Scientologists Dispute Albright's Comments

Thursday, February 20, 1997
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Scientologists Dispute Albright's Comments

By: From a Times Staff Writer

Church of Scientology leaders said Tuesday that Secretary of State Madeleine Albright--who had termed German members' claims that they suffer from Nazi-style persecution "distasteful"--was not aware of the extent of discrimination church members face.

"Our children are thrown out of kindergarten, and we can't hold civil service jobs," the group's president, the Rev. Heber C. Jentzsch, said in a prepared statement. " . . . We can't open bank accounts, and people are fired from their jobs and their businesses are boycotted and ruined when they are exposed as Scientologists."

The subject of the treatment of Scientologists in Germany did not arise in Albright's hourlong meeting Monday with Chancellor Helmut Kohl, U.S. officials said. But the issue came up in the final minutes of a longer session afterward with Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel.

After the meetings Albright said that comparisons between "what happened under Nazism and what is happening now [are] historically inaccurate and totally distasteful."

During the past few months the treatment of the estimated 30,000 Scientologists in Germany has been criticized by members. The Los Angeles-based organization has placed advertisements in a number of German newspapers comparing the treatment of Scientologists to the way Nazi Germany persecuted Jews in the 1930s, which culminated in the Holocaust.

"I think that anyone who thinks we're being inaccurate or even exaggerating ought to go to Germany and claim to be a Scientologist," Jentzsch said.


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