At least 70 artifacts and artworks were targeted almost three weeks ago in what German newspaper Die Zeit describes as "one of the most extensive attacks on works of art and antiquities in the history of post-war Germany," per Deutsche Welle. The attack on Berlin's Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that's home to five museums, occurred on Oct. 3, the 30th anniversary of German reunification, but was only revealed Tuesday. Police described the attack after inquiries from the media, saying the case was kept quiet "for strategic reasons," per the BBC. Various treasures, including ancient Egyptian sarcophagi and 19th-century paintings, were sprayed with an oily liquid that appears to have caused superficial damage. At least three of five famous museums on Museum Island were targeted: Pergamon Museum, Neues Museum, and Alte Nationalgalerie.
German reporter Julius Geiler suggests supporters of conspiracy theorist Attila Hildmann may have been involved. In August, Hildmann reportedly "made outrageous claims about night-time practices" surrounding the Pergamon Altar, an ancient structure that the Pergamon Museum was built to house, per the BBC. Hildmann, a former vegan celebrity chef and QAnon supporter who's led rallies against the government's COVID-19 measures, has claimed German Chancellor Angela Merkel uses the altar for "human sacrifices," per the Guardian. He's also referred to it as the "center of global satanists and Corona criminals." The altar is under renovation, but a 3D exhibit of it was targeted, per the BBC. The Pergamon Museum celebrated its 90th birthday at the start of this month, per Deutsche Welle. Oct. 3 was the first day it had reopened to the public since March. (Read more Berlin stories.)