New Culture of Memory

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The critical view of the role of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria under the Nazi regime and the rediscovery of the resistance of individual Bavarian Christians has also been reflected in a new culture of memory since the 1990s.

The initiative for this has sprung from the church government, individual parishes, local politicians, scholars, pundits and journalists. Exhibitions, lectures, newspaper and journal articles, books, radio and television broadcasts, and memorial plaques in the ecclesiastical and public sphere commemorate individuals’ resistance in a variety of ways.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, the Jewish congregation and the Bayerische Handelsbank as well as Memmingen, the place of his birth, paid tribute to Wilhelm Freiherr von Pechmann with memorial events in 1998. That same year, Augustana Theological Seminary in Neuendettelsau named a building after him. A path in Munich’s English Garden has borne von Pechmann’s name since 2000. A plaque commemorating von Pechmann and his efforts against the persecution of Jews was hung in the foyer of the Regional Churchwide Office in Munich in 2001. The Wilhelm-Pechmann-Preis, awarded by the Bavarian regional church since 2007 for outstanding achievements in research, education and journalism, also commemorates his efforts.

Since 2000, the Bavarian Brotherhood of Pastors has awarded the “Steinbauer Badge” to individuals that courageously strive for honesty, truthfulness and humanity in the public sphere as Karl Steinbauer did. A traveling exhibition additionally pays tribute to Steinbauer. A street in Penzberg, his former place of work, is named after him.

The Protestant parish in Gauting named its fellowship hall after Walter Hildmann in 1999 and the Protestant Christ Church in Munich named its fellowship hall after Albert Lempp in 2009. Christ Church additionally preserves the memory Albert Lempp and his circle with a website.

Karl-Heinz Fix’s “Glaubensgenossen in Not” (Fellow Believers in Distress), a book documenting the Munich und Nuremberg aid agencies for racially persecuted Christians, was published in 2011 at the Bavarian church government’s initiative. A memorial plaque commemorating the Munich aid agency headed by Pastor Johannes Zwanzger has hung on Mathildenstrasse since that same year.

A memorial plaque on Pirckheimerstrasse has also commemorated the Nuremberg aid agency under Pastor Hans-Werner Jordan since March of 2012. The memorial plaque in Nuremberg mentions both Dr. Walter Berlin (1887–1963), the previous owner of the building in which the aid agency was located, and his family. Walter Berlin was severely maltreated during the November Pogrom of 1938 and emigrated to England in 1939.

In recent years, books by Wolfgang Sommer have also paid tribute to Friedrich Veit and Wilhelm Freiherr von Pechmann. Hasso von Haldenwang published a book honoring Friedrich von Praun, whose resistance was only known in bits and pieces until then.

The “Sonntagsblatt. Evangelische Wochenzeitung für Bayern” has printed numerous articles on Protestants who resisted, such as Karl Steinbauer, Albert Lempp and Wolfgang Niederstrasser. Filmmaker Jutta Neupert has paid tribute to Gerhard Günther, Friedrich von Praun, Elisabeth Braun, Georg Elser and the Bavarian aid agencies for racially persecuted Christians in her historical documentaries.

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  • © Photo: Karl-Heinz Fix, Munich

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