I have longed for thy salvation, O L-RD; and thy Torah is my delight. Let my soul live, and it shall praise thee; and let thy judgments help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments. Psalm 119:174-176

17 October 2013

The Twelve Tribes in Germany, part 4

Photo by A. Stahl

 I was notified by commenter LittleProf that there was going to be an editorial on page 3 of the Süddeutsche Zeitung this past week on the Twelve Tribes, and also notified of a news article I should pay attention to. I've since had dental work and gotten sick, so I've been slow in updating because I wanted to be assured that quality work went into this post before it was to be published.

On the 10th of October, we had an update from several news outlets:

Four pairs of Wörnitz concerned parents have now filed an appeal against the order of the District Court of Ansbach before the Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg.
Augsburger Allgemeine: Complaint of "Twelve Tribes" Cult members from Wörnitz go to the High Court
Their nine children are currently placed in foster families.
BR: Twelve Tribes Parents appeal ruling in Wörnitz (County Ansbach)

39 children are still in foster care. The group had repeatedly acknowledged that it chastises her children.
Augsburger Allgemeine: "Twelve Tribes": the sect parents defend themselves against loss of custody

With the temporary deprivation of custody from the parents of the controversial sect "Twelve Tribes" must now be addressed by the Nuremberg Higher Regional Court.
Nord Bayern: "Twelve Tribes": parents defend themselves against loss of custody

 The bulk of the proceedings shall be conducted at the district court in Nordlingen, where there has not yet been a decision from the family court judge.
Focus Online: Parents of the sect "Twelve Tribes" defend themselves against loss of custody

Also on the 10th, there was a story released by Pro Medienmagazin that was snippet of the interview with an ex-member of the sect, which published in the Süddeutsche Zeitung [entitled: A life of Punishment: Two ex-members of the Twelve Tribes sect tell how they were beaten and exploited for years in the middle of Bavaria - no one helped them], which we found  thanks to LittleProf. I'll happily try and scan it in for anyone who is unable to get a back issue of the paper.

Photo: J. Stahl, Die Seite Drei "Das Leben, eine Strafe"
Süddeutsche Zeitung nr. 234, Donnerstag, 10. October 2013

...Behind the corporal punishment, blame is placed on the faith of the members in "innate depravity and original sin of man." The lawyer for the "Twelve Tribes" Michael Kremnitz, sees things differently. "Properly applied, the punishment would have "the character of a ritual gesture". The sect has a 146-page educational booklet which identifies the positive experience of corporal punishment in the dressage of dogs...
Pro Medienmagazin: Ex-member reports: "All children are beaten"

The Süddeutsche Zeitung, in Die Seite Drei, tend to take a rather good and harsh look at the ex-members and questioned them rather well, in my humble opinion. Inside the article, two former members are questioned, who had lived within the sect for fourteen years or more.  They describe daily beatings, being required to work for long hours and not being compensated for it and how the sect moved children around and presented an idyll to state inspectors.

On the 14th, the Donau-Ries Aktuell ran a story on another Twelve Tribes issue; and said that they've got a new website up:
..the names of people living in Klosterzimmern Wörnitz and families are all listed. By clicking on the families, we come to a collection of documents that were drawn up by members of the Twelve Tribes... On the website administrators have published documents that members of the Twelve Tribes have sent to the family courts at the district court in Ansbach and Nördlingen...
Donau-Ries Aktuell: Twelve Tribes: published opinions of the courts

This was later pulled, but was up for enough time that anyone could download and/or read these documents. Which is problematic given the court case and privacy laws.

So, there you have it. The update on what I've seen coming/going in the German news on the issue. Hopefully there will be a resolution for the children soon, but I fear this will be a long case and not finished until after the holidays.

You can also read more here: Part 1, part 2 , part 3part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8 and part 9 

15 October 2013

German Homeschooling - "HSLDA Destroys German Homeschool Movement"

Historic building on the coast of a German river - J. Stahl

Lest you think I've dropped off the face of the earth, I did want to update and let you all know that I am still investigating different German homeschooling cases and getting caught up on the latest news of the Twelve Tribes.  I haven't had a chance to read my copy of the paper yet, but I have been doing a lot of reading over at Homeschooling is Legal, specifically the posts labeled "HSLDA Destroys German Homeschool Movement"

Knowing what I do about the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, and fundamentalist Christianity in the USA, most of the news is not at all shocking to me. However, it has taken quite a while to sift through everything and figure out what is what and how I would handle it here on the blog.

Since the blog hasn't really been active and doesn't have the option for commenting on the posts concerning Schuzh and the HSLDA, I figured I'd re-link to it, that way you can be as caught up as I have been.

In some ways, I feel like I'm still falling down Alice's rabbit hole. It's been a strange, strange journey, that is for sure.

