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Volume XXI No 3 December 2009 The KIT Newsletter editorial staff welcome all suggested contributions for publication in the Newsletter from subscribers and readers, but whether a given submission meets the criteria for publication is at the sole discretion of the editors. While priority will be given to original contributions by people with past Bruderhof connections, any letters, articles, or reports which the editors deem to be of historical or personal interest or to offer new perspectives on issues of particular relevance to the ex-Bruderhof Newsletter readership may be included as well. The editors may suggest to the authors changes to improve their presentation.
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Contents Balz Trümpi is Ninety Five Yes Strange Things are Happening Poem: Back in England – Expectation A Wonderful KIT Issue! Tim and Amanda Harries‘ Wedding Bulstrode Gathering in April 2010 Annelene Wiegand Remembering Teresa Hsu Paul Brookshire 1950-2009 Rest in Peace Memories of Cotswold and Primavera – Part 1 Bessie Harries in Her Early Life The Confrontation Between The Bruderhof And The German National-Socialist Government 1933 to 1937 – 7 Contact Details of KIT Volunteers Supplement: KIT Address List December 2009 1 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 4 5 6 6 9 12
Back in England; - Expectation
By Belinda Manley, Advent 1995, Blean Cottage*) I have a duvet that keeps me warm at night, I turn the heating up, for there’ll be frost tonight. So what will all those do who have no home or bed? Where will they go, and where will they be fed? The food kitchen’s there, with sandwiches as well, Some do go there - you never can tell. And some find corners where they huddle, so they say, Sleeping in shop doorways at the end of the day. “God in heaven above, come down to earth tonight, And help us all to know how to put things right!” For what does Advent say when it comes next week, About the Baby Jesus, whom Kings came to seek? “Shepherds and Kings - what did you find? What is the message for all mankind?” “Peace on earth, good will to men”, we sing And from the belfry tower the church bells ring. “O God of Peace! Come down tonight And help us put these things right!”
*) Submitted by Linda Jackson who owns a booklet of poems by Belinda Manley
Balz Trümpi is Ninety Five
By Erdmuthe Arnold On December 4th 2009 Balz Trümpi became ninety five. I had a nice chat with my uncle Balz and aunt Monika on the phone and heard that several of their children came to celebrate the day with them; they did the cooking, serving, dish washing: everything; so the old couple could relax and really enjoyed this family day. To cope with life at that age in one‘s own home is hardship, pure and simple; but for Balz and Monika an old people‘s home is no option. They want to keep on living in their house, 54 Horseshoe Drive, Hyde Park, NY 12538 USA. All the same, they are dependent on daily help. Balz asked me to tell everybody he and Monika really would like to keep in contact – but that it is no longer possible; struggling through the day occupies all their time and strength. Monika will become ninety two on the 20 th of February, 2010. I‘m passing on their good wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
With this poem KIT Staff would like to wish all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Yes Strange Things are Happening
By Stanley Vowles Thank you so much for the September KIT; it is most interesting and informative. It was lovely getting various family news; although not without some tragedies due to illness and death. The report on Friendly Crossways was fine. I am more than a little surprised that only forty per cent of KIT recipients pay for it. This is either due to forgetfulness or meanness. Why at ten pounds a year is only twenty pence or less per week! Yes strange things are happening on the hofs, as set out by Bette. Not surprising. Timothy‘s review of ―No Lasting Home‖ was quite perceptive. The letter to Emmy Barth by Ingmar really hit some nails on the head, but was appreciative. I always find the story of the community leaving Germany for England etc. quite moving.
Having read ―No Lasting Home,‖ ―Why Forgive,‖ and ―Homage to a Broken Man‖ (Heini), leaves me with reflections. I can relatively understand the first with its limitation of subject. However ―Why Forgive‖ is an apologetic of the subject, culled as it is from many different sources. Hence it gets the praise of those who have never lived in, or may not even understand, what community means, or should mean, in its emphasis on all things in common (apart from women) on the practical side alone, quite apart from the inner context. Where Johann Christoph reports on his experiences it is impossible to see he ever lived in community or wanted to. He glosses over so many things, I am truly flabbergasted. There is so much in it of self justification, all under the guise of forgiveness: a truly worldly view. ―Homage to a Broken Man‖ is far from the truth, and I am also amazed at what can be written in a slanted way out of adulation. I will not try to analyze the life from a psychological point of view, but I am not (sadly) at all surprised that Heini became (if indeed he really did) a broken man. We humans cannot use
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power over rather than power to do, without destructive consequences – either for the individual, or the group, society or nation, and internationally throughout the millennia, and this, even from the time of the Sumerians and before. All history proclaims it. Dear Erdmuthe. Good to have the news about Balz and Monika ahead of time. I also have the problem of keeping up, even at four years younger [Stanley will celebrate his ninety second birthday on the 28th of next May]. It is all relative. For many years I have been a member of Amnesty International. Modestly I have just completed sending off to thirty one countries around the world, words of hope, encouragement and support to Prisoners of Conscience where people are most terribly ill treated for peacefully standing up for what they believe or advocate. Some facts are scarcely believable, but it is not happening to us, and all we want to do is help. Historically the method works. I also want to stay at home as long as possible. Greetings!
Amanda and Tim setting off in the carriage, cheering with glasses of champagne.
A Wonderful KIT Issue!
By Miriam Holmes Dear Charlie, Erdmuthe, Linda, Joy, Dave, Anthony and Tim! A huge, heartfelt "thank you" for a wonderful KIT issue! I can only guess how much work all of you put into KIT and suspect you don't always feel appreciated as much as you surely are. I certainly do not take all your work for granted, but don't express my gratitude often enough! I especially enjoyed reading Bill Bridgewater's letter to Emmy Barth and cheered him on as I read it. I thought that the editors' choice of putting the picture of Cyril's family into that KIT issue, along with Bill's letter, was a stroke of brilliance. Thank you again for a great KIT issue. It is great to keep in touch.
Tim and Amanda Harries' Marriage
By Andy Harries Tim Harries (forty-two), the youngest of our three children, got married to Amanda Stewart (about thirty five) on August 4 th 2009. Amanda is the older of two children of a family from Cheshire. Gudrun and I booked a cottage for two weeks in the Gower Peninsular which is on the south coast of Wales, a very nice area where we have been on holiday many times. Tim and
Wedding photo – front row from left: parents Andy and Gudrun Harries, bride Amanda, best man Jim, granddaughter Laura. Back row: Grandson Daniel, groom Tim, Steve and Veronica Cresswell nee Harries.
