Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 11
Helnwein, Reichelt and Scientology
Vienna, in January 1987 -
My last day in wintry, snowy Vienna. I was standing in District 1, in the middle of the heart of the city, only a stone's throw from St. Stephan's Cathedral, the city's landmark, in front of the large show windows of the Wuerthle Gallery. On the other side of the street, diagonally across in the mezzanine of 8 Singer Str. was where Scientology began in 1974 - Gottfried Helnwein's career.
In 1987, the Wuerthle Gallery was Austria's most influential temple of contemporary art, under the business management of the attractive Johanna Dichand, the daughter of newspaper czar, chief of the "Kronen" newspaper and media mogul Hans Dichand, whose generous financial support she enjoyed.
Hans Dichand is an influential man, perhaps even Austria's most influential, and he is a great admirer of the painter Gottfried Helnwein and one of his few friends in Austria's self-willed art scene. Dichand has been promoting him by more than just purchasing his pictures since the beginning of the 1970s, when Helnwein still lived in Vienna, was neither rich nor famous and was causing one scandal after another with his spectacular art campaigns.
Dichand told of his relationship to Helnwein in an interview in Austrian "Basta" magazine in November 1992: "I value him highly because he is no epigone. For each of the art greats, there are countless followers. But Helnwein has forged a new, unique style. The blue phase which he is now painting moves me greatly. The giant portrait which he has done of me contains my favorite colors. Blue is the most meaningful color in art ... My acquaintance with Helnwein goes back 20 years (1972), back to an exhibition in the press building. At the time he was in the mutilated children phase, and we soon took the pictures down because the workers were against that sort of thing. The exhibition had been meant for them, so it was their own decision. Later he became an exquisite illustrator in the 'Kronen' newspaper. My favorite work was a paper in the beginning of the school year: a child wearing a face of loathing was sitting down to his first assignment and gnawing on his pencil. I acquired the picture, as well as the James Dean, which shows magnificently that nowhere can one be lonelier than in a big city. I love Helnwein's new, peaceful pictures more than the earlier, aggressive ones.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 12
I didn't like those as well as I would have understood them, either: it probably had to do with him showing what quality life can have for children."
In December 1984, 36-year-old Gottfried Helnwein "fled" Vienna with his wife, Renate, 30 years old at the time, and their three children: a son, Cyril, 7 years old; a daughter, Mercedes, 4 years, and baby son Ali, 2 years. Living in Vienna for fourteen years as an artist was more than enough for him. Although he had very quickly become famous far outside the Vienna city limits, he remained an outsider in the city of his birth, shunned by society for many years mainly because of his early water colors from 1969 to 1975, some of which gruesomely portrayed disfigured and abused children and adolescents. After nearly a year's stay in the USA, the more recent phenomenal success, since about 1978, of his hyperreal portraits of Peter Alexander, Nikki Lauda, James Dean, J.F. Kennedy and many other celebrities brought him not only the long, sought-after breakthrough and the bitterly needed commercial wealth, but also many new enemies, this time primarily from his own Austrian art scene, especially in Vienna. One of his few friends from former times, classmate from the academy and fanatic "Beach Boys" fan, Manfred Deix, like Helnwein, also rapidly advanced to become a national superstar with his own cult status with his covers for news magazine "Profil."
For reasons of keeping his real intentions a secret, Helnwein did not give a detailed account of his reason for his "broken" connection to his home city of Vienna until 1992, in the Austrian Magazine, "Basta":
"Helnwein: I never had a feeling of being at home. At most, it was a sort of vacuum which held me here, although I had wanted to leave for a long time, but when I would come back, I noticed qualities in the city which one can value only from a distance. The freaks here. Absurd types, grumblers. After the private showing (in the Wuerthle Gallery on the occasion of the initial second Helnwein exhibition in Vienna after his move to German Burgbrohl seven years prior) I was out with Deix until five in the morning. Unbelievable, what kind of people you meet there! Completely different from Germany or America, where everything is cordoned off and predictable. Over there is much better for working. But the scenario here is one of a kind ... Vienna activism is an art form which nowhere else comes close to.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 13
Probably in this city, one has no other alternative but to cut himself with razor blades ... or my self-mutilations. In this city something builds up in you that you have to get away from. That is also the reason why I went away. In these 36 years, I had accumulated so much Vienna in myself, that I need a lifetime to dismantle it. Vienna is more intense than someplace else - but you have to get away because it uses you ... Vienna is dominated by cliques which have divided up the districts and which control the market like pimps. They do that very well, and anyone who wants can do it with them. The most powerful clique is that of Rainer, Pichler, Nitsch and Attersee. You have to work hard to be a member by laughing, wining and dining together in coffee houses. It's just that that is not my style. Never has been. Neither am I jealous. Besides that, my market is in foreign countries."
"Basta": A clique that is completely out of style is the fantasy realists. Helnwein continued, "I already know anybody who wants to be modern and be with it and get exposure has to hang out with Fuchs. Or Hundertwasser: critics, architects, visitors to the exhibitions with their designer jeans loathe him, but the public loves him and thinks he's wild. I, too, like to look at his giant scenes of burning garbage and enjoy myself. I am aware of the price lists which always the same ones insist on: Rainer, Pickler, Nitsch and on down to Attersee. But all the way at the top is Hundertwasser, which bothers everybody, because they don't want him there. But he is strong as Hrdlicka, who elbowed his way to the top."
"Basta" again: Austrian critics have been severely criticizing you.
Helnwein: "Not in general. But if you mean the "press," they always have representatives of this esoteric priest art for a small elite. Tabor, the critic, was foaming at the mouth at my Albertina museum exhibition a couple of years ago (1985), and I was happy about that because I had the impression that he was not feeling too well after looking at my work. In reality these elitists are almost always a fraud. They work things out among themselves! One sends a few artists from one museum to the other - the museum directors are all good friends, anyway - and the market value goes up with each museum. The important thing is that it is only a few. In Austria, for example, they are Rainer, Pichler, Nitsch and Attersee. The idea of the art market is to create an artificial demand through a shortage.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 14
There are many good artists, but the clique reduces them to just a few ...
I get my concept of artistic quality a different way. I also respect people who do not go crazy over Rainer and his twelve-tone music, but like Hundertwasser and Peter Alexander. And, in case of doubt, I prefer kitsch, banality and imbecility, which are in a position to release emotion, to glass door aesthetics."
June 1987 - For the first time, the same magazine, "Basta, two years after Helnwein's self-imposed exile, was the first Austrian magazine to generally honor the wrongly designated "lost" son Helnwein of the city of Vienna with a detailed seven page article, without forgetting to mention the artist's extraordinary love of Scientology. The story began with an introductory hymn of praise to its favorite species, Manfred Deix - like Helnwein, an idol in Austria...
Deix: "Helnwein is a marvel. The most sensitive, funniest, most creative person I know. My best friend, and that since 1965. We got to know each other in graphics, and our common fate brought us together: him from the city, me from the rural land of small villages, both dressed horribly and ruthlessly dragged to the barber's by our parents, outsiders with a tinge of the pre-hippy era. Then there was our common admiration for Mickey Mouse and the magnificent Disney cartoonist, Carl Barks. It wasn't a whole week before we had our own personal crash pad, and had invested our aggressive potential in an imposing diatribe. He was the doer, because he is a hero. He dared to do what none other did: for example he shat a gigantic pile in front of the teacher's room, imagine, such a small person! ... And he is proud, introverted, selective. That caused those he did not distinguish with his presence to accuse him of arrogance." "Basta" again: "... An ironic person and his realm: Helnwein, 39, at Burgbrohl, the landmark of the village by the same name, between Coblenz and Cologne, there, in the most beautiful place on the Rhein. Year "2" after the emigration from Austria... Renate the spouse, four children, an assistant, a secretary, three cats, a dog, some chickens. Scientology teachings as structure and instrument of self-experience. For two years he has not painted a magazine cover, Donald Duck, James Dean, Mick Jagger are a closed section of the past...
