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

01 February 2014

The Twelve Tribes in Germany - part 14

Photo by A. Stahl

This Friday, I was pointed in the direction of an article in the Sydney Morning Herald from 2008 called "Spare the rod and spoil the...", which is available in archives, about the Twelve Tribes.

What is echoed there as it is here over and over in the courts and on the Twelve Tribes website is:
...If a child disobeys these rules or fails to respond to an adult, he or she is hit on the bare bottom or hand with a 45-centimetre, reed-like stick, one of which is kept above the door ledge in every room.
"One spanking generally consisted of three to six hits," Klein says, with the rod regarded as "an instrument of love, not punishment".
Sydney Morning Herald, March 24, 2008 "Spare the rod and spoil the..."

There is another article from two years ago that was in the Augsburger Allgemeine which states that some small children were being hit with a switch for up to four hours at a time. The authorities knew and held back because there was not enough evidence. 
I had done a little digging and was sent in the direction of a PDF that documented the long stay of the Twelve Tribes from around 2000 through 2006.

The Twelve Tribes came to Germany via a couple that went to the US and visited a commune in the US and wanted to begin a similar commune in Germany. The group began with a dozen or so members, some of them American Tribes members, and some of them German, who began camping out after selling their worldly goods.  If I understand the documentation correctly, this commune was in Bremen.

A second commune was then established in Baden-Würrtemberg. This is when all the trouble with members homeschooling began. The commune in Bremen moved to Klosterzimmern in 2001 and began homeschooling their children. It was in June-August of that year that the school district was informed of the situation and mediation was put in place (as usual) to get the children into public or private schooling.  By October, the Twelve Tribes had racked up fines in the figure of 2,000€ per child concerned. 
By February of 2002, there was a press conference in the Bavarian Parliament and this discussed the compulsory school laws that are in place in Germany and Bavaria, and how the Twelve Tribes members were not in compliance with that law. By May-June, a deal was reached that if the children went to school, the fines would be forgiven. In October, the police came to ensure the children would attend school and escorted them there.  It went downhill from there.

In March 2003, new fines were put into place. By December, there was a new letter from the ministry of education that went unanswered. Thirty more members moved from the Munich commune into the Klosterzimmern commune, bringing more children.

In the summer of 2004, several fathers were to be imprisoned due to contempt of court. (not paying the fines and not sending children to school) In July of 2004, the parliament in Donau-Ries met to discuss the removal of custody of the children involved. In August, there were 18 parents that the court found in contempt of the law and ordered to be jailed.

On the 15th of October, the Twelve Tribes held a press conference and invited the heads of the German Homeschool movement. Ingrid Günther of SCHUZH showed up and spoke on their behalf.  By the 18th, seven fathers were locked up in jail for contempt of court. On the 21st, members of the sect protested outside of the Landratsamt against the fines imposed upon them.

In November, the authorities wanted to take the mothers concerned in the case into coercive detention for further talks. (I'm assuming due to the nature of the Tribes to bait and switch when it comes to this sort of thing) The authorities then decided to suspend the judicial hearing on the fines that were imposed on the families and forgive the debt.

By the 17th-20th of January 2005, the Twelve Tribes got their go-ahead from the authorities to have their long-wished private school. 

The rest is history.

Last year, Wolfram Kuhnigk stepped in using his position as a reporter at TV/Radio station RTL to get into the Twelve Tribes and investigate the claims that had been made against this group in Germany for the last fourteen years. He lived with the sect for two weeks and very carefully documented everything that he found. [This has been discussed at length on my blog and you can find this information via the links at the bottom of the page.]

 I'm finding now via Focus and the Augsburger Allgemeine that the lawyer representing the Twelve Tribes wishes to prosecute him for breach of confidentiality and filming in secret. They claim that the investigation into these claims are already in progress and ready to prosecute.  Secret film and sound recordings are forbidden by law and punishable under Section 201 of the Penal Code with a heavy fine or a prison sentence of up to three years.

Without this recording, those children would still be in the Twelve Tribes and their parents would simply be fined for every month that they are not in school.

In the meantime, the campaign to paint the authorities and reporter Wolfram Kuhnigk in a bad light is out in full force on the Twelve Tribes' website. I won't be linking there as they do not need any more hits on their page, or any good press. Seriously, some of the news coming out of there is so distorted that former members are having a lot of difficulty reconciling what they know of their family's situation with what is being presented online as reality.

I'll be crossing my fingers and saying my prayers that the judges see through this smoke screen and dismiss these charges as frivolous in the light of everything that they are finding out has occurred in the commune.

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, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10,  part 11, part 12 and part 13 to be better informed on this issue.


  1. Doubtless the Twelve Tribes and their apologists do not like the information that you are disseminating, and the trolls and two-faced sympathizers are going to be coming out of the woodwork (so to speak) in an effort to discredit and ultimately silence you (and also me). So I encourage you to be very cautious and not to take their bait. Some of these people are devious in the extreme. I caution you to not ever take it for granted that information coming from certain outspoken former TT members (and their associates) is accurate. Me, I (more or less) always assume that DTP (and his sock puppets) is lying about whatever he communicates.

    1. Hello Brian. I am a former member and I have told my story to the press and everything the journalist wrote is absolute truth with not even an exageration. My research since I have left the TT has lead me to read accounts in the press, videos, websites,from former members which are all accurate. Many extts have got back to me to say that the way the TT were portrayed in my article and 2 interviews totally represent life in the TT. So when you are warning people about the dangers of certain outspoken extts misrepresenting the life in the tt I must say to you: you don't know what you are talking about or you are intentionally distorting things. Being inclined to think the best of people until they proove otherwise I will say to you:The reality of it is Brian that the vast majority of people coming out of high control groups like the tt disappear into society never to be heard. They come out for the vast majority penniless, some with health problems, broken dream, broken families thanks to what I call the rule of separation instituted by Yoneq. They don't have the emotional, psychological, financial strength to fight back and they just want to rebuild their lives and look to the future. A lot of them don't talk about it for fear of loosing contact with a loved one still in there. Do your research please before misrepresenting all of us extts.

