Germany vs. the Scientologists


A confession: I am not a Scientologist. I do not like Scientology. I would become frantic if my sixteen-year-old daughter fell into the hands of this self-proclaimed church.

Such a repudiation of Scientology is necessary for anybody who writes about Scientology in Germany these days. Of course, to deny, disclaim, and disavow it still may not save you. For the very attempt may prove the opposite: that you are a secret disciple or an agent of influence of a group which, like the Freemasons or the Elders of Zion, has learned to camouflage its quest for planetary domination.

Even going about your normal business might brand you as part of this subversive group, especially in Bavaria, where the feeling against Scientology is strongest. Take Guy Count von Moy, who runs a smallish brewery, the Hofbräuhaus, in the smallish town of Freising just north of Munich. Like all local brewers in Germany’s shrinking market, the count has had to fend off giants like Beck’s or Löwenbräu. And so he launched an advertising campaign. Maybe he was trying too hard to push his suds, especially when he resorted to such mysterious slogans as “Feeling Inner Strength” or “Relying on Your Own Power.”

Sounds like Scientology, doesn’t it? Soon the whispers started (perhaps set off by the competition), and not long afterward the count’s workers were harassed as Scientologists, and so were his children. His wife, Verena, was one for sure, the voices in the dark murmured, and look, wasn’t she actually running the brewery? What better way to corrupt Bavarians than by using their favorite beverage as the devil’s tool?

It did not matter that the Moys were devout Catholics. Nor that the count was a member of the Order of Malta, into which only noblemen with the strictest Catholic credentials are inducted. In desperation, he took out an ad in the local paper: “Neither I nor any of my employees at the Hofbräuhaus Freising nor any member of my family has anything to do with the Scientology sect.” Whether that will restore his reputation and balance sheet is not yet clear.

By their very nature, witch hunts are not concerned with the truth. A favorite means of detection of medieval witches was to throw a suspect, bound hand and foot, into the river. If she floated, she was possessed of unnatural powers and thus destined for the stake. If she drowned, she was innocent. Either way she was dispatched from this world, which was presumably the result intended in the first place. As the count and others like him may yet discover, it is impossible to prove a negative.

The Bundestag has set up a “Commission of Inquiry on So-Called Sects and Psychogroups,” which directs much of its energies at Scientology. Late last year Antje Vollmer, a member of the Green Party who is also the Parliament’s vice-president, showed up for a meeting of the commission. While the experts from the domestic security service, the Verfassungsschutz, were testifying, she was asked to leave by an incensed witness. And why? Because Frau Vollmer was friends with an artist who has been accused of being a Scientologist. Hence, the Bundestag’s number-two leader could not be trusted, all the more so because, as one member of the panel said, she had already acted as an “unwitting” accomplice of Scientology.1


Of course many Germans will object to any mention today of witch hunts or black-hooded inquisitors or search-and-destroy breviaries like the fabled Malleus Maleficarum, or Witch Hammer. Published around 1486, the Witch Hammer was the standard handbook on witchcraft, with instructions on how to detect and extirpate it, in the Holy Roman Empire.2 The people in charge of sects and “psychogroups” today are the internal affairs ministers of various German Länder, above all, Günther Beckstein of Bavaria. With a bit of historical license, this Catholic conservative might be cast in the role of Pope Innocent VIII, who lives on in the history books as author of the papal bull Summis Desiderantes of 1484, which castigated the spread of witchcraft throughout Germany.

Innocent sponsored the Malleus as well as a potent apparatus of ecclesiastical persecution. Last fall, Beckstein’s ministry issued a 15-point “action catalog” designed to ferret out and exclude Scientologists who might try to infiltrate Bavaria’s public service or get their hands into the public procurement trough. Beckstein thinks that Scientology is a “totalitarian system bordering on organized crime that seeks to take over the society and the state.”3

Bavaria’s Ministry of Culture didn’t do an update on the Malleus. But it offered help for schoolteachers. How could they tell a Scientologist? Look for “personality changes” that could occur “within days.” Another sure indicator was a “change in weight”: watch out for those who are bulging or becoming thin. Another tip-off is hirsuteness—no matter whether the kid is suddenly growing a beard or taking it off. “Anti-social behavior” is just as treacherous as apparently normal conduct. For the conspiratorial Scientologist will do everything “to dispel suspicion.”4 That list could put an entire class in the sect.