Amanda had been planning their wedding for a long time. They put a lot of effort into making it a very special day. The groom spent the last night before the wedding with us in our cottage. The bride, with some of her family spent the night in the Fairy Hill Hotel, a rather nice named place for that occasion. The women had their hair done, clothes fitted and make-up on the wedding day morning. We were all told what to wear; we men a brown coloured suit, some dark and some light ones, an ivory Victorian Dress shirt, brown shoes and socks, with a Tuxedo dark orange tie and dark orange waistcoat. We were all told what to get and where, for instance also for each of us a specific flower buttonhole. The service was in a lovely little Church in the village of Rhossili, right on the west coast of Gower. We had a rehearsal the day before, and the Vicar was very good. He is blind and had a white stick and a long bushy beard, but he certainly managed to keep everybody under control, and made sure we all knew what to do and where to be. It was a little strange experiencing our son making these vows and promises, though he doesn‘t belong to any Church himself and nor does she. A few people read poems or words. Other very nice arrangements were a soloist singing and a string quartet playing hymns and tunes chosen, instead of the usual organ. I enjoyed this very much. After the service the usual photos were taken, and then Tim and Amanda were picked up by a two horse carriage and driven the short distance to Worms Head on the coast, for more photos of the couple and immediate family. It was a beautiful background, looking in one direction to the famous Worms Head jutting out into the sea and in the other direction to the long curving sweep of Rhossili Bay with its three miles of lovely sandy beach, backing up to a high ridge of a hill behind. All the guests traveled to the Oxwich Bay Hotel for the reception. Tim and Amanda went all the way (8.12 miles or 13 km) in the horse carriage, mostly along tiny country lanes with hardly any traffic. They really enjoyed it, especially the wild hedges and flowers and also the reactions of other horses grazing alongside, often coming close to have a look. The reception was in a large, splendidly arranged marquee next to the hotel. Tim had requested we sing some songs in recognition of our Bruderhof background and some African songs for his brother and Best Man‖ Jim. First Gudrun, Jim, Amanda‘s mother and I sang ―My bonnie lies over the ocean‖ and ―Edelweiß‖. We were standing by the entrance to the dining hall and a whole group of the people going in stopped to listen. Many said afterwards how they enjoyed it. Gudrun, Annette (a German friend of Tim‘s), Renate (Hanfried Pfeiffer‘s wife), Adriana Eyl (Grace and Klaus Pfeiffer‘s daughter) and I sang
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two German love songs, ―Auf der Lüneburger Heide‖ and ―Stehn zwei Stern am hohen Himmel‖. This is my favorite wedding song from our Bruderhof days: Stehn zwei Stern am hohen Himmel, leuchten heller als der Mond, Leuchten so hell, leuchten so hell, leuchten heller als der Mond. Ach was wird mein Schätzlein denken, weil ich bin so weit von ihr, weil ich bin, weil ich bin, weil ich bin so weit von ihr. Gerne wollt ich zu ihr gehen, wenn der Weg so weit nicht wär, wenn der Weg, wenn der Weg, wenn der Weg so weit nicht wär. Gold und Silber, Edelsteine, schönster Schatz, gelt, du bist mein; ich bin dein, du bist mein, ach, was kann denn schöner sein! The usual speeches were followed by some delicious food. Before dessert was served Jim, Gudrun, Tim and I sang two African songs from the Ki-Kaonde tribe in Zambia, which Jim had taught us many years ago, lovely songs with some beautiful
Bulstrode Gathering in April 2010
By Andy Harries To all Ex-Bruderhofers and friends: I have been able to book the room at Bulstrode, which we had last year and a few times before, again. Date: Saturday, April 24th 2010 The room is available for us from 10.30am to 5.30pm.WEC International have kindly allowed us the use of the dining room at the back with access to hot water so we can make our own drinks there. We will bring basic milk, sugar, tea and coffee. Please bring some food along to share. Just as we did last time we can sit outside on the veranda with free access to the lovely Bulstrode Park and grounds. Please do not smoke indoors. No alcohol and no littering anywhere. We will have a collection for a voluntary contribution which we can give to the people from WEC International as a thank you for kindly allowing us the use of the room and grounds. I will put out a sheet of paper at the reception for everybody to sign on arrival. This is a legal requirement in case of fire. If you enter through the main front door, the reception will be on the right. Also on the right are toilets. Please pass this information on to others who might be interested in joining us on our day at Bulstrode.
KIT: In the course of preparing the new Address List we learned that Annelene Wiegand (sixty nine), oldest daughter of Waltraut and Gerhard Wiegand, suffers from severe Alzheimers. She now lives with her youngest sister, Waltraut (Trautel) Hagel, in the lovely countryside near Schwäbisch Hall. They live in the same house the Wiegand family occupied ever since they were asked to leave the Bruderhof in1961. Annelene still remembers old times and will be happy to receive greetings (Annelene Wiegand, c/o Waltraut Hagel, 74542 Braunsbach-Tierberg, Hausnummer 10.)
Remembering Teresa Hsu
By William (Ingmar) Bridgwater
Left to right: Gudrun, Andy, Annette, Adriana and Renate singing German songs
harmonies and rhythms. After the cutting of the cake and a break, a young Japanese woman gave a demonstration of Tai Chi; Amanda had invited some good friends of hers from Japan. An Irish band for Ceilidh dancing invited all for something like American square dancing where a caller calls out the different moves. That was a lot of fun. Then everybody walked the short distance to the beach for lanterns to be lit and let go so they rose gently into the night sky — quite a sight. After that there was a late buffet: high time for Tim and Amanda to leave. Gudrun and I left too and drove back to our cottage, still hearing from afar the disco inviting those with enough energy to dance some more rounds. The whole event was very enjoyable. We just hope the couple lives happily ever after. It was obviously a lot different from a Bruderhof wedding, but it was also a great experience. Weddings on the Bruderhof were something unique; I think for many of us they were the best days we had in community life.
For many years Teresa Hsu, a trained nurse worked in the Hospital in Loma Hoby; she was, according to what Cyril Davies told me many years later a very qualified, loyal and hard working person. I had forgotten about Teresa until an article appeared in the local Singapore paper stating that she had received the Insurance Associations Award 1993 ―for her charitable work‖. My wife and I were living in Singapore at the time (1992-1994). We checked to make sure this was the right Teresa and sure enough, there she was living in an old people‘s home which she had built. My wife and I visited Teresa several times. She was 82 years old [born June 1st 1912 according to an old Bruderhof FamilyList], but still in good health, delighted to see me and talk about her years in Primavera and common friends. She told us she had grown up in Singapore and had trained to be a nurse. Before and during World War II she worked as a volunteer in China, where she got to know Delf Fransham who was doing similar work there.
