Franz Fuchs (assassin)

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Franz Fuchs (born December 12, 1949 in Gralla , † February 26, 2000 in Graz ) was an Austrian terrorist and bomb bomber. From 1993 to 1997 the alleged individual perpetrator carried out racist and ethnic motivated attacks with numerous letter and pipe bombs on behalf of a Bavarian Liberation Army ( BBA ) . The victims and addressees of the bomb attacks were migrants, Roma and Sinti, as well as people and organizations that were involved in these areas. The series of attacks claimed four lives, 15 people were injured, some seriously.


Fuchs grew up with a brother on his parents' farm in Gralla, southern Styria . His technical talent showed up early on, and on the advice of a teacher, his parents sent him to the Gymnasium in Leibnitz . There he showed excellent performance in mathematics and physics . A school friend later described him as a meticulous and precise student who was occasionally teased by classmates and criticized by teachers because of his dialect. After graduating from high school, Fuchs enrolled at the University of Graz for theoretical physics to become a nuclear physicist .

In custody, he stated that he had dropped out of college because of the relationship with his girlfriend at the time. Forensic psychiatrist Reinhard Haller , however, thinks it is more likely that Fuchs left the university due to other circumstances. In general, Haller doubts that Fuchs ever had a stable relationship with a woman.

After his application for an increase in his scholarship was rejected, Fuchs went to Germany as an unskilled worker . First he worked at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg , later at Daimler-Benz . His attempts to advance in the company failed. In 1976 he returned to Austria, where he attempted suicide in August. His father arranged for Fuchs to be admitted to a psychiatric clinic in Graz, from which he was released after two months. In 1977 he worked initially as a surveying technician , later in the civil engineering office of a former classmate. His colleagues describe him as loyal, perfectionist and peculiar. Finally, after eleven years, he was advised to resign. He moved into his parents' house, where he lived in his own apartment. During his imprisonment period, Fuchs said he had "lazed around and read a lot" during this time. According to his own statements, he radicalized himself because of the opening of a Slovenian-language elementary school in Klagenfurt and Austria's foreign policy under Chancellor Franz Vranitzky .

The attacks

First letter bomb series in December 1993

Fuchs sent the first series of letter bombs at the beginning of December 1993. Of the nine letter bombs that reached their addressees from December 3 to 6, four exploded. The first victims were the pastor August Janisch and Silvana Meixner , employee of the minority editorial staff of the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF), as well as the then mayor of Vienna Helmut Zilk ; all three were seriously injured. Zilk lost two fingers of his left hand in this attack. An employee of a trustee was injured when a bomb addressed to the Islamic Foreign Aid Association went off. The other explosives were discovered in time. They were addressed to the Caritas President Helmut Schüller , the Greens politicians Madeleine Petrovic and Terezija Stoisits , to the university professor Wolfgang Gombocz (founding and board member of a representative organization of the Styrian Slovenes, the Article VII cultural association for Styria ) and the then Minister for Women Johanna Dohnal . Gombocz received the 4th letter bomb in the order of their discovery: Andrea Haberl discovered them and handed them over to the Bad Radkersburg gendarmerie post on December 5, 1993 at around 11 a.m.

The pipe bomb from Klagenfurt August 1994

The police officer Theo Kelz, a trained explosives expert, brought on 24 August 1994, a pipe bomb discovered in a sports bag to Klagenfurt Airport. There he wanted to examine the 5 kg pipe in the luggage X-ray street. The bomb detonated and Kelz's hands were torn off. The explosive device had previously been installed at the bilingual German-Slovenian racing school in Klagenfurt . Six years later, Raimund Margreiter successfully transplanted donor hands to the policeman .

Second letter bomb series in October 1994

The second series of letter bombs in October 1994 consisted entirely of duds . Due to a design flaw, none of the four bombs detonated. The recipients were the Slovenian Wieser Verlag in Klagenfurt, an association for the care of foreigners in Dornbirn , a paper factory in Hallein and the abbot from Wilten Abbey in Innsbruck.

