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.
This gives them the same legal status as, for example, the Protestant church.
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.
They spend 40 hours per week doing missionary work, preferably side-by-side. They listen quietly to the speaker on the lawn below.
They sit close together, still and pious in the seats usually occupied by cheering, swearing fans of the Borussia Dortmund football club.
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.
Members of the sect in Germany prefer to pair off their children within the faith community, and regional congresses make for prime matchmaking territory. Her hair is delicately pinned up, arranged in bud-like clusters. " Melanie, 17, was baptized as a Jehovah's Witness at 14.
Like thousands of others, she has come to Dortmund with her family -- all of them strict believers, all of them dressed up for the special day -- for the annual North Rhine-Westfalia convention of Jehovah's Witnesses.
There are some 165,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany.
The number of children and youths among them is not recorded.
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.
At age 18, he moved out and hasn't been back since.