The following FAQ is trying to answer a few commonly asked questions about Scientology in Germany, and to correct some common misconceptions by readers or some blatant inaccuracies by Scientology.
The author, Tilman Hausherr, can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The original, possibly more up-to-date text version of this document can be found at http://www.snafu.de/~tilman/faq-you/germany.txt.
HTMLization was done by Katinka van der Linden, with help from Cornelius Krasel.
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Clearly not. But for a full answer to that, the best is to show what status real religions have:
This is the highest status a religion can have; according to the JWs who are suing to get it, there are already 30 minority religions who do have that status. It requires that a community exists for a significant amount of time (thumb rule: 30 years) and has a significant amount of members (thumb rule: 1/1000 of the population in the state, only "full members" are counted). Scientology once made a call for "10,000 IAS lifetime members" in the hope to get that status. I have no indication whether they were able to reach their goal.
(A paper article in German about this, in the context of the JW litigation, is available on request)
This status is rather easy to get and is analog to IRS 501c3 but requires honest bookkeeping. It is a non-profit community that delivers something for the public. This can be religious, charitable or educational. While it may be that Scientology orgs had that status decades ago, I do not know any that has it today.
Although Scientology has won some cases in courts, the record today does not look very good for them. Most famous is the decision of the labor court telling that they are not a religion.
Mostly as non-profit community "Eingetragener Verein". Easy to register - you just need seven people and a notary who makes the core contract "Satzung". You can have almost everything in it, from rabbit breeders to foot fetishists. It rather very difficult to force the deregistration of such a community, but city officials have successfully prevented Scientologists to register new communities, or have forced communities to register their book and course sales through a separate, for-profit entity. The most successful was Hamburg who won a court case all the way up to the federal administrative court (see legal part). Other cities have won too; in some cities, Scientology has even agreed to register their business as such and has withdrawn lawsuits.
a) Analysis of Scientology's point of view
Scientology alleges that there are "25" (last winter) or "30" (last summer) German court decisions saying that "Scientology is a religion". I have waited to receive them for over a year. I asked publicly for exact court reference numbers, for description of the litigation, and for names of the parties involved, and whether the decisions are final. No answer.
I am particularly interested in the 1985 decision about Karl-Friedrich Munz. The court reference number mentioned is the FAX number of the court. Nevertheless, I was able to find the court decision number (it was printed in a small photo in "Freiheit", where they claimed it was a 1995 decision). I called the court. The clerk was very helpful, and called me back later to tell me that the decision had been routinely destroyed long ago, as is always done with "Ordnungswidrigkeiten" (minor non-criminal cases, like false parking).
The description of the web page of Leisa Goodman is misleading. Through matching with an excerpt posted by another Scientologist (Andrew Milne) it came out what I assumed: Lie-sa had printed the self-description of Scientology that was mentioned by the court as such. I have still to see that court decision.
In "Freiheit" the Scientologists are also misrepresenting decisions, e.g. they claim that the federal administrative court confirmed the religious character of Scientology. This is a 100% lie - the court left it open.
b) Analysis of what's actually happening
Scientology and Scientologists have both lost and won court cases.
They have won court cases against writer Renate Hartwig who had to change her book at least twice; won the right to distribute "Freedom" on the streets (because it is both commercial and opinion) in Hamburg; won against being forced out of non-profit status in Stuttgart; won against being denied to run an au-pair service; won in 1988 the right to distribute material in Berlin (now no longer applicable); won an injunction against distribution of a publication in Hamburg.
The have lost a lot more, like being forced to register a commercial business in Hamburg; forced to repay course fees; forced to return a "freeloader bill"; being declared as "not a religion" (this is the "labor court decision"); denied an injunction against strong-worded statements by a Minister; being prohibited to recruit on the streets of Stuttgart; denied an injunction against information in schools; fined for insulting a reverend in writing.
(I am not an attorney. German attorneys - please confirm this!!!!!)
It is much, much less significant than in UK or US courts. On the lowest level, each court decides for itself, although it will usually not contradict a decision by the higher court in the state, since he would look foolish on appeal.
On the middle level (OLG / OVG), courts can still rule differently than courts on the same level. They will or will not allow review by the federal court. Review is allowed if a) the issue is an important law question or b) the court ruled differently than the federal court. If review is not allowed, a party can "complain" about not being allowed and the federal court will decide on the complaint. If review is allowed, the federal court will look at the court files and analyse them. There is usually just a short hearing; there is not much the two parties can do. The federal court will then uphold the decision or send it back for retrial.
It is important to understand that precedents are usually not binding - they can be mentioned. They are used rather as a help for the court, who can read them and see if they can be reused.
It is also possible to complain to the constitutional court (BVerfG), if a party alleges that a decision or a law violates the German constitution. The court often refuses to hear cases, sometimes without comment, sometimes with the comment that ordinary courts haven't been used, sometimes others. Scientology once lost a case in which the constitutional court ruled that offering personality tests is a "missionary activity" and not "practice of religion".
That is the decision saying that Scientology is not a religion. It was a devastating loss for Scientology.
This was said by Franz Riedl on one TV show, and is a blatant lie.
This was said by Andrew Milne. The court got Scientology's own books; about the half of the very long court decision are Scientology texts.
This is true, but not unusual at all. The courts do this very often, and it often leads to the result of the loser saying "I cannot comment, I do not have the written decision yet".
