Those seeking help become helpless
Personality seminars can have monstrous consequences
August 11, 2001
A master craftsman fell into the clutches of a psycho-group that had disguised itself as a business consultation firm. It destroyed the entire world of the whole family. Nothing has remained of what once was. Experts warn that it is difficult to recognize psycho-gurus.
Ulm - Klaus Rot (name changed) is a stone mason. A master craftsman. A "creative, emotional man," as his wife, Birgit, describes him today. "He's done a lot of work, people liked him, he had a sense of humor, and was happy to have a beer with people." But the father of three children had a problem. Although his stone mason business expanded into foreign countries, it was still disorganized and needed to be better structured. He needed help from a business consultant but didn't know which one to choose. Friends recommended an association which not only gave seminars, but would also visit the operation. Rot drove there. A one-week seminar was supposed to serve as the foundation for assistance.
After he came back from the first seminar in Duesseldorf, her husband had still sounded normal. A little later, after the second seminar, no more. "He was almost babbling," said Birgit Rot. "He insisted that everything was going great with him. But it didn't sound that way."
On November 30, 1996 at about 8:30 in the evening, Birgit Rot was absolutely certain that something was not right. Her husband had come in and was standing at the door and grinning ear to ear. "He ran around the house and was totally euphoric, as if he were drunk." His eyes, she said, were wide open and his voice was different. "I am responsible for everything," he said over and over. But there was really no good reason for him to feel responsible. "It was no longer possible to have a conversation with my husband."
"Not unusual," Baerbel Schwertfeger, expert on the psycho-scene, commented on his behavior. The woman psychologist listed many cases like that in her book, "Der Griff nach der Psyche - Was umstrittene Persönlichkeitstrainer in Unternehmen anrichten" (Campus Verlag, 300 pages, 42 DM/21,47 ), about what can happen to individuals, departments or even whole companies when they fall into the clutches of controversial consultants or psycho-gurus. The woman journalist bursts a popular bubble in the beginning of her book. She says there do not have to be any special characteristics present in order to make someone susceptible to abstruse theories or methods. Academics are often the first ones to fall for the promises, to blab their intimate secrets and to let themselves be polarized and humiliated. "The members include many highly intelligent and self-conscious people," wrote Schwertfeger.
Rot never had anything to do with "esoteric hocus-pocus" either, his wife was certain of that. In spite of that, ever since the seminar, all he ever talked about were the experiences, the fantastic leader, how much his life has changed and what a great potential there is lurking in us all. Birgit Rot was "absolutely appalled and helpless at the same time." Her husband got more aggressive, called her names and threatened her physically. He went to more seminars and tried to bring the children with him, too. Representatives of the association called up the Rots, stopped in to visit and talked to the children on the telephone. The couple finally got a divorce and he moved out.
His wife looked everywhere for information on the ominous association and its leader - and struck paydirt. The seminars are "unprofessional, scurrilous, self-made psychology," believes the weltanschauung commissioner of the Evangelical Church, Hansjoerg Hemminger. He said it was not a science that would solve mental problems. But not a sect either, as Schwertfeger stressed. "The bad thing about it is that people believe if it is not Scientology, then everything is okay." The psycho-gurus are also aware of that as they weave a mixture of tautology, religion and psychology. "The spectrum goes from Scientology to the Far East."
Birgit also found out that her husband's advisor was not really a professor and did not have three doctorates. The arranger's reference list of large German and American company names were partly counterfeit, said Rot. Research made it clear that the seminar content had parallels to the controversial association of Scientology. For instance, the leader talked of the brain as a big computer that could be programmed - this is a warning sign, as Schwertfeger verified. After she received a death threat from her husband, Birgit Rot fled with her children and dog to the country.
Psychologist professor Oswald Neuburger stated, "Most of the psycho-trainers are not educated experts. In conflict situations they have no standards by which something can be worked out." He said a trap was constructed. "If you do not succeed, then it's because you did not try hard enough and you must try harder. All you have to do is want it badly enough." He said the seminar director was never the one to be blamed.
Schwertfeger reports about methods of repolarization and brainwashing. First people's resistance is broken down, then their personality. A system of reward and punishment with stringent rules creates dependency. Behavior is monitored over the long-term - brainwashing.
Psychologist Colin Goldner wrote in his comprehensive book, "Die Psycho-Szene (Alibri Verlag, 642 pages, 59 DM/30 ), that most of the procedures "dispense with any plausibility." Outside of a possible placebo effect they do nothing at all - outside of taking financial advantage of those seeking help and putting them at psychic risk.
Today Birgit Rot lives in Ulm. She can no longer work because of a bicycle accident. "For me the consequences were an emotional, existential and human disaster. That group destroyed our life." She wrote the story on 400 diary pages "so that one day the children can see why they lost their father."
Fear that your children could lose their roots
Religious Minorities do not feel threatened
December 12, 2000
The feelings are mixed when Syrian Christians, Afghan Hindus or Turkish Ye'ziden, whose belief is a combination of Moslem and Jewish elements, talk about their new homeland. For one thing there is the gratefulness that in Germany they can finally practice their religion in peace, on which account they were often brutally persecuted in their own land of origin.
But there is also confusion because people eye minorities here with a critical eye out of fear that their own children could lose their roots. "Our life is no longer threatened acutely - but yet we cannot live in the freedom that we would have liked," is how a Hindu summarized the life of religious minorities in Germany.
The blame for that, as seen by Frankfurt religious scientist Prof. Edmund Weber, is mainly the small degree of familiarity of Germany with small religious denominations. The public discussion is set according to Christianity, the Jewish faith and Islam, along with a couple of spectacular sects like Universal Life or Scientology. But besides that there exists a multitude of small religious denominations whose integration would be of great significance to Germany's inner harmony. According to statistics, 5.5 million people are in those kind of small religious denominations. They include about 150,000 Buddhists and 95,000 Hindus, who themselves often split off into various currents.
Nearly all representatives of small religious denominations feel restricted in the practice of their religion, as shown in a discussion at the Arnoldshain Evangelical Academy in Taunus. Complaints range from too few services to fear of open rejection when rites are publicly perceptible like, for instance, the call of the Muezzin.
Besides, according to Weber, religious pluralism has had a good tradition since the time of the small German states: "Germany has always been a de facto multicultural society." He said that cultural and religious freedom had always upset the urge of society to be uniform, but multiplicity was "in all cases of more use than the attempt to establish a leading culture here at home." He said that systems which permit alternatives were more stable than dictatorships.
The real lives of many religious communities in Germany had little sense of this requisite multiplicity: "Freedom to live here is not complete freedom," complained Mukes Sachdev from Frankfurt. He is one of the barely 5,000 Afghan Hindus who live in Germany. Since the civil war in their own country they were being caught between the radical Muslim Taliban and the communists of the Soviet occupation. But it is difficult for logistical reasons for them to practice their religion in Germany. In all of Germany there are only five temples and most of those who have gained asylum could never travel back and forth.
But those accused by members of small religious communities view some demands as being too high. "We do desire that they be able to live their faith in freedom, but the German state should not be obligated to give them land for a temple," one of the German seminar participants made clear. And individual peculiarities could not be taken into consideration per law in any country of the world.
Court repeals reprimand from Zehetmair
December 5, 2000
Ansbach (uri) - The Ansbach Administrative Court has repealed a "disapproval" against political scientist Konrad Loew which Science Minister Hans Zehetmair had handed down because of controversial statements made by the high school teacher about the Moon sect. The reason for the legal dispute was a broadcast by Bavarian Radio on January 22, 1996. The report was investigating the question of whether the American Moon sect was being patronized by German scientists. Anything new, Loew philosophized before the camera at the time, would always be subject to critical questioning. But regarding the Moon sect, he said, "discrimination often came with this skepticism."
The minister was displeased. He was upset, wrote Hans Zehetmair, that a Bavarian high school teacher would talk "insipidly, uncritically and evasively" about the Moon sect and on television, at that. Because that was "completely unacceptable," political scientist Konrad Loew was to avoid statements sympathetic to any Unification Church, whose goal was alleged to be world domination.
Zehetmair's reprimand did not especially impress Loew. Because the Minister expressed his "disapproval," which is the mildest measure in the employment catalog of discipline, the professor, who is now 68, appealed. In court, the man who has been an author of the state center for political training made no secret of the fact that, as far as he was concerned, the state was clearly overdoing its skepticism of sects.
"Even a civil servant may express himself critically," the judges founded the repeal of the reprimand, especially "a high school teacher whose mission it is to lead mental discussion." Besides that, Loew has since retired and for that reason minor disciplinary measures are generally repealed. But the high school teacher has not fully withdrawn. He still continues to give lectures and tests to students.
by Volker Junck
"I fulfilled my dream," replied doctor and businessman Dr. Jens Koberstein to the question of why he applied first aid to the run-down dump on Osterdeich. After years of neglect, the need for renovation was enormous and topped the purchase price of 2.6 million marks. It has been calculated that almost four million marks will be needed just to restore the historically protected building. On top of that will come the same amount to equip it medically. Koberstein, who had previously drawn up plans in Achim for a private medical center according to an American model, is on a course of expansion on Osterdeich. Seventy percent of the spaces have already been leased to renowned colleagues - from dentist to cosmetic surgeons - from all over Germany. Besides that the management association intends to transfer its office from Syke to Bremen. Before the "Pro Vita Medio" opens for private customers in spring, the renovators will have to take care of some plaster work in the building. Incredible what can be found behind panels and boarded-up walls. Behind one plaster wall, for instance was a painting of a steamship of the north German Lloyd. Junior Heiko Koberstein found encrypted letters, old newspapers, a dusty bottle of shampoo and a clipboard of names from the war era, when the villa had been appropriated by the defense forces as an officers mess.
It was built in neo-Baroque style from 1882 to 1884 by the famous Bremen builder Heinrich Poppe, who also did the Cotton Stock Exchange and outfitted the Upper Assembly hall. The one who commissioned him was a cotton dealer, Labuse, who moved his company office at the time from the House of Riches (today's Treasury Administration) to Osterdeich. In 1924 the real estate together with the neighboring building, number 29, went to the "Klabenversandbecker" Carl Mueller before it was occupied by the Defense Forces in 1939.
In the rapidly changing history of use after the war (under ownership of the Freese family) it was the ship-building office until 1960, until 1970 the Office of Family Welfare, until 1986 a Post apprenticeship home, and until 1992 Caritas comments that immigrants and then up to 90 asylum seekers were housed there. Many Bremen natives still think of it as the "Schalm Villa" of the renowned Bremen automobile importer, who sold it to a Hamburg real estate dealer, thereby unknowingly providing Scientology with a training center.
They moved out in March of this year. So now, after being vacant for months, the renovators are there to remove the sins of the past. Various angels' heads had been drilled through for various lines and the deceptively genuine oak-trimmed ceiling strip was also damaged. Torn-out walls have left behind ugly scars and some rotten beams in the attic had to be replaced. Specialists are trying to restore the original parquet on the ground floor.
Koberstein is in good humor, everything is to be done by spring. He also intends to make the festive Baroque hall with fireplace and chandeliers available for public gatherings, festivities, chamber concerts, open houses and related events.
Ministers outraged by leaflet
"Alliance for Spiritual Freedom"
calls for people to leave church
November 25, 2000
RON - RHEINPFALZ ONLINE
Many Mutterstadt residents were more than a little surprised not too long ago when they found in their mailboxes a leaflet from the "Bundes fuer Geistesfreiheit," which called for them to leave the church. The Mutterstadt minister of both denominations reacted with outrage.
The distributer of the leaflet, the "Bund fuer Geistesfreiheit" ["Alliance for Spiritual Freedom"], according to research by RHEINPFALZ, is a corporation of public rights with offices in Munich. The "Bund fuer Geistesfreiheit" (bfg), according to its home page on the internet, "represents the interests of church-free people with a free-spirited, agnostic, humanistic or atheistic outlook."
In the leaflet which was distributed in Mutterstadt was an article with a headline of "Do you want a 2.5 percent increase in pay?" which offered practical tips for leaving and in which members of the church community were called to leave the church. It said that the money could be reinvested in additional retirement to avoid an increase in income tax.
The leaflet ran into heavy criticism from the local clergy: it was said that for years the "Bund fuer Geistesfreiheit" apparently saw its main mission as moving Christians to leave the church "with a mixture of false information and half-truths," said Reverend Hans-Peter Jung of the Protestant church and the Catholic clergyman Gerhard Matt. The sect and weltanschauung commissioner of Speyer bishopric, Christoph Bussen, believes the nationwide operation by the bfg to be a "form of radical atheism" which placed "polemics in front of factual discussion." He said leaflets have been appearing off an on in Ludwigshafen and vicinity in the past. "As far as we're concerned any person has a right to be an atheist. But the Bund is not about constructive discussion," Bussen said.
The Evangelical and the Catholic Churches have therefore authored a counter-leaflet. Under the title "The Churches and your money: fiction and fact," they respond to the bfg's accusations about two-thirds of the church taxes being used to pay the preachers and the personnel in church establishments and less than a tenth expended for public social service.
That was an old tale, the two Mutterstadt ministers also made it clear. The truth was that Speyer bishopric and the Evangelical Church of Pfalz expended 25 percent of the church tax income for social purposes and services. Over 500 kindergartens cost the bishopric and state church about 50 million marks a year. In addition, the churches fulfill missions in the fields of youth work, care for the elderly, care for the sick and education, which the state would have to pay at the expense to the taxpayers if the churches weren't there, the reverend emphasized.
It was stated that those who wanted the churches to decrease their social services missed the point of their real mission: the churches provided an indispensable service to the community by spreading their message bound with Christian values.
Citizens of Mutterstadt reacted in various ways to the leaflet. Several took on the issue of the content of the leaflet and the church tax, as a poll on the street showed. Others felt the carryings-on by the "Bundes fuer Geistesfreiheit" were a disgrace. None of the people questioned said they would leave the church because of the leaflet. (mix/rpe)
Success based on positive thought
Motivation trainer Walter Dimler points out the path to conscious living in St. Josef.
November 25, 2000
Weisendorf. "I am not a ring master and neither have I been spoon-fed wisdom. I only provide it and you can decide for yourself what you take with you." Motivation and personality trainer Walter Dimler presents himself as open, natural and sympathetic at a seminar in the Kindergarten St. Josef.
by Stefan Reinmann
The Nuernberg-born man imparted his life philosophy to about 20 interested adults.
"I have had many turns of fate in my life, but believe me, nothing salvages the negative quite like the onset of something positive."
The former soccer pro has been under contract at the 1st FC Nuernberg soccer club as a mental, motivation and personality trainer since July. As his primary career, the 51-year-old is a principal at Grossenseebach elementary school. Whether the soccer club's current high ranking has anything to do with Dimler's work can remain undecided; his more than three hour presentation was convincing and impressive at the same time. Each participant received a name tag as they entered so that the speaker could address each person present by their first name and engage them personally in the event.
What makes the difference for the self-conscious speaker is personality and individuality. More than anything else he stresses, "Every one of you is on this world one time!" Yet being a great person necessitates great thought. Composure, joy of living, health and success are marks of a strong personality. "Positive thinking" is his slogan for success. No matter if it's in one's career, private life or in love, only those who think positive can achieve anything positive, according to the speaker. He said thoughts produce feelings. "The power of our feelings are followed by action, positive as well as negative," said Dimler. And all these thoughts and actions, he said, are infectious.
"If, for example, I am friendly to my counterpart and welcome him, then he will also feel well disposed towards me," Dimler stressed. Again and again he posed the cosmic law of "everyone gets back what they give." Yet, he said, it should be clear to everyone that "everybody's darling" was simultaneously "everybody's blockhead." Every person can not do right according to every other person.
"IQ is the same as EQ" is another statement which is important to the 51-year-old. Everything important in life occurs through emotional intelligence, he said. What use would it be if a person were rich but could not deal with people. This was the motto by which he makes sense of his secondary career. Material riches consistently grow, he said, but the riches of the soul are sinking rapidly.
The three stabilizing pillars for the future, he said, were networked knowledge, sensible time management and the ability to again take heart and form character. Dimler said, "I am happy when other are happy." He said that envy was one of the poisons of feelings and spirit which had crept into today's culture and had been accepted by people as normal. The motivational trainer publicly castigated avarice as much as he did gossip, which, once loosed, sends hundreds of splinters in every direction, never to again be recaptured.
Haste, hate, anger, self-pity, feelings of guilt and indecision, he said, were also destructive negative things which positively thinking people should displace. Almost every other person in Germany was worrying about tomorrow or thinking needlessly about yesterday. According to Dimler that is a waste of time. The door to the past is closed and tomorrow is not yet here. "I live today, now is the beginning of the rest of my life, by tomorrow I may already be dead," he made it clear.
He said worrying like that only created negative stress which would transform into fear. He said one had to push open the door of fear by confrontation. What's done is done and mistakes are the intelligence of the future, he said. A positive thinking person crafts plans, shows intention and dynamics in order to achieve he goals. "The path is the goal, and even if the path is over a thousand miles long, it always begins with the first step which has to be taken."
He said the sub-conscious, "the library of life" was able to be influenced, and that every sentence stated in depression could also be expressed cheerfully. If people were only strong enough, they could even lose weight through sheer thought. The club motivator gave anecdotes, quotes from the Bible and personal experiences from his childhood to prove his theory.
Schmitten / Coblenz. The so-called Unification Church (Moon sect), with its headquarters in Schmitten (Hochtaunuskreis), is permitted to file a suit against an immigration order prohibiting entrance by its chief into the country. That was decided by the Rheinland-Pfalz Superior Court (OVG) in Coblenz in a precedential judgment published on Thursday.
In the judges' opinion, if a religious community's foreign spiritual chief is refused entry into Germany, violations of its right to free practice of religion is not automatically excluded in advance (case: 11 A 10349/99 OVG).
The OVG declared in its decision that the Unification Church's law suit was permissible, but at the same time left open appeal to the Federal Administrative Court in Berlin because of the precedential significance of the matter.
The Unification Church is a registered association by which German members are unified with the worldwide religious community. When its chief Sun Myung Mun and his wife were refused entrance into Germany in 1995, the association filed suit in Coblenz Administrative Court. The Coblenz judges, however, dismissed the suit as impermissible. Refused entry into the country had no influence of the sect members' right, the court thought at the time.
The Rheinland-Pfalz Superior Administrative Court has now come to a different conclusion. The judges found that refused entrance into the country is at the discretion of the border patrol protection agencies. So the sect members would have a claim to know that this discretion was practiced by the agencies without technical errors. If needed, this could also be reviewed in court.
