Presentation: Scientology critic speaks at Illertisser College

Hartwig: Syndicate with a mafia-like structure
Warning of harmless-looking surveys at kindergartens

Suedwest Presse, February 22, 2000

Even though the discussion about the Scientology sect has died down in recent times, the danger has not at all been vanquished. That is what internationally renowned Scientology critic Renate Hartwig wanted to get across to about 500 listeners at the Illertisser College of School Brothers. Helmut Frank

Illertissen/Region The theme of Scientology was especially interesting to the upper classmen at the College of School Brothers in Illertissen. Hubert Limmer, Director of the Performance Course in the subject of religion and students Heike Juengling and Thomas Kempter, had the idea to invite renowned Scientology expert Renate Hartwig to make a presentation. Before about 500 people, Renate Hartwig showed that she was very happy that young people were so intensely involved with the theme. She said that gave her hope that her struggle against the sect had not been in vain. Her work was based on a painful experience in 1988: she and her husband had lost their company indirectly because of the organization. For years Scientology tried to silence her through lawsuits, gossip and other methods. Renate Hartwig clearly answered the question of whether Scientology was a church, a sect or a religion: "It operates as nothing other than a business syndicate with a Mafia-like structure and claims to potentially great political power."

Ron Hubbard, deceased in 1986, founder and source of ideas for the organization, gave clear instructions to all members. He ordered them to take key positions in all areas of society and to use this power in the sense of the [Scientology] organization. Hartwig believes that the possible danger from the total of about nine million Scientology members has been suppressed or dealt with in a negligent manner by German politicians. For instance, there is a huge discrepancy between the official number of members in Germany stated by Constitutional Security and the 300,000 members verified by a Scientologist on a talk show.

As an example of existing entanglements, Hartwig gave a flyer which told Daimler-Chrysler staff to ignore the theme of Scientology. "The theme has been declared taboo," said Hartwig. Many company chiefs let themselves be bought off with statements that their staff are not members of Scientology. This, said Hartwig, meant absolutely nothing, because Scientologists may lie when it is in the interests of their organization. The speaker emphasized that no area was immune from risk. With methods which were sometime clumsy, yet effective, people were being recruited. As an example, Hartwig gave a survey by mail whose title sheet included a picture of Albert Einstein and the famous quote that people use, at most, only ten percent of their brain. Anybody who wanted to know more was asked to answer 200 questions. The answers were then to be analyzed by the technical people, said Hartwig.

The mass mailing was soon following by calls requesting to drop off the survey results. It was said that the results were so bad, that they could not trust the postal service with them. Driven by curiosity, many went, said Hartwig. That resulted in often expensive seminars for "Personality Structure Improvement" - a first step into dependency, she said. Scientology did not even pass up kindergartens, Renate Hartwig continued. The organization was said to distribute special puppets anonymously. A short time later somebody would show up and ask about how the children acted, especially the hyperactive "flibbertygibbets" among them. That would be followed by an offer to educate trainers. "And before you know it, danger again," warned the Scientology expert.

Looked at more closely

The arm of Scientology was said to reach up into the highest political circles. But, the speaker said, the theme was only taken seriously enough in the German state of Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg. Since CDU Interior Minister Manfred Kanther has been in office, it was said that the surveillance of Scientology by Constitutional Security has been sharply curtailed. In light of Kanther's recently revealed involvement in the CDU donations scandal, he may be looked at a little more closely. In an interview with our newspaper after the presentation, Hartwig said that she was often at a loss as to which aspects she should share with the audience. She said that over the years she has accumulated a whole lot of information about Scientology.

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