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Huge Fines, Jail, and Loss of Custody Threatened for German Homeschoolers - Contact German Embassy Now! (October 2, 2006)


This Just In! German homeschoolers say their embassy may be blocking your phone calls and emails. They ask you to contact their Ministries of Education. Full info provided here.


It's almost unbelievable that this can be happening in a civilized country. But here's the current outrageous situation, straight from HSLDA's e-lert:


The German government is persecuting homeschoolers like never before. Armin Eckermann, president of Schulunterricht zu Hause (School Instruction at Home - SIH), the homeschool legal defense association of Germany, states that there are over 40 homeschool families in court in Germany!

The families are being heavily fined; the parents are being jailed; the children are being threatened with being seized and placed in the custody of the state; and families are being forced to flee to Austria and other surrounding countries.

Here are a few current and frightening situations:

1) The Rudolph family: They are diligently homeschooling their six children in Hamburg. The father, Andre, was jailed for a week for refusing to send his children to public school. Like many of the homeschool families in Germany, they are evangelicals. What is even more surprising about Andre Rudolph being put in jail for homeschooling is that he has a degree in teaching! He and his wife have been fined 840 euros ($1,090) for homeschooling.

After Andre's jail time the authorities tried a new weapon and began to forcibly take the children to public school each day. Their plan was take custody of these six children and make them wards of the state.

One day, however, the authorities came to take the children to school, but no one answered the door. The Rudolphs fled to another country in order to homeschool their children according to God's ways.

2) The Plett family: If you recall, last year we asked you to pray and contact the embassy about the seven Baptist homeschool families of Paderborn. One of the families, the Pletts, have continued to homeschool their 12 children. Last week, a female plainclothes police officer rang at the Platt's house. When the mother opened the door, other police officers who were hiding in the bushes forced their way in. The mother was able to inform her husband by cell phone before the police took her to jail. The husband then fled to Austria with the children. She was given a 10-day prison sentence and is facing heavy fines and more jail time.

Of the seven Paderborn homeschool families from last year, two have fled to Austria and five have enrolled in a Christian school in Heidelburg. They all still have pending cases against them.

3) Three homeschool families from Saxony have been taken to court and convicted. One was fined 3,000 euros, one 6,000 euros, and another 10,000 euros.

4) The Bauer family: This family in Hesse are American missionaries for the last 15 years. They were prosecuted about five years ago and have exhausted their appeals and have sought review by the Human Rights European Court that covers all of Europe.

There are now eight cases pending before the European Court, most of which the SIH organization has brought, along with Ronald Richert, a renown Constitutional law attorney who has handled some of the SIH members' cases. The problem with the European Court, is that it all cases are discretionary: there is no right of appeal. If the Court decides not to rule on them, the case will not be heard. Another problem is the Court has no particular deadline of when they have to decide to take the case or not, so some of these cases have been sitting for three to four years, with no resolution in sight.

5) The Herrmann family: This family from Baden-Wurttemberg was facing prosecution for homeschooling their twins who have many medical problems. They have been forced into hiding and are seeking asylum in the United States and other countries.

The Maisch family, also from Baden-Wurtemberg, has been convicted of homeschooling. For the past three weeks they have faced increasing fines.

Schulunterricht zu Hause (SIH), the legal association that HSLDA helped establish, is being worn out with defending all these families in court. They have approximately 150 members in their association that are all homeschool families, many of whom are underground, and almost 40 in court.

Appeals have been exhausted time and time again, and money is running out. The German homeschool families are pleading for your help.

Will you take a moment and contact the German Embassy?

ACTION REQUESTED

1. Please contact the German Embassy and give them this message:

"German governments need to make homeschooling legal. Over 40 families are being prosecuted in Germany merely for teaching their children at home. These families have been given huge fines, some parents have been jailed, some have been forced to flee to other countries, and they are all being threatened to take their children into state custody. This is deplorable and unacceptable for any free nation to persecute Christian families who are providing an excellent education for their children. We ask you to stop prosecuting these families like the Maisches, the Pletts, the Bauers, the Rudolphs, and the many others. Homeschooling needs to be legalized in Germany."

This message can be put in your own words, along with a story or information about the success of your own homeschool.

The German Embassy can be contacted at:

Wolfgang Ischinger
Ambassador
German Embassy
4645 Reservoir Road NW
Washington, DC, 20007-1998
(202) 298-4000

The embassy can be e-mailed from its website:
http://www.globescope.biz/germany/reg/index.cfm

2. If you want to support homeschoolers in other countries - and causes such as Schulunterricht zu Hause in Germany - you can make a donation to the Home School Foundation's international fund. For more information visit http://www.homeschoolfoundation.org.

3. Please pray fervently for these poor families facing incredible pressure and fear.

We cannot give up. Our brothers and sisters in Germany need us and have their back against the wall.

BACKGROUND

Homeschooling in Germany has been illegal in Germany for a long time. In fact, according to some newspaper accounts it has been illegal since Hitler banned it in 1938. Five years ago HSLDA helped establish Schulunterricht zu Hause as a way for Germans to receive some legal defense. However, even though the determined lawyers defending the families have worked for free and many attempts have been made to battle to make it legal, homeschooling is still outlawed.

HSLDA has had tremendous success in many countries in the past to influence their parliaments to legalize homeschooling and even release people from jail. When Americans and homeschoolers in other countries have contacted the German Embassy, officials there have communicated the thousands of calls back to their national government and it makes a difference, even in policy considerations.

We have been successful in help legalizing homeschooling in South Africa and Romania and in stopping bad legislation that would destroy homeschool freedoms in Ireland, Australia, Czech Republic, and other countries.

Thank you and God bless you for your willingness to make a difference.

Sincerely,

Christopher J. Klicka
HSLDA Senior Counsel


This Just In! German homeschoolers say their embassy may be blocking your phone calls and emails. They ask you to contact their Ministries of Education. Full info provided here.


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