Whoever wants to play is beaten up

Süddeutsche Zeitung
September 9, 2013
Stefan Mayr
Translated from the German

This is so cruel that we cannot show everything that was filmed with a hidden camera. Twelve Tribes children were beaten for trifling matters in the Bible-based cult with the rod on the bare skin. RTL journalist Wolfram Kuhnigk recorded the beating of six different children on the bare bottom with rods. His recording will be broadcast on Monday on RTL Magazine “Extra.”

Last Thursday the police removed 40 children from the Twelve Tribes communities of Deiningen and Wörnitz and took them into custody.

The reporter stayed for twelve days in the monastery rooms on the estate at the Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult. According to Kuhnigk the beatings took place in two different rooms without windows. There, children must lower their pants and bend forward with outstretched legs. “Then they are pounded from behind with the rods.” The children receive beatings from their parents and other baptized members, the reporter says.
The beatings are systematic, emotionless and inhuman. The children are broken. I was stunned at the sight of the pictures. I almost cried.

“The children cry sometimes, but the brawny women do not care,” says Kuhnigk. Kuhnigk stayed for days and again as a guest in the community where he installed hidden cameras and microphones that recorded automatically.

The youngest child that was beaten was 3 years old. According to Kuhnigk the reason for the strikes included the following: talking while eating, daydreaming at school, or when a child tries to play. Kuhnigk says that the Twelve Tribes members believe that the devil lurks in the world of gambling and fantasy and it must therefore be driven out of the children.

This is part of the community child training teachings according to former members. All baptized members can and must “discipline” children.

Allegations against the Bible-based Twelve Tribes cult
Separated for several months from the family unit.

In mid-August Kuhnigk played his picture and sound material before the Family Court in Nördlingen. Two weeks later, the court decided to provisionally withdraw parental custody rights. If child welfare is threatened, the family court is obligated by law to intervene, says District Court Director Helmut Beyschlag.

Every child has the “right to violence free education.”

And “despite multiple calls and offers of help” community members continue to “chastise their children and mentally abuse them.”

The members of the “Twelve Tribes” defend themselves against allegations of child abuse. They say, “Mental abuse and isolation has only occurred when the authorities have taken away our children,” says a father. On the question of whether the children were thrashed at Klosterzimmern, he refused to comment.

Praise from the Child Protection Agency

An “eyewitness account” of the “raid” speaks of “guilt” and threatening the authorities: “One day you will need to answer before the Creator. What is happening here?”

Education with the rod

Beatings must hurt: child rearing with the cane is seen in fundamental Christian circles. And finally it is in the Bible. The Twelve Tribes are under suspicion of abusing their children, inflicting dangerous bodily harm, violating child welfare and compulsory education.

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