Thanks for the loving presentation. I am very very happy that there are people such as you. You are a wonderful young woman. Your parents can really be proud (in a good way) of you. Your parents have done everything right. You are the living proof of that.2
I always think of you. It causes tears in my heart to learn of your destiny. This uncommon injustice has been converted from evil [thoughts] into [evil] actions. It is most definitely the day where the good Lord will dry your tears and hold the people who have done you this to you accountable.
I am aware that it is not enough to write only a few sentences here. I often get angry at myself and the many others who live paralyzed lives and do nothing to help you. If we had something would already have happened.
Instead, turning in a circle. Always the same every day. Get up, go to work, home, cooking, shopping. Like a robot, do the tasks of the day so the bosses, the company, and the people around you are satisfied. No thanks or recognition or anything else. That’s life today.
I fall tired into bed every evening. I feel the the futility of it all extremely. This unhealthy dependence on money. Without money you can not exist in the world today.
I envy you Sarah for your life. You describe how you live and what has made you the person you are today. Your life was filled with meaningful tasks. You’ve been lucky enough to live a full, happy life until the day when evil has sought [to bring] a complete surprise to your home.
Dear Sarah, you and your parents and all other people in the community, you are really great people.3 I wish you God’s blessing and protection. It has done well to read your lines. It is good to know that in this world there are still people who have God with all my heart love and respect His commandments and live the commandments.
I carry you in my heart.
- The German original is at the post, “Meine Kindheit in den Zwölf Stämmen” (My Childhood in the Twelve Tribes). ↩
- If you understand German, you will enjoy watching this interview of Sarah (whose name in the Community is Tehorah) from the summer of 2013. ↩
- Here is a picture of Sarah and her family when she was younger. ↩
First mentioned in the Open Letter to the Bavarian Parliament, we now publish the report of the social-educational expert about our children’s education, specifically their discipline. Please note that the expert mentions that Germany, like other “modern” nations, is substituting psychological control via harmful drugs in place of both discipline and the heart-to-heart connection that children vitally need to grow up. (Download here as a .pdf file: Expert Opinion.)
Dipl. Sozialpäd. (FH)
District Court of Nördlingen
Family Court, attn. Judge
Tändelmarkt 5, 86720 Nördlingen
Social-Pedagogical Report regarding the Published Accusations against the Twelve Tribes Community
Based on my many years of education as a social worker, I’m submitting to the court an expert opinion regarding the published accusations (especially the “video proofs” spread via RTL). This short expert opinion is free and independent, since I don’t know anyone from the religious community personally.
The case has personally affected me very much through the undifferentiated publication especially by RTL and the massive interference of the authorities. Therefore, my sense is that it is my civic duty to send to the court a sober and independant evaluation, especially because of my professional competence.
I ask for your comment.
This socio-educational expert opinion refers to the “video proofs,” which the reporter Wolfram Kuhnigk made (by the way, by intentionally lying with the intent to defame). These were broadcast by RTL rich with comments.
It was striking how the religious community was constantly labeled a “sect” in a defamatory way. The downright “cannibalization” of this “story” inevitably brings the audience into a negative attitude towards the “Twelve Tribes Community.”
Now as far as the “video proofs,” which were interpreted as child abuse:
– It was striking that the children didn’t react in fear by any means.
– It all happened in a calm tone, without screaming around.
– The penalty was also explained with an imagery the child understood (e.g. that of a strong tree – a comparison which the child knew how to categorize).
Unfortunately, the essential parts before and after were cut out of the “video proofs,” so that the educational context is not visible and the picture was narrowed down solely to the strokes with the rod, which was then evaluated with bias as abuse.
“Taking things out of context” in this way prevents the needed picture of the family as a whole.
Abuse often occurs in an uncontrolled rage and anger – this was not seen here at all.
Quite to the contrary, a peaceful atmosphere, which helps the child to understand the penalty. This penalty seems to be embedded in a framework where the child feels loved and accepted overall.
Obviously, the educators do not act randomly, but peacefully and in a positively targeted manner, so that the child can learn from it. This became clear in the video, e.g. it was explained to the child why he had to experience this penalty (“so that you will grow into a big strong tree”). The strokes were so weak that an injury is probably out of the question. This makes it clear that the educators did not want to hurt the children by any means. Physical abuse seems to be out of the question.
Telling from the reactions of the children, a positive trusting relationship with their educators becomes obvious, as the penalty as such is being accepted by the children.
