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Presbyterium , a member thereof is a Presbyter , while in the other provinces the corresponding terms are Gemeindekirchenrat congregation council with its members being called Älteste elder. Authoritarian traditions competed with liberal and modern ones. Committed congregants formed parties cf.
A strong party were the Konfessionellen the denominationals , representing congregants of Lutheran tradition, who had succumbed in the process of uniting the denominations after and still fought the Prussian Union. Mittelpartei , affirming the Prussian Union, criticising the Higher criticism in Biblical science , but still claiming the freedom of science also in theology.
Therefore, the Positive Union often formed coalitions with the Konfessionellen. The ever-growing societal segment of the workers among the Evangelical parishioners had little affinity to the Church, which was dominated in their pastors and functionaries by members of the bourgeoisie and aristocracy.
However, it earned the queen the nickname Kirchen-Juste. Modern anti-Semitism , emerging in the s, with its prominent proponent Heinrich Treitschke and its famous opponent Theodor Mommsen , a son of a pastor and later Nobel Prize laureate , found also supporters among the proponents of traditional Protestant Anti-Judaism as promoted by the Prussian court preacher Adolf Stoecker.
The new King William II dismissed him in for the reason of his political agitation by his anti-Semitic Christian Social Party , neo-paganism and personal scandals. The intertwining of most leading clerics and church functionaries with traditional Prussian elites brought about that the State Church considered the First World War as a just war. With the end of the Prussian monarchy in also the king's function as summus episcopus Supreme Governor of the Evangelical Church ceased to exist.
Furthermore, the Weimar Constitution of decreed the separation of state and religion. The new name was after a denomination, not after a state any more. It became a difficult task to maintain the unity of the church, with some of the annexing states being opposed to the fact that church bodies within their borders keep a union with German church organisations. The territory comprising the Ecclesiastical Province of Posen was now largely Polish, and except of small fringes that of West Prussia had been either seized by Poland or Danzig.
Unierte Evangelische Kirche in Polen , Polish: The United Evangelical Church in Poland also incorporated the Evangelical congregations in Pomerellia , ceded by Germany to Poland in February , which prior used to belong to the Ecclesiastical Province of West Prussia , as well as the congregations in Soldau and 32 further East Prussian municipalities,  which Germany ceded to Poland on 10 January , prior belonging to the Ecclesiastical Province of East Prussia.
A number of congregations lay in those northern and western parts of the Province of Posen , which were not annexed by Poland and remained with Germany. They were united with those congregations of the western most area of West Prussia, which remained with Germany, to form the new Posen-West Prussian ecclesiastical province. They continue to exist until this very day. Landessynodalverband der Freien Stadt Danzig. This enabled the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union to sign a contract with the Memel autonomous government German: The constitution of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union included much stronger presbyterial structures and forms of parishioners' democratic participation in church matters.
The parishioners of a congregation elected a presbytery and a congregants' representation German: A number of congregations formed a deanery German: Kirchenkreis , holding a deanery synod German: Kreissynode of synodals elected by the presbyteries. The deanery synodals elected the deanery synodal board German: Kreissynodalvorstand , in charge of the ecclesiastical supervision of the congregations in a deanery, which was chaired by a superintendent, appointed by the provincial church council German: Provinzialkirchenrat after a proposal of the general superintendent.
The consistory was the provincial administrative body, whose members were appointed by the Evangelical Supreme Church Council. Each consistory was chaired by a general superintendent, being the ecclesiastical, and a consistorial president German: Konsistorialpräsident , being the administrative leader. The provincial synods and the provincial church councils elected from their midst the synodals of the general synod , the legislative body of the overall Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union.
The general synod elected the church senate German: Kirchensenat , the governing board presided by the praeses of the general synod, elected by the synodals. Johann Friedrich Winckler held the office of praeses from until The church senate appointed the members of the Evangelical Supreme Church Council , the supreme administrative entity, which again appointed the members of the consistories.
The majority of parishioners stayed in a state of unease with the changes and many were skeptical towards the democracy of the Weimar Republic. Nationalist convervative groups dominated the general synods.
The traditional affinity to the former princely holders of the summepiscopacy often continued. So when in the leftist parties successfully launched a plebiscite to the effect of the expropriation of the German former regnal houses without compensation, the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union called up for an abstention from the election, holding up the commandment Thou shalt not steal. A problem was the spiritual vacuum, which emerged after the church stopped being a state church.