I knew there were links with the HSLDA to Schuzh, but I couldn't find them until late last month and earlier this month. The relationship (at least at the beginning) was very unclear and hard to hammer down.

I sat for the last couple weeks pouring over information trying to get this straight. I may have some holes in the information, but this is what I could gather with some sites being down, some requiring log-in access and others being paid subscription sites. Sorry, not joining anything that requires subscriptions right now due to money issues.

Also helpful to the discussion is Kathryn Brightbill's "A Quick and Dirty Primer on HSLDA" and Homeschooler Anonymous' "A Historical Timeline of the Modern U.S. Homeschooling Movement"

HSLDA and Germany

In April to August 2000, German home schoolers asked HSLDA assistance. HSLDA and German Homeschoolers establish  Schulunterricht zu Hause

January 2001 - February 2002 -- HSLDA stops the US Military from regulating homeschoolers.

October 2001, Klicka does an interview with Peter Adler and SternTV on the American reaction to 9/11 and Homeschooling.

HSLDA asks for funding for Schuzh

HSLDA stumps agains the SPD's mandatory Kindergarten push

Schuzh sponsored two national homeschool conferences, one which HSLDA's Dr. Michael Farris attended; and established two main offices while employing 10 attorneys throughout Germany.

Schuzh has been supportive of three books being written on the topic of homeschooling. These books were to be published in the spring of 2004.

"Homeschooling Illegal" Declares German School Official, more assistance for German homeschoolers.

2006 - Eight German cases pending before the European Court

Co-founder of the HSLDA, Michael Farris, has called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the right of parents to educate their children at home. References EU court cases, and the growing influence of international court conclusions in the U.S.

2007 HSLDA speech referencing Germany and Schuzh

Requesting more support for German homeschoolers

Netzwerk Bildungs Freiheit is now mentioned, which is loosely affiliated with Schuzh, but independent.

Another German homeschool case mentioned, American homeschoolers biking through Europe, and the Highländers dance group coming to Germany to bolster support for homeschooling in Germany.

HSLDA assists the Romeike family in filing for asylum in the US

The European Commission begins opening dialogue with Germany on Homeschooling

HSLDA mentions the Dudek case

HSLDA stumping for homeschooling Americans to contact the German Embassy and Chancellor to ask why Homeschooling is illegal.

The state of Georgia puts pressure on Germany, Highländers dance troupe to finally go to Germany and Michael Donnelly mentioned stumping for support of German homeschoolers.

More information on the Highländers dance troupe's mission

HSLDA linking to a Deutsche Welle post (in German) about Homeschoolers. 
You can run this through Google Translate

Michael Donnelly, of the HSLDA, is referenced in Deutsche Welle to garner support for homeschoolers in Germany  
You can run this through Google Translate

HSLDA asks for American homeschoolers, aged 12-16, to begin a pen-pal program with German homeschoolers

The following is a translation of HSLDA Staff Attorney Michael Donnelly’s question put to the commissioner and chairman of the European Forum for Freedom in Education in May 2008—and the reply.

More information on the HSLDA's e-Pal program

More information on the Romeike case

HSLDA stumps for American Homeschoolers to sign a petition to the German Parliament to Allow Homeschooling

HSLDA brings up some of the information on the renewed Dudek case

Global Human Rights Conference Includes Homeschooling runs an article on homeschooling in the United States
Each page will have to be run through google translate.

The Dudek family is back in court. HSLDA stumps for support

To advance the cause of freedom in education in Germany Jürgen Dudek has launched a blog called Der Blaue Brief..

“Der blaue Brief” is in no way affiliated with one or more organisations who speak up for homeschooling in our country. Rather this weglog [sic] is a financially and organisationally independent publication. However, donations for our running costs are welcome.

 HSLDA is hosting a PDF of the CDU article "CDU scholastic and sport preparation working group of Kiel discussed Schulunterricht zu Hause"
Arbeitskreis Schule und Sport der CDU Kiel diskutiert über Schulunterricht zu Hause

Global Home Education Conference 2012 held in Berlin (transcripts and such available)

HSLDA stumping for support of the Wunderlich family and money to run large ads in German newspapers

Michael Farris accuses Germany of reneging on a promise to protect rights of German citizens

I can't figure out where this group fits, but they produce a homeschooling magazine and books about and for homeschoolers. I had not seen it before, so I'm putting it here..

Hopefully that will fill in some holes for others as it has for me. As I have mentioned before, this is not meant for any malicious intent, but to figure out the homeschooling ties in Germany as well as the mentality of homeschoolers, the government and individuals who are not homeschooling, why homeschooling has not as of yet been made legal.

I hope to cover some more homeschooling cases this week, as my health allows.

