Pastor Heinrich Held
Pastor Heinrich Held from Essen, Pastor Alfred Kellner from Tiefenfurt and District Judge Lothar Kreyssig from Brandenburg were elected chairmen of the synod; Friedrich Bohla, an insurance agent from Breslau, was additionally elected later.
In addition to Held’s and Günther Harder’s reports on the situation of the church, extensive new elections dominated the agenda. The Council of Brethren of the Old Prussian Union had to be newly appointed.
Interned in a concentration camp, Martin Niemöller was voted chairman in absentia by acclamation. Pastor Max Stelter from Pomerania, Paul Graf York von Wartenburg from Klein Oels in Silesia, the jurist Hermann Ehlers from Berlin, the suspended General Superintendent of the Kurmark Otto Dibelius and the Reformed pastor Wilhelm Niesel from Elberfeld were placed at his side. Furthermore, another ten representatives from the provinces of the Old Prussian Union were unanimously elected for four years.
Apart from Niemöller, five other members of the Council of Brethren were affected by the Nazi regime’s reprisals: Kurt Walter was interned in a concentration camp, the pastors Niesel from Berlin, Friedrich Onnasch from Pomerania and Karl Lücking from Westphalia had been expelled and Wolfgang Staemmler was being held in jail.
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- © Archiv der Evangelischen Kirche im Rheinland (Foto: Harro Bleckmann)