Otto Dibelius , since general superintendent of Kurmark within the Ecclesiastical Province of the March of Brandenburg , published his book Das Jahrhundert der Kirche The century of the Church  , in which he declared the 20th century to be the era when the Evangelical Church may for the first time develop freely and gain the independence God would have wished for, without the burden and constraints of the state church function.
In this respect Dibelius regarded himself as consciously anti-Jewish, explaining in a circular to the pastors in his general superintendency district of Kurmark , "that with all degenerating phenomena of modern civilisation Judaism plays a leading role". While this new self-conception helped the activists within the church, the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union could not increase the number of its activists.
In Berlin the number of activists made up maybe 60, to 80, persons of an overall number of parishioners of more than 3 millions within an overall of more than 4 million Berliners. In the early and mids the annual number of secessions amounted to about 80, In the field of church elections committed congregants formed new church parties, which nominated candidates for the elections of the presbyteries and synods of different level.
As reaction to this politicisation the Evangelisch-unpolitische Liste EuL, Evangelical unpolitical List emerged, which ran for mandates besides the traditional Middle Party , Positive Union and another new party, the Jungreformatorische Bewegung Young Reformatory Movement.
Glaubensbewegung Deutsche Christen , DC , participating on 12—14 November for the first time in the elections for presbyters and synodals within the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union and gaining about a third of the seats in presbyteries and synods.
In the inter-war years the general synod convened five times. After the system of state churches had disappeared with the monarchies in the German states, the question arose, why the Protestant church bodies within Germany did not merge. Besides the smaller Protestant denominations of the Mennonites, Baptists or Methodists, which were organised crossing state borders along denominational lines, there were 29 later 28 church bodies organised along territorial borders of German states or Prussian provinces.
In fact, a merger was permanently under discussion, but never materialised due to strong regional self-confidence and traditions as well as the denominational fragmentation into Lutheran, Calvinist and United and uniting churches. Following the Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund Swiss Federation of Protestant Churches of , the then 29 territorially defined German Protestant church bodies founded the Deutscher Evangelischer Kirchenbund German Federation of Protestant Churches in , which was no new merged church, but a loose confederacy of the existing independent church bodies.
Most clerics, representatives and parishioners welcomed the Nazi takeover. Most Protestants suggested that the mass arrests, following the abolition of central civic rights by Paul von Hindenburg on 28 February , hit the right persons. On 20 March Dachau concentration camp , the first official premise of its kind, was opened, while , hastily arrested inmates were held in hundreds of spontaneous so-called wild concentration camps, to be gradually evacuated into about new official camps to be opened until the end of On 21 March the newly elected Reichstag convened in the Evangelical Garrison Church of Potsdam , an event commemorated as the Day of Potsdam , and the locally competent Gen.
Even after this clearly anti-Semitic action he repeated in his circular to the pastors of Kurmark on the occasion of Easter 16 April his anti-Jewish attitude, giving the same words as in The Nazi Reich's government, aiming at streamlining the Protestant churches, recognised the German Christians as its means to do so.
On 4 and 5 April representatives of the German Christians convened in Berlin and demanded the dismissal of all members of the executive bodies of the 28 Protestant church bodies in Germany. Reichsbischof , abolishing all democratic participation of parishioners in presbyteries and synods. Furthermore, the German Christians demanded to purify Protestantism of all Jewish patrimony. Judaism should no longer be regarded a religion, which can be adopted and given up, but a racial category which were genetic.
Thus German Christians opposed proselytising among Jews. Protestantism should become a pagan kind heroic pseudo-Nordic religion. Of course the Old Testament , which includes the Ten Commandments and the virtue of charity taken from the Torah , Book of Leviticus I am the LORD. In a mood of an emergency through an impending Nazi takeover functionaries of the then officiating executive bodies of the 28 Protestant church bodies stole a march on the German Christians. This caused the later confusion when the streamlined Reich church and the Confessing Church alike identified as being the legitimate church of that name.
The Nazi government compelled the negotiators to include its representative, the former army chaplain Ludwig Müller from Königsberg , a devout German Christian. The plans were to dissolve the German Evangelical Church Confederation and the 28 church bodies and to replace them by a uniform Protestant church, to be called the German Evangelical Church German: On 27 May representatives of the 28 church bodies gathered in Berlin and against a minority, voting for Ludwig Müller , Friedrich von Bodelschwingh , head of the Bethel Institution and member of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union , was elected Reich's Bishop, a newly created title.
