PURCELLVILLE, VA., January 27, 2010 ( – On Tuesday, in a first of its kind case, a federal immigration judge in Memphis, Tennessee granted political asylum to the Romeike family, who fled Germany in 2008 to escape persecution from the German government for the “crime” of homeschooling.

Judge Burman said in his decision that, “The rights being violated here are basic human rights that no country has a right to violate.”

Judge Burman also expressed concern that while Germany is a democratic country and an ally, its policy of persecuting homeschoolers is “repellent to everything we believe as Americans.”

The persecution of homeschoolers in Germany has been intensifying over the past several years. Such families are regularly fined thousands of dollars, threatened with imprisonment, or have the custody of their children taken away simply because they choose to home educate.

“This ruling is a major embarrassment for Germany,” said Mike Donnelly, staff attorney and Director of International Relations for HSLDA. “We hope this decision will cause Germany to stop persecuting homeschoolers.”

Uwe Romeike, a music teacher, his wife Hannelore, and their five children, fled the German authorities in August 2008 and are now living in Eastern Tennessee. This ruling opens the door for many other homeschool families to escape Germany.

“We are so grateful to the judge for his ruling,” said Uwe Romeike. “We know many people, especially other German homeschoolers, have been praying for us. Their prayers and ours have been answered.

“We greatly appreciate the freedom to homeschool we now have in America and will be building our new life here,” he added.


See related coverage:

German Homeschooling Family Applies for Asylum in US

Germany Jails Eight Christian Fathers for Removing Children from Sex-Ed Class

The Saga Continues: Previously Tolerant German State Declares War on Home-schooling