From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Protestant-Roman Catholic Remembrance of "Buchenwald Preacher"

From "Frank Imhoff" <>
Date Tue, 11 Feb 2003 10:02:02 -0600

LWF General Secretary Noko: "The World Needs Witnesses Like

ROME, Italy/GENEVA, 11 February 2003 (LWI) - Protestant theologian
Paul Schneider (1897-1939), who became known as the "Buchenwald
Preacher," was recently honored as a 20th-century martyr.

Schneider was commemorated during a February 1 ecumenical worship
service organized by the international Sant'Egidio Community in
the Basilica San Bartolomeo in Rome. The Rev. Dr. Ishmael Noko,
general secretary of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and
Cardinal Walter Kasper, President, [Vatican] Pontifical Council
for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), attended the ceremony.

Noko paid homage to the German theologian, murdered in the
Buchenwald concentration camp in 1939, saying his witness was a
source of inspiration for today's church. "We give thanks to God
for women and men like Rev. Schneider, particularly in times when
our world is preoccupied with the implantation of war and
exportation of death. The world needs witnesses like Schneider,"
said the general secretary.

Kasper and Noko both emphasized, in words spoken during the
service, that past witnesses to the faith could, by their example,
help today's Christians in their efforts toward restoring church
unity. "Witnesses to the faith are the seeds of unity," said the
PCPCU president. He stressed that remembering individuals like
Schneider is very significant for the ecumenical movement.

The celebration included the Schneider family presentation to the
church, of an original letter written by Pastor Schneider during
his imprisonment in the camp. It will be preserved at San
Bartolomeo along with other testimonies from "martyrs of the 20th
century," to whom the church is dedicated. As early as 1933, Paul
Schneider, who worked as a pastor in the Confessing Church in
Dickenschied in Hunsrueck, Germany, had publicly expressed
resistance against the then Nazi regime.

(The LWF is a global communion of Christian churches in the
Lutheran tradition. Founded in 1947 in Lund (Sweden), the LWF now
has 136 member churches in 76 countries representing over 61.7
million of the 65.4 million Lutherans worldwide. The LWF acts on
behalf of its member churches in areas of common interest such as
ecumenical relations, theology, humanitarian assistance, human
rights, communication, and the various aspects of mission and
development work. Its secretariat is located in Geneva,

[Lutheran World Information (LWI) is LWF's information
service.Unless specifically noted, material presented does not
represent positions or opinions of the LWF or of its various
units. Where the dateline of an article contains the notation
(LWI), the material may be freely reproduced with acknowledgment.]

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