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German help point should support people when dealing with conspiracy theorists

Conspiracy theories have emerged more than before, according to experts, since the Corona pandemic. Therefore, in the German state of Brandenburg, a special aid point with government support has recently been set up, where partners, relatives or colleagues of conspiracy theorists can go for support.

Conspiracy theories currently complicate or even make many relationships impossible. In addition, the help center has a primary goal: as long as conspiracy theorists are in contact with people who do not believe in their ideas, the chance of them becoming radicalized is lower.

“It is always about a grand plan behind the actions of a group of people, to secretly control the whole world,” says Janek Buchheim. One of the latest ideas being put forward is that people should take the horseworm instead of the vaccine. This does not depend on anything, but in the meantime the treat of the horse is as good as it was sold.

“And only beginners understand what’s going on,” Buchheim sums up. He and colleague Steffi Bahru run the small office in a Potsdam suburb.

Share more openly

It is difficult to say whether the number of conspiracy theories has increased due to Corona. At least they think they are becoming more prominent. “Conspiracy theorists dare to speak more frankly about their ideas, for example during demonstrations,” Buchheim says. As well as within families or between partners.

“People who come to us often tell us that their loved ones have believed in conspiracy theories for years,” says Bahru. “This was a fairly acceptable habit, because people are still able to make decisions independently of each other.” That has changed because of the pandemic. “Choosing to vaccinate or support Corona measures affects others, and this now leads to a lot of conflict in relationships.”

The savings are buried in the garden

Sandy, 40, struggled for a year and a half. She wants to tell her story anonymously. After meeting her boyfriend through mutual friends last year, it quickly turns out that he strongly believes in conspiracy stories.

Vaccinations would make you sick and he saw this as a conspiracy by the pharmaceutical industry to make money. Microsoft chief Bill Gates is said to have chips hidden in vaccines. The reason why he and Sandy weren’t supposed to have children is because she and Sandy were vaccinated. “That’s when my baby is born sick,” she says.