The OVG has not yet decided whether entrance into the country was actually legitimately refused in the current case, by which would be known whether the suit was founded. That would require further clarification, said the decision. dpa
The Cemetery of the right sectarians
Why a private burial ground near Hohenwestedt is to be closed
November 10, 2000
Hohenwestedt - The burial ground of a rightwing extremist sect is giving the local authorities headaches. The rightwing extremist sect "Bund fuer Gotterkenntnis - Mathilde Ludendorff" maintains its own cemetery on a hill in a forested area near Hohenwestedt (Rendsburg-Eckern-foerde County). Even in the village of 80 in whose district the cemetery is situated, only a few know where the approximately ten graves are. The Hohenwestedt state office intends to close the cemetery soon.
In 1956, the state district office of what was Rendsburg County at the time approved an application for a private cemetery on a farmer's estate. The founder of the "Bundes fuer Gotterkenntnis" was Mathilde Ludendorff, died in 1966, wife of General Erich Ludendorff, who took part in Hitler's failed Putsch in 1923. She is said to have founded a racist-esoteric sect in 1930 which propagated "deutsche Gotterkenntnis" /["German realization of God"] The little circle was reincarnated in 1951, was afterwards banned for ten years, but was allowed again in 1977.
In publications of the time the sect played up a menacing "extermination of the German people" and warned that the "pool of valuable genetic material could be destroyed by permitting immigration of primitive foreigners."
In the estimation of the current active director of the Schleswig-Holstein Constitutional Security, Joachim Wegner, the sect members give free play to a "racist and anti-Semitic ideology." Therefore the "Bund fuer Gotterkenntnis" is under surveillance by Constitutional Security. According to their findings, the "Ludendorffers" have 20 or 30 members in the northernmost German state.
Claus Behrens, the administrative chief of the Hohenwestedt state office, says that his agency will permit at most five more urn internments on the hill near Rade. These last internments may be only of people from the vicinity. He says sect members have no claim there. That will also be communicated to a couple who are regarded as the sect's governors in the state. The last urn permitted to be buried on the hill was in March.
Duesseldorf, November 4 (AFP) - About 5,000 adherents of the imprisoned Islamic fundamentalist leader Metin Kaplan demonstrated on Saturday in Duesseldorf for the immediate release of the 47-year-old man. The Islamic demonstrators carried green flags and banners with messages like "Long live our Caliph" and "Long live Islam." Demonstrators, including numerous women in floor-length garb as well as children, demand the criminal proceedings against Kaplan, known as the "Caliph from Cologne," be stopped. As of February, the 47-year old will have to answer before the Duesseldorf Superior State Court for charges of public incitement to criminal acts. According to statements by the police, the demonstration occurred without incident. Kaplan, leader of the Caliph-state founded by his father Cemettin, headquartered in Cologne, was taken into custody in front of a Cologne Mosque in March 1999. The German Justice Department accused him of twice calling for the killing of a rival caliph in Berlin in September 1998. His rival, Halil Ibrahim Sofu, was shot to death in May 1997 by three unknown assailants at a Berlin wedding. On Tuesday, the federal attorney's office asked for four years five months for Kaplan. The fundamentalist leader rejected the court's charges repeatedly and testified that the alleged instigation to murder were only quotations from the Koran. It is anticipated the court will make a decision in mid-November.
How advisors stoke false hopes
He who is poor has himself to blame
October 25, 2000
by Thomas Linden
Back in the 1970s when sociologists were still counted as part of the social think tank, the personal success of each individual was measured by his social environment. The habitually unsuccessful knew who to blame that on, namely parents, schools and most of all, the social class to which one belonged and could not escape.
Today it is the investment speculators and stock brokers who arrogantly show the rest of the world how one turns into a millionaire at the drop of a hat. The circumstance of being poor is the fault of the person himself.
Obviously, in this age of the internet and combined stock funds, anyone can carve out a fortune in cold cash. Whereby a fortune is all too quickly equated to success - and, in the years of globalization of the capitalist economic system after the collapse of socialism, money has become a synonym for success.
Apparently there are just a few trivialities to take care of before you can move into your new villa. And for the trivialities there are advisors who fill whole volumes on the shelves of the book stores and whose titles alone guarantee impending wealth.
"The First Million in Seven Years" and "Live honestly - Become rich" can be found there, or we are simply told to "Think Positive," which makes an "art" out of "being successful."
In material terms, happiness means one book bought equals a problem solved - anyway this is the impression imparted by the advisors who promise success in matters of money just as quickly as they do in matters of sex and love.
As the people in the 19th century made an effort to be good people, the people of the 21st century endeavor to have success. Success is defined as the attainment of a set objective; even though that does not have to be a material objective, it is often identified as one.
Character and morals are only in the way when Bodo Schaefer, for instance, who presents himself as a "millionaire" and "money trainer" in his best-seller "The Way to Financial Freedom," emphatically states that earning money has nothing at all to do with avoiding bankruptcy, just the opposite ...
Appearing more professional is American sport psychologist Shane Murphy whose book, "The Art of being successful," practically gives instructions on how people should bring a little bit of structure into their lives: his offers range from bundling energy to retaining creative thought to productive self-criticism.
If one starts taking the advice of these success counselors, then the first obstacle is wading through a sea of rhetoric which fills page after numbing page. Once you run into tips like "look for a successful mentor" or "prefer the society of successful people," then you realize that your investment in this book was in vain.
But like the legendary diet counselors of "Fit for Life," many advisors have a rather restricted picture of people by which we are informed that we are not really participating in life until we take off that fat on our hips which is making us into losers.
Like you always conclude from advisors who have been implanted with positive thinking that people function like engines in need of repair. That is part of the nature of the thing. We take off a little fat there, put a little implant in there and we have installed a program for positive thought:
Anyone may reach any goal envisioned at once. Instead of getting involved with the stocks yourself, the stock market advisor is paid, instead of talking it over with a partner when things are not going so well in bed, a handbook of erotica is acquired.
By doing that a part of one's own potential to acquire experience is replaced by consumerism. It is the ability to deal in a deliberate manner which is a prerequisite for self-initiative, something which an advisor cannot take over for us by proxy. So the advisor's lecture leaves behind a feeling which is unsatisfactory similar to a long evening in front of the television watching the dramatizations of a talk show in which the rich and beautiful people give any number of recipes for success.
That, however, does not contain anything which could help with one's own chronic failures. Same as television, the life-trainers make a good living from the promises of the successful who have often gotten their golden egg from seminars on management or esoterica for which the participants have had to pay through the nose.
But if we could find out how to act from the advisors, then soon we would not need them any more. So the extent that the sales of the advisors' books are booming is the extent to which naive consumers still believe in the illusion that buying a little book for $14.80 could bring them success.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution speaks openly about successes and failures -
The battle against neo-Nazis and spies -
The secret agents of Cologne celebrate their 50th anniversary
October 19, 2000
by Horst Zimmermann
Cologne. As is fitting for a secret agency, who will be appearing at the program for the 50th birthday of the Cologne "Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution" (OPC) this coming Tuesday is a secret.
Speeches by Office chief Heinz Fromm, Interior Minister Otto Schily and the President of the Central Council of Jews, Paul Spiegel, will be interspersed with many-flavored musical pieces - from fireworks music and Gershwin's "Many Faces" to the triumph march from Aida. Problems and hopes could hardly be recorded in a better environment.
When Heinz Fromm (52) took office the beginning of June, he had the assignment of slimming down even more the unit which had already been reduced 20 percent of former strength. But since rightwing extremist attacks have risen, its slogan seems to be "Never has Constitutional Security been so valuable as it is today."
It is expected from the Cologne agency, for instance, that it provide additional evidentiary material for an application to ban the NPD. Yet research in the mire of the rightwing has never been so difficult. "The NPD is presently keeping a significantly lower profile for the purpose of avoiding attack," the experts are saying.
And the influx of copycats has also subsided. Even before the application for a ban has been submitted, it has already had a cooling effect on the braver souls. A success which was also had in the surveillance of "Scientology."
Will agency chief Schily come to Cologne with a birthday present by which the his agency's resources will be increased? Even without rightwing extremism his office is hardly suffering from a lack of work. Fromm's predecessor, Peter Frisch, had directed the agency's antennae towards militant Islam. And neither has the traditional business of counter-espionage come to a standstill.
Ever since the office has started talking publicly about anything which is not secret, and even has its own web pages, over 20,000 hits a month at www.verfassungsschutz.de, the one-time secret agent image has been fading. Surveys report that popular approval for the agency has been increasing for years, now even including adherents of the Greens, who once called for doing away with Constitutional Security.
Since the Greens have been represented in the secret agency's oversight committee, tensions have eased. Not too long ago, Constitutional Security agents and staff from the Greens even met for a soccer match. The "Slouch-hats" won 7:3, and for that received green condoms which said, "Better with than without responsibility." Whereupon the agents retorted that now they would be probably be expected to give up the biological way. Laughter from both sides.
The talk about failures and successes is also amazingly open today. Ex-OPC President Gerd Boeden said, "We have people working here, and people sometimes make mistakes." In 1963, for instance, when, due to lack of their own eavesdropping equipment, they let the allied services listen in, or 1977, when physicist Traube's apartment was illegally bugged in the search for RAF [Red Army Faction] terrorists, or 1985, when the alcoholic Hans-Joachim Tiedge had been chief of counter-espionage until he took off in the direction of the GDR.
Five of the twelve agency presidents have been involved in scandal. Otto John landed in the GDR [East Germany] under circumstances which have never been fully explained. Hubert Schruebbers' brown past caught up with him. Richard Meier stumbled into woman problems. Heribert Hellenbroich was incriminated in the Tiedge affair. And Holger Pfahls is sought by BKA [German FBI] investigators worldwide for weapons dealing.
The successful side of the coin includes about 7,000 spies caught. While Constitutional Security could not stop Guenter Guillaume from gaining a niche in Willy Brandt's vicinity, his blown cover can be chalked up to the Cologne agency. Since 1980, material has been delivered which has led to the banning of 22 rightwing extremist organizations - from the "Wehrsportgruppe Hoffman" and the Skinheads to "Blood & Honour."
How many lives have been saved by the recent uncovering of a Palestinian terrorist group which planned to blow up an aircraft in flight remains a matter of speculation. But avoiding just a single airline catastrophe is surely worth more than the 230 million marks which the Cologne office costs per year.
Marktheidenfeld - At the 6th diaconate church conference, Rev. Dr. Wolfgang Behnk questioned the ability of the "Universal Life" congregation to reform.
No fight against non-believers
October 9, 2000
by Kirsten Waltert
More than 70 people looked into a multi-faceted display at a gathering of the 6th diaconate church conference of the Lohr-am-Main Evangelical district to listen to a presentation by the sect commissioner of the Evangelical state church in Bavaria, Dr. Wolfgang Behnk.
In his presentation, Behnk made it clear that criticism of various denominations was meant only objectively within a technical system of criticism, it was not a "fight against people of other faiths or other weltanschauung."
The minister pointed out that sects were reformable: "once a sect" did not mean "always a sect."
He also brought it to the audience's attention that the Jehovah's Witnesses, for example, were absolutely a "Christian sect." However, Behnk did not consider the "Universal Life" - UL for short - to be Christian. The sect commissioner gave his reason for saying that as the UL did not base its teachings on the Bible, but regarded Gabriele Wittek's instructions as its standard.
Behnk found the UL's attitude towards Jewry as extremely problematic.
The church representative said that as far as he knew, the leaflets handed out by UL members which offered "remote faith healing" by means of photographs and telephone numbers were charlatanry.
The church representative went into more detail in his criticism of the UL regarding its dealing with medicine, healing, academics and their Christian operations.
Besides Behnk's presentation, people could also go through the "Market of Alternatives" on church operational areas in the diaconate and find out about the entire church: Mr. Wetzlar from the "Evangeliums-Rundfunk" (ERF) showed segments of his television program; anyone who wanted could listen in on ERF programs.
The Evangelical environmental speaker and the Environmental Work Group of the Evangelical state youth presented their "Tailwind" operation. Besides that there were others represented, including the Bible association and the the "Diakonie" as well as the Evangelical "Sonntagsblatt."
The faithful prayed together at the fifth Sunday services. State Bishop Dr. Johannes Friedrich held the final service and answered questions afterwards.
Landkreis Konstanz. Sexual abuse has been turning into a topic in the past years: shocked by the terrible crimes in Belgium in particular, an increased sensitivity is also noticeable in the Constance area. Teachers and educators in kindergartens and schools rely on the work of the counselling agencies, mainly the churches. But there is no guarantee that they will provide sensible consolation to the victims or unbiased information work, as has now become clear to the Constance State Court. In the end the judgment was almost coincidental: a young man was exonerated of the charge of having sexually abused and raped his sister for years.
He had to put up with the serious accusations for one and a half years. That is how long the investigation took. In the end there was no other explanation; not even the therapist could say when anything was supposed to have happened. She had simply believed the victim. The fact that belief was always a replacement for knowledge in this case did not sit well with Constance chief state attorney Fritz-Joachim Gnaedinger. He continued to delve into the matter because he wanted to know the truth, especially since a sect active across the country ("Jesus freaks") had been taking care of the girl round the clock for two years.
The person making the accusations did not appear before the court; she claimed the right not to have to appear and also had her absence excused in an attestation from a therapy center in Hesse. All the more surprising to the state attorney was the statement by a witness that she had only met the young lady several days before at her daughter's wedding. The alleged victim had avoided any type of investigation herself for the entire duration of the legal proceedings. Neither was she receiving further therapy. Therefore the state attorney was surprised that she gave an address associated with religious activity. And in the past year she had also graduated from a volunteer missionary course. The Singener Family Court was not making any accusations, neither was the Youth Office, they had given the parents full custody three times in cases which had been suspended.
The documents submitted to the court then corresponded to reality less and less: in them accusations were made back and forth and in them people stated how very much they believed the alleged victim. After a weekend visit a year and a half before she had not returned home, but had been put at a safe distance from her parents' house while charges were filed against the rest of the family. An outside Youth Office had awarded custody to a new foster mother in advance, as stated in the legal description.
A single letter which stated that her brother had raped her for one and a half hours was enough to get the charges established. But her brother had an air-tight alibi. At that point the proceedings went before the state court.
The rest was even more horrifying. The girl was said to have been the victim of child abuse. A Singener puppet show player, who has since died, was sentenced to one year in jail suspended for 150 instances of sexual abuse. Her therapist, who has since moved away, had her appear at two more hearings after his death because she obviously knew that her appearance could sway the case. The defendant documented the point in several of the many letters about abuse problems which the victim was sending out all over the world: suddenly her brother appeared in place of her former tormenter.
In school, a new therapist took up the girl's case. She had 28 sessions with her, one a week. State attorney Gnaedinger had the method of procedure carefully explained: five assistance conferences were held, only the therapist and a pastor claimed the right not to testify. They said they wanted to protect the girl and shuffled her from family to family on weekends. She was supposed to be able to graduate school while she was at a home. Gnaedinger said it clearly: rape is a felony, anyone who has knowledge thereof must testify. The minimum punishment is two years in jail. But nobody in her environment did anything for over six months, although each said they believed that the brother would molest his sister again. The state attorney could not understand that: how could they accept that the child would be injured further? The therapist on the witness stand said that to anybody who had been abused since they were five years old, a couple of months didn't make any difference. In addition, she said, playing doctor at five years old is just as bad as rape. The defending attorney, Gerd Zahner said the therapist was using "coffee clatch psychology." The catch to it is that that is apparently the current standard of sexual abuse in the county.
Hans Paul Lichtwald
Church may pay damages
Two psychotherapists believe they were unjustly described as the men behind a sect
120,000 mark law suit, including damages -
first hearing in state court yesterday
September 22, 2000
by Harald Baumer
The damage is said to be enormous, somewhere around three million marks. That is being asserted by psychotherapists Guenter "Sepp" Schleicher and Leonhard Oesterle from Neumarkt county. They think they have been disparaged for many years by the Catholic Church and unjustly persecuted. They said this has caused them to lose teaching contracts and has caused diverse business contacts to fail. And now they've had enough.
The two men have filed suit in a civil chamber of the state court. However, they are not demanding the entire three million marks mentioned above, they would be satisfied with a total of 120,000 marks compensation and damages.
The entire proceedings hinge on a statement by Ludwig Lanzhammer, the sect commissioner of the Bamberg archdiocese. In 1990 he told the media that Schleicher's group, which consisted of between 200-300 people at the time, was "definitely a psycho-sect."
A person who used to participate in the group's meeting said the men wore long leather coats and riding boots and the women all wore white blouses and leather skirts, like uniforms. It was said that Schleicher's words and actions were "accepted reverentially." In Ludwig Lanzhammer's assessment, these and other observed characteristics were indications of a sect.
In the years that followed, the media and the sect commissioner himself referred back to those statements repeatedly. This resulted in enormous damage to business, as the psychotherapists intend to prove in the hearing. They have an attorney known across the nation on their side: Professor Martin Kriele authored an almost 150 page thick complaint.
The attorney has the opinion that the church (represented by the sect commissioner) went too far in its description of the Schleicher group. He said that those who appear as official spokesmen must take special care in what they say. He said that Lanzhammer asserted false things "without review and without caution." Professor Kriele: "The whole thing is an illusion - like the witch trials."
As the accused, the Bamberg Archdiocese believes that view is grossly exaggerated. It was said to be representable, even a condition of the profession, if a sect commissioner made a statement about a dubious group. "A campaign has been constructed here," said attorney Joerg von Rochow about the complaint. He believes it is completely incomprehensible that "'Sepp' Schleicher attempts to connect his own mediocrity on the church's words from the distant past.
Presiding judge Dieterich Drechsel would not tip his hand yesterday as to what the October 26 decision would look like. He did indicate, however, that the highest court decisions in reference to freedom of opinion were far too liberal. Could that also apply to sect commissioners?
Dressed simply and smartly, they stand on the street corner and wait until you talk to them. They hold their "Watchtower" and "Erwachtet" magazines in hand. The Jehovah's Witnesses are practically part of the city picture in German inner cities. Many people think of the "Witnesses" as "harmless story-tellers" who are annoying only when they knock on their front doors and want to talk "about faith."
In contrast to other Christian denominations, "Jehovah's Witnesses," as they call themselves, do not believe that all Christians will go to heaven. They read out of the Bible that only 144,000 people can go that route. For those left over, however, there is a promise. They will find "Paradise on Earth" when the Kingdom of God has "annihilated" all "who ruin the earth." For non-believers, this expectation of God's campaign of annihilation may sound somewhat martial, but the Witnesses find their belief "refreshingly different." They constantly reckon that Paradise is right around the corner. As far as they are concerned, each report of bad news about environmental and natural catastrophes, wars and immorality is, at the same time, good news; it is proof that we are living "in the end times." Previous predictions about the actual end of the world, such as in 1914 and 1975, did not come true.
For about the past ten years, the Jehovah's Witnesses have been trying to be classified as a "corporation of public rights" - like other churches. They would then be exempt from basic earnings and inheritance taxes, could better minister to their faithful in hospitals and prisons, and even impose church taxes. [In Germany, church tax can be withheld from pay, like income tax.] The Jehovah's Witness communities in Selters, Taunus, however, have no interest in the latter. Their 190,000 members (4.4 million worldwide) are so closely tied to the organization that there is no lack of "voluntary donations."