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Teresa Hsu was working as nurse in the Primavera hospital. (Photo: Constantin Mercoucheff Archive)
After the war she went to the United Kingdom where, at some point [1948, according to Arthur Lord‘s Wheathill dates], she made contact with the Bruderhof and was sent to Primavera. I don‘t know which year, but probably around 1950. I remember her from my last school years in the early fifties. Teresa became a member, performed her work diligently, and learnt to speak Guarani. Early 1961 Theresa was approached by Christoph Boller who told her, without giving any specific reason, that her services were no longer required. She was dropped off in Asunción. There she worked for a local convent. It soon
dawned on her that, at the rate she was being paid, it would take her decades to save for the trip back to Singapore. As Singapore at the time was still ruled by the British, she approached the British Ambassador, asking for help. The reply was negative. The Embassy could not arrange to pay the trip to Singapore. However the Ambassador said: ―I will talk to these rascals and see to it that they pay your passage back to England.‖ The Bruderhof conceded and paid her a one way ticket to England. In London she met her sister, who paid for the fare back to Singapore. In Singapore Teresa worked as a nurse and did charitable work. In her spare time she approached companies to request donations for an old people‘s home for the poor, which she was planning to build. The plan succeeded. When we met her, the home had many beds. The occupants were old poor people. The year we left Singapore (1994), Teresa was no longer leading the old folk‘s home, but had found a home for the rest of her lifetime within it. But she was still making her rounds collecting money and goods. Every Saturday she would distribute the thingss she had collected during the week among the poor and needy. At 82 (!) she also gave yoga lessons and made fundraising speeches. My wife arranged for her to speak to the Scandinavian Ladies Association in the Norwegian Seaman‘s Church in town. A good contribution resulted. [Note by the editors: William Bridgwater had sent the Singapore newspaper report about Teresa being awarded for her charitable work to Clementina Jaime in Paraguay, and she most probably passed it on to the KIT-Staff in San Francisco, who published the good news in the KIT Newsletter of July 1994; there was no news from her since then.]
Paul Brookshire, 1950-2009
By Tim Johnson In mid November I heard from our old friend Katherine Brookshire of the death of her elder son, Paul who passed away on November 11th. Kathy, whom some of you may remember from Woodcrest and Oaklake days called me to pass on the sad news. I had reconnected with her when she lived in north Georgia, from which however she left some years ago for Arizona, mainly for health reasons after her retirement. Paul died at his Florida home. The exact cause of death is unknown, but he had been in quite fragile health for some time with serious respiratory problems and it appears to have been some respiratory episode which finally took his life without much warning. Indeed, though he had been reluctant to proceed with the radical surgery involved, he was on some sort of lung transplant waiting list. He was found at home, at first appearing just to be asleep or reclining on his couch by the person who went to check on him after he failed to show up at work, and also failed to respond to a call from his mother. Paul was fifty-nine years old at the time of his passing. Paul did not grow up on the Bruderhof, though he visited it a few times. He grew up with his dad after he and his mother divorced, while younger brother Tommy stayed with Kathy at the Bruderhof until she left and returned to Georgia (near Macedonia, actually). Let‘s keep her in your thoughts, as this is a difficult time for her, and also for Tommy and his family. Kathy Brookshire [asked us to share the following with her KIT friends and acquaintances]: ―Paul Russell Brookshire was born on August 2 nd, 1950, in Miami, to Jerry and Kathy Brookshire. His brother Tommy arrived two years later. However, the marriage did not last, and ... Paul, Tommy and I left Miami about 1954 to stay with my parents in Georgia. Jerry came to Georgia and took Paul from the yard where he was playing. I went to Miami with him. I thought he would bring him back, but he would not. Tommy and I moved to Macedonia, and Paul was allowed to visit us there. ―Paul visited Woodcrest and Oaklake while we were there. When Tommy and I left Oaklake for Georgia we met Paul there, and had a wonderful camping/road trip west to Texas and
Paul (14), Kathy and Tommy (12) celebrating Christmas together at Oaklake 1964 (private photos)
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Peter, Mark, John, David, Caleb, Sheila and Brian junior. Many of us have fond memories of Nancy, Brian, and their kids – our class mates. Elisabeth (Lizzie) Boller, nee Maendel died on June 26th, 2009, aged 75. She was born to Jacob and Rachel Maendel on January 19th 1936. Her family had moved to the Forest River Community from another Hutterite Colony. There Lizzie met Bruderhof youngster Hans-Uli Boller. They became engaged, and married in October 1956. This was most probably the first wedding of a Hutterite and Bruderhof couple. Lizzie was the only child of her family who decided to join the the Bruderhof. Her parents and siblings belonged to those Hutterites who would not accept the uniting of Forest River members with the Bruderhof. Lizzie and her eight children Veronica, Michael, Constance, Hans Jörg, Hannah, Margaret, Simeon and Christine, lost Hans Uli very early in their family life; he died suddenly in May 1972 from bronchial asthma. – Sadly, Michael, who left the Bruderhof, was not invited to the funeral of his mother, and he was not allowed to visit her before she died. Victoria (Vicki) Rattenbury, nee Agius, aged eighty-five died during the month of June. She and her husband Norman had two children: Patricia and Paul. Dorothy Scott, nee Spencer, aged eighty-eight, also died in June. Her husband William Scott died in 1975 at the age of 89. The British couple had six children: Sarah, Richard, Theresa, Julian, John and Anthea. – Richard is one of the Bruderhof Elders today. Harry Magee, died in July aged eighty-nine. He was married to Lotti Ahrend, who came to the Rhönbruderhof as a child with her mother Ulrike. Harry and Lotti had five children: Catherine, Myra, Heather, Mathew, and Ian. Primavera, El Arado and Bulstrode were the hofs the family lived in before the big crisis in 1961. They stayed truthful to community life, and most probably moved to the States later on. Marjorie (Madge) Wardle, nee Hollingdrake died in September, aged ninety-four. Madge had lost her husband Derek ten months prior. Their six children are Christopher, Francis, Anne, Joan, Aileen, and Stephen. – Tim Johnson remembered this British couple fondly in his Memories about Derek Wardle, whom he experienced as Headmaster in Wheathill of April, 1948 and the following few years. (KIT Newsletter, April 2009.) Daniel Paul died in November at Darvell, aged sixty-four. He was born on August 27th, 1945 to Thomas and Cecilia Paul in Wheathill. At the age of about eleven years Daniel had a bad accident, ―when cooking pancakes on the family‘s paraffin room heater.‖ Matt Ellison shared this in a contribution for KIT in April-May, 2001: ―… He (Dan) caught fire. His attempts to beat out the fire caused the material to stick to his bare arms and legs while it continued to burn. The stove got overturned and it was pandemonium. Tommy, his father had the presence to wrap him in a rug and get the fires out. Dan was hospitalized for a long time suffering from large areas of deep burn…‖ Two years later the Paul family lost their oldest son James, aged fourteen in another bad accident. Matt‘s memory: ―We used to sledge down the first Bank, a steep field with a wicket gate at the bottom leading to the stream. On this occasion slushy snow had frozen overnight and the track was like an Olympic bob sled run. James and Dieter [Holz] raced down the hill for the wicket gate, and James hit the gate post broadside. He died of internal injuries. The Paul family had it pretty tough. …‖
Paul Brookshire at home in Miami 2008, a year before he died.
