As CARR Senior Fellow, Dr Andreas Önnerfors notes: the 153 pages of rage contained in Akif Pirinçci’s Umvolkung (2016) book openly incites hatred against the ‘invaders’ as much as against their presumed puppet-masters, saturated by a vulgar language of violence, it is a racist rant of baseless accusations. As Önnerfors finds, it does not surprise us therefore that it resonated well with the manifestations of terrorist violence shaking Germany in 2019 and 2020.
In 2019 and 2020, two terrorist attacks motivated by radical right ideology were carried out in Germany. On October 9, 2019 Stephan Balliet attempted unsuccessfully to get access to a synagogue in Halle in order to execute a mass shooting with improvised weapons, livestreamed online. Instead he killed a random passer-by and a man having his lunch in a Turkish fast food restaurant. Balliet (clearly inspired by the Christchurch attack in March 2019) motivated his act of terrorism with a manifesto, saturated with anti-Semitic positions, in which he blamed the ‘Zionist Occupation Government’ for the demise of Germany and the white race in general.
Four months later, on February 19, 2020, Tobias Rathjen killed ten people in two Shisha-bars in Hanau, later taking his own and his mother’s life. Also Rathjen was convinced that Germany and Europe as a whole were exposed to the evil machinations of a secret organization and that racially inferior segments of society had poisoned humanity and its ability to civilizational advance. His manifesto, a bricolage of auto-biographical accounts, sci-fi fantasies and outright racism, shares the conspiratorial worldview of his predecessor: evil forces are about to replace the German people intentionally, thus, resistance and in extension lethal violence is motivated. The terrorist manifestos of Halle and Hanau are both inspired by the idea of ‘Umvolkung’, the German term for the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory, also called ‘Der Grosse Austausch’.
Only a few years before the attacks, members of the Identitarian movement outlined their metapolitical strategy that the term ‘Der Grosse Austausch’ fulfilled a number of criteria for successful mobilization online and offline. In 2016, the works of Renaud Camus, its French creator, were introduced to the German-speaking readership by the radical right publishing house, Antaios, with the volume Revolte gegen den Grossen Austausch (“Revolt against the Great Replacement”), which makes a quasi-philosophical case for the existence of the ‘white genocide’ and reversed colonization.
But at the same time Antaios also released a toxic pocket book which successfully hit the shelves: Umvolkung: Wie die Deutschen still und leise ausgetauscht werden (“Re-population: how the Germans quietly are replaced”) targeting another less-picky audience used to bold, unsubstantiated claims and rude language. The relationship between these outlets of cognitive radicalization and actual radicalized terrorist violence in Germany in 2019 and 2020 has hitherto not been explored extensively. However, reading Pirinçci’s book explains how the mental ground was prepared for these terrorist attacks to unfold meaning.
‘The Great Replacement’ in German
Akif Pirinçci (b.1959) is a German-Turkish author who has risen to some fame through his crime fiction novels in the series, Felidae. Through the eyes of the main protagonist, a cat called Francis, some inane murder mysteries are solved and philosophical questions on human-animal relationships addressed. However, in 2014 Pirinçci debuted as political author with the controversial book Deutschland von Sinnen: der irre Kult um Frauen, Homosexuelle und Zuwanderer (“Germany out of its mind: the insane cult around women, homosexuals and immigrants”). In the book, the author lets rip on Muslim immigration, the lack of patriotism among German ‘do-gooders’ (“Gutmenschentum”), the excessive power of the state and heavy taxation, the danger of gender-mainstreaming, the normalization of homosexuality and the corruption of German academia. In a final chapter, Pirinçci alleges that the Germans are exposed to an intentionally silenced genocide through violent crimes perpetrated by non-Germans. Despite of its content that clearly incites hatred towards societal minorities, the book climbed up to a second rank on the list of German non-fiction literature during the year of its publication. Its dissemination was boosted through online sales and promotion on so-called ‘New Right’ platforms.
In 2016, however, Pirinçci continued this trend and published his book Umvolkung. Pirinçci clearly draws from the writings of Renaud Camus but his aim is a brutal popularization,. In the context of the so-called ‘refugee crisis’, these ideas gained much traction in large segments of the German new and radical right and for the first time gained widespread dissemination – especially in connection with the March 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack. If Camus represents the intellectual varnish of a quasi-philosophical conspiracy culture, Akif Pirinçci, however, talks to its most vulgar goon squads on the streets.
The existential threat of extermination by immigration
Several themes emerge from the reading of Pirinçci’s Umvolkung. The first and foremost is that Germany, and by extension Europe, is exposed to existential threat caused by the mass arrival of illiterate and barbarian invaders who have nothing in common with the indigenous population: “the homeland is de-familiarized by the foreign until its total dissolution” (p. 11). For example, Pirinçci alleges that the German people is replaced “in breathtaking speed”, “at the speed of light” in a “successive forced dislocation” caused by politics (pp. 111, 122, 132, & 139). Moreover, Pirinçci goes on to suggest that a Muslim plague of locusts will lead to a reversed colonialism, in which the Germans will ultimately turn into the enslaved indigenous people (pp. 88 & 92). Finally, and most explosive of all, Pirinçci suggests that the “eternal haters of Germany and enemies of the people” have facilitated immigration of economically redundant people “with an Islam-chip in their heads, afro-lethargy in their members and gypsy-talent in their fingers” (p. 12, for the same rhetorical triad, see also pp. 46 & 69).
