Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
A national homeschool organization with developing influence around the world has called for Americans to contact the Germany embassy to lobby for the right of parents to teach their own children.
The campaign from the Home School Legal Defense Association follows word that since homeschooling never has been legalized in Germany since Hitler banned it, a mother was arrested and detained on such charges.
Ian Slatter, a spokesman for the HSLDA, said yesterday the Plett family is just the latest evangelical Christian family to be snared in such problems there.
A report in the conservative Brussels Journal said Katharina Plett recently was arrested and ordered to jail while her husband fled to Austria with the family’s 12 children.
The report said while Mrs. Plett was serving time in Gelsenkirchen prison, her husband and children were at a Christian family center in Wolfgangsee in Austria.
Slatter said just a few days into the campaign, there already has been a large response from American homeschoolers. He said his office had received nearly 100 copies of e-mails to the German embassy seeking permission for the family to homeschool.
Since there is no way to track the number of telephone calls and e-mails being dispatched, he said it was likely that would represent only a small percentage of the comments actually being delivered.
Slatter said he also was concerned that many of the families, including the Pletts, who have had difficulty with German educators are Christian.
“There is a religious freedom issue, too,” he said.
A website for the Practical Homeschool Magazine noted one of the first acts for Hitler when he moved into power was to create the governmental Ministry of Education and give it control of all schools, and school-related issues.
In 1937, the dictator said, “The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating 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.”
The HSLDA said the German embassy can be reached by e-mail through its website, by telephone at 202-298-4000 or by mail at: Wolfgang Ischinger, Ambassador, German Embassy, 4645 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC, 20007-1998.
“It is beyond belief that Germany is still enforcing a law that was written for one reason only – to be used by Hitler to control and indoctrinate German youth. It had no other redeeming value,” said Shoshona Bat-Zion on a homeschoolers’ blog.
“The very fact that the police came out in a military-style raid to arrest a peaceful, middle-aged Christian mother of 12 children speaks volumes about how they are still emulating their fathers and grandfathers (SS stormtroopers, anyone?)”
HSLDA officials said the German organization, Schulunterricht zu Hause (School of Instruction at Home, or SIH), confirms at least 40 homeschool families are in court proceedings at this time, facing fines or jail time.
SIH chief Armin Eckermann has said families have had to flee under cover of night to avoid the state taking custody of their children at times.
The Pletts are part of a group of seven Baptist homeschool families who have been targeted frequently by authorities. Two families have left Germany and five others have enrolled their children in a Christian school, but their court cases remain pending.
There also are eight cases before the Human Rights European Court, mostly brought by Christians from Germany, over this very issue.
“Our brothers and sisters in Germany need us and have their back against the wall,” the HSLDA said.