Andreas Geisel. Photo: Imanuel Marcus
In cooperation with the Senate Administration in the city-state of Berlin, Germany’s Ministry of the Interior just forbade the organization ‘Unified German Peoples and Tribes’ (Geeinte deutsche Völker und Stämme’) which was run by self-proclaimed ‘Citizens of the Reich’.
Rooting out extremist right-wing organizations is something the Ministry of the Interior has done for a long time. Since the latest terror attacks in Halle and Hanau, banning those groups has a higher priority. These days, right-wing extremism and terrorism pose a bigger danger than left-wing extremists. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, a conservative, has said so.
Now he forbade the next organization of this kind, ‘Geeinte deutsche Völker und Stämme’. The ministry was mainly supported by Berlin’s Interior Senator Andreas Geisel and his administration. ‘Citizens of the Reich’ neither accept the Federal Republic of Germany they live in nor its institutions, laws or its police. They pretend they live in a state like Nazi Germany which was defeated by the Allies in 1945, when fascism and the Holocaust finally ended.
On Thursday, Senator Geisel said the ban of the ‘Unified German Peoples and Tribes’ was “a clear signal to enemies of the constitution in our city and country”. Berlin would not just watch the outrageous activities of right-wing extremists or ‘Citizens of the Reich’ without taking action.
“Nobody has the right to despise the institutions and our constitution or to threaten, insult or attack people”, Geisel stated. The mania those ‘Reich citizens’ were spreading were not just some crazy ideas, “but a serious threat to our democracy”. The ban had ended the activities of one of the most important groups in this spectrum, Senator Geisel said.
The banned group’s goal was to abolish the Federal Republic of Germany and to replace it by their own system of “activated communities”. Organizations of this kind are known to deny the legitimacy of the Federal Republic’s institutions along with its parliamentarism.
According to Andreas Geisel, the organization that was forbidden today had approximately 120 members. Its headquarters were located in Berlin. Besides, their activities in the German capital had been the focus of their activities. Police raided three objects today, where funds were confiscated and evidence was gathered. The home of the group’s leader and the association’s office were searched.
At the same time, parallel raids were conducted in Brandenburg, Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Saxony, and Thuringia. According to Berlin’s Senate Administration of the Interior, the group’s image of humanity was shaped by antisemitism and conspiracy theories.
Insults and Threats
The banned group sent long pseudo-legal letters to the authorities and insulted and threatened civil service employees. Its members announced they would take over public buildings. In Berlin, there are around 670 self-proclaimed ‘Citizens of the Reich’.
Less than two months ago, in late January of 2020, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer banned the Nazi group ‘Combat 18’, an armed division of the British Nazi organization ‘Blood and Honour’. More Nazi groups are being monitored. So is the most radical wing of the right-wing extremist party ‘AfD’.