August Marahrens

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

August Friedrich Karl Marahrens (born October 11, 1875 in Hanover ; † May 3, 1950 in Loccum , Lower Saxony ) was regional bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hanover .

Church career

Grave cross in the cemetery of Loccum Monastery

Marahrens was an alumni inspector in Goslar until the end of 1902 . In 1903 he took over a parish collaboration in Hanover, and then in 1905 he became second palace preacher and consistory assessor in the city of Leinestadt. In 1909 he moved to the Erichsburg seminary near Northeim as director of studies . He was then superintendent in Einbeck until 1922 . After serving as general superintendent of Stade , he became regional bishop in 1925.

In 1925 Marahrens moved to the Loccumer Hof in the old town of Hanover. On October 31, 1928 ( Reformation Day ) he was introduced as abbot of the Loccum monastery .

Marahrens was one of the central figures in the church struggle during the Nazi era . Careful at first, he soon took a decisive position on the side of the Confessing Church and sought to push back the influence of the German Christians (DC) in the Hanoverian regional church. As early as 1933 he rejected the military district pastor Ludwig Müller, authorized by Adolf Hitler, for objective and personal reasons; until the end he held on to Friedrich von Bodelschwingh as an opponent.

From 1924 August Marahrens was chairman of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Volksmission. From 1933 to 1935 he was head of the People's Missionary Office I, which arose from the working group. From 1935 he was the spiritual director of the People's Missionary Office II, which in 1937 became the Office for Community Service . From 1933 on he was a member and from 1935 chairman of the Executive Committee of the Lutheran World Convention, at the same time chairman of the DEK church leaders' conference from 1934 and chairman of the Confessing Church until 1936. He became a member of the DEK's spiritual trust council in 1939.

Because of his critical course, at the height of the church struggle in Hanover, he was declared deposed by a resolution of the German-Christian church senate on December 5, 1934, and in his place in February 1935 the head of the church senate, Superintendent Felix Rahn (Sievershausen), was declared bishop appointed. But Marahrens was ultimately able to prevail. The former spiritual vice-president of the regional church office and president of the disbanded regional church assembly, Gerhard Hahn , who had been deposed by Marahrens , asked him to justify himself to the regional church assembly (no longer recognized by the regional church). On February 26, 1935, Marahrens called a closed official church assembly in the Marktkirche in Hanover, in which he was able to gather the clergymen of the regional church devoted to him behind him. In 1937 he was one of those who signed the declaration of the 96 Protestant church leaders against Alfred Rosenberg because of his writing Protestant Rome Pilgrims . In 1939, he protested to the Reich Minister of the Interior against the transfer of Martin Niemoller to the concentration camp and signed the Magna Charta of the Unification Work . On June 30, 1941, Marahrens was one of the signatories of a telegram sent to Hitler by the ecclesiastical trust council of the Hanover regional church, immediately after the campaign against Russia began. Among other things, it says: “You have, my Führer, averted the Bolshevik danger in your own country and are now calling on our people and the peoples of Europe to take decisive action against the mortal enemy of all order and all Western-Christian culture. [...] The German Church is with you and our incomparable soldiers with all their prayers, who are now setting out to remove the plague with such tremendous blows. "

However, Marahrens did not want to campaign for Jews who had been sent to the concentration camps. In January 1943 , the Württemberg bishop Theophil Wurm wrote a letter of protest against the murder of the Jews. In it he took a clear position: “From a religious and ethical point of view, I have to declare in accordance with the judgment of all positive Christian groups in Germany that we as Christians perceive this extermination policy against Judaism as a grave and fatal injustice for the German people. Killing without the need for war and without a verdict contradicts God's commandment even if it is ordered by the authorities. ”Marahrens, to whom the letter was presented, could not identify with this position and refused to sign the protest note. In January 1943, Wurm therefore turned his protest to Reich Minister of the Interior Wilhelm Frick himself . In the same month, on January 19, 1943, Marahrens also turned to Frick by writing, among other things, the following sentences marked by racism : “The racial question is to be resolved as a national-political question by the responsible political leadership. She alone has the right to take the necessary measures to keep the German blood clean and to strengthen the völkisch power. "After the unsuccessful assassination attempt on Hitler, Marahrens declared in a weekly letter of July 24, 1944:" The criminal attack that killed the Fuehrer's life was valid, is averted [...] by God's grace. "

At the urging of the British, such as Bishops Hans Meiser , Theophil Wurm and votes from the ecumenical community , he resigned on April 15, 1947. To this day, August Marahrens' administration as bishop is controversial at the time of the Third Reich , because he is accused of adapting to the Nazi state too much . Criticisms included his unconditional recognition of the state authorities, his attitude towards the excluded “non-Aryan” Christians, i.e. of Jewish origin, and a “pastoral letter” after the attack on Hitler on July 20, 1944 : “Let's order [that ... ] in the church prayer of the congregation [Hitler's ...] is thought: 'From the bottom of our hearts we thank you [sc. God], that you preserved our leader's life and health during the criminal attack and that you preserved him for our people in an hour of greatest danger. We command him into your hands. Take him under your gracious protection! Be and stay his strong helper and savior! Whale graciously on the men who work by his side in this difficult time for our people. Be with our brave army! Let our soldiers fight to you looking up! [...] In brave advance [be] their guide! [... Let] grow a harvest of blessings from the bloody seeds of war. '"

Other activities and offices

August Marahrens was abbot of the Loccum monastery from 1928 to 1950 . From 1933 he was a member and from 1935 chairman of the Executive Committee of the Lutheran World Convention . From 1934 Marahrens was chairman of the church leaders' conference of the German Evangelical Church (DEK) and between 1934 and 1936 chairman of the Confessing Church of the DEK. From 1939 he was a member of the DEK's spiritual trust council.