These reactions by the children (among other things no resistance to the penalty) to me do not seem to be based on intimidation but on loving “embedding in a parent-child-relationship.”
This makes it clear that the context and the overall atmosphere that the child grows up in are of crucial importance.
By no means was I able to recognize any physical or emotional abuse on the video footage commented with bias.
If indeed parents raise their children in love and strictness (both belong to one another), this is respectable. The right to educate your child and likewise the obligation to educate include both.
There must be a differentiation: “having one’s bottom smacked” or abusive beating of children.
Lumping these two together is undifferentiated and hence injustice.
True education consists of love. Inevitably this also includes the consequence.
This lack of love becomes obvious when you take a closer look at the widespread practice of education in our country. Often children are handed over unprotected to the influence of the media or are simply “pacified,” e.g. with the drug/”fashionable drug” Ritalin (which is sold on the free market as a drug called Speed).
In 1995, 5000 children were receiving psychostimulants, in 2009 it was 500.000 children and youth in Germany alone.
Unfortunately, children are often “sacrificed” for the professional success of their parents. In German society oftentimes a consistent “not educating” is predominant, trying to accommodate the children’s wants and wishes. It is more than clear that this produces young people characterized by selfishness, to some extent dissatisfied, and not too oriented towards the common good.
Is not exactly this real child abuse?
Are the psychological effects not clear enough?
This is now contrasted with the practices of education of the “Twelve Tribes Community.” You can tell from the effects of the education whether the practices of the education are appropriate or not. This requires the children and youth to give an account themselves for evidence. In order to obtain an overall picture older youth and young adults also should speak up. Isolated mistakes that any teacher makes are what matters, but the education and its effects overall.
From objective factors, e.g. frequency of addictions among youth, social behavior (orientation towards the common good or self-centeredness, warmth or hardness of heart, sensitivity or lack of sensitivity, how conflicts are resolved positively, etc.) you can tell objectively what the practices of education are like in comparison.
Children also suffer psychological abuse, e.g. by being yelled at unlovingly.
In none of the cases on the “video proofs” did this happen in the Community of the “Twelve Tribes.”
“Having one’s bottom smacked” – as many still experienced – did not do any harm to people, if this was taking place in a loving family environment. Yelling, which is very commonplace, and loveless words leave a deep impression in the memory and on the psyche of the persons in need of protection, are a lot worse.
Withdrawal of love, which is very commonplace in our society, and emotional coldness, alienation, many times for days, are real cruelty for the soul of a child.
On the other hand a physical limit as immediate consequence which happens right away and is set in a loving family environment, is not bad. Rather, it helps the child – like a stop signal – to wind down. This opens the door to stop and consider, confront the situation, and lovingly work it out in the following conversation. The whole family environment is relieved when, for example, no single child can dominate the respective situation. The loving family framework is crucial. In this way child rearing will take place appropriately and in a multifacted fashion.
This is definitely not to promote arbitrary beating, real abuse, or withdrawal of love!
Conclusion: From a socio-educational perspective I could not identify any physical or psychological in the so called proofs. So from a socio-educational perspective the accusations against the Twelve Tribes Community due to the submitted “video proofs” are unwarranted, hence the response of the authorities is completely exaggerated.
In a media-effective way RTL put the Jugendamt (Social Services) and the authorities under pressure urging them to intervene. Many citizens were shocked by the extreme intervention of the authorities, “family liability,” the separation of parents and children and vice versa, etc.
Therefore, it is all the more necessary to hear the children, youth, and parents. Thus it becomes clear whether the children are growing up in a loving environment. The effect of child rearing is crucial. Good child rearing will largely produce people who are oriented towards the common good, social, happy, and loving.
We had the last milestone celebration for our first born daughter Hannah. It was short and simple but also sweet and deep.
There is much appreciation for our daughter in our hearts. We are especially grateful for Hannah’s heart towards us. She expressed her thankfulness that we chose this life. From the day of her Bat Mitzvah on she has served us faithfully and proved to be true to her vows and she also developed her own conviction. Now we can send her with joy to serve the Body.
We know that we could only bring her so far but the work of salvation continues. We have full confidence that Hannah will love and receive the direction of the Body and therefore will continually learn and increase.
It is a great comfort to us to still have our second daughter Havah (19) with us and we pray day and night for our youngest daughter Merea (11) to be released from state custody and be brought back to her family and her life!
