Steindamm: Scientology demands building be demolished

Caberta warns: Psycho sect is looking for a new home

Hamburger Morgenpost, June 25, 1999

The Scientologists are giving up and leaving their headquarters at Steindamm 63. The psycho sect declared it had given notice on its rent contract for the centre, which runs until 2013, "due to the massive deficiencies in the building".

Scientology speaker Frank Busch said that the demolition of the building on the part of the owner of the property would be "the best thing that could be done to this decaying structure". The building's owner, an ex-Scientologist, had applied for permission to demolish the building, and also for an eviction order due to unpaid rent - Busch said that Scientology had reduced the rent [as they are entitled to do under German law, if certain conditions are met] because of cracks in the walls, a damaged roof, damp patches and broken heating. Lawyers for both sides had been negotiating for months to achieve an out of court settlement. [The Scientologists] are supposedly planning to move to new accommodation at the end of the year.

Ursula Caberta, who is responsible to the Hamburg senate for observing Scientology, warns: "They are looking for a suitable substitute HQ. If financially well-off members want to make a new building available to Scientology, we'd have to start a new round." How can those with buildings to rent or sell protect themselves? "They should demand a written declaration that Hubbard's technology will not be applied within the building. We'll be pleased to give them advice." (Tel.: +49 40 428866-444, Fax:-445)

The house in Steindamm had a high symbolic value for the Scientologists, both internally and externally, [Caberta] says. "The Hamburg organization was once the most successful in the world - now it's more likely to be the back marker." The Central District authorities are planning to build a 16-story skyscraper on the site.

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