Huge Fines, Jail, and Loss of Custody Threatened for German Homeschoolers (February 21, 2005)
To those of us in the USA and other nations who have seen homeschooling blossom in the last 25 years, with the only "dire" consequences being more kids who can write well and do well on standardized tests, the idea that parents should be drastically punished for homeschooling sounds, well, Nazi-like. And I mean that literally.
One of Hitler and his buddies' first acts on taking office was to establish the Reich Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools, including private schools. Nobody was to have the right to teach children from a different point of view than the State (with a capital "S"). There would be no right to teach from a distinctively religious point of view, especially. As Hitler said on May 1, 1937,
"The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of innoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing."
Judge for yourself in the story below whether current German officials seem to have this same Nazi-inspired view that the state has the right to impose one single worldview on all its youth by force.
It is definitely time to bring this last odious remnant of Nazi thinking to an end.
Previous Story: "Homeschooling Illegal" Declares German School Official - Calls Needed Now!"
As of February 17, here is the latest from the HSLDA E-Lert service. We are proud to have its author, Chris Klicka, as one of our long-time Practical Homeschooling magazine columnists.
Thank you for your many calls and emails to the German Embassy.
The good news is that the seven homeschool families in Paderborn
County have still not been prosecuted. They were supposed to be
prosecuted over a month ago. Your calls have made the difference.
However, despite progress, the battle is still intense.
German homeschoolers have told us on numerous occasions that your
calls are working despite the response many of you have received from
the Embassy. In part, the Embassy stated that homeschooling should not
be legal because "The public has a legitimate interest in countering
the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated
by different world views and in integrating minorities into the
population as a whole." This statement is incompatible with a free
The German Embassy is, however, communicating your views back to
Germany. Furthermore, we have distributed the request to
homeschoolers across the world. As a result, homeschoolers are calling
and emailing from over twenty nations to their respective Germany
The bad news is that the Guenthers have been charged with contributing
to the delinquency of a truant, and are being fined over $1,500 simply
because they have been going to Paderborn on a number of occasions to
mediate with the authorities on behalf of the seven homeschool
Rich Guenther is the director of the School Instruction At Home
organization, which provides legal defense for German homeschoolers.
It is unconscionable that the authorities prosecute individuals who
are trying to mediate and resolve conflicts.
Furthermore, the Loefflers, a homeschooling family who lives near
Nuremburg, just received a letter stating that the government will
freeze their bank account and come into their home to take anything of
value up to the amount of the fine assessed against them. The fine is
approximately $14,000. The family does not have the money. If the
state of Bavaria follows the usual process the father will be put in
jail, and the process of removing their eight year-old daughter will
Another family in Bavaria, the Grosseluemerns, were recently in court
for refusing to pay the fines assessed against them for not sending
their child to school. The Grosseluemerns attorney proved that the
prosecution attorney was not aware of the laws of Bavaria concerning
the facts of this case, and that he was not upholding the federal law
guaranteeing the freedom of religion and parental rights. The
prosecuting attorney then turned to the judge and asked that the fine
against the family be tripled, which the judge readily consented to.
Two days later a press story carried a quote from Bavarian officials
saying that if it becomes necessary, they will put Mr. Grosseluemerns
in prison until he complies and pays the fine.
Please take a moment to help the "least of these our brethren." The
German homeschool movement is small, but it is growing. Just last week
they had their largest conference in Germany, with over 200 people in
attendance. One television station and two newspapers covered the
event. There is a growing interest in homeschooling in Germany, and
several newspapers, including one of the largest papers, TAZ, are
sympathetic and writing stories favorable to the homeschooling cause.
Germany needs your help now.
1. Call or email the German Embassy and give them this message:
"Please make homeschooling legal in Germany. Do not prosecute the
seven families in Paderborn (the Pauls, the Pletts, the W. Blocks, the
A. Blocks, the Geislisngs, the Sterubels, the Zins, and the
Trivoniches). Also, dismiss the fines and cases against the Loeffler
and Grosseluemerns families in Bavaria. Furthermore, drop the charges
against the Guenthers, who have been only trying to help, and are
being prosecuted for their attempts to mediate on behalf of the
Paderborn families. Homeschooling must be allowed in Germany. To be
known as a truly free nation, parents should have the right to choose
the best form of education, including homeschooling, for their
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
The embassy can be emailed from its website:
You can give an account of the success of your own homeschool in your
2. Email the school superintendent, Schul-und Bildungsministerin von
NRW Ute Schaefer, ute.Schaefer@msjk.nrw.de, with this message:
"Please do not prosecute the seven families in Paderborn (the Pauls,
the Pletts, the W. Blocks, the A. Blocks, the Geislisngs, the
Sterubels, the Zins, and the Trivoniches). Also, dismiss the fines and
cases against the Loeffler and Grosseluemerns families in Bavaria.
Furthermore, drop the charges against the Guenthers, who have been
only trying to help, and are being prosecuted for their attempts to
mediate on behalf of the Paderborn families."
3. Please continue to support School Instruction At Home, which HSLDA
helped to establish in Germany. This organization now has 180
homeschooling members, and is working around the clock to represent
these families in court and mediate before school districts. Their
funds are running low again after your generous outpouring six months
ago. Please consider donating to School Instruction at Home to help
them continue the legal fight. We believe we are making significant
progress and are getting closer to victory.
Please go to http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?ID=1211 to make a
tax-deductible gift to the organization.
Thank you for all your support for the least of these.
Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel