How can I consider myself rich
How to deal with "Reich Citizens"?
They reject the Basic Law, pay no taxes and claim that the "German Reich" still exists today: The scene of the so-called Reich citizens has made headlines over and over again in the last year. An incident in Georgensgmünd caused a nationwide sensation in 2016: During a raid on his house, a “citizen of the Reich” shot police officers. One officer was killed and two others injured.
Shortly thereafter, the Federal Ministry of the Interior announced that "Reich citizens" would be monitored nationwide by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Beate Bube, President of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Baden-Württemberg, said at a press conference of the MEDIA SERVICE in Mannheim: “The incident in Bavaria, several acts of violence in other federal states and an increasingly aggressive behavior towards representatives of the state have made it clear that 'Reich citizens 'are a task for the security authorities. "
In Baden-Württemberg alone, the protection of the constitution counts around 2,200 "Reich citizens". Many of them cause problems for the authorities, Bube explained: Employees at courts, district administration and tax offices are increasingly confronted with cases in which “Reich citizens” disrupted court hearings, refused to pay taxes or bombarded authorities with letters. "That affects the functionality of state institutions," said Bube. Your authority therefore offers training courses to prepare public prosecutors, judges and civil servants to deal with the scene.
What danger does “Reich Citizens” pose?
According to Beate Bube, “citizens of the Reich” are particularly dangerous when they are in possession of weapons. In the Stuttgart area, for example, the police recently seized 50 firearms in a single household. So-called self-administrators, a subgroup of the “Reichsbürger”, are also worrying: They regard their house or property as their own sovereign territory, which in case of doubt they would also defend with weapons.
Jan Rathje from the Amadeu Antonio Foundation emphasized that even without violence there was a danger: "The ideology of the 'Reichsbürger' is essentially right-wing extremist and anti-Semitic," said the political scientist at the press conference. The assertion shared within the milieu that Germany is not a sovereign or existing state refers to the anti-Semitic myth of the “Jewish world conspiracy”.
According to Rathje, there is no clear answer to anyone who is particularly susceptible to the ideologies of the “Reichsbürger”: “So far there have been no scientific studies on this.” However, initial evaluations by the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Baden-Württemberg indicate a profile. According to this, about 76 percent of the “Reich Citizens” are male. The average age is 50 years. The trigger for entry is often a personal or financial crisis.
How can one deal with the problem?
When it comes to dealing with “citizens of the Reich”, authorities and civil society are still at the beginning. On one point, however, experts seem to agree: "Reich citizens" must be taken seriously as a danger. Annette Dorothea Weber, theater director and artistic director of the “COMMUNITYartCENTERmannheim”, said at the press conference: “If we dismiss 'Reichsbürger' as crazy, we are playing down the scene. What we need is a public debate about how we can position ourselves against their misanthropic ideologies. "
Weber also sees the duty of artists here: “We, as artists, also generate publicity and are responsible for the effect of our actions.” The glorification of violence and contempt for democracy did not belong under the protective umbrella of artistic freedom.
By Jennifer Pross
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