Means "we lost but we can't behave like adults"
This is 1. not true (some lower decisions did say that Scientology is not a religion), 2. not unusual since higher courts sometimes overturn lower court decisions. That's why people go to these courts!
This remark is unlogical and probably a blatant lie. If the judge was present at such a seminar, then the Scientologists could have filed a motion to force the judge(s) to step down. Scientology has not alleged this! Scientology has also never alleged that a judge did attend such a seminar. That state attorneys are attending such seminars is just fair, as they have to be informed about criminality.
It is now more than a year ago and nothing has happened. It is over. They cannot appeal. They could have gone to the federal constitution court; this hasn't been done. They know why: such a decision would be the end and would be binding to lower courts.
The decision has already been used in the following court cases (and probably others) lost by Scientology:
This booklet was printed by the common youth organization "JU" of the CDU/CSU, which are the main ruling parties. It is not a government booklet. The JU has no real influence on the party, and certainly not on the government. The JU (and the JUSOS, which is the organization of the social democratic party) is rather a playground for the juniors. The cover has flies and a fly swatter. I have now received confirmation that this booklet 1. exists, 2. is considered to be "dumb" by two anti-cultists I asked.
a) Is he banned in Germany?
Mr. Corea is not "banned". A few years ago, he was refused state subsidies in Stuttgart, and business talks between the state-hired agent and his agent were stopped, after the state learned that he promotes Scientology.
He can play in Germany as often as he wants. He just has to sell tickets and/or to find non-state sponsors.
He sued the state of Baden-Württemberg, lost, and lost again on appeal (see in the legal section of this FAQ).
Nevertheless, he performed in Germany as recently as March 24, 1996, during the 27th International Jazz Week held in Burghausen, an event which received approximately $10,000 in funding from the Bavarian Ministry of Culture.
b) Is he a recruiter for Scientology?
Statement in Impact #12, p.20:
"I have some personal policies as a performer. I consider it's my job to audit an audience."
About acknowledging L. Ron Hubbard in his records:
"But many Scientologists and even Sea Org members have told me that it is because of that simple action that they are now Scientologists."
c) What was going on in Hessen?
Hessen is another German state. Scientology alleges that "Chick" was forced to sign a contract forbidding him to proselytize, or being forced to pay a huge amount of money in the case he violates that agreement. Scientology alleges that "Chick" never proselytizes in concerts. So - what's the point? It shouldn't be a problem to sign something forbidding an activity that was never attempted.
Yes, the Hamburg investigation relating to §129 ("Founding a criminal organization"). Other investigations are still going on. I have been told that the §129 was never used successfully against any criminal organization in Germany - instead, individuals were prosecuted. (This allegation has not yet been confirmed or disproved).
The prosecutor writes:
"Finding evidence of criminality-intended and with the values of the constitution law incompatible structures of a majority of people doesn't mean at the same time the existence of a criminal organization as in §129. The condition for this are concrete indications that a long-term and rigid organized group of people have decided to plan and commit crimes, and this with the knowledge of being in an organized group. It is not enough if committing crimes is just a purpose or an occupation of lower meaning. It is also not enough if only single members commit crimes."
Investigations about the suspicion of tax or economic crimes were separated and investigated in the appropriate departments of the state attorney. The interior ministry has issued a lengthy statement to the attorney general and has asked for a re-opening of the investigation.
(The above from Caberta's report on Scientology)
Yes. Detlef Foullois and Karl-Eric Heilig in 1993 for tax evasion. They were "Patron Gold Meritorious".
For years, the "official" number was "300,000". But in the last years, the "official" number given by the Scientologists is "30,000". I do not know how they come to that number.
The German Scientology organization is financially the second biggest in the world, seen by the count of "Patrons" in IMPACT magazine.
a) Tom Marcellus
He was director of the Holocaust denying "Institute for Historical Review" for over a decade (this stopped 1995), and is also "Patron" of the IAS, which means he has donated $40,000. In 1995 he had a dispute with Willis Carto, the finance guy there, involving whether they would discuss Holocaust denial or other (hateful) topics. It resulted in Carto being thrown out. Marcellus left after his role was discussed in a German radio programme (may or may not be related).
"Freiheit" printed this (translated):
On his own initiative Scientologist Tom Marcellus organised a movement against Willis Carto and threw this extremist out of an organization named Institute for Historical Review, after he had discovered that this institute, that claimed to have been founded to correct historical mistakes, was in fact being used by Carto to propagate the Auschwitz-lie. But Carto is still controlling the Liberty Lobby and The Spotlight.
But let's hear Marcellus himself (used to be here), when he speaks about the Mermelstein litigation.
2.The IHR did not accept or in any way agree with Judge Johnson's ridiculous 1981 "judicial notice" that Jews were "in fact" exterminated in "gas chambers" at Auschwitz.
3.The IHR has not retreated one inch from its well-known position that there is no credible evidence to support the theory that Germans allegedly used homicidal poison gas chambers to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
b) Fletcher Prouty
Not a Scientologist but a so-called "expert witness" who supported Scientology in at least one trial, and who has also connections with Marcellus and Carto.
Prouty's topic at the opening session of the 1990 Liberty Lobby Convention was "The Secret Team." The new Institute for Historical Review's Noontide Press edition of Prouty's book "The Secret Team" was released at the Liberty Lobby conference. Prouty assured the audience it was an "enormous privilege" to have his book republished by the Institute for Historical Review, a group, Prouty claimed, that keeps people "from revising history." Prouty thanked Willis Carto and Tom Marcellus of IHR for the "guts and good sense" to republish his book. [ref].
