Global outrage is mounting after an armed squad of 20 German police and social workers abducted four homeschooled children from their loving parents’ arms, relying on a Nazi-era prohibition on home education that has been used to ruthlessly terrorize embattled homeschooling families in Germany for years. The latest move, which experts in international law have condemned as a “shocking” violation of fundamental human rights, follows controversial efforts by the Obama administration to deport another persecuted German home-educating family granted asylum in the United States by a federal judge in 2010. Hundreds of other families have fled persecution in Germany to other European nations, virtually all of which permit homeschooling.
German authorities’ latest abduction of four homeschooled children, aged 7 through 14, occurred in the early hours of August 29. As the Wunderlich family was preparing to start the school day, a swarm of armed “special agents” with a battering ram arrived at the family’s home to seize the kids. According to court documents obtained and translated by the Home School Legal Defense Association, the sole justification for the home invasion and abduction was the parents’ refusal to surrender their children for government-approved “education.”
Perhaps the most shocking element in the ongoing tragedy was the authorization by Judge Koenig of the Darmstadt family court to use force “against the children” if necessary. According to the judge, the use of force against the young kids might have been necessary because they had “adopted the parents’ opinions” on home education and “no cooperation could be expected” from family members amid the abduction operation.
“I looked through a window and saw many people, police, and special agents, all armed,” Dirk Wunderlich, the father, told HSLDA after the terrifying ordeal. “They told me they wanted to come in to speak with me. I tried to ask questions, but within seconds, three police officers brought a battering ram and were about to break the door in, so I opened it.”
That was just the start of the nightmare to come. “The police shoved me into a chair and wouldn’t let me even make a phone call at first. It was chaotic as they told me they had an order to take the children. At my slightest movement the agents would grab me, as if I were a terrorist,” he continued. “You would never expect anything like this to happen in our calm, peaceful village. It was like a scene out of a science fiction movie. Our neighbors and children have been traumatized by this invasion.”
According to Wunderlich, as neighbors stood outside crying, his 14-year-old daughter Machsejah was forcibly removed from home by two large, rude policemen “as if she were a criminal.” When Petra Wunderlich tried to kiss and hug Machsejah as she was being marched away to an undisclosed location, one of the “special agents” elbowed the distraught mother out of the way and said it was “too late for that.” Before leaving, officials promised the parents that they would not be seeing their children again “anytime soon.” “What kind of government acts like this?” wondered Wunderlich, echoing the question being asked by outraged activists around the world.
Both of the parents and all four of the well-educated children are devastated after the assault on their family. Petra Wunderlich, a loving mother and wife who spoke with The New American last year, said yesterday her heart was shattered after the ordeal. “We are empty,” she explained. “We need help. We are fighting, but we need help.” However, the tragedy was not completely unexpected.
Wunderlich had already warned The New American magazine last year at the Global Home Education Conference (GHEC) in Berlin that German authorities were determined to smash his family over homeschooling. Because of the parents’ steadfast refusal to stop educating their children — an unalienable right enshrined in European treaties and even the United Nations “Human Rights” Declaration — Wunderlich and his wife had lost formal custody of the kids shortly before the global summit in what experts described as a kangaroo court. While the kids were allowed to stay at home, the family knew tragedy could strike at any time.