Thus the Nazis, who were permanently breaking the law, stepped in, using the streamlined Prussian government, and declared the functionaries had exceeded their authority. Once the Nazi government figured out that the Protestant church bodies would not be streamlined from within using the German Christians , they abolished the constitutional freedom of religion and religious organisation, declaring the unauthorised election of Bodelschwingh had created a situation contravening the constitutions of the Protestant churches, and on these grounds, on 24 June the Nazi Minister of Cultural Affairs, Bernhard Rust appointed August Jäger as Prussian State Commissioner for the Prussian ecclesiastical affairs German: This act clearly violated the status of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union as statutory body German: Körperschaft des öffentlichen Rechts and subjecting it to Jäger's orders see Struggle of the Churches , German: On 28 June Jäger appointed Müller as new Reich's Bishop and on 6 July as leader of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union , then with 18 million parishioners by far the biggest Protestant church body within Germany, with 41 million Protestants altogether total population: Kapler resigned as president of the Evangelical Supreme Church Council , after he had applied for retirement on 3 June, and Gen.
Wilhelm Haendler competent for Berlin's suburbia , then presiding the March of Brandenburg Consistory retired for age reasons. Then the German Christian Dr. Many pastors protested that and held instead services of penance bearing the violation of the church constitution in mind.
On 11 July German-Christian and intimidated non-such representatives of all the 28 Protestant church bodies in Germany declared the German Evangelical Church Confederation to be dissolved and the German Evangelical Church to be founded. On 14 July Hesse, Kapler and Marahrens presented the newly developed constitution of the German Evangelical Church , which the Nazi government declared to be valid.
The new synods of the 28 Protestant churches were to declare their dissolution as separate church bodies. Representatives of all 28 Protestant churches were to attend the newly created National Synod to confirm Müller as Reich's Bishop. Müller already now regarded himself as leader of that new organisation. He established a Spiritual Ministerium German: Since the day Müller had become leader of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union he systematically abolished the intra-organisational democracy.
Landesbischof , a title and function non-existing in the constitution of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union , and claimed hierarchical supremacy over all clerics and other employees as is usual for Catholic bishops. Under the impression of the government's partiality the other existing lists of opposing candidates united to form the list Evangelical Church. The Gestapo confiscated the office and the printing-press there, in order to hinder any reprint.
Thus the turnout in the elections was extraordinarily high, since most non-observant Protestants, who since long aligned with the Nazis, had voted. They elected a new provincial church council with 8 seats for the German Christians and two for Detlev von Arnim-Kröchlendorff, an esquire owning a manor in Kröchlendorff a part of today's Nordwestuckermark , and Gerhard Jacobi both Gospel and Church.
Then the German Christian majority of synodals over 37 nays decided to appeal to the general synod to introduce the so-called Aryan paragraph German: Gerhard Jacobi led the opposing provincial synodals. Other provincial synods demanded the Aryan paragraph too. By introducing the Nazi racist attitudes into the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union , the approving synodals betrayed the Christian sacrament of baptism , according to which this act makes a person a Christian, superseding any other faith, which oneself may have been observing before and knowing nothing about any racial affinity as a prerequisite of being a Christian, let alone one's grandparents' religious affiliation being an obstacle to being Christian.
Therefore unequal rights, due to national or racial arguments, are inacceptable as well as any segregation. The German Christians abused the general synod as a mere acclamation, like a Nazi party convention. Koch and his partisans left the synod. Provinzialbischof replacing the prior general superintendents. By enabling the dismissal of all Protestants of Jewish descent from jobs with the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union , the official church bodies accepted the Nazi racist doctrine of anti-Semitism.
This breach with Christian principles within the range of the church was unacceptable to many church members. Nevertheless, pursuing Martin Luther 's Doctrine of the two kingdoms God rules within the world: Directly within the church and in the state by means of the secular government many church members could not see any basis, how a Protestant church body could interfere with the anti-Semitism performed in the state sphere, since in its self-conception the church body was a religious, not a political organisation.
Among them were Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer , who demanded the church bodies to oppose the abolition of democracy and the unlawfulness in the general political sphere. Herbert Goltzen, Eugen Weschke, and Günter Jacob, three pastors from Lower Lusatia , regarded the introduction of the Aryan paragraph as the violation of the confession.
In reaction to the anti-Semitic discriminations within the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union the church-aligned Breslauer Christliches Wochenblatt Breslau Christian Weekly published the following criticism in the October edition of Then Christ descends from the Crucifix of the altar and leaves the church.