Arizona to visit my sisters and their families. Paul returned to Miami to attend college as music major. Music was always a large part of his life. He played drums and also piano and various other instruments, and was good at anything musical. He had an excellent hi-fi music system and hundreds of CDs. Paul went into piano tuning to help his Dad, who was a piano tuner. ―My son was married for a number of years, but had no children. After they separated/divorced he continued in Miami, but after Hurricane Andrew (1992) he sold his house and tried San Francisco for a time. He returned to Miami, purchased a UPS store franchise, and returned to piano tuning, this time on cruise ships, which he enjoyed. ―Paul had developed a tendency to have respiratory problems over the years, and this was finally correctly diagnosed as bronchiectasis/pseudomonas. His system had developed resistance to all the usual antibiotics, and his condition worsened, though with periods of partial remission. His doctors told him he needed a complete lung transplant. He wanted to put this off as long as possible. The last few weeks he was ill, and had a fever with coughing. His co-workers and friends and I had been trying to call him that last day. At the end they went to check on him, and found him sitting on the couch, peacefully asleep, they thought. But he was already dead. ―We will all miss him terribly. He was a good, fun person to be around, cheerful in spite of his pain.‖
Rest in Peace
Keep In Touch got news of the death of several Bruderhof members who died in 2009. Many KIT readers will know them from old times and remember them with love. If anyone wants to publish his/her personal memories in our Newsletter, please do so. Nancy Trappnell, nee Watkins died February 2009 and was buried next to her husband Brian on February 23 rd in Maple Ridge. Brian died twenty-one years earlier, in 1988 aged eightythree. Nancy would have been one-hundred years old had she survived to the 22nd of September this year. The Trappnells were a real Primavera family. The young couple crossed the Atlantic from England with their first born Peter and Grandmother Elisabeth Watkins in the large group which set off on the 7 th of February, 1941 on the Avila Star. They first lived in Isla, then in Loma, and most of the years in Ibaté. Their seven children are:
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Vol. XXI No 3 December 2009
Memories of Old Cotswold and Primavera Days – Part 1
By Bessie Harries KIT received the memories by Edith (Bessie) Harries from her son Andy. She had found the time to write them down on one of the Bruderhofs in 1983, just three years before she died on November 21st, aged 82. Andy has included parts of a tape which his parents made in 1985 at Woodcrest. Together with his wife Gudrun he transcribed his mother’s tiny handwriting. She and Cyril Llewelyn Harries were one of the first couples who joined the Cotswold Bruderhof in 1936. Her memories add to the report of Hans Zumpe about the years 1933 till 1937. They also are good counterpoint to the book by Emmy Barth about the exodus of the Bruderhof people from England to Paraguay and the first years in Primavera. In 1945/1946 the Harries family moved back to England to be part of the Wheathill Bruderhof. A short introduction about the pre Bruderhof years will help in understanding why the author and her husband joined the community. I went to a day college in London, catching a train at 7.57am. Granted a scholarship, I didn‘t have to buy books, and was given £24 a year for clothes. We had to study every subject – it was actually very interesting, but pretty hard. We had music, for instance, in an old theatre. When we were cold we had to stand up and bang each other on the back. We enjoyed our teacher, Rook, who taught me to sing alone – to sight read and so on. There were students from every belief and unbelief and I became critical of Christianity and thought I knew better. This must have caused my parents pain. I think the psychology and theory of evolution and other issues were very prevalent at that time. One of my six sisters became an anthropologist and a believer in the theories of Rudolf Steiner. At one time my sisters and I decided to try all the different churches and chapels in our town. The one I remember best was the Roman Catholic one which seemed to us very formal and elaborate. It seems to me that all this was merely a kind of intellectual searching and very unrewarding. It was a time when many people were questioning the churches, also asking why there were so many different ones; for example, in our town were both Wesleyan Methodists and United Methodists. I left college in 1921 and taught for four years in a very poor part of London, starting with about twenty children, mostly three years old. I made a bad beginning: The very first morning I spilled red ink on the attendance register – which had to be kept in perfect condition! I don‘t know what the Head Mistress did, but she was in an awful state about it; she probably had to get another register. I was full of idealism and ideas how to teach young children. I was told the children had to learn their ABC – to count up to five and so on. During the next six months the class increased to 60. However the head mistress was very happy about the P.E lessons (physical exercises) – we went around imitating animals and really enjoyed ourselves, also with the piano. The children were loveable and many were responsive. After four years I transferred to a junior school, starting out with seven year olds and moving up with them until they were ready for senior school. Here the teachers were young and keen and I enjoyed the next four years until I left to get married, in 1929. I also experienced joy in helping with Sunday school for little ones. It was at Easter 1928 during a Sunday school conference that I met Llewelyn; he was a Wesleyan too. We had a number of common interests and arranged to go to a summer holiday house in August, arranged by the Wesleyans. We had various questions, which we wrote about to one another in the meantime.
Bessie Harries (sitting, 2nd from right) as a 15 year old with her parents Frederick and Charlotte Clift, her five sisters and brother, probably 1916. (Most of the photos submitted by Andy Harries)
Bessie Harries in her Early Life
By Andy Harries My mother, Elisabeth (Bessie) Harries, was born on April 9 th, 1901 in Yorkshire — the oldest of seven children — to Frederick Arthur and Charlotte Nellie Clift, nee Thomas. Soon after her birth the family moved to Lincolnshire and later to St Albans, near London. Her father, Frederick was a printer who worked for the Salvation Army, though he wasn‘t a member. He was secretary of the printers‘ trade union. He belonged to the Liberal Party, and supported Prime Minister Lloyd George. Around 1900 the British were building railways in Argentina and two of my Mum's uncles went there to work. Her parents were Wesleyan Methodists; they took refugees from France and Germany into their home. With her father, a Wesleyan lay preacher, Mum sometimes biked on a tandem to one of the villages several miles away where he would take the Sunday services. He used to read books by John Wesley and Spurgeon. The family liked to go out on bike rides or country walks, often taking a picnic. They picked blackberries and many other fruits and enjoyed the flowers. Mum said that her mum would tell them that the name ―daisies‖ comes from ―day‘s eyes‖ because they closed in the evening. Mum went to High School in St Albans with a scholarship. She then got a job as a governess to two boys in the afternoons. It was 1918, and the High School had been evacuated for the military. Lessons were held in a ―drill hall‖. A year before college Mum was offered a job as a ―monitress-in-training‖ (teacher‘s assistant) in an infant‘s school. – There will be more about the following years as a teacher in her memories. In 1928 my parents met for the first time at a Wesleyan Methodist conference near London. Cyril Llewelin Harries was born in Cardiff, Wales, also in 1901 (on August 29th). After World War I there was virtually no work, but my father managed to get a job near Swansea for a colliery company, being in charge of the office. My parents met again at another conference. They then got engaged, but were still living two-hundred miles apart. They married the following August (1929) and went to mid Wales for their honeymoon, then settled near Swansea, south Wales. While they were having a house built, they rented another house, but with no furniture. Jennie was born in September 1931. Llewelin lost his job 1932, so my Grandmother Charlotte Clift invited the small family to live with her in St. Albans. Grandfather Frederick had died some years before. Soon after, my parents joined the Quakers. They also joined the ―Peace Pledge Union‖ and campaigned for peace and against war. Then they heard of the Bruderhof.