As a beautiful song we sing says…
Our work is to believe in His goodness
Our work is to believe in His kindness
Knowing that all things work for the good
To those who love Him…
…Our work has just begun!
Ohevi and Rachel
For more about this wonderful family, visit this link.
On August 24, 2015, the parents published this card from their daughter, Chaninah, written in October, 2013. How true her words, the words of an innocent child who loved her loving parents, still ring. This heart of Chaninah’s could not be denied, and so custody was returned completely to her parents in early August, 2015.
Dear Abba and Dear Ima,
How are you doing! I am doing ok. Thank you for the letters. Thank you very much for the package and all that was in it. The scarf, the tea (we drank it right away), the honey waffles, the wool and the card. We are the two sheep! I was very happy. Many greetings to Ishah Chadasha, I think she also helped with it.
I am so happy that we can see each other again in a few days. I can hardly wait. I hope our Father will soon bring us home again. Now we still have to wait a little while. We have to hold on to the hope, even though it is not easy!
Many greetings to everybody!!! I miss you all very, very much! I love you and appreciate you!!
Your daughter, Chaninah
Abba and Ima (or Imma) are how our children refer to their father (abba or source) and their mother (imma or foundation).
What has happened to the Children since the Raid?
Since the historic collective loss of custody1 of the Twelve Tribes children on September 5, 2013, many articles have appeared in the media. It has been a good sell. Unfortunately, almost no one knows what has happened to the children themselves.
Besorah S. was fourteen-years-old when she was taken to a children’s home against her will. After three months there, she was allowed to return home based on an interim court order. As she said then, “I am extremely thankful to be home.” But her two little sisters were not allowed to return to their parents. For nearly two years she was only allowed to visit her sisters once every two weeks, and this under close supervision.
Her sister, Chaninah S. was eleven-years-old when the Jugendamt (youth office) brought her to a children’s home. Expert psychological opinion revealed she had never been endangered with her parents and that another stay in the orphanage would be detrimental to her. It was Chaninah who wrote the moving account of the Raid with the memorable words, “You can never separate a daughter from her parents.” She counted 700 days on her calendar until allowed to come home. Her parents have decided to emigrate from Germany.
These two girls, like their big sister Besorah, wrote so many letters to the judges imploring to be returned home to the parents and the Community they loved, where they were cared for in every way.2
The youngest sister, Ishah, was taken to the children’s home at age 9. Like her sister, expert psychological opinion presented to the court showed that she was not at risk with her parents. After 700 days the courts returned full custody to her parents, allowing her to return. She had been very clear she wanted to return home!3 She is now moving away from Germany with her parents.
For the post in German, which has pictures and synopses of the other children, see “Deutschland, wie behandelst Du deine Kinder?”
Yedideyah M. was 15 years old as he was taken to a children’s home with police violence. He was allowed to return to his home after his second escape attempt because of an interim court order. He wrote then, “At 3:00 o’clock in the morning we jumped out the window and miraculously managed to go home.” Because his mother is a US citizen, he decided he would rather live in America.
Merea K. was 9 years old when she was placed with a foster family by police force. From there, she took refuge first with her sister – together with their parents – and also a second time they fled together to Switzerland to her grandmother. From there she was forcibly handed over three weeks later to the German Youth Office.4 She was separated from her sister and spent only 10 days in another foster family before she was placed in an orphanage. There she is still waiting eagerly for the day when she can return to her parents and two older sisters. She is most severely traumatized by these violent acts and suffers anxiety (Angstzuständen = state of panic or anxiety states).5
Eva K. was forcibly housed at age 17 years with a foster family. Once she fled with her sister to be with her parents – but was returned the same evening by the police. She fled a second time to Switzerland to her grandmother, where after spending three weeks she was taken forcibly by Swiss police at the request of the German Federal Justice Office to the border and handed over to the German Youth Office. She spent another two weeks locked up in a youth facility before she was released.
She has written a beloved journal, “Diary of an Abused Girl,” about her treatment at the hands of the German authorities, and even written the Chancellor of Germany about their desperate situation, so far without response.
For more about Eva’s and Merea’s remarkable family, see the Krumbacher family.
Nechonah P. was 12 years old when she was separated by police force from her parents and placed in a foster home with her younger brother. After 2 months, her brother was secretly moved to another foster family because she allegedly influenced her own brother too much in favor of their own parents. Then she fled from foster home to her parents. After a visit to the competent judge she was forcibly returned to a children’s home by an employee of the Youth Office, from where she fled after another 3 months. She is happy to be with their parents, but lives under constant fear again of police violence to be taken from there. She has endured several police actions in which if she was found she would be taken away from their parents. Thankfully she has not been found.
