, ,

A personal letter sent shortly after the raid…

Alfred KanthI’m sure that you still remember me and your visit to the Twelve Tribes Community in Klosterzimmern about six years ago. Originally, I had gone there to visit my mother for a week, but I felt so much more cared for with her than “at home” with my father, so I decided not to leave. Because of this decision, you came to the Community on a surprise visit to see how I was doing.

I didn’t know then that my testimony would have a serious impact on whether or not I could stay with my mother, so I was honest and unhindered, the way a child is when he feels safe in his surroundings. We went for a walk together, and you asked me what I liked to do since being with my mother. I showed you my goats (which apparently I was quite fond of), and taught you many of their names.

After our walk, you requested to see my room, which I showed you. Even thought it was small, I kept it clean and orderly (thanks to my mother); she always took care of me in that way. You seemed satisfied with what you saw and before you left we had one final conversation.

You asked me if I wanted to stay with my mom, and if I had any problems with the existing faith of the Twelve Tribes. I told you that I wanted to stay, and that I didn’t have any problems with the faith.

After your visit you wrote up a report which, based on my testimony and your own observations of the Community, enabled my mother to get full custody of me. From then on I always regarded you as a true friend.

In the meantime I have had an active life. I spent three years home schooling in the Community, where I learned more than in the previous six years of public school, and even managed to successfully complete my high school diploma. This was quite an accomplishment for me, seeing as how I had always been deemed a failing student in school.

Visit School Officials 1

That is Marvin Berkandt in the light blue shirt, front and center, on a day when school officials very happily visited the training program at Klosterzimmern in 2011.

After my schooling, I started working on our farms, and learned a lot about electrical work and carpentry. I even worked for our solar company installing solar panels. Following working in solar, I was privileged enough to spend three months as a crew member on our tall ship in the United States (it’s currently sailing up and down the Eastern Seaboard). When I ended my tour as a sailor, I settled into the trade of baking, and that is what I do to this day.

The last nine months have been spent in Australia, where I’m getting to know our Community there and exchanging knowledge about my profession.

About two months ago, I heard the news that back home in Germany that 100 police officers surrounded our property in Klosterzimmern, at 6 a.m., and forcefully took all the children away; there were 28 children in total there. Needless to say, I was very shaken and horrified by this. I can’t even imagine the pain my friends are going through, having been separated from those they love more than anything, and then, additionally facing accusations that they abused them. The suffering is beyond description.

Please don’t misunderstand me. I know you want only the best for these children. I know that this isn’t just a job for you, but that you really care wholeheartedly about them. The following is what I don’t understand.

How can you believe that these children were abused when they were examined twice by a medical doctor, and no sign whatsoever of abuse was found? But more importantly, how can you believe these accusations when you’ve actually known us as long as you have? Nothing has changed in the Community since the day you decided that it was a good place for me to be raised.

I’ve never had any regret about the choice I made, and I still see as that true friend who made it possible for me to have my true heart’s desire fulfilled.


Marvin Burkandt

For a video of Marvin, as well as the original letter (both in German) see the post, “A Reliable Witness Saves Lives.”