But so far their efforts have not met with success. In 1997, the Federal Administrative Court in Berlin refused to recognize them because their faithful may not take part in political elections, which is thereby said to undermine the "legitimacy of the state." And the legal dispute has been more counter-productive than not in its effect upon the public. While the discussion about the Scientology Church in Germany has become more hectic, the Jehovah's Witnesses have also gained the attention of the anti-sect fighters. The accusations made by former "Witnesses" have been taken under consideration because they are very reminiscent of those made against psycho-sects. "The Jehovah's Witnesses are a totalitarian organization," said Hans-Juergen Twisselmann, "because they so strongly control personal areas of life." Twisselmann, who left the Witnesses back in the 1950s, founded the "Bruederbund" in 1958, which cares for people who want to leave the Witness community. "I don't use the word 'brainwashing' because that word implies force," said Joseph Wiltung, a Norwegian former member, he said it was more of "a refined style of talking people into not thinking for themselves anymore." From early childhood, the strict teachings of the faith lead to children alienating themselves from others their own age. "Apostates" automatically lose all their friends and are relegated to a social vacuum.
Naturally, the Jehovah's Witnesses have also noticed that they are running against the wind. The press are constantly instructed in alleged false rumors. No, partaking of alcohol is not forbidden to the Witnesses, just the misuse. Yes, Jehovah's Witnesses also have free time in which they watch television, go to the movies or partake in sports - 14.2 hours per week on the average, while their religious activities require 17.5 hours. No, the Witnesses really are not a totalitarian cult. "The only people we baptize are those who have made the decision to join the Jehovah's Witnesses after a long trial period," stressed Bernd Klar, press spokesman of the organization.
The community has also shifted its position on several areas in the past few years. They still refuse blood transfusions, yet hemoglobin solution with red blood cells can be accepted. Together with the progressive development of new surgical methods, this has led to hardly any Witnesses putting their lives in danger due to the content of their belief. The Witnesses are also more flexible in refusing to work in civil service. Today only military service is taboo.
But the Jehovah's Witnesses still have a special something in Germany. By virtue of their fate under National Socialism, they have acquired a moral nimbus which makes it difficult on critics today. Of the approximately 20,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany in 1933 ("serious Bible researchers" back then), about every third was arrested, and about 2,000 even landed in concentration camps where they received a "lilac chevron" [a classist distinction within the camp].
Chance of success: 1 in 100
Cult Researcher wants to clone dead babies
In October French biologist will implant mothers with reproduced embryos.
September 6, 2000
by Jean-Michel Stoullig and Henning Lohse
Washington - Worldwide, the cloning of humans is at least officially taboo, but a French woman scientist wants to make a solo try at sweeping through the barriers in the USA: in October, announced Brigitte Broisselier, she will clone a dead baby. The infant died several days ago in the USA at the age of ten months because of a medical error. As a result, the parents asked her to "resurrect" their baby, confirmed the 44 year old woman. She has no moral objections - Broisselier is a Raelian.
Behind the Raelian Movement, as abstruse as it is scientific, lurks a sect which was founded by Claude Vorilhon (53), who resides in Canada. The former sports journalist claims that 27 years ago in France, on the site of an extinct volcano, he was confronted by an extraterrestrial who explained to him about the "true source" of all life: he said aliens in UFOs landed on the earth 25 thousand years ago and created humans and animals out of dead material by using cloning technology. Cloning is supposed to make eternal life possible for humanity.
When the Scottish, cloned sheep, Dolly, blinked in the flash bulbs for the media three years ago, the sect rejoiced - as far as they were concerned, Dolly was living proof of their theory. The Raelians found the Clonaid company in the Bahamas for genetic reproduction. According to Vorilhon, the "service," never before performed on humans, costs between 340,000 and 510,000 marks. The sect says it has 50,000 adherents in 50 countries, including Switzerland, Belgium, England and Canada. The sect members must pay about 5 percent of their income.
Broisselier, the "scientific director" of the sect company, said they had already been contacted by hundreds of people. Most of those asking were either infertile, or had lost their child and wanted to have it reproduced. That is no problem in a real case. The cells of the baby are available and the expenses are covered, "The doctors made a mistake and the parents got a lot of money which will help them to resurrect their child," said the molecular biologist and doctor of chemistry and physics. They are keeping the time and place of the process secret. They will only say that their laboratory is located in a country in which cloning humans is permitted. The team consists of a genetic technician, two biologists and a doctor who specializes in test-tube fertilization.
David Kirby, genetic researcher at the University of Washington, does not believe the operation will be a success. He estimates the chances of success at one percent. He said the cloned embryos would probably have to be implanted in a number of women because there would be numerous miscarriages. Even the cloned sheep Dolly did not come into this world until after hundreds of failures. Nevertheless Kirby commented that the technology had improved considerably. He said he would "not be surprised if there were a human clone in the near future."
Brigitte Broisselier does no more fear failure than she has ethical objections. She assured us that she does not want to produce a monster. "Parents have the right to have a child with their own genetics. Imagine the joy of a widow who raises a child that resembles her deceased spouse, down to the last hair.
Two Lapses of Memory
August 22, 2000
Frankfurter Rundschau 2000
by Wolfgang Fleckenstein
Darmstadt. The court's jury of the Darmstadt State Court has been faced with a difficult task since Tuesday: it has to clear up two lapses of memory. Neither the alleged perpetrator, whom the state attorney's office has accused of attempted murder, nor the victim can recall the actual chain of events. The main hearing lasted four days, and what needs to be cleared up is whether a 26-year-old mill operator from Darmstadt injured his girlfriend who was no longer living with him so seriously with a knife or other object on April 18, 1999, that she barely got away with her life.
According to the charge, the man abused the 22-year-old cashier around 4:30 in the morning so that she suffered cuts on her face and in her genital area, a life-threatening brain hemorrhage, a broken left wrist and multiple bruises. Besides that the accused is said to have tried to stop the police, whom the neighbors had called, from entering the residence and living room in which the gasping and severely bleeding victim lie. The young woman was so badly injured that she had to be put on artificial respiration at the Darmstadt clinic.
The native-born Moroccan grew up in Dieburg with eight brothers and sisters and, according to what he said, got to know the married cashier in 1997 and moved in with her. The two had a son together, who is now two years old. The accused reported to the court that he has been consuming drugs since 1992 in a steadily increasing degree, including hashish, marijuana and LSD. Besides that he said he has regularly been taking Rohypnol, a strong sedative, as well as valium and cocaine since 1997. He said on weekends, especially, he swallowed up to ten Rohypnol daily.
The man further reported that he has been suffering from a persecution complex since 1998. According to his statement, he felt like he was being eavesdropped and spied upon by Freemasons and Illuminati and, at the time, he also believed that his apartment was bugged and his tormentors lie in wait for him in office buildings. In addition he says he was living under the delusion that he could read [other people's] thoughts. After treatment in detention these symptoms had disappeared. He says he now realizes that he had only imagined all of this.
On the day of the deed he said he had smoked about 45 joints and drunk at least a dozen bottles of beer. He said he went to his girlfriend's apartment to see how their nine-month-old child was doing. He said he had in no way intended to exert control upon his ex-live-in girlfriend. He only knows that he rang the bell and opened the door. He said he remembers his girlfriend gasping for breath only "like a nightmare." He said he did not recall his arrest, the interrogation at the police station which he would only permit in the presence of his attorney or the hearing at the magistrate's office.
His ex-girlfriend, who has regularly been visiting the accused in jail after the crime and, until recently, has been living with his parents, said she had lapses in memory when the attack began. It was not until she was in the hospital that her memory came back to her. She had told the police that it was three men who had come in and grabbed her by the hair. She had only said that, the witness said, to protect her ex-friend.
District Attorney Klaus Tietze-Kattge submitted evidence which would show that the accused checked out books from the prison library about Freemasons, Scientology and Illuminati to prepare for questioning by psychiatric expert Hartmut Berger.
"Poltergeists are troublesome,
but they are not dangerous"
August 22, 2000
Walter von Lucadou has been director of a parapsychology counseling center in Freiburg for eleven years. The physicist and psychologist used to work under Professor Hans Bender at the Psychological Institute of the University of Freiburg. Bender, who is deceased as of 1991, is regarded as the pioneer of parapsychology in Germany.
by Elisabeth Rosenkranz
There are a number of establishments in Freiburg which offer people help in dealing with unusual experiences. The Parapsychological Counselling Center under the direction of physicist and psychologist Walter von Lucadou is one of them. It is important to him that people be able to talk about their fears. Sometimes just being able to talk about it helps.
Freiburg. It is no coincidence that Freiburg is regarded as the Mecca of parapsychology. Professor Hans Bender (1907-1991), that legendary pioneer of parapsychology in the German post-war era, taught at the psychological institute of the university. Besides that, Bender founded the Institute for borderline areas of psychology and and psycho-hygiene (IGPP), which is currently celebrating its 50 year anniversary. It was for that reason last week that Freiburg was the convention location of the 43rd annual conference of the Parapsychological Association (PA), an international, inter-disciplinary assemblage of researchers in the area of the phenomenon of extra-sensorial observation. The famous organizations in this respect in Freiburg include the Scientific Association for the Advancement of Parapsychology (WGFP) under the direction of degreed physicist and psychologist Walter von Lucadou. Eleven years ago, the scientist and former Bender student founded the Parapsychological Counselling Center (PBS). Besides extensive information, it provides people with help in dealing with and managing unusual experiences.
Walter von Lucadou hardly has any time left over for experimental research. 3,000 contacts per year - many by telephone - are made with the scientist who has over 30 years experience in the area of parapsychology. PBS is supported with 40,000 marks of public money by the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg. In addition, donations are solicited. "When you put this budget in relation to the 18 billion marks in yearly sales from the German esoterica market, then it is clear that factual discussion of the theme is not likely in our society," Lucadou has found. The scientist rarely uses the world "parapsychology." "Too overdone," he says. "I speak of unusual human experiences as defined by the people who who experienced them." Those include clairvoyance and magic as well as "true-dreams" (dreams which happen as experience), occult practices, problems with sects and psycho-groups, as well as apparition phenomena "and people who think they have been hexed because of a string of bad luck," von Lucadou related. The scientist refuses to write off such people as paranoid or liars. He would rather find out in his discussions what is behind the experiences reported by the people who are afraid and do not know how they should deal with such fears and unusual experiences.
Let people talk about fears
Von Lucadou described the case of a totally baffled woman who complained to him about the inexplicable appearance of dirt in certain locations of her well-kept apartment. "I inspected the apartment and determined that the woman was right." He said it was not important to find out where the dirt was coming from. "The most important thing was to listen and do an on-the-spot reality check of her story. This type of discussion with the unusual often proves effective in getting rid of the phenomena," according to Lucadou. In other cases, it is reported that objects fly about the room. "Most of the time I advise them to install a video camera and to set up a mirror on the opposite wall so that the whole room is covered by the camera. That usually stops the objects from flying about," said the scientist. It is not solving cases of ghosts, but of letting people speak about their fears that is the purpose of the counselling. The thing which proves most positive is a site inspection. "I have stayed in houses and apartments in which knocking noises could be heard and in some places I detected cold whiffs of air. I can not explain those circumstances, but that was not to be expected. This has to do with helping people in dealing with the unusual. They should be able to say, "if he can stay overnight in the scary dwelling, I can, too," is how Lucadou described the situation.
What ghosts really don't like
Frequently, a so-called plausible, informative explanation about unusual experiences is not possible for some people. "Therefore we have developed a counselling concept which permits us to positively integrate personal belief systems into the recording of the paranormal experience," said von Lucadou. It would not make any sense to tell a convinced spiritist that his ghosts are internal psychic representations of his cognitive structure. It is better to argue in "spiritese" to avoid misunderstandings. "So you have to talk the jargon of the people concerned and make it clear that ghosts don't like it when people are looking at them all the time," is how Lucadou explained the "flexible response" concept.
"The illusion of knowing everything"
The talk about psychokinesis continues in the realm of parapsychology. Scientists see that as a physically inexplicable influence of a person upon a material event. One such phenomenon, for example, is that some people get restless when they think they are being watched. The question is why they react at all and why other people don't have reactions. "We know that psychological and psychic aspects interact in this case. How that functions, we don't know," said von Lucadou. There is not usually a key explanation for much phenomena. "The mistake is that we live under the illusion that we know everything," he criticized and spoke about the "arrogance of science which, since the 1960s, has made everybody believe that everything has been researched and that everything is able to be explained. That makes it easy to write off unusual experiences as jiggery-pokery instead discussing them. As soon as one understands that we know much less than we think we do, then it is easy to expose charlatans. Those are the ones, namely, who always know everything along with the why's and wherefores." He says he has repeatedly told healers and providers at the Basel Psi-Convention that he has nothing against pendula, pyramids and the sort. "But I have also read Levi to them and warned them of risks, side-effects and mistakes." That cooled the atmosphere and since then he has no longer been invited to the Psi-Convention, the scientist reports. All the more demand for von Lucadou as lecturer in school classes, where his experiences about shaking glass and apparitions meet with high interest, as do the results of his research. Threatening letters and phone calls sometimes turn into daily routine when Walter von Lucadou gets too interested in something, but he's not afraid. "What I'm most afraid of is that people with unusual experiences will run away or falsely react to their situation." Therefore he persists in making it clear to the people he deals with that Poltergeists & Co. are truly remarkable, irritating and bothersome. "But dangerous they are not."
Simple! Short! Threatening!
Everybody is wondering what makes politicians like Joerg Haider so successful. The demagogue only has to follow a couple of simple rules. An outline:
July 5, 2000
Die Zeit 27/2000
by Mia Eidlhuber
Preach something simple
You know that social and political processes are complex matters. But see to it that you are the only one that knows it. As a demagogue, it is your job to clear out the jungle of political problems and draw a picture of an easily seen garden. Do you want to be a demagogue? Act like everything is quite simple. It would be even better if you believe your own simple answers to complicated questions. Thus: foreigners are criminal, politicians corrupt and civil servants are lazy.
Haider does not say, "Dear people, unemployment is no fun. Those who are unemployed often have great difficulties: they get behind in their payments, their marriages can suffer and their sense of self-worth is destroyed."
Unemployment, such as Joerg Haider sees it, fits into his picture of the world. Haider, our model demagogue, divides people into good and bad. He describes his adherents as people who staunchly work the entire year. Then he picks out people from the masses of the unemployed who have worked a half a year and then used the social system. They are redefined as "the others." It is clear that his audience always counts as the good people.
Divide the world into "we" and "the others"
"We" are good, "the others" bad. Avoid any positive statement about "the others" and ignore their motive. In contrast, praise everything that "we" do. Never ask about their intentions, conduct or motives. The "we" are threatened by "the others." The "we," for example, are honest, industrious, little people/Austrians/workers who have to live off a certain amount of money a month and feel threatened by the System.
Haider activates and strengthens fears and directs them to the enemy: a whole generation of soldiers is threatened by a false account of history, free enterprise by capitalism, citizens oriented toward performance by the social state and successful operations by the bureaucracy of the major political coalitions. Negative themes abound in the FPOe's political work. The subject is always the struggle against "the others."
In this struggle, Haider gets creative with word formulation. The political discussion in Austria has been enriched by new words and phrases not previously used: old parties, beggar republic, bigwigs, thieving rabble, "Diskutantenstadel," unity party, development democracy, functionary's paradise, swindler republic, rabble, creepy cabinet, corruptionary, license party, night watchman administration, operetta state, sinecure business, political bigwigs, post haggler, knight of privilege, bog of privilege, robber knight, brother in scandal, social cadger, social misuse, state circus, "Zwangskammernsystem."
The more you manage to alter political language, the greater will be your influence on the political process.
Act like you're infallible and never admit to a mistake.
Joerg Haider is the master of this discipline. He often speaks of himself in the third person. In the 1995 election campaign, he even praised himself as "security patron." He acts like Superman, like a hero with a nimbus of indestructibility.
When it is pointed out to Haider that he enjoys privileges and has cashed in on a large settlement (happened 1992), then he is quick with a re-interpretation: if it turns out that I am the only politician who has been paid a settlement, then I have to assume that someone wants to bring discredit upon me shortly before the state assembly election in Vorarlberg. Haider's settlement was not a bog of privilege, just the opposite. It was the attempt of an evil system to harm him. Haider, as a kind of "super-we," is the only who in the nation who can assign guilt.
Therefore: invent scapegoats! That way problems will explain themselves quite simply: why are there unemployed people? Because the foreigners are taking away jobs from the people who live here. Why are people so hostile to Joerg Haider? Because he does such a manly job of defending the little guy and because those other people up there are anxious about their privileges.
Not only does Haider activate the fear of the little guy, but also his hopes and far-fetched fantasies at the same time. Haider is a victim and a hero at the same time. He negotiates with the little people in mind, suffers like they do, rebels against their suffering. And finally, does what the little person does not: stands up and bangs on the table. A question to him personally is redirected by Haider to his voters: "Are you aware that you represent the foster father of rightwing terrorism?" Yes, my God, the Austrian people have the right answer to that and they won't stand for it. So criticism of him is criticism of his voters.
Use emotional language
Language is the real tool of demagogues. Speech is calculated to arouse emotions. That is important, because the decision to vote for a party will be made emotionally. Demagogues know that in a state of emotional excitement, the ability to judge is significantly decreased and that people are more sensitive to placative slogans.
Up to this point, in traditional political speech, a language suited to diplomats has been used: long, ingenious sentence, vague, with little emotion. Demagogic speech demands just the opposite: short, pregnant sentences with much feeling. Joerg Haider's speech functions in that way and contrasts to that of other politicians in ability to be understood. A lack of business sense then becomes "money wasted by functionaries." Political success in Haider's language: We've brought it all together.
Demagogic emotional speech is not a by-product of politics and is not a result of spontaneously being flustered as happens to a politician in the heat of battle. It is an deliberate instrument. Phrases like "streams of asylum seekers, flood of foreigners, people migration" and "overwhelm by strangers" are carefully chosen by demagogues like Haider. They incite fear. People are given the feeling that something terrible is going to happen to them.
Demagoguery is the use of hate for political purposes. So invent a new epithet for "the others": "apocalyptic horsemen, ministry of bankruptcy, red-black harassment machinery, European beggar's republic, disoriented society of failure, retired Stalinist, living room democrat." Insult everybody that makes an appearance against your politics. Haider has been doing that for years with gusto. For him, former Federal Chancellor Franz Vranitzky was an Austro-fascist in pinstripes who no longer had a grip on things because of his morbid xenophobia of the FPOe. For Haider, ORF members (namely, the staff of the public-legal Austrian Broadcasting) are journalistic red partisans in an ORF underground. EU Farm Commissar Franz Fischler is a Judas from the Tirol.
