The Romanian Tribune Newspaper continues the series of articles on the Furdui family case based on an ongoing investigation started two months ago.
An arbitrary action
A disproportionate intervention – the 7 children were separated from each other in a parking lot
Human Rights violation
Children placed in precarious living conditions by Jugendamt
Lack of cummunication and transparency within Jugendamt
During these last two months members of our Newsdesk team visited Walsrode, Germany, talked with my family, contacted the local authorities and representatives of the Jugendamt Heidekreis, the local press, and consulted lawyers, lawyers and child protection psychologists.
The Furdui family is not a perfect family. Not only because there are no perfect families, but also because the challenges of being a large family, with parents and children of different temperaments and personalities, in a social and cultural environment that always puts new constant pressure on everyone and, in particular, on young people, it truly isn’t easy to manage. But that doesn’t make the Furdui family automatically a guilty family.
About two months before April 26, 2021, David, the eldest son of the Furdui family, age 15, began to express a series of dissatisfaction and accusations about the rules of discipline that the Furdui family had at home, spending a number of unknown hours in meetings with school counselors and Jugendamt Bad Fallingbostel employees. All without the knowledge of the parents.
During this period, the Jugendamt discovered that the Furdui family attended the Romanian Pentecostal Church in Hannover on a weekly basis, with the parents being portrayed as “extremely religious” who do not give their children access to all relevant topics in society, according to a children’s aunt, Paraschiva Bloju.
“Three of the older children were at school. Four were at home with their mother. Around noon (n.r. mother) woke up with two ladies at the door, they said they wanted to talk about the children. After a while the third lady came. They said it was a problem. They were told that something was wrong. They had discussions with the eldest son, and as a consequence the three older children were taken directly from school by the Jugendamt and now they came to pick up the other four smaller children. The three ladies left with their four children “, Paraschiva Bloju tells Adevărul daily. Furdui’s seven children were between one and a half and 15 years old.
We need to establish one thing from the beginning: every state, every country needs a Jugendamt, a child protection service. Although we have evolved socially and economically, in the same society, child abuse, exploitation and mistreatment coexist – something abominable. Therefore, we recognize the need for a child protection service and its importance when acting fairly.
However, the loss, even temporary, of children without an emergency regarding their well-being, is a drama, especially when 7 children are involved.
An arbitrary action
German child protection law provides for the legality and necessity of emergency intervention to protect children in families in which they are abused and ill-treated.
However, in the absence of a thorough social investigation and without trying to get to know the whole family and their lifestyle, the Jugendamt Bad Fallingbostel, the office in charge of Walsrode, decided to intervene by the harshest method – taking the children from the family.
Given the approximately two-month period in which Jugendamt employees had discussions with David Furdui without acting in any way prior to the abduction of the Furdui children, it is clear that the 7 children were not in any serious or imminent danger at any time, but rather Jugendamt employees exploited the teenager who was in a medically sensitive condition and constructed a case based on their own interpretations.
According to Paraschiva Bloju, neither before taking the children, nor afterwards, the parents were not subjected to a police investigation to determine if the children were abused. “Statements were made in the file by the doctors who consulted the children, by the teachers, and by the neighbors who clearly said that they had never seen any signs of abuse. All these statements were not taken into account, “said Paraschiva Bloju.
In these circumstances and analyzing the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life – Jugendamt is guilty of violating the Furdui family’s right to privacy and family life.
By 2021, Germany has been convicted 18 times by the European Court of Human Rights for violating Article 8 of the Convention on Human Rights (Source https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Facts_Figures_Germany_ENG.pdf)
A disproportionate intervention – children separated in a parking lot
Taking into account the international standards and good practices in the field of child protection and based on the assessment of the case, the employees of Jugendamt had the responsibility to verify and objectively analyze the situation of the Furdui family before taking any action.
According to Resolution 2232 voted in the Council of Europe in 2018, entitled Finding a balance between the best interests of the child and the need to keep families together, on European practices in the process of taking children, placing in state custody and family reunification, if any suspicion existed the Jugendamt employees were obligated to provide the necessary counseling and help the family in a timely and positive manner, to develop a relationship of trust and collaboration with parents in order to avoid major intervention – which Jugendamt did not do.
