On February 10th, 2020, at around 10PM, 43-year-old Tobias Rathjen walked into two Shisha bars, Midnight Bar and Arena Bar & Café, in Hanau, Germany and opened fired on the patrons with a Glock 17. Most of the customers were Kurdish, Turkish and north African.
He fled the scene in his own vehicle where he returned home and shot his 72-year-old mother, before shooting himself. His father was able to escape.
11 people, including Rathjen and his mother, are dead as a result of the attack and 5 have been left injured.
Media outlets reported the shooting as a terrorist attack by a right-wing extremist and after the perpetrator was named in the media, news of his personal website, including videos and a 24-page manifesto began to circulate. The site was soon taken down, but the pages of what is believed to be the man’s illustrated manifesto were saved and translated by those curious about the motivations of the “incel terrorist”.
The German language manifesto, which has now been translated to English multiple times online, is addressed to “The German people” and details Tobias Rathjen’s life as an individual who has been monitored by a secret intelligence agency since he was just a few days old. In the document Rathjen claimed that he had memories from as early as 5 days old and said he clearly recollected hearing a woman’s voice in his head and that he was aware the world was harsh and hateful from an early age.
He warned the reader that German citizens were being watched in all areas of their lives, including at home, work and elsewhere. He stressed that by “under surveillance” he did not mean by traditional methods of close circuit surveillance cameras, but acoustically and visually through their own thoughts, although he was not exactly sure of the reasons why.
Although he felt watched as a child, he believed he was unequipped to figure out exactly why, and so unable to do anything about it, decided to deal with it later as an adult.
He would go on to work at a bank and detailed a conversation he once had with a colleague at his apartment when he was around 22 years old. He explained how they talked about the crime and violence committed by minorities in Germany and their own personal experiences. They talked about how their friends had been victims of what Rathjen refers to as “immigrant criminal violence” and how newspapers were reporting similar stories at the time. He stated that he was aware of, or suspicious, that the secret service monitoring him was either listening through his, or his colleague’s mind, when the conversation took place.
This conversation, he goes on to say, made him question the existence of minorities in Germany.
Why were they there? He asked himself, believing that they were not compatible with the German people, nor willing or capable of furthering the nation. According to translations of the manifesto he believed that he shouldn’t have to live alongside certain ethnic minorities and that they shouldn’t exist. He believed that it was “too late” to “send them back” and efforts to help them “on site” didn’t work and had been tried many times before. Eradication, a cleansing, he said, seemed to be the only way. He believed the people of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, the Arabian Peninsula, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines should be eradicated.
He went on to state that he did not want the specified groups to suffer, but admitted if there was a quick and painless method to wipe them out, that he’d do it: “If there was a button available that would make this become a reality, I would press it in a flash”.
There is no mention of any planned shootings in the manifesto, however there is a large serving of extreme right-wing beliefs, paranoia and conspiracy theories. Rathjen’s choice to be celibate came from a combination of his own high standards and the secret service surveillance. He stated that he had never had a girlfriend in his life for this reason.
He also believed the clandestine secret service agency that was monitoring his thoughts were also connected to Hollywood. He claimed that he saw evidence of their remote monitoring in the movies he watched and that references to telepathy in films from the late 90’s – 2000’s were inspired by their eavesdropping, going on to list several movies including “Starship Troopers”, “The Cell” and even “Look who’s talking now”. He claimed that the writers of the “Prison break” and “Vikings” series stole his idea and not only believed that he had some hand in Trumps election, but also the terrorist attack on the twin towers. Rathjen admitted that before the 9/11 attacks he once thought that if he could not fight the invasive monitoring of his own thoughts that he would hijack a plane and fly it into a building in retaliation and that movies would be made about him for years to come. He ranted about The German football association and how strategies and tactics had been stolen from his mind.
Interestingly, Rathjen said that he attempted to file reports against these Secret Services between 2002 – 2019 to inform them of the invasive monitoring and attempt to press charges, to no avail. Mention of these attempts to contact the authorities and the results of the reports do not seem to have been addressed or yet confirmed by other media outlets, however the Telegraph wrote: “He was not on German intelligence’s radar. The police had never heard of him.”
Some attempting to translate the manifesto complained of the difficulty in doing so due to Rathjen’s chaotic “word-salad” writing style and use of difficult language in what they believed to be an attempt to sound intelligent. Conflicting reports from media outlets argue the opposite and write that the shooter “wrote in impeccable formal German”.
Rathjen further explained his conspiracy theories of being eavesdropped on by a clandestine agency in one of his videos, saying that the secret service monitoring him had the ability to read his past, present and future thoughts using their remote viewing abilities and that they also had the power to control and influence the thoughts of others. To illustrate his point, he holds one CD above another and explains that there are two worlds, the one we exist in and the mirrored version above which can be accessed to monitor specific people. He questions whether reality is a simulation and if it is, who is behind the wheel and for what reason.
In an English language video addressed to “The American people” that made its way onto televised news reports the shooter talks of the goings on in secret U.S military bases where children are abused and those involved worship Satan.
Rathjen’s beliefs are not unlike those of “Targeted individuals”, ordinary civilians who believe they are being followed, gang-stalked and harassed by unknown individuals and governments. Often, these individuals believe thoughts are being transmitted into their minds and that they are being monitored, however medical professionals believe these delusions are the result of undiagnosed mental disorders and illnesses, such as psychosis and schizophrenia.
Several people who have claimed to be Targeted individuals” have gone on to commit mass shootings. In the summer of 2016, Gavin Eugene Long, a marine, who believed he was being tested on and monitored as part of a remote brain monitoring programme killed several police officers and injured others in a shooting in Louisiana.
Earlier, in 2013, Aaron Alexis killed 12 people with his “ELF” shotgun. He reportedly had delusional beliefs that he was being controlled by electromagnetic waves. “End the torment” he inscribed on his gun before shooting up Washington Navy Yard. Alexis’ sister would later do a T.V interview explaining that her brother had clearly been suffering from an undiagnosed disorder since he was a child. She described how her family ignored signs of illness, including aggressive behaviour in the home and the torture of small animals and pets. He later joined the military where he racked up 8 counts of misconduct before eventually going on a shooting rampage at the facility.
Fuaed Abdo Ahmed was said to premeditate his crime and took hostages at a bank, eventually shooting himself to evade capture. He heard voices and believed he was being monitored by his ex-girlfriends’ family via a microphone device that had been implanted in his body.
While the victim’s families mourn the loss of their loved ones, Germany works to tighten its gun laws.
“There is much to indicate that the perpetrator acted out of far-right extremist, racist motives, out of hatred for people with other origins, other faiths or a different appearance” said Chancellor Angela Merkel in a statement after the attack.