Public Speaking Ban in Thuringia
Gollwitzer was reported to and question by the Gestapo twice while in Thuringia. Some theology students present at a Bible study he had held in Jena on November 7, 1936 claimed he had said: The word of God preserved me and us from this völkisch experience, from this delirium!
While being questioned, Gollwitzer defended himself by saying that he had been repeated incorrectly. He welcomed the genuine völkisch experience but listening to the Gospel prevented idolatry of the nation. At the end of July of 1937, the district attorney general requested a trial date before the Special Court for spiteful and inflammatory statements about orders from leading figures of the state and the NSDAP.
Before that, on October 24, 1936, Gollwitzer had given a lecture entitled “The Last Reich” in Themar municipal church as the conclusion of an evangelization week. In it he also addressed the relationship of the nation and Christian faith and, with the German Christians in mind, warned once again of idolatry of the nation. Nonetheless, he simultaneously stressed Christian patriotism.
This lecture also precipitated a report to the authorities about which Gollwitzer stated his opinion in a letter of March 10, 1937. Five days later, without more precise reasons, a public speaking ban for Thuringia was imposed on him for continued malicious attacks against the state.
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- © Evangelisches Zentralarchiv in Berlin, Bestand 686 Nr. 6927