German police are investigating a bizarre case of vandalism at three museums earlier this month, having kept it secret for two weeks. Media reports are tying the incident to satanism, QAnon and other conspiracy theories.
According to police, some 70 objects and artefacts sustained “damage that cannot yet be quantified” in the series of attacks which were carried out between 10am and 6pm on October 3 at three sites on Berlin’s Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Police in the German capital have appealed for witnesses and are assuming the vandalism was carried out by a lone perpetrator, but have not ruled out the possibility that several people may have been involved.
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The treasures which were targeted include ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, a bust of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti, the second century BC Pergamon Altar and 19th-century paintings held at the Pergamon Museum, the Neues Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie were doused with an oily liquid causing extensive damage.
The incident is understood to be the worst case of art vandalism in post-war Germany. Authorities have yet to explain why it was kept secret for over two weeks.
The attacks took place on the 30th anniversary of German unification, though it is unclear whether the date has any significance. However, one theory which pervades media reports on the vandalism, links the attacks to Attila Hildmann, a radical vegan and Covid-19 conspiracy theorist.
Hildmann claimed online in his Telegram channel that the Pergamon Altar was “Satan’s throne” and served as a meeting place for the “global satanist scene and Corona criminals.”
Hildmann, who is arguably German’s best-known proponent of the QAnon conspiracy theory, claimed German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses the altar to conduct “human sacrifices.”
On Tuesday night, Hildmann linked to German media coverage of the vandalism with the caption, “Fact! It is the throne of Baal (Satan).”
A similar case occurred in Greece in 2018 when two women, later found to be of Bulgarian origin, were arrested in Athens for smearing museum exhibits with a concoction of oil and myrrh,