Ernst Lohmeyer was born on July 8, 1890 in Dorsten, Westphalia. From 1908 to 1912, he studied theology, philosophy and Asian and Middle Eastern languages at the universities in Tübingen, Leipzig and Berlin. After earning his degree in theology in 1912, he initially worked as a tutor before completing a year of voluntarily military service in 1913; he fought in the war from 1914 to 1918. After earning his Habilitation degree in 1918, Lohmeyer was an adjunct professor of New Testament studies in Heidelberg. In 1920, he was appointed professor at the University of Breslau where a lively exchange emerged in a circle of “neo-Kantian” intellectuals, including the philosopher Richard Hönigswald. He held the office of university president in the 1930-31 academic year.
In 1932, a so-called “university riot” occurred in Breslau: National Socialist students severely harassed the law professor Ernst Cohn because of his Jewish ancestry. Lohmeyer sprang to his colleague’s defense and took a clear stance against the virulent anti-Semitism.
Lohmeyer’s situation in Breslau grew increasingly difficult because he signed a resolution on the “New Testament and the Racial Question” along with twenty-two colleagues in September of 1933 and joined the Confessing Church in 1934. He was transferred to Greifswald in 1935 on disciplinary grounds.
Despite his advanced age, he was called up in 1939 and served as an officer of the occupation in Poland, Holland, France and Belgium before being transferred to the Crimean peninsula. Scarred by his wartime experiences, he was discharged from the Wehrmacht in 1943 following the death of Kurt Deissner, who had been a colleague at Greifswald.
After the war’s end, Lohmeyer, who was been actively involved in the Democratic Party (later the CDU), became a nuisance to local German Communist Party officials. Cleverly spread rumors about Lohmeyer’s military service led to his arrest by members of the Soviet secret police on February 14, 1946. A Soviet military tribunal sentenced him to death on August 28, 1946 in a trial closed to the public. The sentence was carried out in secret on September 19, 1946.