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

19 January 2014

The Twelve Tribes in Germany, part 10

Photo by A. Stahl
Here are the recent updates on the Twelve Tribes in Germany:

Last month, there were several news articles I was unable to get to due to time crunches with the holidays and dealing with some ongoing situations in my family. These articles included:

  • The Twelve Tribes held a meeting in Deiningen to discuss their beliefs and explain how they discipline their children. They, however, did not wish for news coverage to include cameras or recording devices and sent the Bayrische Rundfunk and RTL out of the room. (Source)
  • The babies of the Twelve Tribes have been weaned and are now placed in foster care. Twenty police officers and members of child protective services showed up in the early morning hours to retrieve seven children from the St. Nikolaus-Heim. (Source)  
  • Child Protective Services were simply responding to the court decision made in the courts of Nördlingen in September. However, this generated some negative press as the mothers were quite upset to be separated in this way. (Source)

Earlier this month, the prosecutors in Ansbach discontinued the abuse case against the parents of ten children who live in the Twelve Tribes community in Wörnitz due to lack of evidence.  Their case will continue in family court in regards to their education while, the case against the community in Klosterzimmern is still ongoing. [Source]

 The reason for the provisional withdrawal of custody of the Wörnitz Twelve Tribes parents was due to abuse allegations. [Source]

With the case of the Twelve Tribes in Klosterzimmern, the courts will be tied up for some time investigating the abuse allegations, interviewing and questioning parents and children. At this juncture, psychological assessments will be made with the children in question. [Source]

The Süddeutsche Zeitung had a fair write-up on why Child Protective Services has removed so many children in the past year from their parents and why the case of the Twelve Tribes is not a "Should they remove children?" but "They MUST remove the children." type of situation.

If you've not been following along on my blog, you will want to read Part 1, part 2 , part 3, part 4, part 5 and part 6, part 7, part 8 and part 9.

Note: This post was updated on 20.1.2014 due to news that was accidentally left out.


  1. Thanks Jennifer for adding this 10th part. Let's see how many more you have to set up. The Süddeutsche has become a mixed bag; the commentary you summed up was available to online readers and highly critical of the TT. The print version presents a different picture. A day before the commentary by Ms Heidenreich, there was a full page 3 article ("Mit aller Gewalt") that gave so much room to the community members' voices that the TT actually use it as propaganda on their own website. They call it fair and balanced coverage, but it enraged me so that I sent a letter to the editor. Should it be published, I would be surprised, but I doubt it. Today, Mr Prantl, an editor in chief and one of the most senior commentators. Again, we are talking a full page (this time in the Culture section, called "Feuilleton"). And again I was wondering where this is headed. True, Mr Prantl was a like Hamlet, very undecided what is nobler in the mind. What I found a bit worrying was that some of the arguments against the indignation of "mainstream society" concerning corporal punishment sounded like the TT, like: "Oh, what hypocrites we are; our children are unhappy because contemporary parents no longer feel secure of how to raise children; oh how cruel our school system is to our children; oh, let's not forget, the ban on corporal punishment of children is only 14 year old". Although Mr Prantl tried to balance it by pointing out that you have to act againt a totalitarian world for children growing up; although he aid that the "White Ribbon" (film) should not be revived in 2014, although the picture showed the screenshot of the beaten and sullen looking boy from that movie, I found the article slightly disconcerting. Just instinct, but I fear that there has been intense lobbying going on. Maybe it is just the Süddeutsche's Robin Hood syndrome - as in the case of Gustl Mollath, when they helped to free a man who had been wrongfully committed to a psychiatric hospital and was helpless against the state. I hope they go back to giving the ex-members a voice once again...

    1. That is certainly disconcerting. Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

  2. Mixed news. The Appeals Court in Nuremberg has allowed one 14 year old boy to return to his parents. It had been his wish to return and he had run away from his foster home twice. Awful, imho, as I perceived it as a trend in this whole TT affair.
    The Buddhists have a nice word of wisdom: "Sit down by the river and wait until your enemies float by". Now back to the TT.
    Today was a session of the Bavarian parliament's Committee of Social and Family Affairs. From 9-10 am MPs cross examined various representatives of the state (Head of Jugendamt, the magistrate of Donauwörth and various other local and Bavarian dignitaries) why the authorities allowed themselves to be "held hostage by a religious cult that was known to break the law for a decade", "why they were so soft on the TT", why they ignored abused allegations by defectors for so long etc etc. The Greens and SPD especially presented the juicy bits about the punitive parenting methods. The Jugendamt and the magistrate broke out a sweat during the inquisition. All the while, the TT families who had travelled all the way to Munich were sitting in the auditorium in the role of "the public" with several press. Then, one of the fathers exploded in the middle of the sitting, interrupted the speakers and shouted how they were vilifying those biblical parenting methods. Security made sure he left the room. Outside he tried to ingratiate himself with the reporters by defending their "child training" methods and their right to do whatever they pleased with their children, and why the law of the land wasn t binding for them anyway. Great PR, I must say. The press duly reported - and that was the end of the TT s charm campaign.
    (the second is the film clip!)

  3. The Augsburg court ruled, on Thursday, that the TT's license to operate their own school (that had been suspended since July) will be revoked. The judge said the school was lacking qualified teachers. He also said that as the parents insisted that the "rod" was an essential part in teh upbringing of their children, there was reasonable doubt that corporal punishment would end at the door to the school buildung. Hence - no more homeschooling in the guise of a private school.