Two covenants under one name: Baptists in the Cold War (Episode 7/12) 1955-1965
The government decided in 1960 in Berlin-Tempelhof, future meet annually for 1961 and invited to Berlin-Weissensee, or Leipzig, and thus for the first time in the GDR. But then came the 13th August 1961. In Germany people spoke of "the Berlin Wall" in the GDR of the "establishment of the anti-fascist protection barrier". For the covenant community was the further separation and hold together when it is at all possible. At the National Board meeting in Munich in 1961 was a member of the GDR participate. Future attempt was made to hold joint meetings in East Berlin, later called encounters. The proposed Federal Council meeting was canceled. Vollmar 1962 in stone base Schöttel was a Federal-West Conference, 1963, a Federal-Eastern Conference in Leipzig. Both the Federal Council approved a mutual release for the area represented by each of them. For convenience, was held in the GDR at the three-year period.
Even before 1961, some separation was bearable. 1957 it was no longer possible, sisters who did invoke as a deaconess, to send the Mother House Bethel to West Berlin. There had to be a training opportunity for -. On the Theological Seminary at Hamburg were also students from the GDR formed. With the end of the academic year 1959, was prohibited. Eight students were yet to complete their studies, four had to continue it in the GDR. It had a seminar in the GDR are founded. On the advice of the Secretary of State for Religious Affairs was done with 8 students "temporarily" in the Bethel Deaconess House in Buckow markets. Switzerland. 1986 (!) There was a special building was inaugurated. Both the teachers and the students from the two seminars were accustomed in all years close contact through meetings in East Berlin. From 1961 to separate West and East Theological weeks took the pastors statt.Weil also visit the Bible school in Wiedenest was no longer possible, the Brethren began in 1960 with such a work in Burgstädt (Saxony).
1965 the federal government could take over the Protestant Versandbuchhandlung Otto Ekelmann. A collaboration with the Oncken Verlag was always sought, however, was difficult for political reasons. With personnel changes as the service has been busy in the GDR. In 1957 the national chairman Jacob Meister Hans Fehr and Herbert Assigns, for the Chairman of the National Women's Service Auguste champion Marianne Bambey and Anna Riechert, 1959, the Federal Director Paul Schmidt Rudolf Tauth (John Düring was in 1958 by Rolf Dammann as head of the federal office East replaced) in 1959 for the Federal Youth Officer John Arndt and Gerhard Claas Klaus Fuhrmann.
The international contacts had to be adapted to the new situation. The Congress of the European Baptist Federation, 1958 in West Berlin were many participants from the GDR, but none in 1964 in Amsterdam, because the exit visas were handed out after the congress. However, Klaus Fuhrmann participate in 1963 World Youth Congress in Beirut. The concern was always that of the country call a GDR flag was present. - Also for the inter-church relations had the tracks are being laid. 1960 in Zwickau took place nor an all-German conference of the Association of Evangelical Free Churches. From 1964, there were separate meetings after the individual committees were formed. Founded in 1948, Association of Christian Churches was formed 1963 by a regional group for the East German Democratic Republic. In 1959 the Evangelical Free Churches and started in both parts of Germany, the "Bread for the World," which was to become a common witness to the world and mutual respect. Rolf Dammann