German police and museum officials reported Wednesday that vandals have damaged more than 70 artworks and artifacts at some of Berlin's most renowned museums.
The targeted attacks were kept quiet by authorities for more than two weeks.
Christina Haak, deputy director of Berlin’s state museums, told reporters that at least 63 works at the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, and the Neues Museum were all sprayed with what she described as an oily liquid that left stains. She said there was no thematic link between the targeted works and “no pattern is discernible” to the perpetrator’s approach.
The museums are all part of the Museum Island complex, a UNESCO world heritage site in the heart of Germany’s capital that is one of the city’s main tourist attractions.
Police said they initially decided not to go public about the incident out of “tactical considerations related to the investigation.” Local media in Berlin broke the story late Tuesday. On Wednesday, police asked witnesses to come forward with any accounts of suspicious people or events they noticed October 3.
German media have noted that the Pergamon Museum has in recent months been targeted by conspiracy theorists. Attila Hildmann, an activist who has railed against government measures to contain the coronavirus, has spread conspiracy theories about Museum Island.
Through the internet, he claimed the Pergamon Museum held the "throne of Satan" and was the center of a "global satanist and corona criminal scene" where "they sacrifice humans at night and abuse children."
Haak told reporters that some of the museums had been vandalized over the summer with graffiti and torn banners on the outside of the buildings.