The quadruple murder in Oberwart February 1995

Memorial in Oberwart

On the night of February 4 to 5, 1995, four Roma , Peter Sarközi, Josef Simon and Karl and Erwin Horvath, were killed in a booby trap in Oberwart . The pipe bomb was attached to a sign that read Roma Back to India . When an attempt was made to remove this sign , the explosive device, consisting of around 150 grams of insulated nitroglycerin , exploded . Two days later in Stinatz, Erich Preiszler, an employee of the Burgenland environmental service, was torn to pieces by a booby trap. The writer Stefan Horvath , father of the killed 27-year-old Peter Sarközi, reflected on the murders in various books.

As police files later revealed, the attack was for a long time attributed to a murder among Romas or to an accident while building a bomb. Only after the next attack in Stinatz was the death classified as a terrorist attack and the investigation changed in this direction.

Third, fourth and fifth letter bomb series 1995

The third series was sent at the beginning of June 1995 to the television presenter Arabella Kiesbauer , to Dietrich Szameit , the then deputy mayor of Lübeck , and to a dating agency in Linz . Kiesbauer and Szameit did not open their letters personally, the bombs injured their employees. In the case of Szameit, Thomas Rother , the SPD parliamentary leader at the time and today's member of the state parliament in Schleswig-Holstein, was severely injured by the letter bomb and four fingers on his right hand. The third bomb also detonated and the co-owner of the dating agency suffered severe injuries to her left hand.

The fourth series went to two foreign doctors and the refugee worker Maria Loley in mid-October 1995 . A doctor from Syria and Maria Loley were injured and the letter sent to a South Korean doctor was discovered.

Two of the four letter bombs of the fifth series exploded early on December 11, 1995 in a mailbox, the other two were intercepted. Among the addressees were the Vienna office of the United Nations Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Hungarian dating agency Kőszeg , Angela Resetarits (the mother of Lukas , Willi and Peter Resetarits ) and a Viennese family from India.

Sixth and final letter bomb 1996

Fuchs sent another letter bomb at the end of 1996. The letter addressed to Lotte Ingrisch , the stepmother of the then Interior Minister Caspar Eine , exploded during the police investigation. This was the last incident until Franz Fuchs was arrested a year later.

Arrest, trial and suicide

During a traffic control by the Federal Gendarmerie on October 1, 1997 - which happened to be the day the search began in Austria - Fuchs set off a pipe bomb because he believed he had been exposed. The suicide attempt failed, but severed both hands and injured the officers, some seriously.

It has not been proven whether the perpetrator profile published by the criminal psychologist Thomas Müller contributed to the arrest. However, the investigators claimed that they had successfully created a public threat about the imminent capture of the perpetrator, who was still unknown at the time. This triggered the psychological stress in the perpetrator that ultimately drove him to detonate a pipe bomb during the police check.

The Karlau Prison

On February 2, 1999, after extensive house searches in Fuchs' environment, the trial against the bomb maker began at the Regional Court for Criminal Matters in Graz. On the very first day of the negotiations, Fuchs blocked the start of the process by constantly chanting slogans such as "Long live the BBA!" And xenophobic hate speech. As a result, Fuchs was excluded from the hearing by the presiding judge Heinz Fuhrmann. In the days that followed, Fuchs was led out of the courtroom again after brief appearances in court, which were also ongoing. Eventually, the trial continued in the defendant's absence. Fuchs' defense attorney tried during the trial, in particular, to stir up doubts about the single perpetrator theory advocated by the prosecutor . He expressed the view that Fuchs was merely a contributor to an association called the Bavarian Liberation Army . Prosecutor Johannes Winklhofer countered this in his opening speech: "Franz Fuchs is the BBA, the BBA is Franz Fuchs." On March 10, 1999, the oath senate passed its judgment in the absence of the accused. Fuchs was sentenced to life imprisonment for quadruple murder as well as numerous attempted murders and bodily harm . At the same time, he was ordered to be placed in an institution for mentally abnormal law breakers.