Keep In Touch Newsletter Bessie on honey moon in Mid-Wales
Vol. XXI No 3 December 2009
The place, which was called Willersley Castle, was in the mountains, the Pennines, and we had some good walks together and became engaged. Then we were separated for another year, except for a couple of visits from Llewelyn to my home; I was teaching, and Llewelyn did accounting. We both began to save what we could, but it wasn‘t very much. We were married very quietly as my father was ill, and only my family was there. We went to Mid-Wales for our honeymoon and spent our time mostly in the mountains and on the river Wye. Two years later Jenny was born, which was a very joyful experience, and meant very much to us. Llewelyn took many snap shots of her and would play on his violin to help her to sleep. We had a folding pram and took her with us for walks and by bus to the sea and had great joy in every new development. One Monday morning Llewelyn came home and said he was ―sacked‖ – he had lost his job. He had refused to do something, which was dishonest in the bookkeeping. It was 1932, a time of great depression and unemployment in Wales. There was no hope of getting another job, and we had not saved much and were not eligible for unemployment money. My mother invited us to share her house in St. Albans – she was a widow by then. We were very grateful and moved. It was a long journey in November or December. On this journey I got out of the train to buy a bottle of milk for Jenny, but nearly missed the train that way! I ran along the already moving wagons and signaled to the guard. The train slowed down and I was able to get on. First Cotswold visit in June1936 In February 1933 Anthony was born. Meanwhile Llewelyn answered many, many adverts or wrote to firms but there was no response. I did some supply teaching. Finally Llewelyn got a job in the office of a stocking factory where he came in contact with some
Bessy with Jenny 1931
Quakers. They were very warm and friendly and we started going to their meetings, which appealed to us. It was always quiet, but a warm friendly atmosphere. Soon we were joining a group of people who, like us, were concerned to find a different way of life. We had ideas of co-operating with other families, preferably in the country. A few years passed by. We read the ―Friend‖ – the Quaker monthly paper – and one day found a letter from Jack Hoyland about his visit to the Rhönbruderhof. Two things struck us especially, the way they would struggle for unity and the joy they had together in country dancing. So we wrote asking if we could visit for two weeks during Llewelyn‘s holiday in June, 1936. An answer came saying the Bruderhof had now started in England at Ashton Keynes and we would be very welcome. We asked about bringing the children and the answer came, ―Oh bring them, we have a little boy here who has no playmates!‖ (That was Jakob Gneiting.) So we went on June the 20th 1936. Everybody spoke German except for Arnold and Gladys Mason and Freda Bridgwater, and neither of us knew a word except ―Ich dien‖, stamped on the English coins. Prince Albert came from Sachsen-Coburg in Germany. We travelled on a very hot day and had arrived pretty exhausted and met Gerd Wegner who jumped off his bike and directed us to the Cotswold house. There Annemarie Arnold welcomed us very warmly with a big pot of tea, which was very welcome. We were given a room in the grey Cottage with four iron beds and straw mattresses, a table and four chairs, something to eat – very simple, but we were so thankful to be there. We felt very strongly a warm atmosphere. There was much to do, as the farm was very run down – mud everywhere. Llewelyn worked with Hans-Hermann Arnold in the garden, making homemade concrete blocks for the buildings along with Joseph Stängl. I was with Freda in the laundry which was very primitive. We had to pump all the water we used and heat it in a copper. We also boiled all the white things in the copper. The dining room in the Cotswold house was quite small, heated by an open fire when it was cold. At mealtimes something was read or reported in German and we sang songs from the ―Sonnenlieder.‖ Sometimes Arnold translated what was said. We were invited to afternoon snack by couples – Hardy and Edith Arnold with Bubi, Arnold and Gladys Mason with ―Jonny boy‖, Heini and Annemarie Arnold, Alfred and Gretel Gneiting, who had three children. I think Michael was a bit of a rascal but I am not quite sure. All couples answered our questions and we appreciated it very much that they gave us their time. I think we didn‘t realize how much they all had to do. There seemed to be always many guests on the Cotswold Bruderhof, some deeply interested, some very critical, so there were often guest meetings, which were pretty lively and helpful. I remember one meeting with us, which must have been with the Brotherhood. We were asked if we had any questions. I said I couldn‘t see how the parents could have a good contact with their children when they were separated all day. The children did not come home at the midday. Heini said, after a pause, ―Love will find a way.‖ I felt satisfied that that was so. At the end of the fortnight we both felt this life is what we wanted, but I was a bit hesitant about giving a definite answer; one thing being that I wouldn‘t see much of the children (Jenny now nearly five, and Anthony over three years old). I found that very hard. Another thing bothering me: Why had everyone to dress alike; the women in long, long skirts and with headscarves? Llewelyn went home because he had to go to his job and I stayed on for a few weeks. No one tried to persuade me in any way. When I felt quite certain, I went home to Llewelyn and left the children behind – Jenny with Freda, and Anthony with Hardy and Edith.
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We were packing up, preparing to go, but we were also very keen for our friends to hear about the Bruderhof, especially some who had also been looking for a different, more brotherly and more sharing way of life. Various brothers came to our house in St. Albans near London to talk with our friends, or to do ―Werbung‖ [mission], or learn English (Hans-Hermann). Hardy and Arnold came, as well as Herman Arnold – he went to London to learn publishing. Another task of these visiting brothers was to go to London to help the young brothers of military age into England, since some had no passports. They had a good friend in Alexander Maxwell, the Home Secretary. We looked forward eagerly to their visits and incidentally hoped they had enough to eat. I was so used to cooking very simple, small meals. They were trying so hard to get money for the community as they had so little.