She has since become a bat mitzvah, a loyal, faithful, tested and true daughter of the commandment – an honor to her parents.
Her brother was Rea P. was nine years old when he was separated from his parents by police force and placed in a foster family. After 2 months, he was picked up without warning from the school and moved to another foster family — and thus separated from his older sister. Later, because his sister had successfully fled her captivity, a 5-month contact ban was imposed on him. That is, he could not see his parents for five months! This was a sanction by the Jugendamt (Youth Office). He has been massively influenced against his parents and the community by the foster parents. He will now be subjected to a deep psychological treatment.
Shama H. was 8 years old when he was placed in a mother-child station. He was allowed to stay at first with his mother and little sister, because he is diabetic. Three months later, when he was still in bed, the infamous second raid happened where again, without warning, employees of the Youth Office with police assistance were in front of his bedroom door. Despite his desperate cries, he was separated from his mother and sister and taken away to a distant orphanage. Since then he suffers from physical, mental and moral neglect. He is bullied at school because he wears his hair tied back…like a little priest.6
His little sister Shalomah H. was not yet 3 years old when she spent three months with her mother and her brother in the mother-child station. Suddenly, brutally, the Youth Office came with police and separated her from her mother and her brother, leaving her paralysed. At the foster parents she awoke from her state of shock and cried for weeks after her mother, sobbing on the phone with her parents. “It hurts so…”
The twin sisters Ahavah and Baruchah P. were not yet 4 years when they were uprooted from their family. Since then, because the parents have not distanced themselves from their faith in God, which they practice in the “Twelve Tribes,” custody has been permanently withdrawn from them (earlier this year). Now the girls can no longer see their parents, because they fear that then even their youngest son would be taken (next child pictured).
Their three-month-old brother Gidon P. was initially housed with his mother in a foster family. After 3 months, he was allowed to return home until the parents custody was withdrawn permanently in the spring of this year, even for him.
Even before the 3-year-old Nehemiah Shalem P. was swept away by the Youth Office – torn away from his mother – she was told that she would get back their children ever again. The traumatized boy suffers now from a speech disorder and is disturbed in his motor development. The further consequences for the mental development of children one can only imagine.7
Hoshayah P. was 8 years old when the police picked him up. He was screaming when ripped away from his mother by the Youth Office and then placed with foster parents. There he has been living now for two years “provisionally” with his sister, separated from his parents and his younger brother. He is desperate because his hope to be able to be with his parents again until today remained unfulfilled. He has heavily indoctrinated with “anti-cult information” and negative views, resulting in a loyalty conflict which alienated him further and further from his parents. The Youth Office supports this transformation.
The always cheerful Tsebiyah P. was 6 years old at the forcible taking into care. She is still waiting for the decision about her future in the interlocutory proceedings and loses, like her brother, any hope of being able to live again in her family. She has also been heavily influenced and transformed against her parents. This behavior on the part of the Jugendamt confirms the fears of the Munich Higher Regional Court, which stated that: “Facts are created which make it difficult to return the children to their parents more and more” solely by the procedural delays.8
Jesaya W. was 2 years old and still nursing, when he was brought in a mother-child station with his mother. Three months later, the mother was detained in the infamous “second raid” by the police and had her son ripped out of her arms by the Youth Office staff. The villagers were shocked by the desperate cries of the children, which could be heard everywhere.9 He now has lived half of his young life by preliminary court decision away from his parents.
Jonathan T. is the first child of his young parents and has spent 20 months in a foster family. His mother was forced to wean him and the boy had many nights crying to sleep.10 His parents do not know the answer to his constant question, “Why should I not be at home with you?” The grandparents and all relatives can no longer see the now 4-year-old, because they all somehow “belong to” the Twelve Tribes.
Sarah R., the youngest of four siblings, was taken away from her family at age 16 years. After three months of strict “protection of minors” in a Catholic girls’ home she was allowed home due to an interim court order. She does not want to live in Germany anymore.
Helez S., the youngest of 6 siblings was 13 ½ years when he was brought to the police force into an institution. After three attempts to escape in snow and ice and against police searches, he was finally freed through an interim court order of the Regional Appeals Court.
