October 12, 1994
The Scientology Church warns of a new Nazi Germany in a full-page advertisement in the USA
by Felix Kreutzer
Berlin (taz) - For four weeks New York Times and Washington Post readers have received, every Thursday, full-page reports of horror from "Today's Germany." Burning synagogues, attacks on foreigners and prohibition of performances by foreign musicians round out the picture. Enlarged photographs show marching Nazi soldiers carrying banners bearing swastikas, harmless musicians with cellos and saxophones under a rubber-stamped text "Verboten", or pictures from the Dachau concentration camp. The accompanying text warns: "Never again!", "Religious Apartheid?"
The readers of both these respected newspapers are invited to write to Kohl, Kinkel and Clinton and "to not ignore the warning signals from a country which has unleashed two world wars in this century."
Underwriter and author of the effectively placed advertisements is the international Association of Scientologists, the mother organization of the German Scientology Church - a "sect" which, according to Norbert Reinke, department head in the Ministry for Women and Youth, "exploits its members under the cover of religion and by the employment of economic criminality and psycho-terrorism."
The Scientologists see themselves in their advertisements as a lamb: beside Jews, banned musicians and persecuted foreigners, the group lines up next to those who have been oppressed in Germany. Their complaint: "in Germany nobody whose religious views are incompatible with those of the government can be a member of a political party. In their annual meeting in Dresden, the CDU decided that membership in the Scientology Church is incompatible with membership in the party - incomprehensible in any other democracy." Besides the CDU, the SPD, FDP and the "Statt" party have also excluded Scientologists from their ranks. "The rest of the world must learn that the German government has reverted to the old traditions of prejudice and coercement," stated the Hamburg Scientology Center in a press release.
In reaction to the advertisement campaign in the USA, the Office of the Bundes Chancellor has received 2,000 letters. The press agents of the "Scientology-Kirche Deutschland e.V." talk about 5,000 letters. The letters are forwarded from the Bundes Chancellor's Office to the Department of Youth Sects and Psycho-groups in the Ministry for Youth and Family. According to department chief Weitzel, they have not been answered because of "their uniform content." The Chancellor is said to receive a monthly summary. In the Foreign Office, the damage to the image of Germany is seen as slight.
"Legal counter-actions or counter-advertisements" are not planned "so as to not afford the Scientologists any more publicity; such a campaign disqualifies itself," is heard from the government circles. Dr. Uwe Mazura, vice speaker of the CDU, said in a presentation that the CDU brochures do not contain pictures of squashed insects, as has been stated in the advertisements. [A play on words in both English and German: squashed in- sects.]
The German consulate in the USA reports little reaction to the advertisement campaign. In a letter to the New York Times, Abraham Foxman of the Anti- Defamation League characterized the advertisements as "exaggerated and unjustified." Also, the Jewish publication, "Jewish Week," complained in an article about the equal placement of the Jews persecuted by the Nazis on one side and the decision of incompatibility by the CDU on the other side. That was said to be an "insult to all victims of the Holocaust."
According to its own statement, the Scientology Church has 30,000 members in Germany and 8,000,000 worldwide. Scientology celebrities include actor Tom Cruise and Lisa Marie Presley, Elvis' daughter and newly wed wife of Michael Jackson.
German Scientology News