Effective personal attacks are aimed at the names or physical peculiarities of an person. For instance, for Haider, the recently elected chief of the Austrian Social Democrats is not Alfred Gusenbauer, but Gruesomebauer. The Viennese mayor, according to Haider, has the problem that his mental maturity has not kept pace with his rapid increase of body weight. And: when I take a look at Lech Walesa and see, yes, he has gotten wider than he is tall, then that is symbolic of the type of thinking that reigns there.
Threaten "the others"
Haider is a violent criminal when it comes to language. For him the tangled political system is long overdue for being taken by storm. He intends to liberate Austria from the protection of the Old Parties and purge it from top to bottom. We'll start off by cleaning out the country, that was his slogan for the 1995 campaign.
For demagogues like Haider, politics is battle: We intend to storm the red-black castles of the tyrants, lower the drawbridges and get the people in the castle. The blue banners (blue is the party color of the FPOe, editor) of Freedom will again fly from the turrets. It is looked at as the battle against the red and black crab lice who must be fought with prussic acid.
Such use of the language incites fantasies of violence. Satisfy this need of your followers by threatening "enemies": "I am not yet federal chancellor but I'll outlive him and lock you up," said Haider to an editor of a Social Democratic party newspaper. And to the hecklers at a campaign rally (1994): "Those who are yelling back there - if I have anything to say about it - will be needing their breath for something else. Get to work!"
Haider's threats animate his followers to do the same. FPOe man Holger Bauer said to a Greens representative, "Watch out that you don't get any letter bombs at home." Peter Mueller, FPOe candidate for mayor in Bad St. Leonhard in Kaernten to "Trend" business magazine, "I told Simon Wiesenthal: We'll be building ovens again, but not for you, Mr. Wiesenthal - You have a place in Joergl's pipe."
Demagogues are gifted story-tellers. They like to tell their stories based on events at hand. They select individual cases from the enemy group and put them on display as examples.
There is no interest in facts for the propaganda of an invented picture of the world. As a demagogue, then, keep your distance from "empirical evidence." Be creative and overwhelm reality: invent your own numbers. In the 1994 Tirol campaign, Haider said that there were 350,000 foreigners in the country illegally. According to Interior Ministry estimates, it was 100,000.
Invent your authority, like dates, laws and persons to support your arguments. When asked about the source for his surveys or numbers which he uses in arguments, Haider never specifies more precisely.
repeat, repeat, repeat
Demagogic propaganda works by constant repetition. Invent an absurd claim (see above) and staunchly repeat it - without consideration that it has long been disproved by facts. Stay tough. The power of the repeated word should not be underestimated. The readiness of the audience to accept the claim as true increases with the number of repetitions. That way a claim can turn into "truth" at last.
*The starting point of our research was a rumor that was making its rounds in Austria: Joerg Haider's Liberal Party of Austria, the FPOe, credited its popular success to neuro-linguistic programming, a psychological school of a unique kind. In the course of our research, we ran into Walter Oetsch from Linz, Professor of political economics and cofounder of the Linz Academy for NLP. "I assume that the FPOe uses NLP language training, but that is all just a rumor," Oetsch told us. He further reported how years ago he had been asked to give a lecture about the FPOe's style of communication; in the course of his preparation for the lecture, he started to get more and more interested in the theme. As a result, Oetsch looked at videos of Haider's appearances and, from that point forward, followed the political debate quite closely in the media.
Oetsch was amazed at the simplicity of the models used by Haider in his successes, and how clumsily his political counterparts reacted to them. Oetsch wrote in the forward to his book, which came from his involvement with Haider, "It is high time to end the advantage. Most models of communication are effective only when those being addressed are not familiar with them." By writing his book, Oetsch would like people to be able to face up to Haider and his act-alikes. The book from Walter Oetsch is called "Haider light., Handbook for Demagogues" and it will be available in October 2000 from the Viennese Czernin publishing house. It serves as the foundation for our article about Joerg Haider's communications strategies.
The Success Business is booming
Countless advisors promise the Way to Happiness
June 28, 2000
They show one thing above all else on book covers and advertisements: a beaming smile. Those are the authors who want to put the general public in the mood for success and their readers in debt. Success, so they suggest, is a Fun-Factor which makes you beautiful and sexy.
If you are not yet wearing Armani, not driving a Porsche, your stocks are sagging, work is no fun anymore and creativity borders on zero, then that is bad, but not hopeless, because there are people who help. An impressive number of experts, trainers and authors in Germany are involved in consulting. The sale of their literature is booming along with the life-style magazines. It is possible overnight, or, at the latest, a couple of months: "Everybody makes their own happiness," is the motto of which the authors never grow tired in matters of happiness, repeating it in all its variants. "Say yes to success," (Econ publishing, Munich), "The Way to financial freedom" (Campus publishing, Frankfurt/M.) "Make your dreams come true" (mvg publishing, Landsberg) or "Forever young" (Graefe and Unzer, Munich) - those are only a small selection of titles which are currently flooding the book market and whose sales are skyrocketing.
Parallel to that, a regular seminar culture has developed. Trainers and success gurus lecture and preach at expensive manager seminars or less expensive mass demonstrations. But what is success? As smoothly as the authors present themselves, the forefront of their success programs does not include a house, a pool, horses and an expensive private park. Those objects of material success function, so to speak, as ornamental by-products of a new life strategy, of a new positive thought which can be paraphrased from the grandfather of the success-minded, Dale Carnegie, thus: "Don't worry, live." Start to discover your own positive sources, follow your own career - phrases from well-versed success-people. A conspicuous characteristic of the advisors' literature is the didactic dissemination of their material. Most questionnaires start off by defining the "is-condition" of the reader, then work out the "should-condition" as a second step. The "route descriptions" are the third final great part of most advisors. In this, checklists play a big role in being able to systematically do away with inadequacies.
Are these books mocking reality, are they making fun of the majority of the population who will never get a whiff of anything near success? That cannot be said in every case. There are still reservations about the delusion that creeps in with the waves of success, health and fitness. It is common sense that not everything in life is do-able, plan-able or predictable. Always wanting to do everything better can be rather stressful - then there will be a great demand for advice for "victims of success addiction."
Study: Devout people are happier
Science Information Agency (idw) Press Release
Bavarian Julius Maximilians University Wuerzburg
June 28, 2000
Are religious people happier? Research from the USA and England suggest a positive relationship between happiness in life and religiosity. German medicine periodicals also give reports like "The Pious live longer," or "Praying protects you from heart attack." Theologians from the University of Wuerzburg wanted to find out what to make of such research.
Catholic religion academics Prof. D. Hans-Georg Ziebertz and Dr. Boris Kalbheim took a survey on that account of beginning students from all schools of the university asking about religiosity, their personality and the happiness with life. Prof. Ziebertz: "Viewed statistically, the results are clear: religious students are happier."
For "Measuring personal happiness in life," those surveyed received a detailed list of statements concerning many diverse areas of life: questions were asked about the meaning of life, about social relations, personal attractiveness, optimistic/pessimistic hopes for the future, about feelings, work life, free time, etc. That way it could be determined whether students liked the lives they led. The Wuerzburg theologians used this research instrument from the field of psychological research. According to Dr. Kalbheim, there was a reason for that method: "We did not want to influence those surveyed with ideas of happiness that had been colored by Christianity."
The results of the research showed that about half of those surveyed described themselves as "not happy" and about as "happy." The far fringes were inhabited only by a minority of "very happy" or "very unhappy" people. The findings had no relation to age or gender.
The scientists examined the personalities of the students. That is because if there were a majority of extroverted personalities in religious people, according to Prof. Ziebertz, then a connection between religiosity and happiness could be due not to religiosity, but to the personality involved, "because studies have shown that extroverted people are frequently more happy than introverted people." It was clear from the results, though, that religious and non-religious people could not be differentiated with regard to their personality. Both groups, on the average, were equally extroverted or introverted, could also be described as emotionally stable or unstable.
To differentiate non-religious from religious, Prof. Ziebertz and Dr. Kalbheim used several instruments of research: they asked about membership in a church, about personal practice of religion and about concepts of religion, church, Christian belief and God.
According to their feedback, 15 percent of the students did not have a God, for a similar sized group, the Christian belief was the one and only way to know God. 70 percent of the students thought God "was possible," but saw a way to find God in all religions. There was much agreement of those surveyed about the Christian faith in particular: 56 percent had a positive concept of Christianity, 20 percent were undecided and 25 percent rejected Christian beliefs.
The real target of the study was the issue of whether personal religiosity is a sort of indicator of happiness in life. "Happiness strengtheners" were membership in a church, a positive attitude toward a series of expressions of belief which are typical for the Christian faith, as well as the general belief in the existence of God. "It turned out, surprisingly, that those surveyed who took the position of 'There is no God' were significantly less happy than those who did believe in God," said Prof. Ziebertz.
In contrast, personal religious practice, whether going to church, praying or reading the Bible were preferred, had no significance for the perception of happiness. The primary factor in "happiness strengtheners" was the inner attitude toward God and to Christianity, including membership in a church. Age, gender or political orientation had no influence on perception of happiness.
The researchers also looked into whether theology students differed from other students. But they could not find a difference: the "career" understanding of religious issues is not the same as personal religiosity. Personal religiosity can be strong or weak - no dependency on area of study.
The significance of these results, in the opinion of the scientists - in spite of much criticism on religion, Christianity and church, including that which is justified - is that religiosity can have a positive life force on the level of personal life organization. In addition, an old accusation against Christianity can be debunked - that it deals with the salvation of people only on "the other side," but not in the "here and now" of life: "The hope for eternal life has positive effects on the life one is living," is what the scientists think. They explain this finding by saying that not only does extroversion, that means openness towards other people have the effect on people that their lives are worth living, but also their openness towards God.
The religious academics will present their study during the Wuerzburg JUMAX 2000 university fair, and on Saturday, July 8 at 2 p.m. in room SE 36 in the mathematics building on Hubland.
Informationsdienst Wissenschaft (idw)
Ein Projekt der Universitäten Bayreuth, Bochum und der TU Clausthal Im WWW: http://idw.tu-clausthal.de/
Upset on Mainau Island
Mainau Island, Lake Constance
Lake Constance borders on Germany, Austria and Switzerland
Mainau was acquired in 1853 by Grand Duke Friedrich the First of Baden
but it's also listed as belonging to the Swedish Royal house.
Duchess Bernadotte is the wife of Friedrich's great-grandson.
June 16, 2000
Tagblatt St. Gallen, Switzerland
(sda) The Constance "Suedkurier" has withdrawn as a sponsor of the fifth Schlosspark Concert, which is taking place from June 30 to July 2 on Mainau Island. The reason for that is the engagement of opera singer Julia Migenes, a professed Scientology adherent. When Migenes' involvement in Scientology became public, the largest newspaper in the Lake Constance area withdrew its support. "For years, we have been reporting critically on Scientology, so we could not appear as a sponsor in this case," stated "Suedkurier" business manager Rainer Wiesner. Sonja Duchess Bernadotte let it be known that Migenes was an artist who was recognized worldwide, and her beliefs were not a matter of interest. But Mainau will have at least one less concert visitor. Minister President Erwin Teufel, patron of the Mainau Schlosspark concert, will not be appearing at the Migenes concert.
Conflict between Protestants and Visionary Christians comes to a head
May 20, 2000
RON - Rheinpfalz Online
Kindenheim: State church accuses independent church of using sect techniques - Visionary Christians ["Geistchristen"] see reason for criticism in the competition for nursing station.
In Kindenheim, a conflict is developing between two institutions which are both listed in the local telephone book under the heading of "churches" - the Protestant Church and the "Geistchristlichen Kirche e.V.". According to statements by the Commissioner for Issues of Weltanschauung of the Evangelical State Church, Dr. Richard Ziegert, the Protestant Church has tried repeatedly to set up a meeting with the chairman of the visionary Christians, Gerhard Krause. He, however, was said to have repeatedly cancelled the scheduled meetings on short notice and started attacks on the local pastor's office instead. This was said to be the reason for now going public.
"We have been looking at the Visionary Christian Church for over three years, including the founding of their nursing station, but Mr. Krause has even gone so far as to hang out libelous signs directed at the local minister, Elke Maicher," said Ziegert. Krause was said to be constantly impugning the church with negative criticism in order to elevate himself. Ziegert also said that Krause reacted to criticism against his association with bitterly worded letters, and that he liked to present himself as a victim who was being prevented from doing good works by the malicious criticism he received.
Among other things, the Evangelical Church is accusing the Visionary Christian Church association of using unfair competition practices in operating their nursing station, "The Sisters." In the Evangelical Church's accusation, it was alleged to be using PR articles in an attempt to assume the tradition of the former order of nuns (deaconesses or sisters' order) for itself. For instance, their work clothes were called "habits," although they wear completely ordinary work clothing, and the staff had other duties they performed. Besides that, they gave the impression that they were not subject to the nursing clause as other places were.
"Appearance of tested Quality"
Ziegert also said the status of association was misleading. He said the impression was given that this legal form had been selected so that all activities would be open which should express that of a religious association in a manner "Christian in deed." This was not the case. The form of association was the only possible way it could have been legally organized. The letterhead, which Krause used and contained the clause "officially recognized," implied a position equal to that of the two major churches and gave the impression of tested quality.
In Ziegert's opinion, Krause was practicing "spiritual charlatanry." His teachings were based on both Christianity and spiritism. Operating as a medium - receiving messages from the great beyond as a so-called medium - which the Visionary Christian Church practices, was alleged by the weltanschauung commissioner to be "100 proof, stark sect technology" which was intended to "catch people in crisis situations. Religious techniques and psychological mechanisms were being used to make people dependent. What was practiced was a "Christian Fundamentalism" which shut out all modern, western accomplishments, along with the goals of Christianity, namely mercy and freedom, such as the two major churches promoted. What remained, according to Ziegert, was "absolute control."
In gatherings of the association a "report on the ethical status of the community" is given. "A control and religious authority which goes beyond that which a Christian Pope has ever expressed," said Ziegert. On Saturday services, instructions regarding the selection of profession and marriage partners are given. "Mr. Krause despises democracy, freedom and human dignity because the people with him are dependent upon spiritual acceptance of a higher-up," said Ziegert. He said that was a major difference from Christianity, that Christians could have an intelligent discourse directed by reason and by their belief in God.
"Since Krause relies upon the works of Johannes Greber (an interpretation of the New Testament. -ed. comment), his basis of knowledge is a closed cognitive system which shuts out real social life," Ziegert commented. By doing that, Krause was becoming a "grave digger for out democratic culture," ran the weltanschauung commissioner's accusation.
"Disturbed by appearance"
Christoph Bussen, sect commissioner of the Speyer Ordinariat, also regards the Visionary Christian Church with skepticism. "I have recently received many inquiries from the Gruenstadt area, which is disturbed by the appearance of this spiritist, sectarian community," said Bussen. That is the case even though he can tell people that the association is not known to be connected with dangerous sects like Scientology, said Bussen.
He also continues to hear of suspicions that political decisions in Kindenheim were being influenced by the Visionary Christian Church. Whether "clean means" were being used in its care was questionable, he said, because that was difficult to judge from a distance. On more than one occasion, he said, he heard the the accusation that nurses who changed from other care centers to the Visionary Christian "Sisters" misused knowledge about patients. Many Catholics and Protestants, anyway, were confused by the way and method the Visionary Christians showed up, Bussen replied to a question. "Goals and motivation of the community are still unknown," said Bussen.
As Norbert Goebel, local mayor of Kindenheim, replied to "Rheinpfalz," neither he nor the other council members had contact to or sympathy with the Visionary Christian Church. As early as two years ago, there was already some unrest in the area about the community. At the time he, Goebel, made an inquiry at the Interior Ministry. He was told that the Visionary Christian Church operated in a "gray zone," but was not categorized as dangerous. Except for one or two cases he knew of where people were pressured into getting involved with the Visionary Christian Church, the church did not appear to take the offensive.
Goebel said he had rejected a proposal a long time ago to promote the recognized association, the reason being that an association which did not get involved with the community would not be promoted by the community. The mayor decisively rejected the accusation that community decisions could be influenced by the Visionary Christian Church. "The community council makes the decisions, and it consists of three extremely lively factions," said Goebel.
"If we could accuse ourselves of having made a mistake, then it would be that we had not set up an information booth about our nursing station in Gruenstadt," said the chairman of the Visionary Christian Church, Gerhard Krause in an interview with "Rheinpfalz." To the accusation that he had repeatedly broken appointments with the Evangelical State Church on short notice, Krause said that was not so correct. He said he had only taken one call in which the question was put to the Visionary Christians of where they had the right to involve themselves with humanitarian service. "We did not want any dispute, and kept relatively quiet," said Krause. But after there were ugly attacks on his church, he called off the meeting. "The problem is that we are small and the others are big. And we are infringing on their domain," is how Krause sees the reason for the state church's criticism. He avidly defends himself when the Visionary Christian Church is mentioned as a sect. "We are absolutely autonomous, we only wish to do good works, and decisively distance ourselves from those who have nothing good in mind," said Krause.
"We are not a sect"
To the accusation that the Visionary Christians are regarded as a spiritist association, Krause said, "Everybody except for the state churches like to be described as spiritist." He said the Visionary Christians were a "spiritual, charismatic Church, led by clergy and members of the clergy." He said he strongly rejected the "esoteric mishmash on the religious market today."
He said the Visionary Christian Church differed from the state churches on several points and stood on different grounds. Speaking theologically, he said the Visionary Christians did not pray to the Trinity, but exclusively to God. Another point, he said in which the ancient Bible Church differed from the state churches, was that it was intentionally comprised of a small congregation whose members knew each other and could help each other, and who rejected the anonymity of the major churches. Just as they rejected the pomp of the major churches, neither did they have any saints' or Virgin Mary cults. He said they were founded on a "simple, functioning" structure.
He said their form of association had been selected because it guaranteed transparency through the accounting reports alone, which they were obligated to produce. "We have been reviewed by the authorities and found to be good," said Krause. To the accusation that the board consisted only of him, Krause said, "Only one man can steer the ship." He said, however, that he was not a single organ, for instance there was also a donation administrator.
The money which the church had at its disposal - according to Krause's statements there was not a membership contributions - the "not major" savings consisted for the most part of voluntary donations by the members, a significantly smaller portion consisted of the donations by non-members and companies "to do good." For instance, the association had acquired a house in Etschberg near Kusel and let a family in need with many children stay there at low rent. Now that the family had moved out, they wanted to sell the house and use the profits to invest in beds and other things for the nursing station.