01 October 2013

German Homeschooling Case - The Rudolph family

Cherry blossoms - photo by J. Stahl

Today I'd like to talk about another case that had been mentioned by the HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association) some years ago, without much information in the English-speaking news, if any at all.  We'll be looking at the case of the Rudolph family today.  Below is everything that I have been able to find thus far.

Most of you probably first heard of the Rudolphs in September of 2006:

The Rudolph family: They are diligently homeschooling their six  children in Hamburg. The father, Andre, was jailed for a week for  refusing to send his children to public school... for  homeschooling ....and ...been fined 840 euros ($1,090)...
...the authorities tried a new weapon and began  to forcibly take the children to public school each day...
..One day, however, the authorities came to take the children to school,  but no one answered the door. The Rudolphs fled to another country...
HSLDA, E-lert 9/22/2006

Or perhaps, you read about them in the book Indoctrination:
...The Family eventually fled to Austria in an RV to join other homeschoolers ... Although there are some families... homescholing in Germany, they do so at their own peril, knowing that they too could at any time ahve a knock on the door and suffer arrest...
Or perhaps The Raw Story or Deutsche Welle?

The odyssey of the R family... began in late 2001 when they took their eldest daughter... out of a private school....
... The family unsuccessfully challenged compulsory education orders in court in 2003.
The Raw Story
At first, Andre R. was fined hundreds of euros by the courts for teaching his five daughters and one son at home. ...Hamburg authorities threw the 44-year-old father in jail for a week until he agreed to enroll the children in public school. ...when officials began escorting the children to school daily and threatening to take custody of them, the family fled to Austria.
German Parents Wanting to Homeschool Turn to EU Court
Looks like the story is a rather interesting one to be honest. What one never seems to hear is what is being reported in the German news. I find this fascinating and very frustrating. While I understand the philosophical reasons for removing children from school, it has never been legal to school at home in Germany for philosophical reasons.

Supposedly, this corresponds to all God's plan. "God wants," says Frauke Rudolph "that we not send our three school-age daughters to school."
...The Rudolph's Lawyer was Gabriele Eckermann of Dreieich, Hessen. ...Her husband, Armin, also an Advocate, founded Schulunterricht zu Hause six years ago and already talked to Christians in the political party "Bibeltreuer Christen" on Ash Wednesday. The association is part of the Christian fundamentalist network Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), headquartered in Virginia, USA...
Zeit Online: Zum Teufel mit der Schule [To hell with school]

The story began in June 2001. Then, the two eldest daughters were attending an unaffiliated Christian denominational school; but their parents removed them. They are instead, relying on the Bible and on trying to keep their children away from harmful influences. The girls had experienced violence in the schoolyard, the father lamented. Moreover, they were socially exposed to children of divorce in school - "we do not want this for them."
Spiegel:  Christliche Schulverweigerer: Die Geduld ist erschöpft

[Christian truants: The [authorities'] patience is exhausted]
What is even more surprising about Andre Rudolph being put in jail for homeschooling is that he has a degree in teaching!HSLDA E-lert 9/22/2006

...When the school board learned of the removal from school, they sent ...colleagues from social services, who visited the family see if the parents need to be deprived of the custody of the children. The result: no. ...the children were fine...
 So they sent cautionary letters to parents - without success. And imposed penalties for non compliance, several times - which Frauke and André R. did not pay...
TAZ: In eure Schule geh'n wir nicht
[We're not goin' to your school]
  Frauke and André R. fear there will be bad influences on their children at school and criticize the quality of government education. Also, a free Christian School did not meet their expectations. Therefore, they want to teach their children instead.
Familienvater in Haft wegen Homeschooling

[Father in prison for Homeschooling]

...The R. family apparently lives in their own little world where the only law is the Bible...
In Hamburg , however, the compulsory education law has been in existance since 2005... The law was put in place as a response to the withdrawal from school and subsequent starvation of nine-year Jessica; who slipped through all the appropriate networks of the authorities, was locked away by her parents and died miserably.
Schule schwänzen, weil der Herr es so will
[Truants from school, because God wants it this way]

...The Hamburg case illustrates how difficult it is for the courts to enforce the compulsory education if parents boycott on religious grounds and rely on their faith and conscience....
For the German compulsory education is not only important whether children are taught, but also how, where and by whom...
Spiegel:  Fromme Familie: Schulboykotteur muss ins Gefängnis 
[Pious Family: School boycotter sentenced to jail]
 ...They've also appeared before the Federal Constitutional Court. In February, the parents had been sentenced to pay a fine for violating the compulsory school laws. The judge charged them for seeking to isolate their children in the idealist world the parents [were seeking to construct].
Schulverweigerer in Hamburg abgemeldet
[Truants moved away from Hamburg]

 I don't have much I can add to this story at this point. I'm simply sharing what I've found, and if anyone has any news that could be added to this, I'll be happy to disseminate it so that others can see what the Rudolph family has been fighting for exactly.