Instead, judging by the material he posted online, Tobias Rathjen appears to have been driven by a toxic mix of racist, conspiracist, and incel ideology, and likely suffered from serious mental health problems, experts say.
“His manifesto and videos display a very wild mixture of conspiracy theories, racism, and incel ideology,” Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies, told VICE News.
“He is not, from what I have seen so far, a classical neo-Nazi, and from his own postings also likely suffered from mental health issues. Mental health, and extremism, [and] conspiratorial thinking can go hand in hand.”
The investigation has only just begun into what led the 43-year-old German to kill nine people at two hookah bars, popular hangouts for young Kurds, in a racially-motivated rampage in his hometown of Hanau Wednesday night. before turning his gun on his mother and himself.
But so far, no evidence has emerged that he was tied to far-right organizations or acted as part of a wider network. Peter Beuth, Interior Minister of the state of Hesse, said Thursday that the attacker had not been on the radar of police or intelligence agencies for holding right-wing extremist views.
Much of what’s known of Rathjen’s disturbing worldview so far was revealed in a rambling 24-page letter and videos he uploaded online prior to his attack. In the letter, Rathjen outlines his genocidal convictions, calling for the “complete extermination” of many “races or cultures in our midst,” and arguing for the superiority of German culture.
‘Explicitly eugenicist terms’
“He hates foreigners and non-whites,” tweeted Peter Neumann, director of London’s International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation, giving his take on the manifesto.
“He calls for the extermination of various countries in North Africa, Middle East and Central Asia (which all happen to be majority Muslim). He justifies his call for killing the populations of entire countries in explicitly eugenicist terms, saying that the science prov[e]s that certain races are superior.”
Rathjen also said he had never had a relationship with a woman — for the last 18 years, out of choice, he claimed.
The letters and videos also give an alarming insight into the vivid conspiracy theories that informed Rathjen’s worldview — beliefs that experts say were likely an indication of serious mental illness.
In the letter — described by German federal prosecutor Peter Frank as a “kind of manifesto” displaying “confused thoughts” and a “deeply racist attitude” — he claimed that his thoughts were under the control of mind-readers working for an unnamed “intelligence agency” controlled by a secret elite.