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Sankt-Annen-Kirche, Dahlem-Dorf, Berlin

St. Ann’s Church is the Lutheran Church in Dahlem. This old church dates from the Middle Ages. In fact, a crusader stopped here and was a significant benefactor of the church. On the walls of the nave there is a mural portraying the legend of Saint Ann, and though quite faint now, it remains intact.

This church had Martin Niemöller as its pastor in the 1930s, and though he initially supported Hitler in the struggle against communism, in an audience with Hitler he demanded that Hitler not oppress the church, an agreement Hitler renegged on! During the Nazi era, Martin Niemöller preached against the national socialists’ racial policies and was arrested and held for 8 years in concentration camps, expecting to be executed. On every day of those 8 years the congregation at Dahlem, convened for prayer twice per day.

Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me-- and there was no one left to speak for me.

A Jewish woman who sheltered in the church through the Nazi era of genocide, also survived the war and in gratefulness she made a gift for the church which contextualises the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. In her 3-dimensional work, the crucified Christ wears a Star of David and the clothes of a Jew destined for the crematoria. The thieves on either side of the Jesus are to be cremated.

Rudi Dutschke, a well-known ringleader of the German student movements during 1968 is buried in this graveyard. Dutschke escaped from East Berlin to the West, the day before the Berlin Wall was closed in August 1961. He opposed the communist regimes of Eastern Europe, contributed to the beginning of the Green Movement, and opposed the Vietnam War. Dutschke also advocated that the transformation of Western societies should go hand in hand with Third World liberation movements and with democratisation in communist countries of Central and Eastern Europe. His socialism had strongly Christian roots. He called Jesus Christ the "greatest revolutionary", and in Easter 1963, he wrote that "Jesus is risen. The decisive revolution in world history has happened — a revolution of all-conquering love. If people would fully receive this revealed love into their own existence, into the reality of the 'now', then the logic of insanity could no longer continue."

His opposition to the the parliamentary and judicial systems at the time, which he saw were populated by former Nazis and political conservatives, cost him martyrdom. Rudi advocated a 'long march through the institutions' of power to create radical change from within government and society by becoming an integral part of the machinery. He survived an assassination attempt in 1968 for 11 years, dying from the effects of the gunshots to his head while bathing on Christmas Eve 1979.

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  • Uploaded on June 23, 2013
  • © All Rights Reserved
    by Ian Stehbens