Far-right police, soldiers and civilians in Germany took part in military exercises to prepare for Day X – when they believe they must seize power to save the country, shocking new evidence has revealed.
Photos show members of the secret group Nordkreuz, or Northern Cross, dressed in camouflage and carrying weapons as they lug professional gear through forests, fast-rope off bridges and clamber through underground tunnels.
The images were retrieved from a hard drive, along with maps and plans, which was was obtained by investigative reporter Dirk Laabs.
They are believed to show Nordkreuz members preparing for Day X, a date when they believe the German state will collapse and the far-right will be forced to seize power to re-establish order.
Laabs spoke to PBS Frontline to reveal the trove of intelligence, telling the US broadcaster that these were ‘big training drills’ which involved professional ‘soldiers who would train civilians.’
‘So, it was really thought-through. It was a military operation,’ Laabs added.
A member of Nordkreuz is seen wielding an assault rifle in photos retrieved from a hard drive along with maps and other neo-Nazi dossiers
Members of the far-right group are seen taking part in military drills in the woods
Marko Gross, a police sniper and former parachutist, formed a parallel group called Nordkreuz and acted as their de-facto leader. He received a 21-month suspended sentence last year for possession of illegal weapons
Men practice shooting sniper rifles as part of their training in Nordkreuz
The group spawned from an online chatroom which was set up by a member of Germany’s elite special forces, the KSK, for servicemen with far-right sympathies.
But it grew extreme and turned into something more menacing after Angela Merkel welcomed thousands of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa in 2015.
Marko Gross, a police sniper and former parachutist, created a parallel group called Nordkreuz and acted as their de-facto leader.
Laabs obtained private message exchanges between the members who were sharing memes which included on which showed a Nazi soldier shooting hostages in WWII and implying that the same should be done to migrants.
‘We can really see that these guys are hardcore neo-Nazis. You know, it’s a lot of racism,’ the reporter told PBS.
In Germany, the dissemination of neo-Nazi material is a criminal offence.
Police learned about the group in 2017, finding that Nordkreuz had identified attack sites, some of which they had already reconnoitred.
Martina Renner, who sits on a committee in the German parliament which investigates extremism, told PBS: ‘They had organized trainings, sniper trainings, urban combat training, those kind of things. And yeah, that it was a typical terrorist structure.’
Raids were carried out on members who were found I possession of Nazi memorabilia, lists of ‘enemies’ and tens of thousands of bullets – the vast majority of which were stolen from police armouries.
A ban of men from Nordkreuz dressed up in camouflage suits as they practice manoeuvres in the woods
A pair of men wearing military uniforms take part in the exercises
Members of the secret group Nordkreuz (Northern Cross) dressed in camouflage and lugging professional gear through a forest
The men take up positions in the woods as if on the look-out for an enemy
Their professional-style exercises included dangling over a rive from a harness attached to a bridge
Gross was among those with weapons stashed at his home.
In August 2017, police seized two dozen weapons and 23,800 rounds of ammunition, some of it stolen from police and military stockpiles.
Another raid in June 2019 turned up 31,500 rounds of ammo and an Uzi submachine gun. He was arrested.
He received a 21-month suspended sentence last year for possession of illegal weapons.
State prosecutors told Laabs that they didn’t have enough evidence to bring terror charges.
Nordkreuz grew out of an online chatroom set up for former servicemen
Members of the group are seen tramping through the woods in camouflage military gear
The investigative reporter claims that if Gross had been an Islamic extremist that a harsher sentence would have definitely been meted out.
Gross has previously told reporters that Nordkreuz was just ‘prepping’ in case of social disorder.
‘The scenario was that something bad would happen,’ Gross told The New York Times in May. ‘We asked ourselves, what did we want to prepare for? And we decided that if we were going to do this, we would go all the way.’
Gross denied that he had ever associated with anyone who was a neo-Nazi.
The extent to which the group would ‘go all the way’ is the subject of ongoing investigations.
Of the 30 Nordkreuz members, two others, a lawyer and a former police officer, are being probed by federal prosecutors on suspicion of plotting terrorism.
Gross is a witness not a suspect in that ongoing terror probe.