In the stranglehold of the Octopus: Café Seeterassen

Gastronome tries to bail self out with Scientology
The building belongs to the Hanseatic City
The downtown office looks on helplessly

Hamburg, Germany
January 5, 2002
Hamburger Morgenpost

Normally people would go to the Cafe "Seeterassen" for graduation festivities, parties or a tea dance. But since yesterday, those who are interested in the Scientology psycho-cult can get information at an exhibit in the fine location on "Planten un Blomen".

"It's clear to me that this is not what people come here for," admitted "Seeterassen" operator Felix Thiede (29), "but anybody can relax here." Apparently the young gastronome sees that as being an urgent need. This might have something to do with the fact that he is as good as broke, according to information gathered by MOPO (this newspaper). When asked about it, Thiede admitted to being in "financial straits." "Payment for the event is still open." Scientology as a bail-out measure.

The piquant thing about this is that the Cafe "Seeterassen" belongs to the city of Hamburg. Felix Thiede is the lessee until 2010. For the city, the exhibit by the Scientology "octopus" is a pain in the side. "Naturally we aren't happy about it," said Gerthold Roch, spokesman for the downtown district office. "But we wouldn't have been able to stop the event in any court." He said the contract stated that Thiede could rent the space without an advance permit.

Now the district office wants to meet with the operator, who has "different sensitivities" than we do," summed up Roch. He thinks he can get somewhere by pointing out to the stray businessman the passage in the contract that says the cafe has to used in a way that conforms with the park, and that the exhibit doesn't meet this requirement.

That has also occurred to the hard-put Felix Thiede, "Could be that the district office will try something now." But until then the cult has the "Seeterassen" tightly in its grip.

Thiede is used to people being upset about his guests. Last year the Schill Party was at his place twice: "Everybody complained about them, too."

Sascha Balasko

German Scientology News