A neo-nazi gang has been put on trial after they allegedly went on the rampage and murdered nine innocent people and killed a police woman, it has been reported.

The trial is thought to be one the most high-profile cases since World War II. It not only exposes the threats posed by fascist groups within the country, but also highlighted institutional racism within Germany in which the police were said to have turned a blind eye to the racist motivation behind the attacks.

Beate Zschäpe, a surviving member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU), went on trial in Munich last week and is charged with her complicity in the murder of eight Turkish men, a Greek man and a German policewoman. She along with other members of the group is reported to have been involved in 15 bank robberies and two nail bombings.

Other charges include arson, founding a terrorist organisation and facilitating robbery. The 38-year-old will be tried alongside four others who have been charged with assisting the group.

The trial exposed the failings of the police and intelligence services in the country who neglected to detect the group for 13 years, leaving the murders which took place between 2000 and 2007 unsolved.

Its existence was reportedly only spotted by chance, after Zschäpe’s alleged accomplices Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt killed themselves in a joint pact after a failed bank robbery.

Police found the pistol used to murder all their victims in their torched caravan in the eastern town of Eisenach.

A DVD in which the NSU introduced itself and its militant racial hatred policy was also found and in it, they claimed responsibility for the murder of the men.

However, a bomb making factory had been found in Zschäpe’s garage as far back as 1998 raising questions over why they were not spotted sooner. In addition to missing their chances to spot the group, the police were also reported to have not only ignored the racial motivation behind the murders but even tried to pin the blame on the victims themselves, by accusing them of having connections to organised crime within immigrant circles – a suspicion that turned out to be untrue.

The police have also faced charges of sympathising with the group, failing to detect them, carrying out botched investigations and failing to share information within police departments.

Hans-Christian Ströbele of the Green party and a deputy member of the parliamentary committee that has been investigating the authorities’ failures, said: “The really terrible thing, is that while information about the NSU was known again and again, it was not pursued. Huge mistakes were made – in short, it was a huge failure”.

The federal and domestic intelligence agencies in the country have been reshuffled since the details of the police failings came to light.

Semiya Şimşek, was related to one of the victims – her father, Enver Şimşek who was gunned down in the murders.

She said: “I will be looking closely at how Germany conducts the trial. “I feel like the neo-Nazis shot him [but] the German authorities killed him a second time.”

Ms Şimşek is the author of a book called ‘Schmerzliche Heimat de Deutschland und der Mord an meinem Vater’ (‘Painful Homeland of Germany and the Murder of My Father’). In the book, she said that the police tried to implicate her father in criminal activity and treated her families like the criminals, instead of a victim of crime.

Last month, the German authorities faced further criticism after a network of far-right prisoners were discovered. Those members had communicated with a secret code and remained undetected by prison authorities. They are reported to have tried to contact Zschäpe repeatedly, who has become something of a heroine among neo-nazis.

The trial is expected to continue until 2015.

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