Christian Peace Conference

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The Christian Peace Conference (CFK) was an international organization with a status as a non-governmental organization at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC).

Members were churches from the socialist countries as well as parishes and individuals from other countries. In view of its initiation with the help of socialist states, which discriminated against and in some cases persecuted Christians , and in view of the proximity to Marxism , the Christian Peace Conference is considered controversial. Historians and the media classify the CFK as a communist front organization .


Meeting of the working committee of the CFK in Eisenach, March 1980. In the presidium on the left: Regional Bishop Werner Leich

Those organized in the CFK - just like other parts of the peace movement - saw the maintenance of peace on the basis of increasingly strong deterrence through weapons of mass destruction as an extremely worrying development. What was threatening for them - in contrast to many other "peace movements" - was not the arms race between the two power blocs, but the armaments of NATO . As a result, the work of the CFK was determined by the criticism of Western armaments policy and it fought for a "peace policy" with a Soviet sign. CFK received its political guidelines largely from the Soviet Union. CFK member Balázs Németh defended the one-sidedness of CFK, which he believed to be called for by the Gospel, by stating that the essential innovations in armament technology after the Second World War came from the USA and brought the USSR to pressure.

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior classified the CFK as a “communist-influenced organization in support of Soviet foreign policy”. After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc , the international CFK was liquidated on December 21, 2001 due to the insolvency of the Economic Service CPC .


In 1958, West German and Czechoslovak theologians initiated the Christian Peace Conference under the leadership of Josef L. Hromádka . The founding fathers included Hans Joachim Iwand , Helmut Gollwitzer , Martin Niemöller , Heinrich Vogel and Ernst Wolf - representatives of the Confessing Church in the resistance against the Nazi regime. After three preparatory conferences, the First All-Christian Peace Assembly (ACFV) was invited to Prague in 1961 , to which 600 churchmen and theologians from all over the world attended. While individual theologians and other church members in Western Europe and the USA joined the CFK, most of the non-Catholic churches from the real socialist countries joined it corporately - at the “request” of their governments. The CFK was financially supported and ideologically influenced by the Soviet Union and other Eastern Bloc countries.

In 1964, 1968, 1971, 1978 and 1985 the CFK held further All-Christian peace meetings. She supported the policy of the Warsaw Pact states and held back with criticism of their domestic policy and the armament of the Warsaw Pact. In a memorandum at the 1968 Peace Assembly, the Chinese Cultural Revolution was recognized with appreciation and the isolation of China was criticized. Liberation movements in the third world were supported. In addition to a theological and international commission, it set up study groups on various aspects of the peace issue, such as disarmament, the UN , politics and economics .

In 1968 the majority of CFK approved the violent suppression of the Prague Spring . This plunged CFK into a deep crisis in which members, mainly from Western Europe and the USA, separated from it. The Prague founder Josef Hromádka resigned and died a year later. There was a split in the CFRP that could never be healed and overcome . In the opinion of the historian Clemens Vollnhals, what remained after personal cleansing was "an empty and absolutely harmonized propaganda shell of Soviet policy". Since the late 1970s, continental CFRP associations have been formed in Asia , Africa and Latin America .

After the collapse of real socialism, the international activities of CFK largely came to a standstill. But there is still the group "Christian Peace Conference in Germany", which holds a conference twice a year and publishes a circular.

GDR regional committee

The political guidelines of the Christian Peace Conference as well as the Berlin Conference of European Catholics , in which Catholic clergy were not allowed to participate, were determined at the level of the apparatus of the Central Committee of the SED and the state offices for church issues and the desired course was enforced with unofficial forces . The State Security helped prepare the CFK meetings thoroughly. The CFK, controlled by the SED and the MfS ( Ministry for State Security ), unreservedly followed the GDR policy. The CFK's personnel decisions were made in advance by the socialist secret services. A report by the State Security from 1980 on the further development of CFRP states:

“In connection with the processing of CFRP, it is planned to bring about long-term changes in the management and to exchange reactionary forces from capitalist countries with other people from the same countries. It is even smarter and more covered to proceed in order not to reveal which forces control the CFRP. In addition, the coverage of political and operational tasks needs to be surrounded more closely with a 'religious shell'. "

When the SED openly expressed solidarity with the mass murder on Tian'anmen Square , the CFK group Kapellendorf distanced itself from this position in a letter to the GDR Council of Ministers.

