German Judge Bars Family From Immigrating to Country Where Homeschooling is Legal

Wunderlich wsDARMSTADT, Germany — A judge in Germany has barred a family in Darmstadt from immigrating to another country where homeschooling is legal, and refused to return custody of the children to their parents.

As previously reported, approximately 20 social workers, police officers and special agents swarmed the home of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich last August and forcefully removed all their children. A family court judge had signed an order that day authorizing officials to immediately seize the Wunderlich’s children for failing to cooperate “with the authorities to send the children to [public] school.”

“I looked through a window and saw many people, police, and special agents, all armed,” Dirk outlined. “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.”

In September, following a court hearing about the matter, the Wunderlich children were returned to their parents after Dirk and Petra agreed to send them to a state school. However, even after the children began attending school, they were still considered to be in the custody of the government.

Last month, attorneys for the Wunderlich family asked Judge Marcus Malkmus to return custody of the children to the parents since they have obeyed orders to send them to school. They also requested that the family be permitted to move to France, where homeschooling is legal.

In a written opinion, Malkmus refused both requests, characterizing homeschooling as a “straightjacket” for children, according to a report from the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA).

“The children would grow up in a parallel society without having learned to be integrated or to have a dialogue with those who think differently and facing them in the sense of practicing tolerance,” Malkmus wrote. “[Homeschooling presents] concrete endangerment to the wellbeing of the child.”

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Dirk Wunderlich expressed disappointment following the decision.

“Judge Malkmus has erected another Berlin Wall apparently designed to prevent all parents who might leave to homeschool from leaving Germany. This is no different than what happened in the former East Germany under communism and before that under the Third Reich,” he stated. “We need help from others around the world to help our country see this terrible violation of human rights.”

HSLDA advised that attorneys for the family are continuing to work toward an appeal, which could be a significantly lengthy process.

“In the interim, the Wunderlichs have committed to comply with the court’s orders,” the organization explained. “Judge Malkmus told Dirk and Petra in October that if they left the country without court approval, he would see that steps were taken to return them to Germany where they would prosecuted criminally and their family likely permanently separated.”

Another German homeschooling family, which fled to the United States six years ago after experiencing similar difficulties, is awaiting a decision regarding whether the U.S. Supreme Court will agree to hear its appeal for asylum.

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  • Stephanie

    These ongoing situations with the Wunderlich’s and Romeikes, should be a wake-up call to all homeschoolers in the United States.

    Don’t think for one moment that the threat to families in our nation are exempt from such persecutions.

    Remain alert, pray for our brothers and sisters, and act accordingly.

    • charles e. killeen

      Stephanie, I agree with what you’re trying to say but would it be an imposition to work on the grammar before posting? ———— Charlie (The threat is not exempt?)

      • Harold Stephens

        Charley, I think you owe Stephanie an apology for that rude remark. You knew what she ment by what she wrote. I had a college professor to tell me once “If the person, whom you are talking to, understands what you are trying to communicate; then, you have used good English”. Thank God you were able to obtain a better education then she, if indeed this is the case. Do not be unkind to the lady.

        • Harold Stephens

          Sorry Charlie, I misspelled your name. May God continue to bless us all. God bless the USA!! THANK YOU JESUS FOR OUR SALVATION.

          • charles killeen

            That college professor was wrong and all the high school English teachers who’ve been telling students this for the last 50 years have been wrong. I left school with an eighth grade education and got by with that for a long time. All I know about grammar and usage I learned by the fourth grade and the education was free (the good sisters of The Immaculate Conception). But I paid attention instead of saying as many do, “what good is this going to do me?” Sadly, a lot of the people who said this and paid no attention wound up teaching high school Englsh. I got to college at the age of 34 and in English classes did as much teaching as learning. I also did some learning. I don’t forget my experiences with students (and their parents)who had a disdain for the English language. They called it snobbery. They had more education than I had. —— Charlie

  • Sir Tainly

    Huh, the German state co-opting education rights of parents without cause and requiring a state curriculum for kids….why I didn’t know that Germany has went that rout since the 1940’s or so.

  • Webb

    It appears that Nazi elements are alive and well in the German government. These “courts” would make the USSR proud as well.

    • Thalinna

      Very true.. its chilling

  • Justin Emery

    This becoming more and more common in many countries in Europe. There was that story recently of a family removed from a plane as they were about to leave for good (and home ed.). Scandinavian countries are essentially communist with a thin veneer of democracy. High welfare and high tax, but never cross the state in those countries! In Germany, they believe that parents only impart knowledge and not education – here in the UK it is still the parents who must ensure full time education for their children, and the definition of education is very loose, along the lines of sufficient for the child to cope in the environment/society in which he/she is brought up. The state has a duty to ensure that proper education takes place, but no right to inspect or dictate (although they do try!) Whilst there is still the remains of a Christian society in the UK, HE might continue (and it is flourishing as people become aware of the increasing State interference and socialist agenda in schools that is contrary to Biblical teachings). But I fear it is only a matter of time….