In Bonn, the federal minister of labor, Norbert Blüm, a dedicated Catholic, rarely misses an opportunity to hammer Scientology. He has called the church a “contemptuous cartel of oppression,” a “monstrous Kraken“—or octopus—a “criminal money-laundering organization” beholden to a “bizarre ideology” and engaged in “brainwashing.”5 When Scientology sued Blüm for defamation, a Cologne court, on May 31, 1996, sided with the minister. Beckstein and Blüm have support from a small army of eager Sektenbeauftragte (“Commissioners on Sects”) who have sprung up everywhere: in the political parties, both left and right; in the established churches, both Lutheran and Catholic; in the labor unions, the major youth organizations, school boards, and state welfare agencies on all three levels of government.

Opposing them is the Church of Scientology in the United States and Germany. But unlike many a poor woman who ended up in the river or at the stake, the members of this church are by no means weak and defenseless. By contrast with the saffron-clad Hare Krishnas in Harvard Square or the Jehovah’s Witnesses who stand mutely in a Munich subway station, holding up The Watchtower, Scientology is a cult with power—both vengeful and nasty.

When Time magazine in 1991 published a cover story that described Scientology as a “hugely profitable global racket that survives by intimidating members and critics in a Mafia-like manner,” the church hit back with a suit asking for $416 million in damages. Five years and more than seven million dollars later (the amount reportedly spent by Time-Warner on litigation), a federal judge dismissed the case. As Richard Behar, the author of the Time article, entitled “The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power,” put it: “It’s a tremendous defeat for Scientology, but of course their doctrine states that the purpose of a suit is to harass, not to win.” Referring to the lawsuit against Time, he added: “They’ve had a real chilling effect on journalism.”^6

A long report in The New York Times by Douglas Frantz recently described just how nasty Scientology can be. The story traces the sixteen-year feud between Scientology and the Internal Revenue Service after the IRS had stripped the church of its tax-exempt status in 1967. The IRS was then regarded as a “pretty major enemy,” recalls Stacy Young, a former Scientology senior staff member. So “you go after them and harass them and intimidate them…until they decide to play ball with you.”

Or as the church founder, L. Ron Hubbard, put it: enemies “may be tricked, sued, or lied to or destroyed.” That included breaking into IRS offices and bugging them, for which eleven leaders of the church were sentenced to long prison terms in 1980. The church also dispatched investigators to dig into the private lives of IRS officials, hoping to uncover embarrassing information. In order to discredit the agency, Scientology financed a seemingly independent “National Coalition of IRS Whistle-blowers” which encouraged officials to go public with stories of wrongdoing by IRS officials. The IRS finally restored the tax exemption in 1993, apparently just to be rid of the endless harassment in the courts.7

Scientology is also quite rich. Georg Stoffel, a spokesman for Scientology in Bavaria, says the church has assets worth about $400 million, a sum that is proably on the small side. IRS records indicate that the church was earning about $300 million per year in the early 1990s from “auditing” fees—i.e., the fees paid by members for instruction and therapy—as well as payments to the church from businesses who employ it to advise “on management.”8

The aim of the auditing sessions is for the member to arrive at what the church calls CLEAR, a state indicating not just therapeutic success but secular salvation. A novice must rise through twenty levels of training and auditing to attain CLEAR. Asked what this might cost, Stoffel said: “That could go as high as 500,000 marks ($300,000).” Is that all? “Not quite,” Stoffel responds, pointing at a large poster headlined, in German, “The Bridge to Total Freedom,” which looks as impressive as the organizational chart of General Motors. “CLEAR” is not even at the halfway mark. Above it are five further steps of preparation, leading to fifteen levels of “Operating Thetan,” but Stoffel said he does not know how much that might cost. (A “Thetan” is a person who, through various stages of “illumination,” has re-acquired all his intellectual powers, spiritual freedom, and immortality.) For his labors, Stoffel says, he himself gets 700 DM (a bit more than $400) per month.

