The Last Word: Return of the German

Once upon a time, the man known as “Andy the German” was at the top of every conspiracy theorist in America’s list.

He was a spy working for the American and German intelligence services, sent to the States to keep track of the radical right. He was the partner of Timothy McVeigh, the “head of security” at a remote white supremacist compound who secretly collaborated in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

He worked for the FBI.

He worked for the CIA.

He worked for the Anti-Defamation League, or the Southern Poverty Law Center, or perhaps the Israeli Mossad.

Or he didn’t.

In the end, it was learned that Andreas Karl Strassmeir really did meet Oklahoma mass murderer McVeigh, at a 1993 gun show in Tulsa. McVeigh did try to call him once, according to the best evidence, while Strassmeir was living at the Elohim City compound in far eastern rural Oklahoma, just two weeks before the bombing and immediately after contacting the Ryder rental firm where he would later obtain the truck used to build his deadly bomb. And Strassmeir did come from a German family known for its right-wing nationalist sympathies.

That’s where the evidence ran out.

Strassmeir slipped out of the country in 1996, aided by white supremacist friends who ferried him quietly to Mexico, as various theories about his possible role in America’s worst domestic terrorist attack ever proliferated. The FBI, after failing to interview him while he was in the country despite his dealings with Oklahoma radicals, only talked to him by phone nine months after the bombing.

After that, the world didn’t hear much about Andreas Strassmeir, a former lieutenant in the German Army, at least until 1997, when he spoke with Der Spiegel, a respected magazine with a circulation of more than 1 million.

He emphatically denied any involvement in the bombing, which, in truth, was not linked to him by any solid evidence. Then he pretty much disappeared.

Now, the enigmatic German is back.

Andreas Strassmeir, the man who so many once believed helped orchestrate the mass murder of 168 men, women and children, is in Berlin, but he doesn’t seem to be running any top-secret international operations.

He’s selling dolls.

Not just any dolls, but white metal figurines, “historically accurate miniatures of the highest quality made in Germany!” Thorsberg Authentic Historical Miniatures, run by Strassmeir and partner Stefan Loewe, “a qualified model maker,” specializes in Nordic chieftains, officers of the Roman Empire, mythical Germanic heroes and, a bit bizarrely, American Indians in traditional garb.

The firm’s site, Thorsberg-miniatures.de, makes no mention of its founder’s notorious past. Strassmeir is described merely as a “Museology graduate.”

It’s not clear what his degree contributed to Thorsberg’s version of Helen of Troy, which the firm concedes did involve some “artistic license.” The adulterous Greek is depicted almost entirely nude and with an anatomically improbable bosom, a sassy hand resting on her impudent hip, while the face that launched a thousand ships is embellished with purple eye shadow and heavy rouge.

Are there any politics reflected here?

Well, it’s certainly true that white supremacists in Europe as well as the United States have an inordinate interest in early European whites, particularly the kind that spent their years fighting bloody battles against the first Christians and, later, invading Muslim “infidels.” These are seen as exemplars of real white men, brutish warriors ready to make mincemeat of anyone who threatened their race.

But there’s no obvious sign of that at the Thorsberg site.

There is, however, a possible clue. Thorsberg’s logo is described on its site as a “triskel or triskelion. This ancient symbol has been known to many peoples since the Neolithic age. … In Germanic mythology the three swirling arms of the sign also symbolize the unification of past, present and future.”

Versions of the triskelion, also known as the “three sevens” or “three legs,” were used by the Nazi 27th SS Volunteer Langemarck, the South African white supremacist paramilitary group Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging, and, most recently, many neo-Nazi skinheads. And that’s enough to provide grist for the mill of another entire generation of Andreas Strassmeir conspiracy theories.