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 15
Helnwein: "Only very, very few artists at all manage their own trademark. I am one of those, and if you listen to what people are saying around the world, Rainer, Nitsch, Hundertwasser and I are the most well known Austsrian artists. And then someone like me comes along and ruins things for the critics because he is always taking it to the limits, because he painted Peter Alexander as the cover for "Krone" and has transgressed all the laws of the elite market - and simply threw his trademarks away." ...The "business" with his excessive drive which he has been accused of has receded. "I was never well-to-do and now less than ever before. My giant format is really only attractive for museums. I'm shuffling my debts around like a field officer but I don't worry about it because I've produced four children and hope for their support in return."
That's no surprise, because by the summer of 1987, the Helnwein couple had "donated" a conservatively estimated DM 600,000 to varioius Scientology organizations for their high titles of "operating thetans" and more.
"Basta" continued: "If Helnwein has gradually been assuming a cultic position in the German nobility scene, here at home judgment has been passed on him for the worse. Only Hans Dichand, Helnwein fan from the very beginning, remains true to him and displays his new works in the Wuerthle Gallery.
August 1996 -Hans Dichand's Wuerthle Gallery in the middle of Vienna has now been closed for over six months. Contemporary art, especially in Germany and Austria, is in the middle of its worst crisis since the end of the Second World War. Hard times for artists and galleries. Those well-known among them continue to survive from the golden 1980s; all the rest are just trying to eke out a living. Gottfried Helnwein, despite alleged world fame and money, found himself on the losing side since the fateful summer of 1996 for more reasons than one.
The German media, both television and press, were condemning him with malicious glee, some of which was of his own making, after pronouncement of the now legally valid (!) Frankfurt "Helnwein is a Scientologist" superior state court judgment of 20 June 1996, with the exception of the venerable "Sueddeutsche Zeitung" newspaper in which Helnwein continues to be presented as a poor, innocent victim of the "evil" German Scientology hysteria, one can only imagine why.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 16
Helnwein and Reichelt in Krems, Austria, May 1991
(Photo Archive Reichelt - AR - )
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 17
One can read this case study in pretentiousness which, by journalistic standards, is unfortunately insufficiently researched and, in many passages, simply false, in the article of August 8, 1996 by the renowned "leading editor" of the newspaper, Herbert Riehl-Heyse, with the title "The Painter and his Hydra."
Cruising the Nile together and the "1,001 Nights " Festival at Burgbrohl
Biolek and Helnwein, Two Friends - 1995
A short time thereafter the same article was reprinted unabridged on September 5, 1995 in "Facts," the largest Swiss news magazine under the title "I shit on Scientology." The isolated "pro-Helnwein" speakers are primarily his good friends and collectors of his art: ARD talk show host Alfred Biolek, and also the Green Party politician and Parliamentary Vice President (!) Antje Vollmer. Both have had very private, personal contact with the artist and his family since the early 1990s. Apparently both, however, have lost the personal impartiality and oversight needed in this "Helnwein case" since their subjective views have excluded some possibilities. It seems to me that this kind of behavior is extremely objectionable, especially in the case of a leading German politician like Mrs. Vollmer. Whether in various podium discussions or even in television programs, such as was broadcast October 8, 1996 by WDR's favorite ARD talk show "Boulevard Bio," with Alfred Biolek (!) as emcee and guests including Gottfried Helnwein (!) - with the theme: "The unjustly persecuted artist (Helnwein)" - in which the unavoidable "Inge Meysel of the Greens" and Antje Vollmer, this time flanked by the noticeably naive support of one Alfred Biolek, who was especially wide-eyed and perhaps even cued in advance (?) in pro-Helnwein statements about "campaigns" and sacrificial lambs, passed Helnwein off as a victim. Simply incomprehensible when one recalls that the week before many people who were personally aware of Helnwein's membership in Scientology had appeared in a live broadcast, including Germany's best known Scientology critic and author, Renate Hartwig, at WDR in Cologne, as well as at the Biolek editing office in his "Pro Inc." production company, and ardently emphasized Helnwein's activities. Nevertheless, for whatever reason, Helnwein's friend, Alfred Biolek, shut both his eyes and carried through with his talk show to serve Helnwein without consideration of the truth, against his better judgment and in front of an audience of millions of people.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 18
Perhaps one of the reasons for the obvious goodwill treatment of his friend Helnwein by Dr. Biolek was that his "Pro Inc." TV company organized a one-week Nile cruise through Egypt from February 23 to March 2, 1995 in which Helnwein's wife, Renate, and 20 other close friends and members of "Pro Inc." staff took part. As a "return measure," Gottfried Helnwein accommodated his bosom buddy Biolek and many of Biolek's friends in his castle in Burgbrohl for a magnificent "1,001 Nights" festival which Helnwein had artistically arranged with regard to the contents as a small Thank You for Dr. Biolek. That occurred on September 24, 1995 on Helnwein's castle estate. The expenses for that ran far in excess of 10,000 DM.
A scandal without consequences? It does, in fact, appear that such a fraud to the paying television audience no longer results in consequences. In spite of all the efforts made by his "blind" friend, Helnwein benefitted not at all, or just for a very short length of time. An observant TV correspondent of the ARD (!) news magazine "Report" from the Bavarian Broadcasting (BR) company got the scoop on exposing this television fraud with its actual background a short two weeks later on October 21, 1996.
ARD Report in BR - magazine "Report" - Two TV Reports on the Helnwein Scandal on 21 Oct 1996 and 3 Feb 1997
21 Oct 1996 - Fool's freedom for Scientologists: the Helnwein case and the media:
"After the Jews in the Third Reich, the Germans have sought out a new object in satisfying their suppressive tendencies - the Scientologists." This is the core of the scandalous statement of a gigantic advertisement campaign which the notorious Scientology sect has initiated in the USA. The widespread slander of the German people is part of a propaganda strategy with which Scientology wants to break the resistance in Germany. Part of this strategy is the public relations presentation of alleged victims of German Scientology hysteria.
The poster child for this effort is the painter, Gottfried Helnwein, who was recently bewailed by the Sueddeutche Zeitung newspaper as a victim of critics turned wild,
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 19
may now speak unopposed, even on TV talk shows, about alleged German Scientology hatred. Stefan Meining on Helnwein, the false victim:
Tuesday a week ago (8 Oct 1996, "Boulevard Bio"). Germany's renowned talk show host, Alfred Biolek, and an hour of small talk. Biolek: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Our topic this evening is called "Alienated and Despised!"
And with him art painter and Scientologist, as verified by the court, Gottfried Helnwein. On Bio he contested being a member of the Scientology organization, instead of that Helnwein impersonated a persecuted artist.
Helnwein: "That is quite simple, it has to do with completely shutting somebody out of society. Goldhagen created a very good word for it: "socially dead." There is a circumstance in which it should be used. It means that someone is socially dead."
Reality appeared quite differently: Scientology had been using Helnwein to advertise for years. One Scientology brochure was even illustrated with Helnwein pictures. Therefore critics described Helnwein as a Scientologist. Helnwein took them to court, even though an American Scientology magazine had interviewed him as a member of the Scientology clergy. Did the American Scientology center interfere with the proceedings? Did they take Mr. Helnwein's side?
Wolfgang Frank, judge and press spokesman at Frankfurt superior state court: "That is not manifest, in any case Mr. Helnwein did not deny that the interview in question, which was published in America, took place. In that interview, he was described as an "auditor," and thereby a clergyman. He never contradicted that." Because of that the Frankfurt superior state court determined in a judgment which could not be appealed:
Quote: The complainant is a Scientologist. In any case he confesses to this organization. This is concluded from numerous facts.
New evidence is constantly appearing. It proves Helnwein's membership in Scientology. Just one example - in his feudal house Helnwein issued a declaration of love for Scientology. And that was for a Scientology advertisement video.
Helnwein: "Scientology is simply another step, a new monstrous discovery. That is one dimension of it. It exceeds everything which man had previously thought possible. And that, naturally, is regarded by the people in power, for the moment, as dangerous. I understand that, too."
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 20 & 21
[Lower left hand corner is a self-portrait by Helnwein.]