See more on prouty here. Prouty was an advisor on the JFK film and was the model for the film's character "Mr. X."
Scientologists in Hamburg and Germany have made money through the condo-conversion business. Scientologists have been accused of using harassment tactics to get apartments rids of their tenants (apartments sell much higher empty).
The following is translated from Caberta's report, it is a letter from the famous Hamburg realtor Götz Brase to his staff, 15.3.1993, showing how the Scientology organisation benefits from this business:
"You have really wonderfully fulfilled the purpose of the company, by succeeding to produce a highest-ever for the most important stat of the company just for RON's birthday: sold apartments. 22 housing units were sold in one week, and a highest-ever in the form of 23 reservations was accomplished. Besides this, one [Interest- ????] house with 72 housing units was sold and another with 74 housing units was bought. We have always found out that the result of our performance is our team spirit and our purpose [I know this sentence sounds unlogical - it is so in the original text].
With each week, in which we sell more than 20 housing units, we get one step closer to our target, to finance a new org building."
See also in the legal part for "Antje Blumenthal".
This has been alleged by Scientology. MP Renate Rennebach's office has investigated one allegation that two girls had been expelled from a Kindergarten. It was a lie. The girls did exist. One was _not_admitted_ to a private protestant Kindergarten; the second attends classes there, she's the friend of the first. But a foto with both little girls was printed in "Freiheit", probably without permission.
(In German it used to be here). What Scientology is really mad about is that there were not able to start Scientology schools.
One should assume that other countries where Scientology is in trouble (Sweden, Greece, Russia, France, Spain) would also be attacked. The reasons are the following, in my opinion:
The head of the "Scientology task force" in the Hamburg interior department. She is enemy #1 for Scientology in Germany. Scientology's Mike Rinder called her a "Modern day Goebbels".
Behörde für Inneres beim Senat der Hansestadt Hamburg
attn: Ursula Caberta
Phone: +49 40 32 86 49 90
Fax: +49 40 32 86 49 95
The former head of the Hamburg org. She was removed in 1995 and is missing. She is said to be in the US to "deepen her studies". Others believe that she forged statistics to make it appear as if the Hamburg org is successful. Scientology denies this.
Gisela Hackenjos, spokesperson for Scientology, in an interview with "taz" on 24.10.96:
Q: "Do you consider statements critical about Scientology to be human rights violations?"
A: "Yes, of course"
No. That beer company was hurt by this baseless rumor and issued a very strong-worded denial in newspaper ads. The rumor has now mostly died down.
Yes, for example the Octopus has been used by both. This has two reasons:
The question is not whether a German newspaper, or "Der Stürmer", or Scientology itself (e.g. against psychiatry) has used these pictures, the question is whether its use is according to the facts. A German court ruled that Scientology may be called an "octopus", based on Scientology's own documents.
Yes. The parties are democratic, and support democracy. The same cannot be said about Scientology; I have numerous references that scientology reject democracy. Here just one example:
"A totally democratic organization has a bad name in Dianetics and Scientology despite all this talk of agreement. I has been found by actual experiment (LA 1950) that groups of people called on to select a leader from among them by nomination and vote routinely select only those who would kill them. They select the talkers of big deeds and ignore the doers. They seem to select unerringly the men of average skill. That is never good enough in a leader and the people suffer from his lack of understanding. If you ever have occasion to elect a leader for your group, don't be "democratic" about it."
- HCOPL 2 Nov 1970, _The Theory of Scientology Organizations_.
Thus it is only logical that Scientology is incompatible with democratic parties. In the case of the CDU, the exclusion (used to be here) went through their internal courts, and the exclusion upheld as being compatible with the party internal regulations. The people dismissed have now the option of litigating it in ordinary courts.
Yes, in their human rights report. These reports are written every year
for many countries, except for the US. The report basically says that Scientologists
complain a lot, and gives examples.
1994: (8 lines)
1995: (15 lines)
1996: (57 lines)
The 1995 report, for the first time, mentions that Scientology is considered a business here. Scientology likes to "..." this when quoting from the report.
No. It was a report to the UN, by Prof. Abdelfattah Amor, the special rapporteur for human rights.
gopher 1 gopher 2 WWW text
Most are generalities or twisting of facts. For example, the "Volksfürsorge" is not a public institution - it is a private insurance (this error is not in the German version of the document). Much is not very detailed and gives room to interpretation. The source seems to be the Scientologists themselves, and Prof. Amor has simply written it all down.
1995 report. In the english version, Germany is mentioned with two lines on page 9 (mentions that allegations of attacks have been brought by Scientology and by the church of universal life), and on page 11 (4 lines, mentioning the feedback received).
The four lines are in a larger paragraph mentioning letters received.
Germany (legislation guaranteeing freedom of religion; non-recognition of Scientology as a religious community, in particular pursuant by the Federal Labour Court on the commercial aim of Scientology; no discrimination against it)
I have been told that Prof. Amor's paper budget was reduced, therefore he was only allowed to bring summaries in the 1995 report.
The German government has answered both reports. The answers can be classified like this:
Yes. You can find the article here and also in an impossible format ("common ground") here It contains 18 lines dealing with the Chick Corea "incident". That report was later retracted from the conference due to pressure by the German delegation, but was distributed to the press anyway. Surprising is that conference chairman Dennis DeConcini, was once himself the target of a Scientology operation, as explained by this excerpt from the 1980 St. Petersburg Times Pulitzer award winning series on Scientology:
... the highest officials of the Guardian Office ordered the implementation of "Operation Devil's Wop." It was directed at Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini, who had supported various anti-cult groups. The goal of the operation was to leak to the press a false report linking the senator with organized crime.