  2. Yes, DTP, you know who I am. And I am watching this situation very closely as well.

    1. Oh, as a P.S. : DTP, my name is Brian Birmingham, and I do not trust you any further than I could throw you. Yes, I am watching this matter (of the TT in Germany) pretty closely. Nice try.

    2. For the record: I never said that all ex-members of the TT misrepresent the facts, nor that all ex-members of that group lie about their experiences in the TT, only that SOME DO. In fact, the vast majority of ex-members of the Tribes DO NOT do so. And I have very thoroughly researched this group; I have spent a lot of time among them, I have met many former and second-gen members of the TT, I have been to a couple of their weddings, and quite know what I am talking about, if I may so so myself. Also, I do not trust DTP (aka Nabashalam, aka ex-Yathed) any farther than I could throw him, nor do I trust any of his internet sock-puppets. In fact: for all I know, Ex Ttmetoo, YOU might be one of his internet sock-puppets, or else somebody else's. No offense to you, and it's not personal; it's just that I am not so inclined to take any anonymous poster's words at face value. Like I said, some of these characters are devious in the extreme. for all I know, YOU might be DTP, or else A-AS, or else some other trollish type. I VERY MUCH know what I am talking about, thank you.

  3. OK, Rose, now I am certain that you are who you say that you are. No, I am not a former member of the TT, nor am I a second-gen member of the TT. You are not a sock puppet, nor are you a troll. Like I said, it's not personal, and I was not accusing you of anything. But I take exception to your telling me that I do not know what I am talking about. In fact (at the risk of sounding less than humble) I believe that I QUITE know what I am talking about, with respect to the TT and other cults. I never aid that all outspoken exmember of the TT misrepresent life in that group (in fact, most do not), only that SOME do. And SOME really do. Also, I do not trust DTP, A-AS, or any of the sock puppets and TT apologists, AT ALL. These people REALLY ARE devious in the extreme. I apologize for having offended you, or for causing you any consternation at all. Are we cool, rose?

  4. Actually, I am a bit confused. Please tell us, Ex Ttmetoo, are you Rose Illich? Or are you just somebody who is just using her picture in a fake account, who is posing as Rose Illich?

  5. Or maybe, Ex Ttmetoo, your initials are "DM". Am I wrong?

  6. Hi Brian, I used that same photo so people who have read the article about me and my family published in the SMH in dec last year would recognize me.Sorry, I have no way to prove that here, write to me and we'll communicate better. I do know David Pike although not in person (he was in the US tribes I was in Australia) and it is of some importance to me that someone has serious doubts about his credibility and distrusts his motives. I do not know or have the faintest idea of whoelse you are referring to as sock puppets, extremely devious...but I think it is my business to know. Ok, you really believe some extts stories do not represent the truth. Well first of all I ask you a question. Just imagine for a second you are a nice young woman amongst friends, you have a lovely time together, joke, dance, have a drink then in the course of the night someone spiked your drink and at the end of the night he says to the company he will take care of you. Takes you to a beautiful hotel gets alone with you and cons you in you giving him your credit card and pin n, runs to the ATM empties your bank account, comes back and rapes you and then leaves you to pay the bill the next morning. When you recover from the poisoned drink that made you forget yourself and realize what happened. Would you be worrying about the possibility of being pregnant from this brute or would you be humming the music you danced to. Would you remember his jokes or him showing his true nature to you. Tell me...Brian what would you remember...and what stories would you tell about the guy? Enough people rave on about the amazing super christians and their beautiful cafes and tasty sandwiches and their well behaved children. It is upsetting to say the least and traumatizing at times. It is just like seeing that bastard that raped you enjoying his life with no consequences and being praised in front of you....and you know what someone like that will do it again so you want to warn people.....ok so using this example please explain what do you see in extts accounts that is totally false, or better quote them and prove them wrong, I would like to see and be edified by your perceptive views (no sarcasm intented thereby) and maybe this discussion should be taken elsewhere if it is to continue after that, please write to me: my email:

  7. Are you Rose illich, ma'am? Please give me a "yes" or a "no" about that. No disrespect intended to you here. You write me first, please. is my email address

  8. yes Brian my name is Rosemary Cruzado and I am married to Mark Ilch. I am called Rose for short. Yes it is our life in the TT described in the Sydney Morning Herald and it was me giving the interview to Channel Ten studio ten they titled Inside the world of a cult last january. That is me. And I will write to you soon as soon as I have the chance to do so. Have a good day..

  9. Hello Rose, it is wonderful to see so many people who really know the TT (from inside or from battling them as part of anti-cult movements) visit this site, read up on the goings-on in Germany and contribute. Rose, I have translated into German and forwarded the SMH article on your family's TT experience to our Jugendamt (Youth Welfare Office). It blew them away, and they wrote me and said they did use this, too, as evidence that TT-child training practices are obviously standardised the world over. If you want to do more for the children of the German branch, i.e. help to make sure they are not returned to their parents, send your affidavit to the appeals court where the main proceedings are currently held:

    Oberlandesgericht Nürnberg
    zu Händen Richter Prexl
    Fürther Str. 110
    90429 Nürnberg

    Call me naive, but I feel that if Germany can pull it off, i.e. keep the children in state custody and the community itself under close suveillance, that will deal a severe blow to the TT as a whole. Let's not have Vermont Reloaded. (To all who think I might be a troll: Jennifer knows who I am).