Together Logo
Dangerous "harmless spinners


For a long time, the "Reichsbürger" were regarded as cranky eccentrics who sent confused letters to the authorities. "Annoying, but harmless," the security authorities also said until a few years ago. That was wrong even then. The fantasy that the German Reich still existed and that all that was needed was people who made its existence visible and acted accordingly took hold at the latest after the 2008 financial crisis. Suddenly, there was an increase in the number of people who claimed, with reference to obscure legal arguments, that they did not have to pay taxes and fees or possess a valid identity card. This was dismissed as a scurrility by the concerned employees of public authorities until the first Reich citizens took up arms and shot at bailiffs and police officers. Even before that, the number of cases of threats against judges and public officials had increased.

In the meantime, quite a few elements of the "Reichsbürger" ideology can be found in other scenes and milieus: whether among lateral thinkers, esotericists or free economists: The idea that the Federal Republic of Germany is actually an operetta state enjoys great resonance, and not only among the extreme right. The eccentric appearances of the self-proclaimed "King of Germany," Peter Fitzek, who is actually a chef in real life, which the media like to stage, cannot hide the radicalization of the milieu. Driven by the manifold crises of the time, the protagonists of the "Reichsbürger" scene are driven to action. They arm themselves, send letters to their followers in preparation for Day X, and propagate anti-state autarky and alleged sovereignty.

For years, the extreme right and its associated milieus have been experiencing a collapse of the mood of optimism and the mood of the end of the world all in one: they believe that the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany has essentially played out. It is only a matter of time before it collapses. In order to promote this collapse, people are organizing and preparing themselves: in case of doubt, not only by hoarding canned pea soup, but with weapons and murder plans. The danger does not come from self-styled emperors in ill-fitting suits, who parade their power fantasies in their living rooms. The danger lies in the supporters and the willingness to agree far into the so-called middle of society - namely when soldiers and policemen, representatives of the state monopoly on the use of force, turn potentially violent against this state and the principle of democracy, mark political enemies and draw up lists of people who should be killed.

For too long, the public has believed that "Reichsbürger" are about a Lego-Lummerland with a carnival emperor at its head. At the latest since the arrests of supporters of the "Reichsbürger" under suspicion of terrorism, everyone knows: "Reichsbürger" of every variety are about power and its enforcement, in case of doubt with violence against democracy and its representatives.