Now something about the King of Germany - Tobias Buck in FT:
'Peter Fitzek rules over a kingdom, and he has the passport to prove it.
Bound in white, the passport gives Mr Fitzek’s name only as Peter I. His title is boldly stated: “King of Germany”. The issuing authority is the Kingdom of Germany, a pseudo-state founded by Mr Fitzek in 2012 that claims to have more than 250 citizens.
The kingdom is near the eastern German city of Wittenberg, and covers only a hectare. Mr Fitzek insists it meets all the criteria of an independent country, and that neither Germany’s law nor government hold sway within its borders. The kingdom has a flag and crest, a constitution and bank, a separate health insurance and pension system, and even a currency: the E-Mark.'
'Political analysts argue that the movement, whose members are usually referred to as Reichsbürger (citizens of the Reich) or Selbstverwalter (self-administrators), is a symptom of the same political malaise that has fuelled the rise of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), the far-right party that won 13 per cent of the vote at last year’s general election.
“What you see is a deeply-rooted dissatisfaction that becomes so radical that people want to drop out of the federal republic altogether,” said Dirk Wilking, a researcher at the Demos Institute in Potsdam and author of a recent book about the Reichsbürger.
“It is also an expression of the deep mistrust towards the institutions of the state. In the case of the AfD, that mistrust drives them into parliament. In the case of the Reichsbürger, it drives them out of the state altogether.”
A recent report from Germany’s office for the protection of the constitution (BfV), the domestic intelligence agency, estimated that the scene has 16,500 members, a notable increase from recent years, with some 900 classified as far-right extremists.'
Read the article here.
Mistrust can propel extreme parties into parliament, but it can also drive citizens out of the state or at least into the periphery of grandiose, self-aggrandizing fantasies.
Unfortunately, from time to time these fantasies become reality.