Heinrich XIII, Germany’s ‘Putsch Prince,’ needed to revive the monarchy



BERLIN — He is the scion of a dynasty that when dominated over a area of central Germany, lives in considered one of Frankfurt’s costliest neighborhoods and drives an Audi with a personalised license plate.

The bespectacled, grey-haired aristocrat, Heinrich XIII, Prince of Reuss, cuts an uncommon determine for the top of what German authorities describe as a “terrorist organization.”

But prosecutors positioned the 71-year-old on the head of a national community that deliberate to overthrow the German authorities and set up its personal state construction by violent means. He was among the many 25 folks arrested on Wednesday as a part of one of many largest counterterrorism raids ever carried out in Germany.

His companion, a Russian nationwide named by prosecutors as Vitalia B., was additionally arrested on suspicion of supporting the group.

German police arrest 25 over far-right plot to overthrow authorities

Heinrich, whom one German newspaper dubbed the “Putsch Prince,” has lengthy espoused the views of the Reichsbürger motion, a radical fringe ideology that rejects the fashionable German state and seeks to reinstall the German monarchy. It’s a prospect with apparent enchantment to the minor royal, who complains his blue-blood household was pressured to abdicate because the German Empire was overthrown within the years following World War I and was subsequently “dispossessed.”

Born in 1951, Heinrich was considered one of six youngsters of Heinrich I and Woizlawa-Feodora, Prince and Princess Reuss. His 4 brothers have been all additionally referred to as Heinrich — like each different male inheritor within the household — beneath the dynasty’s uncommon naming traditions which are in tribute to Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI.

“He was a fairly modern, energetic entrepreneur 30 years ago,” Heinrich XIV, a household spokesman who mentioned he’s solely distantly associated to Heinrich XIII, informed MDR news channel on Wednesday. “He has, of course, radicalized himself through disappointments,” he mentioned, including that he hadn’t had contact with Heinrich XIII for a decade.

An article within the Berliner Zeitung German daily in 1998 described the prince as a “multi-entrepreneur” primarily based in Germany’s western metropolis of Frankfurt. But it famous he was “angry” over property disputes stemming from expropriation of household land.

While he has been residing in Frankfurt’s upmarket Westend neighborhood, the prince additionally owns a searching lodge close to Bad Lobenstein in East Thuringia, from the place the dynasty hails.

His household — which earlier than this week had already distanced itself from him — was in “shock” following the arrest, Heinrich XIV mentioned. “We were a tolerant, cosmopolitan, princely house in Thuringia for 850 years,” he mentioned. “And now we’re seen as terrorists and reactionaries all over the world, right down to America.”

Signs of radicalization had been on show within the prince’s public statements. In a 2019 speech at the Worldwebforum in Zurich, which payments itself as a gathering level for “thought leaders of the digital world,” he gave an at instances rambling tackle titled, “Why Blue-Blooded Elite Became Servants.”

When the monarchy was round, issues ran easily, he mentioned: “If something was not going well, you approached the prince. Who are you supposed to turn to today? To your parliamentarian, local, federal or E.U. level? Good luck.”

He continued with traditional tropes of the Reichsbürger motion, saying he believed that societal issues and wars have been attributable to the Jewish Rothschild household — a relentless object of antisemitic conspiracy theories — and arguing that Germany’s federal republic was not a sovereign state, however nonetheless occupied by world powers.

German prosecutors have described Heinrich XIII because the “ringleader” and central “council” head of the group plotting to overthrow the state and set up its personal order.

The group included a sitting choose and docs and legal professionals, with “the prince on top,” mentioned one safety official, who like others spoke to The Washington Post on the situation of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.

Another German safety official described him as extra of a figurehead — and mentioned it was concern over the group’s navy wing that had spurred the raids and arrests. Many Reichsbürger teams function imaginary substates, with some issuing their very own passports. But German authorities accuse this considered one of posing an actual armed risk.

Part of the group’s conspiracy narrative is the notion {that a} new state order in Germany would require negotiations with the Allied powers of World War II.

According to prosecutors, Heinrich had tried to contact representatives of the Russian Federation in Germany, however “there are no indications that the contact persons have reacted positively to his request.” In his 2019 speech, he mentioned he had reached out to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov “without any result.”

The Russian Embassy in Berlin mentioned it “would like to make clear that Russian diplomatic and consular offices in Germany do not maintain contacts with representatives of terrorist groups or other illegal entities.”

However, in June, Heinrich and his companion have been invited to take part in Russian National Day celebrations on the Russian consulate in Leipzig, the primary safety official mentioned.

The prince has expressed admiration for Moscow. In a video posted online in 2020 and distributed on QAnon and Reichsbürger channels, he mentioned he was associated to Russia’s imperial home of Romanov by his mom — “one of the reasons we like Russia.”

He went on to repeat extra Reichsbürger narratives concerning the lack of legitimacy of the German state.

Before his present companion, he was married to an Iranian girl with whom he had two youngsters, in keeping with the Berliner Zeitung article. His son, born in 1991, is called Heinrich XXVIII.

Mekhennet reported from Washington.


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