a reputation for fine food, luxury shopping, and top dollar real estate. some of the british capital's most exclusive addresses are owned by the russian super rich. but because of lax regulation, some of these multi-million dollar homes are believed to have been bought using dirty money. ever since the recent nerve agent attack on british soil,
u.k.-russian relations have soured. now lawmakers have decided to take a closer look at where all this money is coming from. but as our reporter discovered, following this money trail is no easy task. reporter: shell out wads of cash -- reporter: london is the perfect place to shell out wads of cash fast. and at the finest addresses in the british capital, russian exiles are among the best customers. that's earned the city the nickname londongrad. it's become a playground for wealthy oligarchs, so it's hardly surprising that this russian wine shop in the chic mayfair district in london's west end calls itself hedonism wines. roman grigoriev has designed a map that helps rich russians find their way around. he also advises newcomers on making investments. why is london such a draw for russian investors? roman: there are many, many
different reasons. education is -- education, of course, because london, and the u.k. in general, has the best private schools in the world. there are different waves of russian investors. the initial wave was about safeguarding your investment. and that was the whole idea behind london and the u.k., that if you invest, no one can go and take away from you. reporter: russians have invested billions in london in recent decades. but where did they get the cash? anti-money laundering organizations like clampk have been following the money trail for years and found that much of it was simply stolen. so they've launched a kleptocracy tour to show properties used to launder money. the tour includes properties about to be -- >> just to your left here, flat 138a and flat 138b in 4 whitehall court, which are in total worth around 11.4 million . now land registry documents show
the properties are owned by sova real estate, which according to official records obtained by alexey navalny, indicate it's owned by shuvalov and his wife. it is unclear how shuvalov was able to afford the apartment. his 2014 asset declaration lists his official salary as 112,000 pounds. reporter: hidden ownership and corruption here in one of london's top locations, home after home is held by dubious proprietors. roman: what links, what's common to all russian oligarchs in london is their riches are coming from transactions with the russian government. they either sold something very dearly to the state of russia, or they bought something for pennies in some sort of privitization. reporter: this dirty money is sent to london both by vladimir putin's allies, who invest it abroad as they have little faith in the ruble, and by the russian
president's opponents, oligarchs who became rich after the collapse of the soviet union, but then fell into disfavor. both sides have always been welcome to invest here. few cared where the money came from. and that angers valery morozov. he fled russia after uncovering state corruption. but now the old conflicts from his homeland have followed him to britain. waleriy: they never worked, and they suddenly have billions, and nobody asks where. and they say, let them live here because they're against putin. they're maybe against putin, i'm not arguing that. but at the same time, they're from criminal world, and they bring this criminal world here, with crimininal morality, criminal moral values, criminal attitude. reporter: valery morozov can't escape his past here either. he recently received anonymous
death threats. the stories circulating amongst britain's russian community these days sound like something from a spy thriller. they include assassination attempts and unexplained deaths. to stop this, morozov says the british government must follow through on its threats to freeze the assets of those accused of human rights abuses. waleriy: reinvestigation is very important, because the situation when they were not investigated has created -- contributed to the strengthening of the positions of criminals. not only here, but here and in russia. reporter: on the kleptocracy tour, they also discuss what should happen now. the u.k. has introduced unexplained wealth orders which oblige foreign investors whose assets exceed their income to divulge the sources of their wealth. but clampk fears the rules won't be enough. roman: i think that if anything the british public can change it. maybe they'll say, enough is enough. maybe they'll say that after the poisoning of the people on the
streets of salisbury. reporter: but for many, that would also mean losing a lucrative source of income. it's not just the british government that's turned a blind eye to russian corruption, but real estate agents and business people as well. they're all too happy to share in the profits when russians flash their cash in londongrad. ♪ michelle: british investigators can now request disclosure of russian assets and even seize them if money laundering is suspected. spain's economy is still slowly recovering from the 2008 financial crisis. with one of the european union's highest unemployment rates, the country continues to deal with the human consequences, including rising poverty. to help the country's increasing homeless population, a priest in madrid has devised a plan that has led to many people calling him a modern day robin hood. ♪ reporter: what looks like a
cigarette dispenser is actually a solidarity machine. when customers put in coins, they're donating someone a free shower, a loaf of bread or cup of coffee. this is the robin hood restaurant, where the rich pay for the poor. ♪ reporter: outside it looks like any other eating place in the historic center of madrid. but in the evening, the day's profits go towards providing free meals for people in need. the proprietor is father angel garcia rodriguez, a catholic priest who's made it his mission to fight poverty and hunger. father angel: what matters here are community, friendship, and dignity. reporter: dignity might seem a distant dream to someone living on the street. there are several thousand homeless people in madrid.
