This is an eyewitness account of the court proceedings and the release of the Wunderlich children by Dirk and Petra Wunderlich.
We are very thankful for the great support that was extended to us over the past 4 weeks in the form of compassionate e-mails, practical help in various ways and, of course, prayer.
If it had not been Yahweh who was on our side, now may Israel say; If it had not been Jahwe who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: (Psalm 124:1–3)
What we had suspected already the first day of the the removal of the children, and what then became obvious on the day the court proceedings started, was that the Department for Child & Youth Welfare had been planning this custody transfer [the removal of the children] for a long time already—since June—and that the children were supposed to be separated from the family for one year. It was mainly about the long-term destruction of the family and the enforcement of compulsory education was only secondary. It was merely added as a guise for the official presentation of our case. However, Yahweh was on our side, so that they could not “swallow us up quickly“.
The king’s heart is in the hand of Yahweh, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will. (Proverbs 21:1)
Also the entire course of the legal proceedings was clearly determined by Yahweh’s intervention. Our oldest daughter, Machsejah, attended the court proceedings of her own free will, to which she had the right to do since she is already fourteen years old. After approximately two hours, she her and three siblings were questioned by Judge Malkmus. Afterwards the three siblings returned to the special children’s room of the court to their social workers.
As the court proceedings continued, Judge Malkmus asked whether Machjesah could not also go downstairs, so that the social workers could return with the children to the juvenile welfare service center (to Wetzlar). Our attorney, Mr. Vogt, made an objection regarding Machsejah while expressing his hope that the children could possible “even today“ return to their parents. Judge Malkmus indicated thereafter, that he would “not likely make a decision today.“ This preliminary decision saddened us greatly, of course, and thereby it became obvious that the children would have to stay at least another three weeks at the (juvenile) facility, since the main court date (independent from the “express proceeding“) was supposed to take place on October 10th.
Machsejah was then no longer harassed by the judge and the proceedings continued. Even though nothing new came up that could have possibly caused a significant change, a half-hour later Judge Malkmus suddenly asked the representative of the Department for Child & Youth Welfare if they would give their approval for the children being “returned to the parents today.“ We were very surprised (and naturally also quite overjoyed) and fearfully listened in on the answers of the Department for Child & Youth Welfare. The head of the youth welfare department immediately had “no objections.“ He also wanted to have custody transfered back to us parents right away. The social worker for our children, Mr. Harms, asked to be released of his guardianship. Only the guardian ad litem, Mr. Wiebe, objected. He even demanded that all decisions for the health care provision should be transfered to the Department for Child & Youth Welfare services.
Judge Malkmus then suggested a compromise to postpone the court date from October 10th to the “beginning/middle of December,“ as long as custody would remain with the Department for Child & Youth Welfare Services and at that date—with good behavior on our part—the custody could be returned to us. Nevertheless, the guardian ad litem, Mr. Wiebe, was not agreeable, however he had to accept the decision of Judge Malkmus. Obviously our God had beforehand “turneth the heart“ of the judge “whithersoever He would.“
In any case, both resolutions of the September 19th express proceedings were overturned. The court hearing was based mainly on the “danger“ that the family would “flee to or seek asylum in a foreign country, as happened once before already, or that the risk of self endangerment exists due to mounting external pressure.”
With the construction of such a “potential danger,“ our children were removed from our family in order to give them free reign.
Likewise our position of refusal was very different from what was portrayed by the media (and was obviously believed by many). Our refusal was directed toward the /compulsory school attendance/ law, which we neither recognize (nor surrender to). We refused the “student assessment impositions“ last year, because they supposedly should only serve for placement in the schools and not as a test to see if everything is in order.
On our side the offer was expensive long-distance schooling (through a study group – Studiengemeinschaft Darmstadt), including unscheduled visits from the school district and/or the Department of Child & Youth Welfare, as well as membership in various clubs. This offer entailed everything the state supposedly was concerned about: report cards that the study group in Darmstadt would have shown the appropriate placement and progress of their studies, memberships in clubs would have ensured the children had the ever-so-important socialization with other children. Over and over again we asked for round-table discussions.
Any of these requests were either completely ignored or pushed aside with the comment they were not “goal-oriented.“ (Only school attendance is viewed as “goal oriented.“)
100% school attendance was insisted on without even a milimeter of deviation. It was not us who refused, but the School Department and Department of Children & Youth Welfare. In our view the offer of our compromise was a true compromise, since by now we were following a so-called free-learning concept, which we view as the better one (and also in line with the will of God). In other words, we view the condition that teach certain learning contents must be taught in corresponding school years as an unnecessary limitation of the natural learning process. Based on our own personal experiences from the past years, when we could not practice the classical way of homeschooling as we were able to do before our flight into a foreign country, as well as reading certain books (André Stern: "Und ich war nie in der Schule"), we came to the conclusion that our children were developing much better than under the strict system of state scope & sequences. Even though we firmly believe we have received complete freedom from God (and also only us parents will stand responsible before Him and our children in this responsibility), in what, when and in which way we instruct our children, a return to the state-mandated curricula would have been a true loss of freedom and natural learning. Nevertheless, homeschooling essentially /may/ not be done in Germany, whether free-style learning or strictly by scope & sequence:
The mental and emotional welfare of the children is lastingly endangered because the first party rejects and hinders the public school education which is important for the development of the children in a pluralistic society. /It is a moot point whether the home education of the children ensures an adequate transfer of knowledge, because school attendance also serves the purpose of integrating children into communal life. It is necessary for children to be exposed to other influences aside from those of their parental home. (FCoJ, XII ZB 41/07 from 09/11/2007, par. 7)
This amazing “offer“ of the Department for Child & Youth Welfare to attend a Christian school was in reality no offer at all, since any citizen of our federal republic is able to do so, if he chooses to, and he does not need a special permit of the school department or Department of Child & Youth Welfare, which respectively we could have chosen to do back in 2005 already. On the side of the education department and the Department for Child & Youth Welfare, a 0% willingness for compromise and 100% demand remained, which was now /enforced/ with the crow bar of child removal/blackmail via the children being held as hostages.
(Paragraph 68 of the Hessian school law actually calls it “school attendance force‘, which is compulsory school attendance.)
Anyway we are very grateful for all of the support that was shown toward us. On the day of the custody takeover we were completely devastated.
However, what happened following the incident strengthened us exceptionally and lifted us up again. Without this strengthening we would not have been able to defend ouselves and fight for our children.
Because of this, once more at this place and point in time: Many thanks for your support. Never let your hands be weakened, when siblings are under attack (Exodus 17:12). Yahweh will reward you.
Our special thanks go to HSLDA and their members. Mike Donelly (HSLDA director of international affairs) was in constant contact with us and assured us of their 100% support, even some financial support. Thus we were greatly relieved, since you need two attorneys in Germany in order to defend yourself successfully: one who represents the parents, and the second one who only represents the children. Especially the second one is very import, since without this attorney the court will appoint a guardian ad litem, who supposedly “determines the interests of the children,“ but in reality /exclusively/ represents the interest of the state which also appointed him (and pays him!). In our case it was too late already, since the guardian ad litem had already been appointed, however, our second attorney was able to at least weaken if not totally prevent the mean intentions of the guardian ad litem.
Anyhow, tens of thousands of Euros are accumulating that reach the five figure numbers, which is where the generous support of HSLDA played a key role here.
Dirk & Petra Wunderlich