In my previous post, we were introduced to the Scientology Org in Berlin, Germany. Today, we are going to take a closer look, courtesy of Fredy Gareis, a journalist who spent no less than five months of 2008 undercover in the Berlin Org – complete with a hidden camera.
This may not seem a long time (especially to ex-Scientologists who have spent decades as members of the organisation) but it long enough to reveal the recruitment process and early training and to show the process by which people become trapped in the Scientology mindset.
It also reveals the day-to-day reality of Scientology belief and practice – there is a wonderful ‘scene’ when an Org member confidentially assures Gareis that Scientology Auditing can and does cure cancer, and brief footage of a 12 year-old boy being questioned on the e-meter.
All three parts are embedded after the break…
Part one introduces Scientology – and presents potions of a filmed interview with Sabine Weber, spokesperson for the Berlin Org. Her statements are intercut with hidden camera footage which contradicts them.
Our undercover journalist is then introduced, followed by footage shot during his ‘recruitment’ and early courses upon which he comments.’ This includes a brief shot of a 12 year-old boy being questioned while holding the ‘cans’ of an emeter
The executives of the Berlin Org then attempt to ‘recruit’ Gareis to staff, and begin to apply extreme pressure on him to make a deeper commitment.
In the previous part, Gareis was pursued by recruiters, called on the telephone by a team of three Scientologists, and cornered in a room by three recruiters. They promise whatever it will take to get their way – including ‘handling’ his girlfriend (who Gareis tells them is hostile to Scientology) . This ‘handling’ is also filmed. It boils down to a choice for Gareis – either persuade her to join Scientology, or leave her.
Shortly afterwards, Gareis leaves, unwilling to tolerate the psychological pressure any longer. He was not detected, despite the fact that he underwent ‘security checks’ and the staff could have asked to see his identity card at any time. The undercover portion closes with previously filmed footage of the recruiter assuring Gareis that, as a scientologist he would never need to visit a doctor again…
The second half of this part continues with an interview with Gareis about his total experience.
The interview concludes in part three. It is followed with a brief presentation of letters written to the station about the programme, to which Gareis responds. This was probably edited in later.