Leipzig Award










News Coverage of Alternative Charlemagne Award 2000
  1. 20000605c Berliner Zeitung translation

  2. - Alternative Charlemagne Award to U.S. American
  3. 20000605b Bild translation

  4. - Alternative Charlemagne Award goes to American critic
  5. 20000603f Leipziger Volkszeitung translation

  6. - Alternative Charlemagne Award for Bob Minton
  7. 20000603d Frankfurter Rundschau translation

  8. - Alternative Charlemagne Award 2000
  9. 20000603b Der Tagesspiegel translation

  10. - Alternative Charlemagne Award for sect opponent
  11. 20000603a dpa translation

  12. - The first Alternative Charlemagne Award
  13. 20000602c Sächs. Zeitung Dresden translation

  14. - Dispute involves millionaire Minton
  15. 20000602b Hamburg Abendblatt translation

  16. - The new uprising for Scientology
  17. 20000601c neue bildpost translation

  18. - Criticism of the Charlemagne Award for U.S. President Clinton
  19. 20000531d idea translation

  20. - Accusation: Scientology is conducting a hate campaign against award winner
  21. 20000531a Badische Neueste Nachrichten translation

  22. - Alternative Charlemagne Award for Scientology critic
  23. 20000527a taz translation

  24. - Struggling with the sect

Personal translation
- A brief history of Leipzig, focusing on human rights

Pictures from the event(Off-site)

Also of note, the coverage on MDR (eastern German TV, broadcast at the national level) was Minton: 4 minutes and Clinton: 2 minutes.

And last, but not least, Real Video of the event (off site)

Alternative Charlemagne Award to U.S. American

Berlin, Germany
June 5, 2000
Berliner Zeitung

On Saturday, U.S. American Robert Minton received the Alternative Charlemagne Award, which was awarded for the first time in Leipzig. The European- American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA, by doing this, intended to publicly appreciate Minton's involvement on behalf of the victims of the Scientology Organization. Minton did not want to accept that it was possible for this organization to silence all its critics and victims in his home country of the USA. He recognized what dangers could arise for people and liberal democracy from Scientology, said Ursula Caberta, Director of the Hamburg Work Group on Scientology in her "Laudatio." The Committee intended that the unremunerated human rights award be an alternative to the presentation of the Aachen Charlemagne Award to U.S. Bill Clinton. The award is to be presented yearly from now on. (dpa)

First Alternative Charlemagne Award goes to American Scientology Critic

Leipzig, Germany
June 5, 2000

U.S. President Bill Clinton received the Charlemagne Award in Aachen on Friday. For his involvement in matters of peace, freedom and democracy. On Saturday the 1st Alternative Charlemagne Award was given out in Leipzig - criticism of Clinton and the USA. Reason: their liberal attitude towards the Scientology sect.

Clinton's fellow citizen, Robert Minton, received the (unremunerated) award for his effort on behalf of victims of the sect. It was bestowed by the European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom. The basis of the award stated, "Minton recognized what dangers can arise for people and for liberal democracy through Scientology."

The Alternative Charlemagne Award will now be presented annually."

[Next to the article is a photo in which Ursula Caberta (member of the committee) is handing the Alternative Charlemagne Award (in the form of a sculpture of the Nikolas Church at Leipzig) to Robert Minton.]

Alternative Charlemagne Award for Robert Minton

Leipzig, Germany
June 3, 2000
Leipziger Volkszeitung (pg. 2)

Leipzig (dpa). U.S. American Robert Minton received the Alternative Charlemagne Award 2000, which was presented on Saturday in Leipzig for the first time. In doing this, the European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA intends to publicly appreciate Minton's involvement on behalf of the victims of the Scientology Organization.

The unremunerated human rights award is in the form of a sculpture of the Leipzig Nikolas Church created by Leipzig artist Ruediger Bartels. The Award is intended to be an alternative to this year's presentation of the Aachen Charlemagne Award to U.S. President Bill Clinton. From the Committee's point of view, there is reason to dispute Clinton's liberal attitude towards Scientology. In advance of the bestowal of the human rights award to Minton, the Scientology Organization has resorted to accusing him of complicity with former military dictators and notorious human rights violators in Nigeria. He was also said to have "defrauded banks in Europe and the USA with illegal money-laundering deals." Minton has rejected these allegations.

