Scientologists arrive in Poland


Polish authorities have yet to face the problem of controversy and potential danger from scientologists, who have opened their offices in Warsaw and aim to officially register their activity in Poland.

Report by Joanna Najfeld

The church of scientology, a political and religious group accused of mind control and embezzlement has opened its mission in Poland and is working unofficially, recruiting and training new members. Radosław Gruca, a journalist of the Dziennik daily has managed to infiltrate the organization:

'I've managed to get into the first under cover organization, called in the scientologist language "I-help" and I did a few scientologist courses. I was told that you can be a Catholic and scientologist at the same time, which is untrue, because they believe in reincarnation, past life and aliens - this is all pretty weird.'

The scientological movement originated in the 20th century and is considered to be one of the most controversial and dangerous contemporary sects. Cases of suicides and unexplained deaths have been investigated in connection with the activity of the group. The church of scientology has come in direct conflict with police and government forces in several countries including ęłęóthe United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, where scientologists are considered to be a dangerous political movement. A Polish report by the National Security Bureau drafted in 1995 termed scientologists 'a religious mafia.'

Journalist Ewa Wołczyńska has researched the subject:

'They present themselves as a movement based on religious and scientific ideas valued in today's world. But in fact, their doctrine has nothing to do with religion. They are accused of brain-washing, mind control, physical and psychological coercion in order to obtain money from their members. Scientologists target the wealthy and their founder himself was accused of embezzlement. Because of the dangers, this sect is banned in many countries.'

The Polish mission of the scientological movement has been set up under cover and receives orders from abroad, says Radosław Gruca, who infiltrated the sect. Scientologists aim to eventually register their organization.

'The Polish government is not prepared to stop the sect in Poland. As far as I know, they are preparing to open an official mission here. The person who is giving orders to the Polish leaders is from Germany. As far as I know, she has orders from the special agency of the scientological church, called the Office of Special Affairs. The Polish mission is under the organization in Hungary and Denmark.'

Not much is being done to prevent the spreading of scientology in Poland, continues Radosław Gruca, who has contacted the proper authorities about this.

'I was trying to ask them if they are doing anything to infiltrate the sect and try to check what they are doing in Poland - if they are committing any crimes, or something. But they told me that they are unable to do this, because in the Polish law, there is no such thing as a sect as a cult, and they can react only if one person or one organization is breaking the law. So, as far as I know, they are doing nothing about it.'

The Polish branch of the sect is supervised by Hanna Garbalska, a 26-year old political activist of the Polish Peasant's Party. When her colleagues found out about the activity that Garbalska is involved in, a motion was filed to exclude her from the party.

'She has put public trust in our organization at risk and the other reason is that she behaved unethically.'

The National Committee of Defense against Sects has asked the government to prevent the registration of the church of scientology in Poland. Head of the committee, Ryszard Nowak, has said that if scientologists are called 'religious mafia' and accused of forgeries, corruption, embezzlement, and threatening people, then they must not be allowed to register in Poland. 'We are not against denominations or religions, we are against sects, which we consider to be criminal organizanizations,' stressed Ryszard Nowak, head of the National Committee of Defense against Sects.