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 Published by the Church of Scientology International

Echoes of the Past
 
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Germany Special Report

German Persuasion - Empty Then, Empty Now
“Stop your campaign and we’ll talk.”

T
hat was the message from German Labor Minister Norbert Blüm. It came in late 1994, as a series of full-page public service messages were being published in The New York Times and the Washington Post by the Church of Scientology, exposing human rights abuses in Germany. They broadly informed the American public of the German government’s courtship of totalitarian principles in violation of its own Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom.

     The messages also documented similarities between the Nazi hate campaign under the Third Reich and assaults upon minorities in Germany today. They called for citizens to write to Chancellor Helmut Kohl and President Bill Clinton, demanding an end to the hatred and discrimination. A flood of letters ensued.

German Labor Minister Norbert Blm and newspaper articles

     The German Labor Minister told a spokesman of the Church of Scientology in Germany that if the Church stopped running the messages, the German government would sit down with the Church and discuss the issues.

     In a good faith gesture, the ads were stopped. Blüm, however, never made good on his promise to talk. The abuses escalated.

     And now, more than two years later, actions against Scientologists and other minorities in Germany have risen to a fever pitch.

     The phrase “Never again” becomes meaningless unless the past is studied and known. A good place to start is this passage from The War Against the Jews by Lucy S. Dawidowicz:

     “The crescendo of violence and atrocities had meanwhile aroused world criticism. The strongest protests were being made on behalf of the Jews. There was talk, especially in the United States, of a boycott of German goods. In his characteristically improvisatory and opportunistic manner, Hitler had decided to exploit SA [storm trooper] violence by branding the Jews as the enemies of Germany and the instigators of a worldwide campaign of lies and calumny to discredit the Reich. Even before Hitler had summoned Goebbels, he had already instructed his friend Julius Streicher, the notorious publisher of Der Stürmer, a perverted, vicious anti-Semitic paper, to organize a boycott committee.


Photographs of Jews being persecuted under Nazi rule created an international stir in the early 1930s. Yet still German officials prevailed upon some German Jews to toe the line that “nothing was happening.”
 
     “Goering, too, had had his instructions. On March 26 [1933] he summoned the leaders of the Jewish organizations to his office. Clear, direct and hostile, Goering told them that they would have to inform the Jews abroad to stop spreading atrocity stories about Germany and to halt the anti-German boycott campaign. Otherwise—as one communal leader later wrote—‘otherwise pogrom [an organized massacre].’

     “The German Jews talked back. They called attention to the dangerous anti-Jewish agitation being carried on by the Nazi press, showing Goering a Nazi paper of Chemnitz, with a photograph of Jews being forced to wash streets under armed Nazi escort. They wanted to show other documents in their possession, but Goering impatiently replied that he had already punished all those guilty. (No one, of course, had been punished.) Finally, however, they had to promise, under threat, to contact Jewish organizations abroad and deny the atrocity reports. A plethora of cables, telegrams and letters were issued by each Jewish institution in Germany to every contact abroad. Typical of the messages was a telegram, March 30, 1933, from the presidium of the Berlin Gemeinde (Jewish community) to the American Jewish Committee:

     “‘According to newspaper reports, atrocity and boycott propaganda against Germany is continuing overseas, apparently in part also by Jewish organizations. As Germans and Jews we must enter a decisive protest against this. The dissemination of untrue reports can only bring harm, affecting the reputation of our German fatherland, endangering the relations of the German Jews with their fellow citizens. Please try urgently to see to it that every atrocity and boycott propaganda report is halted.’

     “(The American Jewish organizations realized that these telegrams were sent under duress.)

     “On March 28, two days after Hitler’s instructions, it was announced that a boycott of Jewish businesses was being called for April 1, by NSDAP [Nazi Party] leaders, who had organized a Central Committee for Defense Against Jewish Atrocity and Boycott Propaganda. ...”

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