NKFD Council for Church Affair

The Council for Church Affairs was established at the “10th General Assembly of the National Committee for Free Germany” in Lunyovo on June 16, 1944. Its members included the Protestants Johannes Schröder, Friedrich-Wilhelm Krummacher and Nikolai Sönnichsen and the Catholics Josef Kayser, Peter Mohr and Aloys Ludwig.

The clergy felt they were acting vicariously in a temporary office in times of emergency and special situations. Their decision to work for the National Committee for Free Germany (NKFD) was based on their experience with soldiers’ external and internal collapse at Stalingrad, the revelation of Nazi mass crimes and the opportunity to minister in prisoner of war camps.

In actuality, the Council was a tool of Soviet propaganda. The clergy were supposed to use their influence on soldiers and the people of Germany. As Christians and German patriots, the Council’s members felt compelled to contribute to ending the war, the criminal nature of which they had recognized, and to planning for a postwar Germany. To this end, they were willing to work propagandistically.

The theologians drafted articles and radio sermons, addresses and appeals as well as reports and memoranda. Nine articles by clergy of both denominations were printed in the newspaper “Free Germany” in 1943, thirty-five in 1944 and seven more by May of 1945. Radio “Free Germany” broadcast addresses and discussions, appeals and sermons, which were written and delivered by clergymen.

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