The Berlin-city state government, in the early 1970s, ratified and bankrolled a perverse experiment conducted by psychology professor Helmut Kentler wherein homeless children in West Berlin were intentionally placed with paedophile men, some of whom had a criminal background, a report recently published in the New Yorker revealed.
The experiment which later came to be dubbed as “Kentler’s Project” involved placing youth with known paedophiles. Kentler, a homosexual man himself, believed that it would provide emotionally traumatised teens with a social anchor while giving the paedophiles an opportunity to become loving foster parents. The practice went on for decades, starting in the 1970s to the early 2000s. The paedophile foster fathers even received a regular care allowance.
Sexual contact between adults and teens is harmless was an article of faith for Helmut Kentler, a psychologist who was at a leading position at Berlin’s centre for educational research at the time of the experiment.
Berlin-state Senate authorised and financed custody of homeless teens to paedophilic predators
The report sheds light on how the German government intentionally and knowingly sent foster children to the homes managed by paedophiles.
The first report on “Kentler’s Project” was published in 2016 by the University of Göttingen. Since then, many victims of the experiment have come forward and articulated the horrors meted out on them during the course of the project, which for some of them ran for several years.
The latest report published in The New Yorker narrates the ordeal of one of the victims of the project, Marco, who was forced to live with a 47-year-old paedophile named Henkel. When he started fostering children in 1973, a teacher observed that he was always looking for establishing “contact” with boys. Six years later, one of the caseworkers found that Henkel was in a “homosexual relationship” with one of his foster sons.
When an investigation was launched into the matter, Helmut Kentler came to his rescue, describing himself as Henkel’s “permanent adviser” and vouching for him in front of the authorities. Kentler had then been the country’s foremost authority on sexual education. The investigation was subsequently suspended. Henkel’s case file revealed he had been helped by Kentler on multiple occasions.
Marco said he had grown accustomed to the things that Henkel did to him as he was conditioned to believe they were normal. When he had once tried to resist Henkel with a knife, Kentler psychologically manipulated him into acquiescence.
Marco’s brother and mother were allowed to visit once a month. But their visits were often cancelled by his paedophilic foster father, Henkel, who called off the meeting at the last moment or cut them short, claiming they were disruptive.
With Marco being denied visits from his mother, he started suffering from incontinence and lack of focus on his education. But Kentler, the psychologist who was overseeing the “project” of a homeless teen living with a paedophile foster father, warned the youth welfare office that Marco’s “educational successes are ruined by a few hours of being with his mother.”
The victim was not allowed to meet his biological father because he had once said that his dad had beaten him. Henkel also did not allow Marco and other foster children he managed to meet the therapist in the school privately. They were to be always accompanied by him during their visits to a child therapist. The child therapist noted that Marco was being held as a “prisoner” by his foster father. But Kentler once again came to the rescue of his confidante, Henkel, explaining to the authorities that he needs their trust and protection in dealing with “seriously damaged children”.
Helmut Kentler got courts to keep teens with their paedophile custodians
When Marco was nine, her mother approached a district judge and filed a petition seeking more time with her son. Marco’s biological father complained to the youth welfare officer about why his son was growing up in a “strange family” that deprived him of Arabic education. He also raised questions regarding the behaviour of Marco’s foster father. But they were not taken seriously since Marco’s mother had signed an agreement stating that she would “always be guided by the best interests of my child,” and that determination was made by the youth welfare office.
The hearing was held in March 1992, shortly before Marco turned 10. The judge spoke to Marco privately, with Henkel standing outside the room. Marco sounded highly tutored in his responses to the judge. When he was asked if he wants his mother to visit him, he responded “not often”. He said he would like to meet his mother once a year, and insisted that his foster father should be there in his meeting.
Afterwards, Kentler wrote a letter to the judge, arguing that for the better interests of the child, the contact between Marco and his family should be suspended for 2 years. Kentler stressed in his article that Marco needed distance from the men in his family of origin. Even though he did not Marco’s biological father, Kentler said he was authoritarian, abusive, and macho. For his brother, who was six feet four and weighed two hundred and twenty-five pounds, Kentler said he gave a false impression of strength and superiority and was already aping their father.
The latest article provides a window into the shenanigans carried out by psychologist Helmut Kentler and backed by the Berlin Senate. It rekindles the debate surrounding the government’s role in enabling and empowering paedophiles by granting them the custody of emotionally disturbed and vulnerable teens and turning a blind eye to their excesses when victims reported their perverse behaviour.
“Kentler’s project” reflects the insidious left-wing views about sexual contact between teens and adults
Marco’s case is not the first instance that “Kentler’s project” has come under spotlight for providing custodianship of vulnerable children to paedophile predators. A few years ago, two other victims came forward and described the sufferings they were made to endure. Since then, researchers at many universities in Germany are ploughing through files and conducting interviews with the teens who were part of the experiment.
The researchers reportedly found a “network across educational institutions”, the state youth welfare office and the Berlin state, in which paedophilia was not only accepted and supported but also vigorously defended. The condonation of such behaviour by Germany’s then public officers reflects the insidious left-wing views of sexuality that were mainstreamed during the 70s and the 80s.
Scholars at the University of Hildesheim said in a report in 2020 commissioned by the Berlin Senate that “the Senate also ran foster homes or shared flats for young Berliners with pedophile men in other parts of West Germany.” The authors stated that “these foster homes were run by sometimes powerful men who lived alone and who were given this power by academia, research institutions and other pedagogical environments that accepted, supported or even lived out pedophile stances.”
Besides, it was also found that many of the foster fathers were high-profile academics, including high-ranking members of the Max Planck Institute, Berlin’s Free University, and the infamous Odenwald School in Hesse, West Germany, which was at the middle of a major paedophilia scandal several years ago. It has since been closed down.
It was also found that Kentler was himself in contact with various children and foster fathers. In fact, in 1998, he said his experiment “Kentler’s Project” was a “complete success”. Despite the accusations surfacing against Kentler, he was never prosecuted, because by the time victims summoned courage and came forward, the statute of limitations for his actions had expired. This also played a crucial role in depriving victims of getting any compensation thus far.