In the GDR, the Christian Peace Conference loyal to the SED served to win over Christians for the affirmation of the socialist social order and for cooperation in the state, as well as by differentiating and polarizing the independent peace movement to suppress the opposition .

While in the other socialist countries of Eastern Europe almost all non-Catholic churches belonged to the CFK as member churches , the churches of the GDR were an exception. They did not become a corporate member, instead a GDR regional group was formed from individuals and community groups. In March 1973 there was a dispute with representatives of the construction soldiers in the youth commission of the regional group, in the course of which a paper was passed according to which "the fight against imperialism is the only possible basis for an effective peace movement." 1980s CFK representatives a close to the state counter pole to the otherwise mostly pacifist - opposition oriented peace movement under the roof of the GDR churches . CFK representatives tried to send the opposition peace seminars "in order to be able to exert influence there - often on behalf of the MfS ."

The parish of Oderberg , the grace parish of Leipzig-Wahren and the Schiller parish of Jena worked cooperatively in the GDR CFK. There were also CFRP groups in Königswartha , Riesa , Leuthen , Karl-Marx-Stadt , Bärenstein (Erzgebirge) , Kapellendorf , Berlin-Marzahn , Menz (Stechlin) , Lübbenau-Neustadt , Neschwitz , Magdeburg , Dessau , Klein Schwarzlosen , Frankfurt ( Or) and Eisenhüttenstadt .

The CFK Group Königswartha published the results of its seminars and conferences as study and information material. This included pastoral aids in postcard format. Their ecumenical basic seminars were also attended by foreign peace groups.

The coordination group of CFK Thuringia published the quarterly magazine " frieda " from 1984 to 1992 , which dealt critically with official church positions and distributed material in preparation for their info weekends, which took place in Jena and Kapellendorf.

Cooperation with churches and church federations

In 1986 and 1987 there was a joint seminar with the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR on the "Language of Peace", the first part of which took place in Bad Saarow and the second part in Prague. The main presentations in Bad Saarow were given by Klaus-Peter Hertzsch (GDR), Horsta Krum (West Berlin) and Witold Benedyktowicz (Poland). Günter Krusche (GDR), Dick Boer (Netherlands), Manfred Becker (GDR) and Ludék Brož (ČSSR) gave lectures in Prague . Two volumes of reports, edited by Christa Lewek and Gerhard Bassarak , contain the presentations and reproduce the results from the working groups.



According to the statute, the management was held by a presidium, which was composed as follows:

  • the honorary president
  • the president
  • the honorary members of the Presidium
  • the Vice President
  • the chairman of the continuation committee
  • the Secretary General.


Honorary President



Vice President





Secretaries or general secretaries

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The All-Christian Peace Assembly (ACFV) should meet every 5-7 years and elect the leadership and organs of the movement.

  • 1st Christian Peace Conference June 1-4, 1958 in Prague with over 40 participants from eight countries. Solution: "Assignment and testimony"
  • 2nd Christian Peace Conference April 16-19, 1959 in Prague with over 90 participants from 16 countries. Slogan: "Elige vitam" (choose life)
  • 3rd Christian Peace Conference September 6-9, 1960 in Prague with over 200 participants from 26 countries. Slogan: "only future"
  • 1st All-Christian Peace Assembly June 13-18, 1961 in Prague with over 600 participants from 42 countries. Slogan: "... and peace on earth"
  • II. All-Christian Peace Assembly June 28 to July 3, 1964 in Prague with over 1,000 participants from 50 countries. Slogan: "My covenant is life and peace"
  • III. All-Christian peace meeting March 31 to April 5, 1968 in Prague with over 600 participants from 55 countries. Slogan: "Search for peace and pursue it, save people, because peace is possible"
  • IV. All-Christian Peace Assembly September 30th to October 3rd, 1971 in Prague with over 250 participants from 48 countries. The slogan: “Our shared responsibility for a better world. Goodness and loyalty meet, justice and peace kiss "
  • 5th All-Christian Peace Assembly June 22-27, 1978 in Prague with 606 participants from 34 countries. Slogan: “God's call to solidarity. Christians for Peace, Justice and Liberation "
  • VI. All-Christian peace meeting July 2-9, 1985 in Prague with 367 participants from 79 countries. Slogan: "Christians in resistance against the forces of death - on the way to peace and justice for all"