Today DeConcini is no longer in Congress because of his role in the Charles Keating affair.
Read the German constitution ("basic law")
The "freedom of religion" is §4:
Article 4 (Freedom of faith, of conscience and of creed)
(1) Freedom of faith and of conscience, and freedom of creed religious or ideological, are inviolable.
(2) The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed.
(3) No one may be compelled against his conscience to render war service as an armed combatant. Details will be regulated by a Federal law.
It is important to know that §4 cannot be seen alone. Scientology "forgets" that their victims are protected by §1 and §2:
Article 1 (Protection of human dignity)
(1) The dignity of man is inviolable. To respect and protect it is the duty of all state authority.
(2) The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world.
(3) The following basic rights bind the legislature, the executive and the judiciary as directly enforceable law.
Article 2 (Rights of liberty)
(1) Everyone has the right to the free development of his personality insofar as he does not violate the rights of others or offend against the constitutional order or the moral code.
(2) Everyone has the right to life and to inviolability of his person. The freedom of the individual is inviolable. These rights may only be encroached upon pursuant to a law.
A discussion about religious freedom in Germany by Norbert Kirsch and Irving Hexham can be found here:
The two main churches (catholic and protestant) collect a sort of tithe through the taxes, as a surcharge of about 8% on regular taxes for people who consider themselves member of them. This is an administrative privilege of these churches, based on an old contract with the states. Many people dislike this, and there has been a steady flow of people leaving "the church". This involves only filling out a simple form at the tax office. Unlike the US, most Germans don't really "go to church" all the time, they just believe (or maybe not) and that's it. And when the taxes get higher and higher, they make their decision. Some people also have the habit of staying only in the church to have a traditional white wedding, and then go.
Yes, churches get state funds. The two main churches because of something that happened in 18xx when much property was taken away from the churches. This is of course not very popular for tax payers, except for the churches :-)
Germany also subsidizes the jewish and islamic religious communities (and maybe some more) for other reasons, probably simply because they subsidize a lot. A lot of people disagree with this practice, but nothing changes.
German text here
a) Main statements of the court
b) Plaintiff history
The plaintiff was "Mini Hatted Personnel Control Officer" and "Mini Hatted Director of Personnel".
In the last half of 1990, the plaintiff participated every thursday in meetings of the "Basic Crew", an inner management circle. The employees were called for 11pm, but the meetings often started only at midnight and seldom ended before 2am in the morning. He also had to participate in planned activities, like distributing advertising material on saturday. He once had to send videos and materials to German politicians, which lasted until 4am.
Besides this, he assembled industry scales at home.
On 17.7.1991 he told Scientology that he had the possibility of a free Italy vacation, and he wanted to take it, to recover and to get his life in order. He left on the same day without "leave of absent" and "security check". For that, he got a severe "ethic order". He did still work for them until 28.9.1991.
In 1990, he got DM 4,030.- and in 1991 DM 5,326.50 plus weekly DM 23.62 / DM 23.90 for medical insurance. He paid DM 33.32 taxes in 1991. He had pre-paid DM 17,449 for "counseling" before, and got DM 6,483.- back at the end of 1992.
He claims that he should get DM 3500 monthly, and calculated that he should get back 71,947.58 DM for 1990 and 52,832.83 DM for 1991.
Scientology claims that the plaintiff did religious work, and that he did all his activities (including the meetings) voluntarily, and that the security check is part of counseling preventing that longtime members leave Scientology.
c) Why Scientology Hamburg is not a religion
The court even used Scientology's own literature to decide that they are not a religion, and only use this as a cover to sell courses. About half of the court opinion is Scientology text.
Scientologists submitted so-called expertises, but the court didn't consider them, because "they only considered Scientology's self-image". They also did not consider a paper that was submitted to the UN human rights commission by "special reporter Abdelfattah Amor", because "that report didn't consider the matters that are part of the litigation" and "it is only his personal opinion".
The court did also take into account that Scientology registered everything as trademarks, which shows that they run a business. Supporting this is also that "neglecting the Scientology trademarks" is considered as a crime in the Scientology "ethics". The federal patent court had already decided that Scientology is similar to any other company selling courses.
Considering that the plaintiff paid DM 17,000 prior to his job, and got paid about DM 10,000, later got back about DM 7,000, the court concluded that the plaintiff had not been paid at all.
The court named similar cases of people paying high amounts, even having to take loans. One ex-Scientologist got a freeloader bill, sued three years later, Scientology lost, because it is against the constitution to prevent people to leave a religion or a community.
The court named a lot of examples from Scientology papers showing the commercialization of the services. The ads "we use only 10% of our brain" do not show that it is about a religion. The use of FSMs who get a 10% commission is also not religion-like. This is against the constitution and the constitutional court already had decided 1960 that someone who tries to take people away from their religion by using deceptive methods is not protected by religious freedom. In that case, it was a single member of a religious community. The court:
"unlike that case, deceptive recruiting methods have been raised to a principle in Scientology".
