A Late Admission of Guilt

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The Church’s remembrance of Martin Gauger after the war’s end was wanting. Gauger was not entered in the list of the Confessing Church’s “martyrs” of January 1948. He was mixed up with his brother Joachim in the Kirchlichen Jahrbuch for 1933 to 1944, which appeared in 1948. Bernhard Heinrich entered Gauger in the list of the Protestant “martyrs” in 1949. Annedore Leber on the other hand counted him among the jurists in the resistance. A commemorative plaque in the crypt of the cathedral in in Brandenburg an der Havel has commemorated Martin Gauger since 1953.

Consulting in mid-October of 1947 on providing for Gauger’s mother, since the deceased had been a member of the Luther Council’s secretariat in Berlin for a while, the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany determined that neither the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (Luther Council) nor the Bavarian Regional Church had any legal obligation. At most, she could claim equitable treatment from the Bavarian Regional Church. Mrs. Gauger was referred to the Württemberg Regional Church on the grounds that her son came from there. His father however, not he, had been employed in Württemberg before 1900 (T. M. Schneider, Protokolle, 339).

Otto Dibelius (1880–1967) broached his friend’s deed before Synod of the Evangelical Church’s synod in Berlin-Brandenburg in January of 1960, without mentioning Gauger’s name. He made his remarks during a discussion about his treatise on authority. Dibelius, who had lost two sons in the war himself, did not however indicate whether he recognized Gauger’s escape attempt as an option for Christian action toward degenerate authorities.

Since 2004, the Bund der Richter und Staatsanwälte in Nordrhein-Westfalen has issued an announcement of a competition for school students on varying socially relevant topics, which is named for Martin Gauger, on international Human Rights Day every other year.

In July of 2006, the leading bishop of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Germany (VELKD), Bishop Dr. Johannes Friedrich apologized to Martin Gauger’s sister Dr. Hedwig Heiland on behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria and the VELKD. The church governments responsible for Gauger had done nothing for him although he had been in peril and they had wronged their employee., A “Stumbling Block” in front of the house at Hopfenstrasse 6 in Wuppertal has commemorated Martin Gauger since January of 2007.

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  • © Landeskirchenamt der Ev.-Luth. Kirche in Bayern, München, Registratur

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