Scientologists declare war on 'Nazi' Germany
Saturday 19 October 1996
Headlined "Germany Then and Now" and appearing under the swastika and the imperial eagle, the advertisement has provoked a furious reaction from Holocaust survivors and the US State Department, and an embarrassed silence from German members of the sect.
"You may wonder why German officials discriminate against Scientologists," the advertisement said. "There is no legitimate reason but then there was none that justified the persecution of the Jewish people either."
The Jews, understandably, were underwhelmed by the comparison. Ignatz Bubis, the leader of Germany's Jewish community, accused the Scientologists of falsifying history. The advertisement, he said, was "an insult to German politicians and especially disparages remembrance of the suffering" endured by his people.
Even the United States government, which in the past had expressed criticism of Bonn's heavy handed treatment of the church, rushed to Germany's defence on this occasion.
"This is an outrageous charge against the German government by an American group," Nicholas Burns, the State Department spokesman, said. "It bears no resemblance to the facts of what's going on there. The language used is needlessly provocative and not constructive, given the history of Germany." The German branch of the church would not comment.
Relations between the Church of Scientology and Germany have been deteriorating since earlier this year, when the Bonn government published a pamphlet accusing the sect of totalitarian tendencies. Several ministers have proposed a ban on the organisation, and an expulsion of church members from the civil service.
During the summer, members of the governing Christian Democrats' youth wing called for a boycott of the Hollywood movie Mission Impossible on the grounds that its star, Tom Cruise, was a Scientologist. The American jazz pianist Chick Corea was barred from performing at a state-sponsored concert in Bavaria for the same reason.
- 1 Hair loss explained: How and why men go bald
- 2 Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe the Stark may have a twin sister
- 3 Artist takes LSD, draws herself over different stages of the 9-hour trip to show its effects
- 4 A pint of water every day is the key to losing weight, scientists say
- 5 Russia 'accidentally reveals' number of its soldiers killed in eastern Ukraine
Most expensive city to live in for expatriates: Luanda, Angola takes number one spot with Hong Kong and Zurich in top three
Video of Irish 'professional boxer' fighting Istanbul neighbourhood goes viral in Turkey
Irish tourist filmed fighting with shopkeepers in Turkey says they 'messed with the wrong man'
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal get peerages
Moody neurotics are more likely to be creative geniuses, study says
Dresden riots: Protesters in Germany attack refugee buses shouting 'foreigners out'
France train shooting: US soldiers speak of the moment they stopped gunman and 'beat him until he was unconscious'
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn accused of 'deluding' young supporters with 'claptrap'
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith calls for urgent ESA overhaul as part of drive to cut down welfare costs
£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...
£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...
£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...