In support of this, the court cited:
"Many asked me to audit them, and I was overworked. I could only save myself by founding a church, to which I forwarded my customers"
"MAKE MONEY MAKE MORE MONEY"
"There was an Org, which had a large staff, but was always fighting below the point. The Org didn't hire the people from the correct source. One result was that the Org was filled with children who skipped school, customers of the soup kitchen, homeless people and other degraded beings"
"Never before has the court seen an official statement with such low opinion about socially weak people who, additionally, are members of its church. It means that the plaintiff is in severe contradiction with his own creed".
"A proof of contempt for human beings is also that and how the defendant tries to drive its members to peak performance, as stated in HCOPL 8.2.1972, revised 21.10.1980:"
"Any quota can be targeted for increase daily or weekly. For instance the Director of Training can establish a quota of 5 extra letters per day over that of the day before. This would mean he would write 45 leters one day, 50 letters the next day, 55 letters the day after that, and so on"
"To improve performance, a new target can be stated daily or weekly. The director of training may set a target of 5 letters more than the day before. This would mean, that who writes 45 letters daily, will have to write 50 the next day, 55 the day after, and so on."
"Who participates in such a 'snowball system' may risk a severe health damage."
The court also shows totalitarian tendencies, that are shown in important papers of Scientology, in the list of "crimes" and "high crimes". It mentions the security check as obvious method to prevent member loss with contemptuous methods. That members agree to it is irrelevant.
d) The plaintiff was an employee.
The court explains what a employer-employee relationship is and states that it does not matter how this relationship is named. It explained the difference between a sentence about nurses working for the red cross, where the court had stated that they are not employees, although they are paid regularly. But Red cross may vote in their organization, while Scientology staffers may not. The staffers are "special members" who may not vote, only "full members" may vote. There was no way that the plaintiff could ever be an "full member". While German law for non-profit organizations allows different memberships, it means also different duties, which was not the case here. The court even doubts that he was a "member" as stated by the law at all.
a) That in certain cases public contractors have to sign a declaration whether they use methods of L. Ron Hubbard.
b) That applicants for public jobs have to fill out a form (here a translation / summary):
The suitability for work in the public sector would be doubtful for officials and employees with connections to Scientology in the light of the organization's claims to abolutism and the total orientation towards its goals, which could give rise to a conflict of interests with the duties of public service. In such a case, applicants will be given the opportunity to clear any doubts about their suitability, in a conversation where they will be confronted with goals of the cult. Applicants who fail to distance themselves from these goals in satisfactory or credible manner, cannot be hired. In the case of employees of the State of Bavaria who have connections to the organization, the government will have to check whether service duties have been violated. If necessary, disciplinary action will have to be taken, which could lead to discharge from service in severe cases.
See also Bavaria's information page.
Here a poll from May 1995, from "Die Woche".
Did you ever hear about Scientology?
What do you connect with Scientology?
Positive things: 9%
Nevative things: 90%
Don't know: 1%
Should Scientology be forbidden ? (*)
Don't know: 13%
(*) Based on all people who have heard / read about Scientology
Here a poll from November 1996, from "Die Woche".
1. What is Scientology?
"A secret society" 45%
"A company" 33%
"A church" 2%
2. Is Scientology dangerous?
3. For whom is Scientology dangerous? (to people who answered (2) with yes)
gullible people 81%
lonely people 78%
people seeking life content 76%
the state 44%
rich people 34%
people with religious beliefs 19%
4. The state should ...
... inform the population 75%
... observe Scientology 64%
... forbid Scientology 43%
... leave Scientology alone 7%
Many people, especially from the "green" political area, hate the "Verfassungsschutz", because of civil liberty reasons. The "Verfassungsschutz" has a long record of dubious activties, similar to the FBI under Hoover.
So their opinion does not mean that they are "pro-Scientology".
Kurt Weiland is the manager of OSA, i.e. the PR & dirty tricks dept. Germans would call him "Der Mann für's Grobe". Therefore it is interesting to have a look into his legal record.
In 1975 Kurt Weiland wrote in a flyer that cult critic and protestant reverend FW Haack had "admitted to have printed the confession of a woman in a sex magazine" and that he had "broken the 8th commandment".
FW Haack then got a temporary restraining order, and later a permanent restraining order prohibiting Weiland to repeat this allegation. Weiland was also indicted and sentenced to as fine of DM 100.-. In court, he excused himself by saying that he was "unexperienced" because he had been the PR guy for only 14 days at that time.
In 1976 Weiland claimed orally that "FW Haack has no credibility because he had broken his silence on a confession". For this, Weiland was sentenced to a fine of "30 days income" (DM 750.-). He appealed; his appeal was unsuccessful.
(Luckily for Weiland, fines seemed to be rather low !!)
In 1985 Weiland claimed that "FW Haack had been seen with a young girl visiting a porn movie". FW Haack got a restraining order. More details unknown.
LG München, Az: 9 O 20370/75 (3558) 9 O 20 089/75 25 NSs 265 JS 30519/77 AZ München, Az: (unreadable) Bayr. Gemeindeblatt 12.12.1976 epd 10.10.1985
Yes, if you have read the section about Kurt Weiland. Also, Gisela Hackenjos was indicted for 1.libel and 2.threatening (she was found "not guilty", because (1) was made "in the heat of a discussion", (2) was not found to be threatening by the recipient). Franz Riedl was convicted for libel.
Note that Scientology has also won court cases. I have a few. I could include them when Scientology includes their "losses" and removes their bogus wins. Believe me: Scientology won less.