The main house on the Cotswold Bruderhof (photo from Friedemann archive)
After some weeks at home we received a message that it would be good to come back. I guess we had done quite a bit of talking about the life. So we sent our furniture and stuff by rail and went on bikes, spending one night somewhere on the way. Now we were there for good and very happy. Our two children had picked up many German words and we knew none and couldn‘t understand them. They had been glad to have playmates and were very much at home. Groups from the continent arrived Everywhere preparations were being made for the arrival of groups from the continent. The brotherhood consisted mainly of single young men – Gerd Wegner, Werner Friedemann, Wilhelm Fischer, Hermann Arnold, and more – who were finding their way to England to avoid military service in Germany. The main Cotswold house was cleared – all sorts of things were thrown down from the attic windows. The bungalow was made habitable, also the grey cottages. The hard working brothers made cement blocks with which to build. First of all a cow stall was reconstructed. All who were keen picked up a hammer and banged on the foundation stone – I think Tommy Paul, Llewelyn and me. Afterwards Ria Kiefer said, ―Now we have three new Novices!‖ Victor and Hilda Crawley arrived, also Sylvia Walker, she came with little Clare. (Sylvia‘s husband had died.) I worked a lot in the Kindergarten with Gretel Gneiting, Margot Savodelli [later Davies], sometimes Annemarie Arnold, Nancy Watkins [later Trapnell], Gertrud Arnold, Ursel Boller and on shower days Lotti Ahrend [later Magee]. In the shower room was a square concrete basin, sunk into the floor. The thirty children were washed and then played under the shower in the big basin
(Planschbecken). This they all enjoyed very much and we then had to dry them, hair as well, and see they got dressed. On those days Ria sent us a special snack – coffee and perhaps sausage – to strengthen us for the task. I was so amazed to see Annemarie Arnold standing there, knitting away and giving instructions to the children. We sang a lot, the children drew pictures. There was a sand heap, a paddling pool; every child had a little garden. One or two children had watering cans. After lunch the children had their rest in a special room with a counter on three sides. Each child had a blanket and a special place, and one sister had watch. Afterwards we had to comb and plait the little girl‘s hair and give them each a cup of milk. I enjoyed working in the Kindergarten very much. We were singing quite a lot, mostly nursery rhymes and sometimes simple hymns. We played ring games and action songs with the children in German and English. Our favorite was ―Dornröschen war ein schönes Kind,‖ ―Here we go looky loo,‖ ―Do you know the muffin man,‖ ―Zeigt her eure Füßschen,‖ ―Nun zieht Hampelmann sein kleines Hemdchen an,‖ For one wedding we learnt ―Dashing away with the smoothing iron.‖ Evening and morning songs were also popular: ―Guten Morgen lieber Sonnenschein, ―Die Sonne schlief die ganze Nacht.‖ We went out for walks a lot, for instance to the Thames, to Ashton Keynes, or just across the fields to enjoy the wild roses and honeysuckle. In the autumn we enjoyed gathering blackberries along the hedgerows. In the play area behind the Kindergarten bungalow there was a big sand box, where the children played very happily, making all sorts of things: cakes, animals, castles and rivers, often experiencing what was happening in the community or remembering something from a story they listened too. There was also a paddling pool for hot days, but I don‘t remember any swimsuits. We just tucked their clothes up as well as we could. If a child was naughty it had to come out of the group for a little while. The children didn‘t like lettuce – you‘d always find it under the table. Early in 1938 Llewelyn and I were baptised by Hardy Vetter in a group with Ursel Boller, Gerrit and Cor Fros. That was a very serious and solemn occasion, but I feel I did not go deep enough. I certainly meant it very seriously. I remember very well the visit of two Hutterian brothers, David and Michael Vetter. They were very warm and very firm. We were Novices and sometimes met with them. They lived at the top of the Cotswold House and at breakfast time we could hear them singing and praying. We lived on the floor below them, but when their window was open you could also hear them singing outside the house. They then crossed the channel to the Rhön-
Cotswold soon became lively: Dorli Bolli and Gertrud Braun (Wegner), taking a children group for a walk/ride 1939. (Photo submitted by Elisabeth Bohlken-Zumpe)
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bruderhof. As we all know, they were a great help to the group there, also with the German authorities and were able to visit and comfort the three brothers in jail (Hans Meier, Hannes Boller and Karl Keiderling). Later on the group of brothers and sisters, who had fled to Holland, came to the Cotswold Bruderhof, also those from the Almbruderhof. This was a great joy, Living on the Telling Farm Many new people came and we moved with several other families to the Telling Farm, about a mile away. I remember Hans and Margrit Meier and Danny as a baby, also the Fischli family. We had an old-fashioned coach, drawn by a strong horse, to take the families from the Telling Farm to the Cotswold Bruderhof each morning after breakfast and take us home at 5.30pm. This we all enjoyed very much. We used to go out early and pick blackberries for breakfast – delicious juicy ones. There were always many guests, and many of them joined. In 1938 we bought the Oaksey Farm. I only remember going there once for an afternoon. It was a beautiful place. The day we took over Oaksey Farm was, I believe, the Sunday morning when Kilian Zumpe and Andrew Harries were presented in the Gemeindestunde.
The Birmingham group came Easter Sunday. Jabez and Elisabeth Watkins were part of that group. There probably was a fire then. I know I was very struck by this frightening event. In 1939 the Second World War broke out and we experienced quite a lot of hostility from the people in the neighborhood. If we were out with the children and the siren gave a warning, we used to get into the thick hedges and ditches for hiding when the enemy planes came over. At night we would go down stairs to the Marchants, because there was no cellar in that house to go to. The brothers and the children were in the corridors – that was the best protection we could find; the lower down in the house the safer – and away from the windows. At this time we had the wooden dining room. One evening, in the middle of supper, I had to go to the motherhouse. Everything was blacked out and the bombers were flying over. I think Phyllis Rabbits [later Woolston] was with me; Ruthie was born that evening. All over the country people had to have gas masks, we too, as protection from the poison gas the Germans were spreading. We always had to have them with us. There were large concrete blocks placed in our fields, so that planes could not land. We had a five mile limit and other restrictions. To be continued
The Confrontation Between The Bruderhof And The German National-Socialist Government 1933 to 1937 – Part 7
By Hans Zumpe During March one after another all those scheduled to come, arrived in England. For some the journey was quite eventful; it was difficult to obtain transit permits through France for everyone. Different routes had to be explored. After Werner Friedemann had flown to England, only to be returned by the same route, a group set out via Italy, Spain and France. In the meantime the Almbruderhof heard from the NSDAPlocal [Ortsgruppe] Liechtenstein in Vaduz. On the 11th of March 1936 they wrote ―to the military service eligible German nationals in the Principality of Liechtenstein‖: ―Enclosed find notification from the German General Consulate in Zurich regarding registration for military service. The requisite application forms are to be obtained from the undersigned. The regulations with respect to military service are to be observed here as well. The application forms, photographs and detailed curriculum vita are to be delivered personally to the leader of the local group [Ortsgruppenleiter] by the 27th of March 1936. Heil Hitler, [signed by:] Karl Vermbreck, Vaduz, Ortsgruppenleiter.‖ Stamped beneath this notification: ―National Socialists German Working Party, Country Group Switzerland, Local Group Liechtenstein‖ [―Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, Landesgruppe Schweiz, Ortsgruppe Liechtenstein.