Provisional Imperial Government
| I fought the law|
and the law won
A Provisional Imperial Government (German: Kommissarische Reichsregierung; or Reichsbürgerbewegung, "Reich Citizen's Movement") is an organization or group claiming to be the legitimate government of Germany, arguing that the (actual) government of the Federal Republic of Germany is an illegal regime and that their own version of "Germany" (usually based on the constitution of the Weimar Republic) represents the "true" German state in the borders of 1937.
There are multiple competing groups and individuals making these claims. Currently, approximately 60 "real" Germanies exist.
In practice they tend to be neo-Nazis and/or people trying to get out of speeding tickets or debts.
The "German Reich" still exists
This is achieved by heavy quote mining from politicians up until the German Reunification in 1990. Very popular is referring to a 1973 ruling of the German Constitutional Court, which states that the German Empire did not end with the fall of Nazi Germany and endures, although it cannot act as an entity. What is not quoted is the next part, which elaborates that the German Federal Republic is a reorganisation of the German Empire and thus the same entity, but not with the same borders; it is the successor state.
After the reunification, the entire German state is represented by the Federal Republic; despite that, PIGs continue to bloom. Or wallow, if you prefer.
There has never been a peace treaty
Several PIG supporters also point to the way in which Germany lost World War II. While the military capitulated unconditionally, there was never — so they argue — any sort of peace treaty. However, various agreements made during the occupation of Germany by the Allies as well as the Helsinki accords and the treaties that led to reunification 1989/90 were explicitly signed "in lieu of a peace treaty". The main reason being that the question of reparations was put off "until the signing of a peace treaty" and it would have been awkward for the newly reunified Germany to pay reparations for a war over four decades past. At any rate, peace treaty or not,[note 1] World War II is over and German sovereignty has never been called into question since reunification either by the UN or by any other country.
Most, if not all, Provisional Imperial Governments are watched by the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution ("Bundesverfassungsschutz", the German domestic security agency).
Typically they can be put into one of two camps:
- True believers such as Neo-Nazis (who just hate the modern Federal Republic of Germany that made their party illegal) and extreme right-wing nuts (who think the Federal Republic will crash and burn any minute now and their Germany will take over)
- Opportunists, such as Speeding ticket, tax and debt evaders.
It is odd that such far right groups would attempt to claim that the Weimar Republic is still in effect, considering how that constitution tried to be a democracy, but was brought down thanks to the Great Depression and some Austrian ex-corporal who had a chip on his shoulder. Several Provisional Imperial Governments have issued death threats against "traitors".
Regardless of whether self-proclaimed Reichsbürger just want to evade paying fines and taxes or they actually believe their own nonsense, German authorities and law enforcement agencies have a hard time dealing with such individuals, given that they outright refuse to cooperate with the law. As of April 2018 the Federal Office for the Protection of the (very legitimate) Constitution has about 18,000 Reichsbürger on their watchlist and the Federal Criminal Police Office reported that Reichsbürger had at least 10,500 crimes on their conscience between 2015 and 2017 alone.
- "Hundreds of Germans are living as if the Reich never ended", The Economist.
- Reichsbürgerbewegung on the German-language Wikipedia
- Whether a document is called a peace treaty has no importance on whether it functions as a peace treaty
- The „KRR“-FAQ
- BVerfGE 36, 1 ff.
- Archived Correspondence between a PIG supporter and German authorities over a speeding ticket, where the former pretty much chewbacca-defended his way out of paying the ticket. You'd wish we made that up. (Between April and June of 2002)
- The imperial ministers are making death threats (in German). From: taz, 15. August 2000
- Germany's far-right Reichsbürger movement larger than earlier estimated by Deutsche Welle from the 28th of April, 2018
- Reichsbürger committed more than 10,500 crimes (in German) by Spiegel Online from the 13th of April, 2018