Robert S. Minton

Frankfurt, Germany
June 3, 2000
Frankfurter Rundschau

The US American banker will be distinguished this Saturday with the "Alternative Charlemagne Award 2000". Minton is receiving the unremunerated award for his struggle against the Scientology organization, stated the "European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA" in Berlin. Minton is said to have provided Scientology victims with financial and legal assistance. The award was a reaction to the presentation of the Aachen Charlemagne Award to U.S. President Clinton, who allegedly openly supports the Scientology Organization. (kna)

Alternative Charlemagne Award for sect opponent

Leipzig, Germany
June 3, 2000
Der Tagesspiegel

Jan-Martin Wiarda 

The way the initiators picture it, it is more honest than the famous original: the "Alternative Charlemagne Award" which will be bestowed today by the "European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA" one day after the official Charlemagne Award. "By holding this ceremony, we intended to give a sign that, in spite of the Clinton administration, there are people in America who think differently and who do not swim with the Scientology tide," said Thomas Gandow, Sect Commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg and member of the citizens committee.

Clinton, who received the official Charlemagne Award in Aachen yesterday for his merits in humanity and world peace, was said to have met with celebrity Scientologist John Travolta in the last few years, and to even have authored an article in a magazine for the controversial community. Therefore the Committee regards the U.S. President as anything but deserving of distinction and now wants to honor the American Scientology opponent and investment banker, Robert Minton, with the "Alternative Charlemagne Award."

Scientology went on the offensive and brought serious accusations against Minton: a letter to Berlin Bishop Wolfgang Huber alleged that Minton had been involved in illegal money-laundering deals, "aided and abetted by a former military dictatorship and notorious human rights violators in Nigeria." In this manner, the investment banker was said to have bought back Nigerian debt at cheap prices on the world market on commission from Nigeria and without knowledge of credit bankers, causing damages in the amount of hundreds of millions.

Thomas Gandow described Scientology's accusations as false. He said the "Lisa McPherson Trust," of which Minton is the chairman, helps victims of Scientology make their claims in court. He also said that Scientology has been using its accusations for years in a campaign of slander against Minton. The debt transactions were said to have taken place, but it served nothing other than the interest of the Nigerian people. "In no case did Minton profit unduly."

Nevertheless, there is doubt about Minton's credibility. "Transparency International," an international organization which fights corruption, confirmed, without naming names, that criminal actions occurred in connection with Nigerian debt transfers. These accusations have also caused upset in the church administration. "We are conducting our own investigations," said Provost Karl-Heinrich Luetcke. "If it should turn out that there is anything to these accusations, then that would be an annoying win on points for Scientology."

Leipzig (dpa) - The U.S. American Robert Minton received the first Alternative Charlemagne Award in Leipzig. In doing this, the European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA honored Minton's involvement in support of the victims of Scientology. The Committee intended to create an alternative to the bestowal of the Charlemagne Award to U.S. President Bill Clinton. From the Committee's point of view, Clinton's liberal attitude towards Scientology is controversial.

Dispute involves millionaire Minton
A citizens committee squares off with Scientology in Leipzig and gives out the first Alternative Charlemagne Award

[*Dresden, Germany
June 2, 2000
Sächs. Zeitung Dresden

*Dresden is the capitol city of Saxony, where Leipzig is located. Leipzig's population is greater than that of Dresden.]

by Thomas Schade

Today, U.S. President Bill Clinton receives the Aachen Charlemagne Award. This distinction will also put Leipzig into the limelight a little bit. Because tomorrow at 11 a.m. in the Old Stock Exchange in the City of Fairs [Leipzig] an Alternative Charlemagne Award will be given out for the first time, presented by the "European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA," which has specifically taken on totalitarian groups and sects. Their members include sect commissioner Ursula Caberta from Hamburg and Thomas Gandow from the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg. It is possible there will be a confrontation in Leipzig. That is because the citizens committee, which was previously not well-known, concerns itself with a widely feared sect, with Scientology.

The dispute was sparked by the first recipient-to-be of the alternate award, multi-millionaire Robert Minton. The 53-year-old U.S. American will receive the award, because he "had earned it with his involvement, which was directed by courage and civic duty, in society in the USA, which is at risk to the totalitarian Scientology Organization," as the basis read. Minton is regarded as a significant Scientology opponent. He finances victims and former members who disagree with the sect in court. He allegedly has already expended about three million dollars in his campaign. It is said that Minton transferred over 200,000 marks to an attorney's office in Clearwater. The office intends to obtain damages from the sect of $144 million in connection with the death of Scientologist Lisa McPherson. The 36-year- old woman died under conditions which have not been explained. Because Minton openly criticizes the sect, it has formed a front against his award in Leipzig. Top German sect members sent an open letter on May 29 to the bishops of the Evangelical State Churches in Berlin-Brandenburg and Saxony.