‖] – This stamp indicated the significance of the NSDAP in countries outside Germany at that time. ONE PROBLEM AFTER ANOTHER IN GERMANY But there was no one there who had to register. God had once again helped us out in a wonderful way, at just the right time. Once everyone was reunited on the Cotswold Bruderhof, Hans Meier and I returned, Hans to the Rhönbruderhof and I to the Almbruderhof. The third problem would be solved later! The Home Office granted us all residence permits. In the mean time, German troops had moved into the Rhineland. Could that possibly have consequences for us? What would happen to anyone in Germany who opposed dictatorial power? What would happen to our Rhönbruderhof? Initially we continued wrestling with all the old problems and new ones that emerged. We were suddenly informed that a long term mortgage had to be paid up. Furthermore a new measure was introduced by the authorities aimed at curtailing our small income. We were not granted the door-to-door sales permits necessary to sell turnery and books in Germany. We sent a complaint to the Administrative Court in Fulda. The following will explain details: ―The publishing house applied to the Mayor of Veitsteinbach, to supply authorization permits to several Bruderhof members as travelling salesmen: Hans Meier, August Dyroff, Adolf Braun and Karl Keiderling. Our application was turned down on February 27th 1936 by the Mayor in his capacity as Chief of the Veitsteinbach Police. He was ordered to refuse our application by his superior officer in agreement with the Secret Police in Kassel. The refusal occurred in reference to paragraph.44a section 2, as well as paragraph 57 section 1 no. 2a, of the Reichsgewerbeordnung [national trade order]. According to which a sales permit should be refused, ‗if there is evidence that the applicant would misuse his business for activities against the state.‘ In the above statement by the Mayor it is further stated: ‗This condition applies to you.‘
NOTES BY THE EDITOR: Hans Zumpe presented a condensed version of this report during meetings in Primavera on 26th and 28th July 1945 for the 25th anniversary of the Bruderhof. While quotes from Eberhard Arnold and newspaper clippings etc. are reproduced verbatim, the Hans Zumpe report has been edited using modern terminology, but eliminating none of the content. More about the history of this account and its translation into English can be found in the ― Introduction to Hans Zumpe‘s Report from 1945‖ in the Keep In Touch Newsletter No 3 Dec. 2007, page 8, which also contains the first part of this report. Comments in angled brackets [ ] are explanations by the editors. SA: Nazi Sturmabteilung/Braunhemden SS: Nazi Schutz-Staffel/Schwarzhemden
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―It was left to us to appeal to the Administrative Court in Fulda against this decree within two weeks of receipt, which is effected herewith. ―We ask the Administrative Court in Fulda in conjunction with the Secret Police Station in Kassel to re-examine the concerns of the Neuwerk Bruderhof in Neuhof-Fulda, which is connected to the publishing house. We don't know of any predispositions which would lead us to act as enemy of the state. … ―Because of the closure of the children‘s home, the NeuwerkBruderhof e.V. has had a considerable cash shortfall. We will endeavour to send contributions to our Neuwerk-Bruderhof through our Almbruderhof in Liechtenstein, as well as through our wide circle of friends in a variety of European and non European states. This, also in the interest of the foreign exchange for Germany, as was fully recognized by the Commissioner for Foreign Exchange Control in Fulda, Mr. Rothe. Nevertheless, it is important that the Neuwerk-Bruderhof e.V. has a regular income through the sale of books from our publishing house.‖ The District Councilor and Chairman of the Administrative Court wrote the following reply to the publishing house Eberhard Arnold Verlag GmbH, Gemeinde Veitsteinbach, on the 12th of March 1936, under the reference L.P.0260, signed by Dr. Burkhardt: ―The Mayor, as chief of the local police has followed the instructions of the State Police when rejecting the authorization of permits for your members. Orders from the State Police cannot be appealed against through the administrative courts, but must be addressed by a complaint to the Secret Police Department in Berlin. The notification given to you by the Mayor [to appeal to the Administrative Court in Fulda] is incorrect. However I have forwarded your submission of the 9th of March this year, together with enclosures, as a complaint to the State Police.― During the month of July we invited the Hutterian brothers in North America to visit us and to help us. But it took over six months before they sent someone. THE MENNONITES WORLD CONFERENCE WAS DISAPPOINTING At the beginning of July the Mennonite‘s World Conference took place in Amsterdam and Elspeet. Emmy [Arnold] and I had gotten ourselves invitations in the hope of finding new friends. The conference was attended by about four hundred Mennonites, mostly German and Dutch. Only ten came from America. We hoped to find understanding for our views and faith based on the Anabaptist movement, and to give testimony to what had become important for us in the present days. However the German Mennonites were all totally in favor of the German regime and the Dutch extremely reticent. They all agreed to speak about everything except ―politics‖. By politics they meant any position to be taken based on faith towards the state and military service. In response to a talk about "Mennonites and culture" a few revolutionary elements, in particular our Dutch friend Fritz Kuiper, commented on the public responsibility Baptists must take against the violence of present times. That was the moment for me to make a clear statement about our commitment to ―not owning personal property‖ and ―pacifism‖. I combined this with a call to all to return to the faith of the forefathers. My testimony was sharply rejected by the German Mennonites. Only here in Paraguay did I get hold of the printed report of the conference from the Mennonites. It is edited by Christian Neff in the publishing house Heinrich Schneider, Karlsruhe. In it, this meeting is described. Amongst other things, on page 143 it states: ―Hans Zumpe from Liechtenstein elucidated that the world renouncing stance of the Bruderhof was a requirement for the present time for all whose beliefs are based on Anabaptist principles!― How this
Hans Zumpe, author of this report, on a visit in the German town Rottenburg probably in 1970 or 71. (photo submitted by Andy Harries)
happened will become clear to the attentive reader in the following sentences, in which the answer of the German Mennonites is described: ―Brother Dyck II, Ladekopp, represented the opinion of the German Mennonites who long for peace between nations as do all sincere Christians, but who obey the government with regard to military service, ready to sacrifice themselves alongside their national comrades!‖ So on the whole the World Conference was a disappointment for us, although we did establish important connections with individual Mennonites. After the official conference a ―secret‖ follow-up meeting took place on July 4th 1936 at a different location in Fredeshiem. Here the ―anti war‖ Mennonites met under the leadership of our friend ter Meulen. There were barely twenty people present: all the American conference delegates, a few Dutch, a man from Danzig, a Mr. Fast from Wernigerode, and the two of us from the Bruderhof. This meeting was more important for us than the whole of the rest of the event. Here there was understanding of our attitudes towards the demands of the state based on our faith. Here were our true friends. After various discussions about the need to testify for peace in the present times, and to the world, we came to a joint statement of all those present to the effect that we would promote pacifism in all circumstances, and help those eligible for military service that are in inner conflict. The exact wording of the statement is somewhere in our archives, but unfortunately could not be found to date. This meeting put us in contact with Orie Miller, who was later again of great help to us. Through him we came to Paraguay. After the conference I visited our old friend Kees Boeke, who unfortunately no longer stood by his past Christian-Anarchist conviction. He was no different than any other ordinary inhabitant of the state. OUR FUTURE IN GERMANY SEEMS DIRE I was apprehensive traveling back across the Dutch border into Germany. I expected my public declaration to the Mennonites would have consequences, because a representative of the German government was present at the meeting. The German Mennonites had brought along Principal Kundt from the Foreign Office. But nothing happened. After a visit to the Rhönbruderhof I tried, through various acquaintances to find out about our future prospects in Germany. I visited Johannes Warns, who is known to some of us through his
