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"This is our big family reunion," says Michael Krenzer, a spokesman for the Jehovah's Witnesses in Dortmund.
And since the family must expand, "many Witnesses naturally meet their future spouses here," says Uwe Langhals, another spokesman, who has been a Jehovah's Witness since he was 15.
Yet many of them are victims of this community, which promises paradise -- but for many, becomes a hell on earth.
It's a community that presumes to have a say in who its young people marry.
The Public Hardly Notices In Berlin, the Witnesses meet in the Velodrom arena, in Munich, they gather at the Olympic Stadium, and in Frankfurt am Main, they plan to congregate in the Commerzbank Arena.
Though they occupy enormous venues, the public hardly notices their presence.
They arrive in caravans, bringing Tupperware, coolers, blankets and, most importantly, their Bibles.
Now they are standing in the Westfalen Stadium, embracing fellow brothers and sisters. There are many young people, among them young straight-backed men in suits. " 'It's Great' Andreas and Stefanie Georg, 33 and 34, are among those sitting on the rows of seats in the Westfalen Stadium. Both have been Jehovah's Witnesses since they were young. They offer strangers licorice and apple slices, spread out wool blankets against the cold and help old people up the stairs.Every so often, there is an interview with a Jehovah's Witness.These always follow the same format: Asked to tell about his missionary work, the interviewee enthuses about the experience -- it's wonderful.At age 18, he moved out and hasn't been back since.Because he chose freedom and his current girlfriend, he is "essentially parentless," he says.Once decried as a cult, the Jehovah's Witnesses have managed to successfully fight for the title of "statutory public body" in 12 of the 16 German states.