They struck at dawn and left a trail of blood and body parts. There were six, maybe seven perpetrators. One had calmly passed Annett Hertweck’s car as she was speeding down the forest path to the scene of the massacre near the eastern village of Forstgen, Germany. Only then did she see the bodies. Dozens of them.“It was horrific,” she says. The culprits were wolves, descended from Polish forebears. The victims were German sheep, 55 of them. Extinct for the best part of a century, Germany’s most notorious fairytale baddie is back. Wolves have been slipping across the Polish border for years, gradually settling into rural Germany. There are only a few hundred of them.But to hear some politicians tell it, the country is facing an invasion. And the way they talk about wolves is strikingly similar to how they talk about immigrants, turning the animal into an object of terror – and the discussion into an allegory for the nation’s simmering culture wars. Between urban elites and rural left-behinds. Between west and east. And also between those who welcome wolves – and immigrants – and those who fear them.