Berlin museums hit by oil-spraying vandalism; rightwing conspiracy alleged

The Pergamon was recently described by a celebrity-chef-turned-QAnon follower as ‘the throne of Satan’

Pergamon Museum, Berlin. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons; Lestat (Jan Mehlich); Creative Commons

Several major Berlin museums have been hit by vandals. The Alte Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum and Pergamon, on the city’s Museum Island, were visited by the attackers who sprayed an oily liquid on various artefacts on 3 October.

The act of vandalism was withheld from public release while museum visitors on the day were contacted – but the effort has been hindered by untraceable tickets sold on the door.

More than 60 damaged items include Egyptian sarcophagi, sculptures and painting frames. There was no discernible pattern in the targeted artefacts, Christina Haak, deputy director of Berlin’s state museums, said. Haak described the attack as the greatest damage to the museums’ collections since the Second World War.

While the motives remain unclear, there has been speculation in local media that the attack can be traced to a conspiracy theory promoted by rightwing German QAnon followers. 

Celebrity vegan chef turned conspiracy theorist Attila Hildmann recently denounced the Pergamon as ‘the throne of Satan’ where ‘corona criminals […] make their human sacrifices at night and desecrate children!’ There is no suggestion that Hildmann’s comments are linked to the attacks on the museums.

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