Cruise is Goebbels of Scientology, says German church

The German Protestant Church compared the Hollywood film star Tom Cruise to the Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels yesterday and claimed the actor was using his celebrity status to publicise the controversial Church of Scientology, of which he is a prominent member.

The criticism of Mr Cruise, who is in Germany to make a film about an attempt to assassinate Adolf Hitler, was the most vitriolic in a series of attacks on the actor over his membership of Scientology – regarded as a cult in Germany and kept under surveillance.

Thomas Gandow, 60, chief spokesman on religious cults for the German Protestant Church, described Scientology as a “totalitarian organisation” and said that Mr Cruise had become “the Goebbels of Scientology”.

In the film Valkyrie ,Tom Cruise, 45, plays Claus von Stauffenberg, a German army officer and aristocrat who tried to assassinate Hitler in 1944 by planting a bomb inside the Nazi leader’s East Prussian headquarters. However, Mr Gandow dismissed the film yesterday as “propaganda for Scientology”. Mr Gandow added, in a reference to the favourable publicity won by Hitler’s Nazi party during the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games: “This film will have the same propaganda advantages for Scientology as the 1936 Olympics had for the Nazis.”

Mr Gandow’s attack on the actor followed criticism from the German Defence Ministry, which banned the actor from filming at key military sites in Berlin which were authentic locations during the 1944 plot.

Antje Blumenthal, a conservative MP and Scientology critic, said: “Unlike the Nazi propaganda minister, Tom Cruise has the sympathy of the public. As a Scientology ambassador he uses his popularity very cleverly in the interests of the totalitarian sect.”

Meanwhile, Dieter Wedel, 46, a veteran German film director, joined other film buffs yesterday in criticising the campaign against the actor. “This sort of discussion damages Germany as a film location. What an actor believes is irrelevant. I agree that Scientology is dangerous, but there are other ways to combat the organisation,” he said.

Despite the public row, the film has been quietly awarded sponsorship from the German film board.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Tony Paterson in Berlin, Independent, July 23, 2007,

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday July 23, 2007.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject



Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at

Travel Religiously

Book skip-the-line tickets to the worlds major religious sites — or to any other place in the world.