In Which Regions is the Group Active?
In its infancy, the Holic Group was primarily active in Austria. Since around 1988, however, they have expanded their activity to Hungary (with cells in Budapest and Dunaújváros), and since 1990 to Germany, especially in the eastern parts of the country (primarily in Saxony and Berlin). Most current activity appears to occur in eastern Europe (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Baltic Republics, Hungary, Romania, and Slovenia). In Austria, they have become less active.
In the meantime, the Holic Group has become known in the demographic segments in which it recruited in Austria, and as a result it is largely unsuccessful there. This area is considered “used up.” It is presumably for this reason that the group’s activity has expanded into eastern Germany and eastern Europe. Parallels to other cults can be seen here, many of whom poured into what they considered to be a newlyopen territory after the political changes of the 1990s. At that time, the Holic Group’s cells with the greatest membership growth were in Poland, as well as in the Czech Republic, Lithuania, and Hungary. Since around 1996, activities in Saxony and Berlin seem to be diminishing, and emphasis is more on the neighboring countries to the east and on the Netherlands.
Then as now, there are cells of members living communally in Saxony as well as in Brandenburg and Berlin. For a number of years, the center of the cult in this region of eastern Germany was in the village of Hausdorf near the city of Colditz. There are established communities currently in the village of Radebeul near the city of Dresden, in Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, and Oberursel (in the Taunus Mountains). Activities stretched for a long time primarily toward western and central Saxony as well as toward Berlin. After a massive recruitment effort at the protestant church convention in 1999 in Stuttgart, a group arose in the area of Stuttgart in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. This group’s recruitment efforts went as far as Hesse. In early 2000, missionary activities were reported from the Netherlands. In 2003, a cell of members living communally was founded in London. Since around 2005, activity has extended to Munich, Stuttgart, and the Taunus area. In 2008, a small community was founded in Pune, Maharashtra (in India).
Because the Holic Group recruits at supra-regional events (e.g., Catholic conventions, other church conventions, Taizé meetings), individuals from quite distant parts of Germany as well as other countries are easily targeted.
New members are almost always young. But there are also older members who have had a long-term membership in the group. Estimates about the group’s size in Germany vary between 25 and 50 members. In Austria there were around 40 members in 1989. Data from Hungary in 1993 mention 160 members. After resignations and various exclusions of members at the beginning of the 21st century, an estimated 100 to 150 people belong to the Holic Group, according to former members.