The welfare station currently consisted of five nurses, an administrative employee and a business manager. He had founded the station and built it up, but had not been involved in it for a long time so that he would not be accused of "operating a commercial business for the church." He said certainly "The Sisters" welfare station had to operate in accordance with commercial aspects, but it had the model image of care and a warmer and more human in the tradition of the nun nurses, in mind. "We had a deaconess in our ranks, who unfortunately died, but who impressed us all very much. I can only recommend that every nursing station take on that philosophy and appear in healthy competition to the good of the patients," said Krause. To the accusation of the Evangelical Church that the Visionary Christian Church is putting on foreign trappings, Krause said, "The Evangelical Church is probably aware that they have slept through something."
He said the church planned to slowly expand as a social service. "We will very probably see ourselves not as a missionary church, but as a church of testimony." He said they were not out to get members at any price. He said the spat with the Evangelical Church was a "local story" and that in other places people were completely familiar with them.
from a member of our editorial staff: Birgit Schuster
Trigger is often movies or television mystery series
Increased interest in Satanism and the Occult
May 5, 2000
Neue Ruhr Zeitung
Essen (dpa/lnw). More and more people are having problems with Satanism or the Occult, according to a statement by the Sect Info Counseling Center of Essen. The number of those seeking counselling in 1999 almost doubled from the previous year, and is up to 675.
Movies and television series like "X Files" stimulate interest in such practices, mainly with youth, said Sabine Riede of Sect Info Essen on Friday. It is also often difficult for the young audience to differentiate between reality and fiction in those situations, she said.
Mainly youth in difficult life situations are at risk. "Something, like after their mother dies, trying to get into contact with the deceased person," said Riede. Sect-Info Essen is the only center of this kind for counseling and assistance across the state to specialize in problems with sects and other destructive cults. On the whole, the number of inquiries decreased in 1999 from 3,313 to 2,910.
The number of inquiries about Scientology is in decline, said the counselor. Ever since the organization is under observation by Constitutional Security, it is "no longer so present." Interest has also dropped in fundamentalist Christian groups, which brought attention to themselves as early as 1998 with their visions of doomsday.
as of April 22, 2000
The Winner of the Award
This year, American President Bill Clinton will receive the International Charlemagne Award at Aachen. Presentation of the award will take place on June 2, 2000.
Bill Clinton is receiving the Charlemagne Award "for his special personal merits in cooperation with the European States, for the maintenance of peace, freedom, democracy and human rights in Europe, as well as for his support in the expansion of the European Union." In addition, he will be distinguished - it says in the foundation of the directorate of the association for presentation of the Charlemagne Award - "for his brave intervention - also while the military was deployed - in keeping to the rules and ethical standards as well as to the domination of justice." Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo made it clear that the European Union is not capable of functioning collectively, in any case not without American participation.
In the foundation statement, selected mention is made of his efforts for resolution between Greece and Turkey, as well as his endeavors for a lasting solution of the Cypress and the North Ireland conflict. The outlook for a final peace treat in the Near East in also one of Clinton's personal accomplishments.
After the fall of the Wall, his politics contributed to stabilizing the local internal political situation somewhat in a Russia that was still wavering and endangered. "By doing that he helped to avoid disputes not only between the peoples of the former Soviet Union, but also between Russia and its neighboring states."
The Charlemagne Award Directorate, in honoring the President of the United States, wants to honor an award winner "who has proven himself in difficult and often changing political times as guarantor of American-European community values."
In doing that he is a representative for all American people.
The granting of the award is also a special thanks from the European, especially the German people, to the American people, thanks "for the construction of democracy, freedom and prosperity after 1945, for partnership in NATO, for the assistance in forming the European Union, for a stable politic around the Mediterranean Sea, for the enduring support in the process of reunification and in regard to the settlement of militant conflicts between European populations, cultures and religious communities." The Charlemagne Award 2000 has merited "the positive, pro-European involvement of several American Presidents, Secretaries of State and politicians.
The Charlemagne Award is regarded as one of the most important European awards. Since 1950, it has been bestowed upon personalities who have worked for the unification of Europe. The last award winner was British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Previous award winners include Konrad Adenauer (1954), the Commission of European Communities (1969), Spanish King Juan Carlos I (1982), Francois Mitterrand and Helmut Kohl (1988), Vaclav Havel (1991), Queen Beatrice of the Netherlands (1996) and in 1997, Federal President Roman Herzog.
Bill Clinton is the first American President who has received the Charlemagne Award. In previous years two American Secretaries of State have received the Award, George C. Marshall in 1959 and Henry A. Kissinger in 1987.
In 2000, the International Charlemagne Award of Aachen celebrates its 50th anniversary.
as of April 22, 2000
Foundation of the Directorate of the Association for the Granting of the International Charlemagne Award of Aachen to the President of the United States of American
William Jefferson Clinton
The completion and the consolidation of the extended European Union, the maintenance of peace and security, as well as a peaceful and constructive part in world politics are based on the community of Europe and the United States of America.
After the United States of American intervened to determine the outcome of the two great world conflicts in the first half of the twentieth century, it built a foundation for reconstruction and the increase of democracy in Europe. After the appearance of the East-West conflict, war-torn Germany and the countries of western Europe who had been victims of National Socialist aggression turned from needy welfare recipients into capable partners in cooperation for security politics. The NATO treaty of 1949 formalized this expectation and, at the same time, honored it with a promise of assistance from the USA.
It was the goal of the United States of American to re-establish the self-confidence of the Europeans in their own political future and in their own power. In the last century, George Marshall (Charlemagne Award Winner 1959) became a symbolic figure for the values deserved well of the United States in Europe. The USA supported western Europe in the process of political, military and economic unification, in particularly in the founding of the European economic community. Western Europe became economically significant and mutually decisive in world politics.
American consistently supported Germany in the reunification, mainly through work in political conviction in regards to the Soviet Union and the other world powers as well as through the guarantee that Germany would respect the boundaries in Europe and would promote the integration of the security treaty. America contributed decisively so the so-called "Two plus Four" negotiations could be wrapped up between the two separate German states of the time and the four former victor and occupation forces of the Second World War.
The roots and the power of the close association between Europe and the USA lie in the agreement in the convictions of human dignity, freedom, justice and open democratic society. The example given by America and Europe spurs people in many parts of the world to implement their own culture and form of life into a common being with democracy and freedom.
The International Charlemagne Award at Aachen will be awarded in the year 2000 to American President Bill Clinton for his special personal merits in the cooperation with the European states, for maintaining peace, freedom, democracy and human rights in Europe as well as for his support in the expansion of the European Union.
Additionally, President Bill Clinton will be commended for his courageous intervention - also while military were deployed, for keeping to the rules and ethical standards as well as his mastery of justice. Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo visibly demonstrated that the European Union is not sufficiently capable of dealing collectively, in any case, not with American participation. He has done just as much for the reconciliation between Greece and Turkey has he has for an enduring future solution to the Cypress and North Ireland conflicts.
The outlook for a final peace treaty in the Near East, for which he has done so much all these years, is Clinton's personal gain.
The Award is also a thank you from the Europeans, the German people in particular, to the American people for the construction of democracy, freedom and prosperity after 1945, for partnership in NATO, for the help in forming the European Union, for a stable Mediterranean Sea politic, for the consistent support in the reunification process and regarding the settlement of martial conflicts between European peoples, cultures and religious congregations.
The International Charlemagne Award of the year 2000 also honors the positive pro-European involvement of several American presidents, secretaries of state and politicians.
Bill Clinton has demonstrated partnership in Europe.
After the fall of the Wall, he contributed to a still wavering, endangered Russia with his politics to stabilize the local interior political situation to some degree. By doing that, he helped to avoid potential disputes not only between the peoples of the former Soviet Union, but also between Russia and it neighboring European states.
Americans and Europeans today, in an alliance of free people, bear special responsibility for a new world order. Winston Churchill, (Charlemagne Award winner 1955) once said, An award of this size is called responsibility." We know how great the burden of responsibility is that the USA bears together in Europe.
Bill Clinton was born August 19, 1946 in Hope, Arkansas. He was Secretary of Justice of Arkansas, later governor. On January 20, 1993, he took office as the 42nd President of the United States of America. His indisputable success in foreign and economic politics, and also his social and interior politics, contributed to his being re-elected for a second term of office as President of the United States in 1997.
Bill Clinton has been married with Hillary, nee Rodham, since 1975. The couple has one daughter, Chelsea.
The Directorate for the Bestowal of the International Charlemagne Award in Aachen, in honoring the President of the United States of America, intends to honor an award winner who has proven himself in difficult and volatile political times as a guarantor of American-European community values. In that he is representative of the American people as a whole.
The impressive history of the United States of America's responsibility in world politics in the 20th century also gives reason to hope for a corresponding dynamic in the beginning 21st century.
Apostate Angel on a Campaign of Revenge
Ben Affleck talks about humor, Hollywood and religious satire - "Dogma"
April 19, 2000
In his religious satire "Dogma," American producer and specialist comedian Kevin Smith sends his protagonists on a holy crusade which he has cynically sprinkled with unorthodox gags, biting dialogue and subversive humor. In the USA, this provocative comedy movie even kindles protests from religious groups.
The overnight success "Good Will Hunting" made Ben Affleck and Matt Damon instant celebrities. They play two angels in the controversial religious satire "Dogma." "Better to get people worked up than they doze off over their boxes of popcorn." Not everybody reacted as calmly to the film as Ben Affleck. In view of such godless dealings, the Catholic League in the USA went into such a righteous rage that the Disney giant put a low-key apology at the end of the film and gave the credit for the comedy to an independent.
Meanwhile, producer Kevin Smith has been not only a proven talent in film since "Clerks and Mallrats," but also a professed and biblically devout Catholic. "Dogma" unfolds into a hunt for two fallen angels who, after two thousand years in purgatory, seek to join the heavenly hosts by means of truly devilish deeds in Wisconsin. We spoke with Ben Affleck.
You are regarded as the dynamic duo from Hollywood. Do you prefer working as a pair?
No, we're keeping all roads open, but are just at the start of our careers. Matt Damon and I have been friends since childhood. We had the same dreams and know each other's weaknesses and faults. Now this great success has also bound us together. The more so because I have always had someone who knows exactly what I am talking about. Everybody walks their own road, but we also like to appear together before the camera. Our role models there are Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
Did the evil, impulsive angel Bartleby suit you exactly right?
Evil creatures are much more fun that the good. Both of the angels are torn within themselves. They are not all bad. But when you have gotten two thousand years of Wisconsin under your belt, you have to figure that in as a mitigating circumstance. In any case, we were completely free in forming our roles. Nobody could talk us into anything, not only that, there is no union for heavenly hosts.
There's already more than enough annoyance about the film ...
What is theater supposed to do?
Okay, it was clear to us that the Pope would not exactly be so thrilled as to fall off his throne. But I don't understand what people are getting so excited about. When the storm of indignation dies down, you will find nothing anti-Catholic in "Dogma." Everything in there was done tongue-in-cheek.
Are you enjoying people's annoyance even a little bit?
I love talking things over controversially. That way one is most likely forced to re-think his own position. As soon as people become dogmatic, I start to provoke them. A controversial film - I accept that as a compliment for our work. What we ought to do next is a film about these New Age fairy tales. Or one about Scientology. But no, that would be too dangerous.
You are getting a $12 million offer. Do that put pressure on you?
Enormous. When it came out that Matt and I were working on a film script, things got totally hysterical. Sometimes I think that I should keep $100,000 and give away the rest.
But you've also played in "Armageddon"?
That was a giant film. One was part of the machinery that resolutely went its own way. I often had the feeling that I had actually landed in one of the films that I loved so much as a child. I was at NASA, even in a real space shuttle. But you can't help but notice that, in the end, you are only one small cog in the operation of this gigantic business strategy.
Interview: Dorothee Lackner
The Week in Aachen
You can rely on Billy Boy
April 14, 2000
Finally! How many exclamation points should we put behind this word? On June 2, Clinton will let the chain bearing the Charlemagne Award be put over his head. The long awaited "Okay" came from from the White House on the eve [of the award]. "Thank you, Mr. President!" Aachen collectively heaves a big sigh of relief. As if things have not been painful enough in recent weeks.
Back and forth, to and fro, one slowly got accustomed to the idea of having to send the medal and certificate through the mail to Washington in a padded envelope . . . of course the question of how much of a fee customs would have charged for such an unusual package would have been interesting. All that is water under the bridge. In Aachen - or at least in parts thereof - the hiss of Budweiser cans could be heard on Friday.
Where the whole thing is going to occur, through, is uncertain. In the cathedral? In the ugly Eurogress? Or even in the open air on Katschhof? There is always something new. That would be quite a special challenge for the Secret Service. They would pave and steamroll the sky between the cathedral and town hall; it could rain golf balls (Olli Kahn says hi) or worse. We'll wait and see.
Authoritative bureaucrats of the city - associations, chambers, unions and corporations - are searching for ways to make Aachen and the region fit for the future. The whole thing is then simply and suggestively called the "Aachen Declaration." Who would want to contradict the initiators in their efforts to give the city a boost commercially, technologically and culturally?
But it is proper for well-formulated plans be put into life. Good intentions alone are not enough. One waits to see how the politicians will react. They have to handle it. And that is exactly how such projects, more often than not, fail.
An example of how nothing at all functions on the city scene occurred this past week on Matare Street. There, in grand style, everything that could go wrong did go wrong. For years, parents, teachers and children have been waiting for an acceptable solution. Then, when the plans were finally decided upon and the building had begun, the contractor, IBK, put the icing on the cake and declared bankruptcy. The city is optimistic. This year, the building is supposed to be ready. Another statement of intention is making a repeat appearance.
While we are on a roll about good appearances: improvement in conditions for the city orchestra has been promised for a long time. The musicians are fiddling around in provisional quarters. An "uncompleted work" of the special kind. The magnificent arrangements delivered by the GMD Boncompagni is due not to the current conditions under which they work, but to the quality of the ensemble.
The mineral water producers also got into hot soup this week in a report by the TV magazine "Plusminus." It was said that their refreshing drink is laden with radioactivity. Aachen's water is not tested, yet Kaiser Springs chief Guenter Radermacher has taken the criticism to heart. "Irresponsible rumor-mongering," he raged. Have another taste of Oecher liquid. He says it is even supposed to be healthy, and that this characteristic was once used to advertise for Aachen. Somehow that has all been forgotten. Just like the grandfather who was said to have lived to be a hundred years old because he always hoisted a certain brew at the bar.
He has not been forgotten, just sort of disappeared into oblivion: Aachen's former leading comrade Schinzel. However, the bankruptcy experts will not have been able to erase the name so easily from their minds. Lawsuits over the million mark bust can still go on for another 15 years. This week it was revealed that the debtor can just keep his head above water with a mere 7,000 marks monthly retirement (about $5,000) from his days as representative. Is that reassuring or what?
The Week in Aachen: To start off there was some excitement about the drug scene on Kaiser Square, which apparently has sought out the garage on Adalbertstein Way as Dependance. Thought games there have caused discord; Bendplatz is supposed to be resettled in the direction of the western train station. Hot air before Easter eve, at least nothing came of this statement of intention.
On Tivoli, in turn, there is more than an intention to increase audience capacity with a steel pipe platform. That brings back real nostalgia. There was already a vehicle like that on Krefelder Street, that is where the Alemans played in the 1st Bundes League. Next season, too? One should never look like he has given up hope. In that sense, have a good weekend!
Responses to the Charlemagne Award for Clinton
dates ending March 20, 2000
Tanja Goebels: Looking at two side of the medal
Erwin Kneip: comparison to clinton
Norbert Schunck: Norbert Schunck
Walter von den Driesch: Time for an emergency escape
Christian Mertens: Yes, so where is he?
Tanja Goebels ( 24 February 2000 )
Looking at two side of the medal
Surely Bill Clinton's accomplishments have contributed to unity in Europe, but it is questionable as to whether he was the chief initiator. Wouldn't it have been more fitting to have chosen one of the force commanders of the UNO troops or a person from among the large first aid teams like the Red Cross or Maltese Assistance. The bombs ended the media effectiveness of the war. But what is now going on in the areas of crisis is almost even worse. People are still dying there, be it of hunger, cold, exhaustion or crimes of all sorts. Where is America now?
Erwin Kneip ( 24 February 2000 )
Comparison to clinton
Advertisement for Aachen is good and is needed. But who will the Charlemagne Award directorate be able to nominate for the 2001 Charlemagne Award once they have already given it to Clinton?! Despite common sense, the Charlemagne Award has unfortunately degenerated into a a floor show for super celebrities. My request: grant the awards to those who are really involved!
Norbert Schunck ( 08 March 2000 )
Concerning the decision on this year's winner of the Charlemagne Award, I would like to add the following comment:
In my opinion the Dutch official who discovered the embezzlement of tax monies by the last European Commission in Brussels last year, thereby redeeming this EU Commission, would have been a basically much better suited award winner. This man, presumably, did Europe a basically much greater service than the American President Bill Clinton could ever do. An American President is bound by his own Constitution to pursue American interests. As far as he is concerned, developments in the European unification process play a role in his decisions only in so far as they conform to American interests. That Dutch official, however, put his personal career on the line for the future of Europe. By granting this year's award to him, it would have been a sign that the European state of mind is the mission of all Europeans and not just of politicians. At the same time the people in Europe would have been encouraged in that they would have been shown that it still pays off to put personal awareness above career considerations today. Unfortunately, the Charlemagne Award Committee passed up this chance in its search for models of the great and powerful in this world. The chief mayor's statements about granting the prize to Clinton brought Aachen into extra-regional consciousness: the Charlemagne Award as a marketing tool for Aachen. That may fit today's trend of functionalizing everything and anything, but it fundamentally contradicts what the Award was originally meant for. It would be good for the esteem for the Charlemagne Award and its roots in Aachen and in Europe if at some time in future years a "little" European man (or woman) would be honored for having demonstrated something big for Europe even though his area of influence was only small.
Walter von den Driesch ( 20 March 2000 )
Time for an emergency escape
I think it is a sign from heaven, and a whim from those politically in charge to make an emergency escape. IMO it is high time to consider diversity in giving the prize in Aachen.
Christian Mertens ( 20 March 2000 )
Yes, so where is he?
Mildly put, I find it an act of impudence to accept the time-honored Charlemagne Award on the fringe of some other event. And then to simply refuse the award if the other event is cancelled. Naturally, Good Ole Bill is an Important Person (even creating peace in Pakistan and, while he's at it, doing away with world hunger besides). But enough of the sarcasm: if Bill Clinton thinks the Charlemagne Award is so insignificant that he does not even think it is worth a visit to one of the most beautiful German cities, then surely it wouldn't bother him if somebody else got it. With all the special things he has, that would be just one more something special...
Newspaper motivates research
"[High] Class" Student connects newspaper reading with new media
Bad Durrheim, Germany
March 1, 2000
"[High]-Class" students from the entire distribution area of the "Suedkurier" newspaper have gotten involved, in the scope of a school newspaper project, with themes centering on newspapers and journalism. Sandra Hauser from Class 8 of the Bad Duerrheimer prepatory school showed in her extensive documentation of the project that the traditional medium of the newspaper and the new media do not, by any means, exclude each other, rather that they can be combined in a completely useful and sensible manner.
