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Dispute to Ernst Moritz Arndt in Berlin-Zehlendorf : May be named a community after an anti-Semite?

There are sentences like this that make it easy, Ernst Moritz Arndt, to reject. "The God who let iron grow, did not want servants," wrote Arndt 1812 in his "Patriotic song" and the Germans called the men to arms, to shed the "hangman's blood" and "French blood". Two years later, Arndt explained in a treatise, a recording of foreign Jews was "a disaster and a plague to our people". The Jews were a "wicked and degenerate people," Arndt – theologian, historian and philologist – wish, "the Germanic root as much as possible from alien stock, receive parts to".

The University of Greifswald, Germany went too far. The University decided last year, took on the name "Ernst Moritz Arndt". The former name of the patron, who had studied in Greifswald and, later, as a Professor teaches, aggravating the representation of the University as a place of advanced research and is no good for a positive tradition of the image, it was said to the grounds.

A step with consequences – even for Berlin. In Zehlendorf, close to the U-Bahn station Onkel-Toms-Hütte, the Protestant Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Church parish, in the short EMA. An idyllic area. The monument-protected Bruno-Taut-settlement belongs to the catchment area, within walking distance of the fischtalpark invites you to Stroll. A quiet neighborhood in which one lives. Many people who have become as children in the community, return here, even if you have a young, told pastor Ute Hagmayer.

The municipality discussed about renaming

But the Idyll in Berlin's South-West is tarnished. Since weeks is discussed in the 4000-strong community, a topic of hot: To separate the municipality from its namesake? Brand new the question is not, however, since the decision of the University of Greifswald is more current than ever. The municipality is divided. Younger members of the community, however, are more likely to be for the renaming, the older more.

The parish Council have tried to objectify. Four meetings there have been, in the meantime, with lectures and discussions about Ernst Moritz Arndt. This Sunday, a further community meeting will be held, at 6. May be decided by the nine-member parish Council.

this Sunday for a community meeting to rename.Photo: Thilo Rückeis

The boys are more likely to have been renamed, the Older somewhat oppose

In the previous gatherings have given, especially the Older the sound, says Jan Mävers. "Many identify with the name," the 30-Year-old, is involved in the confirmation work. "You have been baptized in the Church and got married there", the question of the renaming was "an emotional" thing. Mävers can understand that, but that is also Younger and more come to the word – young people and families with children. The opponents had so far been hardly involved, criticized the religion teacher, although the young are the future. Mävers is for the name change. Also in the Church leadership, the superintendent and the Provost, there is great sympathy for a separation of Ernst Moritz Arndt. However, in the community, it looks different.

"especially the older members of the community are against the renaming, and will defend its Position vigorously," reports Hagmayer. "Some threaten to leave the Church if the Church is renamed." For the pastor it is a difficult Situation. She has been working for 30 years in the EMA, currently she is head of the parish Council. Personally, Hagmayer for the name change. Despite its merits, democracy, education, freedom of the press, and his struggle against serfdom, Arndt was also an "anti-Semitic and a glorification of gun violence". Therefore, the man is for you personally, as a name giver of the municipality of "not portable". As a chaplain it is your task to keep the community together. "I don't know how I'm going to vote".

Martin Luther was an anti-Semite

Arndt is not the only theologian in the Evangelical Church for discussion. Martin Luther, the great Reformer, was an anti-Semite. Martin Niemöller, in the third Reich, pastor in the neighboring municipality of Dahlem, was a Militarist and voters of the NSDAP, before he transformed himself, for his resistance against the Nazis in a concentration camp, was deported and later to the convinced pacifists.

You should also see Ernst Moritz Arndt in his time, says Michael Häusler. The PhD historian, sits on the parish Council and promotes the retention of the Name. Arndt's popular nationalist songs and tracts must be interpreted as instruments in the anti-Napoleonic struggle for freedom, his anti-Semitic Statements were part of his delineation of the peoples-wing nationalism, and do not imply the expression of racial anti-Semitism. The then pastor Ernst Geß had named the 1935 Church, consecrated according to Arndt, was of the opinion Hut "in no way an expression of a national feeling in view of the takeover of the national socialists", but rather "a means of self-assertion of professing Christianity in an increasingly anti-Christian society". The removal of the Name of Ernst Moritz Arndt, "would be tantamount to the Denial of their own community's history," warns the historian.

Ernst Moritz Arndt was a Poet, historian, and theologian; he fought for the freedom of the press and education, and against the serfdom;...photo: picture-alliance / Stefan Sauer/

Ernst Moritz Arndt is an ambivalent Person

Arndt is a highly ambivalent Person. In Rügen-born son of a former serf, estate Manager age has vehemently fought for the abolition of serfdom. Created in the GDR Watch. There was the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-medal for peace fighters, in 1951, the railroad founded in East-Berlin, the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Chor, which still bears that name today. In the choice between Ernst Thälmann and Arndt, the decision was made for the Prussian reformers, reported choir Director Eberhard Lorenz. A name change is not planned. Just as in the Arndt-Gymnasium in Zehlendorf. A discussion about renaming it, at the school, says headmistress Ute bars-the way of the mouth.

In the EMA works, Ursula von Moers as a Volunteer. The 80-Year-old is still helping at the Grand Bazaar, which is held every year in Advent. She is proud of her community: to work with Refugees who had lived in the adjacent gym, at the literacy classes, the Begegnungscafé, the Church concerts and witness services. You know that many members of the community grew, the Name Arndt. For you but this is not essential. "More important than the Name is how to live in the village?"

current, cryptic, Historical s , Cultural and much more always read on Thursdays in our people-a Newsletter of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, written by our colleagues in the South West, Boris Buchholz. The district Newsletter from the daily mirror you can here at this address, free of charge, to order, twelve Newsletter for twelve Berlin districts: leute.tagesspiegel.de

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