How the artist got the reputation of being a leader in the psychosect - and why he can practically no longer defend himself against this campaign.
by Herbert Riehl-Heyse
By himself he would have lasted well; he prepares - if he is not exactly painting - a large retrospective of his works which will be shown in Japan and St. Petersburg, in Vienna and San Francisco. But he has a problem besides that, and "that costs me half my time." Today he read that a Hamburg Senate Representative wants to know why somebody like him is painting stage scenery for a theater. Besides that he also has to telephone his Duesseldorf attorney again: he has just prepared the letter for a complaint in Constitutional Court, which is supposed to protect Helnwein from being described as a clergyman of the Scientology Church.
Helnwein is not a clergyman of the so-called Scientology Church. But the case is complicated. The early history, in all brevity, deals with the strong Catholic childhood of the son of a postal worker from Onakring near Vienna, deals with the early assumption that somebody special was growing up there, deals with the first rebellion in school and later at the academy, where it became clear to him that he did not want to fit it at any price. At age 25, in 1973, Gottfried Helnwein - for example because of a provocative title picture of the Austrian news magazine "Profil" - was the renowned "shock painter of Vienna," according to the "Kurier." And besides that he did not at all do well in experimenting with drugs, particularly with LSD. "I was almost climbing the wall," he said, then he was told that he should come off drugs, "after which I was doing very much better."
But the program had been arranged by Scientologists. Later, said Helnwein, he took a few courses from Scientology, even while he was interested in anything between Zen Buddhism and Krishnamurti, Lao Tse and the Kabbala.
In Scientology, says Helnwein today, he "had never been a disciple" but he thinks he, personally, had a few good experiences, as he has often said. Not least of all because he is constantly asked about it by functionaries of the church and by reporters. His casually friendly and all too naive statements had something to do with him initially not knowing much about the sect. When he was in contact with it, it was rather unknown in Germany; hardly anybody knew that it was less of a religious establishment than it was a commercial one which used psychic pressure and manipulation on its adherents; Helnwein knew as little about that as he did the "brutal American way," said Helnwein, the "church" ruthlessly recruits using celebrities. Later, he said, he had told one of the functionaries that he did not like that; he had been taken in; but since then, in 1989, he lost interest in the sect and is interested in other religions.
The hysteria of some sect fighters can hardly be differentiated from the paranoia of those, who with the help of [continued] ->
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 22
Caught by Scientology
by Herbert Riehl-Heyse
The Republic is aching at its seams, the politicians are standing around in a daze, but the all-important question of the country is whether a certain painter who never did wrong to anybody would not be a Scientologist. The television magazine of Bavarian Broadcasting has addressed this earth-moving issue repeatedly, most recently with a challenge to the "fervid Helnwein defenders" from the SZ [this newspaper] to be more concerned about the distress of two Lower Bavarian Scientology victims, of whom of course no further mention is made. Confronted by such weighty appeals, perhaps there is really nothing left for this newspaper (which lately has been vehemently criticized by a Bavarian sect minister for its "liberal misunderstanding") but to solemnly assure its readers that it is not in the clutches of Scientology nor has it otherwise lost its senses.
The mere fact that we have to do this is part of the problem. There is something totally humiliating when anyone who, for his own reasons pleads for a sense of proportion and a constitutional state, is first forced into a long preamble from which it can be concluded that he is light years away from a so-called church whose most important articles of faith are money and power. One would like to believe that reasonable people would not have any differences of opinion about the quality of this sort of theology cum brachy-ethics; sadly not much reason has been expressed. The others would prefer to shout among themselves in broadcast confrontations. In truth there are only two possibilities when it comes to discussing Scientology or similar manifestations: the spiritual and the legal. In regards to the spiritual, first you have to come to address the puzzling phenomenon of why the established churches have so firmly taken up the battle against "the sects" in a society where less and less believe. If that, as can be assumed, is an indication of the deeply imbedded religious insecurity of many people and of their nevertheless increased hunger to support meaning, then it would be of utmost importance to work out the fundamental differences between the Christian churches and totalitarian organizations. In describing the most important characteristics of the latter, Frankfurt political scientist Hans-Gerd Jaschke used expressions like "sole representative of the truth" and "rigid differentiation between good and evil" - these are concepts which could have quite aptly been used to describe the self-serving Catholic Church, whose dark ages could only be escaped by wending one's way around the funeral pyres. Its attractiveness today for the Christian churches could only be drawn from the reverse concept: that charity is their most important theme - from the freedom of the Christian person who will not be intimidated.
That is also the byword in the legal dispute about Scientology. The ground rule is so simple that almost nobody likes to write it down: everybody may do anything, may believe anything and even make money however he wants to - that which he may not do is listed in the Constitution, in the criminal code and in agency ordinances. That is where the few rules are listed upon which a secular society can agree; it says there that one may not be coerced or blackmailed or have his children indoctrinated by strange people. Anybody who violates these laws must be brought to book, and mercilessly, on which account one is gradually inclined to accuse the Bavarian state government of obstructing justice if it has evidence that a criminal association has been formed but has not notified its state attorney's office. Much else of what is currently under discussion would be nonsensical: banning Scientology, for example, would change nothing about their activities, but would provide them with martyrdom, which is exactly what they so urgently need for PR reasons.
The annoying letter from the Hollywood celebrities to Kohl only shows too well how PR functions and how it could continue: both sides have a huge interest in shaking the other up. Scientology has assembled world-class experts in brute advertising (which the all too naive painter H. had to learn after he thought that he could confidentially relate his experiences to U.S. politicians); PR people of this kind are thankful for every newspaper report. The reverse of that is needed by the professional sect fighters in an octopus-like organization which wants to overturn the world, because otherwise their fight against the organization would not seem heroic enough. What the "Deutsche Evangelische Sonntagsblatt" wrote is sadly true: "Some worldview experts of the Christian churches resemble their opponents."
That is what we have to learn first - to deal with outsiders in a civilized manner, even those which appear dangerous to us. Only the civilized approach, also the stubborn effort to have the outsider abide by the ground rules - something like the unimpeded departure from the "church" - offers the chance to civilize even dangerous people. Insofar as fervid defenders of humanity are coerced, that is the extent to which civil dealings are denied. The alternative would be glowing coals.
"... the all too naive painter H."
(from Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Munich, 5 Feb 97, Commentary
scan of German article
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 23
Has the Octopus already got a hold?
In response to the articles "Caught by Scientology" by Herbert Riehl-Heyse and "In the Hundhammer's footsteps" by Hans Holzhaider in the SZ editions of February 5 and 6:
I read their articles with interest and noted a surprising common tendency: the SZ is playing the part of legal advisor or overt partisan in representing the interests of Scientology. Of the two, the article by Holzhaider was less disturbing to me. Bavarian editors have never exactly been captivated by their comrades', Stiller and Holzhaider's, research or facts; their main thing was and still is somehow taking action against the Bavarian government.
Whether or not Helnwein openly admits to being a Scientologist, there are sufficient facts which show that he has lent his name to the interests of Scientology. The Bavarian editorial staff should not change what it is doing, but continue to chastise the state administration and the CSU. They've had practice at that, and won't hurt anything by doing so. That is more rewarding besides, and the CSU continues to set itself up, like the "Biermoesl," etc.
I find the article by Riehl-Heyse to be more objectionable though, because, in my eyes, he usually does an outstanding job at journalism.
Even if he assures us in his introductory paragraph that the SZ is not in the clutches of Scientology, after that article I think that doubt is appropriate. The article, on the whole, is an intellectual slalom race with constant "yeah buts" or "but yeahs" and ends with the appeal to deal with an institution in a "civilized" manner, so that institution will treat its staff who want to leave in a "civilized" manner.
Yes, one presents a person as a "fervid defender" of people (was Helnwein meant by that or perhaps Hubbard?) whose anti-civilized dealings are rejected. And do that after Riehl-Heyse has accused the Bavarian government of obstruction of justice in the legal dispute with Scientology. When it is the state government alone who presents the situation openly and states what the situation is, and has to take the international heat for it.
I, as a reader of the SZ for decades, hope that the SZ still stands for "Sueddeutche Zeitung" and cannot be interpreted as the "Scientology Zeitung [Newspaper]" - or has the octopus already gotten a hold?
