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Who is ‘ringleader’ of German coup plot – and what is the Reichsburger movement?

German authorities claim they foiled a plot to overthrow government by far-right terrorists.

Over 3,000 police officers participated in raids throughout the country. A self-proclaimed prince was among 25 people who were arrested.

Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss, the 71-year old alleged mastermind, is not known. What is the Reichsburger movement said to have inspired this plan?

Image Photo: AP

The House of Ruess is the ‘ringleader’


Heinrich XIII is a descendant of a German aristocratic lineage that dates back to the 12th Century, the House of Ruess. Authorities believe the plotters intended to make him the leader of a new government.

Bild reports that he was in touch with Russian officials to negotiate a new order for the country.

His descendants once ruled parts of eastern Germany. However, this was ended in 1920 when the country became republic and their land became part the state of Thuringia.

More about Germany

Heinrich (Henry) is the name of all male family members. Heinrich I is the first century’s child, Heinrich II the second and so forth.

It is believed to be in honor of Henry VI, Roman emperor who gave the family their titles. The numbering system resets approximately every century, or when it reaches 100.

Image: Heinrich raided a lodge in Saaldorf (Thuringia), believed to be his. Pic: AP

Heinrich XIII appears still to be wealthy. A hunting lodge in Thuringia was one of the properties raided Wednesday.

He was born near Frankfurt in 1951 and married an Iranian woman. They have a son, and a daughter, in their 30s.

Although details of his life are not clear, there are reports that he is involved in finance and property management.

Prince Heinrich XIV was the current head of House of Reuss. He distanced himself earlier in the year from his relative.

Interview with OTZ German Site in August. He described himself as a confused old man who believes in conspiracy theories. He also stated that he hadn’t been in touch with his family in 14 years.

What’s the Reichsburger movement?

Prosecutors say the plotters intended to use violence and military means and were driven by conspiracy ideologies and violent overthrow fantasies.

Peter Frank, prosecutor, stated in a statement that the arrested people adhere to conspiracy myths that include various narratives of both the Reichsburger and the QAnon ideologies.

Reichsburger is German for “Citizens Of The Reich”, and its adherents believe that the post-Second World War German government is illegitimate. They also believe it was a puppet state made by the Allies.

Reichsburger was a loosely organized movement that included splinter groups as well as individuals.

Image A person is taken to a helicopter by police in Karlsruhe, during Wednesday’s raids
Image: Operation also conducted in Berlin

Germany is home to around 20,000 people. The intelligence agency estimates that 5% of them are far-right extremists who hold racist and anti-Semitic views.

As a sign of disobedience, some refuse to pay taxes or reject Germany’s laws. Others spam the courts and government departments with made-up demands to jam up and slow down the system.

The group was considered fairly innocent until 2016, when a Reichsburger believer shot a police officer, injuring three others, and then raided the home of a Reichsburger believer to seize weapons.

The group was being monitored more closely by authorities, and there has been an increase in concerns about members stockpiling arms.

This group is also believed to be supportive of America’s right-wing conspiracy myths, who claim that a secretive evil global cabal conspired against Donald Trump while he was president.


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