Fertility and insatiable sex-drive as a biopolitical weapon
Moreover, the foreign ‘hordes of young men’ are de-humanized and collectivized, steeped as they are in unalterable (un)civilizational behaviors and programmed by biological drives, primarily sex and violence. African men have higher levels of testosterone (Pirinçci quotes a study about prostate cancer from 1986 as support of his thesis), which causes them to apply the “fuck-and-go principle” (p. 24), leaving pregnant women behind. Germany, in his eyes, will be flooded by what he offensively terms as “chocolate babies”, the “sex of black males is almost seen as a form of relief [by natural necessity; “Notdurft” in the original]”. It is only a matter of time until German women will experience this. An abnormally high sex drive among sexually frustrated young male immigrants is one of the recurring, obnoxious themes in Pirinçci’s book (pp. 37, 41, 61–62). The invasion of surplus “dick carriers” in combination with a shortfall of German women (pp. 40 – 42) will lead to a “sexual war, soon escalating in Germany” (p. 42) and who will take advantage of the German “sex market” (p. 43) with potentially devastating consequences (p. 123). Not only this, a surplus of young men (or the ‘youth bulge’, pp. 44 & 46) predicts terrorism, genocide and warfare, according to a book referenced by Pirinçci. Furthermore, the laws of evolution in his eyes clearly demonstrate that foreign sexual predators will prove stronger in natural selection than emasculated and feminized Germans without guts (pp. 123, 131). This threat is summarized in the rhetorical formula of the dangerous strangers as “rapists of your daughters and killers of your sons”, that are repeated throughout the book ad nauseum (pp. 52–53, 88, 111, & 132). In Pirinçci’s worldview, Islamic-black millionfold immigration is not without reason called a “penetration” (p. 56).
This development is consciously orchestrated by politicians and their allies in the media, united by their suicidal self-hatred against Germany and thus enemies of its original population which will be enslaved by its invading colonizers. It will not surprise observers of the radical right that Pirinçci blames the “green-left system press” as complicit in this plot against the German people, with Pirinçci stating they are “professional traitors of the Fatherland” and act as a “unified bulwark against popular will” (pp. 94, 57, & 83). Moreover, in his eyes, the German political class contributes to the exploitation and enslavement of its own people (pp. 71, 75, 97 & 139) and has lost respect for its electorate (pp. 90 & 99). As a consequence, Germans will descend into slavery and bondage (p. 87), but this development is – according to Pirinçci – also self-inflicted since “you become a slave because you let it happen” (p. 157).
The ’asylum-industrial complex’
One further aspect of this theme is that the so-called ‘wirepullers’ have also created an economy out of the business of asylum in which refugees in reality are actors of the imagined humanitarian crisis, posing for economic gain. According to Pirinçci, the homeland is inevitably and willingly destroyed by the “asylum-industrial complex with its globalization-gibberish” (p. 12, see also p. 31 & p. 130) until “the last German has disappeared” (p. 123). The expression of this conspiracy (now very common among the German radical right) is derived from another, that of the ‘military-industrial complex’, suggesting a) that asylum seekers are to be equated with the development of military equipment (or at least, that they are ‘weaponized’) and b) that there exists a presumed vested interest influencing public policy in the sense that c) industrialized economic interests benefit from conflicts resulting in the arrival of refugees to Europe and, thus, that d) in a more sinister and conspiratorial reading, these conflicts and ‘forced migration’ – to a certain degree – are manufactured by elites since they are economically and politically profitable.
Pirinçci also speaks of the despicable “parasites” of this industry as “worth billions” and run by the “cartel of do-gooders”, “our enemies” who have “won the war” over the ‘good’ and reified ‘people’ (pp. 44, 51, 53, 59, & 130). Connected to this idea is that the refugees in turn are paid actors, only posing as asylum seekers. The Muslim invasion is a fact and will multiply by the destructive forces of shadow governments, “having tasted the blood of money and ideology” (p. 13). According to Pirinçci, the final victory is close for the “murderers of Germany” (p. 134).
Germany and the Germans have deliberately been manipulated
However, Pirinçci also blames the German population for its stupefied passivity and lack of resistance, manipulated by the political correctness within German society. For example, Germany is poisoned by a dictatorship of attitudes “of ethno-masochist, gayified and governmentally paid alienated traitors of the fatherland” (p. 38 & p. 94). The “adoration of the foreign” and “welcome-culture” towards refugees together with the “dogma of the refugee crisis” has almost assumed a religious status (pp. 11, 84, 72, & 97), this “PC-ideology” is – according to Pirinçci – internalized by the vast majority of German’s (p. 86). The entire development can only bring about “the end of the German middle class” (p. 67). (Despite this, Pirinçci scapegoats the German middle class as responsible for its own demise.) The average German is a stupefied fool (Deutschtrottel, p. 72) who is too “impotent” (p. 109) to defend himself and his women from the hordes of immigrants. As a “drilled monkey” (pp. 85, 109, & 111) everything is accepted uncritically at face value. As long as there is some tangible wealth (and soccer), the German will not resist.