Graduate Economist Rainald Meier, Woerthsee
Critic's letter to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper!
from: Sueddeutsche Zeitung (SZ), 19 Feb 97
Scan of German article
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 24
Why, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, is Helnwein contesting everything? Of what use is that to Scientology?
Jeannette Schweitzer, Scientology expert: "On the one side Helnwein advertises worldwide for Scientology, but at the moment he says he has nothing to do in Germany, probably because he can no longer find a purchaser for his art. In my opinion he is contributing to this Scientology operation which is currently going on worldwide - the Scientologists are said to have been persecuted as were the Jews - he contributes to the operation of this program. Artists are allegedly persecuted in Germany such as the Jews were formerly persecuted in the Nazi era."
In Bonn we show the Scientology video; its viewers include Federal Assembly Representative Renate Rennebach. The sect and Scientology expert is outraged at the uncritical reporting in the media.
Renate Rennebach, SPD: "I find it unbelievable that broadcasts are made where Mr. Helnwein appears in public as a victim without losing a critical word on the organization during the show. That simply cannot be happening in modern times. We are more informed there. We are really what the criticism of the organization is relating to. And if radio and television broadcasters or moderators think they can make a name for themselves by presenting one side of the story, I regard that as very dangerous."
In the meantime, Helnwein is toying with thoughts of emigration. The Scientology center in Los Angeles would probably welcome him with open arms. After all, Helnwein has been immortalized even here with a hymn of praise to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, as "Report Munich" was the first to document.
Quote from Helnwein: "Humanity has never had a truer friend" - he who believes that becomes blissful - among the Scientologists! It is frightening that a Scientology propagandist of Helnwein's caliber gets a forum in newspapers and talk shows for his anti-German propaganda."
The first TV report on the Helnwein scandal has already been made by editor Stefan Meining of Bavarian Broadcasting. Part 2 of the "Helnwein Affair" should follow on German television on February 3, 1997.
In spite of really impressive, extensive, artistic accomplishments and relative wealth, Helnwein's future is clearly uncertain - in Germany his "recession" is called "Scientology" - and has been hovering above him since the early 90s like the blade of a guillotine which nobody knows if or when is going to drop.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 25
Perhaps the official announcement from the U.S. Scientology headquarters in Washington on January 14, 1997 - Helnwein is a Scientologist - will be the famous straw that breaks the camel's back. In any case, Helnwein is no longer available to speak to German journalists in these fateful days of January which are cold for him...
Beginning of a Friendship
Ten year earlier, in January 1987, everything was right with the world for Gottfried Helnwein and his family. Before then I had not heard much about him, and was to live as one with him for the next seven years, until our separation in spring 1994. At the time, I only knew about his world famous self-portrait on the Scorpions' album cover and his original James Dean water-color portrait which was hanging on almost every street corner in the world. I was like many others. I walked into the Wuerthle Gallery where his pictures were arranged on two floors and I looked at his newest works which were the first he had done in his German domicile, at dozens of water colors and several large format oil paintings. A new Helnwein style: atypical, unknown, hard to sell?
I was especially impressed with my first look at an extremely expressive, oversize "Hitler" painting entitled "OT," one of his principle works as I learned later from him, his first and for many years also his last oil painting.
His actual work was so completely different from those with which people were familiar, realistic portraits of diverse film stars of different provenances. In my eyes, his new pictures were exciting, overwhelming and somehow different. I could not explain it. I wanted to personally get to know this man, the creator of this painting, and learn more about him. Coincidentally, during my six hour ride from Vienna to Mannheim the next morning, I heard a one hour interview with him on my car radio. I liked the charming, critical style with which he engaged the ORF woman correspondent, especially his subtle Viennese banter. Also in this interview, the journalist posed the ever present questions as to his definitely provocative, shocking and somewhat strong emotion-evoking paintings, such as I was to very often experience in the years to come, and he answered the piercing questions posed to him over the various media by his public as well as by his critics, no matter how delicate for him, calmly and peacefully, but above all, friendly and patiently.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 26
The same day I arrived in Mannheim, I called up the owner of the gallery, Dichand in Vienna. Coincidentally Helnwein had just walked into the gallery and she put him on the line. I said hello to him and told him about my impressions of the exhibition. He was interested in details of my independent employment, and I told him that I worked independently in various media and cultural projects. I think we got along great from the onset without really getting to know each other any better. During this telephone conversation he invited me to his castle in Burgbrohl in which he had lived since his emigration from Vienna in 1984, "Just come over for a look. I'll be home in three days, then we can talk things over in more detail." No sooner said than done
On February 1, 1987 Gottfried Helnwein invited me to his house for the first time; that was a little more than an hour and a half's drive from my Mannheim office. I was surprised that he had wanted to get to know me personally so quickly. During my short telephone conversation to the Viennese gallery he had learned - I was already known there - that I had been engaged as consultant, organizer, business manager and foundation partner for Dietmar Schoenherr, the Austrian actor and talk show legend living in Switzerland - "Wuensch Dir Was" and "Spaceship Orion."
Our very successful foundation which we cofounded in 1984 "Help for Self-Help", with headquarters in Mannheim, organized and financed various assistance and cultural projects in the Middle American country of Nicaragua, which was strongly involved in the Contra war, secretly financed by the USA against the rural population.
What I did not know was that Gottfried Helnwein, at the time we first got to know each other, as he told me, had already been looking for some time for a personal agent and consultant to take care of various things in connection with his artistic work. As he told me later, he had gotten rather fed up with his former consultant, Heinz Konrad (name changed) from Vienna and had therefore "thrown him out." Gottfried, 38 years old at the time, and his wife and personal manager Renate, 33 years old, submitted various offers to me shortly after our first meeting together,
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 27
which subsequently led to me working with Gottfried Helnwein and very quickly becoming one of his closest friends.
Just a short time after I had started working on his behalf, in March 1987, Renate wrote me her first letter full of praise for my previous efforts: "I like the way you work so quickly and without complication, I think we could put incredible things together. I have a very good feeling for working together with you. Here are all the records, you can also show the map to Boris Becker .....".
The Consulting Contract
Gottfried and Amadeus Helnwein with Peter Reichelt
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 28
The Helnwein - Reichelt Consulting contract
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 29
above - The Helnwein - Reichelt contract extension
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 30
Dear Peter 21/1/88 See if there's not an outpoint there, Thanks, Renate
Renate Helnwein wrote "scientologese"
Definition from: Hubbard Scientology-English Dictionary
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 31
On September 24, 1987 Gottfried Helnwein signed me up with a detailed consultant, agent and employment contract for a duration of three years, valid until September 30, 1990.
On October 26, 1990 this contract with me, at the express wish of Helnwein, was extended another three years up until October 31, 1993.
Among other things Helnwein and I agreed that I would help with:
"a. Legal and tax issues
b. Organization of exhibitions and
c. Other special assignments ...".
In the course of the 7 years between March 1987 and April 1994 a very intense cooperation and friendship developed between the Helnwein family and me. It was certainly one of the closest relationships which the two had with a German "non-Scientologist" during these years.
Countless visits to their castle, trips and visits together document this intensive partnership and business connection. Besides our business cooperation we also had a common private passion - the Disney cartoonist Carl Barks and his duck stories.
We discussed exciting projects together on a small scale as if they were of great scope. The main obstacle, as was so often the case, was the costs of implementation, the lack of sponsors, and refusals from community or state cultural agencies on personal grounds.
The Helnwein Group
Helnwein first thought of founding his own Scientology-structured "Helnwein Foundation" in April 1988. At the time Helnwein wanted primarily to construct a functioning "tax savings model." In an internal proposal paper, he divided the foundation into six departments. Helnwein planned solely on having active Scientologists as consultants. Besides Gottfried Helnwein and his wife, Renate, were his Austrian business partner and matching IAS / OSA donor Toni Morell from Vienna, Peter Gerhards and the Munich attorney, Guenther von Jan. Jan led an attorney's office on fashionable Prinzregentenplatz and worked together with people including Helnwein's best top Scientologist friends Kurt Fliegerbauer, Klaus Kempe, Axel Fehling and Mario Herold. Besides that, the attorney's office is connected with the Scientology secret service, the "Office of Special Affairs" (OSA).
