Ernst Crous came from a Mennonite family in Krefeld. From 1901 to 1908 he studied history, history of literature and philosophy in Marburg , Munich , Berlin and Bonn . In 1909 he received his doctorate in Bonn with a paper on the religious-philosophical teachings of Locke and their position on the deism of his time . After a short teaching activity he became a librarian, initially in Hamburg and Jena, then at the Prussian State Library in Berlin and from 1944 to 1946 finally in Göttingen , where the Berlin library school went at the end of the Second World Warhad been evacuated. In Berlin, Crous had specialized in the history of incunabula . With Joachim Kirchner he published a book on Gothic fonts in 1928.
In addition to his work as a librarian, Crous was also involved within the Mennonite movement. From an early stage, Crous campaigned for a supra-regional networking of the German communities and was heavily involved in the relief work for the Russian-German Mennonites . In 1930 Crous was elected chairman of the Berlin Mennonite Congregation. Three years later, Crous co-founded the Mennonite History Association , which he chaired between 1947 and 1967. At the same time he worked as co-editor of the Mennonite Lexicon and as chairman of the Anabaptist Files Commission of the Association for the History of the Reformation . As a Mennonite historian, he wrote several articles on Anabaptist-Mennonite history in magazines and encyclopedias. These include the religious lexicon Religion Past and Present and the North American Mennonite Encyclopedia. Between 1949 and 1966 he was also represented in the editorial board of the Mennonite history sheets. Crous was also very interested in ecumenical dialogue . As a representative of the North German Mennonite congregations, he took an active part in the founding of the Working Group of Christian Churches in Germany and the World Council of Churches in 1948. In 1949/50 he taught as a visiting professor at the Mennonite colleges in Goshen, Bluffton and North Newton, thus helping to establish an intensive collaboration between Mennonite historians and theologians in Europe and North America. Crous began already in Berlin together with his wife Therese Genthe to collect writings and sources on the Anabaptist history and thus created the basis for the Mennonite Research Center, which has been located at the Weierhof in the Palatinate since 1968. Therese Genthe was also a librarian. The couple had two sons who both died in World War II .
During the Nazi era , Crous was largely loyal to the state. With his position of leaving the decision about participation in military service to the conscience of the individual, Crous moved away from the earlier pacifist positions of the Anabaptists. At the same time, Crous sought an exception to the swearing of oaths in the institutions of the Nazi state such as the Reich Labor Service and the Wehrmacht .
- Kurt Kauenhoven: Dr. Ernst Crous † . In: Archives for kin research. Starke, Limburg 1967/68, pp. 227-229. (With a photograph by Crous)
- Literature by and about Ernst Crous in the catalog of the German National Library
- Hans-Jürgen Goertz : Ernst Crous. In: Mennonite Lexicon . Volume 5 (MennLex 5).
- Crous speaks about the history of Krefeld and the Mennonites (from: Prisma des Westens, WDR; from 2:48 min)
- Ernst Crous, Joachim Kirchner: The Gothic fonts. Leipzig 1928.
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German church historian and librarian|
|DATE OF BIRTH||March 6, 1882|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Krefeld|
|DATE OF DEATH||May 31, 1967|
|Place of death||Krefeld|