Scientology also knows how to play the public-relations game. In Washington it retained the influential PR firm Hill and Knowlton. It employs Washington law firms like Bisceglie & Walsh just to monitor the German scene and to write long letters to journalists such as myself that point out where they have been “incorrect” in their writings about Scientology. And the church buys many pages of advertising in major papers like The New York Times and The Washington Post. It is in those pages where the war of “Scientology vs. Germany” began in earnest.

On September 29, 1994, an ad in The Washington Post said: “In 1945, the victorious allies…vowed that ‘Never Again’ would Germany be allowed to persecute religious minorities almost to extinction.” Yet “fifty years later, neo-Nazi extremism is on the march in a reunited Germany.” On January 11, 1995, a full-page ad in The New York Times drew a direct comparison between what the Nazis had inflicted on the Jews and what the latter-day Germans were doing to Scientology: “Today, a similar scenario plays out in modern Germany.”

That set the pattern. By the fall of 1996, quotations about Jews from Völkischer Beobachter and Der Stürmer were juxtaposed with anti-Scientology statements by the current labor minister, Norbert Blüm. In November, it was the turn of Bavaria’s internal affairs minister, Günther Beckstein. His portrait was set above a 1930s board game for children called Juden raus! (“Out with the Jews!”) and a poster taken from a present-day government campaign aimed at school children that shouts (in English) “SCIENTOLOGY NO!”

On December 13, Times readers were treated to a grinning Norbert Blüm standing next to a group of young people, one of whom happened to be bald. The caption said that Blüm is shown “…with ‘skin-heads’ and other Christian Democratic Union members….” Though “skin-heads” was set in quotation marks, the manipulative intent was as subtle as a Mack truck. Here was Smilin’ Nobbie (Blüm’s German nickname), the message insinuated, cavorting with neo-Nazi punks.

The worst was yet to come. So far, these attacks had remained in the pages of the Post and the Times, which are hardly seen in Bonn, Paris, and London. But on January 9 of this year, an open letter to “Dear Chancellor Kohl” ran across an entire page of the International Herald Tribune, which reaches political and business elites throughout Western Europe. Worse yet, the letter was signed by more than a dozen Hollywood and TV celebrities, among them Goldie Hawn, Dustin Hoffman, Larry King, Mario Puzo, Tina Sinatra, Oliver Stone, Gore Vidal…. (Constantin Costa-Gavras, who directed the movie Z, later withdrew his signature.)

In the 1930s, it was the Jews. Today it is the Scientologists,” the letter said. “This organized oppression is beginning to sound familiar…like the Germany of 1936 rather than 1996.” Kohl’s CDU party had “organized boycotts and seeks to ban performances of Tom Cruise, John Travolta, Chick Corea and any other artist who believes in Scientology”—much “like the book burning of the 1930s.” The letter concludes with a threat: “Repeating the deplorable tactics of the 1930s cannot be permitted.” And so, “this time voices will be raised.”

The ad was well designed to expose a wound reopened since reunification in 1990 by numerous incidents of neo-Nazi violence, including murder. Most recently, in 1996, the Germans in large numbers have been reading Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners, a book arguing in 700 pages that the Holocaust could have happened only in Germany because only the Germans were poisoned by an “eliminationist antisemitism” that turned “annihilationist” under the Nazis.9 “There you go again” was, in effect, Hollywood’s not-so-subtle message to a country suddenly afflicted with 1930s levels of mass unemployment—another frightening echo of the past.


There need be no debate whether the comparison between Scientologists in 1997 and German Jews in 1937 is obscene. It is. It is an insult to millions of dead to equate the haphazard harassment of Scientologists in Germany, harassment that is more rhetorical than real, with the systematic persecution of Jews culminating in mass murder. What does Kristallnacht in 1938, when thousands of Jewish shops, homes, and synagogues were smashed, have in common with the call of the Christian Democrats’ youth organization for a boycott of Mission: Impossible because Tom Cruise is a Scientologist?