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 32
15 October 1991
I really enjoyed seeing you in Frankfurt. I once spoke briefly about your volume.
I will be with Liza Minelli on Tuesday. Perhaps I will see you there. I would enjoy that in any case.
until then, cordially yours,
Adelheid Rech-Gesche on Scientology recruitment tour
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 33
27 January 1992
Dear Mr. Reichelt,
so far our seeing each other again has not worked out, but certainly this year it will be possible. Are you still working with "Zeil um Zehn"?
When I am in Frankfurt next time I will try to cut my Friday short in order to stop by and look in and say a short "hello."
I would enjoy seeing you again.
Scientology did not relax, but was still not successful
Reichelt resisted the "temptations"
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 34
As does Helnwein, attorney von Jan functions openly as a relay point in the Scientology world. However, the "foundation" never became officially active, i.e., legally incorporated. As always, for whatever reason, it never got past the proposal stages. Nevertheless in summer 1994 in Swiss Lausanne, inside the museum structure of "Musee d'Elyssee," a "Gottfried Helnwein" foundation was established. Even today a mystery reigns concerning the structure and the objectives of the foundation, even on the part of the museum management.
In April 1989, Helnwein personally drew up the only actually effective organizational chart in use, as of my departure in March 1994. Under the heading "The Helnwein Group manages the following activities" he listed the six following categories with the ones who were currently in charge of them.Group 1 - Gottfried Helnwein a. Painting b. Lithos Group 2 - Gottfried Helnwein Inc. Vienna / Business manager Toni Morell a. Acquisition of Rights b. Production and Distribution of Posters worldwide Group 3 - Gottfried Helnwein Productions / Gottfried Helnwein a. Production of Films b. Videos c. Books Group 4 - Gottfried Helnwein Media / Peter Reichelt Acquisition and Assessment of Media contacts Group 5 - Gottfried Helnwein Exhibitions / Peter Reichelt + Thomas Buchsteiner Organize and put on 25 exhibitions worldwide or at a fixed location Group 6 - Gottfried Helnwein Communications / Klaus Kiefer Document and Evaluate Customer Names
The Idols Project
Helnwein called his most extensive general culture project to date "The 100 Idols of the 20th Century." Planned to last 10 years, the Helnwein multimedia art project was to hold a wandering exhibition in all the renowned museums of this planet.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 35
Call me up as soon as possible about David Bowie & Liza Minelli.
[Scientology "ARC" triangle]
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 36
His "Idols Exhibition" was supposed to delight museum visitors around the world like a traveling Disneyland, not with an amusement park Ferris wheel and roller coaster, but with an artistic utilization and exploitation of what were, in his opinion, the world's 100 most famous idols. Helnwein wanted to make the actual implementation dependent upon securing financing for the project. This was ahead of its time. Helnwein's GEMADI advertisement agency and its former business manager wrote about it in a brochure: "The participation in cultural events." The "100 Idols of the 20th Century assures sponsors in the most important countries of the world realization of a degree of familiarity and image over a long period of time. By mentioning names in media journalism, appearance in TV shows, credits on all print products connected with the project, special books and 100 posters, a say-so in the selection of the idols and the works, patronage for the planned permanent exhibition and more. Even the expenses would be covered in the beginning of 1987 by Peter Gerhards, Gemadi business manager (who was outed by high-ranking ex-Scientologist Gunther Traeger as a Scientologist in 1993 in issue 10 of "Spiegel" magazine. Spiegel: "Do you know of activities in your area, marketing? Traeger: Peter Gerhards, a Scientologist at the time, had arranged Steffi Graf's promotion contract with Opel and Gabriela Sabatini's with Seat. Scientology memos were also mentioned which said that large enterprises like General Motors and Coca Cola should be consulted.) Then for a total expenditure of 24 million (!) marks over a course of 5 years, the sponsor would have exposure in front of nearly 700 million people. No additional costs ..." What a surprise.
Idols for Scientology
Viennese book author Steiden, former member of the "Scientology Austria" organization, also wrote in 1992 in his book, "Einsteins falsche Erben" ["Einstein's false legacy"] which appeared that same year and which he added to and republished in 1997:
WDR television journalist Egmont R. Koch was able to find material in the areas of management consulting and training for his TV documentation on Scientology "Looking for: Brainwashing." For instance, Scientologists tried to infiltrate the renowned GEMADI business consulting firm. The company, whose illustrious customers included Ford, Wella, AEG, Portas and others, was looking for staff in the newly created area of Training and Schooling.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 37
"Other trainers, consultants and staff were added later on," stated GEMADI chief Manfred J. Kunz.
The Scientology infiltration plan was first discovered when a staff member began to openly proselytize. Kunz: "We then found out that all these staff members were Scientologists. That was part of a strategy. An extremely dangerous venture for me personally, and for my staff and customers. If this had not come to surface and the infiltration would have progressed then the communications we received and the consultation would have been according to Scientology's interpretation. That would have meant the end of my agency and me, personally."
Simultaneously with Peter Gerhards, business co-manager of the renowned GEMADI German advertising company, and who was then a Scientologist receiving work from Helnwein, beginning in April 1987 I, too, was to offer Helnwein's major "Idols" project to perspective sponsors worldwide, which naturally led to some friction later on because some of the companies had already been covered by Gerhards and vice versa. Helnwein, as was his habit, very quickly dissatisfied with the efforts which were, in his eyes, inadequate in the promotion of his big project.
For that reason on September 30, 1987, only three months after the contract had been finalized, an intense meeting took place as to how a rapid success could be implemented between myself, Gottfried and Renate Helnwein and Helnwein's Scientology colleague Peter Gerhards, business manager who had not yet been outed as a Scientology mole, in which GEMADI would realize 4 million marks commission if successful. Gerhards immediately apologized to Helnwein for the failures to date in efforts by GEMADI, which had expended a small fortune for the Helnwein thus far, giving a bad reputation to his boss, chief executive officer and company associate Kunz, whom he now, in personal conversation with Helnwein, was holding completely responsible for this failure, thereby avoiding any responsibility himself.
The result of our discussion was an "angry" letter from Helnwein to Kunz. On November 5, 1987 he wrote: "To my deliberate inquiry as to how the Idols Project was going, I was informed by Mr. Gerhards that an active marketing of the project by GEMADI Co. is no longer an issue and that the company is no longer prepared to invest further in the project.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 38
Gottfried Helnwein in Krems, Austria, May 1991
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 39
Gottfried Helnwein personally corrected this sponsorship contract
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 40
But a presentation can only come about if your company is ready to send your staff to the appropriate customers in order to fully inform them about the project and to show and to illustrate the picture and demonstration material.
Since a plan of this scale cannot be realized without financial expense, I propose dissolution of the contract by mutual agreement. I think this proposal is fair and in both our interests." Perceptibly surprised, Kunz responded to the Helnwein letter only four days later, on November 9, 1987: "Surely the communication between Mr. Gerhards and you has not been going well, otherwise you would not have been able to come to a false conclusion.
GEMADI, in accordance with the contract, has been investing a considerable amount in the marketing of the project for weeks and months. Mr. Gerhards has spoken to a number of businesses in and out of the country; I, in turn, have made a large number of personal contacts and sent the resulting documents in for assessment. My personal meetings, unfortunately, all had negative results not least of all because you, my dear Mr. Helnwein, certainly have a prominent name in insider circles, but are little known or not known at all in the broad public. This was a factor which I could not have evaluated initially. This was a factor I had to learn.
Certainly Mr. Gerhards did not tell you that GEMADI was no longer marketing the project. Of course, I myself am ready, or am also ready, to send a qualified staff member to present the project to a qualified customer.
The only thing I can think of to explain your opinion, in addition to the expenditures which Mr. Gerhards and I have talked about, is my refusal to finance a trip for several weeks to the USA by Mr. Stahl, because groping blindly in the dark does not promise any great chance of success.
