Letter from Munich – 069

Letter from Munich – the Joseph Affair – 69


3 May 2002

Dear Mr. Graf, dear friends,

After she had begun reading Sven May’s “new” statement to us last week, Francesca had commented, “It sounds as if he were reading a script.”

She continued the reading this week:

Question: Did you see anyone do anything to Joseph?

Answer: I was in the whirlpool. I didn’t see anything.

Question: What did Joseph have with him when he was sitting on the edge of the pool?

Answer: Joseph didn’t have a ball or any kind of swimming or life-saving equipment with him.

Question: Do you know Joseph’s sister?

Answer: I know his sister by sight. I don’t know her name.

“I have to point out,” said Francesca, “that the poor boy is lying, either because he’s being forced to or for some other reason. He knew Joseph’s sister very well. I’ve already talked about and read to you his first written statement, which he wrote himself and in which he describes Joseph’s murder. In that statement, below his signature, in adolescent handwriting and with two spelling errors in the original German, it reads, ‘I have spoken with Diana on a cassette and told everything.’ I’ll continue now with the second statement.”

Question: Did you see Joseph’s sister when Joseph was sitting on the edge of the pool?

Answer: She was with three girls somewhere else. She was playing ball near the paper bins near the entrance. I’m marking that place with a “6.”

Question: After you told this to Frau Abdulla, did she say anything?

Answer: She thanked me for the statement. I went away again.

Question: Did you have to sign a transcript of a statement?

Answer: No.

“As I’ve already said,” Francesca remarked, “I have not simply a photocopy of a transcript that the boy signed, but a photocopy of a statement in his own handwriting, which he signed.”

Question: Did you get anything from Frau Abdulla?

Answer: Some chewy candy.

Question: Were you ever in the pharmacy after that?

Answer: I only know that I was once in the pharmacy with Rene, not long after I told what happened at the pool. I can’t say when that was. Maybe around six months ago. Rene first went in alone. When that seemed to take a lot of time, I went in too. Rene was talking to Mr. and Mrs. Abdulla. I talked with them too. It was about money. One of them, Mr. or Mrs. Abdulla, said that we would get a large reward when everything was over. We told that to father. But I didn’t say it, Rene did.

“I feel I have to emphasize repeatedly,” said Francesca, “that it was Mr. and Mrs. Abdulla themselves, who gave me this transcript. I have to say as well that I think of course it was a mistake to offer the children any kind of reward. But what could the Abdullas do? No one – nobody in the media, no police officer, no politician – wanted to investigate the inconsistencies of the case, the discrepancies between what these young eyewitnesses originally said happened and what the authorities said was supposed to have happened. For the Abdullas, it was probably no different from what the government or any organization does, when it offers a reward leading to the arrest of a criminal.”

Question: Did anyone tell you what you were supposed to say to the police?

“Maybe I’m wrong,” Francesca remarked, “but under the circumstances, I find that a rather unusual question. Is it possible that the police were trying to defend themselves, in advance, against the charge that someone in fact had told the boy exactly that?”

Question: Did anyone tell you what you were supposed to say to the police?

Answer: No.

Question: What do Nazis look like?

Answer: They wear combat boots. And they have shaved heads.

Question: Did you see people like that at the swimming pool on 13 June 1997?

Answer: No, I didn’t see anybody like that. There were ordinary young people there.

Question: Have you gotten money from Rene?

Answer: Yes, 5 DM, two times. I knew that Rene got money from the pharmacy.

Question: What other people that you know were at the swimming pool?

Answer: I don’t know their names anymore. I don’t know anything more.

“Then in the transcript,” Francesca said, “it states, ‘The transcript of the questioning of Sven May was read out in the presence of his father, Hanspeter May. Herr May read over the transcript. Sven confirmed that his words were transcribed correctly.’ And under that is the signature of the police officers who conducted the questioning, together with the signature of Sven May and his father.”

Sincerely yours,

Robert John Bennett

Mauerkircherstrasse 68

81925 Germany

Telephone: +49.89.981.0208

E-Mail:  rjbennett at post.harvard.edu

E-M… Saad and Renate Kantelberg-Abdulla:  rjbennett at post.harvard.edu

E-M… an Herrn und Frau Dr. Kantelberg-Abdulla:  majoskantelberg at t-online.de

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