Business people protest against the Scientology show on Reichenbach Square
May 11, 2001
by Claudia Fischer
A cheerful scene on Reichenbach Square in front of No. 1 Buttermelcher Street: three gentlemen dressed in suits give out roses to the ladies and blue balloons to the children. They cheerfully wish the passersby a a wonderful day. The young mother, stopped with her child's wagon and having words with a carefully groomed lady in a dark outfit, does not give the impression that she is in an affable mood. "I don't want you stopping the children to talk to them and pushing balloons on them! I knew this was going to happen." The woman thus addressed, it turns out to be Sabine Weber, the Vice President of Scientology Church Germany, is completely understanding, "I'll see to it that it does not happen again," she promises.
Anja Schultes is the only person who so clearly vents her annoyance at the controversial "Live better without Drugs" Scientology show in the Rosipal building on Reichenbach Square. Other pedestrians prefer to complain in private. Gerd Richter, who is waiting for the bus right across the street doesn't think the show is very good because, from his point of view, the Scientology Organization itself is what people are blustering about: a drug. Another mother with her baby from the Gaertner Square district was a little bit more combative about how she expressed herself: "It's impossible, how can they be using balloons and roses to lure children!" Juliana Previcz, another resident from the Gaertner Square quarter is certain that if she had a child, that it would not be getting a Scientology balloon. Olga Meier, too, would not take a rose, on principle. She had no idea "how they even got a permit to distribute those things on the street."
The business people on Reichenbach Square are not amused over the commotion which is going on outside their front doors. They initiated a counter-demonstration with the district committee which will occur today at 2 p.m. on Reichenbach Square. Herta Rauch, who has been here with her alteration and tailor shop for 27 years, gave everyone a flyer to let them know when the counter-demonstration started. Johanna Wallner-Wiener of the "Cafe Wiener" on Reichenbach Square told about the experience she had with Scientology. "We were photographed by them through the window," she says. Josef Sattler, business manager and proprietor of the "Deutsche Eiche" restaurant on Reichenbach Street, would not have made such a big deal of it. "Things are blowing out of proportion and turning into a big PR stunt for Scientology!"
In a related incident, Tilman Hausherr reported on de.soc.weltanschauung.scientology:
I just got a flyer. It says:
THE SCIENTOLOGY SYSTEM
The worst DRUG of all,
because it robs you of YOURSELF
Demonstrate on Reichenbach Square Friday 2-3 p.m.
Saturday 12 and 4 p.m.
It was sent out by the Association of residents and business people in the Gaertner Squarter district.
See 010505a.htm for previous story and pictures.
Laichingen - If things go the way Friedholm Werner wants, Scientology will not get a change to establish itself in Laichungen - at least not in the building the organization has had its eye on across from the high school. The community council, said the Laichinger mayor, will still have to approve a zoning change.
From our editor Werner Kemmler
The Laichingen leader wants to simultaneously do business with the owner Gerhard Graser and promote a "more sensible" use for the former factory building. And for either option Werner has a relatively good hand in stalling the Scientology project.
For the lot where Graser's building stands there exists no construction plan, as verified by the chief manager. The ultimate authority for that lies primarily with the community council. The committee, accoding to Mayor Werner, would have to approve conversion into a conference and training center. A decision which - if it were to ever come to a vote - appears rather improbable.
But Werner does not just want to stall the Scientology center. The council chief would like to develop a separate use concept with the owner, Graser. That would pose a question of whether classrooms for the public high school could not be set up there. The school has been complaining about a lack of space for some time, mainly in the area of health courses. It is said that the gymnastic and track department of the Laichingen TSV would also need more room.
"If we get favorable feedback to our solution, then we'll need to move fast," said Werner. And for that the former factory building would be an excellent option. To be sure some things would have to be repaired in the building and renovated, including the sanitary facilities.
Mayor Friedhold Werner already had his eye on the building on Daniel Mangold Street last year. Back then the question was whether classrooms could be made for the neighboring primary and secondary schools. An offer to buy had been turned down by Graser, though.
