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The Prince, the Plot and a Long-Lost Reich

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By the time he started spending regular weekends in Bad Lobenstein last year, he was already deep inside the Reichsbürger movement. But his antisemitic tendencies and interest in conspiracy theories are well documented.

In January 2019, he gave a lecture at the WorldWebForum in Zurich, Switzerland, entitled, “Experience the rise and fall of the blue-blooded elite.” In the 15-minute speech, he railed against the Rothschild family and claimed World War I was forced on the German kaiser by international financial interests — both common antisemitic dog whistles — insisting that modern democratic Germany was just an illusion.

“Ever since Germany surrendered on the 8th of May, Germany has never been sovereign again,” Prince Heinrich XIII said in his speech, referring to the day of its defeat in World War II. “It was made into an administrative structure of the allies in the so-called united economy entity, Federal Republic of Germany — in other words a commercial structure.”

It was speeches like this that began to alienate him from relatives of the House of Reuss. The head of the Reuss family, a distant cousin who, like all male heirs to the Reuss throne, is also named Heinrich, called him “a confused old man” and pointed out that even if his coup had been successful, he was only 17th in line for the throne.

“That means 16 of us would have to die before it is his turn,” he said, adding that what had propelled his distant cousin into his world of conspiracy were likely years of embitterment with the German courts.

After German reunification, Heinrich XIII spent years fighting legal battles to regain ownership of family manors and lodges that had been nationalized in the former Communist East Germany. “He never got any land restitutions,” the head of the Reuss family said, though the prince did manage to get back some of his family’s furniture and art.

Ultimately, Heinrich XIII had to buy back the lodge, ornately decorated with its carved stone boars and a gothic-looking tower.

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