In fact, the movie grossed $24 million in Germany. “Scientologists,” the letter to Helmut Kohl claimed, “cannot obtain employment by your government.” But none of the cases cited by Scientology to support the claim withstands closer scrutiny. The church’s propagandists point to a teacher in Lower Saxony who was allegedly dismissed because of her association and beliefs. Not quite. The teacher was transferred five times because she kept hawking material about “cleansing courses” and Scientology brochures in the school. In other words, she had run afoul of well-established rules against merchandising and proselytizing of any kind—rules even a liberal American school board would enforce. In the end, the teacher was not fired, but removed from the classroom and given an office job in the Lower Saxony Ministry of Culture.10

What about Mr. Beckstein’s Bavaria? According to the “action catalog,” in which the Bavarian government provides guidelines for dealing with Scientologists, all applicants for government jobs must fill out a questionnaire, in which they have to declare any affiliation with Scientology. Is that cause for rejection? At that point, the guidelines become murky.11 They proclaim that Scientology “demands from its adherents that they accept the Organization as highest authority.” (Catholics regard the Pope as such an authority, too.) Hence, “if an applicant does not clearly distance himself from these demands, he cannot count on being hired.”

In other words, mere membership does not entail exclusion. There is a good reason for this hedging. Presumably, no German court would uphold a decision to deny someone a job just for being a Scientologist, and Mr. Beckstein knows it. Mr. Stoffel, the Scientology spokesman, admits that he knows of no case where Scientologists have been denied employment by the state. With respect to those who already have government jobs, “it will have to be established whether there is a conflict of loyalties,” the guidelines say. Apparently, no such conflict has been unearthed. According to the Church of Scientology, a score of its members are safely at work in the Bavarian bureaucracy, with no complaints yet.12

What about government contracts? Bids on them will only be considered from “parties who declare that they are not adherents of the teachings of L. Ron Hubbard.” That, too, is tricky, as the Bavarian police found out late last year. When a Hubbardian supplier of copying paper received a questionnaire asking whether his firm operated according to the “technology” of L. Ron Hubbard, he sued. Even before the first hearing, the department withdrew the question from that particular supplier. Undoubtedly, the police’s own lawyers must have mumbled something about “unconstitutionality.” Minister Beckstein has probably heard similar advice. To his credit, he has conceded that financial and psychological “exploitation” of church members “does not constitute criminal culpability.”13

The best, then, that can be said about Dustin Hoffman, Mario Puzo, and Oliver Stone is that they have not done their homework. But that does not quite deal with the real issue. It is true that the comparison between 1937 and 1997 is obscene, that Scientology is hardly as meek as it professes, and that governments in Germany are not as popish as was Innocent VIII (largely because that witch hunter was unrestrained by any constitution). But there is still a vexing problem. Why are the German authorities conducting a campaign that provides analogies to witch hunts throughout the ages, from Innocent VIII to Joe McCarthy?

Take the language used by Beckstein, Blüm, et al.: “monstrous Kraken…totalitarian…enemy of the constitution…with unscrupulous designs… an organization that subverts [and] seeks to take over society and the state.”14 Add to this the tendency of the conspiratorial mind to twist any fact into evidence that proves the enemy’s subversive design. Thus Renate Rennebach, a member of the Bundestag’s Commission on Sects, has pointedly asked why the Federal Ministry of Internal Affairs refuses to investigate Scientology. Her answer: maybe because the ministry had already been infiltrated by these enemies of the state.15

That recalls Joseph McCarthy’s attacks on the State Department and his “list of 60 Communists” whose names he somehow always failed to furnish. This is the language any society, whether medieval or modern, uses to express its collective anxiety and to legitimize its eliminationist fantasies. The enemy—heretics or witches, Jews or Communists—is endowed with a monstrous ideology, a corrupting allure, vast powers, a deadly design, the quest for total domination. Hence, evil must be stopped now—and with whatever it takes—before the tentacles of the octopus have enveloped us all.