11.9.1992: Scientology loses the court case against Hamburg
MP Antje Blumenthal, failing to prevent her from claiming that "Real
estate deals are the main source of income for Scientology". The court
said that the allegation was a mix of factual allegations and opinion,
and was therefore protected free speech.
(LG Hamburg, Az: ???)
2.10.1992: Scientologist Peter-Uwe Krumholz fails an attempt
to stop the "Rowohlt Verlag" selling a book portraying his role
in the Narconon scandal in Berlin.
(LG Hamburg, Az: ???)
8.4.1992: The company "Cosmos Computer" of Scientologist
Stephan Koenig is sentenced to pay DM 2327 to law student Jan Schreiber,
who had worked there for six weeks. Koenig had paid only DM 500, and then
claimed that Schreiber "didn't have a contract". Schreiber filed
the lawsuit without lawyer; Koenig did not appear in court, and Schreiber
got a default judgement.
(ArbG Hamburg, Az: ???)
5.2.1993: Scientology loses its appeal against Hamburg MP Antje
Blumenthal, in trying to prevent her from claiming that "Real estate
deals are the main source of income for Scientology". The court said
that Scientology has to accept that people attribute the activities of
high-ranking Scientologists to the organisation.
(OLG Hamburg, Az: ???)
5.2.1993: The value of the e-meter is set to be between DM 300
and 500, and not DM 10,000. In that case a Scientologist had sold two e-meters
to two children.
(LG Ulm, Az: 4 0 313/92 - end of the case unknown)
February 1993: Rostock prosecution raids the office of Scientologist Detlef Foullois (OT8), who is arrested.
14.8.1993: The Nymphenburg (near Munich) franchise loses a court
case against a retired engineer to whom they had promised "you'll
get clear with less that DM 100,000". He sued for the difference (DM
28,934.28), and won. The court stated that the contract was "automatically
indecent". According to a SPIEGEL article (37/96), Scientology settled
with the plaintiff to prevent the sentence of getting public.
(LG München 1, Az: 28 O 23490/92).
7.1.1993, 2.2.1993: Scientologist Peter-Uwe Krumholz loses his court case against the "Berliner Zeitung", in which he tried to force the newspaper to print his rebuttal, in which he disputes the allegation that he is a Scientologist. (Which is foolish - he was the driving force in the Berlin Narconon scam in the 70ies, which resulted in the end of the state funding of Narconon).
February 1993: Rostock prosecution raids the office of scientologist Detlef Foullois (OT8), who is arrested.
5.2.1993: The value of the e-meter is set to be between DM 300 and 500,
and not DM 10,000. In that case a scientologist had sold two e-meters to
(LG Ulm, Az: 4 0 313/92 - end of the case unknown)
10.5.1993: Scientology fails to get a TRO to prohibit the allegation
about NARCONON that "not a single successful drug rehabilitation has
been proven". The court declined to set a TRO, as the quote was
accurate, because there is indeed no evidence, neither from an expert
opinion nor from a court decision.
(VGH Stuttgart, Az: 1 S 3021/92)
June 1993: Detlef Foullois (OT8) and Karl-Eric Heilig (clear), both "Patron Gold Meritorious" and donors of a $ 1,000,000 each, are sentenced to 26 months in jail for tax evasion and subsidies fraud. They only escape a higher sentence because the Hamburg org immediately pays DM 2,800,000 (about $2,000,000) in back taxes.
2.6.1993, 13.8.1993: Scientologist Johanna Erdtmann ("SN
Colours") loses her court case in which she tried to prohibit Forbes
magazine being called a Scientologist.
(LG München 5 O 7214/92, OLG München 21 U 1717/93, NVwZ 1994, s.203)
9.11.93: The Nymphenburg franchise is sentenced to pay back
DM 28,934.- to a customer.
(LG München I 28 O 23490/92)
14.1.1994: Three Scientologists are found guilty for distributing hate literature (e.g. the "Hate and Propaganda" booklet) and fined DM 5,400. The judge called the comparisons with the 3rd Reich "the height of hypocrisy". Source: AFF's cult observer 4/94
8.8.1994: The Freiburg org is prohibited to recruit people on the
(VG Freiburg. Az: 4 K 758/93 - scientology has appealed, but the appeals court has declared the case to be "resting", whatever that means VGH Baden-Württemberg of 10.1.1995, Az: 5 S 2466/94)
On 9.10.1994, Scientology vice-president Franz Riedl claims to be penniless, but nevertheless gets sentenced to a fine of DM 18,000 for libelling Pastor Gerd Glaser. The court is unimpressed by Riedl's "past lives" excuses. (AG Hamburg 141 Js 769/93)
On 11.10.1994, the city of Bremen revokes the status of Scientology Bremen ("deregistration"). [any court case ???]
On 3.11.1994, a Scientologist gets arrested after kidnapping his son and a wild car chase, and after trying to strangle his son (police had to break the window of the car to prevent this from succeeding).
On 13.12.1994, two Scientologist real estate companies ("Breitling
& Partner" and "HG Grundstücksgesellschaft") lose
their court case against a newspaper (taz) who had named them in an article
critical of Scientology.
(LG Berlin, Geschäftsnummer 27.0.612/94)
On 16.2.1995, the federal administrative court rules that Scientology
Hamburg has to register a commercial business for its sales of books and
courses, ending an 11 year long litigation. The court left it open whether
Scientology is a religion or not.
(Az: BVerwG 1 B 205 und 206.93)
On 22.3.1995, Scientology Hamburg loses a motion before the
federal labor court, which decides that Scientology is not a religion.