they have not benefited from the modest upturn in the spanish economy. but they can get help in what's known as the church of the poor. here at san anton, anyone who needs it can bed down, get a meal, or celebrate mass. the church is always open. in 2015 father angel took over the abandoned church and gave it a community center function, inspired by pope francis. father angel: the first thing i heard him say was "i want a church that is there to help the poor." reporter: pensioner luis vincente picks up food vouchers for the robin hood restaurant. in return for his meals, he's happy to make an extra effort, especially with his appearance. luis: for two years, i didn't wear a suit and tie.
then my daughter said to me, dad, you will be like a king in the restaurant. "what do you mean, a king?" i said. she made me dress properly. so that i would get some respect. and out of respect for father angel. reporter: luis vincente lost his job, then saw his marriage collapse. he lives on the streets and doesn't want us to see that part of his life. but he does invite us to join him later at the restaurant. they're still cooking lunch. diners pay 11 euros. the profits will provide food for others. luis vincente has dressed up for the occasion. everyone is equal in the eyes of god, a principle that father angel takes literally. is there really much difference
between luis vincente and those effectively paying for his meal? father angel: look how often we cross the street to avoid the homeless. it's a problem the politicians can't solve. it's about human rights. it doesn't matter whether people have money or not. they need to keep their dignity. reporter: the volunteers who will be serving the poor their evening meal have arrived. >> they give you so much more than you give them, that's the way i see it. and they're so grateful. we may be fine at the moment. but any of us can lose our way at any time. we could easily be in their position tomorrow. reporter: just before 8:00, the tables are laid inside. the guests start to arrive. every place is assigned. for some it's a way back into
society and the world of work. today there's been good news for luis. the city has found him a room. so that he can not just eat in dignity but live in dignity too. ♪ michelle: the belgian city of mechelen didn't always look like this. in the 1990's it was an eyesore, known for everything it lacked, including infrastructure, integration, and safety. it was also a stronghold of the far right. but thanks to their progressive mayor, this has all changed. despite its 135 different nationalities, this city, located between brussels and antwerp, is now considered a model of success. reporter: "are you the mayor?" this boy asks. "yes, and you, would you like to be mayor someday?"
bart somers is well known to the children here. for 18 years he's been mayor mechelen, a belgian town of some 85,000 residents. when he was a child, it was a different place. bart: this is my old primary school. and when i went here, nearly 45 years ago, it was a very mono-cultural school. there were a few children from immigrant families, but most of the kids were white. and when i went here, nearly 45 now half of newborns in mechelen have immigrant roots. 20% of mechelen residents are muslims. and we have 135 different nationalities. reporter: that could be an explosive mixture, as experience in numerous belgian cities shows. but in mechelen, things are different. bart: a lot of people from belgium went to syria to join islamic state, proportionally speaking the most in europe. 100 of them were from antwerp
which is just 25 kilometers to the north of us. 25 kilometers to the south is brussels with 200 syrian fighters. 10 kilometers from here is vilvoorde, with 27. and from mechelen, where there are lots of people who could maybe be susceptible to that, nobody went to syria. reporter: so what is mechelen's recipe for success? one ingredient is a focus on youth work. social workers here know all the young people in their districts. and they do all they can to raise children to be responsible citizens. younes: today we're organizing a kind of competition. the different districts play against each other. it's about sports, yes, but also about being punctual, and respecting commitments and rules. reporter: the other pillar of the concept is strict security policy. although he's a liberal politician, bart somers is all
in favor of more surveillance cameras, police, and what's called overlast, or nuisance, teams. they deal with disturbances in public places, especially among youths. micha smulders serves on one of these teams. micha: we're here to build a close relationship with youths and other citizens, so that we can work through prevention, and keep people from behaving in a disorderly fashion. reporter: this is how it works. when there's a problem at a school, they always call in the same team. here the officers are questioning a pupil. he says another boy attacked him with a fork and took his phone. the accused appears before a juvenile magistrate the same day, a zero tolerance strategy. perhaps as a result, the atmosphere in mechelen has changed dramatically. luc: our mayor lives for mechelen. i live for mechelen.