A member of our editorial staff, Elisabeth Ligendza, spoke with Dr. Hansjoerg Hemminger, weltanschauung commissioner with the Evangelical community service for Wuerttemberg about the Scientologists who are again making headlines.
SZ: Can one designate Scientology as a sect - why?
Dr. Hemminger: The designation of "sect" is unfortunate because that word indicates a religious splinter group. Scientology poses more of a mixture of a unprofessional, exploitative commercial business and of an ideological extremist group.
SZ: What goals does Scientology have?
Dr. Hemminger: On the face of it Scientology is a provider of services, over-priced psycho-courses. The majority of that money does not go to enrichment, but to the acquisition of political and social power. Scientology is extremely power-oriented and strives for long-term world control under the slogan "Clear the Planet." In Scientology's jargon that slogan means that the earth will become Scientologist. For the individuals, Scientology means something different than it does for the organization: the individual Scientologist thinks that he can become a sort of super-huamn on the so-called "Bridge to Freedom," an eternally living spiritual being.
SZ: Scientology also made headlines in the past in Laichungen - primarily in the purchase and sales of buildings. Is Laichingen special to the Scientologists and to what extent?
Dr. Hemminger: I don't believe that Laichungen is a location of special significance to the Scientology Organization. Traditionally the Ballungs area with its buying power has been more interesting to the organization. But the Scientologists have been hitting a strong headwind there for about the last ten years, mainly in the greater vicinity of Stuttgart. According to all findings the financial power of the organization has also decreased considerably. Therefore I could imagine that they are trying out structurally weaker areas where the public's awareness of extremist groups is not so high.
SZ: What makes Laichingen attractive for Scientology?
Dr. Hemminger: Actually I just answered that question, too.
SZ: It is said that Scientology has a hand in one-third of the real estate market - why exactly are they interested in this area?
Dr. Hemminger: Scientologists are often under enormous pressure to come up with very much money for the course system on the "Bridge to Freedom," or they may also have to support the organization with large sums of money. Therefore they focus their commercial activity in areas which promise high profits, even though there are also high risks. Besides the real estate market there are, for example, the branches of personnel placement, software development, other service branches and so forth. Yet it's true that the real estate market in the greater Stuttgart vicinity has been especially affected.
SZ: A Dianetics Center is supposed to be put up in Laichungen - what is that?
Dr. Hemminger: A Dianetics Center is a center for services of the wrongly so-called "Church of Scientology" and indeed it is one which is situated at the bottom of the ladder as far as the organization is concerned. That means it would offer the entrance courses and seminars. For continuing courses people would have to go to Stuttgart, Copenhage and the USA.
SZ: Scientology in Laichingen on the Schwabian Alp - is special caution in order?
Dr. Hemminger: Special caution is always in order when dealing with Scientology, when a person or an organization is susceptible to the promises without end of the Scientologists. Success, power and money in undreamed of measure are promised, but reality mostly appears much different. Each person should themselves review how far they are ready to go in chasing after such illusions.
The interview was also published in the Swabian newspaper, "Schwäbische Zeitung"
The Dark Evolution
From skin conditions to Scientology:
Only the conspiracy theory explains the inexplicable
January 5, 2001
by Steffen Kopetzky
Cleanliness comes right after piety
Don DeLillo, "Bloodhound"
New Year's Eve with friends? Family? Nice, huh? Oh well. I don't mind others doing it. A new year! You stand with your friends among strangers, stare at the night sky and hope that everything gets better. You try to spot Sirius between the sprays of sparks from the fireworks. In vain naturally. That's not for me.
The friends with whom I could have stood among strangers to celebrate I don't have any more. I discovered the truth for myself. Most people can't stand it when you tell them the truth.
I write sarcastic comments. That's my job. I write sarcasm about everyday life. About reality. Sarcastic comment after comment about friendship. Since my Christmas sarcasm I don't even want to see my family any more. Since I wrote my "neighbors" sarcasm I have to watch out when I go through dark passageways. Buying food is also difficult. I've been kicked out of my regular convenience store because of the one with the beef and the bloody saleswoman. I had to go to Karstadt, where things are very expensive. My bank got nervous. I wrote about it. Now I have a special savings account. Is all that coincidence?