On 11 September Gerhard Jacobi gathered c. Pfarrernotbund , and so they did, electing Pastor Niemöller their president. In the Covenant counted 7, members, after the number sank to 4,, among them retired pastors, auxiliary preachers and candidates. First the pastors of Berlin, affiliated with the Covenant, met biweekly in Gerhard Jacobi's private apartment. On 18 September Werner was appointed praeses of the old-Prussian general synod, thus becoming president of the church senate.
Thus the Ecclesiastical Province of the March of Brandenburg , which included Berlin, had two bishops. The synodals were not elected by the parishioners, but two thirds were delegated by the church leaders, now called bishops, of the 28 Protestant church bodies, including the three intact ones, and one third were emissaries of Müller's Spiritual Ministerium. Only such synodals were admitted, who would "uncompromisingly stand up any time for the National Socialist state" German: The national synod confirmed Müller as Reich's Bishop.
The synodals of the national synod decided to waive their right to legislate in church matters and empowered Müller's Spiritual Ministerium to act as he wished. Furthermore, the national synod usurped the power in the 28 Protestant church bodies and provided the new so-called bishops of the 28 Protestant church bodies with hierarchical supremacy over all clergy and laymen within their church organisation.
The national synod abolished future election for the synods of the 28 Protestant church bodies. Henceforth synodals had to replace two thirds of the outgoing synodals by co-optation, the remaining third was to be appointed by the respective bishop. The general synod German: The synods of 25 other Protestant church bodies decided the same until the end of This made also the Evangelical Lutheran State Church of Hanover one of the few Protestant churches in Germany using the title of bishop already since the s, thus prior to the Nazi era , with State Bishop August Marahrens , change its mind.
But the Evangelical Lutheran State Church of Hanover hesitated to openly confront the Nazi Reich's government, still searching for an understanding even after Niemöller, Rabenau and Kurt Scharf Congregation in Sachsenhausen Oranienburg circulated an appeal, calling the pastors up not to fill in the forms, meant to prove their Aryan descent, distributed by the Evangelical Supreme Church Council.
Reinhold Krause, then president of the Greater Berlin section of the German Christians , held a speech, defaming the Old Testament for its alleged "Jewish morality of rewards" German: A wave of protest flooded over the German Christians , which ultimately initiated the decline of that movement. On 25 November the complete Bavarian section of the German Christians declared its secession.
Many presbyters of German Christian alignment retired, tired from disputing. Müller then prompted the arrestment or disciplinary procedures against about 60 pastors alone in Berlin, who had been denounced by spies or congregants of German Christian affiliation.
The Gestapo tapped Niemöller's phone and thus learned about his and Walter Künneth 's plan to personally plea Hitler for a dismissal of Ludwig Müller. The same day Ludwig Müller decreed the Führerprinzip , a hierarchy of subordination to command, within the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union. The verdict would have major consequences for the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union. Furthermore, Müller degraded the legislative provincial synods and the executive provincial church councils into mere advisory boards.
In a series of provincial synods the opposition assumed shape. Martin Albertz, elected its first provincial brethren council , comprising Supt. The Gestapo shut down one office of the provincial brethren council after the other. John's Church, Berlin- Moabit. The Gestapo summoned her more than 40 times and tried to intimidate her, confronting her with the fact that she, being partly of Jewish descent, would have to realise the worst possible treatment in jail. Some functionaries and laymen in the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union opposed the unification of the 28 Protestant church bodies, but many more agreed, but they wanted it under the preservation of the true Protestant faith, not imposed by Nazi partisans.
In reaction to the convention and claims of the German Christians non-Nazi Protestants met in Barmen from 29 to 31 May On 29 May those coming from congregations within the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union held a separate meeting, their later on so-called first old-Prussian Synod of Confession German: The participants declared this basis to be binding for any Protestant Church deserving that name and confessed their allegiance to this basis see Barmen Theological Declaration.
Henceforth the movement of all Protestant denominations, opposing Nazi adulteration of Protestantism and Nazi intrusion into Protestant church affairs, was called the Confessing Church German: Presbyteries with German Christian majorities often banned Confessing Christians from using church property and even entering the church buildings.
Many church employees, who opposed, were dismissed. While the German Christians , holding the majority in most official church bodies, lost many supporters, the Confessing Christians , comprising many authentical persuasive activists, still remained a minority but increased their number. As compared to the vast majority of indifferent, non-observing Protestants, both movements were marginal. One pre tradition of non-ecclesiastical influence within church structures had made it into the new constitution of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union of Many of the churches, which had been founded before the 19th century, had a patron holding the ius patronatus , meaning that either the owner of a manor estate in the countryside or a political municipality or city was in charge of maintaining the church buildings and paying the pastor.