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book about baptism. His Bible school in the Rhineland had been taken over by the N.S.D.A.P. He viewed the national political situation pessimistically, and predicted there was no chance that we could stay in Germany any longer. Curiously, he thought that the safest place for us would be in the Balkan States. During a visit to the German Foreign Institute in Stuttgart, an employee, Dr. Kaser, who had just returned from a study trip to Slovakia, told me he had come across the Habaner, the Hutterite followers in Lewär and Sabatisch. They interested him as ―dispersed Germans.‖ I tried to remind him of the beliefs and faith of the early Hutterians in an attempt to get him to understand our problems, but it was not possible. A department head at the institute, Dr. Hans Kloss, who turned out to be the brother of a guest at Sannerz (Gerhard Kloss) was a little more open. As he already knew us, Kloss promised to give us a good testimonial if the threat to dissolve the Rhönbruderhof should recur. But he did not believe we would get through with our attitude about military conscription. Later letters to him remained unanswered. It was an extremely difficult time. We had to fight for the inner and outer existence of our community life on three Bruderhofs in three different countries. Every day we feared the worst, especially for those members who stayed behind at the Rhönbruderhof. The prospects for us in Germany were getting ever more hopeless, although we didn‘t hear much about dissolution. It was strangely quiet. But all the time the National Socialist State tried slowly and relentlessly to strangle our life existence. It was a different approach than we had expected, but no less gruesome. It went way beyond our strength, and it showed especially in our inner unity. THE AUTHORITIES REFUSE OUR RIGHTS OF ADOPTION AND GUARDIANSHIP Of particular interest to the authorities were the children on the Almbruderhof who did not originate from our own families. When Else [Tata] died, the guardianship of her adopted child, Walter von Hollander, was transferred to Eberhard Arnold. After his death, Emmy Arnold tried to take his place. However, the guardianship was not transferred to her, but to officer Rodemer from the district administration office in Fulda. He demanded that the child return to Germany. But just in time, we sent Walter to the Cotswold Bruderhof in England. Marie Eckardt wanted to adopt our Rudi Hildel. The Municipal Court in Nürnberg spent a long time dealing with this application. In the end the court asked the District Child Welfare Office in Fulda for an expert opinion. They suggested the adoption be refused: Quote: ―The circumstances of the Bruderhof‘s social-pedagogic working community have not changed in any way. Internationalism and pacifism are now as before the ideological foundations of the Bruderhof community. All German Brotherhood members eligible for military service have been moved to their second settlement in Liechtenstein, while locally there are now a large number of foreigners in residence. There is no reason at all to make concessions to the Bruderhof or any of its members. I am therefore requesting that the confirmation of the adoption agreement Eckardt/Hildel should be declined on the grounds stated previously (see the letter of the Govenor in Kassel on May3rd 1934 – A 1 a A 61 – 011 B –).‖ Thereupon the Municipal Court declined the guardianship on the 2nd of July 1936. Their reasoning was as follows: ―Until the end of 1933 ward ship was granted to the Bruderhof. During December, 1933, he was moved to the children‘s home Sonnenblick in Trogen, Kanton Appenzell, which belonged to the Bruderhof. This happened after the permit to take in foster children was withdrawn from the Bruderhof community by the Governor in Kassel. The withdrawal occurred because a
Nationalistic education cannot be guaranteed by the generally pacifistic attitude of the Brudehof. According to the opinion of the District Councilor in Fulda, family ties could be established, but judging by past community life on the Bruderhof it cannot be expected. The properties owned are communal. Therefore the child‘s education and training follows after the sense of the community. The Councilor cannot regard the adoption in any other light than as a means of raising new Brotherhood members. So long as the Bruderhof community intentionally nurtures an international atmosphere it cannot guarantee that their members are able to deliver a National Socialist education for the children they care for, in accordance with the state requirements. ... Speaking from the point of view of public interest, there are good reasons for not establishing family ties between the contractors. From this it is questionable why family ties should be established by permitting a parent-child-relationship.‖ AUTHORISATION PERMITS ARE DENIED A further official document dated 1st of June 1936 was belatedly delivered to us on the 8th of September. This time the subject was the peddler‘s licenses for our brothers who wanted to sell books. The notification, which had the signature of Mayor Zeiher, a farmer from Veitsteinbach, who could not have written it himself, reveals the attitude of the authorities. The letterhead identifies the ―Mayor as Chief of the Local Police‖; it is stamped by the District Committee in Fulda, and addressed to the Administrative Court in Fulda. At the end of the letter is the stamp of the Mayor as Chief of the Local Police in Veitsteinbach, district of Fulda. The letter is ―signed: Mayor Zeiher.‖ ―Rebuttal regarding the administrative dispute by Eberhard Arnold Verlag GmbH in Veitsteinbach against me because of the refusal of the sales permits for four members of the Bruderhof. ―My refusal in respect of the members of the Bruderhof, Hans Meier, August Dyroff, Adolf Braun and Karl Keiderling is not based on the individual unreliability and unsuitability of the individuals, but on the fact that the propaganda initiated by the Bruderhof is hostile to the state. The Eberhard Arnold Verlag GmbH is nothing more than a part of the Neuwerk-Bruderhof e.V. in Veitsteinbach, which owns over half of the shares in the Eberhard Arnold Verlag. The rest are almost exclusively in the hands of the leaders of the Bruderhof e.V. Therefore without doubt the Eberhard Arnold Verlag is involved in exactly the same activities as the Bruderhof e.V itself whose activities are hostile to the state. ―I am referring to documented events of the last three years. There can be no doubt that the members of the Bruderhof, who once called themselves ―Noble Communists‖, stand by the principles of this ideology today and promote it actively. They have an entirely communist ideology in complete opposition to the principles of the National Socialist State. For example, they reject the essential prerogatives and interests of the national community and the state, and they do not acknowledge the National Socialist Basic Law regarding blood and race. It is also a fact that the Bruderhof community declines all involvement in military service. When the new Conscription Law came into effect, they quickly sent all Bruderhof members of German nationality, especially those, who might be the right age for military service, to their branch community Silum in the Principality of Liechtenstein in order to escape compulsory military service. ―The members of the Bruderhof have stated they could never become National Socialists. It is not my intention to restrict individual members of the Bruderhof in their freedom of conscience. As chief of the local police I could see no grounds for police intervention if the Bruderhof community would concern themselves only with their own group, and cease their endeavors to recruit new members. But they do not do so. The regular increase
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in membership demonstrates that they are developing most effective strategies for promoting their ideas. The activities of the Eberhard Arnold Verlag serve only to promote their ideology, which in my opinion is hostile to the state. I am not therefore in a position to issue the authorization permits. I ask you to withdraw the appeal.‖ The Administrative Court had encouraged us to submit a counter statement. We did so on 26th of September 1936, in a ten page letter. In the meantime, however, a new problem had come
up. During the past year several of our families, especially from the older generation had returned to the Rhönbruderhof. Also some new German nationals had become members. This led to another short letter from the Mayor of Veitsteinbach Zeiher on the 11th of September 1936: ―All males born 1900-1905 must report for entry into the military service register. I ask you make a list of all affected individuals. To be continued
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