Because Mr. Stahl's offer to travel to America for the project would have cost more than several hundred thousand, not including his fee in the event of success, I could see no sense in sending him, to put it mildly. In the event that our mailing operations produce qualified contacts with celebrities,
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 41
then I would be the first one to jump on the plane to make the presentation so that the project could come about.
I agree with you completely, that a project of this magnitude requires financial outlay; Mr. Gerhards and I had agreed on that. We have made expenditures and will continue to do so as long as there are measures which promise success to GEMADI. On the other hand, I have to make it clear to you that a project of this magnitude cannot be sold by order form. You have to give us the time agreed upon in the contract so that we do not miss an opportunity to reap what we have sown
I do not at all regard your proposal as fair, but as being only in your own interest, therefore I am not ready to make a concession."
So much for business manager Kunz and his clear rejection to Helnwein's proposal. It did not do him much good, though, because just two months later Kunz and GEMADI were out of the deal and Helnwein was contracting directly with Peter Gerhards and the "Gerhards, Hansen and Partners Marketing Consultants" in Frankfurt am Main. Then, in early 1990, Peter Gerhards' company "Intercom Inc." in Mainz took over the exclusive "Idols" marketing for Helnwein. The final, most promising, last possible sponsor and "last resort" whom Gerhards and his new partner, Scientologist Roland Stahl, wanted to win since spring 1990 was "Volkswagen AG" in Wolfsburg. Helnwein's "new" sponsor seeker, Roland Stahl, had, like Helnwein, been one of the high-trained Scientologists in Germany. Among other things he is chairman of the review board in "Kempe AG" in Duesseldorf, a real estate company founded by top Scientologists Klaus Kempe and his wife Marietta, both "OT's." In 1984 Gottfried Helnwein had rented his castle in Burgbrohl from the Kempes. Kempe, like Helnwein, is a leading, influential key figure in the German-speaking Scientology world. The hidden circle of Scientology cronies was closing quickly.
Stahl and Renate Helnwein had a particularly outspoken, friendly relationship. For instance, they mutually encouraged each other when, once again, the sponsorship deals were not going along properly. His friend Renate, in pure Scientologese, per fax from her villa in Clearwater: "Dear Roland ... Let's make a good postulate ....", which, translated, means, "Let's do something wild and new."
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 42
Helnwein consultant Peter Reichelt
(from: "Viennese" picture archive)
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 43
Kempe and his partner Stahl are also WISE licensees and have the mission of introducing Hubbard technology into German companies. Roland Stahl and his company "Stahl and Partners - Training center for Management Forces of companies with Technical Products" is also on lists internal to Scientology. Stahl is the brother of Helgard Hahn, Director of the "Celebrity Center Munich." His wife Tatjana, nee Schuboeck, along with their entire family are old-timers "in Scientology." When asked by journalists about his Scientology membership, Roland Stahl abruptly dodges the question with "I can't tell you that." As one sees, Stahl apparently suffers from memory loss. The same as his employer, Helnwein, Stahl is clearly not among the professed Scientologists. Particularly in the business areas today, Scientology is trying "to pursue strategic objectives through cover and sub-organizations to carry forward Scientology's ideology," wrote Scientology's most successful critic, Renate Hartwig, in her "Robin Direkt Report" of September 1996.
With that, Gerhards settled into a spot which was custom-made for him.
Nevertheless, it did not do him any good, despite GEMADI's cost-intensive preparatory work. In spite of Gerhards' and Stahl's efforts, Helnwein's project remained unsalable. Even the VW corporation finally turned them down in March 1991. The reason: Helnwein's bad image caused by his support of Scientology and the associated anxiety about getting negative headlines with Helnwein, and this was already happening in 1991! On April 21, 1991 Gerhard and Stahl finally threw in the towel. They ended things quickly and painlessly in a letter to Helnwein.
I also had great problems in profitably selling the "Idols" project. The total sponsor expenses for the operation, as estimated by Helnwein and me over a ten year minimum period, would have run over 50 (!) million DM [1 DM was approx .75 USD]. It would certainly have been the greatest art and culture spectacle of all time with multiple over-sized paintings comparable to Andre Heller's "Luna Luna Park" in the mid-1980s, but this exclusively by one artist. It would have been a fascinating perspective, and not just for Helnwein.
My search for sponsors, independent of GEMADI and Peter Gerhards, or Gerhards and Stahl, took me twice around the globe between 1987 and 1990. Whether at "Coca Cola" in Atlanta, "BMW" in Munich,
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 44
"Budweiser" Beer in Florida, "Fosters" Beer in Sydney, after over 200 more or less friendly refusals by potential donors. As with my colleagues, Helnwein's Scientology membership was frequently the decisive factor in the negative decisions by the presiding business managers. In fall 1991, Helnwein finally "postponed" his "Idols" project "until further notice."
The "Faces" Photo Project
Nevertheless, my years of effort were not totally in vain. As a "side product" of his over-sized project, in 1978 Helnwein had developed the parallel celebrities project "Faces":
Large photo portraits, photographed almost exclusively in black and white, of legendary actors, singers, artists of every color, writers and athletes.
He had needed these photographs to be able to put his "Idols" project into effect.
We had to make haste because very many of the people whom Helnwein had selected to be in the portraits were on the far side of 80 years old. But that was not the only big problem. It required an ungodly amount of persistence and power of persuasion and, above all else, "special connections" to get these people to sit in front of the camera lens.
Lech Walesa, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Charles Bukowski, Phil Collins, Keith Haring, Billy Wilder, Sting, Reinhold Messner, Dietmar Schoenherr, Ute Lemper, Arno Breker, Leni Riefenstahl .. the list of the people in the portraits between 1987 and 1991 is impressive in retrospect and is still getting longer.
The meetings with film producer and photographer Leni Riefenstahl and sculptor and architect Arno Breker, two of the last living icons of the Hitler regime, were both exciting and exceedingly interesting.
I needed several years for the preparation of the two photo sessions. That was mostly due to the bad experiences with the two had had in past years with various visitors.
Arno Breker, in his magnificent villa with a giant, closed-in studio for his large plastic sculptures in the north of Duesseldorf, received us a total of two times in 1988 and 1989 in an extremely friendly manner, and not at all with the skepticism and reserved attitude we had anticipated.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 45
Helnwein and Breker conducted a highly interesting dialogue over coffee and cookies, primarily about the changes in the methods of viewing in diverse branches of art in their time.
One could have thought that these were two completely different artists, the 40-year-old Helnwein and the over 80 years old Breker, nonetheless I had the feeling that both of them understood each other brilliantly from the onset, they were on the same wavelength, so to speak. Breker calmly and reservedly spoke in his gentle, almost timid, style of his many successful attempts to enable Jewish artists to flee the country during the time of the Third Reich. Nevertheless, he seemed most human when he talked of "the German boycott of my works of art through the art trade from the end of the Second World War up til today." Breker, seeming many years younger, then led us through his house, his over-sized "sculpture garden" which was decorated exclusively with his own works, primarily from the 1930s and '40s, and his giant, sun-lit studio with busts which had been completed or just begun. Helnwein especially liked that location as the ideal background for his photo portrait of Breker.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 46
After almost two hours of patient, wordless posing, we left Breker's house, after a friendly good-bye, with, as it later turned out, fascinating portraits of one of the most highly controversial personalities, perhaps even the best portrait work done by Helnwein to date.
Leni Riefenstahl meets L. Ron Hubbard - 1960
We visited Leni Riefenstahl at her house in Poecking on Starnberger Lake in summer 1990. The meeting, also over coffee and cookies, was very reserved on both sides. This time it was turned around. Helnwein was very solemn and Leni Riefenstahl resolutely stated her standpoints.