The Continuation of Work Committee (AFA) consisted of about 100 people, elected by the ACFV.

The working committee (AA) included the management and chairmen of the international bodies and a maximum of 40 other people elected by the ACFV.

The International Secretariat consisted of twenty members elected by the ACFV.

Members of the working committee in 1961

Members of the working committee 1971

Members of the International Secretariat 1971

Four times a year the Secretariat published the journal Christian Peace Conference , which was edited by Editor-in-Chief Jiri Svoboda . In addition, the CFK-Information , which was edited by Udo Skladny , appeared about ten times a year .

The study department with its commissions

  • Peace Service Theological Commission
  • Commissions for international issues:
    • European Security Commission
    • Commission in Support of Disarmament Efforts
    • Middle East Peace Commission
    • Commission for the UN system
  • Commission for Solidarity, Liberation and Development
  • Anti-Racism Commission
  • Women's Commission for Peace and Social Justice
  • Youth Peace Service Commission

Working bodies

CFK maintained a youth department on the Prague staff, which has been headed by coordinator Fahaleovana Andriantsarazo since 1987 . An information letter was published twice a year, edited by Tania Kirchner and Bärbel Clauss (both from the Federal Republic of Germany). It dealt with the positions and problems of young Christians from the Tricontus .

Continental Associations

  • the Asian CFRP (since 1975)
  • the African CFRP (since 1977)
  • the Latin American-Caribbean CFK (since 1978)

In the 1960s, the international CFK set up an office at the UN, it was registered with ECOSOC and took part in relevant events.

Regional working bodies

  • Regional committees in individual countries
  • Coordination committees


  • Roland Gerhardson Christians and Communists ; Cologne 1966 review, 1967
  • Günter Wirth : On the history of the Christian Peace Conference, with a contribution by Milan Klapetek on the prerequisites for Christian peace work in the Czech countries. Published on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Christian Peace Conference , Prague 1988
  • Gerhard Lindemann : "Sourdough in the circle of all-Christian ecumenism": The relationship between the Christian Peace Conference and the Ecumenical Council of Churches. In: Gerhard Besier; Armin Boyens; Gerhard Lindemann; National Protestantism and Ecumenical Movement. Church Action in the Cold War (1945-1990). Berlin: Duncker & Humblot 1999, pp. 653-932 ISBN 978-3-428-10032-3
  • Joachim Kanitz : Twenty Years of the Christian Peace Conference in West Berlin. Memoirs , edited and with a foreword by Bé Ruys . Berlin 1984

