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banner Monday, 5 June, 2000, 15:45 GMT 16:45 UK
Satanism stalks Poland
forest
The WWII bunker in the Silesian forest in Poland where two teenagers were murdered

Edward Stourton investigates Satanism behind Polish deaths

This story is part of Correspondent Europe, shown on Saturday 3rd June on BBC2 at 18:50 (BST)

Last year the charred bodies of two Silesian teenagers were found in a derelict military bunker near Ruda Slaska in Poland - victims of a brutal, Satanic sacrifice.

The incident sent a wave of revulsion and alarm through Poland. While this incident was a special horror, it follows a
rising trend of interest in sects and cult movements among Poland's disaffected youth.

Poland is Europe's most devoutly Catholic country, yet it is also a country experiencing major social upheavals in its transition to a free market economy. Unemployment has led to poverty, and once traditional forms of belief are being questioned and rejected by Poland's youth. Some are turning to Satanism and devil worship.

Disillusioned youth joining sects

"There are roughly between 20,000 and 40,000 Satanists in Poland", says Ryschard Nowak, a former MP who now leads Poland's Defence Committee against sects. "Over time we have seen a very rapid increase in this number."

grafitti
Satanic belief is evident on the walls of the bunker

The Satanic murder took place in a rundown German bunker, a relic of the Second World War, in a birch forest near a rundown housing estate. Amongst the locals the bunker was infamous, known as a place where Satanists gathered to perform their ceremonies. The walls still bear the marks of devil worship.

The teenagers murdered in the bunker were part of a group of four teenagers drawn there to practice Satanism. As two of them, a boy and girl, stood back to back in the traditional pentagrams drawn on the ground, they were unaware of the murder and suicide pact made by the other two.


Now the mines are being closed, there are no jobs, there is no money. These young people have to look elsewhere to earn a living and create a life. It isn't easy

Gregorsz Fels, local teacher
The two boys lacked the conviction to go through with their own suicides, but the boy and girl were murdered, their charred bodies found in the forest the following day. People couldn't understand how four teenagers had become involved in this 'cult'.

Gregorsz Fels, the local teacher who knows many of the young in the area is aghast: "These were normal young people. They went to school - some of them went to church regularly; even their friends didn't know they were participating in Satanic practices." As pilgrimages were made to the site from estates nearby more soul-searching was being done nation-wide.

Society suffering due to economic decline Polish society is still adjusting to the decline of civil authority since the fall of communism a decade ago. Silesia, a mining and heavy industry rustbelt, has suffered badly in the changing economy. The result is a cocktail of problems among the young - of disaffection and disillusion with society and a willingness to embrace a variety of angry subcultures. Correspondent talks to one Satanist, Tomek, who states that animals are used for ritual sacrifice by Satanists. The attraction to such a cult, is the freedom it offers to children brought up a
swastika
Local economic decline has brought with it social problems
strict Catholic tradition, as well as the rebellion it engenders. It is especially appealing to teenagers like Tomek with its license to indulge in smoking, drugs and sex.

According to Tomek many children are seduced into Satanism through Death Metal music, and bands such as Kat. Their lead singer has no qualms about his blatantly satanic lyrics or even inciting murder through his songs.


When a young person enters a Satanist cult they are programmed over time to be used to death. They are told sooner or later either they or someone else will be killed

Ryschard Nowak, Poland's Defence Committee against Sects

"Even if .... deaths could be ascribed to me, I would readily be willing to justify them, as I would justify myself and my music." Such contempt for human life merely adds to Poland's problems.

Both boys involved in the murder in the bunker have recently appeared in court. One boy got life and the other received 25 years imprisonment.

Also in the programme: Joan Bakewell investigates TurkishIslamic Fundmentalists trying to establish their own State - inside Germany. Meanwhile, in Russia, the State and the Orthodox Church are joining forces against new religious groups

Producer: David Akerman

Reporter: Edward Stourton

Click here for transcripts

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Video
Teenager explains the allure of Satanism
Video
The background to a Satanic murder
See also:

02 Jun 00 | Correspondent
Turkish exiles test Germany's resolve
02 Jun 00 | Correspondent
Russia fends off foreign gods
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