The following episode is unknown in Scientology circles, and it shows that what goes around in life comes around, in this case as pertains to the relationship between Riefenstahl, Hubbard and his young disciple Helnwein. In summer 1960, Leni Riefenstahl was working on the new production of her film classic, "Das blaue Licht"/["The Blue Light"]. For her project, she obtained a prominent American script writer, L. Ron Hubbard. Leni Riefenstahl described this in her memoirs, which appeared in 1987 from Knaus publishing: "... Good reports came from England. Philip, my producer, reported almost daily on the progress of his work. To be sure, Somerset Maughem had withdrawn after the newspaper attacks on me, but, as Philip wrote, he had been able to gain a gifted American author for work on the film. 'This American,' he wrote enthusiastically, 'is a brilliant and gifted script writer who wrote many scripts for Columbia Films in Hollywood. He is also head of a large international organization which is spread over the entire planet and has over a million members. His name is Dr. L. Ron Hubbard, he is a psychologist and a Scientologist.' At that time, I had no idea who Ron Hubbard was, but I soon became aware that he must have been gifted. The first part of his work was surprisingly good. Mr. Hubbard sent me the following effusive telegram: 'We can win several Oscars with the wonderful story of Blue Light - forget the trial and the reporters and let's work together - it will be a great, record-breaking film...' A fanaticizer ... Dr. Ron Hubbard put an apartment at my disposal in London where I was to interpret the newly prepared manuscript into theatrical script. He was unexpectedly called to South Africa, where he also had a company. Despite that, I could go in his house, which was occupied in his absence
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 47
by a housekeeper ... I also hoped to begin filming soon after the prepared script for Blue Light had been so magnificently managed by Dr. Hubbard ..." This post-war project by Leni Riefenstahl failed shortly before filming was to have begun.
"At this time of great despair in summer 1961 came from Dr. Hubbard in South Africa a letter which, at first glance, aroused hope in me. He invited me to Johannesburg to make a documentary film on South Africa. He said money was no problem. He also hoped to gain my cooperation by establishing modern film and recording studios (!) there. I was so excited, my heart was pounding at the very thought of being able to work again, and in Africa at that." This overblown project from Hubbard also burst like a soap bubble. Hubbard fulfilled his big dream of his own film studio almost two decades later, at the end of the 1970s, with his Golden Era Film Productions in Gilman Hot Springs.
Leni Riefenstahl, just turned 89 years old, stood patiently for more than two hours for Gottfried Helnwein in her nice house. We left her house with the nice garden contently. Our luggage included several personally signed Riefenstahl photos. Helnwein was very satisfied and thrilled that it had finally worked out. Unfortunately, Leni Riefenstahl was not exactly enthused by the final prints. When she was able to take assessment of her black and white portrait several years later, she hit the roof. "You can see every single one of my wrinkles!" she screamed, horrified, and wanted her photo to be taken down immediately. The friendship she had begun with Helnwein was immediately ended after that experience.
In 1988, the southern Tyrol high mountain climber, Reinhold Messner, found himself on the same wavelength as Helnwein. At the time they were travelling together with their wives from Munich. Helnwein and Messner conducted, in my eyes, an extremely interesting discussion in Helnwein's private chambers during a photo session for the "Faces" project.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 48
The main topic of discussion between the two in the large living room on the second story of Helnwein's castle until the late evening was the teachings of "Buddhism" in its various manifestations. When one knows that the "Scientology Organization" falsely states its roots are in "Buddhism", then it immediately becomes clear why this meeting lasted so many hours and was to finally lead to a years-long friendship between the two. One year later Messner bought several works on commission from Helnwein, dramatic mountain motifs of course, to hang in his castle in South Tyrol.
My sense of Messner during this conversation was one of a fervent defender of the Buddhist faith, and I heard Helnwein's lance for the teachings of Hubbard break for the first time in my presence - that was in 1988.
Still, there were several of the big celebrities of the time who turned the "Faces" project down. Whether for Paul and Linda McCartney, Madonna or Bob Dylan, we still had to pull back with all our camera equipment from concert halls in Dortmund, Offenbach and Munich; they did not want Helnwein in their wardrobe, although I was able to explain the project to them in detail in their dressing rooms to see if there was initial interest. In those cases, they probably found the several sketches which I presented in deference to them, mildly stated, "too extreme," as they clearly stated to me.
Ina Brockman meets Gottfried Helnwein
"1993, it is fall and one of the last beautiful sunny afternoons [of the year]. Gottfried Helnwein, sitting up straight across from us with a face almost without movement. Us, that means Peter Reichelt, my joint proprietor and Helnwein's business manager, and I were sitting on wooden chairs in the garden.
My first visit to the artist whose catalog I had bought a couple of days before for 9 DM. I thought that his work was being sold too cheaply.
The sun was shining, we got soft strawberry cakes from that morning and coffee which was served from the glass pitcher which came from the coffee maker. The conversation was cold, like the coffee, and got increasingly moreso. Sometime later I was permitted to accompany the two gentlemen to a work room in Helnwein's residence. Square chests of drawers and work surfaces stood about.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 49
Everything creatively well-ordered in front of white-washed walls. Renate Helnwein, who had been moving around in sight of us the entire time talking on her cellular phone disappeared, but came back to stand in the room a short time later, holding new shoelaces from the village. The newly bought shoelaces found their way from her hands to those of her husband, Gottfried. His body was turned away from her. He took them from her without a word and threw them straight onto one of the tables without saying a word of thanks to her. I have always seen Gottfried Helnwein wearing only leather cowboy boots, and never with shoelaces.
My contact to Helnwein was exclusively at the business level. All in all there were three somewhat long confrontations. During those, I cannot recall ever having entered into a spoken dialogue with him or even exchanging a complete sentence, no matter how short. If something came up, then it was only about his wife, Renate.
Thanks to her, I had a reason to enter Burgbrohl a second time. The occasion was Helnwein's desire to include a Carl Barks watercolor which belonged to Peter Reichelt in his Barks exhibition, as well as in the catalog. Therefore it had to be reproduced, and they wanted it yesterday. Therefore I entered the lion's den with the picture and a male escort. Renate Helnwein had agreed to the exact time on the phone, and I appeared at the castle punctually with the picture under my arm. A photographer was supposed to be present to photograph the picture. Who was not there? The photographer. Who had forgotten the time, or acted like she did? Renate Helnwein. But no problem, Renate said the photographer had already been sent home, so I should just leave the picture there. There was extreme tension in the air. The picture had considerable value, so I turned down her suggestion. The photograph would be taken, the path to the tower had been blazed, the expenses and insurance had been calculated, and I wanted to get this thing behind me. First she had wanted me to hurry up, or maybe she didn't? The mood was not getting better. During the dispute, the two secretaries sat at their desks. So I told them that I would wait until the photographer, whom she had just ordered by phone to return to the castle, had arrived.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 50
We then moved with the object of dispute into the garden, Helnwein's private realm, at the furthest end, where we found a massive wood table with a bench waiting for us. In front of us was the entrance building to the castle with Renate's office, and on the right side was the handsomely renovated Helnwein residence. The only friendly reaction we got was from the elderly housekeeper, Mrs. Linke. She alone wished us a good day and helped us pass the time with a large pitcher of hot coffee.
Finally we finished the coffee and the photographer arrived. We again ran forward to the entrance building, where the large lobby was. The lights were set up and, after Renate Helnwein had signed the forms such as insurance, with grumbling on her part, and the picture was positioned under the camera. And now came the big moment, the door must have opened up behind me. Helnwein entered the large room. Anybody who is not aware of how bright photography lamps can be should not miss the chance of seeing such a gracious and wordless entrance such as Helnwein's was.
One look at the picture and he was gone. The whole thing lasted about the same amount of time it takes to down a black expresso without sugar.
A little later we were on the autobahn with the picture in the car's trunk. It was a nightmare and nothing else."
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 51
The End - 1994
Our ambivalent friendship along with our almost eight-year successful business relationship finally broke up in March 1994 with my clear criticism of the person of Gottfried Helnwein. The content is outlined as follows:
- Gottfried and Renate Helnwein's persistent non-distancing from the Scientology Organization, in particular since 1992, and their progressive lies and denial of their decades of involvement with Scientology.
- Helnwein's brutal "dealing" with his critics in reference to his own and his wife, Renate's, membership to the Scientology Organization, which had resulted in a total of more than 14 lawsuits and out-of-court settlements since 1991.
