As one young family of German immigrants faces possible deportation after first being granted asylum in the United States to home-school their children, another family in their home country was the subject of a terrifying raid by German officers and the forcible removal of their children for the same reason.
In the early morning hours of Aug. 29, a team of 20 social workers, special agents and police officers armed with a battering ram forced its way into the German home of Dirk and Petra Wunderlich. Their crime? They refused to send their children to government-run schools, according to the Home School Legal Defense Fund.
The four Wunderlich children, aged 7 to 14, were forcibly removed from their home near Darmstadt, Germany, for continuing to home-school them in defiance of German law. The Home School Legal Defense Fund reported:
The children were taken to unknown locations. Officials ominously promised the parents that they would not be seeing their children “anytime soon.”
According to court documents cited by the Home School Legal Defense Fund, there were no allegations of abuse or neglect to warrant the children’s removal, other than engaging in home-based education. The order of removal noted the parents’ failure to cooperate “with the authorities to send the children to school,” prompting the judge to authorize the use of force “against the children” if necessary.
Mr. Wunderlich described the moment police arrived at his home, according to the Home School Legal Defense Fund:
I looked through a window and saw many people, police, and special agents, all armed.
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.
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.
‘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.
They weren’t being nice at all. When my wife tried to give my daughter a kiss and a hug goodbye, one of the special agents roughly elbowed her out of the way and said — “It’s too late for that.”
The Home School Legal Defense Fund began calling for worldwide action, and the international media has responded. The Wunderlichs’ plight has garnered outrage as well as media support from such outlets as the Canadian Free Press, Great Britain’s The Mail Online as well as the American media.
Meanwhile, in the case of the Romeike family, the German immigrants living in Tennessee, a group of 27 members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder requesting he reconsider the deportation order. The White House has chosen to not get involved.