Queuing is something most Germans hate doing.
It is associated with the miseries of inflation, war, defeat, occupation and division endured over nearly a century.
So it seemed out of place to be witnessing elderly Germans standing in line in the cold on a Munich street at 5am last Monday. They were waiting to bag one of 50 seats available to the public at the court where four neo-Nazis are on trial for murdering nine, mostly Turkish, immigrants.
The racist killings are Germany’s worst acts of far right violence since 1945. Some of the would be spectators had arrived 16 hours earlier to make sure they could get in.
One was Helmut Sieber, a 67-year-old decorator. Equipped with sausage rolls and a thick coat, he described himself as a “man of the left”.
He said he was queuing to make sure that “no Nazis” would get into the trial.
Alongside him were others intent on seeing justice done, such as a 52-year-old businessman called Reinhold who said he wanted to find out what motivated the killers.
Sami Demirel, a Turkish community leader was also in the queue. “These killings frighten me. I feel that they are aimed at me and my children,” he said.
Perhaps it was as well that Sami, Reinhold and Helmut were already in court when some neo-Nazis stole in to the public gallery unnoticed. One was a brother of one of the accused. He has five children and is raising them to be model Nazis. For Christmas his wife bakes Swastika-shaped biscuits.