Individual evidence

  1. cf. for example Hedwig Richter: Protestantism and left-wing revolutionary pathos. The World Council of Churches in Geneva in the East-West Conflict in the 1960s and 1970s, in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 3 (2010), pp. 408–436; Hebe Charlotte Kohlbrugge : Two times two is five. My undescribed life since 1914. Leipzig 2003; Gerhard Besier , Armin Boyens, Gerhard Lindemann : National Protestantism and Ecumenical Movement: Church Action in the Cold War (1945-1990) Berlin 1999 (= Contemporary History Research, Vol. 3).
  2. Clemens Vollnhals , 1996: The Church Policy of SED and State Security: an interim balance sheet , Volume 7 of Analyzes and Documents, Ch. Links Verlag, ISBN 3-86153-122-4 , p. 116 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  3. Holger Kremser (1993): The legal status of the Protestant churches in the GDR and the new unity of the EKD. JCB Mohr, Tuebingen. P. 157 ( limited preview in Google Book search).
  4. Nobody takes Heiner from us . In: Der Spiegel . No. 50 , 1991 ( online ).
  5. Dirk Banse, Uwe Müller: The secret of the CDU chronicler. In: . November 17, 2010, accessed October 7, 2018 .
  6. ^ Rainer Eckert : Entanglement of the Humboldt University with the MfS
  7. Martin Georg Goerner: The Church as a Problem of the SED, p. 196
  8. a b Clemens Vollnhals (ed.), 1996: The Church Policy of the SED and State Security: An Interim Balance Sheet , Volume 7 of Analyzes and Documents, Ch. Links Verlag, ISBN 3-86153-122-4 , p. 158 ( limited preview in Google Book Search).
  9. a b cf. Balázs Németh : "Christian Peace Conference" on the scales; in "Critical Christianity" No. 160 of September 1992
  10. Holger Kremser: The legal status of the Protestant churches in the GDR and the new unit of the EKD, 1993, ISBN 3-16-146070-7 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  12. ^ Gerhard Besier, Armin Boyens, Gerhard Lindemann: National Protestantism and Ecumenical Movement: Church Action in the Cold War (1945-1990) . Duncker & Humblot, 1999, ISBN 978-3-428-10032-3 .
  13. Wolfgang Lienemann: Peace: from "just war" to "just peace" , p. 144 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  14. ^ Wieland Zademach: A life between East and West. In memory of Josef L. Hromadka , in: Deutsches Pfarrerblatt 109 (2009), pp. 644–648, here p. 647
  15. Clemens Vollnhals :
  16. Peter Maser: The Churches in the GDR , Federal Agency for Political Education, Bonn 2000, p. 158, ISBN 3-89331-401-6
  17. Clemens Vollnhals , 1996: The Church Policy of SED and State Security: an interim balance sheet , Volume 7 of Analyzes and Documents, Ch. Links Verlag, ISBN 3-86153-122-4 , p. 115 ( limited preview in the Google book search).
  18. ^ Hermann Peiter: Science in the stranglehold of the SED and GDR censorship, p. 43 .
  19. Ehrhart Neubert: History of the Opposition in the GDR 1949-1989 p. 269
  20. Clemens Vollnhals , 1996: The Church Policy of the SED and State Security: An Interim Balance Sheet , Volume 7 of Analyzes and Documents, Ch. Links Verlag, ISBN 3-86153-122-4 , p. 113 ( limited preview in Google book search).
  21. "The SED showed its solidarity very openly with these mass murderers". 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall: civil rights activist Werner Schulz on the reactions to the Tian'anmen massacre in the GDR ; Deutschlandfunk, June 4, 2009
  22. ^ Letter from CFK Thuringia dated June 24, 1989 to the GDR government, = archive of CFK Thuringia, Behind the Wall and yet free. A reading book by GDR Christians ; Schkeuditz 1997, ISBN 3-929994-96-8 , p. 118
  23. Holger Kremser, p. 158
    They tilt like dominoes . In: Der Spiegel . No. 29 , 1991 ( online ).
  24. Quoted from: Ehrhart Neubert : History of the Opposition in the GDR 1949-1989. Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag 1998 ISBN 3-86153-163-1 , p. 302
  25. ^ Ehrhart Neubert : History of the opposition in the GDR 1949–1989. Berlin: Ch. Links Verlag 1998 ISBN 3-86153-163-1 , p. 521.
  26. Jump up ↑ Church of Jesus Christ: One-sided for All (Ten Questions about the Church); Inhabitable Earth for All (Ten Questions on Christians' Responsibility for Peace); Last Supper (Feast of the Brotherly Awakening Against Death)
  27. Language of Peace. Materials from the joint seminar of the Federation of Evangelical Churches in the GDR and the Christian Peace Conference / International ; Bad Saarow 1986; like II, Prague 1987