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Background Papers: Understanding the German View of Scientology (from German embassy web site)

Article Index
Background Papers: Understanding the German View of Scientology (from German embassy web site)
Fact Sheet on Scientology
Is Scientology a threat?
Federal and Regional Action Taken Against the Scientologists in Germany
What is the Truth about the Scientologists
The Scientology Public Relations Campaign Against Germany
American Media Reports on Scientology

The Scientology Public Relations Campaign Against Germany

The Church of Scientology has waged an aggressive campaign against Germany.  Using full-page ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post that began in October 1996, the Scientology organization has compared the treatment of Scientologists in present-day Germany with that of the Jews under the Nazi regime.  This is not only a distortion of the facts, but also an insult to the victims of the Holocaust.  Officials in Germany and the U.S. have repeatedly spoken out against this blatant misuse of the Holocaust.  Ignatz Bubis, the recently deceased chairman of the Council of Jews in Germany who was Germany's top Jewish leader, denounced the comparison as "false."  On June 6, 1997, the State Department's spokesman again defended Germany, saying:

"Germany needs to be protected, the German Government and the German leadership need to be protected from this wild charge made by the Church of Scientology in the U.S. that somehow the treatment of Scientologists in Germany can or should be compared to the treatment of Jews who had to live, and who ultimately perished, under Nazi rule in the 1930s.  This wildly inaccurate comparison is most unfair to Chancellor Kohl and to his government and to regional governments and city governments throughout Germany.  It has been made consistently by supporters of Scientology here in the United States, and by Scientologists themselves.  I do want to disassociate the U.S. Government from this campaign.  We reject this campaign.  It is most unfair to Germany and to Germans in general". 

The Scientology organization has also distributed pamphlets such as "The Rise of Hatred and Violence in Germany," reiterating its allegations. 

An open letter to Chancellor Kohl, written by a Hollywood lawyer with famous Scientology clients, appeared in early 1997 in the International Herald Tribune.  The letter repeated Scientology organization assertions against Germany and was signed by 34 American celebrities.  "Disgraceful and irresponsible" is how Michel Friedman, a member of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, described the letter.  He added: "It's totally off the mark.  Today, we have a democracy and a state based on the rule of law."

Following the letter, the U.S. State Department also criticized the Scientologists' public relations campaign, saying, "we have advised the Scientology community not to run those ads because the German government is a democratic government and it governs a free people.  And it is simply outrageous to compare the current German leadership to the Nazi-era leadership.  We've told the Scientologists this, and in this sense we share the outrage of many Germans to see their government compared to the Nazis."