In an operation against right-wing terrorism suspects, German authorities raided a number of locations in four states yesterday.
The raids in Lower Saxony, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein and Thuringia targeted four people, suspected of founding a terrorist organization, the prosecutors said, but it was not clear if anyone was arrested. State officials and special commando units carried out the raids, prosecutors said.
The suspects were accused of forming a group called Nordadler (Northern Eagles) whose goal was to strengthen National Socialism in Germany, through possible attacks on political opponents if necessary.
Since 2016, German authorities have conducted an increasing number of nationwide raids targeting right-wing groups, including houses, apartments and other properties believed to be owned by members of such groups, targeting the so-called Reich citizens movement, Reichsbürgers.
The domestic intelligence service estimates that the Reichsbuerger have several thousand members. One of them shot dead a police officer in Bavaria in October.
German authorities are increasingly concerned over the Reichsbürger movement, which reportedly has 718 members in Saxony, according to the Federal Police Office for the Protection of the Constitution. In Bavaria, numbers are going up, with around 3,000 people reported as being part of the movement.
Reichsbürger members do not recognize the modern German state as legitimate, citing technicalities about the fall of the Nazi Third Reich in May 1945, stipulating that while the Wehrmacht top brass did surrender to the Allies, the political leaders of the government, such as ministers and Adolf Hitler himself, never surrendered. Hitler also considered the surrender of Heinrich Himmler and Herman Göring as high treason, expelling them from the government before the Reich's collapse.
The Reichsbürger movement also believes that the legitimate borders of Germany are those of 1937, before the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland. They also refuse to acknowledge the modern constitution and pay no taxes, claiming to be following the laws of the Third Reich's constitution.