mechelen always comes first. bart somers takes care of everyone. he thinks long-term, he thinks of the future. he has turned mechelen the hellhole into a paradise. reporter: and support for the far-right vlaams belang has gone down from more than 30% to just 7%. the populist flemish political party, which has its office at the town's picturesque market place, still criticizes the mayor's efforts. frank: yes, he's made a lovely town. but we have many lovely towns in flanders. bart somers has pampered the muslims here, who are growing in numbers. at the end they'll take over this lovely town. reporter: but as long as bart somers is at the helm, integration is the watchword here. bart: everyone who believes in the western model of society has to fight racism and discrimination. because they destroy the core of our society. what makes us strong as a
society? the fact that no one, no matter where they come from, by working hard can make a better future for themselves and their children. reporter: mechelen seems to be well on the way to that better future. michelle: in this modern age, it often feels like traditional, manual jobs are disappearing. and in countries like the netherlands, it would be akin to the loss of national identity if their windmills were to go. they are not only tourist attractions, but because of their sustainable blend of nature and technology, they were granted unesco world heritage status. and fortunately, there are young people like koon heikop who has hig s sights set on saving them. reporter: on weekends koen heikop's classmates go out on the soccer pitch or to parties, but koen heads for the windmill. alongside school, the
16-year-old is learning to be a miller. he's apprenticed to henk demoet in the 130-year-old mill in dongen close to the belgian border. koen already knows the routine. first he puts out the flag, meaning the miller is there. then the rotor shaft has to be lubricated with pork fat according to a centuries-old practice. and finally the sails are stretched over the rotor blades. koen: my friends like what i do here. but they don't really understand it. when i talk about it, they get bored pretty quickly. reporter: boring or not, windmills are the emblem of the netherlands. there are around 1000 in the country, and nearly all of them are still running, and not just for tourists. they are still used to grind grain, power sawmills, or pump water into the low-lying reclaimed areas called polders.
but there's a distinct need for a new generation, like koen, says the master miller. he is almost 70. henk: nowadays it's mainly retired people who do it as a hobby. the mills can still be kept in operation, but in 10, 15 or 20 years, we will have a real problem. reporter: part of the problem is that many dutch people view the windmills as props. their flour comes from the supermarket. >> we didn't know you could get flour there. i had no idea. >> this is more convenient. but maybe it tastes better from the mill? reporter: for leen lagerwerf, there's no question. whether it's rye, wheat, or spelt flour, his mill in the town of oisterwijk supplies the bakeries in the area. >> when the old millstones sing as the saying goes, and when the
flour feels soft and slightly sandy, then we know the quality is good. reporter: of course, tourists can also stop by to watch and listen to the traditional craft. these people have come specially from spain. >> we have come here because it's really popular that holland is full of windmills. reporter: the windmills themselves are likely to last. but whether they will keep providing bakers with flour, and whether young dutch people like koen heikop will be memorizing the blueprints of mills in the future, that is increasingly unclear. michelle: it's great to see a young person determined to carry on traditions. that's all for today. thank you for watching. goodbye. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]