When McCarthy and HUAC sought to root out those Communists thought to be hiding under every bed, they could manipulate a sense of international crisis that was quite real. Stalin had turned from ally to enemy. The Soviet Union had acquired the atom bomb in 1949 (with a little help from its friends in the US), and in 1953 it exploded its first hydrogen device. And America’s Communists, although few in number, were not alone. Behind them loomed the colossus of Soviet power. What about Germany’s Scientologists? Thirty thousand is the number usually assigned to them, with eight thousand said to reside in Bavaria. None has ever been seen training in Germany’s dark forests with an AK-47 in hand, and apart from polite expressions of concern about “discrimination” by the US State Department, the church does not have a mighty superpower giving them help.16

Scientology just happens to be enormously successful when compared to most other sects and cults, having married its bizarre ideology to superb business acumen and immensely effective organizational skills. Visiting a Scientology church, known as a “Dianetics Center,” feels like roaming through a Warner Brothers store. Only baseball caps and T-shirts are missing in the attention-grabbing displays of books, videos, and course offerings. You can get L. Ron Hubbard’s top-of-the-line videotaped lectures for $150. And the luxury model of the “E-Meter,” a collection of rheostats, potentiometers, and dials that gauges your body’s electric resistance, goes for $2400. If you buy this apparatus, about twenty dollars’ worth of hardware, they also throw in a neat aluminum carrying case. They’ll also show you a nicely furnished office reserved for the deceased founder—with fresh flowers on his desk, just in case Hubbard ever comes back.

The cheapest introduction to Scientology is Hubbard’s Dianetics. Much of it seems gibberish, such as: “Basic-basic is the vital target for two reasons…. It contains an analyzer shut-off which itself is restimulated every time a new engram is received.”17 The rest is a vulgarized version of psychoanalysis. For Hubbard, the “neurotic nucleus,” as Freud put it, is not buried in childhood but much earlier—in the mother’s belly. All kinds of bad things (“engrams”) can happen there: when father copulated too passionately, for instance, or when mother was constipated. “The entire intent and act of therapy is to find the earliest engram and erase it and then proceed to erase all other engrams….”18 Disaffected Freudians might tell you a similar tale; it is called “interminable analysis.”

Sabine Weber, thirty-six, a Munich Scientologist, thinks “auditing” has helped her to understand that she has had “countless earlier lives” and will have more. Ergo, she says, “I am eternal.” Before laughing at this, we might remember that the belief in metempsychosis makes her as loony as half a billion Hindus, and her idea of immortality places her in the company of two billion Christians, Muslims, and Jews who believe in the afterlife. Nina Dall’Armi, forty-two, recalls being drawn to the church because its “auditors were asking the right questions,” which taught her how to deal “with her weaknesses.” Troubled souls who are more enlightened pay $100 an hour to a psychiatrist who presumably asks similar questions. Georg Stoffel reports that his perennial bronchitis stopped haunting him after he was “cleared.” Aficionados of acupuncture recall similar miracles.

It is a “thriving cult,” as Time wrote in 1991. Even if Scientology did not hound its critics and terrorize defectors, as so many former members have reported,19 even if the organization did not resort to subterfuge and dissimulation in its marketing, a latter-day Innocent VIII would have emerged to denounce it. Scientology has been outlawed in Greece and taken to court in France, where a leader in Lyon was sentenced to eighteen months in prison for “complicity” in the suicide of a follower.20 But nowhere in Europe has the politico-religious establishment mobilized so many forces against Hubbard’s heirs as here in Germany. And that calls for an explanation.


One explanation derives from the peculiar cohabitation of “throne and altar” in Germany. Germany is one of the few countries in the West where Church and State live in an intimacy that is illicit by American standards. Congress “shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,” the First Amendment says. But in Germany, there are “established religions”—three, to be precise: the Lutherans, the Roman Catholics, and the (Orthodox/Conservative) Jews. The government collects theannual tithes of their members and turns them over to the churches on their behalf;21 it grants the churches official powers and subsidies. Muslims and Methodists are of course tolerated, but they have to fend for themselves. So do Reform Jews.

The explanation for this system is buried in eight hundred years of history—in the long battle between Church and State in the “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation,” starting with the “Investiture Struggle” of 1075 and coming to an end with the ascendancy of the Bismarck empire after 1871. The State won, but only after countless religious wars between Protestants and Catholics, and between them and the temporal powers, which almost ruined Germany. To cement the three-way peace, the State rewarded the favored Catholics and Lutherans with “established” status and financial emoluments.