- Helnwein's influence on one of my best friends and partners at the time, actor Dietmar Schoenherr, with all the resulting consequences and
- Gottfried Helnwein's personal and business dealings with the man he had idolized from his earliest childhood, Carl Barks, today 96 years old, whose personal advisor and agent I became in spring 1994.
Dietmar Schoenherr meets Gottfried Helnwein at Burgbrohl - 1992
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 52
In the same month, in March 1994, my friendship of nine years, since 1985, with the "development assistant" and former "Wuensch Dir Was" moderator, Dietmar Schoenherr, also broke up. I had introduced Schoenherr to Helnwein in 1988 at Burgbrohl. It was my idea, together with Schoenherr, to get Helnwein artistically involved in supporting a cultural project which Schoenherr and I had organized, "House of the three worlds," in Granada, Nicaragua. Over the course of the following year, it developed into an intensive friendship between Schoenherr and Helnwein. It peaked in the winter of 92/93 with a visit by the Helnwein family to Nicaragua for the opening celebration of our cultural center after a year of fastidious renovation work. Beginning at that time, Schoenherr began to keep his distance more from me. Communication between him and me decreased visibly. Helnwein, in turn, intensified his relationship to the same degree with Schoenherr as he distanced himself, step by step, from me. In 1992 and 1993 it became visibly apparent to me who Helnwein really is. I bid adieu to my naive concept that Helnwein was "only" a well-known artist, someone who one could market worldwide in this form without objection. I understood too late that, without knowing what I was doing, I had "supplied" Helnwein with countless world stars, many of whom were my friends, and that I had served a system without my being aware of it. I noticed that his artistic productivity which he presented on the outside was, for the most part, feigned. He would spend months in the USA, in Clearwater and Los Angeles, without painting one picture.
Instead of that he intently dedicated himself to building up his martyr role as a persecuted "non"-Scientologist. He adeptly played with the media and with me. In the beginning of 1994, I learned from a disinterested party (!) that in May, two artists from our building in Nicaragua were to go to the Helnwein castle for purposes of furthering their training. I already had the greatest objection. Helnwein is a Scientologist. In the 1970s he directed a Scientology artist center in Vienna for many years, since the mid-1980s a "continuing development" [Scientology center] in Burgbrohl. I told this to my friend Schoenherr in March 1994 during a meeting in Duesseldorf. He did not want to believe me. He only said, "Helnwein is not a Scientologist!" and that, as far as he was concerned, was that. I started to be afraid that our cultural building in Granada would be infiltrated and turned into some form of Scientology. Unfortunately, I was not able to convince Schoenherr of my concern. ... A couple of days later, I flew to the USA for one week.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 53
G O T T F R I E D H E L N W E I N To Peter Reichelt 26.8.91 fax Hello Peter, Our fax was out of order for three days due to the floor being sealed -- no one could go in the room. I faxed you after L.A. - I assume that I will get your answer in the next few days. Peter, - you must still have the box [?] which the Schwarzenegger office sent back to you. Please send the entire thing, packed up special delivery to us. ARC Renate
Renate Helnwein to Peter Reichelt on the "Schwarzenegger" matter.
Two years later Helnwein knew nothing more about it. At the end is the Hubbard form of sign-off, the ARC triangle.
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 54Dres. JUNG & WETH Attorneys at Law Mr. Cologne Peter Reichelt March 23, 1994
Dear Mr. Reichelt,
Mr. Gottfried Helnwein, Burg Brohl, 56659 Burgbrohl, has retained us.
Our client has learned that you, without his knowledge or authorization, presented yourself to Mr. Arnold Schwarzenegger as "Helnwein Office" and demanded all private documents, photographs and pictures etc. of our client, which were then sent to you.
In the same manner you presented yourself as "Helnwein Office" to the Bildkunst Firm in Bonn without authorization or knowledge of our client, and demanded documents regarding Helnwein and contracts with telephone card companies.
At the Austrian "Wiener" magazine you collected the fees after publication of a photo story by our client (Mode/New York) and gave them a bill on writing paper with the name and address of our client, but with the addition of your name.
- 2 -
Scan of original German
Helnwein issued a legal warning to Reichelt concerning "Arnold Schwarzenegger"
See the letter on the previous page.
[Also see "Helnwein FACES" credits listing Peter Reichelt on page 45]
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 55
- 2 -
This was communicated to our client when he inquired about the fee of "Wiener" magazine. Only after our client insisted did you then forward the fees due him.
Furthermore you have told several persons, whom you have gotten to know through our client, that you had the main part of the creation of the FACES photography set and the accompanying book of the same name. You asserted this, for example, to Mrs. Wild, gallery director in Frankfurt, and to our client's business partner, Mr. Carsten Laqua.
In reality you did not have a part in the production of the FACES portrait set or in the book by the same name. All photographic portraits originate exclusively from our client. You assisted neither in the work nor assisted in any way in the darkroom. You only gave the wife of our client several addresses of the people in the portraits.
Finally, you asserted to "Spiegel" in the "Spiegel" report about our client's "Carl Barks" exhibition that the book which belongs to our client "Who is Carl Barks" was already outdated, was not entirely current and also contained primarily pictures and little text. The name of our client's book and the description of pictures and quotes from our client's book, which had not yet appeared, were then repeated in "Spiegel" magazine.
The above-mentioned activity describes a serious violation of PP 1 and 3 UWG.
Your presenting yourself as "Helnwein Office" can be regarded as fulfilling the conditions of fraud to the detriment of our client.
- 3 -
Scan of original German
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 56
- 3 -
Therefore we require that you, within a time period of 1 week from the receipt of this letter, submit the enclosure to this letter, a statement of default as to the contents of this letter which is legally binding and subject to penalty.
If you should not keep to this deadline, then we will initiate legal steps in the name of our client.
We bring it to your particular attention that by submitting a legally binding statement of default, you would remove danger of repetition of your above conduct and would prevent the filing of a temporary restraining order against yourself.
You have incurred the following expenses calculated from the viewpoint of business management according to current legal practice:
Object value: DM 100,000.007.5 percent business fee iaw P 118 par. 1 nr. 1 BRAGO DM 1,416.80 lump expenses iaw P 26 BRAGO DM 40.00 ----------- DM 1,456.80 15% MW tax DM 218.52 ----------- Total DM 1,675.32
enclosure: statement of default
Scan of original German
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 57
Statement of Default
I, Peter Reichelt, hereby obligate myself to Mr. Gottfried Helnwein as to the following, in the name of myself and in the name of the company which I represent, Brockmann and Reichelt Inc.1. The following will be avoided: a) representing myself or my company to a third person as "Helnwein Office"; b) asserting that I am a manager or employee of Mr. Helnwein; c) demanding the turning over of photographs, pictures, contracts or other documents of Mr. Helnwein with the claim that I am empowered to do so by Mr. Helnwein; d) claiming that the "FACES" portrait set or the book by the same name by Mr. Helnwein was even only partly my work. 2. For each case of transgression of the obligations listed under paragraph 1, to pay a contract penalty in the amount of DM 10,000.00 to Mr. Gottfried Helnwein Mannheim, date ................ _______________________________ (Peter Reichelt) (Also as business manager of the company, Brockmann and Reichelt, Inc.)
Scan of original German
Helnwein & Scientology, Lies & Treason by Peter Reichelt, 1997 - Page 58
Dietmar Schoenherr visiting Helnwein, 1992
When I got back I found that Dietmar Schoenherr, in my absence, had closed all the foundation bank accounts and transferred the funds to his own private account. What or who moved him to do that has not been explained as of the present day. One can only speculate. As a result of that, two years later he was convicted of beach of trust on February 6, 1996 by Mannheim Municipal Court, number AZ 29 Cs 49 / 96. His conviction became legally binding on February 11, 1997.
Peter Reichelt (SHSP)
in May 1997
next or return
This translation originated at http://cisar.org.
The url of the original translation was http://members.tripod.com/German_Scn_News/has00.htm
(Scientology got that account terminated when Joe Cisar published his thesis on the press and public relations of L. Ron Hubbard.)
The version of this translation is August 21, 2000
To download images, right click on image and select "save"
This is a free translation. It is for non-commercial use only.