  • Karl Marahrens: On Luther's message to today's youth of his people , thoughts and readings, from Martin Luther's legacy and the theol. Research , Leipzig 1928, 382–403
  • Karl Marahrens: Reich reform! - and the church? In: Evangelical Truth 24, 1932/1933, 37-4
  • Karl Marahrens: weekly letters from the regional bishop , 1933–1945 (hectogr.)
  • Karl Marahrens: The way to unity in the German Evangelical Church ,
  • August Marahrens, Wilhelm Flor , Hugo Hahn : To a Lutheran Church. Göttingen 1934, p. 8 ff.
  • Karl Marahrens: In the sanctuary of God . Sermon of the regional bishop of Hanover, Abbot zu Loccum D. Marahrens to representatives of the communities of southern Hanover - printed on the basis of a postscript, Göttingen 1934
  • Karl Marahrens: I did not believe that I knew anything among you, without only Jesus Christ crucified : 1. Cor. 2.2., Sermon from June 28, 1935 in the Marktkirche in Hanover on the 10th anniversary of the bishop's jubilee, Göttingen [1935],


  • Paul Fleisch : Regional Bishop D. Marahrens. In: Lutherische Kirche , Issue 20, 1935, pp. 353–356.
  • Walter Ködderitz : D. August Marahrens. Pastor pastorum between two world wars , Hanover 1952.
  • Eberhard Klügel : The Lutheran regional church of Hanover and its bishop 1933–1945 , Hanover 1964.
  • Kurt Schmidt-Clausen : August Marahrens, regional bishop in Hanover. Reality and legend , Hanover 1989.
  • Hans Otte:  Marahrens, August. In: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 16, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 1990, ISBN 3-428-00197-4 , p. 100 f. ( Digitized version ).
  • Gertraud Grünzinger:  MARAHRENS, August. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 5, Bautz, Herzberg 1993, ISBN 3-88309-043-3 , Sp. 738-745.
  • Inge Mager : August Marahrens (1875–1950), the first Hanoverian bishop. In: Heinrich W. Grosse, Hans Otte , Joachim Perels (eds.): Preserving without confessing? The Hanoverian regional church under National Socialism. Hanover: Lutherisches Verlagshaus 1996, pp. 135–151.
  • Hans Otte : A bishop in the twilight. August Marahrens (1875–1950). In: Heinrich W. Grosse, Hans Otte, Joachim Perels (eds.): Preserving without confessing? The Hanoverian regional church under National Socialism. Lutherisches Verlagshaus, Hanover 1996, pp. 179–221.
  • About the location of the church. The weekly letters from Regional Bishop D. August Marahrens 1934–1947 . Edited and edited by Thomas Jan Kück. With prefaces by Horst Hirschler and Hans Otte. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-525-55320-6 .
  • Heinrich Grosse: Nobody can serve two masters - On the history of the Protestant Church during National Socialism and in the post-war period . Blumhardt Verlag, Hanover, 2nd edition 2010, ISBN 978-3-932011-77-1 .
  • Eike Christian Hirsch : August Mahrens (1875–1959) ... In: Personalities who have shaped our history , brochure, ed. from the VGH insurance, [o. Cit., OD], pp. 24f.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Waldemar R. Röhrbein : Loccumer Hof. In: Klaus Mlynek, Waldemar R. Röhrbein (eds.) U. a .: City Lexicon Hanover . From the beginning to the present. Schlütersche, Hannover 2009, ISBN 978-3-89993-662-9 , p. 413f.
  2. Friedrich Siegmund-Schultze (Ed.): Ecumenical Yearbook 1936–1937 . Max Niehans, Zurich 1939, pp. 240–247.
  3. ^ Heinrich Grosse: Nobody can serve two masters - On the history of the Protestant Church during National Socialism and in the post-war period. 2nd revised edition. Hanover 2008, p. 157
  4. Quoted from encounter & conversation , No. 144, October 2005. Online also at
  5. Quotation and evidence from Ernst Klee : Das Personenlexikon zum Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945? 2nd updated edition, Frankfurt 2005 ISBN 978-3-596-16048-8 , p. 391.
  6. Quoted from Peter Hammerschmidt: The welfare associations in the Nazi state. The NSV and the denominational associations Caritas and Innere Mission in the structure of welfare work under National Socialism. Opladen 1999, p. 8.
  7. "arrangement" of ELLkH of 21 July 1944 supplementing the Church prayer. In: "Church Official Gazette" for the ELLkH born in 1944. In the church archive in Hanover. Again by Günter Brakelmann & Manfred Keller eds., With contrib. Ulrich Heinemann u. a .: July 20, 1944 and the legacy of the German resistance. Lit, Münster 2005 ISBN 3825885615 , p. 86 - See also: How much longer , Herr Landesbischof? Hannoversche Presse v. February 21, 1947