  • charles e. killeen

    Hitler lives! ———– Charlie

  • “Tain up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) Hitler, the Satanist, knew this; and thus he stated, “in order to change a society, one must start with the youth”.
    Everyone has learned from the malevolence of Hitler’s philosophy, but not necessarily what they should have learned.

    If it is trending in Europe, it will eventually make its way across the pond: of course in the name of “it’s in the best interests of the children”. An Ohio Rep has already attempted something akin to this. There are various tactics being employed in the U.S. that will curtail homeschooling. Incremental at first, but monumental in results.

    Don’t be deceived. The assault is not only upon religion but family and individualism. Homeschooling, they will claim sooner or later, is egoist in nature, thus not for the “greater good” within this “new age”, because it debunks the “collective conscience” or “group think” theoretical philosophies of the new age.

  • Gwen

    Just read a few stories from the “Homeschoolers Anonymous” website, and my G-d, am I glad I live in Germany!

    No religious crackpots getting their way with dependents 24/7, denying them a degree that will give their children choice later on; no beating them into submission; no juvenile bootcamps to which parents delegate the torture and occasional murder of their children. The child torture manuals by Pearl and co are on the index of banned books. Gentle parenting it is (not to be mistaken for anti-authoritarian).
    And you know what? Our children are, by comparison, better-behaved, better educated, less violent, and certainly happier than the average US child.

    You are aware that the US is the only country in the world – apart from Somalia – that has not ratified the UN convention of children’s rights? In the US childhood is slavery you are born into!

    • charles killeen

      Gwen, as Jack Nicholson said in a fairly recent movie, “talk crazy someplace else…” ———– Charlie

  • Marc Maier

    Under German Law not the rights of the parents are important in this case but the right of a child for a proper education. The problem with home schooling is, you can only judge it afterwards and then it is to late. And what is with a child with an orthodox christian home schooling backround who wants to study medicine or biology when it is older? You can’t study it (in Germany) without genetics and evolution.

    And the problem in the case of the Wunderlich is, they lost already the right of care and custodory because of home schooling. As far as I understood it, it is now by the state. To tell now the juge you will now go to France and take the children with you is simply child abduction and -sorry- stupid in the first place under this circumstances.

    (Sorry for my bad English)

  • Gwen

    Thank you, Mr Marc Maier, for that timely comment! Just adding: The Wunderlich family did emigrate to France at one point in time to homeschool their children. Fine, fair enough. But Father Wunderlich did not find a job in France, so the family returned to Germany where the welfare system is generous and parental benefits are plentiful…

    But do our parental duties as defined by German law?: Nooooo – that’s religious persecution!!!!

  • JMineer

    A prime example of how modern persecution works. It isn’t as obvious as it once was. But with the growing number of homeschooling families in the world, we can expect the government to feel threatened by that. How will they respond? The same way other communist societies have. America isn’t too far away from being such a place. Will it be? I do not know. But it’s obvious that it could be if people just sit still and do nothing about it.

    My wife and I homeschool our kids and began doing so several years ago. This came after years of discussion and research. We contemplated it because we did not like the way public schools operated and how they dealt with children. Kids need a helluva lot better than they get from an institution. I pity the foolish homes that have two full-time working parents. They don’t raise children. They borrow their kids from daycares and public schools who are actually the ones raising them. It sickens me at how many people there are in the world that follow whatever is popular or most talked about. Rather than simply adhering to the principles of GOD which are timeless and never compatible with society. Christ was persecuted for telling this TRUTH and all the conformists of the world were threatened by it. The same holds true today. Those who choose to walk the Christ led path in life will be mocked and ridiculed by all. If you don’t wear the shoes of a well-fed consumer minded individual, striving for a material life, then you will be looked down upon. Poverty is demonized as if its a high crime. Even though there are people who prefer it due to their lack of desire to self full-fill. I know what its like to not have a dime to spend. But I am certainly fine as long as my family have what they need. We don’t need cigarettes to smoke. We don’t need iPhones. We don’t need the best cars. The best homes. We don’t need a big John Deere collection, which in itself is hording, which is also a Sin. We don’t need a large savings account for our children’s “college education”. GOD has not guaranteed a tomorrow. But the hypocrites of the world spend their Sunday boasting about Jesus, while condemning His words 6 days a week with their actions. All our excesses are to go to the poor and needy. That alone condemns personal wealth. And if only people knew that having the ability to sit around playing PS3 with a priceless collection of games is the same as being the rich man in GOD’s eyes. And what was it Jesus said about the rich man getting into Heaven? I think you know.