Neo-nazi gamesmasters and 'kebab killers' Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos
When German neo-Nazis aren’t gunning down immigrants, robbing banks and making pipe bombs, apparently they like to get together for a nice game of Pogromly – a Nazi-themed version of Monopoly where the phrase “Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200” has more to do with turning people into soap than dropping it. This horrifying abomination was designed and sold for about $78 by National Socialist Underground members Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos and their female accomplice Beate Zschäpe to raise funds for their racist terrorist activities. The two guys, a girl and their blitzkrieg board game are believed to be responsible for the “Kebab Killings”, a series of point-blank executions in Germany between 2000 and 2006 that targeted eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman.
The two Uwes committed suicide last November, right after robbing their 14th bank in 12 years and only moments before police were about to apprehend them. And Beate turned herself over to police custody after firebombing the house she and the boys lived in, in an unsuccessful attempt to destroy the evidence that ultimately linked the trio to the Kebab Killings – evidence that included the murder weapon and a DVD containing footage of the crew in which they claim responsibility for nine of the murders. In an attempt to understand how such misguided pieces of human garbage come to be (and why they made a board game), we reached out to three American game experts – Frank Lantz, Eric Zimmerman and Jesse Fuchs – to see whether their analysis of Pogromly could tell us anything about the notorious terror-cell trio.
VICE: Hi, Frank. What can you tell us about the terror cell from looking at Pogromly?
Frank Lantz: They are idiots. Re-skinning Monopoly is the most unimaginative way to make a game. There’s Simpsons Monopoly and Baseball Monopoly. It’s been done a million times. Well, at least they put their own political spin on it.
Politics in games is nothing new. Monopoly itself is based on a game that was a political work made by a radical leftist to show the injustices of land ownership. However, this game’s only value is its interesting, shocking and perverse cultural kitsch.
Eric, what do you think they were trying to accomplish?
Eric Zimmerman: The fact that they made the game demonstrates their fantasy about having their ideas at play in the culture at large. They hope one might walk into a toy store and see their version of Monopoly on the shelf. It is not necessarily an earnest attempt to make a fun or playable game, or even have some kind of viable economic idea disseminated. Just the act of making the game helps them live out their fantasy. Do you think it’d be fun to play Pogromly?
Jesse Fuchs: It’s almost like the game is for people who find Monopoly too confusing. It’s hard to even tell what the utilities are – oh, they seem to be Jews working… The weirdest thing is that Monopoly is a game about bankrupting each other. Was this supposed to represent Nazi infighting? I doubt it was well thought-through. Even if I were a Martian game designer who had no instinctive revulsion to this game, I still doubt I would get anything from it.
Illustration by Hannah Kunkle