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 Chayah’s Testimony

I am Chayah.


Chayah Markeli, age 18

I am the brother of Addar. We both got here together.


Chayah’s Brother: Addar Markeli, age 15

A huge shock

And of course at first it was a huge shock, to wake up at 6 a.m., there are 50 policemen in front of your room and telling you: “Get out of your room. Get dressed.”

You did not stand a chance to take anything from the room, no chance to go to the bathroom. The bathroom doors got blocked, you couldn’t get to your toiletry utensils as toothbrush or such. You couldn’t get anywhere. You had to get up and were escorted downstairs to the living room, where we had to wait at first and then received the terrible news that we had to leave our home. There had been made a decree that we had to be taken away. I didn’t really know what that means or what would happen. I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life. It was a very great shock on that morning.


Children being taken from Klosterzimmern on September 5, 2013.

Of course I was not willing right away to be identified and I did not say my name right away because I did not know what would happen, until I found out by talking with them, that they would distribute us into different foster homes and foster families. That was very difficult for me. I did not know, what to do in the situation. There seemed to be no way out. I also tried to talk to several social workers to talk about where each child would be sent to, especially my sister, because it was very important to me that my sister could at least be together with somebody.

I found out that it was planned for my sister to go by herself to a foster family. She is ten years old. Since we had a very tied family bond at home and to be torn apart like this is against any human dignity. We’ve been torn away from our beautiful peaceful community life and have been scattered throughout southern Germany.

Contact Ban

And one thing that shocked me the most is that we were lied to by Jugendamt officials, saying that right away on the same day around noon we would be able to talk on the phone to our parents and siblings, because they didn’t even know where we were. I was glad that at least I would be able to talk to my parents, because there had been many unanswered questions. I could not cope with the situation. It was really terrible.

We were taken to the institution. They told us that we were under contact ban. That meant we couldn’t talk to the parents, we were not allowed to have a cellphone or have phone calls with our parents neither write letters. Our parents were not allowed to visit us. Time passed. We had no contact to anybody. We had to remain there. Sometimes we were accompanied by educators when we went to places.

I have never had situations like this before. After a few weeks I had the first telephone contact with my parents. That was for ten minutes, and we had to be in the office of the social worker. The social worker then wrote a report to the Jugendamt (youth office) concerning what we talked about on the phone. Such monitoring measures are a criminal act.

The parents were told at times that the children are doing good, that they were allowed to have contact, but they did not tell them that we were demanding contact with our parents. Everything was twisted by the Jugendamt and shallowed down.

This is absolutely not normal and criminal, to tear away children from their families in such a way. In my whole life I’ve never been treated as I’ve been treated now. I feel hurt in my human dignity. You can’t go anywhere without people thinking that you are coming from some sort of abusive sect. Of course the people here didn’t know what to expect from us. But when they got to know us they found out of course that we are just normal people. And we also got along quite well here with the youth without major problems. But all the psychological pressure.

More or less your legal father…

I was assigned to a guardian, who told me “I am your guardian, more or less your legal father.” And for me, being 17 years old, almost 18, to be assigned such a legal father was completely abnormal and totally… out of this world. This is…, it is…

And then he comes along and of course I want to express my complaints to him, and the things I don’t like etc., but after expressing to him that I want to have more contact with my parents and that I’m not satisfied to just talk to them for ten minutes a week, he replied,

he had authority to cancel even the 10 minutes, if I wasn’t satisfied with that. This kind or extortion and applying psychological pressure – what’s happening here is beyond any human dignity. This is not tolerable! Then I was very afraid.

Of course I wanted as much contact as possible with my parents. But when I expressed to him my matters and what my complaints are, I was put under such pressure, it was hardly bearable.

It is terrible. By now I am 18 years old. I had tried to stay with my brother as long as possible, because it is very difficult for me that my brother is still here and my sister is yet in another institution. But it seemed to be impossible to stay together with my brother unless I signed an apprenticeship contract.

I went back Home

That’s why I decided to go back home. So, I am back home now but I still come here to see my brother, because this is very important to me. My sister, who is ten years old, I haven’t seen in the ten or 11 weeks since we’ve been taken, except for once for half an hour. Upon my question, if she would be able to go see me for my 18th birthday, she was told that the way is to far from the foster home. Treating children this way is not right. That’s not right.

Now I am back home. This is where I want to be. Where my friends are, this is where I want to be.


Debeqah, Besorah, Yedidiah, Chaim

But the fact that my brother has to be in the foster home and is being arrested there, even though he wants to come home is not right. It is very difficult for all that the family is being destroyed in such a way.

Whatever accusations there might be, but to destroy the families in such a way is not right. At a certain time, we did have a hearing at the court. I could not imagine that the Jugendamt, the process assistant, and the court would work together so tightly take away any possibility to say something. Whatever you say is being twisted, and is not being presented the way things really are.

Amongst other things we had to go to the doctor. Me, being 17 years old, had to pull down my pants, and the doctor tries to examine me and to find out whether I have been beaten. That’s so abnormal. I don’t understand how this can be.There are no proofs of us being abused. But anyway we are being treated as if we were the criminals. This is not right, that we are treated this way.

The Process Assistant was of No Use

We had a process assistant, that told us “Yes, I will represent you in court etc.”, but what happened to this process assistance was really disappointing.

The process assistant did not assist us at all in court. The process assistant did come to the hearing, but he did with no word confirm what we were saying and our will, but the process assistant said what he wanted and started asking questions like the judge. Such a process assistant is of no use. It is not right to be treated like this. Anyhow, now I am back home, but something really has to happen, in order for my siblings and also all the other children that are being held captive against their will to be set free.

Because it is not right that the children are being treated like criminals, are being torn away from the parents. That the families are being destroyed is not right.

This cannot go on.