And if it was not enough to intervene in the harshest way possible, the Jugendamt decided to separate the children from each other, the 7 children being placed in different locations, including little Lea, 1 year old, who needed physical and emotional presence. of the mother, in accordance with the same European standards on the best interests of the child.
“The little girl suffered a very strong shock. She was separated within a half an hour by all the brothers. They broke up in a supermarket parking lot. They practically snatched the older girl from her older sister’s arms. The foster care provider said that in the first days she kept crying. Slowly, slowly she became attached to the foster care giver. She told her “mother”, which she not only allows, but also encourages, “Paraschiva Bloju told Adevărul.
“The family’s pain was exacerbated by the fact that the minors were dispersed in three different groups, including the one-year-old child who was placed in foster care. We disapprove of the illegal tactics used by the German authorities to separate the children from their parents, “said Peter Costea, a Romanian-American lawyer from Houston, Texas, a lawyer specializing in litigation and international law.
“The Jugendamt’s intervention is brutal, there are no good reasons for such a measure,” said German pastor and psychologist Christian Tomm. – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8N2xg067m8
No translator, no documents, delay of procedures
Petru and Camelia Furdui are Romanians and European citizens living in Germany. Following the action of force and abduction of all 7 children, Jugendamt Bad Fallingbostel employees continued to violate the rights conferred by the European Convention on Human Rights to any European citizen, including the Furdui couple.
According to Article 6 of the same Convention, entitled Right to a fair trial, Jugendamt employees were obligated to provide the family with documents in Romanian language as soon as possible, a translator, and to allow the appropriate time for the preparation of the defense, ultimately granting them the presumption of innocence.
In reality, the family did not receive documents in Romanian, they did not have the necessary time and the official documents to prepare their defense after the intervention of April 26, 2021 and worst of all, they were not treated according to the principle of presumption of innocence.
The Jugendamt convicted them before finding out whether they were guilty or not.
By 2021, Germany had been convicted 102 times by the European Court of Human Rights for violating Article 6 of the Convention on Human Rights (Source – https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Facts_Figures_Germany_ENG.pdf)
This is a truly worrying figure, given that Germany has the reputation for being a democratic, calculated and a country leading the free world. What the European Court of Human Rights also notes with great concern is that Germany is constantly failing to respect people’s right to a fair trial, especially with regard to the length of proceedings, which account for 40% of all European Court of Human Rights rulings.
Meetings with the children only in German
After the Furdui family was left without the 7 children, a local court in Walsrode decided to temporarily suspend the custody of the parents and place the children in the homes, respectively in the guardianship of some foster parents.
Parents have been given the right to meet under supervision once a week with their children, or twice with their baby Lea, respectively, being required to speak only German, although in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 30, “Children have the right to use their own language, culture and religion, even if they are a minority in the country where they live” and in conditions where in this case the father does not speak German and the mother speaks very little German.
Employees of Jugendamt Bad Fallingbostel thus manage to check off a number of flagrant illegal practices in a case involving 7 children and possible permanent mental trauma. In these circumstances, we seriously wonder if these children are better off in the custody of the Jugendamt than in the care of their parents.
The evaluation was unexplainably and unreasonably delayed
The local court on family matters has established since May 2021 a psychological assessment of the Furdui family. Speaking again about an impeccable German state, which seems to be more of a myth, you would have expected the evaluation to start immediately given the sensitive nature of the case, but the evaluation started with a delay of 4 months.
At one of the meetings with the parents, the evaluator questioned the family about a method of discipline with moral-Christian implications trying to amplify the image of “extremist religious family”. Following the discussions an interviews that the Romanian Tribune had with the extended family and with the support team of the Furdui family, which also includes lawyers and jurists, the idea that the Jugendamt RELIGIOUSLY DISCRIMINATES the Furdui family became very clear and substantiated.