No pastor could be appointed without the consent of the patron advowson. This became a curse and a blessing during the Nazi period. While all political entities were Nazi-streamlined they abused the patronage to appoint Nazi-submissive pastors on the occasion of a vacancy. Also estate owners sometimes sided with the Nazis. But more estate owners were conservative and thus rather backed the opposition in the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union.
So the congregations under their patronage could often keep or appoint anew a pastor of the intra-church opposition. On 9 August the Second National Synod , with all synodals again admitted by the Spiritual Ministerium , severed the uniformation of the formerly independent Protestant church bodies, disenfranchising their respective synods to decide in internal church matters. These pretensions increased the criticism among church members within the streamlined church bodies.
The Lutheran church bodies of Bavaria right of the river Rhine and Württemberg again refused to merge in September The imprisonment of their leaders, Bishop Meiser and Bishop Wurm, evoked public protests of congregants in Bavaria right of the river Rhine and Württemberg. Thus the Nazi Reich's government saw, that the German Christians aroused more and more unrest among Protestants, rather driving people into opposition to the government, than domesticating Protestantism as useful beadle for the Nazi reign.
A breakthrough was the verdict of 20 November The court Landgericht I in Berlin decided that all decisions, taken by Müller since he decreed the Führerprinzip within the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union on 26 January, the same year, were to be reversed.
But the prior dismissals of opponents and impositions of loyal German Christians in many church functions were not reversed. Werner regained his authority as president of the Evangelical Supreme Church Council.
In autumn the Gestapo ordered the closure of the existing free preachers' seminaries, whose attendance formed part of the obligatory theological education of a pastor. The existing Reformed seminary in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, led by Hesse, resisted its closure and was accepted by the Confessing Church , which opened more preachers' seminaries German: These activities completely depended on donations.
In the Gestapo closed the seminaries in the east. Iwand, on whom in the Gestapo had inflicted the nationwide prohibition to speak in the public, reopened a seminary in Dortmund in January This earned him an imprisonment of four month in the same year. Among their examiners were originally professors of the Frederick William University of Berlin , who refrained from examining after their employer, the Nazi government, threatened to dismiss them in The Gestapo forbade the opening ceremony in Dahlem, thus Supt.
Albertz spontaneously celebrated it in St. On 4 December, the Gestapo closed the KiHo altogether, thus the teaching and learning continued underground at changing locations. Among the teachers were Supt.
The synodals elected by all confessing congregations and the congregations of the intact churches decided to found an independent German Evangelical Church. Since the confessing congregations would have to contravene the laws as interpreted by the official church bodies, the synod developed an emergency law of its own. Bruderrat as provisional presbytery, and a Confessing congregation assembly German: Bekenntnisgemeindeversammlung to parallelise the congregants' representation.
The Confessing congregations of each deanery formed a Confessing deanery synod German: Kreis-Bekenntnissynode , electing a deanery brethren council German: If the superintendent of a deanery clung to the Confessing Church , he was accepted, otherwise a deanery pastor German: Kreispfarrer was elected from the midst of the Confessing pastors in the deanery.
Confessing congregants elected synodals for a Confessing provincial synod as well as Confessing State synod German: Landes-Bekenntnissynode , who again elected a provincial brethren council or the state brethren council of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union colloquially old-Prussian brethren council , and a council of the Confessing ecclesiastical province German: Rat der Bekennenden Kirche of the respective ecclesiastical province or the council of the Confessing Church of the old-Prussian Union , the respective administrative bodies.
Any obedience to the official bodies of the destroyed church of the old-Prussian Union was to be rejected. The synodals elected a Reich's Brethren Council , which elected from its midst the executive Council of the German Evangelical Church , consisting of six. In Berlin Confessing Christians celebrated the constitution of their church on the occasion of the Reformation Day 31 October The Gestapo forbade them any public event, thus the festivities had to take place in closed rooms with bidden guests only.
All the participants had to carry a so-called red card , identifying them as proponents of the Confessing Church. On 7 December the Gestapo forbade the Confessing Church to rent any location, in order to prevent future events like that. The Nazi government then forbade any mentioning of the Kirchenkampf in which media whatsoever.