On New Year's Even I sat at home alone and took stock. I was rather depressed. How was I supposed to write sarcastically about experiences with my friends when I didn't have them anymore? What would become of me? How was I supposed to get any more money?
Long after midnight I put on a Groucho-Marx mask and went out to my last regular bar, the "Bierbaum," to meet people who were even more desperate than I. I have never written the truth about the "Bierbaum," so they haven't kicked me out yet.
There was hardly anyone there. A couple of drinkers and a couple at the bar who were shamelessly and ruthlessly groping each other regardless of the feelings of lonesome men. After the sarcasm on birth control my girlfriend left me.
On the pool table in a side room were the remnants of a free buffet. The buffet looked like aliens had acted out unspeakable sexual fantasies with it. I helped myself. In the corner sat a sleepy guy with a sandwich in his left hand which looked like it was going to fall on the floor any second. I took my plate back to the bar. Not far from the couple who at that point were now mutually massaging each other.
Paranoia sets in when the familiar turns strange, when you go into the last bar that will take you and suddenly the grout between the tiles in the men's room crumbles. The monumental sayings about the truth about women scribbled on the tiles change their meaning. The words come together in different ways; what used to be obscene now turns profound, where you used to read the same joke about the impure and the spoiled now is the long-hidden, secret truth. "Clearasil - all clear and under control."
Paranoia is both innocent and refined at the same time. New to the world yet already its most perfect segment. Paranoia pervades the past, raises corners of cause and effect and casts a spell on history, which suddenly turns inside out and reveals its hidden feedback. The past and present become one; prophesy and fulfillment come together. Time turns to space and all the languages of the world turn to one. Conspiracy.
At the stall stood a guy, stringy black hair, and wrote something on the wall. "Clearasil - all clear and under control." He turned to me. I grinned.
"Happy New Year," I said.
"For the Egyptians the 23rd of July, when Sirius went behind the sun, was the start of the new year. 23rd!!!"
"Did you already eat your cold cuts," he asked.
"My . . . cold cuts?"
"When I was little they used to tell us that evolution blindly goes its own path. They told us that everything would go well. They lied to us. BSE [Mad Cow disease: Germany has recently reported more cases of this] is an omen of the dark evolution - the cows in Allgaeu learned the dark information from Prion and the whole story with the infected cattle feed is just made up because they could not otherwise explain it. What if BSE is part of the Dark Evolution? A part of the plan?
Dark Evolution? The guy had a weird look, jerky movements and a back-and-forth glance. And obvious skin problems. We sat down at the bar.
He said he used to be a cosmetic representative. But he said the cosmetic industry indeed was completely infested. Scientology.
"Scientology," I asked, "Hubbard? Cosmetics?"
"Absolutely," he said, "Hadn't I ever heard of Hubbard's obsession with cleanliness?"
I replied I hadn't. He told me how Hubbard first tried out writing science fiction novels and film scripts. The central work was called "Revolt of the Stars" [not sure of English title]. It was ingeniously turned by Hubbard from a C-rated movie into a secret teaching: a planetary confederation 75 million years ago, a tyrant by the name of Xenu who, in order to get the raging overpopulation under control, froze billions of citizens, had them brought to earth and detonated hydrogen bombs on them which brought the then disencarnate but immortal souls to watch 3-D movies, called implants. These movies showed the disincarnated souls pictures of good and evil, of God and Christ and the Crucifixion. Thus processed, all those billions of souls were then attached to the few survivors who still had bodies. We are their successors, and this ballast we carry of strange, infected souls which are attached to each and every one of us can be removed, promised Hubbard, with the help of his technology thereby restoring our god-like powers. Clear is the word and "Clear the Planet" is the global slogan.
We sat at the bar, New Year's Eve, the new year, the shameless couple, the beef cold cuts - and everything became easy. I forgot my worries. I understood why I didn't have any friends anymore about whom I could write my sarcasm. Conspiracy. They wanted to silence me. Like Dr. Kohl.