The young people read the "Suedkurier" every day for four weeks and, together with their teacher, Stefan Kalt, got extensively involved - from the forms of journalist presentation and the construction of a newspaper to the areas of medium, opinion, media comparison, the special of the daily newspaper and practical tips of press work.
Like her fellow students, Sandra Hauser also filled up an entire assignment notebook with newspaper clippings. Everyday she asked, "What interests me in today's edition?" The selection showed that there was hardly any difference between the young people and the adults, in all cases they were more honest. First place in interest was held by information on earthquakes, plane crashes, hurricanes, accidents, sudden changes in weather and catastrophes, political unrest, wars and crises.
Worldwide and quite close
Worldwide events were found just as much as reports about occurrences and political decisions in the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, about meetings in the city, the surrounding area and in her own school. The themes which interested Sandra Hauser were colorfully intermingled, they ranged from youth, refugee politics, disputes about the budget for medicines, Scientology and drugs to eating disorders, hostility against foreigners, National Socialism, the Third Reich and its consequences.
The student also regarded the media critically, as shown by an article on a 16 year old from Turin who identified so much with the hero of a video game that he lost his mind. Right on the next page of her notebook, Sandra Hauser showed that the new media can be used completely sensibly; under the title "Turn of the Era 2000" she ran into the "Jonestown" settlement and the mass suicide of the American People's Temple Sect in 1978. A theme which she had wanted to know more about. She obtained more information via computer and taped the print-out next to the original notice.
Source of Key Words
Sandra Hauser used the current, daily "Suedkurier" "Turn of the Era 2000" series as motivation and source of key words for further research far back, for her as an eighth grader, into existing histories. She had as many questions about the "Nurnberg Trials" of 1945 as she did about the announcement that Juan Carlos became King of Spain in 1975.
She also used the history lexicon on CD-ROM to find out more about Carl von Ossietzky, who, as she learned from a "Suedkurier" series, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936, but did not accept it. The first heart transplant in 1967 by Christian Barnard got as much of her attention as did the oil crisis of 1973 and the ban on driving on Sundays, the poison gas catastrophe in the Indian City of Bhopal in 1984, the murder of banker Alfred Herrhauser by the leftwing terrorists of the RAF [Red Army Faction] five years later and the first whole Germany election since the end of the Second World War in 1990.
Use of former state school for forensic institution ruled out
February 28, 2000
Meinerzhagen. You can't get one word out of Wolfram Kuschke about the status of the state school complex. The chief of the Arnsberg district administration revealed that he did not really get a close look from the bus window in the pouring rain during his visit. It is clear, however, that "We must all make a joint effort to find a sensible use for the complex," Kuschke emphasized at the end of last week.
"We will closely follow the on-going process," said the administration president. He said he realizes that church and state support is needed in the search for likely applicants. Initial contacts have already been made.
The district administration, mentioned Wolfram Kuschke, already has some experience when it comes to new uses for existing establishments. "This can also be seen as a type of conversion," he said.
When it comes to the former school and boarding complex which has stood empty for years, the rumor pot boils over. For instance, it was said that the Scientology Church had expressed an interest in the buildings. Other rumors under discussion included one which states that the buildings will be a possible overflow location for the forensic institution which is bursting at the seams in Eickelborn.
"To my knowledge, nobody is looking for this to be institutional housing," Wolfram Kuschke dismissed all speculations that Meinerzhagen could be a new home for a clinic for the criminally insane.
In other places, that type of plan has already met heavy resistance from the population. An association against forensic housing formed spontaneously in the area around Luenen, Selm and Werne.
About 700 people streamed into the founding meeting Monday of last week.
In about four weeks, the initiators gathered about 10,000 signatures. Forensic institutions, the association recommended, should be housed in places where court sentences are already being carried out.
Von Wolfgang Teipel
The VGH has fewer cases - but still enough to do
The rats come after the attack dogs
January 27, 2000
from our member of the editorial staff Steffen Mack
The operating permit for the Obrigheim nuclear power plant, taxes by the City of Mannheim for owners of attack dogs, a dance school which does not want to keep a driver's logbook - those are three of the more colorful of a total of 5,777 cases to be decided by the Baden-Wuerttemberg Administrative Court (VGH) ["Verwaltungsgerichtshof"] in Mannheim from 1999. The number of newly introduced cases has sunk again: from 6,751 (in 1997) to 6,084 (1994) to 5,504. "The people have basically not gotten more peaceable," said court president Claus Meissner, "the second rounds have gotten more difficult." The more stringent criteria put into force four years ago for complaints to the VGH have slowly been taking effect.
The decreasing numbers of asylum applications have also eased the burden on the administrative court: in 1999 Freiburg, Karlsruhe, Sigmaringen and Stuttgart recorded 12,455 asylum cases, in 1997 it was 14,599. That may also be noticeable in the second hearings: at the VGH the cases dropped from 3,482 to 2,364. The rankings of the countries concerned, however, has not changed. Most applicants come from Yugoslavia, Turkey, Pakistan, Iraq and Sri Lanka.
Tighter financial times, naturally, affect the cases in the administrative courts. "When older colleagues depart, most of their positions are no longer filled," reported Meissner. New appointments and promotions are seldom possible. The "hyperdimensionally high pressure" upon the courts is said to have remained unchanged, the court president complained: "Today a judge must take on about double the cases he had to 30 years ago." Soon in the VGH there will be only 47 judges active, ten less than 1997.
In the coming months they will have to decide on whether fees for long-term students at Baden-Wuerttemberg high schools are just. And whether the City of Stuttgart may require a sort of street usage fee from the Scientology Organization for their recruiters. The three lane construction of A 6 between Walldorf and Weinsberg will be on the judicial review stand (for complaints of noise). And Heidelberg Cement, Inc. is defending itself against stringent requirements for a chimney on emission grounds. Less appetizing is another case from Heidelberg: the university wants permission to incinerate the cadavers of genetically altered rats and mice.
The CSU keeps its "C"
January 26, 2000
Wuerzburg. - The CSU may continue to call itself "Christian." Yesterday Wuerzburg State Court turned down a complaint in which the political party would have been forced to delete the word "Christian" from its name.
The civil trial was alleged to have addressed the character rights of Jesus Christ. The court determined that this right could only be asserted by the "rights holder himself" or by people designated by him or closely related to him after his death." Spiritual relationship alone would not suffice (file number 61 O 1203/99).
The complainants - three former theologians of the Catholic and Evangelical Church who support the "Universal Life" (UL) sect - viewed Jesus Christ's character rights as being violated by the CSU. By supporting the NATO attacks on Yugoslavia, it was said that the party was using "false labelling," according to the attorney. It was said that a Christian political party which supported war as an alternative should not be allowed to use the name of Jesus Christ, who preached non-violence. The presiding judge countered with the statement, "It's not up to us to decide who the true Christians are."
How Aquarius submerged the mind: to the point of spiritual and financial ruin
On the practices of spirit healers which go beyond the limit -
Even academics are susceptible to abstruse doomsday theories -
Report of a former sect member - SZ series part 4
December 27, 1999
by Bernhard Kellner
The esoteric market is booming. And that has not just been happening since the feverish staggering into the turn of the millennium began. What can soothsayers and clairvoyants really do? How do Scientology and obscure spirit healer sects process their victims? And what are the politicians doing to put a stop to the wild outgrowth and protect the consumers? We investigate these questions in a six-part series.
An asteroid smashes into the earth, the earth's axis is wavering, catastrophes and wars are moving over the planet, which is becoming dark. Just when the crisis is at its worst, A "globe-spacer," a UFO, hovers over the German-French no-man's-land to scoop up all the Friends of the Age of Aquarius who live in the Aquarius building, and whisk them off to the safety of the cosmos. "I believed in the end of the world, even when it was postponed from year to year," said Pierre F. (name changed ... the ed.). Pierre is 45 years old and has left the sect. When he reports on his time in the Friends of the Age of Aquarius today, his composure is calm, ironic, and sometimes he even smiles. In the event of the apocalypse, as he tells it, the group has hoarded tons of toilet paper, 20,000 tampons and pallets of diapers, and for the possible wounded of a Third World War, a surgery hall was set up: "tiled up to the ceiling."
As bizarre as this UFO story sounds, much of it is believed in the spirit healer sect, according to Pierre. The German-Frenchman, who has studied business and law and speaks four languages fluently, noticed that only at the beginning: "At first I thought, what a bunch of liars, what they won't tell you - and by and by I was reeled in like a fish up a sewage pipe." At the mouth of this pipe, to stick with the analogy, was the practice of healing practitioner Hilde Adam (name changed ... the ed.), said Pierre. At that point in time, in 1984, he was up to his neck in difficulty. His parents' business had been sold, and the new business partners booted Pierre out. Because of that he had a vehement disagreement with his mother and siblings. "I had no orientation, was psychically stressed, wild-eyed and had problems with blood pressure."
Pierre followed a woman friend's advice, and looked up Adam. After a couple of sessions, Hilde Adam then referred him to her husband, Kurt (name changed ... the ed.). He is a spirit healer, has no license as a healing practitioner and, at that time, had a room at his wife's office. "He laid me down on the couch and inculcated me with his teachings," said Pierre. Adam began the bondage with techniques of breathing and hypnosis. Core of the message: Hilde Adam, Kurt Adam and a spirit being, who responded to the name of Sabata, were the three-fold god, the born-again holy trinity. The group which Pierre then joined "nearly worshipped the Adams," he said.
After about a year, Pierre received a golden medallion which was part of the script role. Now he was said to be ready to be accepted into the inner circle of the 144 medallion bearers. Kurt Adam was subjected to so-called reincarnation therapy by the group, which included not just simple laborers, but also university professors, doctors, police, teachers, psychologists and attorneys. In each of these sessions, the members were supposed to get acquainted with one of their former incarnations. The intention, said Pierre, was to present many lives to the people which, for millennia, were mixed up with the Adam family: "In each of those Kurt Adam had been married to us in these lives - as husband or as wife." Adam had charged 135 marks for each session of the reincarnation therapy. "Just for me alone that was thousands and thousands of marks," said Pierre. His 39 year old wife Karin (name changed ... the ed.) also lay with Adam on the couch: "In a therapy session I would see myself in Adam's harem, afterwards he would lie next to me and put his tongue in my mouth." Karin turned him down, "others did not." While Adam frolicked wildly, the sect members were ordered to abstain: sex only for the purpose of procreation.
Pierre gradually rose higher in the organization. Sometime before 1990, when, he cannot more precisely recall, he became the head medium of the group and announced from then on in German, English, French and Spanish the supposedly divine messages, which were all identical with the laws of the sect. "That was the result of Adam's brainwashing," said Pierre. He received a message from "god" to found an import and export company with two gentlemen who were above him in the ranking order in the group, initial capital 150,000 marks. As ordered, Pierre contributed 50,000 of it and the other two gave 50,000 apiece for their shares. "By and by I put all of my money in there, 500,000 marks in cash." The profits of the company, which dealt in various wares, was supposed to finance mission trips, because the sect's income from donations was not sufficient. "At that point I was out of it, I was only a robot," said Pierre. When things were not running right with the company, the "voice of god" had forced the people concerned to persist - therefore they had given personal guarantees for loans and other obligations: "against all common sense," said Pierre. He is in court today because of that; there are six suits in which the faithful are demanding their money back. Pierre says he was out of his senses when he signed the contracts. He has several psychiatric opinions which give evidence of that.
When Pierre and his wife Karin left the sect a little more than two years ago, he was not just financially ruined. He was suicidal and had high blood pressure that droned inside his head: "I was on the verge of a stroke." Pierre took psychotherapy and had to learn to get over his past. "I was always asking myself the question, how could that have happened to you, you of all people. What is the matter with you?" That and the shame had been the worst. Pierre and Karin were helped by counsellor and former sect member Jeanette Schweitzer. "Stepping into the public eye helps them in their therapy," said Schweitzer. Several Friends of Aquarius have ended up talking to psychiatrists. Because they cannot speak openly about their time in the sect, they were diagnosed improperly. Others were silenced by intimidation, because Mrs. Adam damns former members in a ritual; Pierre said, "The group members firmly believe that leaving the sect will produce disease, misfortune and car accidents."
Karin and Pierre are on the threshold of a new beginning. Karin has gotten training as a healing practitioner, but is presently unemployed; Pierre is in marketing consultation.
Sect guru Kurt Adam, who is said to have claimed that he can raise the dead, was not able to heal his own intestinal cancer - and had to get an operation. This, along with his sexual licentiousness, rattled his credibility and the group broke up in 1996 - when the Adam's marriage also broke up. Hilde Adam is still involved with the Aquarius Center in the German-French no-man's-land next door to her, but not in the dealings which took place prior to 1996. Kurt Adam still acts as a spirit healer in his own environment, trains others to be healers and writes books in which he reports on his esoteric teachings. "On principle" he still stands behind the content of the teachings he imparted to Pierre and Karin, as he assured our newspaper. There is still anxiety today that Aquarius Center is readying for the Apocalypse.
False charm of an unscrupulous magician
Sentenced to two years for fraud and extortion
December 20, 1999
by Thomas Schwarz
Backnang. "Esoteric Advisor" and "Magician" are what a 35-year-old former insurance salesman from Murrhardt (Rems-Murr county) called himself. But instead of helping, he had driven a severely depressed woman to collapse and hoodwinked her out of 130,000 marks through fraud and extortion.
"The magician sees, recognizes and helps," ran the text of the ad which Alexander M. (name changed) had placed in an astrology magazine to attract customers. He, along with his wife, have worked as esoteric consultants since 1994. What one should make of that, however, has been left open by the Backnang municipal court. "I have acquired the knowledge from books," admits the 35-year-old man. "If you are able to muster up the necessary responsibility, then you, too, can work in this field," he answered the question of a woman jurist as to whether anyone could practice this profession.
Shortly before he had indignantly asked whether he should have tried to stop a customer from paying him 72,500 marks in two months. "She wanted to pay the fee for the entire year in advance," asserted the magician in all seriousness. Yes, didn't you ask yourself where a woman with a net income of 3,900 marks a month could have gotten so much money, asked judge Wolfgang Wuensch and was rewarded only with incomprehensibility from the self-proclaimed people's friend who had named his rate at 170 marks and hour without batting an eyelash. "How are you speaking to me? Like with a criminal," Alexander M. cried out theatrically when the judge pressed the issue and asked why the woman had "simply thrown that much money down his gullet."
Descriptions given by his victim, a school teacher by profession from Bavaria, yielded an entirely different picture of the accused. She said Alexander M's "magic work" did not exist in meetings about problems with school, the training of her son or a broken relationship. The magician viewed the woman who was suffering from severe depression as putty in his hands, and he shamelessly exploited her. "He told me that he could bring back my boyfriend by using his magic abilities," said the woman, who is recuperating from mental illness today, and is ashamed that she believed the false enticements. She paid 72,500 marks to "bring her boyfriend home." To do that, she cashed in her retirement plan, borrowed money from relatives, banks and loan agents and went over her head in debt.
And things got worse still. "After you noticed that there was something for the taking, you cleaned her out like a Christmas goose," the state attorney accused the man. His tone of voice then changed over time, he threatened the woman that she would only get her happiness back if she continued to pay up to December 31, 1997. If she would not do that, then "her life clock would run out." Upon hearing that, the woman panicked, and even wrote a letter to the Pope. How much she paid after that cannot be proven, 130,000 or even 240,000 marks, because she sent a portion of it to Murrhardt by mail in cash. Those packages contained newspaper clippings said the accused - probably nobody in the courtroom believed that except the defendant and his wife.
"Your lack of scruples can hardly be outdone," said judge Wuensch in the basis of the judgment. The magician was awarded two years incarceration without parole by the jury court, thereby going two months over what the district attorney had asked for. "Parole can be given in this kind of crime only if certain conditions exist. These conditions do not exist here, just the opposite: you have not shown the court regret or realization, only coldheartedness, so one has to assume that nothing has changed.
Theologian Michael Landgraf describes typical textbook models of sects
December 10, 1999 RON - Rheinpfalz Online
Map through the jungle of religious groups
The quantity of genuine or presumed religious groups is large, and the term "sect" is just as inadequate as the term "youth religion" is wrong: for a long time now, special religious groups with completely different objectives have been established which appeal to different age groups and interests. There are totalitarian worldviews, commercial businesses (like Scientology), Far East groups which practice meditation, satanistic cults, pagan groups, new revelation groups with Christian characteristics like Universal Life, for example, but which also runs commercial businesses), and fundamentalist Bible groups.
In short, the "market" (that is what it is often referred to) is big and control is difficult. Neustadt Evangelical theologian Michael Landgraf from the Office for Religious Education in the Deaconate in Neustadt ("Schuett 9") wants to bring some light into this tunnel. He has published a book "Religion, 'Sect' or what?" for students of all ages as an aid in recognizing and evaluating special religious groups.
Landgraf has collected related experiences: After his theology studies in Heidelberg and Goettingen he spent six months caring for a German community in Washington, D.C. USA, where he had contact with a very diverse religious landscape, and then as religion teacher at a high school in Germersheim, he was confronted with no less a variety of questions about the many religious selections in Pfalz from his students. In the course of time his collection of material on all groups imaginable grew, from known groups like the Jehovah's Witnesses and Scientology to less known, very small groups. Simply memorizing a list of the names of these groups and their characteristics is of no help any more, Landgraf realized, and he developed "building blocks" by which means young people and adults alike can discuss and be able to recognize basic models.
"Everybody has a predisposition for sects," believes Landgraf, and not infrequently the leaders, prophets or leading thinkers of the group are very charismatic people who can easily put others under their spell. "Magic" events or dates such as solar eclipses or the change of the calendar year also make people more receptive to experiencing new things. Typical inductance mechanisms such as psycho-tests or "love bombing" which are regularly used to pull recruits deeper into a groups are just as much a building block as are themes such as "sect speak," structures of special groups or the relationship of the group members to the outside world.
Models, caricatures, pictures, questionnaires and other similar items facilitate the students' approach to the subject fields. Landgraf's "religious building blocks" are meant neither just to give a lecture to allay one's curiosity nor to serve as an easy reference guide; they have more of a tendency to demand thoughtful discussion on the theme. In that way, they provide a valuable orientational aid, true to the motto: "We learn, not for school, but for life."
SuedwestFrom our editor: Sebastian Boeckmann
Mass goods of today
Takes the person as consumer
December 10, 1999
Speaker: personal experience cannot be transferred to others - not to be understood as faith
Erlenbach. Martin Noll described esoterica ["New Age" type beliefs] as a "tool" which could be used to either advantage or disadvantage. The graduate sociologist from Eberbach spoke in the scope of a public high school lecture series at the music hall at Dr.-Vits school on the theme of "Esoterica - Chance or Charlatanry."