A demonstration is not out of the question

It was demanded of Berlin Bishop Wolfgang Huber that Sect Commissioner Gandow be immediately dismissed. He amounts to the "spiritus rector" of the Leipzig arrangement. The letter said that the Saxon state church should "distance itself from the procedure" and not take part in the award. The sect called Minton "an international con man who caused massive harm ... in Nigeria." It was said that the American became rich when he was deeply involved in the restructuring of debt in developing countries. It was also alleged that 12 billion marks disappeared out of over 200 foreign bank accounts and that Minton was "the main string-puller," as Scientology claimed.

The sect has been rather busy trying to obstruct the gathering. Scientology spokesman Georg Stoffel from Munich verified that it had been explained what was planned there for the people responsible for the Old Stock Exchange [site of the award] and for the Auerbachs Keller [site of the reception]. He did not rule out a morning demonstration on Saturday.

Thomas Gandow from Berlin reacted calmly to the accusations. He said that, after all, Clinton had received his award in spite of his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Gandow: No criticism of Clinton's life-style

Dresden, Germany
June 3, 2000
Sächs. Zeitung Dresden

Dresden. Responding to the SZ article "Dispute involves Millionaire Minton" of June 2, page 2, the sect commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, Thomas Gandow, said, "The presentation of the 'Alternative Charlemagne Award' concerns civil rights activist and philanthropist Bob Minton and his involvement against Scientology. What we are reacting to is the bestowal of the Aachen Award to U.S. President Bill Clinton, who is being criticized for his support of Scientology. I was not making implications about the life- style of the U.S. President" (SZ)

The new uprising for Scientology

Hamburg, Germany
June 2, 2000
Hamburg Abendblatt

by Ernst-Gerhardt Scholz

What's good enough for Clinton is good enough for Minton. Both have received a Charlemagne Award.

Bill the President received the international award and Bob the Banker received the alternative award. The former from the hands of Aachen Mayor Juergen Linden, the latter one day later in Leipzig from Ursula Caberta.

To keep things in perspective, this Alternative Charlemagne Award has something to do with Scientology. Not only that, but Caberta is the Director of the Hamburg Interior Agency's work group which is involved exclusively with that controversial organization.

At the same time, she is also a prominent member of the "European- American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA" which is backing this award. And why, of all people, to Robert S. Minton, who people call "Bob"? Answer: because the Scientologists obviously see someone who has grown into an opponent who is to be taken seriously in this U.S. millionaire businessman. From his perspective, Scientology's being a "totalitarian movement," thereby "working against democracy," appears to be less momentous than the fact that he has to carry on his battle against Scientology in the USA himself. Over there virtually limitless tolerance is applied to all possible movements, religious or otherwise.

Scientologists have had to live with the resistance from Germany for years. The success of the information campaigns of sect commissioners and - not least of all - Ursula Caberta can be measured not only by the number of people leaving Scientology, but also by the organization's apparently poor financial situation. "They are practically bankrupt and can only keep their heads above water with financial injections from the USA," said Caberta recently at an Interior Agency press conference in which Bob Minton also lambasted the image presented by Scientology of "peace, joy and cupcakes." He said that Scientology was anything but a church, was cynical and would destroy anyone who got in its way.

After Minton said that, it rained Scientology press releases and a flood of open letters was directed at the Interior Agency. All with one goal: to discredit Minton and Caberta with him. That is one of the methods which Scientology has for handling discussion.

For instance, Minton was accused of being an "unscrupulous money- grubber" who "personally lined his pockets with several tens of millions of dollars under the regime of the former military dictatorship in Nigeria - while the population starved."

Kurt Weiland, chief of Scientology's intelligence agency, which they call "Office for Special Affairs (OSA)," did not let the opportunity slip to write Hamburg Interior Senator Hartmuth Wrocklage from Los Angeles and demand that Caberta be dismissed. He said that what she was doing was a "continuation of the Inquisition"; he said she hunted people down, destroyed their existence and was bringing shame, not only upon Hamburg, but upon all of Germany. He said that Caberta, who "gave con-men like Robert Minton the seal of approval from the Hamburg Interior Agency" was "out of place."

Minton does not dispute having discretely and for a profit bought back, with a partner, $4.5 billion of foreign debt on commission of the Nigerian administration. Nor that they made a profit with a nominal value of 1 percent ($45 million).

What he does not agree with are: the numbers being cited far in excess of that, assertions that anything was fraudulent, that he is being investigated in any way, that bank accounts have been closed or that he profited from oil prices which rose during the Gulf War. He will do in Germany what he has already done in France - sue Scientology for slander.

