A 75-year-old woman is suspected of leading a terror group seeking to stir up civil war and dismantle the modern German state
German police have arrested a 75-year-old woman who had allegedly plotted to stage a coup d’état and restore the monarchist regime, the nation’s authorities confirmed on Thursday.
According to the police of southwest Rhineland-Palatinate state, Elisabeth R, whose full name is not disclosed, is suspected to be the ringleader of a terror cell. The group allegedly planned to cause “civil-war-like conditions” in Germany by sabotaging its energy infrastructure. The resulting widespread blackouts were intended to help the rebels overthrow the country’s democratic government, law enforcement said.
The group also apparently sought to kidnap Karl Lauterbach, the German health minister, “possibly killing his bodyguards” in the process. The politician is not a very popular figure among the German far-right due to his strict enforcement of Covid-19 restrictions during the pandemic.
The suspect was arrested on Thursday at her home in Saxony in the east of the country. On Friday, Elisabeth, who had already been nicknamed by Bild magazine ‘terror granny,’ was taken to Germany’s federal court in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany. There, she was photographed as she stepped out of a helicopter clutching only a paper bag.
The arrest warrant stated that Elisabeth R had been engaged in recruitment activities and coordinated the group’s actions, giving members orders to procure explosives and weapons, while naming specific timeframes for executing her plans.
According to Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, the suspect, who is believed to be a retired teacher, was in charge of the so-called Reichsburger movement, which denies the existence of a modern German state. In one instance, she signed an open letter, arguing that the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, which put an end to the First World War, is illegal, and the nation’s citizens are still living in the German Reich based on the 1871 Constitution.
Elisabeth R was arrested after German police had in April detained four other members linked to the plot. At the time, police found a Kalashnikov gun and a Nazi SS uniform in one of the suspects’ homes. Commenting on the incident, Lauterbach said that “this is a small minority in our society, but they are highly dangerous.”