An "as well" can also be made out of an "either/or" situation, the speaker introduced his presentation. That means on the one side, there is a chance for more happiness in life and healing for a more sensible, fulfilled life. Esoterica as charlatanry, he said, only pretended to be an opportunity in life assistance. In reality it does not help, but makes things bad for people, warned Noll.
He defined it has stemming from the Greek work "esoteros," which mean inner circle. People who bore special beliefs and set themselves apart from the masses to focus around their "center point" were called esoterics. In ancient Greece they were between the philosophers seeking truth and those who tried to enter higher spheres of awareness by ecstasy, trance and rapture (comparable to today's techno-culture). Esoterics, in contrast, were people who did not intend on being manipulated, but sought the truth through intuition, Noll made clear.
Esoterics were not an association of people which recruited members, he said; one became an esoteric by birth. They have existed in every culture and civilization, he said. There are fewer and fewer of them, and they have historically had a tough time. Esoterica is actually religious at first, but it does not have anything to do with churches because esoterics are said to want to experience the meaning of life for themselves and not to obtain a theological teaching "second hand," thereby looking at life through a filter. People who have need of belief are often afraid of that, said the speaker.
Original meaning lost
Today esoterica has developed into "exoterica" - the outer circle - and has developed into a mass phenomenon and a most important textbook factor, reported Noll. Much on it was indiscriminately published in the 1980s, he said. Something which was worthwhile for only a few turned into something which was regarded as for the common good, the speaker determined. It has lost it original meaning, was widely misunderstood and needed much additional explanation. Noll said that 80% of the people interested in esoterica were women. Esoterica (such as astrology, pendants and tarot cards) were being used to attain help in making decisions and to get a glimpse of the tendencies of the future. People were said to be not taking enough time themselves, but doing this with the help of professionals. This and the tendency to believe what only others have experienced has brought esoterica into discredit. That is to say, a transfer of highly personal observations does not work. The speaker warned people against "salivating" after other worlds. This spread of pseudo-esoteric concepts can be observed in a million different ways in today's media. The focus of this, he said, was not the healing of the person, but the person as a consumer.
Literature which Noll recommended as helpful was "Schicksal als Chance" by Torwald Dethlefsen and "Der grosse holunderbaum" by Dr. Herbert Fritsche. With their help, methods of relaxation and meditation could be learned, and it could be seen what habits need to be changed. Esoterica presents a big opportunity if it is regarded, not as belief, but as an inner experience.
New on screen: David Fincher's "Fight Club," a refined game with identities, demonstrates violent, manly attempt at self-healing
November 13, 1999
They only have feelings when they fight.
The nameless narrator in "Fight Club" is a damage estimator in an automobile company. He analyzes statistics of accident victims. "Here the baby has been flung through the front windshield - three points." His life is generally filled with symptoms of his own disintegration. His daily routine is lost in constant jetting about the states, his priorities are redefined daily, he has no private life, his individuality comes out of the warehouse catalogue and the rhythm of night and day has been transversed through chronic insomnia into an advanced twilight state.
His body is a jumble of quivering fibers and the doctor does not take his problem seriously. He advises him to gain experience from those who are really suffering - as a visitor to a self-help group for people suffering from cancer of the testicles. To his surprise, the narrator (Edward Norton) finds moments of authentic awareness there, even if it is in the pain of strange people. He turns into a junkie who shoots himself up with the sufferings of others in the convolutions of his own brain.
Then he meets Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) and the journey to insanity begins. Durden teaches him that every hit he receives in the face gives him a greater ability to rid himself of his zombie being. They found the "Fight Club" to generate self help through pain.
From that evolves a peculiar sect, a mixture of the Maso-Macho-Club, a revolutionary cell, Open-Your-Mind-Scientology and Mahatma Ghandi, which wants to bring the world closer to a new zero hour and general redemption in one gigantic hit of a very real sort.
"Fight Club" is a refined game with identities. When the socio-cultural events get out of sync with the self-seeking microprocessor generation, the most stable things in life are the company logos on the otherwise identical trendy clothing and the modes of awareness are actuated through a constantly new media whirlwind into a psychedelic reality trip, the character of the narrator is forced to become a fraud - to himself and to the audience.
Edward Norton plays the border-crosser between two systems of delusion: the one is his offbeat state of twilight, the other is the absolute physicalness of his mens' association. In accordance with earlier visio traditions, Plan B creates order and divides the world into good and bad agents. The ruination of Fincher's work is that he does not let his characters find their identity, not even in insanity. As a medium to record the pain of a lasting change he experiments with the concept of "partial" identities to a limited extent.
This film causes indignation because nobody likes to have his self-certainty gnawed at. In order to soften the shock, the character of Marla (Helena Bonham-Carter) was built in, her constantly outstretched little hands reaching as though in consolation. Apparently women can get along just fine without little alpha male rituals - which is why male producers like to put them in as aloof groupies to males.
- "Fight Club" (produced by David Fincher) is running back to back, the original version with sub-titles is in Basel at the Eldorado 1.
"The spaceships are here already"
October 18, 1999
Once again, Uriella's sect, Fiat Lux, has been beating the campaign drums loudly for the upcoming election in Ibach.
by Holger Reile, Ibach
As the last rays of the sun swept through the Black Forest, white garbed light forms desperately searched for parking places for their automobiles, which were also mostly white. From Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the adherents of the Fiat Lux doomsday sect were arriving in Ibach in the Black Forest to take part in a carefully dramatized media spectacle. In the upcoming communal elections in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Fiat Lux already has two seats, and because more than ten percent of the constituency are sect members, this number will increase. Sect chief Uriella and her husband, Icordo, have invited the public to their Ibach "sanctuary" to tell them about Fiat Lux. However the normal, mere mortals from Ibach have stayed at home; they have let it be known that they have no desire "to contribute to a campaign for the ideology of Fiat Lux." Besides that it is doubted that the sect would be able to bring its totalitarian system into accord with a democracy.
Uriella's "sanctuary" was full to bursting. About 200 members of Fiat Lux were there, along with several television teams from Germany and Switzerland. Before the running television cameras, Uriella and Fiat Lux top candidate Icordo kissed a large crucifix devoutly. Uriella soothingly stated that they wanted to "open up the hearts of the residents of Ibach" because this area was a "pearl of paradise" and the residents did not have to be afraid of the "original Christians in spirit" in the neighborhood. She said that Fiat Lux had been put to the most difficult tests for years, but "the persecution and martyrdom of the genuine Christian is also a distinguishment."
Top candidate Icordo gratefully latched onto the idea of alleged persecution of Christians in Ibach. He also bluntly attacked the list of candidates of "open Ibachers" for allegedly being "nothing other than a CDU list in disguise." He stated that with Fiat Lux, "divine light" would be introduced into the community council because the candidates of his "spiritual sister" were "willed by god." The enlightened ones were said to have been commanded by Uriella to intermingle in the crude fabric of community politics.
The central theme also included the question of the impending end of the world, which Uriella had somewhat prematurely "prophesied" for summer 1998. That had been a mistake by Icordo, giving that to the press, said the soon to be 71 year old man somewhat meekly. She had always known that it would last a little longer with the epidemics, wars, famines and floods. Nevertheless, delayed did not mean cancelled, the exact date was to be revealed to her by god shortly before it happened. "The spaceships are already in the ethersphere," stated the "mouthpiece of god" gesticulatively.
Action meeting against addiction and sects
September 21, 1999
Stuttgarter Zeitung, Germany
Goeppingen (non). Starting this Saturday, the county youth office intends to put attention on the dangers of addiction and sects by holding numerous events. In the 1999 prevention event, it is mainly the causes of dependencies which will be scrutinized. This was originally intended to be a continuation of the successful "sect information days" from 1997, explained Andrea Handke from the county youth office at the introduction to the prevention program entitled "People seek meaning."
In the planning stages, it was quickly recognized that turning to addictive substances and the escape into sects both had the same causes. So the County Youth Office, in cooperation with Evangelical Adult Education, the Catholic Education Office and other establishments, put a program together to give comparable information on the dangers of occultism, sects and psycho-groups, and offer work shops and practical tips to teachers and trainers, parents and children. This will be kicked off this coming Saturday with a father-children's experience day in the Evangelical retreat in Oberholz, in which self-confidence and trust of others is to be strengthened in short exercises. On Thursday, the 30th of September, a presentation by the Tuebinger children and youth psychologist, Gunther Klosinksi, will be held at 5 p.m. in the Goeppinger county bank on the phenomenon of dependency. Further events, including some in families' homes and at the Evangelical Academy of Bad Boll, are to follow. The program is available through the county youth office. The events are not completely booked up.
The old people should feel safe
August 3, 1999
17 volunteer so-called "security consultants" in Trier-Saarburg county - Heinz Fischer and Klaus Koch are responsible for Konz.
By member of our staff
Konz/Trier-Saarburg. The ultimate goal of the security consultant in Trier-Saarburg is to increase the feeling of security in seniors. 17 volunteer consultants have been active since March of this year in the association community. The accompaniment of the consultants is incumbent upon the lead agency of "Aelter werden" in the Trier-Saarburg county administration. In the course of the public discussion about the security of elderly people, the idea of security consultation for seniors first arose in Hesse, in a county at the gates of a city known for its high rate of criminality, Frankfurt.
The first one there was initiated by the police. Soon thereafter it was considered how one could go about implementing such a project in the area administered to by Trier-Saarburg in the current region. By and by, in conjunction with numerous agencies, such as police and consumer protection, a training concept was developed which had gotten so far in March that a three week class was set up to train 17 security consultants. The security consultants are a preliminary resort for seniors. There they can obtain initial advice, along with points of contact for more detailed advice, depending on the specific problem.
They give out information on the topics of crime, consumer protection, traffic safety, security in matters of money and credit, risks of fire and accident, as well as sects and weltanschauungs. "We want to help the seniors to actively protect themselves, thereby strengthening their feeling of safety," explained Stephanie Nickels, the Director of lead agency "Aelter werden."
The security consultants in Trier-Saarburg county are between 45 and 80 years old. There are from two to four consultants available for each association community. In the Konz community, Heinz Fischer and Klaus Koch have taken over the honorary office. Both had already been active in volunteer work in the past, Heinz Fischer mainly working with seniors.
"The people are happy that now they have an initial place to turn to if they have problems. The barrier of finding an office continues to be very high," is Fischer's experience. "Further development of security consultation will be process-oriented, that means we resolve the various needs in the communities," stated Stephanie Nickels.
The plan, at first is to introduce security consultation in Trier-Saarburg at events including State Prevention Day on August 23 in Mainz. [...]
Candlelight and Tea
August 2, 1999
Goettingen (pek) Elke (all names changed by the editors) had just completed professional therapy. Despite that she was still doing poorly. Psychic problems made things difficult in her day-to-day routine. "I was on the look-out for a self-help group which suited me," said Elke. She found it. When she has time, she goes Tuesday evenings to the community hall at the Maria Frieden Catholic Church. That is where Emotions Anonymous (EA) meets, a discussion group for people with emotional problems.
"We don't judge, we don't criticize, we don't argue. We do not give advice in personal or intimate matters." It is especially these things for which Elke values EA. This way the responsibility is not taken away from her. Elke wants to help herself.
The group's structure is comparable with Alcoholics Anonymous, which is also a self-help group, explained Heike. She has been with it for more than ten years and is spokeswoman of the group. She herself carries the problem of being significantly overweight around with her. Regular visits to the group do not help her to take off weight, said Heike. But she is better able to deal with the current inalterability of this condition.
EA was founded in 1967 in the USA. It has been in the German-speaking world since 1972. There is a pre-set schedule of events at the weekly meetings. In a 14-day rotation, subjects for the evening might include "loneliness" or a repetition of the so-called "steps" which are fixed in the program. The EA states that it is independent of denominations, political parties, sects or other groups. At its meetings on Tuesday evening, Elke creates the mood with candlelight and the aroma of tea.
High school project 2000:
Lighthouses warn of Tidal Wave
*"Waventology" - a sect for Landau
*"Wellentology" in German
July 23, 1999
Passauer Neue Presse
There have been many reports about sects in recent times. Some of their intentions have a comical effect on us, others have to be seen as a serious threat. The fact, though, is that the picture of the city has gotten one chapter richer. Many citizens may have already come across the flyers which have deluged the city. Behind the innocent appearing name of "Waventology," there is said to lie hidden a sect which is trying to exploit the fear of the population with a doomsday theory.
One of these flyers has found its way to us: "Save Landau! The city is in danger! A large, devastating tidal wave is approaching and something must be done immediately. Our lighthouses are supposed to provide the first warning of this tidal wave, but due to a shortage of money, we have to build them on a 1:10 scale. We would like to use your donation to build them a larger size and also to take other necessary rescue measures. Send you donations to "Save Landau" [bank and account given]. Humanity will thank you for it! "Wellentology gets it done"
When is occultism dangerous for youth?
July 14, 1999
90 participants in the interesting event at the county youth office in Ladenburg
Ladenburg. "Witches, ghosts, soul masters" - This was the theme of a meeting which took place in Ladenburg about youth's interaction with the occult. Invited to speak were the Work Community for Assistance to Those at Risk, Youth Protection in the Freiburg Archdioceses and the County Youth Office.
Among the 90 participants in the cathedral courtyard were public people who were generally interested and also experts from the areas of academics, therapeutics and counselling. The need for a meeting on this theme was based on the fact that youth occultism has been an explosive problem for ten years, mentioned Ekkhard Schellenberger, Director of the County Youth Office. What needed to be determined was whether occult practices such as crystal-gazing, pendants and others are attractive to youth because they offer the chance of discussing existential questions such as "is there life after death?" or "what is the soul?"
Chief speaker of the meeting was Dr. Walter von Lucadou, Director of the only Baden-Wuerttemberg parapsychological counselling center in Freiburg. He first explained that only about five percent of those who took part in occult practices have any cause for concern as to mental and bodily health. This view was also shared by Susanne Beul-Ring, former technical speaker for sects and world view issues in the diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.
It was said that one can divide youth who get involved with the occult into two groups. The one tries occult rituals and practices out of pure curiosity and fascination and is looking for a "thrill" or an "ultimate kick." This is absolutely harmless and is not cause for further upset since the interest sooner or later is from self. The other group, however, perform occult practices as a stabilizing motivation factor. These youth often suffer from a lack of feeling of self-worth, are psychically unstable overall or are not taking care of problems in their own life. To compensate for their difficulties they flee into occultism.
The Catholic theologian Harald Baer even saw a real explanation for psychic instability and sensitivity to occult practices: traumatic childhood experiences. According to the results of his studies, for example, there is a high correlation between the factors of child abuse and occultism. For this group of youth, occultism also contributes a large part to their view of the world. Albert Lampe, who followed Susanne Beul-Ring, indicated that these youth sought solutions to problems not in this life, but displaced the solutions to the other side, where spirits - which are actually produced only by one's own subconsciousness - can be invoked by crystal balls and pendants to answer questions. It is here where the danger lies for shirking one's own responsibility, according to Lampe, and a gradual loss of reality sets in so that dependency upon occult practices arise.
After that the audience was given tips and pointers on how one should deal with youths at risk. In the opinion of the experts, the first thing is that parents should find out why youth are involved with the occult. This means the person asking the questions should have some basic information. Their attitude towards the occult has to be open, and they should not prematurely put it off as the "work of the devil" or some kind of childhood weakness when the youth are approached. In mentioning that Dr. von Lucadou expressly stated that one must, first off, listen to the youth concerned and that the youth must be taken seriously.
Medical practitioners complain about flood of "miracle healers"
July 11, 1999
Karlsruhe (dpa) Medical practitioners have warned people about so-called miracle healers. Injury to health caused by such charlatans is not predictable, said the chairman of the Association of the German Medical Practitioners, Ekkehard Scharnick, on Saturday at the opening of the ninth Congress of Medical Practitioners in Karlsruhe.
The approximately 15,000 medical practitioners in Germany are faced with a "flood of 20,000 miracle healers," some of which operate in sects.
At the same time Scharnick warned of a "scorched earth" effect upon natural medical therapy by the health structure law. The use of a "positive list" could exclude many substances used as "soft" medication. "Our natural healing therapy is very, very much at risk."
Monika Knoche, the Green party health expert, assured the participants of the congress, "Medical practitioners need not fear competition from school medicine." Both sides could mutually benefit. The political health speaker of the FDP, Dieter Thomae, also mentioned that with the recognition that the person would have to be treated in his entirety, the medical practitioners had early closed a hole in medical care. But Thomae brought up a discourse on standards and quality as well as more professionalism in the field.
Medical practitioners regard prevention of all chronic illnesses such as rheumatism, allergies or nervous complaints as their metier. They are successful, according to what they say, especially in the treatment of neurodermatitis. Their methods include acupuncture, phytotherapy (herbal therapy), homeopathy, chiropractic, massage, neural therapy and also application of blood leeches. Nationwide there are six major medical practitioner associations. For the Karlsruhe event about 3,000 participants are expected this weekend.
Finding a new home in German society
June 21, 1999
Rheinpfalz Online Lokales
1,200 refugees and displaced people made the pilgrimage to Speyer - warned about sects.
About 1,200 displaced people and refugees accepted the invitation yesterday to make the traditional pilgrimage to Speyer. The participants, who had arrived from all parts of the diocese on busses, took part in a grand procession to the cathedral, where the Inspector for ministerial care for Germans in southeast Europe, Council Clergyman Andreas Straub, celebrated pilgrimage services with them.
[photo in German article]
The traditional pilgrimage to the cathedral had a large turn-out. -FOTO:LENZ
In his opening words, cathedral capitular official Johannes Urich, who ministers to the spiritual needs of refugees, and himself a displaced person from former Yugoslavia, recalled the serious fate of a pilgrim who had been driven from his homeland. "In the church we have a permanent home, but we can also find home, protection and assistance among the German people in order to be able to shape our lives," Urich encouraged the refugees.
"Fear not, our God is near us," Straub directed this appeal in his sermon to the pilgrims. He continued to say: there is no life without fear and worry. There is much which gives people concern: wars, environmental destruction, the future, business development and unemployment. In addition to fear there is suffering sickness and death. However, the word of God gives heart to the faithful. "Fear not!" he continued, because God is a "caring, providing Father" for all. He is not an impersonal higher power. "He is good, He always wants good for you, even if I don't always understand how," stated the preacher.
After dinner in the Oegidien house, the sect commissioner of Speyer Diocese, Christoph Bussen, gave an introduction to sect problems. In it he discussed recruitment strategies which related to refugees.
Of the approximately 80 groups active, the ones to regard especially critically in Pfalz were said to be the Jehovah's Witnesses, Universal Life, Fiat Lux, the Bruno Goering Circle of Friends, as well as the Scientology organization. Jehovah's Witnesses especially, according to Bussen, were often underestimated. They employ specially trained recruiters to target recent refugees from the former Soviet Union in this area. "The consequences for the families are often catastrophic," warned Bussen.