A recurring theme that emerges from the summary of Jugendamt’s analysis of the Furdui family is religiosity, faith, and the Christian values of the family. “Once the family is labeled a religious extremist, they will not receive their children back,” says a Walsrode local – who is worried about a country that claims to be democratic. We also know this because some of Furdui’s children asked the Jugendamt employees to let them continue to participate in the services of the Romanian church they attended and they were denied their requests.
“The Furdui family is not a fundamentalist family, the Jugendamt has no reason to assume that,” insists German Pastor Tomm.
Again, what confidence can the Furdui family have that the Jugendamt Bad Fallingbostel guarantees them the right to a fair trial?
Furdui’s children are completely ignored
Documenting this case, we discovered on the social pages of the case and of some of Furdui’s children a series of written and video messages through which they clearly and resolutely express their desire to be allowed to come back home.
Natalia, Ruben and Albert want to go home – https://fb.watch/bddqnRFF_O/
Do the representatives of the Jugendamt hear them, are they sensitive to the traumas suffered by the children? Local officials, the court, someone from Walsrode, Heidekreis, anyone from Germany?
Also from the published posts on social networks we found out that some of the children came home from time to time, to their parents, sometimes only for half an hour, being melted by longing for their family, their siblings, the animals they left at home, after just hopping in their bed for a few minutes.
Who can truly believe that some children who had been allegedly abused, punished, and subjected to bad parental treatment would want to return home?
At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that being forced to live far from their family and the environment in which they were educated, children can quickly resign and transform themselves into new personalities. Studies in the field of child psychology and on the basis of cases handled by child protection services in Europe, and not only, show that the personality of a child brought out of his family environment can undergo harmful transformations, not at all beneficial educationally, mentally, causing traumas, and possibly resulting in drugs or alcohol use, promiscuity and many other severe harmful consequences.
Furdui’s children are placed in precarious living conditions
We visited the Furdui family’s home in Walsode. A house in a traditional German style, in a quiet, welcoming neighborhood, where you can see everywhere pictures, toys, children’s clothes, traces of some happy children who lived there until recently. It is now an empty house, with two parents trembling at any noise from outside – “maybe it’s the kids,” they think.
The extended Furdui family and the Initiative Team, as publicly presented by those who post on the social channels of the case and organize actions in support of the Furdui family, publicly and widely presented the worrying conditions in which the 7 children of the Furdui family are placed by Jugendamt Bad Fallingbostel.
According to them, the homes where the children live have mice, dampness, mold, itching – yes, in Germany, scab itching; there are places where alcohol and drugs are consumed, where sexual assaults take place, and where frequently the police intervene. The Initiative team has pictures that capture some of these harmful conditions in which the Furdui children live every day.
The Romanian Tribune contacted the representatives of these foster homes and orphanages dormitories to ask them for their point of view and for access to the facilities in question, but until the moment of publishing this article we have not received an answer.
Total lack of transparency and dialogue
The Furdui family has been trying for 10 months to have a dialogue with the employees of Jugendamt Bad Fallingbostel.
Parents have constantly tried to find out from social workers what they can do to get their children back; they enrolled in family counseling courses, sought the help of specialists to show that they were willing to do anything to get the case resolved, but the Jugendamt was silent. Jugendamt never gave them a chance to be heard, understood, or helped. Instead, the Jugendamt indirectly informs both parents and children that the family will never be reunited, although the court has not made a final decision.
The ten-month trial of Furdui’s family resonates surprisingly with Franz Kafka’s novel The Trial, in which Josef K. is arrested and charged by a distant, non-transparent authority with the nature of his crime undisclosed to him and readers. Did Kafka write inspired by the Jugendamt Bad Fallingbostel and their Heidekreis superiors?
The Romanian Tribune contacted the representatives of the Jugendamt and the local authorities with the proposal of in-person interviews in Walsrode, but the refusal was categorical. Instead, Mrs. Sina Böhling, the head of the Jugendamt over the Heidekreis District, asked us to send her written questions, which we did.
In Part III we will present the response of the Jugendamt authorities to the accusations brought against them in the case of the Furdui family.
The Romanian Tribune Editorial Board