According to Pirinçci, this must also be understood against his big narrative of German decline and destruction (pp. 76-88, continued on pp. 99-106 and in a short version “for children” on pp. 140-144). In nostalgic terms, post-war Germany was apparently a place where it paid off to work hard – this ‘golden age’ lasted until the 1980s when the 68-generation started to infiltrate politics and to encourage hatred against the own country, against “the own fellow countrymen and the own white race” (p 78 & 80). The main culprits of this development to the worse was the emergence of the Green party (“greenification”, p. 121) and movement, promoting “the murder of children in wombs”, the “alienation of sexes” and the “religious apotheosis of gays” (p. 79 & p. 82). This period heralded also an alienation from reality (p. 81 & p. 84) leading to the “worship of the foreigner” (p. 84). The German middle class is to blame for this development since it did not engage in any noteworthy resistance and internalized the political correctness (p. 86).
Is the ‘Great Replacement’ a conspiracy?
To conclude, though Pirinçci officially denies it, his line of argument is clearly influenced by conspiracist imagination of the Identitarians and Renaud Camus. Like the plagiarized texts of recent radical right solo-actor manifestoes, the German development is the outcome of a conscious plan carried out by a coalition of clearly identifiable culprits (a plot of internal and external enemies) following an agenda of suicidal self-destruction and threatening the very existence of Germany, European and Western civilization. Pirinçci seems to display a certain ambivalence towards conspiracy theories, while at the same time expressing them. Arriving on page 97, he says: “I know. Although I originally said that I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, all this sounds conspiratorial, for instance my assertion that German politicians close their ranks with mainstream media and engage in the re-population of the Germans for the benefit of foreigners, in particular for the benefit of a Muslim invasion. Why would they? What would they gain?”
To these questions, which obviously balance on the same ambivalent rhetoric, Pirinçci however provides the reader with clear answers – it is a “phalanx united in its hatred against Germany” which is to blame (p. 129). First of all, by faking a humanitarian crisis, the Germans can be tricked to become fully enslaved. Secondly, their enslavement secures limitless access to the financial assets of the people which now can be abused without any checks and balances. Lastly, by replacing the Germans with subservient “analphabetic Arabs” (p. 98), the perfect subjects are created and any opposition is effectively erased. Repopulation can only be averted by tearing down the great “façade of lies”, constituted of three elements: 1) humanism as the reason of state, 2) the “lie of the laws” and 3) globalization. The ideals of humanism have been perverted into their opposite and are turned against the Germans.
The thin line between cultural and direct violence
Pirinçci’s 153 pages of rage openly incite hatred against the ‘invaders’ as much as against their presumed puppet-masters, saturated by a vulgar language of violence, a racist rant of baseless accusations. It does not surprise that it resonated well with the manifestations of terrorist violence shaking Germany in 2019 and 2020.
Pirinçci also identified conservative politician Walter Lübcke. Lübcke supposedly had argued that opponents to the project were free to move, whereupon he was accused by Pirinçci of having lost respect for his own electorate entirely, accepting “the rape of their own country and lifestyle with uncivilized and not uncommonly rapists and murders from ‘Broken’-istan” (pp. 91–92) and thus more or less a conscious cull of the indigenous population. A few pages later, Lübcke is associated with “traitors of the fatherland of German origin”, “henchmen of repopulation”, those who “since decades have dug the graves of the Germans” (p. 92 & p. 94). Chillingly, in 2019 Lübcke was assassinated by a right-wing terrorist, which demonstrates the obvious potential of Pirinçci’s writings to incite direct lethal violence – a straight line leading from cognitive foundations to the behavioral consequences of radicalization.
At several other occasions, boundaries between linguistic and direct violence are very thin. Painting the dim image of rape and invasion, Pirinçci asks rhetorically, “who will fire the first round?” (Pirinçci 2016: 41) and calls for sealing the borders and protecting them with the force of arms (p. 74). At the end of his book, the author evokes the spirit of death-defying “Herculean heroes of the people”, accepting blood-spill and he calls for “men who in this fateful moment of a nation take the right to resistance into their own hands” (pp. 110, 129, & 132). Thus, racist violence is coded as legitimate resistance. As Crawford and Keen have argued, the intersection between conspiracy theories and radical right terrorism are thus underexplored. Most concerningly, Pirinçci’s book clearly provides with a screen against which conspiratorial narratives of radical violence can be projected – a subject which requires further careful thought and investigation.
Dr Andreas Önnerfors is a Senior Fellow at CARR and Associate Professor of History of Ideas at University of Gothenberg. See full profile here.
© Andreas Önnerfors. Views expressed on this website are individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect that of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR). We are pleased to share previously unpublished materials with the community under creative commons license 4.0 (Attribution-NoDerivatives).