Everything that is right

Church and Cult incompatible

Frankfurt, Germany
February 23, 2001
Frankfurter Rundschau

Churches may dismiss without notice staff who publicly appear as members of a sect: in that type of case, continued employment was not reasonable because the church staff member would have violated the requirement for loyalty, the Federal Labor Court has ruled (Az.: 2 AZR 139/00) In the actual case the Erfurt judge dismissed the complaint of the former director of an Evangelical kindergarten in Pforzheim who was a member of the the "Universal Church" (UC) for which she held seminars. When her employer heard about the seminars, the 36-year-old instructor was let go without notice with the reason that the teachings of the UC was not compatible with Christian fundamentals of faith. The woman argued that the UC was under the protection of Basic Law as a "congregation of belief" and that her UC membership had no effect on her work. The Federal Labor Court found that it was sufficient for the woman to have appeared publicly for the UC. (guz)

Artist not taking action against accusations of membership in Scientology

Frankfurt, Germany
September 22, 2000
Rheinpfalz Online

Gottfried Helnwein, the Austrian painter, may now be described with impunity as a Scientologist and an auditor or a clergyman of the Scientology organization. The artist waived hearing in the Frankfurt Superior State Court (case number: 16 U 163/95), thereby dropping his complaint against Jeannette Schweitzer, a former Scientology member.

That ends a legal dispute between the artist and Jeannette Schweitzer that lasted over six years. She had protested Helnwein's intention to take part in a commemoration for the "Neue Bremm" concentration camp near Saarbruecken. Schweitzer objected to an adherent of an organization as questionable as Scientology taking part in such a memorial.

A short time later, there was lively political discussion at the state level when Culture Minister Rose Goette, who was collaterally responsible for state sect counseling, authorized an exhibition on cartoonist Carl Barks in 1995 which was conceived of by Helnwein and which was lent some of his works. Goette stood by Helnwein, even after a number of written sources were made available which proved the artist's connection to Scientology.

The Frankfurt Superior State Court decided in June 1996 that three of four statements made by Schweitzer about Helnwein were permissible (we reported on the Suedwest page on June 21, 1996). But Helnwein brought it to the Federal Constitutional Court, which repealed the superior court's decision in December 1998. At the time, the constitutional court stated that an assertion supported by evidence could be false. Helnwein had to be given the opportunity to contradict the truthfulness of the evidence presented against him.

It never came to that, although Schweitzer was confident of being able to provide proof. Helnwein announced in February that he withdrew his complaint because he no longer lived in Germany (he last lived in Burgbrohl in the north of Rheinland-Pfalz) and because the proceedings no longer meant anything to him. Schweitzer, however, did not agree to withdrawal of the complaint because that would have stopped her from being able to prove the truthfulness of her statements. So a new hearing was scheduled which Helnwein has now ended by waiving due procedure. In contrast to withdrawing a complaint, that means that all statements in question may now be repeated with impunity.

According to Wolfgang Boehm, Schweitzer's attorney from Heidelberg, the outcome was not surprising, it was more par for the course for the Scientologists who shrank back from having witnesses heard in court who would give incriminating testimony. Boehm's assessment was that new evidence of a connection between Helnwein and Scientology, evidence supported by numerous witnesses, would have been extremely incriminating to Scientology. (boe)

Helnwein's capitulation

St. Ingbert, Germany
September 20, 2000
Jeannette Schweitzer
Präventions- und Ausstiegsberatung mit psychosozialer Begleitung

The last German-language VITEM release is now at: http://www.ingo-heinemann.de/helnw2.htm

Press Release

Gottfried Helnwein the painter finally lets "Scientology trial" fall through

Frankfurt (21 Sept. 00) - Gottfried Helnwein the painter has finally let the "Scientology trial" in the Frankfurt Superior State Court fall through, and now may officially be described as a Scientologist according to the superior court's decision of 21 September 2000 (case number: 16 U 183195). Before the new trial could begin in accordance with the Federal Constitutional Court, by which Helnwein would risk public testimony taken into evidence, the artist, as expected, waived due process. The result is that all the statements in question which showed a connection between him and Scientology are allowed by the courts.

The background to the situation: in the early 1990s, indices grew which showed that internationally known artist Helnwein was a member of the Scientology organization, which he disputed. In 1993, Jeannette Schweitzer, chairperson of "VITEM e.V.," of St. Ingbert, and a representative from another association wrote an open letter which said that Helnwein "described himself as a clergyman of Scientology," and that the Austrian artist was a "Class IV auditor of the Scientology Church." The open letter further stated that "Gottfried Helnwein belonged to a group which destroyed people's psyches in a compulsory hypnotic procedure aided by a lie detector in order to control their consciousness."

