A two-time New Beginnings: Baptists in postwar Germany 1945-55 (episode 6/12)
In 1946 appeared the address list of the Union of Evangelical Free Churches. A comparison with the result of the war, published for the last time for 1939 yearbook showed significant differences. Gave the name of Baptist churches are no longer following the 1941 merger with the BfC communities. It was published by the Federal House in Pyrmont. The federal building in Berlin was destroyed. Likewise, the publishing house in Kassel. Therefore, the Oncken Verlag was based in Stuttgart. There were no statistics and especially the names of the communities, groups and works beyond the Oder and Neisse, the new eastern border. So it was obvious that the federal government had to share the consequences of war. But other differences were observed. New community name, especially in southern Germany were to be found, and increased again in 1947 in the periodical yearbooks. Among the refugees from the East were probably 43,000 parishioners. They had also lost like all home and property, but. Their belief and love for the community When they found in the new place of residence no church, they looked like-minded people to form a new congregation. Likewise, in the existing communities had the now scattered living church members are sought.
So it was in the political arena as well as in the federal government to create a new one. Very soon asked the German churches, whether at the beginning I have a confession to. The Protestant churches, in October 1945 from the Stuttgart Confession of Guilt, in which he said: "But we accuse ourselves, that we are known not courageous, prayed not faithful, not happy believed and loved ardently." At the national conference in 1946 in Velbert , the first after the war was, apart from such a formulated confession. But on the 1947, held in Copenhagen Baptist World Congress spoke Jacob Meister as national chairman and Hans Rockel, who headed the Hamburg seminary, which was staying in Wiedenest result of the destruction, and about the complicity of German Baptists asked for forgiveness. Thus, the global community of faith was restored, which was searched in 1945 and 1946 by the Secretary-General Visits D. Lewis and the World Federation of Präsdenten JH Rushbrooke. Paved the way for large consignments of food and Aids.
Very soon the question of the necessity of the Federal establishment was placed 1941st 1949 was therefore the "Dortmunder order" adopted which established what separated within the federal government and what should be done jointly. Specifically, it was found that in view of the high degree of cooperation efforts in the east should apply only to the three Western zones. So it was not. 1949 left the first 25 BfC communities covenant. 1946 first appeared in the Oncken Verlag magazine "The community" and replaced the previous "witness to the truth" and "message" from. For the East, from 1947, the Evangelical Versandbuchhandlung Otto Ekelmann "words and works" out. The "New Voice of Faith" was released in 1951 and had only 500 instead of 702 songs, including many new ones that were soon enjoyed singing. 1948 in the west, the West and the East Mark introduced the correct local market. In 1949, the two German states were formed: West and East Germany. Both events have had significant consequences for the federal government. It was established in 1949 in East Berlin, a federal office-east. The House of Parliament have been held since 1948 in Bad Homburg. The Federal Council in 1949 in Kassel elected as chairman of the National Board and as Chairman Jacob Meister Hans Fehr West and East Otto Soltau. For the first time in June 1951, had a federal conference for the municipalities were held in East Berlin. At the Federal Council meeting in the fall there was no representative from the GDR take. The decisions taken in East Berlin decisions were confirmed. There was always trying to act together. Therefore, the entire covenant member of the European Baptist Federation was founded in 1950 and 1953, the European Baptist Mission. 1948, the Council of Christian Churches, 1952 the charity of the Protestant Churches, which existed since 1946, a collaboration The first decade after the 2nd World War I had a very checkered history with multiple beginnings.
Rolf Dammann (Berlin)