Hitler was informed about the proceedings in Dahlem and invited the leaders of the three Lutheran intact churches , Marahrens, Meiser and Wurm. He recognised them as legitimate leaders, but expressed that he would not accept the Reich's Brethren Council. This was meant to wedge the Confessing Church along the lines of the uncompromising Confessing Christians , around Niemöller from Dahlem, therefore nicknamed the Dahlemites German: Dahlemiten , and the more moderate Lutheran intact churches and many opposing functionaries and clergy in the destroyed churches , which had not yet been dismissed.
Vorläufige Leitung der Deutschen Evangelischen Kirche , 1. The executive was meant to only represent the Reich's Brethren Council to the outside. Between end of and March the central office of the Preliminary Church Executive was located in the Burckhardt-Haus of the school for social workers German: Lehrhaus für Gemeindehelferinnen der ev.
With the verdict of the Landgericht I, and this turn in Hitler's policy Jäger resigned from his office as state commissioner. Müller refused to resign as Reich's bishop but had to unwind all measures taken to forcefully unite the church bodies. The synodals decided that the Confessing Church of the old-Prussian Union should unite with the destroyed official Church of the old-Prussian Union.
The synodals further adopted a declaration about the Nazi racist doctrine. The same month the declaration was read in all confessing congregations, that the Nazi racist doctrine, claiming there were a Jewish and an Aryan race, was pure mysticism.
In reaction to that the Nazi government arrested pastors, who had read this declaration from their pulpits. The official church ordered to read a declaration demanding the parishioners' obedience to the Nazi government. From then on every Tuesday the brethren councils issued updated lists with the names of the imprisoned.
Since the 28 Protestant church bodies in Germany levied contributions from their parishioners by a surcharge on the income tax , collected and then transferred by the state tax offices, the official church bodies denied the confessing congregations their share in the contributions.
Each congregation had its own budget and the official church authorities transferred the respective share in the revenues to the legitimate presbytery of each congregations, be it governed by German Christians or Confessing Christians. The Nazi Reich's government now intended to drain this financial influx by a new decree with the euphemising title Law on the Wealth Formation within the Evangelical Church Bodies 11 March All budgets and remittances were to be confirmed by state comptrollers.
On 11 April an ordinance ordered that salaries were only to be remitted to orderly appointed employees and all future appointments of whomsoever, would only take effect with the consent of the financial departments.
Consistorial Councillor von Arnim-Kröchlendorff, a proponent of the Confessing Church , was appointed leader of the financial department for Berlin. He turned out to ignore the rules and to largely use his scope of discretion. Thus Confessing congregations outside of Berlin built up a new network of escrow accounts. Confessing Christians of laity and Covenant pastors, still undisputedly receiving a full salary from the official church, agreed to substantial contributions to maintain the Confessing Church.
On 4 to 6 June , two weeks after the Nuremberg Laws had been decreed, the synodals of the Confessing Church convened in Augsburg for the third Reich's Synod of Confession. Disputes between the intact churches of Bavaria right of the river Rhine and Württemberg with the first preliminary church executive could be settled. Barth, refusing to sign the newly introduced oath of all professors to Hitler, had been dismissed from his chair at the Rhenish Frederick William's University of Bonn and remigrated to Switzerland, where he was appointed professor at the University of Basel.
But the synodals did not adopt a declaration, prepared by Supt. Albertz, condemning the Nuremberg Laws. Wurm was elected speaker of the Confessing Church. Right after this synod the Nazi Reich's government intensified its fight against the Confessing Church.
Since the orderly courts often approved litigations against German Christian measurements, because they usually lacked any legal basis, on 26 June the Nazi government passed a law, which would ban all suits about church questions from being decided by orderly jurisdiction. Thus the Nazi government cut off the Confessing Church from appealing to courts. Orderly courts could not overrule its decisions. In fact the Decision-Taking Office only acted up after the compromises failed in In the following years of compromising Hermann Ehlers became a legal advisor of the old-Prussian brethren council , until he was arrested from June to July , which made him quit his collaboration.
On 16 July Hanns Kerrl was appointed Reich's minister for ecclesiastical affairs, a newly created department. Therefore, he dropped the extreme German Christians and tried to win moderate Confessing Christians and respected neutrals. On 24 September , a new law empowered Kerrl to legislate by way of ordinances within the Protestant church bodies, circumventing any synodal autonomy.
On 10 September the old-Prussian brethren council convened preparing the upcoming third old-Prussian Synod of Confession also Steglitz Synod.
Albertz urged the brethren council to discuss the terrible situation of Jewish Germans and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent, as it turned by the Nuremberg Laws and all the other anti-Semitic discriminations. Albertz and Niemöller argued to discuss the memorandum, a majority of synodals refused and the memorandum was then laid ad acta. This was completely denied by the German Christians since , reserving Christianity as a religion exclusively for Gentiles, but also some Confessing Christians refused the baptism of Jews.
