Gerhard Dedeke

Gerhard Dedeke was born on May 5, 1894 in Düsseldorf-Gerresheim, the son of Heinrich Dedeke, a teacher, and his wife Emma, née Schmidt. He came from a pious and God-fearing parental home. Dedeke began his undergraduate studies at the School of Theology in Bethel in the summer semester of 1913 and continued at the university in Halle on the Saale where he was especially influenced by the German National, Reformed cathedral pastor and professor D. August Lang (1867–1945). Dedeke interrupted his undergraduate studies on May 1, 1915 to serve in the military. Upon his return from his internment as a prisoner of war, he resumed his studies at Easter of 1919, first briefly in Halle, then in Utrecht and in Münster. In 1922, he was awarded his licentiate degree in theology from the University of Halle. His thesis was entitled “The Books of Protestant Martyrs by Ludwig Rabus, Jean Crespin and Adriaen van Haemstede and Their Interrelationships” and examined Reformation era theology of martyrdom as recorded by Lutherans. He was ordained in 1923. He received his first call as the assistant pastor of St. Martin’s parish in Minden where he was installed on October 19, 1924. Dedeke was active in many domains of parish and district work. He especially distinguished himself as the editor of the Mindener Sonntagsblatt, a weekly newspaper.

Clear indications of Dedeke’s vehement opposition to the “German Christians” were already evident in July of 1933. He experienced problems with party authorities and the police as his ministry in Minden was coming to an end. Dedeke had pushed through the employment of a former Communist Party member and felon as an assistant for children’s’ services, against which the SS newspaper the “Schwarze Korps” agitated especially aggressively.

Dedeke was arrested for the first time on April 29, 1938 and held at the jail in Bielefeld until May 6, 1938. During this period, intercessory prayers were said for him at the congregation’s Sunday service, prayer services and an intercessory prayer service. Dedeke was arrested a second time on March 5, 1941. Upon his release from prison, he was forcibly transferred against his express wishes to the position of assistant pastor in Linden-Dahlhausen on July 1, 1941. Dedeke was immediately called up from his new job to the armed forces.

The regional high consistory assigned him to Bielefeld on September 1, 1946 and finally confirmed his appointment on January 1, 1949, which he heldfor another ten years until his retirement on May 31, 1959. He died on January 28, 1962.

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