Bullets. Body bags. Spies. German neo-Nazi doomsday cults have seen a surge in their popularity. And they're preparing for the day they seize back control: Day X.

"Nordkreuz" is an underground extremist right-wing terror group.

Its name means "Northern Cross".

It counts among its members German police officers, military personnel — and even the elite anti-terror squad Spezialeinsatzkommando.


Now, its murderous ambitions are coming to light.

Germany's domestic intelligence agency has revealed the fascist group has drawn up a political "hit list". On it are the personal details of 25,000 people taken from supposedly secure police databases. Most belonged to members of mainstream political parties.

They were to be the targets of a sudden spate of kidnappings and killings.

It would all start on "Day X" — tentatively planned for some time next year.

And that day would mark the start of a bloody Nazi uprising against Germany's democracy, Islamic immigrants and the liberal social system.


The ease with which Nordkreuz gathered the intelligence and materials necessary for its plot has shocked Germany.

But it's been around awhile.

"Northern Cross" is as much a survivalist militia as it is a neo-Nazi terror group. Among its doctrine is the imperative to make preparations for a collapse of society.


Visiting scholar at the Centre for Islamic Studies and Civilisation at Charles Sturt University Professor Scott Poynting told news.com.au far-right extremism is surging throughout Europe.

It's no longer just on the skinhead social fringe.

"Of course these preparations, as with the social breakdown circumstances prepared for, are almost entirely a fantasy," he said.

"Yet they are dangerous. The weapons are real, and the intent to commit mass murder is to be taken seriously — as the Christchurch massacre should remind us."

Nordkreuz recruits have been stockpiling quicklime to dispose of the bodies of its assassination victims. One member alone was found to have lifted 10,000 bullets and a machinegun from police ammunition lockers.

And some are determined to turn their internet chatroom dreams into reality.

That dream is that their actions will act as a lightning rod, sparking a nationalist uprising with patriotic citizens flocking to their aid.

Last month, German politician and mayor Walter Lübcke was murdered in his home by far-right extremist Stephan Ernst. He was killed for his sympathetic stance towards refugees.

But Ernst may have acted too soon: details of the Nordkreuz plot are spilling out.

Now German federal prosecutors have applied for permission to carry out wide-scale surveillance operations against the group and its affiliates.


How could the source of so much horror in Europe be allowed to make a comeback?

"It's denial," Professor Poynting said. "Especially in Germany, where denazification took a back seat to anti-communism in the context of the Cold War."

This is how groups such as Nordkreuz have been able to stockpile supplies, establish far-reaching networks — and train themselves as snipers.

"The contemporary resurgence of nationalism probably sees Neo-Nazism once more appeal to middle-class factions, especially in authoritarian promises of restored 'order' and former 'greatness'," Prof Poynting said.

"Those of the middle class of anti-intellectual bent, and those with resentments against urban, cosmopolitan elites, will be especially susceptible."

Neo Nazis gather at Bayreuth. Photo / News Corp Australia
Neo Nazis gather at Bayreuth. Photo / News Corp Australia

And the popularity of Nazism among law-enforcement and military groups is to be expected.

"Its appeal is based on general political leanings and a strong authoritarian and hierarchical working culture, where allegiances are conservative and nationalist," he said.

"This is not new, of course, as we see from the 1930s."

Nordkreuz, Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) believes, has about 30 members. But it has links to many other neo-Nazi cells.

A new BvF report states there are 24,100 active right-wing extremists in Germany. Some 12,700 are "violence oriented".

Professor Poynting warns the sympathies of "respectable hard-right circles have facilitated the growth of such "cells".

"They are quick to point out they don't agree with everything the Neo-Fascists stand for, but recognise some of their grievances and those social sectors to whom they might appeal. Fake 'debates' over 'free speech' in the face of 'political correctness' and the like have made space for the more open manoeuvring by the far right-cadre."


Like members of most doomsday cults, the members of Nordkreuz are convinced they are the "chosen few". And this makes countering their twisted logic almost impossible.

"Cultists feel they are superior to all other members of society — this gives them license to remove themselves from normal behaviours and, in some instances, to seek to destroy society," Jonathan J. Moore, author of Doomsday Cults: A Fatal Attraction, told news.com.au.

"Through remorseless conditioning and propaganda, the individual will lose touch with any reality but the reality sought by the cult leadership.

"They are able to perform horrific or bizarre acts that they would not have contemplated before induction into the organisation … Heinous acts such as suicide or mass murder become virtuous … their moral compass is so warped that they feel guilt if they don't carry out the act."

At the heart of the neo-Nazi Nordkreuz, like most other doomsday cults, is a need to "belong".

"The most heinous crime a cult member can commit is to question the authoritarian leadership of the cult, or the closed system of belief to which it adheres," Mr Moore said. "Beliefs can only be modified by the top-down leadership and to doubt their wisdom could be a capital offence."

One of the few weapons available to counter authoritarianism is ridicule, said Prof Poynting. But even this can backfire.

"Those susceptible to the ideology simply cannot be persuaded by rational argument; with facts and logic," Prof Poynting said. "I suspect that the same applies to the ridicule: it is preaching to (and of course comforting) the 'converted'."


How can democracy once again confront the murderous authoritarianism of Nazism and Fascism?

Prof Poynting says the extremist behaviour of groups such as Nordkreuz will do themselves harm.

"I think these (terror) acts are more likely to provoke widespread revulsion at right-wing racist violence," he said. "The danger is that they will be represented and dismissed as 'extremism', with no roots in the mainstream."

And those mainstream roots have been allowed to grow by democratic governments — through increasing inequality and a loss of faith in political and institutional processes.

"'Falling behind' is the fallout of neoliberalism, and is felt much more keenly by some sectors of society than others," Prof Poynting said. "It has been exacerbated by the global financial crisis, and, of course, the refugee crisis has produced further tensions — and obvious scapegoats to blame."

But, ultimately, such groups should be starved of their support — both direct and indirect, he said.

"These far-right racist populist groups benefit from their connections to the mainstream, and so it is these which must be interrupted. Their relative impunity — and indulgence — must be challenged."

This article was first published on news.com.au.