A former police inspector who was responsible for enhancing security in the Jewish community was among the 25 far right and neo-Nazi agitators arrested by the German authorities on Wednesday accused of plotting the overthrow of the government.
The revelation presents serious security concerns for Germany’s Jewish community, according to reports in the German media.
The man, named as Michael F., is a former chief inspector in the police department in the city of Hanover, according to a report in the Welt news outlet. He was released from the force in 2020 after he delivered a speech at a rally opposing COVID-19 public health measures in which he compared rules concerning masks and social distancing to Nazi persecution.
In 2019, F. was in charge of developing security measures for the Jewish community in Lower Saxony. “We are very concerned that Michael F. is one of the suspects in a terror network,” Rebecca Seidler — executive director of the Liberal Jewish Community in Hanover — told Welt.”As early as 2020, we noticed that he was becoming radicalized and maintaining contacts with right-wing extremist groups.”
Seidler added that because F. had “created security concepts for the Jewish communities and therefore has detailed knowledge of the security situation of Jewish communities, there is a security risk that must now be taken seriously.”
Those arrested in raids carried out by more than 3,000 officers across the country were devotees of the “deep state” conspiracy theories of Germany‘s Reichsberger and QAnon, whose advocates were among those arrested after the storming of the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Members of the Reichsbuerger (Citizens of the Reich) do not recognize modern-day Germany as a legitimate state. Some of them are devoted to the German empire under monarchy, while some are adherents of Nazi ideas and others believe Germany is still under the military occupation installed following the defeat of the Nazis in 1945.
The plot envisaged a former member of a German noble family, identified as Prince Heinrich XIII, as the leader of a future state while another suspect, Ruediger v. P., was the head of its proposed military arm, prosecutors said. Also arrested was Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, a serving judge and a former member of parliament for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) Party.
According to research by Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, more than 21,000 people are involved with the far right scene in Germany today, one in 10 of whom are considered violent.
The raids and arrests demonstrated “the enormous danger that right-wing extremists and citizens of the Reich can pose,” Omid Nouripour, the leader of the German Green Party, told the Stern news outlet.
Nouripour remarked that it was “a big mistake” to dismiss the Reichsberger movement as fringe crackpots. The raid also proved “that our democracy and the rule of law are well defended,” Nouripour added.