Massive police raid at the Twelve Tribes Community in Klosterzimmern, Germany

Posted 05 September, 2013
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KlosterzimmernIn the early morning of September 5, 2013, the German police raided the homes of our families in Klosterzimmern (86738 Deiningen) and our home at the Georg-Ehnes-Platz 2, 91637 Wörnitz. The parents and their children were still in bed at the time.

The children were between the ages of 1½ to 17 years old, and five infants between the ages of 2 and 7 ½ months.  They were taken away from their parents without their consent by a massive force of dozens of police officers and social workers.  The parents were informed that their children would be taken to unknown places and given to unknown foster families. Any attempts by parents to contact their children were rigorously denied. The mothers of infants are still with the babies, but their custody also is temporarily denied.


The reasons?

The Nördlingen district court issued a preliminary order for the temporary withdrawal of custody based on its perception of a very high immediate risk to the mental well-being of the children. The only legal facts in this decision, however, are that the parents of the children are part of the faith of the Twelve Tribes. What is the legal basis in this? People cannot be found guilty based on their association with a religious faith. Will we be treated differently from any other citizen simply because of our beliefs?

No specific evidence was produced against any individual affected.


Obviously, the court considered it irrelevant to first get an accurate picture of the children and their well-being. The court’s decision came without any warning. The police and the youth welfare office presented us with a fait accompli, with all their “facts” pre-arranged. A previous visit by the judge never took place.

A court hearing on the charges shall not take place until September 13, 2013. What is going to happen to the children until then?

We have now lived in your vicinity for some time, dear citizens of Wörnitz and neighbors in the Ries valley. We call on you to give your opinion on the allegations – surely you have seen us and our children stroll through the village. What impression do you have of our children and their well-being? Were they happy? Were they respectful?

If you have anything you want to say, even to the German officials, you can use the following link to contact us, and we can provide the needed information: Contact Us

~From your friends in the Community of the Twelve tribes in Klosterzimmern & Wörnitz


Guest 11 September, 2013 - 12:42

return the children to their parents

I spent 4+ months in 2008 at one of the communities of the 12 tribes in Bellows Falls, Vermont, USA ... what impressed me the most was the community's children. I found them to be healthy, well adjusted, respectful, well educated, God and parent honoring, engaged and exuberantly happy.
I think it is especially telling that as the 12 tribes children grow up, they generally choose to stay and raise their children in 12 tribes communities. If they were ill-treated, this certainly would not be the case. yours truly, Judson C. Sears

Guest 8 September, 2013 - 15:00

Dear Sirs & Madam, Hello, We

Dear Sirs & Madam,

We strongly ask that you delve into the lives of these people deeper and with an open mind and heart.
We have known them for several years and enjoyed many fine hours in the company of many and their families. We have also had them work for us building our farm buildings and find them to be craftsmen of utmost skill, parents of great patience and thought, friends to all.
They and their children are very learned, astute and conscious of others. We have never in the last 8 years, that we have visited and known members of the twelve tribes, seen anything but respectfulness from the children, lots of laughter, hugs and multi-generational care giving of one another.
There is discipline with explanations of the action and great understanding and efforts to correct with conversation and hugs, and those instances of discipline rare in happening, never force or abusive language - we see far worse in our local supermarkets with children of the world, that have more material things and far less love or attention.
Please, take a moment and review carefully the facets of their lives and I believe you will become a supporter of such self-regulated people, who share all things with each other willingly and of open heart.
I can not imagine a country such as yours withh the learned engineers and skilled great peoples that have such knowledge, would be acting with such rashness.
I do hope your government will allow a second look at this situation and find a better solution. We visited Germany a few years ago and found only the kindness and wonderful people from which terrific foods, beautiful kept homes and cultural aspects were respected, we were lucky to visit, this situation greatly distresses us.
to take children from their families, especially the youngest of them - is downright horrible for all involved.
We urge you to reconsider and return the children to their parents posthaste.
We also wish in this very fast, modern world we have, that some of the love and genuine caring be yours, such as they believe and live for.
We appreciate the opportunity to give you our opinion and will gladly offer more details if you wish for them.
Kristina and Albert von Dohrmann
Otokahe Farm & Belted Beef Jerky,LLC
Jefferson, NH, USA

