The New York TimesThe New York Times

Far-Right group suspected in German plot gained strength from QAnon

By Katrin Bennhold and Erika Solomon

08 Dec 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

The group in Germany accused of plotting to overthrow the government has long “tilted at windmills” on Germany’s far-right fringe. The NYT reports on how it has emerged as a serious terrorist threat.

BERLIN — A ragtag band that had been dismissed as wacky and harmless gadflies, the Reichsbürger, or Citizens of the Reich, has tilted at windmills on Germany’s far-right political fringe for decades.

But after authorities accused members of plotting to overthrow the government and kill the chancellor, a sharply different view of the obscure group emerged Thursday: as a serious terrorist threat, supercharged by conspiracy theories about the coronavirus and vaccines.

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