(Az.: 5 AZB 21/94).
On 29.3.1995, the administrative court in Cologne declines to set a TRO against federal labor minister Norbert Blüm, who had called Scientology a "criminal money laundering organization" and a "cartel of oppression with contempt for human beeings" in a newspaper interview, and also said that their leaders are "criminals" and their members are be submitted to "brainwashing" (VG Köln, Az: 10 L 1942/94 )
On 10.4.1995, the head of Scientology Hamburg, Wiebke Hansen, is removed by Kurt Weiland and Mark Lizer. She has not been seen since then.
On 10.5.1995, Organisations of tenants, real estate owners and real estate brokers unite in a "konzertierte aktion" against Scientologists real estate businesses
On 14.6.1995, Scientology Bremen forced to register as a business, because court sees behaviour as commercial. (VG Bremen, 5 A 16/94)
On 24.6.1995, Berlin demo
On 5.7.1995, a Scientologist real estate company loses its court case in Berlin against tenants who had put up banners negative to Scientology
August 1995: MP Renate Rennebach investigates Scientology's allegation that two children were expelled out of a Kindergarten. She finds out that of the two children, one is attending classes there, and the other was never expelled: instead, the protestant church community who runs the private Kindergarten refused the application because of fear of the parents Scientology proselytizing. The child is attending classes in a public Kindergarten.
On 4.9.1995, parents boycott a school class because a teacher had proselytized Scientology in school. The parents even take the education of their children in their own hands, teaching their children themselves. The teacher, who previously already had been reassigned five times after parent protests because of her scientoloy proselytising, is later removed from the school and assigned a "desk job".
On 10.10.1995, a Scientologist real estate business in Hamburg loses a court case against the Berlin tenants organization, who had listed him as a Scientologist.
On 15.10.1995, news come out that the German flavor of CCHR had contacts with serial killer Thomas Holst at the time he was in psychiatry.
On 15.11.1995, Scientology Hannover loses two court cases, so that they cannot sell books in the public, nor approach passers-by in public (OVG Lüneburg, Az: 12 L 1856/93 und 12 L 2141/93)
On 22.12.1995, Chick Corea loses his court case against the state of Baden-Württemberg in connection with his non-participation at the state-sponsored concert at the world athletics championship. The audience has a good laugh in court when the judge asks if a "world famous pianist like him" needs state-paid concerts to survive financially.
On 23.1.1996, Klaus Kempe's real estate company in Düsseldorf loses the right to teach students (as part of the German dual education system with practical education at work and a theoretical education in school) the business because of the use of the Scientology personality test. (VG Düsseldorf, Az: 3L 4227/93 and/or (?) 3 K 12881/94 )
On 23.1.1996, Scientology agrees to register as a commercial business in Karlsruhe.
On / Around 24.1.1996, Scientology agrees to register as a commercial business in Frankfurt.
On 29.1.1996, the Scientology franchise in Mannheim loses a court case before the administrative court in Karlsruhe, thus is forced to register as a business (Az: 6 K 2681/95). The court says that it does not matter whether they actually earn money or not, since this is the purpose of Scientology in any case.
On 19.3.1996, a Scientologist in Heidelberg is convicted to
pay a fine for threatening to murder a 17 year old, who was critical of
Scientology and member of the students organization of the CDU party. He
had said: "This is a real death threat from a real Scientologist".
(1st court AG Heidelberg v 28.11.1995, Az: / 7 Cs 15 Js 4193/95)
Around March 1996: Franz Riedl, spokesman of Scientology Germany, who appeared in the last two editions of "Freiheit" with an editorial, is no longer there. (he resurfaced in august, then disappeared again)
On 15.4.1996, a member of the consumer organization ABI (Mr. Kleinman) wins his (criminal) trial for libeling a Scientologist. He had called the Scientologist a member of a "white collar criminal cult". The prosecution drops the case after hearing that the Scientologist had previously called him a "nazi criminal who was born 60 years too late".
On 5.6.1996, Labor minister Norbert Blüm wins again, this
time before the superior administrative court in Münster, which allows
him to continue to call Scientology a "contemptuous cartel of oppression"
and a "giant octopus". The court also didn't mind him saying
that "its leaders are criminals" and that "the members are
brainwashed", and that Scientology is promoting a "deluded ideology".
He can also name them as "criminal money-laundering organization",
because the minister did not mean the crime of money-laundering as defined
in the law, instead he stated in simple language that Scientology gets
huge amounts of money through reprehensible methods, this money partly
coming from criminality, and then invests this money in corporations to
hide all these circumstances. The court agreed with Scientology being called
a "giant octopus" because Scientology's own doctrine of expansion
and penetration qualifies for such an attack.
(OVG Münster, Az: 5 B 993/95)
On 21.6.1996, Painter Gottfried Helnwein loses his court case
against Scientology critics Jeanette Schweitzer and Christa Jenal. The
court allowed them to call Helnwein a "class 4 auditor", "minister"
and "member of Scientology", and also "member of an organisation
of total lay people, who use a coercive hypnotic method to destroy people's
souls and get them under mind control with the help of a lie-detector".
The two critics were only forbidden to claim that a painting had been sold
for OSA, because Helnwein's attorney successfully argued that it had been
sold for NARCONON only.
(OLG Frankfurt, Az: 16U 163/95)
On 12.7.1996, Scientology loses a court case in Stuttgart, prohibiting
them to sell on the streets.