Guest 13 September, 2013 - 10:39


I agree, these people do spank their children but in no sense do they abuse their children, they provide a supportive loving child freindly environment, I met some of these people some years ago and they were impeccable and committed to a loving environment for their children. That being said if they insist on continuing to spank their children in contravention of the law and view this as persecution rather than an overeaction then the law must prevail, the bible that they follow much more literally than many christians not only counsels us about sparing the rod but also to obey national laws. At this stage I think this is an overreaction on a grand scale by german authorities and hope wise people de-escalate this situation, the german authorities are abusing, albeit with good intentions, the psychological welfare of these children at this moment. Sect is a loaded word in english these days, these people are similar to Amish and are as worthy of respect from the community. It would be quite wrong to associate them with anything sinister whatsoever, in my experience.
Guy Nevill

Ernie T (not verified) 20 November, 2013 - 05:39

Regarding your comment on obeying the law

You state that if the continue to spank the children, which is a biblical command to not spare the rod, with love, to train up a child in the eway he/she may go, and it counters the law of man that the law of man must are absolutely wrong! The Bible clearly states, who will you fear, man or God? If God declares something and man counters it the word of God is what you should adhere to. These people are some of the most respectful people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. My family and I have visited and stayed at a few of their locations and have only seen the love that they show to everyone they meet and how everyone is polite and happy. Never have I been around a group of children that showed more respect and thoughtfulness that at these homes we stayed at. The children are full of fun, always laughing and playing, yet never underfoot. The german government is so archaic in forcing the people to comply with their rediculous laws that are so unweilding that it makes me sick, and to see how many of their citizens are being persecuted for doing what shpuld be the rights of the parents without interfearance. My heart and prayers go out to those families that have been harmed by this evil government gestapo kidnapping. I hope they get their children back as quickly as possible!
Guest 8 September, 2013 - 06:16

The reason for the raid was

The reason for the raid was suspected physical abuse of the children by the parents, and nothing else. Under German law, it is a criminal offence to beat children. If this probable cause proves to be wrong, nothing will happen to the parents. If yes, the parents will have to live with the legal outcome and the prison terms according to the laws. In the Federal Republic of Germany, the bible is not part of the legal system and not valid as a lawbook and never will be as it would oppose the constitution.

mevasermalak 8 December, 2013 - 12:20

"The undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed."

We would not expect the Bible to be part of the German legal system, as it cannot be obeyed by everyone in society. But the German Constitution states in its Article 4 that the "undisturbed practice of religion is guaranteed." Furthermore, it also states in Article 5 that "Care and upbringing of children are the natural right of the parents and a duty primarily incumbent on them," and also "(3) Separation of children from the family against the will of the persons entitled to bring them up may take place only pursuant to a law, if those so entitled fail in their duty or if the children are otherwise threatened with neglect." and finally, "(4) Every mother is entitled to the protection and care of the community."

It is our sentiment on the matter that the German law prohibiting spanking and the current crisis of taking 40 children away from their parents for 3 months has taken away parental authority and their undisturbed practice of religion. Thus, it violates the German Constitution in both Articles 4 and 5. The courts will have to decide.

We believe that child abuse and beating are crimes which should be punished by the proper authorities, and we claim no immunity from an investigation. We have nothing to gain by allowing child abuse or harboring child abusers. We are not guilty of child abuse. But spanking is not beating.

The repetitive and subtle renaming of all references to "corporal punishment" to "beating" is reminiscent of George Orwell's "1984" where thoughts were controlled by controlling language. We object to this renaming of something good (the exercise of loving parental authority) to something evil (abuse of the stronger upon the weaker).