On 26 February 2000 Fox committed suicide in his cell in the prison of Graz-Karlau suicide by hanging himself with the cable of his razor. Although he had prosthetic hands, he did not use them in his suicide.


Elfriede Jelinek made Fuchs' attack on the four Roma who died in Oberwart (on the night of February 4 to 5, 1995) the subject of her play Stecken, Stab und Stangl. A manual work (1996).

The one-man play Der Patriot (2008) by the playwright Felix Mitterer was released , which premiered in the Viennese StadtTheater walfischgasse . The drama takes place after Fuchs' arrest and consists mainly of "conversations" between Fuchs and the examining magistrate Erik Nauta, the interrogators Friedrich Maringer and Robert Sturm, and the psychiatric court expert Reinhard Haller . These scenes alternate with monologues that provide an insight into Fuchs' inner life and show his fears and delusions. When writing his piece, Mitterer oriented himself heavily on the interrogation protocols and Haller's psychiatric report.

The Fuchs criminal case was first filmed in 2000 by the German television director Torsten C. Fischer under the title Der Briefbomber with Karl Fischer in the title role. This TV production was only superficially oriented towards the facts of the actual case, and the actual names had been changed (e.g. Martin Fechter instead of Franz Fuchs). The focus was not on fox, but on a profiler looking for and tracking down foxes. The model for this character played by Sylvester Groth , who was called Frank Meyer in the film , was the criminal psychologist Thomas Müller .

In 2007 the Austrian film director Elisabeth Scharang shot the docu-drama Franz Fuchs - A Patriot with Karl Markovics in the title role. In it, Fuchs' personality was traced based on the interrogations of the examining magistrate Erik Nauta (in the film under the name Schwab ; played by Stefan Puntigam ). The game scenes were supplemented by documentary recordings and interviews. The film was broadcast on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his arrest on October 2, 2007 by ORF .

The German far-right rock - band soldiers sang the stop of Oberwart in a verse of her song in the mountains of Rwanda on their album German anger - Rock against the top . The album was released in 1998 and has been indexed since August 2004 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Gisela Friedrichsen : Just some Punch? In: Der Spiegel . No. 8 , 1999 ( online ).
  2. Theodor Kelz had lost both forearms to the BBA bomb. In: . March 8, 2000, accessed March 7, 2020.
  4. Article in .
  5. Expert: Bomb deadly at 300 m. In: . February 5, 1999.
  6. ^ A b Franz Fuchs and the BBA. In: . 2005, accessed December 27, 2019.
  7. Agnes Höld: Oberwart 1995 and the politics of the Burgenland-Croatian ethnic group. In: . Diploma thesis, 2012.
  8. 20 years after Oberwart: The man who got talking about the bomb . In: . February 4, 2015, accessed February 5, 2015.
  9. The police protocol for the Roma attack on ORF of February 4, 2020, accessed on February 4, 2020.
  11. Notices: Listen to the police . In: Der Spiegel . No. 25 , 1995 ( online ).
  12. ^ Stenographic minutes of the 120th meeting (XX. GP) of the National Council of the Republic of Austria
  13. Commentary on data protection and raster search ( Memento from July 5, 2007 in the Internet Archive ).
  14. ^ Press release from the Austrian Ministry of the Interior ( Memento from August 24, 2003 in the Internet Archive )
  15. Karin Kneissl: Life imprisonment for Austria's bomb maker Franz Fuchs . In: Die Welt , March 11, 1999.
  16. ^ Norbert Mappes-Niediek : Justice sees death of Franz Fuchs cleared up . In: Berliner Zeitung , February 29, 2000.
  17. 20 years ago: Raster search came into effect and Franz Fuchs was caught . In: . 29th September 2017.
  18. ORF theme evening on Franz Fuchs . In: . September 26, 2007.