(VGH Baden-Württenberg, Az: 5 S 472/96)
On 8.8.1996, the Bavarian culture ministry wins against four
Scientologists who had tried to prohibit them to distribute material critical
to Scientology in a magazine for schools.
(Az: M 3 E 96.2692)
On 13.8.1996, Scientology withdraws a lawsuit against the state
of Hessen. The state president had said that he anxiously watches the cult
activties, and that it should be fought on a federal level. Scientology
sued, and later withdrew the lawsuit, and has to pay the costs.
(VG Wiesbaden, Az: 4/3 E 1000/92)
On 6.9.1996, the Stuttgart state court lifts a TRO that Scientology
had asked to prevent the postbank from closing Scientology's bank accounts
near Ulm. Scientology had unsuccessfully argued that 17 banks had refused
to open an account for them; the postbank had successfully argued that
400 banks exist in the area. (In Germany, money is usually
transferred between accounts directly instead of sending checks as in
France or the US, therefore the bank account is written on every
business stationery). The court also suggested that scientology could
open an acount from a US bank doing business in Germany, as it would be
unlikely that these banks would participate in an anti-scientology
(LG Stuttgart, Az: 27 O 343/96, see also NJW 1996, p. 3347))
On 14.10.1996, the administrative state court of Baden-Württemberg
in Mannheim denied a motion (pending the main trial) to allow Scientology
to distribute pamphlets or to talk to passers-by. Reason: commercial activity.
The court expresses strong doubts whether Scientology is a religion. The
ruling cannot be appealed.
(VGH Mannheim, Az: 5 S 472/96)
Around 15.10.1996 the Hamburg state court confirms the sentence against Franz Riedl, but reduced the fine to DM 5,400. Riedl had appealed several times, the last decision was only about the amount (Riedl claims to earn only DM 1,000 a month)
On 15.10.1996, "Chick" Corea loses his appeal in court case against the state of Baden-Württemberg in connection with his non-participation at the state-sponsored concert at the world athletics championship. The court:
"The defendant [state] has shown evidence that has been undisputed by the plaintiff ["Chick" Corea], showing that some methods used by Scientology are dangerous for human dignity and individual freedom of the recruited members, and that because of their partly contemptuous and totalitarian tendencies, the views [of Scientology] are in contradition with liberal and democratic values of western democracies."
(VGH Mannheim, Az: 10 S 176/96).
On 21.10.1996, four Bavarian Scientologists lose their appeal
against the bavarian culture ministry in trying to prevent them to distribute
material critical to Scientology in a magazine for schools.
(VGH München, Az: 7 CE 96.2861)
On 24.10.1996, Berlin Police Officer Volker K. gets sentenced to DM 12,000 fine for using Scientology's "personality tests" in police training. Law enforcement confiscates one hard disk of the Berlin Scientology org. He had appealed the non-trial fine of DM 16,000. As evidence a hard disk resulting from the raid of the Berlin org was used. The police officer was suspended with (!) pay. He has appealed.
On 26.11.1996, the administrative court of Augsburg prohibits
Scientology to recruit on the streets or to distribute propaganda. Scientology
had appealed an order of the city of Kempten. Reason: commercial activity.
The court leaves it open whether Scientology is a religion.
(VG Augsburg, Az: Au 3 K 94.671)
On 19.2.1997, the Scientologist business "Beauty-Colours-System"
drops an appeal against a lost lawsuit in Munich. In that case, a Scientologist
company had licensed the "beauty colors system for color, type and
image advice" to a woman without telling that at the beginning of
the education there would be a "communication course" of L. Ron
Hubbard. When learning this, the woman terminated the contract immediately
and requested a refund, and sued. The Munich state court brought a judgement
fully in her favour; with the retraction of the appeal, the judgement is
(LG München I, Az: ???)
On 25.2.1997, the Bremen superior administrative court forbids
scientology to advertise on the streets without a permit, because it is
a business, for which a permit is needed.
(OVG Bremen, 1 BA 46/95 and 1 BA 30/96)
On 10.4.1997, scientology's complaint at the European Commission of Human Rights is dismissed unanimously by all 31 members on grounds the cult had not exhausted domestic legal channels, as scientology hadn't attempted to get a judgement by the german Federal Constitutional Court. The argument that a constitutional complaint in Germany would be hopeless from the beginning was also disputed by the commission. The Commission decided not to pass on the case to the European Court of Human Rights, which may rule only after legal means within the country concerned have been thoroughly explored.
On 15.4.1997, scientology agrees to a settlement with Jürgen Behrndt: they pay back the half of DM 90000 in the Hamburg state court. Two of the three judges had already hinted that the whole contract might be "indecent".
On 25.6.1997 the administrative court of Cologne rules that scientology
may not review the folders of the parliament investigation committee on
"so-called cults and psycho-groups". Reason: the papers are not public.
(VG Köln, Az: 23 L 180/97)
On 9.7.1997, the Bonn state court decides that parties have the right
to exclude scientologists, and dismisses a lawsuit by three ex-CDU
members. As reasons it named the requirement of obedience, the control
of the individual by other members, and the placement of the socially
weak to the border of society because of their uselessness.
(LG Bonn, Az: 7 O 55/97)
In July 1997, Painter and celebrity scientologist Gottfried Helnwein
fails to get an ex-parte TRO against book author Peter Reichelt. The
courts set a hearing date for August 21th; Helnwein dismisses his suit a
few days before the hearing.
(LG Berlin, Az: 16 O 407/97)
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