Hitler-Era Law Targets German Home-schooler for Soviet-style “re-education.”
by V. Rev. James Rosselli
On February 1st, Melissa Buskeros was torn from the grasp of her parents and hauled off to a mental hospital by fifteen (yes, fifteen!) police officers. Her crime? being home-schooled. Melissa is seventeen years old.
If you think this is odd, wait until you hear the circumstances: Melissa was thrown out of school two years ago because her parents helped her at home with two subjects in which she had been having trouble. So, having no recourse to the government schools, her parents began to teach her at home.
Yes, you read that right: Melissa’s parents helped her with her studies, so the government threw her out of school. They then arrested her for being home-schooled, and threw her into a mental hospital.
This is not a story from the Soviet era. It isn’t a Kafka novel. This didn’t happen in some backward banana republic.
It happened in a certifiably First World country, a putative democracy; a NATO ally with a world-class economy.
It happened in Germany, and it happened (as I write this), last week.
Back in a dark era we all thought was long past, Adolf Hitler decreed that home-schooling was illegal. The children belonged to the State, not the parents. The State would educate and indoctrinate them, and the parents would pay for it—because the parents belonged to the State, too. Echoing this mindset, German authorities explained their actions of last week by declaring, “we do not allow subcultures.”
As if that wasn’t enough, bear in mind where they sent her: to a mental institution. It seems that, according to the Germans, if you have been denied access to school and still want to learn things, you’re insane.
Melissa’s new home is the Child Psychiatry Ward of the Nuremberg Clinic—a world-class, highly reputable facility, when it isn’t being used as a prison for children who have been kidnapped by the government. The diagnosis: “Phobic reaction to school.”
The Soviet Union used to send people to mental hospitals, where they could be safely drugged into silence and locked away from the world. Safely, because they could present themselves not as a jackbooted police state but as benevolent providers of therapeutic help. The Chinese Maoists and the North Koreans adopted this policy, also. The North Koreans continue to employ it.
Before they decided the world wasn’t big enough for both of them, Hitler and Stalin recognized each other to be kindred spirits and formed an alliance. The problem was, they both insisted on being in charge of it. It was this, rather than any philosophical difference, that put them on opposite sides in WWII.
It appears that in modern-day Germany the kindred spirits have finally formed an amiable partnership.
Fr. Jim Rosselli is a Mitred Archpriest in the Community of the Holy Spirit, Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. Fr. Jim’s “political stuff” reflects his own opinion as a private citizen, and not necessarily as a representative of his Community or Jurisdiction.