In our world where nothing is perverse or tolerant, paranoia lets a person get at things of which everyday people can only dream. People on the track of a conspiracy have a new spiritual license, a credit card which is accepted anywhere. What conspiracy has going for it, namely, is money. Thereby can we buy parts of the world, make decisions, for this or against that. The purchase carries the idea of order along with it, the realization of the ability of abundance, selecting this and leaving that. Money has a spiritual function - if we buy something, the world of things gives us a short smile. For that reason we want to have money on our side - in order to be able to spend it. Saving is a sin. Spending, investing, having it take life is the commandment. That was Hubbard's genius - to have brought money and the conspiracy together, the last two spiritual greats.
The guy told me how one day he found out that the company for which he worked belonged to Scientology.
"For entertainment I always went to the movies. One day I saw an advertisement for face cleanser, Clearasil. Two girls who wanted to have clear skin used facial cleanser advertised by "All clear and under control." Of course, I thought in a panic, of course, that is a clear sign - Clear the Planet - Clearasil - Scientology is the Clearasil for the unclear consciousness. That is the message. That is the way they manipulate people from puberty on. I had to warn people! The children! Mainly the ones with skin problems, that means almost everyone I know when you're talking about skin problems! I saw Travolta, a vision, quite clearly, saw how he pressed a Clearasil pad onto his nostril and cleared his blackheads, cleaned his face, conspiratorially looking at the camera, smiling, how he held the disgusting black pad up in the air, took a new pad, repeated the procedure and then showed the clear pad - no dirt, no blackheads. All clear, clear, cleared and under control."
He lost his job, his wife left him, then this skin condition because they were putting something in his food. Things like beef cold cuts with much animal fat of unknown origin. They were making the problems artificially, BSE, skin conditions, acne, then they offered people the solutions they invented. I thought about it. What would now be the solution?
The guy. Of course. That couldn't be an accident. Suddenly he stared at me knowingly. Then he said, "I know you. I've been looking for you."
"What do you mean?" I asked. Was I afraid. No, panic-stricken. Instead of answering, he fetched a smeared newspaper article out of his pocket. You know this kind of guy. Those are the people who gather their pieces of evidence, all taken out of context, and carry them around with them. It was the sarcastic piece for which I had sacrificed my friends and family.
"I read it all. Here, it began with the beef, with the Mad Cow diseases, six months after the article the prophesies came true. About the health system, sex life, attack dogs - you wrote the truth, man. Your stupid Grouch-Marx mask can't fool me."
I was tongue-tied.
"But there's one story left, one you still have to write, or else . . .," he said.
"What should I call it?", I asked.
"The Dark Evolution."
"I'll do it," I said shakily.
"Perfect," he said and bent down to his suit case. He brought out a book. R.A. Wilson. "The Lexicon of Conspiracy Theories."
"Here," he said, "here is the book for the new millennium, you'll need it. I am very happy to be able to offer it to you as a special."
"Wait a minute," I said. "Are you going to tell me that was all a sales speech?"
"I still have to feed my wife and children."
"Man," I said, "that's just too bad. I just don't know."
"Well OK," he said, "could you then at least give me some money?"
Munich. Apostate members of the Scientology organization's elite unit, "Sea Organization," are subjected to "brainwashing" in at least ten penal camps in the USA, Denmark and England, according to Canadian professor Stephen Kent. As reported by news magazine "Focus," Kent will present his scientific study in the coming weeks with a former camp inmate in Hamburg and Berlin. Those formerly involved report that deviants, including the former Hamburg chief Wiebke Hansen, must always run from one place to another in the heavily guarded camp, and have to work for up to 30 hours at a stretch. The food was said to be insufficient and "terrible." Totalitarian methods such as forced confession of imaginary sins are alleged to be used to make the inmate toe the line.
Munich Picket Report
March 4, 2000
Location: Leopold Str., with a view of the Org
Duration : about 1 - 4 p.m.
