When the window of a tenement building on the outskirts of Basel opens, a woman in a beige knitted sweater appears behind a crocheted curtain. Sigrid Mützel*, 46 years old, has her long brown hair tied in a loose braid, dark shadows nest in her eye sockets. Her family, she says, were victims of a terrible crime.

Around 180 kilometers away, on a residential street on the Swiss side of Lake Constance, there is a ground floor apartment with large windows and bare walls, no furniture. The door is still full of stickers with surveillance cameras, attack dogs and skulls on it. “The two brothers with the Rottweilers,” says a neighbor, disappeared about six months ago. She apparently knows nothing about the house searches and interrogations by the police.

The woman in the window and the orphaned apartment are part of a story that leads to the heart of darkness. It’s about the delusional belief of a group of Reich citizens in mass child abuse in secret underground tunnels. And, in the real world, about two Swiss crooks, a planned arms deal and the misery of two children, which the Reichsbürger group exploited for their own purposes.

All of these are ingredients of a planned coup that the Federal Prosecutor General has organized for 26 men and women around the Frankfurt real estate entrepreneur Heinrich XIII. Prince Reuss and Rüdiger von Pescatore, former commander of a paratrooper battalion, are accused. Germany’s chief prosecutor believes they are a terrorist group that wanted to use armed force to overthrow the federal government and arrest politicians, judges and government officials across the country. That’s what his indictment says. The first trial is scheduled to begin at the end of April. It is one of the largest terror trials in the history of the Federal Republic.

A central actor was Maximilian Eder, 65, retired colonel. D., once on the staff of the Special Forces Command, an elite unit of the Bundeswehr. Eder, who according to the indictment was a founder of the Reuss group, belonged to its military wing. Its leaders are said to have built an armed shadow army with dozens of members. In January (stern No. 5/2024), stern gave exclusive insights into the plans and inner workings of this group.

Now research by stern and RTL shows that Eder was apparently also looking for a reason that would convince the Germans of the need for a coup. He traveled around the country. At rallies he told people that German politicians were committing pedophile crimes in underground tunnels. He thought these tunnels were in Switzerland.

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