Helnwein sued over these statements and publicly distanced himself from Scientology. He made it through Frankfurt State Court, but then lost on all points save one in the next hearing. The only statement prohibited said that the proceeds from the sale of a Marilyn Monroe lithograph provably went to the OSA Scientology intelligence agency. With what is known today, it would also be possible to prove the factual content of that statement (see, in German: www.ingo-heinemann.de/helnw2.htm).

After that defeat, Helnwein brought his complaint to Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. In a startling decision, the constitutional court referred the complaint back to the Frankfurt Superior State Court in 1998 for technical reasons in order to give VITEM e.V. the chance to prove the truthfulness of the statements.

Jeannette Schweitzer and VITEM e.V. were well equipped for the new trial. They could name a number of new facts of evidence and several witnesses to support their assertions.

Among the witnesses were former high-ranking members who have since left Scientology, who knew Helnwein in connection with Scientology activities and who lived with him in Germany and in the Scientology stronghold of Clearwater, Florida. They included a former high-placed "clergywoman" from the organization's training center in Clearwater. In the mid-1990s, at the high point of the legal, public dispute, she was sent to Helnwein in Burgbrohl, Rheinland-Pfalz, as she said, to help with difficulties Helnwein was having in training up to "Operating Thetan VII," the second to highest level of "salvation" in Scientology.

Helnwein has appeared repeatedly in Scientology publications as a contributor to Scientology's "War Chest," the last time was 1998. According to the organization's own publications, that money is used to combat critics. As of the year 2000, the artist himself is still being displayed by Scientology as an example of Germany's alleged discrimination against Scientologists because of their "membership in a religion."

Since Helnwein has waived due process in the Frankfurt Superior Court, it is no longer necessary in civil law, but neither is it possible, to prove how Scientologist Helnwein tried to deceive the courts and the German public. VITEM e.V. will now look into filing a criminal complaints for suspicion of attempted trial fraud and false sworn affirmation.

      From:  Tilman Hausherr 
Newsgroups:  de.soc.weltanschauung.scientology
   Subject:  fwd: Gottfried Helnwein drops suit
      Date:  Sat, 26 Aug 2000 11:51:28 +0200

[from Ingo Heinemann]

Gottfried Helnwein drops suit

On August 24, 2000, Helnwein finally capitulated in court and dropped his law suit against VITEM, Inc. - Jeanette Schweitzer.

He had already withdrawn his complaint. His attorney said in a press release on February 2, 2000:

"Withdrawal of the complaint does not imply admission of the truth of the facts of the case asserted by the opposition. Withdrawal of the complaint serves exclusively to end proceedings which have no meaning for the complainant and in which he has lost his interest in legal protection."

Therefore VITEM did not agree to the withdrawal of the complaint, at which time a new complaint with the same content would be possible. For that a date was set for the Frankfurt Superior Court. Dropping the law suit is the final withdrawal of the application. The court set a date to announce its decision on September 28, 2000. In that the complaint will be dismissed. With that the matter will be at a legal close. Helnwein cannot take up the same matter again.

Helnwein wanted to take part in a arrangement at a memorial for a concentration camp. VITEM objected to that in an open letter, German text of the Federal Constitutional Court decision at http://www.ingo-heinemann.de/1531-96.htm

Helnwein sued against VITEM's statement, details in German at http://www.Ingo-Heinemann/helnw1.htm. His application was rejected by Frankfurt Superior State Court. Helnwein filed a Constitutional complaint, which was granted by the Federal Constitutional Court. However, it only concerned the issues of the requirements of burden of proof. The trial is to be re-heard at Frankfurt Superior State Court. VITEM has filed its evidence there. The next step would have been to hear from the witnesses. That is what Helnwein has just avoided by dropping the suit.

Ingo Heinemann

Scientology must make contributions to IHK

Frankfurt, Germany
March 20, 2000
Frankfurter Neue Presse, 2000

Frankfurt. The "Scientology Church" must accept mandatory membership in the Frankfurt Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) and pay membership dues. That was decided by the Frankfurt Administrative Court. The judges dismissed "Scientology's" complaint against the IHK because of several contribution points (Case number: 1 E 1044/97).

In the court's opinion, "Scientology" is a corporation which is required to pay commercial taxes and therefore, according to legal determinations, it automatically has to be a member of the IHK. "Scientology" operates a book store in Frankfurt in which its scriptures are distributed. The association had refused to accept mandatory membership because, it said, the distribution of the printed matter was occurring only on an "honorary basis," and that the shop was not being managed "fully mercantilistically." According to the court's presentation, that was not reflected in the circumstances. As a result there was the obligation to pay commercial tax, as had been confirmed by the revenue office and the City of Frankfurt.