Flyers distributed: about 200
Participants: 4 altogether
most frequent reaction: many passersby expressed their agreement to the operation
Apparently many residents of Munich are fed up with the constant, daily recruitment operations by the Scientologists. Several reported that the people invited in for the orientation film included younger people.
Since Scn is not your typical "Youth Sect," the following questions come up:
- Does this serve to win young people over at an early age so that they are predisposed to have a sympathetic attitude toward Scn?
- Is this just about increasing the statistics of the "Number of People at the Orientation Film?"
OSA Defense: OSA man Altendorfer (or something like that) and a female staff member of his each got a flyer. Then Altendorfer came back, introduced himself as a CoS man and requested another flyer.
I refused. Instead I asked him repeatedly what he had done with the first flyer. "I ate it," he said. Poor guy - if I would have known that staff wages were so low that the staff could buy nothing to eat, of course I would have brought along seasoned flyers for him. No need to be hard-hearted.
But the OSA man communicated that he wanted to photograph me, which is certainly legal. However his camera was on strike. He finally got a picture with a different camera.
In doing so he was photographed by a person, XY, whom I had been speaking with a while - also legal, since he is a person of public life. Upon that, he made an effort to snap a picture of XY. I prevented him, and pointed out that XY was not a person of public life. The OSA man asserted strongly and firmly that anybody who took a picture of him was a person of public life.
[asked clarification of German law.]
I gave my opinion that that was not true and the OSA man gave up - apparently without getting a picture of XY.
Shortly thereafter 2 foreign Scientologists (Italians?), one with a golden IAS pin, and continued to take pictures of me. As near as I could tell, XY was not photographed at that time, either.
Montessori Parents Protest
Petition against Scientology
May 22, 1999
3,000 signatures against street recruitment by Scientology were collected by the 'Montessori Parents / Psycho-sects e.V.' initiative and handed over to Mayor Gertraud Burkert in city hall yesterday. The citizens, children among them, got the signatures of people who, in that past year, have been "shamelessly and repeatedly oppressed" by Scientologists, including those in front of the Dianetics center on Leopold Street.
As it said on the initiative's flyer, "We cannot bring ourselves to understand how an organization which is being observed nationwide by Constitutional Security may distribute leaflets daily on the streets and drag unsuspecting citizens off to take tests." It is through the personality test, which gives an essentially negative profile of the person being tested, that citizens are said to be pulled into the Scientology system. Besides financial harm, people risk being put under massive psychical influence. Parents of former students of the Dietramszell Montessori school founded the initiative in 1996, after cases of psycho-terrorism were reported near the school, which children of Scientologists also attend. Gertraud Burkert forwarded the list to the district administrative representative.
BBC television stops worldwide broadcast of commercials for Scientology
May 6, 1999
Munich (epd) After protests from German television viewers, BBC, the British broadcasting company suspended the worldwide broadcast of commercials for Scientology. Michael Kayser, the German representative from BBC World, related this to the epd in Munich. The commercial for the 1950 book "Dianetics" by Scientology founder Ron Hubbard had been broadcast several times a day for about three weeks.
The television spot had been released by the British Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Center. However, since the Scientology organization is essentially rated more critically in Germany than it is in Great Britain, the broadcaster took the commercial off the air prematurely. According to Kayser, BBC World is received by about ten million households in Germany.
The Bavarian State Institute for New Media in Munich welcomed the decision. Spokesman Wolfgang Flieger indicated that according to German media laws, broadcast of commercials for religious organizations is not permitted. However, the Media Institute is also bound to the European Television Policy for Retransmission of Foreign Broadcasts, which guarantees free reception according to the so-called "state transmission principle."
Ever since March of this year the Labor Association of State Media Institutions of Private Broadcasting Companies had been warning of a strongly financed advertising campaign by the "Scientology Church." The Sachsen State Media Institute announced in connection with this that the controversial organization was prepared to spend about $40 million for an "information campaign" via the media. The Bavarian institute had already verified that Scientology had wanted to engage a private Munich station for commercial broadcast. The radio spots, however, were not broadcast as planned.
