By Pierre Collignon more
14 January 2001
Inside RPF Denmark: Franz the
Inside RPF Denmark(II): Susanne's
Inside RPF Denmark (III): Cult accused of brainwashing
Inside RPF Denmark (IV): An Offer
[unofficial anonymous translation, original article available
A German Federal State accuses Scientology of running an
inhuman punitive camp in Copenhagen — but Danish police do not
believe there are grounds for intervention.
The war between German authorities and Scientology is now
reaching Denmark. The Interior Ministry in the Federal State of
Hamburg reproaches the Danish police and government for letting
Scientology run a "totalitarian reformatory" in Copenhagen
Scientology's European headquarters are situated in
Copenhagen and members from the entire continent are sent here,
when they break the internal rules of the movement. The members
have to go through a rehabilitation program — the so-called RPF — which
implies up to several years of hard physical labour for a token
payment, intense schooling in the teachings of Scientology, and
complete separation from family members.
"This program is brainwashing as we know it from
dictatorships. People are held against their will, and they
experience physical and psychological pressure until they obey.
It is a matter of misunderstood tolerance if Denmark does not
intervene in these violations of human rights," Ursula Caberta
says. She is the head of a special task force within the
Interior Ministry in Hamburg which investigates Scientology.
Repudiates accusations of coercion
Scientology states that 10-15 people are currently in the
disputed rehabilitation program in Copenhagen, but the movement
repudiates the accusations of coercion. According to Scientology
it is a voluntary offer made only to members of the "elite
corps" — the "Sea Organisation".
Today, Jyllands-Posten can disclose Scientology's
rehabilitation rules, which are usually confidential. Former
members of the movement speak of being humiliated, starved, and
exposed to hours of interrogations during their time at the RPF — and
according to Scientology's own documents the following
restrictions during the "rehabilitation" are valid:
They are not to see their families.
They are not to address other people.
They are not to leave Scientology's buildings on their own.
They are not to drive a car.
They are to wear a black armband and live segregated from the
They are to run instead of walk.
Scientology tries to achieve official recognition as a
religious community in Denmark, and the movement stresses that
the RPF program has to be compared to the trials that Christian
or Buddhist monks undergo of their own free will. Several
experts agree with Scientology on this, but they also warn
against excessive tolerance.
Lack of evidence
"You have to speak to the people who go through this program
to find out why they are doing it. If some of them feel
offended, then encroachments may have taken place — and then
society must intervene," Michael Rothstein says. He is a
historian of religions at the University of Copenhagen.
The Danish police investigated accusations of illegal
coercion in Scientology in the mid-1980s, but the case was
abandoned for lack of evidence. Today, the police are not going
to go any further — unless they receive an official German
application via Interpol.
"In Denmark we have an extensive freedom of associations, and
we don't go around investigating people just because we don't
like them," detective inspector Kurt Jensen of the Copenhagen
FLAG ORDER 3434RE-23
Restrictions in the "Rehabilitation Project Force"
- Joins the RPF in a condition no higher than "Liability"
(i.e. the person in question has been a strain on Scientology).
- Has no liberties until the RPF in completed.
- Is limited to the Base at all times. Any movement outside
the Base must be escorted by another member of staff.
- Has no right to annual vacation from the Sea Organisation.
- Will receive 25% of his pay during the RPF and has no
right to receive a bonus.
- Only sleeps in an area which is separate RPF quartering.
- May not initiate written or verbal communication to people
outside the RPF. (This means that the RPFers have to wait until
they are spoken to before communicating with others. The
regulations recommend that you stay in touch with your family
- Will have his rank automatically reduced by two ranks when
assigned to the RPF.
- Will have his rank suspended until completion of the RPF.
- Is a part of the RPF mess, which is separate from the
- May not participate in staff parties or other staff or
- Is denied ordinary use of the canteen.
- Will have no smoking breaks and is not allowed to smoke
- Wears a black armband on his right sleeve.
- Must move quickly and run at the bases of the Sea
- Is not allowed in the staff or public areas unless it is
necessary in order to perform assigned duties — and then only
under the supervision of a section leader.
- May never use the staff's or the public recreational
- Has to endure extra time at the RPF for violations of the
regulations, lack of ability to produce, lack of willingness to
go straight, or other offences.
- Must do his own laundry.
- May not use the same bathing or toilet facilities as staff
- May not take alcohol or narcotics.
- May not bring into the RPF any kind of radio, TV, recorded
music, musical instruments, periodicals, novels, games, cameras,
or any other form of entertainment or luxuries in order not to
distract from the intense study and work program. This does not
include Scientology publications.
- May not wield any vehicle or heavy machinery.
- Remains in the RPF segregated from staff.
Source: Scientology. The set of rules is here brought in an