But in spite of their protected monopolies, the churches are not doing well in latter-day Germany. Hundreds of thousands of their flock have left in recent years—usually to shed the burden of the Kirchensteuer (church tax) in bad times or to find happiness in the arms of the competition—Transcendental Meditation, Sufis and Moonies, Rolfing and Gestalt Psychology, Hare Krishna, and Scientology, whatever comes along.

Little wonder that the churches have pressed the State to drive back the interlopers, and wherever the Church is particularly powerful, such as in predominantly Catholic Bavaria, the State has been particularly accommodating. The alliance of the two continues to be strong in Germany; and so the threat against one is seen as threat against the other. In running interference for the churches, the government can count on solid public support. Though Germans are less religiously active than Americans, they regard the official campaign against Scientology as entirely proper. Scientology et al. disturb the natural order of things, and that is enough.

With such an oligopoly in place, you don’t just go around starting your own churches, particularly if you are rich and well organized. It is the state that certifies bona-fide religious status above and beyond tax exemption, and thus even the Reform Jewish communities springing up all over Germany will have a hard time gaining equality with the Orthodox/Conservative establishment.

Ancient history is compounded by more recent history. Take Ursula Caberta, the “Commissioner on Sects” of Hamburg, who rails against Scientology and might suitably be cast in the role of Savonarola. Some German politicians think her “hysterical.” Next to Blüm und Beckstein, she is the favorite target of Germany’s Scientologists. “Scientology is not a sect,” she thundered. “It is a fascistoid structure, a psycho-dictatorship.”22 Strong language, but the comparison with the Nazis is routine among the country’s Scientology hunters.

The Nazis started out as a cult, too, so the theory goes, and ten years later they had conquered Germany. Hence, Scientology, the “totalitarian Kraken,” must be shorn of its tentacles while it is still a squid. That makes for a curious symmetry of paranoia. In its advertisements, Scientology likens latter-day Germany to the Nazis, while Caberta and colleagues demonize their foes as revenants of Hitler and Himmler.

Either way, the comparison is crazy, but not stupid. To liken a country or a church to the Nazis is the heaviest club anybody could use against an enemy. Invoking the supreme evil of the twentieth century is the argument that trumps them all. There is no symmetry of political power between the Church of Scientology and the Federal Republic of Germany. One is rich, nasty, and vengeful—but still only a cult, whose leaders go to prison when found guilty of a crime. The other is a democratic nation of 80 million, respectable and respected, armed with all the powers at the disposal of a state.

Why, then, the paranoia and hysteria? Invariably, Germans will argue that their history is not as happy as that of the United States, that they cannotbe as sanguine about the good beating out the bad in the marketplace of ideas. Hence, goes the standard formula, freedom cannot be extended to those who would destroy it. Fair enough, but this does not deal with the problem.

First, there is a very practical response. If Scientology, or some other cult, illegally takes money from the faithful, terrorizes defectors, or breaks into government buildings, let the laws that protect the citizen and the state come into play. Let’s indict and convict, but let’s not smear and vilify those we despise, for these are tactics unworthy of a liberal polity.

Second, it is true that Scientology lures unwary and unstable people with promises of enhanced intelligence and happiness restored. But such is the stock-in-trade of therapists, priests, faith healers, palm readers, management consultants, and homeopathic medicine dispensers. It seems to work for some, and not for others. Should the government protect us against our own stupidity? That would overtax even the wisest of rulers—and turn government precisely into the overpowering Kraken Scientology is said to be.

Third, there is a reason why the American Founding Fathers put their trust in the unspecified God invoked on every dollar bill. Faith is not a matter of rational deliberation, let alone of public choice, which is the stuff of government. But when the temporal powers build altars to a particular God, the inquisitorial stake may well be found nearby. “If you don’t believe in our God, you must be evil.” That murderous conviction sparked, or fueled, centuries of religious warfare in Europe, more often within than between states.

If liberty is to have real meaning, the true test is how we treat groups we find ridiculous or repulsive. The test is hardly an easy one. It presupposes a society that believes in its institutions, and does not have to search for the enemy within in order to find faith in itself. Germany’s deranged past does not breed that confidence, nor does its troubled present.

