26 Feb 2008

Munich Closes Scientologists' Day-Care Center

Spiegel Online - February 26, 2008

Authorities have shut down a child-care facility in Munich, saying it was trying to indoctrinate young minds with Scientology. The war between the California "church" and the German government continues.

The name on the door in the Sendling district of Munich sounded innocent enough: "Kinderhäusl" (Little House for Kids). Child-drawn art hung in the windows. On a normal day, the sounds of children playing would have come from inside.

But the little house, which had been open as a day-care center since the summer of 2007, was shut down Monday by Munich officials, who say its teaching methods are illegal. An estimated 20 children will now have to find new day-care.

"The well-being of the children in the establishment was under threat," the Munich Education Department declared, "because the education process was based on the principles of Scientology." The organization's principles threaten a child's right to free growth and development, the statement continued.

The German government has been locked for years in legal battles with the Church of Scientology, which it considers a cult and a threat to its democratic system. The idea of a day-care center run by Scientologists would have raised official hackles, and in fact the Kinderhäusl's troubles started early.

"A few weeks after the center opened we received a letter from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution," Eva-Maria Volland from Munich's Education Department told SPIEGEL ONLINE. All members of the Kinderhäusl's board were Scientologists, according to the letter, and the children were being raised according to the cult's ideology.

Germany's Office for the Protection of the Constitution was set up after World War II to pursue any group which the government deemed a specific threat to its democratic system. Neo-Nazis as well as radical Muslim groups have been watched and shut down by the office.

A regional court in Germany recently ruled (more...) that Scientologists had enough "ambitions against the free, democratic basic order" for the agency to go on watching them.

"There are concrete indications that Scientology's activities are to implement Scientology's program in Germany," the court in North Rhine-Westphalia ruled on Feb. 12, "and to expand more and more Scientology's principles in government, economy and society." Scientologists have consistently claimed that they do nothing against German law and say the government persecutes them.

The Education Department in Munich sent inspectors to the day-care center last winter; then state officials asked the center for an explanation of their work. Scientologists organized protests against this pressure, but on Monday the Education Department announced that the Kinderhäusl's license to operate had been revoked.

Nicola Cramer, who sits on the day-care center's board and whose own child attended the Kinderhäusl, called the decision a "government discrimination campaign" against a "religious community," saying the center was "neutral in its world-view" and open to children from any creed. "We will appeal this decision," she said.



  1. I am glad to see this Day care Center closed down.I saw for myself what "Kindergarden" was like on Hubbards' ship the Apollo, it was grim, dark, the children rarely went out in the fresh air and had little in the way of toys or books.The older children aged 10 and upwards worked.I was one of these children.We had no education.Instead we learnt how important it was to "Clear the planet",ie: make every man, woman and child a Scientologist, and if you were against Scientology you were a Suppressive person.According to Hubbard a child is an adult in a little body, having lived many times before.Unfortunately for me and other children we didn't realise this, we thought we were children.Hubbards own ideas on punishment for children was to put them in the chain locker or in the hold in a condition of Liability,working by scraping paint, with little light,food or warmth and having to sleep where we worked, on the floor.Being educated the Scientology way for me was a very traumatic experience.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience Tamasin. If you're interested there are links on this blog to websites for survivors of religious child abuse.