Noah S. was 8 years old when he was separated from his loving mother and stuck first in a children’s home, and two months later in a foster family. He is overwhelmed with material things to convince him that he is doing better there. He is kept away and estranged from his mother and no longer believes that he can live with her again, even though the preliminary process is not yet completed.
The 5-year-old S. Chemdah from Spain fell victim to the collective loss of custody, because her family had come for three months to Germany, where her father worked on a solar project. As the mother during this time was expecting a baby, she registered in Germany to get papers for the newborn. This ensnared Chemdah because all the children who were registered in Wörnitz at the Georg-Ehnes address were torn by the German authorities out of their families.
Her three-year-old brother Yakol S. spent two years in a German foster family, although he spoke only Spanish and English. The Spanish children were forcibly integrated into Germany and until the Higher Regional Court finally allowed him to go back to his parents, they were unable to communicate with them any more (because they had forgotten both their English and Spanish). The parents have left Germany and moved back to Spain and now try to work out, with a lot of patience, the traumatic experience their children went through.
Hananiah S. at age 2 was sent by police force, with his mother, to a foster family. After 3 months, the Higher Regional Court ruled that they were allowed to go home for the time being. The family had to travel back and forth between Spain and Germany to preserve contact with his two older siblings, who had to stay with foster parents.
The 3-year-old Israel L. from Argentina had a blessing in disguise. He had to spend in only nine days in a German foster family. The boy spoke only Spanish and showed by crying the whole day out the window that he wanted to return home. In the first trial it could not be demonstrated that his parents “belong to the Twelve Tribes” and so authorities allowed the boy to go free. Hastily the family left Germany on the same day.
Six other children…
Six other children from two families at the ages of 16 months to 9 years old were also kept more than a year in state custody. Because the parents left the “Twelve Tribes” in the meantime, the children were returned to them. The families are strictly controlled by the Youth Office (Jugendamt) and allowed no contact with their previous friends or family.
- At the plenary session of the Bavarian Senate, on July 20, 2006, Secretary of State Karl Freller said: “That means that there is in this case only two possible actions: either imprison the mothers or send the children to a home. To send 33 children to a home would mean a collective withdrawal of parental rights of the parents. Such a case has never been before in Germany.” Quoted in the “Open Letter to the Bavarian Senate” in January 2014. ↩
- For example, see the post, “Can a good tree bear bad fruit? 1” ↩
Ishah wrote on April 26, 2015:
10 times in capital letters:
- See the post, “Seized in the middle of the night.” ↩
- As her parents wrote after a recent court decision, all of this has been done “At the expense of the children.” ↩
- So we see the non-violent education Germany offers its children. ↩
- So we see the fruit of Germany seizing one of our sensitive, wonderful children. This is not unpredictable, as Michele Noterdaeme, Professor for Child and Adolescent Psychology and Psychotherapy, stated in the Die Seite Drei article of January 15, 2014, “Mit Aller Gewalt” (“With All Force“):
“Have the authorities overreacted? “The younger the child is, the more dependent it is on the mother, the more good arguments it takes to remove him from the parents,” says the professor. “If a one and a half year old child will suddenly be separated from his mother, it means “a significant risk for the development. After the abrupt end of such a close relationship some children find it difficult to enter into new relationships. This can last into adulthood.” On the other hand also regular beatings could damage the soul of the person growing up permanently.
So, was the second action with the small children appropriate? Noterdaeme formulates somewhat carefully, evasively: The tasks of the Jugendamt are not easy. Their staff is standing between two options: ‘If we do nothing, we are criticized — we are active, there is also criticism.’ I assume that the Youth Office had good, assignable reasons. If there is no imminent danger, then the forced removal to prevent immediate danger is not justified.” According to the eyewitnesses in the home in Dürrlauingen there was — at least in the short term — no danger for the little kids.” ↩
- As the Court stated: “The command to speedy trial in custody proceeding (…)has presently special significance because the danger has to be considered that alone through the length of the proceeding that is already more than 1 ½ years facts are created that make the return of the child to the parents more and more difficult, child and parents are being alienated and another interference into the environment of the child which could again bring the child in grave conflicts. In face of these possible consequences for the psychological development of the child the duration of the proceeding so far is alarming.” See the post, “What is wrong with our pamphlet” for this and more of what the Higher Regional Court of Munich said. ↩
- As one respected villager put, the actions of the authorities was “beneath contempt.” ↩
- As the gripping diary of Eva Krumbacher relates (just the first few weeks of captivity): “Diary of an Abused Girl.” ↩