All that, however, is only coincidental to the members and supporters of the Alternative Charlemagne Award committee. For them, only one thing counts: Bob Minton is better suited than Bill Clinton for being publicly recognized for supporting freedom of opinion and a democratic life-style. Specifically, they disagree with Clinton's "liberal" attitude towards Scientology.

Ursula Caberta also finds that the President, in the twilight of his term, "gives the impression" of being a "Scientology puppet." Bob Minton, on the other hand, was said not to share the President's "strange predilection."

Seen that way, the Scientologists' excitement is understandable.

Scientology: Criticism of the Charlemagne Award for U.S. President Clinton

Hamm, Germany
June 1, 2000
neue bildpost, Nr. 23, pg. 1

by Bernd Evers 

Contention over the presentation of the Aachen Charlemagne Award: this year the valued distinction will go to the President of the United States, Bill Clinton.

"It's OK to have a different opinion in regards to Clinton's political accomplishments or his personal conduct," said Reverend Thomas Gandow, Sect Commissioner of the Evangelical Church for Berlin-Brandenburg.

As concerns his attitude towards Scientology, however, there is no doubt: "Never before has a government done so much lobbying for Scientology," stressed Gandow.

It is not just that the organization received tax exemption in the first year of Clinton's term; Clinton's State Department continually blames Germany and other European states for dealing with Scientology in a critical manner. As a reaction to the presentation of the Charlemagne Award, the European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom will be giving out an Alternative Charlemagne Award: banker Robert Minton, who supports Scientology victims in legal proceedings against the organization, will receive it.

Accusation: Scientology is conducting a hate campaign against award winner

Opponent of the organization Bob Minton gets Alternative Charlemagne Award

Berlin, Germany
May 31, 2000
IDEA Nr. 68/2000
(Ev. Nachrichtendienst "Informationsdienst der Ev. Allianz" Deutschland)

Berlin (idea) - The American Scientology organization is apparently ready to carry out a hate campaign against the award winner of this year's Alternative Charlemagne Award, Scientology critic and U.S. millionaire Bob Minton. That was told to "idea" on May 31 by the Sects and Weltanschauung Commissioner of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg, Reverend Thomas Gandow. "With incriminating accusations associated with business dealings, the Scientologists are trying to make an anti-Minton campaign out of an anti-Scientology gathering " said Gandow, who is a member of the Award Committee. Minton, who openly opposes the Scientology Organization, is being placed in counter-point to U.S. President Bill Clinton, who receives the "real" Charlemagne Award in Aachen. For instance, Clinton authored an exclusive article for the "Freedom" Scientology magazine and was said to have expressed praise for Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard's programs at a meeting with Scientologist John Travolta. In contrast, Minton, who receives the Alternative Charlemagne Award on June 3 in Leipzig, founded the "Lisa McPherson Trust," an organization which opposes Scientology.

Badische Neueste Nachrichten

Alternative Charlemagne Award for Scientology Critic from the USA

Leipzig, Germany
May 31, 2000
Badische Neueste Nachrichten (Karlsruhe)

by Achim Winkel

Karlsruhe/ Leipzig. On Friday in Aachen, U.S. President Clinton will be presented with the Charlemagne Award "for the most worthwhile contribution in the service of the European unification and community work, in the service of humanity and world peace." Another award, however, will be casting long shadows in the forefront of the solemn occasion. On Saturday in Leipzig, the "Alternative Charlemagne Award" will be bestowed - and there is a direct connection to the "original" for Bill Clinton. The recipient of the "Alternative Charlemagne Award" is Robert "Bob" S. Minton, a millionaire banker from the U.S. State of New Hampshire.

For years the 53-year-old man has been dedicating himself to the struggle against the controversial Scientology Organization. The arrangers of the "Alternative Charlemagne Award," which consists of noteworthy sect critics called the "European-American Citizens Committee for Human Rights and Religious Freedom in the USA" would also like to give Clinton a sign. That he is regarded as expressly friendly to Scientology: one of the first actions which happened in his term was that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) exempted the organization from taxes because the organization allegedly had "religious character." Rumors that the IRS was coerced cannot be quashed.

Clinton also received prominent U.S. Scientologists (such as the actors John Travolta and Tom Cruise) and promised them that he would urge that the rights of religious minorities be observed, mainly in Germany. By that was meant Scientology, and Clinton's actions even today still have brought diplomatic friction with them. Bob Minton, in comparison, has been attracting a little attention in the USA. Minton is the Chairman of the "Lisa McPherson Trust": he intends to see that Lisa McPherson's mysterious death is cleared up; she died almost five years ago. In December 1995, a 36-year-old woman was delivered to a hospital in the north of Clearwater, the Scientology stronghold in Florida. However the woman, Lisa McPherson, was already dead - died of dehydration. Her autopsy showed that she had not received water for days. In addition her emaciated body exhibited bruises, insect bites and scrapes - indices of an unnatural death.

