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Stentorian Praying Results in Eviction Notice

DW staff (jam)August 17, 2006

A Berlin family living in an apartment has been threatened with eviction after neighbors complained about extremely loud late-night prayer sessions. The family says the volume in necessary to stave off the devil.

The praying itself is not the problem, the volume isImage: AP

The residents at Franz Stenzer Strasse 71 in eastern Berlin say they need their sleep, Lucifer or no Lucifer. Their nocturnal rest has been disturbed by the regular high-decibel praying coming from the apartment on the second floor. There, a family's religious beliefs mandate that they raise the voices to keep the Evil One at bay.

The deafening devotion began back in October, when Pierre D., his wife and their four children moved into the apartment. They began praying four times daily at volumes that not only appeared to keep Beezelbub at bay, but alienated the other tenants, who had asked them repeatedly to keep it down.

"At first we tried being friendly when talking to them," Horst Berghahn, a 60-year-old taxi driver, told the newspaper Bild. "After all, we're working people and need our sleep."

After the loud praying continued unabated, the other residents took legal action which resulted in a notice of eviction for the Christian family. The reason: disturbing the peace through overly loud prayer.

Family father Pierre is unswayed by the legal action and is fighting the eviction in court.

"I really don't want to disturb the neighbors," he told Bild. "But the high volume is needed in a battle with the devil."