Kerrl managed to gain the very respected Wilhelm Zoellner a Lutheran, until general superintendent of Westphalia to form the Reich's Ecclesiastical Committee German: Reichskirchenausschuss , RKA on 3 October , combining neutral, moderate Confessing Christians and moderate German Christians to reconcile the disputing church parties. So also the official German Evangelical Church became subordinate to the new bureaucracy, Ludwig Müller lost his say, but still retained the now meaningless titles of German Reich's Bishop and old-Prussian State Bishop.
In the course of November state ecclesiastical committees and provincial ecclesiastical committees were to be formed. Kerrl appointed a state ecclesiastical committee German: Wilhelm Ewald Schmidt Oberhausen und Supt. In November Kerrl decreed the parallel institutions of the Confessing Church to be dissolved, which was protested and ignored by the brethren councils. On 19 December Kerrl issued a decree which forbade all kinds of Confessing Church activities, namely appointments of pastors, education, examinations, ordinations, ecclesiastical visitations, announcements and declarations from the pulpit, separate financial structures and convening Synods of Confession; further the decree established provincial ecclesiastical committees.
The Confessing Church in the Rhenish and Westphalian ecclesiastical provinces blocked in fact the formation of provincial ecclesiastical committees until 14 February The March of Brandenburg provincial ecclesiastical committee est. On 6 January, the members elected Zimmermann their president. On 10 January the Reich's ecclesiastical committee empowered by ordinance the provincial ecclesiastical committees to form ecclesiastical committees on the level of the deaneries, if assumed necessary. This was the case in the deanery of Berlin-Spandau.
As a gesture of reconciliation the state ecclesiastical committee for the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union legitimised all ordinations and examinations of the Confessing Church retroactively for the time from 1 January to 30 November Nevertheless, the Confessing Church refused to accept the new examination office of the state ecclesiastical committee.
But Künneth Inner Mission and a number of renowned professors of the Frederick William University of Berlin , who worked for the Confessing Church before, declared their readiness to collaborate with the committee, to wit Prof. Thus Kerrl successfully wedged the Confessing Church. On 4 December the March of Brandenburg provincial Synod of Confession agreed to split in two provincial subsections, one for Greater Berlin and one comprising the political Province of Brandenburg with two provincial brethren councils, led by Gerhard Jacobi Berlin, resigned in , but quarrels between the moderate and the Dahlemites continued and by Scharf Brandenburg , who followed the Dahlemite guidelines.
The first Preliminary Church Executive resigned, since its members, representing intact churches , wanted to co-operate with the committees, while its members from destroyed churches , especially the Dahlemites did not. Also the different provincial brethren councils within the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union were dissented.
While most brethren councillors of Berlin wanted to co-operate, the brethren council of Brandenburg without Berlin , of the Rhineland and the overall old-Prussian brethren council strictly opposed any compromises. Albertz, Bernhard Heinrich Forck St. This body was recognised by the brethren councils of the destroyed churches of the old-Prussian Union, of Bremen , of Nassau-Hesse and of Oldenburg as well as by a covenant of pastors from Württemberg the so-called Württembergische Sozietät.
Rat der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Kirche Deutschlands , colloquially Lutherrat , Luther council as their own umbrella organisation. The brethren councils of the Lutheran destroyed churches of Brunswick , Lübeck, Mecklenburg , the Free State of Saxony, Schleswig-Holstein, and Thuringia as well as some Lutheran confessing congregations within the territories of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union recognised this umbrella.
However, the state brethren councils of the destroyed churches met occasionally in conferences. Under the impression of more foreign visitors in Germany, starting with the Winter Olympics the year of was a relatively peaceful period.
Kerrl let the committees do, as they liked. Also the anti-Semitic agitation was softened. However, the Sinti and Roma in Berlin realised the first mass internments, in order to present Berlin zigeunerfrei for the Summer Olympics. But the less visible phenomena of the police state, like house searches, seizures of pamphlets and printed matters as well as the suppression of Confessing Church press continued.
At Pentecost 31 May the second preliminary church executive issued a memorandum to Hitler, also read from the pulpits, condemning anti-Semitism, concentration camps , the state terrorism. A preliminary version had been published in foreign media earlier. If the Aryan human is glorified, so it is God's word, which testifies the sinfulness of all human beings.