Circumstances surrounding Lisa McPherson's death are still coming to light - circumstances that indicate considerable complicity on the part of Scientology (Lisa McPherson allegedly wanted out of the organization) and which have cause a rethinking to occur, mainly in the USA. While that is alarming for the organization in Germany, where it is under surveillance by Constitutional Security, over there it is business as usual for them. The "Alternative Charlemagne Award," even if it is being bestowed in Leipzig, can still enliven the discussion about Scientology even in far-off America.

in Brief

Alternative Charlemagne Award

Struggling with the sect

Berlin, Germany
May 27, 2000

U.S. American Robert S. Minton is to be distinguished with the "Alternative Charlemagne Award" for his struggles with the Scientology sect. The 53- year-old man is the chairman of the "Lisa McPherson Trust." The presentation will take place on June 3 in Leipzig's old stock exchange. (epd)

A short history of Leipzig, focusing on human rights. 

"I'm coming to Leipzig, to a place where one can see the whole world in miniature." - Gotthold Ephraim Lessing (1729-1781) This statement is still true today, as can be seen by anybody who takes a walk downtown. 

Leipzig, population approx half million, is a city of commerce which lies on two ancient Roman trans-European roads. The east-west road is the old Via Imperii (Imperial Road) and runs from Flanders to Nishniy Novgorod. The north- south road runs from Rostock to Venice (Via Regia / Royal Road). It is recorded that the city was given a similiar-sounding name, Lipsk, in the 7th century by the Sorbisch Slavs. 

200 years later, a fortification was established there to secure the eastern expansion of the empire of the Christian Franks (Regnum Francorum). In 1165, the Margrave of Meissen (where they make the porcelain), known as "Otto the Rich" (he made a fortune in silver), granted the village of 500 a charter as a city and as a market. 

In 1409, refugees from Prague founded the university at Leipzig (today has 24,000 students; it is in the downtown area). In 1481, the first book was printed there, at which time the population was 9,000. In 1632, 1/5 of the 20,000 people in Leipzig died from war and the plague. In 1687, one of the first European stock markets was opened up (That is where Bob Minton received the Alternative Charlemagne Award), and in 1723, Johann Sebastian Bach became the cantor at Thomas Church in Leipzig. 

In 1826, Friedrich Brockhaus started the first steam-powered press. That is when some trouble started. The people is Leipzig who ran the press supported a democratic system (a worker's party) and they were persecuted by pro- monarchy censors, as were many other anti-monarchists in Europe at the time.

Woman's Emancipation got a head start in Leipzig in 1865 with the founding of the German Women's Association

After WWI, in 1923, Leipzig was the only large German city to have established mass trade with the USA. A few years later, the Leipzig fair was the largest of its kind (Leipzig now has about 20 fairs a year with a huge, multi- building fair grounds.) 

Depression hit in 1929, and in 1933, the structure of the democratic workers party was destroyed by the Nazis; hundreds of party functionaries were sent to prison and to concentration camps. Leipzig was a center of resistance against the Nazis. Mayor Carl Goerdeler was supposed to have become Reich's Chancellor in the new regime after Hitler's assassination. The assassination failed. Goerdeler was arrested and executed in February 1945, several days after George Schumann, the leading functionary of the communist resistance in Leipzig, was executed. 

By 1945, only 200 Jews were left in Leipzig of the 19,500 who had lived there in 1933. 1944-1945, about 11,000 bombs killed about 6,000 residents and destroyed about 1/6 of the buildings. On July 2, 1945, the Americans withdrew from Leipzig, taking patents and scientists with them. The Russians did pretty much the same after that. 

The Nicholas Church was named for St. Nicholas, who is the patron saint of commerce (also of sailors). The church became famous as the birth place of civil rights in former East Germany. Father Fuehrer (his real name) held Monday night services there at which more and more people attended, demonstrating for freedom. Eventually hundreds of thousands people joined the rallies which led to serious demoralization of the Stasi regime. The walls of the church include parts of the walls of a chapel built a thousand years before when the area was first fortified. 

Leipzig is a boom town of Saxony. It is sometimes called "LE" (sounds like "LA" - Los Angeles) and has a wide range of people and cultures.






Award Winner




In the Media







Home    About    Charter