In addition many Jehovah's Witnesses fall into isolation from the so-called evil outside world, since, from the view of the sect, the world is under the domination of Satan, and the Christian churches are slandered as the greatest evil.
Entertainment for both the young and old was included in the program. The audience was especially enthused over the sing-along with old folk songs before the pilgrimage ended with the closing service in the cathedral.
Kirchberg Women's Association Strikes a Positive Balance
June 1, 1999
Passauer Neue Presse Lokales
A look back at the numerous activities in the annual meeting
Kirchberg (neu) Chairperson Roswitha Berger took a look back at a successful association year with many events at the annual meeting of the Women's Association in "Kirchberger Hof."
After public worship which was led by Deacon Alois Messerer and was ceremoniously backed up by the Women's Association Choir, Chairperson Roswitha Berger greeted the many members who were attending the meeting. She especially welcomed the clerical contribution, Deacon Alois Messerer, and the Director of the Women's Association Choir, Franz Estl. Then Secretary Irmgard Neuburger reported in detail on the numerous activities. Neuburger mentioned, "There was something for everyone in the extensive selections provided in the program." She reminisced on the informative presentations, such as the one by Mrs. Grad on Scientology, on trips to Kaprun, Munich or to the handicapped employment center in Eggenfelden. The high points, according to Neuburger, were a cabaret evening with the "s'Ohrlabbal" group and the Women's Association Ball, which had attracted over 300 visitors to Buergerhaus. The Seniors Afternoon, which had been arranged together with the "Ortscaristas" had also gotten positive feedback.
"But the members of the Women's Association have also continued to be represented in events of the local associations," said Irmgard Neuburger. Besides that, the women had also enthusiastically participated in the preparations for the big church festival. The 13 visits to the sick showed that the sick members had not been forgotten by the Association's board of directors.
Marianne Ziegleder presented a detailed monetary report. "Thanks to the events which ran so well, the handicapped employment center was supported with a donation of 2,000 marks and the Rumanian Aid of the Inema Groups with 500 marks," she said. Both of the reviewers, Thekla Bachmaier and Maria Zirm, certified that the financial books were free from error. In his "Dia" presentation, Wolfgang Berger, cofounder of the Inema Groups, told about the obstacles the aid convoy of nine tractor trailers had to overcome in its drive to Rumania. The members of the Women's Association, who had supported this action, could see that their assistance had arrived by the pictures available. In his welcome, Deacon Alois Messerer praised the exemplary activities of the Kirchberg Women's Association. He verified that the Women's Association had done its fair share. Messerer thanked the board of directors as the dynamic force behind the Kirchberg Women's Association, and the members for their constant preparedness, which included helping with church affairs. In closing, Chairperson Roswitha Berger announced the next scheduled meeting. The meeting closed with a communal dinner.
Rightwing violence increased in Thueringen
Constitutional Security says NPD swelled by Skinheads
April 28, 1999
The number of crimes by rightwing extremists in Thueringen receded from the past year by 142 to 1,064, nevertheless the number of violent offenses rose from 49 to 69. Those are the figures from the Thueringen Constitutional Security report which Interior Minister Richard Dewes (SPD) presented in Erfurt on Wednesday. The number of leftwing extremist crimes more than doubled from 53 to 126.
Rightwing potential extremists, according to the findings of Constitutional Security in Thueringen, rose from about 1,000 to 1,350 members or adherents. The NPD and the DVU showed mild increases; the Republicans, on the other hand, lost 40 of the 260 members recorded from the previous year. In the NPD, the State Office for Constitutional Security has observed a pull on the young people known as Skinheads. The 80 new members won by the NPD are almost all young people. They also lost, however, 60 older members.
Constitutional Security President Hulmut Roewer judges that the drastic actions taken by the police against the left and right wings have had an effect. "They would rather not occupy themselves with Thueringen since several of them have gotten acquainted with the detention cells in Unterwellenborn," said Roewer. At a rally in Saalfeld on March 14, 58 rightwing extremists and 197 leftwing demonstrators were taken into custody. That is where 75 of the 126 crimes committed by leftwing extremists mentioned in the report were recorded.
The communistic platforms, the banned Kurdish party, PKK and the Scientology sect hardly have a role in Thueringen, according to the report. The PKK collected about 300,000 marks in donations for Abdullah Ocalan.
In regard to the upcoming state elections, there is nothing to indicate, from the view of Interior Minister Dewes, that a victory such as that attained by the DVU in 1998 in Sachsen could be repeated. Dewes rates the Thueringen Republicans agreement with the remains of the "Bundes Freier Buerger" and the Pro-DM party only "as a helpless gesture of the Republicans as the ground disappears from underneath their feet."
The Minister said that the state administration is testing the reliability of video surveillance in the fight against organized crime. They are following the Sachsen model and intend to use the spying measures in certain cases.
Commentary: High Price for Total Freedom
April 21, 1999
by Carsten Heil
Parents, teachers, politicians and psychologists stood around helplessly at the scene of the bloodbath of students in Denver. Each one tried to find his own explanation, and all attempts demonstrated helplessness. Each could only reflect his own convictions. The media was to blame, said those who had consistently criticized gruesome computer games and violent video shows. Social impoverishment and alienation of youth was the cause, said those who saw every problem as a social disadvantage. Still others called for stricter laws and better security measures. That was exactly what the United States had already done after bitter experiences on this point. The administration makes $600 million per year available for anti-violence programs. Schools are equipped with metal detectors which detect the weapons students carry in their pockets. That is the situation at the school which has now been affected.
Probably a whole sequence of factors have to come into play for youth to butcher their fellow students in such a cold-blooded and professionally planned manner. Up until that point it was only ideological infatuation.
America pays a high price for its extreme freedom. No ideology, no religious infatuation, no fanatical conviction is dangerous enough to be controlled or put away. Free possession of weapons is a part of this. The attack on the federal building in Oklahoma, the murder of abortionists and the suicidal massacre of the Davidian sect in Texas find this climate of total freedom to be an optimal breeding ground. Consequently, the problem in Denver may not be reduced to one of "youth violence."
From 1933 to 1945, Germany had experience with mental and political subversion, but it still made an attempt to control abuse. The U.S. Americans have very little understanding of this - an example is Scientology. Admittedly, there is a narrow path between control and freedom.
As long as U.S. society commits itself to total freedom, it will always have to pay this high price.
Satanists love Metal
Experts tell students about Satanic cults
From: "Saarbruecker Zeitung"
February 18, 1999
The director of the Marie-Luise-Kaschnitz secondary school was broaching a hot topic. Gerold Fischer had already noticed that when it came to gathering informational material on "Esoterica - Occultism - Exorcism - Satanism." "Illustrative material on these is hardly ever passed out without comment. One is afraid that it could be misunderstood," he told parents and students in the public school hall. The school management is aware of how difficult it is to obtain material in the topic of the evening's discussion about Satanism & Co., which was held after a discussion about the "Scientology" sect.
"(. . .) God would perish, if you were it. Choke on your own snot. You are shit! (. . .)": The letter of a young Satanist, projected upon the screen, took the audience's breath away. There were two speakers who talked to the audience on the night's topic. Two [other] lecturers, Christa Jenal, chairperson of the association for "peace training" [Friedenserziehung] in Saarland, and Werner Schirra of the Middle Saarbruecken police force, were absent due to illness.
The first speaker, Herbert Raetz, an historian from the Saarland trade union, introduced the topic. First he contrasted the emancipatory values of today's society with the "New Age" way of life. He showed that esoterica, occultism and hermetics are three difference words for the same concept, that is "secret science." Raetz said, "That is a contradiction of terms: a science can, by definition, never be secret." He continued on to support his central thesis, "Nothing harmless is sold in the esoteric area!" And finally, "Esoterica and right radicalism go hand in hand." It is not just that the NSDAP [Nazism] arose from an esoteric field of study, no, the totalitarianism of false belief holds hidden dangers. The view of an expert, "Whoever cuts himself off from the real world is not able to resolve social conflict."
He saw "evidence of Satanism's deformation of the personality" in the words to songs by the group "Ramstein" ("Ashes to Ashes"), which he presented. His view was that you can see everything in the words of such aggressive lyrics. That is what is supposed to be dangerous. The young people in the audience were interested and amazed. As Armin Voss (18) and Torsten Gross (17) stated, "Hey, we listen to Heavy Metal, too, but we're not Satanists. We would have never thought that National Socialism had come from esoterica."
The practical aspects were addressed by Chief Commissioner Eugen Thielmann of the Koellertal police force. He had investigated a case with his colleagues of cemetery desecration in Riegelsberg, and had been personally involved with the theme. He pointed out some differences, including, "Wearing black clothes does not make somebody a Satanist." Not everybody who listens to Heavy Metal music is a Satanist, either - but every Satanist, he stated, listens to Heavy Metal.
It is not the end of the world if students discover glass beads or pendants. "It only gets bad when the fascination with mysticism gets the upper hand," stated the policeman. He reported of the frightening actions of young Satanists in how they follow the example of their predecessor, Aleister Crowley. He knew of a young girl who had wanted to get out of the cult scene whose pet rabbit had been killed, and of another person who had wanted to leave and had a dead bird delivered to him. Not to mention the devastation in the graveyard - all "in the name of Satan." Esoterica and Satanism endanger more young people than has been assumed, in the expert's view. What can be done, though, to protect young people from the damaging influence? Raetz said, "One has to give young people the opportunity of saying 'no' in having to assume other perspectives. And one should, himself, take a more tolerant view in his dealings with other people."
These objects were confiscated by the police in Brandenburg from a Satanic cult. photo: dpa
Wrecking Ball dangles over Daun "Eyesore"
From: "Trierischer Volksfreund: inTRinet"
November 26, 1998
Former Hotel Fries-Porz: owner Wilfried Ulbricht filed objection to demolition order by the county.
by our editor
DAUN. Is the wrecking ball threatening the much-discussed "Eyesore of Daun"? The building of the former Hotel Fries-Porz at the intersection of Mehrener and Bahnhof streets has not be used for years. Broken out windows and traces of fire are witnesses to the advanced state of decay. For many Daun residents the condition of the building is particularly annoying because the building is on an exposed corner of an intersection which has a traffic light which many visitors use to get to Daun.
After nothing had happened with the building for years, the county finally took action. On the basis of a vote by the State Building Codes office which concerns "architectural structures not in use and in a state of dilapidation" the owner, Wilfried Ulbricht, received an order to tear the building down. However, the businessman from Hoerschhausen filed an objection to this decision.
The county commissioners discussed the issue in December, however, even if the order by the administration is confirmed, the demolition of the building is still not a done deal.
The owner still has the option of pursuing other paths to stop the order. It would be difficult to predict how long it would take to reach a legally binding judicial decision in this case.
The building at the entrance to the city has an eventful history behind it. When it was the Hotel Fries-Porz, it was a city landmark. After the hotel closed it was converted into a discotheque, managed under the names of "Caprice" and "Baccara." The building also received attention of an inter-regional nature during several TV reports, after the current owner, Wilfried Ulbricht, established a Scientology center there.
Over the course of time, the building, after it was no longer in use, has taken on the appearance of an oversize billboard with advertisements from the whole region pasted on it. A sign which gave notice of potential use ("Apartments built here...") after the old hotel was once again abandoned disappeared soon after it was put up. When and if the wrecking ball swings is a matter which still remains to be seen.
Following the Path of the Dervish
Sects get a foot in the door of the psycho[logical]-market and offer esoteric therapies - sometimes they're even paid for by medicaid
From: "Deutsches Allgemeines Sonntagsblatt" Nbr. 28/1998
July 10, 1998
by Friedrich Hansen
"She saved me," said Georg Berg and looked over to his wife (names changed by the editors). Maria Berg, thanks to her powers of observation and stubbornness, was able to prevent her husband from falling into the clutches of a sect during his psycho-therapy. The medicaid office had recommended the therapist and paid for the sessions.
The story began when Georg Berg complained of lack of motivation and depression after his dismissal from an engineering office. His doctor advised him to seek psycho-therapeutical counseling. He received a list of recognized psycho-therapists from the technician at the medicaid office. Berg was happy when he received an appointment with Iris Ohnsorg, a degreed psychologist specializing in behavioral therapy.
From the very start, Berg was charmed by his therapist. He felt better by lying on the floor and doing his breathing exercises to relax. The only thing he couldn't get much out of were the peculiar tones which were being sounded as he did this. It wasn't until much later that he was to learn what the hummed intonations were supposed to do. When the therapist asked him, after the fifth two-hour session, whether it bothered him that several of her neighbors called her a witch, he was a little surprised. However, he did not take the question seriously. "Women witches rather appeal to me," he said, jokingly.
Once he had the feeling he was floating
The level-headed engineer remained completely unsuspecting. Every day he closed himself in his room at home to perform the recommended meditational exercises. He also practised the "dance of the Dervish." "That was the exercise with the greatest effect. It needed my physical energy," recalled Berg. One time he even had the feeling of floating while he was doing meditation.
A little later his therapist casually mentioned that she was an adherent of Eckankar. Berg had never heard the name before. Today he knows that Eckankar is a type of cult with its headquarters in Minnesota, USA. It has 50,000 adherents worldwide, who call themselves "chelas." The cult, founded in 1965 by Paul Twitchell from Kentucky, is a smorgasbord of theatrical props taken from Hindu mysticism, Theosophy and Scientology. The reigning head guru is Harold Klemp, a former interrogation specialist in the Air Force. In Germany, Eckankar - according to their own advertisement "Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times" - has been granted non- profit status, and has its headquarters in Frankfurt.
Iris Ohnsorg promised the amazed engineer that Eckankar could cure him, too. Berg recalls the dream which the therapist recommended he have, "In my dreams I was supposed to have a silver thread come out of my forehead and establish contact to the distant spiritual leader." That would be the source from where his Eckankar would flow to him. When the therapist noticed Berg's eyes narrowing, she hurried to assure him that, of course, everybody could believe in God in his own way.
To his wife, Georg Berg seemed withdrawn and distracted. In the several weeks he was going to therapy, he had changed a lot, she said. He sat at the table with a fixed stare, "as if he didn't have a thought in his head." Georg Berg had really gone to see the therapist because of his lack of motivation. However, Iris Ohnsorg had broadened the treatment "wholenessly", and was now meddling in everything - in accordance with the methodology of the founder, Paul Twitchell, who preached the way to "total consciousness."
He Ignored all Warning Signs
She took an increasingly sharper tone with him. When Berg - in spite of the instructions from his therapist - forgot to make entries in his diary, the therapist immediately sent him home as punishment. The next time she made it clear to him that therapy was more important than immediately looking for work again. She advised against his applying for a well-paying job in Frankfurt, which would involve a change of address for him.
Berg no longer talked these kind of important decisions over with his wife, only with his therapist. Because of this, Maria Berg was happy that the psychologist had invited her to a meeting. However, that changed drastically when she heard that the psychologist had invited her to ask about her spirituality. "At the end of the meeting she dropped a bomb on me. She told me I had a problem with God, and that I also needed therapy." Maria Berg declined, thanking the therapist. Now she was warned. A short time later came the evening on which Maria Berg "woke up," as she said. There was a terrible fight. Berg, a huge man, grabbed his petite wife and vigorously shook her. That night she discovered the recruitment manual in his room from Eckankar. She feverishly read it the whole night through underneath the kitchen lamp. Mrs. Berg, who is a student of literature, reached an unmistakable conclusion. She had rarely read so much "nonsense tied all together." Then she came upon "when the cynic, who I think I am familiar with, reads something like this, then something quite terrible will have to happen to him." The next day she called up sect information at Essen.
Eckankar was already quite well known there. The sect is categorized as "objectionable." They told Maria Berg about it and gave her exact instructions. She should not let on that anything was different, not put her husband under any pressure, but proceed with him as normally as possible and send him by for a meeting as soon as she could. "Out of sheer panic I even hid my husband's passport so that he could not leave the country," admitted Maria Berg.
One week later, Georg Berg was sitting across from Heide-Marie Cammans, who has headed the sect information center of Essen for twenty years. She carefully opened his eyes to the machinations of Eckankar and directed his attention to personal experiences of other destructive cults. Today, Georg Berg is deeply ashamed that he ignored the warning signs and left himself completely in the hands of his therapist. "That is still coming up," he said. "The worst part of it was that I was constantly trying to find the guilt in myself. It wasn't until much later that I developed anger at the sect."
Heide-Marie Cammans has experienced a slew of similar cases. Many psycho-therapists dabble "in spiritual areas", she says.
Protection from therapeutic abuse should be provided by the honor court (Ehrengerichte) for psychologists, as it does for doctors and lawyers. Their various proceedings are screened by actual courts. They oversee the preservation of standards to which independent professionals obligate themselves. The honor court provides protection for patients and clients. It is made up of both attorneys and experienced members of the pertinent professions. The heaviest punishment they can bestow is the retraction of a professional permit.
In 1996, 41 complaints were brought before the honors court of the Psychologists Association - mostly because of alleged errors in treatment. 27 of those are already settled. Of those, 7 were in favor of the complainant - three for sexual misconduct. It is generally presumed that only a small fraction of those kind of explosive cases come before a court.
The Victims don't speak out because of personal shame
The danger of abuse is not only possible with the therapy which was originally provided. In this regard, esoteric and spiritual therapies are much more volatile. As a matter of fact, most cults are hostilely opposed to psycho-therapy. However, this opposition does not prevent them from entering the psychological market themselves. According to the "Remedy Book for Souls" (Kiepenheuer & Witsch 1996), there are approximately 600 of this type of "psycho[logical]-cult" in Germany. Providers of therapy from these sects should be regarded cautiously because they have no quality control. Along with that, they deal in risky sect techniques. Therapy victims of self-declared gurus have ended up being treated by mental doctors and psychiatric clinics. These sect techniques often repress serious conditions of fear which are discovered only after months of clinical treatment. Nobody knows the actual number of people harmed as a result of therapy misuse. For the most part, they are completely helpless, and hide their misfortune out of shame.
That is how it was in Ohnsorg's case. The Berg family did not risk their anonymity because of a fear of retribution by the sect. They still found the courage to bring a complaint against the medicaid office and the Professional Association of Psychologists. Other victims of the therapist would not even take this step. The medicaid office in Essen took Iris Ohnsorg off their list of recognized psycho-therapists. The Psychologists Association, however, played the case down. They found "only one case of Eckankar materials introduced into therapeutic sessions." Because of that, "her part in any wrong-doing was seen as slight," the chairman of the honors court told the Bergs late summer of last year.
The sect expert, Heide-Marie Cammans, who was ready to testify about the practices of Eckankar, was not called as a witness by the psychologists association's honors court. The proceedings were ended with the payment of a small fine.
As far as the psychologist's association goes, that takes care of the Eckankar case. According to association speaker Karin Scheider-Kurten, the matter can be taken up again when other therapy victims are ready to testify before the court.