Germany: Germany facing a radicalization of its seniors?

German special police forces arrest Prince Henry XIII of Reuss (d), in Frankfurt, western Germany, on December 7, 2022 AFP - BORIS ROESSLER

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2 mins

On December 7, the German police carried out several searches in circles close to the extreme right.

Twenty-five people were arrested on suspicion of preparing a putsch in Berlin.

A hundred others knew about it and would have supported the project.

At the end of the week, the investigators specified that 420,000 euros in cash and 40 kg of gold had been seized on the occasion.

Public opinion discovers with amazement the identity of the plotters: doctors, soldiers, lawyers, a member of the aristocracy.

All are apparently installed in society.

Most are over 50 years old.

Radicalization is a phenomenon often associated with youth.

Is Germany facing a radicalization of its seniors?


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With our correspondent in Berlin,

Nathalie Versieux

The age of the conspirators and their social status are the first thing that strikes you in this affair.

The leader of the group, Prince Henry XIII, is over 70 years old.

His right-hand man is a 69-year-old former paratrooper.

A 58-year-old judge, a member of the far-right AfD party in the Bundestag until last year, was to allow the putschists access to Parliament.

All these people are suspected of belonging to the Reichsbürger movement, literally the “Citizens of the Reich”, a group closely followed by the intelligence services.

They have in common to deny the legitimacy of the Federal Republic, reject its laws, and even its identity documents, refuse to pay their taxes.

Benjamin Winkler, of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation in Leipzig is not surprised by their profiles: “ 

When we talk about the ideology of the Reich, we are talking about radicalization in the second half of life.

It means that we are not dealing with people who have always had far-right ideas.

Rather, they are people in whose lives something serious has happened, an event that triggers radicalization: illness, economic decline, family breakdown…


Today, the intelligence services speak of 15,000 potentially dangerous people in the ranks of the “Citizens of the Reich”.

People who are more vulnerable to conspiracy theories spread on the Net than young people, who grew up with smartphones.

To read also Germany: the "citizens of the Reich", from folklore to a danger to democracy


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