Consequences of Karl Immer's Boycott

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Karl Immer, pastor of the Reformed congregation in Barmen-Gemarke, and spokesman for Reformed Christians in the Confessing Church, boycotted the Reichstag election together with his family. Contrary to the church’s instructions, he also held confirmation on election Sunday.

The following night, SA and Hitler Youth marched chanting on the parsonage, smashed windows and defaced the facade with the defamatory phrase: Here lives the traitor to the people Immer. The family fled to Bethel immediately afterward.

In a letter to the Provisional Church Government of the German Evangelical Church, Immer explained his refusal to vote on April 11, 1936, which was motivated by Christian faith: With this Yes, I would have, on the one hand, approved of the total state with its claim to totality over all of the nation’s life, thus also the Gleichschaltung of the church, thus also the elimination of freedom of thought and freedom of research, thus also the abrogation of right (right is what benefits the people, right is was the Führer wants). I would thus have, on the other hand, also given my Yes to particular types of individuals, above all Alfred Rosenberg, Minister Kerrl, Julius Streicher, Baldur von Schirach [...] participating in the election would have been for me to deny my heart (Klappert, 48f.).

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  • © Collection of Klaus Goebel

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