The case of Dr. Nittmann
In the case of Dr. Nittmann, we led a seven-year-long campaign to restore in Germany one of the most elemental parts of religious freedom, i.e. the absence of any obligation to pay contributions, fees, taxes or any other financial support to a Church to which you do not belong. As unbelievable as that may sound, on the basis of the never abolished Hitler Concordat of 1933 (according to which in Germany the Church's membership fees are collected for it by the state in the form of state taxes, the so-called ‘church tax’!), some forty years later the West German Social Democratic government led by Chancellor Willy Brandt, then Helmut Schmidt introduced a forced church tax over the unemployed in Germany: Since 1975, the church tax which non-church members were never obliged to pay was nonetheless, when they lost their work, simply deducted from their unemployment benefits and withheld by the state! Thus, in the course of several decades, billions of Deutsche Mark, later Euros were stolen from them – money to which they were legally entitled after having paid in the unemployment insurance all their working life! Several hundreds, perhaps thousands of the victims had gone to court against this tax robbery to the advantage of the two big German Christian Churches, but all their actions had been turned down by the German courts, and of course, never mentioned with a single word by the whole body of media (before we became active in the matter, distributing some 100000 leaflets. Don´t forget: all trials in Germany are, at least theoretically, open to the public, press included – how amazingly long lasted their reticence!)
By supporting one these actions, filed in 2001 by the editor Dr. Peter Nittmann and pursued through not less than five (!) court instances, and by making his case, and the related gigantic injustice committed against millions of atheists in Germany and other non-church members, known to the international public, we were at least able to force the German government to repeal its revolting law as of 1st January 2005, though compensation of the victims, i.e. the repayment of the stolen money, was eventually thwarted by the European Court of Human Rights which made the file vanish in the drawer for three years and then, at the instigation of the German (!) judge at that court, dismissed the action without a single line of reasons given for that! (Never cease to despise them!)
Still, the success achieved in this case would never have been possible without the active and enduring international solidarity of thousands of individuals and many foreign organizations who, committed to the matter of secularism, followed the case closely over the years and never tired to address their protests to the responsible courts and the German government.
On this page of our site, we keep available, for those interested, a number of documents informing on this case which teaches a lot about the nature and the reality of the German Church state as well as about the functioning of the so-called ‘independent’ judiciary... – but also about what determined international solidarity can achieve.

11.11.2008
Dr. Nittmann’s suit rejected by European Court of Human Rights without justification or proceedings
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November 2007
No enforced church tax for atheists and members of religious minorities in Europe!
Renew your protest to the European Court of Human Rights in the principle case of Dr. Nittmann!
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2006
The case of Dr. Nittmann – A summary
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24.10.2005
»Bin Them.«
The German judiciary are destroying protest letters.
The case of Dr. Nittmann at the European Court of Human Rights
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21.07.2004
News on the case of Dr. Nittmann or:
the latest monstrosities from the Church State of Germany
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23.02.2003
The Church-tax proceedings (Kirchensteuerprozeß) is being continued!
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23.02.2003
The verdict of the Freiburg »Sozialgericht« and the planned enforced taxation of all non-church members in Germany
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06.09.2002
The German Church State is stealing taxes from millions of unemployed non-church members by violating its constitution!
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