On 15 December the old-Prussian brethren council issued a declaration, authored by Fritz Müller, criticising the compromising and shortcomings in the policy of the ecclesiastical committees. On the next day until the 18th the fourth old-Prussian Synod of Confession also Breslau Synod convened in Breslau, discussing the work of the ecclesiastical committees and how to continue the education and ordinations in the scope of the Confessing Church.
Meanwhile, the Olympic close hunting season had ended. The Gestapo increased its suppression, undermining the readiness for compromises among the Confessing Church. Zoellner concluded that this made his reconciliatory work impossible and criticised the Gestapo activities. He resigned on 2 February , paralysing the Reich's ecclesiastical committee, which thus lost all recognition among the opposition.
The open gap in governance of the official Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union was filled by the still existing Evangelical Supreme Church Council under Werner and by the consistories on the provincial level.
Werner now systematically drained the financial sources of the Confessing Church. Werner became the man of Kerrl. However, Kerrl's ministerial bureaucracy also knew what to do without him. From now on the ministry of church affairs subjected also the other Protestant church bodies, which in amounted after mergers to 23, to state controlled financial committees.
Any attempt to impose a union upon all Protestant church bodies was given up. The government now preferred to fight individual opponents by prohibitions to publish, to hold public speeches, by domiciliary arrest, banishments from certain regions, and imprisonment.
Since 9 June collections of money were subject to strict state confirmation, regularly denied to the Confessing Church. In the period of the committee policy, unapproved collections were tolerated but now Confessing pastors were systematically imprisoned, who were denounced for having collected money.
On 10—13 May synodals convened in Halle upon Saale to discuss denominational questions of the Reformed, Lutheran and united congregations within the old-Prussian Confessing Church. The fifth old-Prussian Synod of Confession also Lippstadt Synod convened its synodals in Lippstadt on 21—27 August debating financial matters. In autumn the Gestapo further suppressed the underground theological education KiHo and systematically fought any examinations within the Confessing Church.
On 10 December the ministry of church affairs appointed Werner as president of the Evangelical Supreme Church Council. Werner then restaffed the March of Brandenburg consistory, newly appointing Johannes Heinrich as consistorial president after almost a year of vacancy and three further members of German Christian affiliation: In February Werner divested von Arnim-Kröchlendorff as chief of the financial department of Berlin, and replaced him by the Nazi official Erhard von Schmidt, who then severed the financial drainage of Berlin's Confessing Church.
For Hitler's birthday 20 April Werner developed a special gift. All pastors of the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union should swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler. In May the seventh Synod of Confession of the Rhenish ecclesiastical province refused to comply, since it was not the state, which demanded the oath. The sixth old-Prussian Synod of Confession convened twice in Berlin, once in the Nikolassee Church 11—13 June and a second time in the parish hall of the Steglitz Congregation 31 July.
At the second meeting in Steglitz a majority of synodals complied to Werner's demand. However, the consistories demanded the oath, but in the Rhenish ecclesiastical province only out pastors refused to swear. In summer Kerrl reappeared on the scene with a new attempt to unite the church parties from their midst, using a federation named Wittenberger Bund , initiated Friedrich Buschtöns German Christians , Theodor Ellwein, and Prof.
The ever-growing discrimination of Jewish Germans including the special category of Geltungsjuden and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent drove them ever deeper into impoverishment. Even though the opponents managed to fight the Aryan paragraph within the Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union Ludwig Müller abrogated it on 16 November , it took the Confessing Church until summer to build up a network for the persecuted.
Internationales Hilfskomitee für deutsche evangelische, katholische und mosaische Auswanderer. The project was in a tailspin since the oecumenical partners in the US demanded to exclude persons of Jewish faith, before it definitely failed because the Nazi government expelled Siegmund-Schultze from Germany. Reichsverband nichtarischer Christen , then renamed into Paul's Covenant German: Thus that new association had lost its most prominent leaders and faded, having become an organisation of so-called Mischlinge of Nazi terminology.
She joined the office of Spiero. It was Grüber and some enthusiasts, who had started a new effort in The Bureau was mainly busy with supporting the re-education in other vocations, not yet prohibited for Jewish Germans and Gentile Germans of Jewish descent, and with finding nations of exile, who would grant immigration visa. As long as the Nazis' decision, to murder all persons they considered as Jews, had not yet been taken, the Bureau gained some government recognition as an agency, promoting the emigration of the concerned persons.
In the night of 9 November the Nazi government organised the November Pogrom , often euphemised as Kristallnacht.