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THE MURDER OF HALIT YOZGAT

Project team: Forensic Architecture (United Kingdom) Collaborators: documenta 14, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Initiative 6 April, The People’s Tribunal “Unraveling the NSU Complex” (Germany); Official inquiries: presented to Hessen Parliamentary NSU-Inquiry, used in the Report of the German Federal Parliamentary NSU-Inquiry, 2017 (Germany); Original incident: Kassel, Germany, April 6, 2006; Investigation: 2016–17

On 6 April 2006, 21-year-old Halit Yozgat was murdered in his family-run internet cafe in Kassel, Germany. His was the ninth of ten racist murders committed in Germany between 2000 and 2007 by a neo-Nazi group known as the National Socialist Underground (NSU). At the time of the killing Andreas Temme, an agent of the German domestic intelligence service (Verfassungsschutz), was present in the cafe. Temme claimed not to have witnessed the murder.

Within the 77 square meters of the internet cafe, and the 9 minutes 26 seconds during which the incident unfolded, different actors—members of migrant communities, a state employee, and the murderers—were positioned in relation to each other in a manner yet to be made clear, but one whose implications bear great political significance. This unit of space and time stands as a microcosm of the social and political controversy known as the “NSU Complex.”

Commissioned by Unraveling the NSU Complex, a Germany-wide alliance of antiracist activists, Forensic Architecture’s investigation became possible when hundreds of documents from the Hessen police investigation of the murder—reports, witness depositions, photographs, and computer and phone logs—were leaked at the end of 2015.

Image: A composite of Forensic Architecture’s physical and virtual reconstructions of the internet café where Halit Yozgat was murdered; Image by Forensic Architecture, 2017 © Forensic Architecture