Seven years after the Wall collapsed, there are still two Germanies, eyeing each other with wariness, if not resentment. The country is beset by double-digit unemployment and clings to an all-embracing state whose munificence it can no longer afford. It dare not seek a strong national identity but cannot find an ersatz identity in the European Union and its bureaucracies, which battle in vain against the obstinacy of the nation-state.

In such a world, squids may look like “monstrous Krakens.” Or more to the point, the squids come in handy for labor ministers who find it politically more rewarding to pursue an imaginary Kraken than to slay the monster of unemployment. They should take a rest—along with Scientology’s righteous-sounding Hollywood defenders. Scientologists are not storm troopers, and Germany is not the Fourth Reich. Not even the Weimar Republic. A country that can look back at fifty-two years of exemplary democratic development need not fear a clone of L. Ron Hubbard under every bed. There are 80 million beds in Germany, and only 30,000 Scientologists.

March 27, 1997


Scientologists and Nazis June 26, 1997

  1. 1

    See “Die CDU kritisiert Frau Caberta,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, November 19, 1996; and “Streit über Sachverständige,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 21, 1996.

  2. 2

    Written by two Dominican theologians—one from Cologne, the other from Salzburg—it went through twenty-eight editions and maintained its hold until well into the eighteenth century.

  3. 3

    Günther Beckstein column, “Ich bitte ums Wort,” in Abendzeitung (Munich), November 16, 1996.

  4. 4

    Alles clear? Informationen über Scientology,” Schulreport, No. 1/1996. The author remained anonymous, but was touted as “psychologist from the University of Munich.”

  5. 5

    As quoted in Roswin Finkenzeller, “Bayerische Nadelstiche,” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, January 29, 1997.

  6. 7

    All quotes from Douglas Frantz, “Scientology’s Puzzling Journey,” The New York Times, March 9, 1997, pp. 1, 30-31.

  7. 8

    Frantz, “Scientology’s Puzzling Journey,” p. 30.

  8. 9

    See my article “Goldhagen in Germany,” The New York Review, November 28, 1996.

  9. 10

    See “V-Leute gegen den PsychoKonzern,” Der Spiegel, No. 6, 1997, p. 76-77.

  10. 11

    See Report of the Cabinet Session, (Munich: Bavarian State Chancellery, August 8, 1996).

  11. 12

    V-Leute gegen den Psycho-Konzern,” p. 79.

  12. 13

    Ausbeutung allein ist nicht strafbar,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, November 15, 1996, p. 39.

  13. 14

    For an instructive collection of such quotes, see “Vom Wahn verfolgt,” Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, January 30, 1997, p. 3.

  14. 15

    As reported in “Vom Wahn verfolgt,” p. 3.

  15. 16

    We have criticized the Germans on this,” said the Department’s spokesman Nicholas Burns, “but we aren’t going to support the Scientologists’ terror tactics against the German government.” He was referring to statements by the church and its supporters which likened the campaigns against the Church to the Nazi assault against the Jews. Quoted in “U.S. Chastizes Germany on Scientology,” International Herald Tribune, January 28, 1997, pp. 1 and 6.

  16. 17

    L. Ron Hubbard, Dianetics (Bridge Publications, 1985), p. 306.

  17. 18

    Hubbard, Dianetics, p. 267. For that, of course, you need hours and hours of an “auditor’s” time, and that will cost you.

  18. 19

    For a recent account of several such cases, see “Befreit und doch im bösen Bann,” Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 5, 1997, p. 3.

  19. 20

    Un responsable scientologue condamné à dix-huit mois de prison ferme,” Le Monde, November 24, 1996, p. 7.

  20. 21

    It does so directly in the case of the Lutherans and Catholics. Normally, Germans declare their affiliation on their tax returns (this is not required); if they do so, they have to pay a 9 percent surcharge on their income tax due which goes to the churches. In the case of the Jews, the government reports the assessment to the Jewish authorities on the state level; they thus obtain an enforceable claim against their members.

  21. 22

    As quoted in “Scientology: eine Gefahr für die innere Sicherheit,” Frankenpost, October 22-23, 1994.