A Shocking Experience with Nazi Propaganda
A first clash with the Nazis that was shocking for Asmussen occurred on March 13, 1929 when Storm Trooper Otto Streibel was carried to his grave in Albersdorf. Despite a ban, hundreds of Storm Troopers had gathered for a rally in the neighboring town of Wöhrden on March 7, 1929, which was declared a closed general meeting on the spot. Communists staged a counterdemonstration in the evening.
A bloody street battle ensued in which one Communist and two Storm Troopers were killed. Around 5000 people, including large contingents of SA and NSDAP with party leader Hitler at their head, convened for the funerals of each of the Storm Troopers in Sankt Annen and Albersdorf.
Asmussen’s new colleague Reinhold Schmidt (1873–1942) held the funeral in Albersdorf. He attempted to calm emotions and warned against thirsting for revenge. Hitler, on the other hand, took advantage of the occasion by declaring his killed fellow party members Christian martyrs, thus claiming religious interpretations for his party and himself.
The police only managed to prevent the funeral from escalating with great effort. The Nazi propaganda pamphlet “Wöhrden’s Bloody Night und Its Consequence”, which once again downright elevated events religiously, appeared a little while later.
Hans Asmussen protested sharply against the propagandistic exploitation of the funeral – both in his congregation and in a letter to Hitler. From then on, he resolutely opposed any exertion of political influence on the church’s mission to preach the Gospel.
All the same, the pastor’s vigorous protest was incapable of preventing the soar in new memberships in the NSDAP in Albersdorf and environs within just a few days. The community was soon a center of National Socialism in Holstein. Asmussen, attempted to retain his position until 1932 when he beat a retreat and applied for a job at the main church in Altona.
Source / title
- Kirche und Nationalsozialismus, hg. von Klauspeter Reumann, Neumünster 1988, Plate 4 (© Photo: Privatbesitz M. Jakubowski-Tiessen, Göttingen)