More than just a US problem: German government sends stark Scientology warning

In 1975 The Church of Scientology slithered into the City of Clearwater, Florida under a fictitious name bringing with it chaos, anger and vicious attacks upon anyone who dared stand against it. 

Almost immediately Scientology’s department of psychological terrorism, The Office of Special Affairs, (formerly the Guardian’s Office) began a campaign of intimidation against Mayor Gabe Cazares, who had exposed the group behind the pseudonym. OSA developed sinister plans to frame Mayor Cazares for hit and run and to embroil him in a lurid sex scandal in order to ruin his career.

This was not the first time Scientology would launch savage, dirty operations against a detractor in an effort to silence and intimidate, nor would it be the last. 

Currently here in the United States, Scientology’s many front groups along with it’s leader David Miscavige are facing multiple legal suits alleging crimes ranging from human trafficking and child labor to stalking, financial interference and the poisoning of family pets.

The US is not Scientology’s only hunting ground, however. The Church breeds resentment and distrust across the globe, forcing its presence upon an unwilling public then lashing out with nasty attacks on those who oppose their activities. Knowing they are not wanted seems only to motivate them further.

Nowhere that Scientology lands is free of turmoil as the group attempts to spread L. Ron Hubbard’s version of a ‘new world order’ in his own image. One such country is Germany.

Scientology operates Churches in several German cities. Pictured: Church of Scientology Berlin

In 1970 The Church of Scientology opened the first of its German Orgs in Munich and trouble ensued almost immediately.

Between 1972 and 1978 the Guardian’s Office spent the majority of its time brutally attacking various critics and/or embroiled in litigation. These attacks included death threats and the attempted framing of a defense commissioner for bribery.

Researcher David Mantell of the Max-Planck Institute for Psychopathy and Psychotherapy wrote in criticism of Scientology’s unsubstantiated therapy practices and quickly found himself the focus of an article in Scientology’s Freedom magazine, in which Germany’s Nazi past was used as a tool to discredit both the Institute and Mantell.

“Freedom called Mantell a Nazi and alleged that the ‘bloody crimes of psychiatry didn’t end with the decline of the ‘3rd Reich’. Hermann Brendel, spokesperson of the Guardian Office (GO), even told that the successors of the nazi doctors nowadays would blame the fact that ‘they couldn’t order fresh and bloody brain tissues of children like it was done in Nazi Germany’”.

True to form, the intervening years have been just as contentious between Scientology and Germany. Germany’s government has kept Scientology under close surveillance while the Church has responded with lawsuits, Fair Game attacks and numerous Scientology propaganda articles under the banner of their front group, ‘The STAND League’. 

Currently Scientology claims it is legally considered a protected religion in Germany, stating; “Over the past three decades the German courts—in some fifty decisions—have decided that the Church and its members enjoy the protection of freedom of religion guaranteed by Article 4 of the Basic Law (Constitution) of Germany.”

Such a claim seems in opposition to a 2006 statement found on the German Embassy’s Washington D.C. website which says; “The German government considers the Scientology organization a commercial enterprise with a history of taking advantage of vulnerable individuals and an extreme dislike of any criticism. The government is also concerned that the organization’s totalitarian structure and methods may pose a risk to Germany’s democratic society. Several kinds of evidence have influenced this view of Scientology, including the organization’s activities in the United States.”

More recently, on June 20, 2023 The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution released it’s 2022 Report on the Protection of the Constitution, which is available in English PDF format at the bottom of this article.

This report contains information on extremist groups considered a threat to Germany and its Constitution. These groups include politically motivated crime, Right and Left Wing Extremists, Foreign Extremism, Islamic Extremists/Terrorism… and Scientology.

In the report Scientology is referenced as an “Organization” rather than a “church” or “religion”. 

The Scientology organisation (SO) seeks to establish a global society based on Scientology. As in the previous year, the organisation counts about 3,600 members in Germany.

The organisation’s ideology is strictly based on the writings of its founder and long-time leader Lafayette Ron Hubbard (1911–1986), who invented a method he called “technology”, “dianetics” and “Scientology”. This method is intended to create the perfect human, called “clear” or “non-aberrated”. In Hubbard’s teachings, people who are not “clear” are to be denied fundamental rights and human dignity. The SO sees itself as a ruling elite that should reign over the rest of humanity. This world view is incompatible with the principle of democracy enshrined in Germany’s constitution, the Basic Law. Scientology seeks to attain its envisaged social order via a long-term strategy of expansion, by increasing the organisation’s revenues and by fighting its critics. The SO presents itself to the outside world as an apolitical religious community.

As the restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic were progressively lifted in 2022, the SO increasingly resumed its demonstrations, information stands and distribution of its promotional materials (e.g. through the SO cover organisation The Way to Happiness). The online course and seminar offerings established during the pandemic remained available. The SO uses these offerings strategically in order to bring easily accessible Scientology content to a broader audience, recruit new members, generate funds and further the expansion of the SO. Scientology is pursuing these goals as part of its “Golden Age of Admin” initiative, which U.S. Scientology leader David Miscavige announced to the organisation’s members in 2022.

As in previous years, the SO continued to distribute materials specifically designed for children, with the intention of influencing the public’s perceptions
of the SO from an early age.

2022 Report on the Protection of the Constitution – German Federal Government

That Germany labels The Church of Scientology as “incompatible with the principle of democracy” and has included it as a danger to their society equivalent to Islamist terrorism refutes the idea that Scientology is seen as a religion.

In the past the US has called out the German government, albeit carefully, for their stance. Ironically the United States issued a report in 1997 on what was referred to as “…a campaign of harassment and intimidation” against the contentious church.

Undaunted, a German diplomat responded by announcing “‘We won’t change our policy, no matter what you say. You are a big country. You can afford to have militias and cults. We can’t.’”

So the stalemate between Cult and Country continues.

Scientology insists upon forcing it’s presence on a People who do not want it whilst alienating them with comparisons to the Nazi regime.

The Church of Scientology operates in the same way, wherever they operate or decide to buy real estate. Just as they have created a tense and hostile atmosphere in the U.S., so too in Germany, France, Ireland, England and Greece. Germany’s example should set a precedent for other nations.

L. Ron Hubbard predicted the criticism of his group, writing in the policy letter ‘LRH Relationship to Orgs’ (HCO PL 4. Jan 1966): “Somebody some day will say ‘this is illegal.’ By then be sure the orgs [Scientology organizations] say what is legal or not.:

This is exactly what Germany is worried about. Here’s hoping they never get that far.


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Stefani Hutchison

Author of the Confront and Shatter blog, Stefani Hutchison has been reporting on Scientology since 2017. Contact Stefani on Twitter:

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