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The Murder of Halit Yozgat
Institute of Contemporary Arts
Kassel, Germany, 6 April 2006
(Investigation 2016 – ongoing)

On 6 April 2006, 21-year-old Halit Yozgat was murdered in his family run internet café 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 café. Temme claimed not to have witnessed the murder.

Within the 77 square metres of the internet café, 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 anti-racism 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.

One of the most important pieces of evidence in this leak was a video of a police re-enactment performed by Andreas Temme. Such re-enactments are often ritualistic events forming part of an admission or confession, denoting justice fulfilled. In Forensic Architecture’s investigation the re-enactment is treated not only as a representation of an event, but an event in itself; a potential crime – of perjury and misrepresentation – in its own right.

Within a reconstructed real-scale physical model of the internet café – the exact dimensions of which are marked here on a black carpet – Forensic Architecture re-enacted this re-enactment in order to examine Temme’s testimony, while also carrying out further tests to analyse the threshold of sensory perception. A video presented here shows moments from this process of re-enactment.

The video triptych 77sqm_9:26min presents Forensic Architecture’s full analysis of the events surrounding Halit Yozgat’s murder. This investigation established that Temme’s testimony was untruthful, opening up to larger questions regarding the involvement of German state agencies with radical right-wing groups. As the NSU trial approaches its conclusion in 2018, the truth of the murder – and above all, Temme’s presence at the scene – remains obscured.

The mural presented here charts the events related to the production, presentation and subsequent contestation of Forensic Architecture’s analysis across multiple forums: press conferences, cultural institutions, public demonstrations, two parliamentary inquiries and a criminal court. In each of these forums, Forensic Architecture was obliged to defend its evidence according to different rules and conventions. The complexity of this flow diagram traces the indeterminate nature of counter forensics, its methods, limitations and points of impact.

Read the report 77sqm_9:26min

Commissioned by: Unraveling the NSU Complex; Initiative 6 April; Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW); documenta 14; the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London. Presented to the German Parliamentary Inquiry (June 2017) and to the Hessen Parliamentary Inquiry (25 August 2017).
Project team: Eyal Weizman (Principal Investigator), Christina Varvia (Project & Research Coordinator), Stefanos Levidis, Simone Rowat, Omar Ferwati, Nicholas Masterton, Yamen Albadin, Ortrun Bargholz, Eeva Sarlin, Bob Trafford, Franc Camps Febrer, Sarah Nankivell, Hana Rizvanolli, Chris Cobb Smith (Advisor), Lawrence abu Hamdan (Advisor)
Collaborators: Ayşe Güleç / Unraveling the NSU Complex, Initiative 6 April, and documenta 14; Natascha Sadr Haghighian / Unraveling the NSU Complex and Initiative 6 April; Fritz Laszlo Weber / Unraveling the NSU Complex, Initiative 6 April, and documenta 14; Cordula Hamschmidt / HKW; Khaled Abdulwahed; Cem Kayan; Vanina Vignal; Sebastian Bodirsky / Unraveling the NSU Complex; Dr. Salvador Navarro-Martinez / Imperial College London; Grant Waters / Anderson Acoustics; Armament Research Services (ARES); Mihai Meirosu / Nvision Audio; Christopher Hupe / HKW; Frank Bubenwer; Gozen Atila; Markus Mohr / Unraveling the NSU Complex; Mathias Zieske; Serdar Kazak / Unraveling the NSU Complex and Initiative 6 April; Norma Tiedemann; Basak Ertur