Scientology has been under surveillance by the state Constitutional Security agencies in Germany since 1997. Critics speak of an ideologically totalitarian system which closely observes its members and operates primarily in a profit-oriented manner. The issue of whether the organization is a religious congregation or a business has not been uniformly decided upon by the courts. In 1997 Scientology gave the number of its members in Germany to the U.N. Human Rights Commission as 30,000. Experts have since concluded that it is much less.
Medical staff member at Erlangen District Hospital makes serious accusations against the Scientology Organization
Seminar discusses psychoses and acute, [health-]threatening conditions -
Research group is to gather more scientific data
From: "Nurnberger Nachrichten"
June 5, 1998
by Roland Englisch
Munich - Gert Tauber tries it with simple pictures. What the Scientology sect does, says the medical man from Erlangen, is nothing other that the "breaking-in and [obedience] training of people with psycho-therapeutic techniques." They experience conditions in which their consciousness is no longer entirely there. [They experience] a sort of trance or hypnosis." Then, says the psycho-therapist, "the perceptions of the person can be changed," any compassion can be taken from them, and this binds them to the sect.
Nobody is immune from this, says the doctor, even those who think of themselves as being strong. "When I use psychological techniques in a certain way, I can train any person." Nowhere else [outside of Scientology] has he experienced "these techniques being so perfectly applied."
Tauber works at the Erlangen District Hospital and has treated former Scientologists as well as people who have participated in seminars given by the organization, such as the so-called "Purification Run-Down." The sect tells the participants that they will be physically and spiritually freed [by these seminars]. Actually, according to Tauber, they fall "into extreme psychological difficulty. They are put out of sorts." Psychotic episodes often follow which contain "acute [health-] threatening conditions which range from panic attacks to euphoria." Some of these victims end up visiting Tauber.
However, that is seldom the case. "It is a long, winding road to the District Hospital for your ordinary person", says the doctor. "It is the last resort." He has still observed cases which end up in the isolation section after having taken the seminars. He has also seen former [Scientology] members "whose feeling of self-worth has been completely destroyed. They are severely depressed, prone to suicide for a long period of time, and completely disoriented."
Those are the exceptions. Scientologists, says Tauber, have "perfected" their system to such a degree, that their victims, after their [Scientology] treatment, "are unreachable. This condition continues as long as they do not question the system. When they first accept something critical [to the Scientology system], that is when [this condition] falls apart." The organization works to prevent this from happening. Still, Tauber only knows of individual cases. He has spoken of four ex-members in three years time.
Nevertheless, he believes the sect presents a high risk. He says the sect is "dangerous because they have seized upon the spirit of the times [zeitgeist]." He states, "It is a trend setter." A trend setter of undetermined size. The estimates of the Bavarian Ministry of the Interior puts the membership of the sect at 10,000 nationwide, 3,000 of them in Bavaria, because Munich is their German headquarters. Precise information is not known in spite of searches and the surveillance of the sect by Constitutional Protection agents. It will be at least a year, says Interior Secretary Gunther Beckstein, before further counts will be known.
[Beckstein's] staff argue just as cautiously as he does. Jurgen Keltsch, who, as a district attorney led a search of sect premises in the 1980's, does not take statements [regarding Scientology membership counts] of the period seriously. A scientific research group should keep the sect at arm's length; the Interior Ministry tries to do that politically and legally. With presumably visible success. The sect, says Beckstein, is acting more cautiously in their persecution of deserting members. And they have problems with recruitment. He says this is a result of his organization's work, which recently includes two new brochures concerning the sect.
The question of a radio journalist as to whether the state was reacting too strongly to the sect enraged the Minister. It would be "outright irresponsible if the state were to recognize such a danger and not react to it."
As much as the Interior Secretary threatens to bring the stern eye of the state to bear, he cannot always handle specific cases. It has long been known to his organization that an official of the neighboring Culture Ministry belongs to the sect. It would be difficult to do anything about him, says Beckstein. The man is a career civil servant and is "assigned to the supervision of accounts." That [position] is supposed to "preclude an endangerment to younger people."