German Survivalists

The Doomsday Scenario

Prepper Benjamin Arlet, Survival-Experte von x-group, Berlin Foto: Mike Wolff
I will survive: Prepper Benjamin Arlet, a member of Berlin's x-group.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • Germany has an estimated 40,000 survivalists, or preppers, getting ready for when disaster strikes. The movement’s founding country, the U.S., has 4 million.
  • Facts


    • The survivalist movement has grown steadily since the start of the global financial crisis in 2008. Last year’s large influx of refugees further strengthened Germany’s prepper movement.
    • The recent update to Germany’s official civil-defense plan advises each citizen to stockpile sufficient food to last 10 days, among other survival tips.
    • The Federal Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Assistance, which updated the plan, is circumspect when commenting about the survivalist movement. The government officials say they deal in realistic scenarios, not doomsday fantasies.
  • Audio


  • Pdf


When catastrophe hits, the survivalists plan to meet at their depot. It’s in a cellar off the back courtyard of an apartment block in a Berlin suburb.

Their safe place: Down the cellar steps, through an iron door, down a corridor at the back on the right.

There, in the corner, is a backpack that belongs to Daniel Schäfer, stuffed with three months’ worth of supplies. The pack is full, weighing in at 20 kilograms, or 44 pounds. He hasn’t put in the denatured alcohol yet.


Want to keep reading?

Subscribe now or log in to read our coverage of Europe’s leading economy.