The German intelligence service is investigating accusations that one of the country's most famous cultural institutions – the Haus der Kunst art gallery – has been infiltrated by Scientologists.

The allegations centre around the gallery's unnamed head of human resources, who has been at the Munich establishment since the 1990s, according to news site The Local.

Throughout his time at Haus der Kunst the man has been employed as a consultant rather than a full time member of staff, which German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung says is unusual.

Isabell Zacharias, the cultural spokesperson for the Social Democrats (SPD) in Bavaria, led the calls for the secret service to probe the rumours that the man is a committed Scientologist.

She said: "This is a building with a certain history. It was built by the Nazis in the 1930s and is known around the world for this. And now there is a man in an important position there who belongs to an organisation with fascist-like structures."

Zacharias told The Local she believes there are more Scientologists working at Haus der Kunst. In Germany Scientology is regarded with extreme suspicion and job applicants in Bavaria have to state if they are members of the church.

"For me this is a no-go," said Zacharias. "If we were talking about a private organisation, I wouldn't care, but this is a state institution which gets big grants every year."

The Haus der Kunst is not a private institution but it does receive public funding.

Bavarian culture minister Ludwig Spaenletold told Süddeutsche Zeitung that Bavarian intelligence services are now investigating the case. He said: "We are all very aware how serious this situation is."