Hans Asmussen

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Provost i. R. Hans Asmussen (1963)
Hans Asmussen (center) 1968 in Kiel with Provost Bertold Kraft (left) and Bishop Friedrich Huebner (right)

Hans (Christian) Asmussen (born August 21, 1898 in Flensburg , † December 30, 1968 in Speyer ) was a German Lutheran theologian . Since 1933 he played a leading role in the Confessing Church and later in the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD).


Until 1933

Asmussen, the son of a headmaster, attended grammar school in Flensburg and, after serving as a front soldier in World War I, studied Protestant theology at the universities of Kiel and Tübingen from 1919 to 1921 . He then became vicar and later assistant chaplain at the deaconess house in Flensburg . In 1925 he took over a pastorate in Albersdorf (Dithmarschen) , from where in 1932 he moved to the second pastorate of the main church St. Trinitatis in Altona .

Church resistance to National Socialism

After 18 people were killed in street fighting between SA , Communists and Prussian police on the so-called Altona Blood Sunday in July 1932 , Asmussen was one of the main authors of the Word and Confession of Altona Pastors in the Need and Confusion of Public Life , published on January 11, 1933 , that went down in history as the Altona Confession . This confession is considered a harbinger of the later and more famous Barmen Theological Declaration .

After the victory of the German Christians in the church elections in 1933 in the Schleswig-Holstein regional church , Asmussen was suspended as their avowed opponent and sent into early retirement in 1934. Asmussen moved to Berlin and took on leading tasks in the Confessing Church , which was founded in September 1933 from the Pastors ' Emergency League . He was a member of the Reichsbruderrat of the BK, drafted the Barmer Theological Declaration with Karl Barth and Thomas Breit and gave the presentation lecture at the first Barmer Confessing Synod in 1934.

In 1935 Asmussen became the founder and first director of the Church College Berlin-Dahlem , which opened on November 1, 1935 and was banned on the same day , he taught practical theology himself, even after the so-called Himmler Decree of the Confessing Church in August 1937, all training and testing of young theologians prohibited. Asmussen was one of the signatories of the memorandum of the German Evangelical Church in the spring of 1936 and held the funeral service for the head of the chancellery and legal advisor to the provisional church leadership, Friedrich Weißler, who was murdered on February 19, 1937 in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp . In 1939, a nationwide ban on speaking and preaching was imposed on Asmussen, and he was on the BK intercessory lists for persecuted Christians. Until 1941, Asmussen was a member of the group of lecturers and the examination board that examined theological candidates under the chairmanship of Martin Albertz . He also worked as a pastor in Berlin-Lichterfelde . In May 1941, Asmussen was arrested along with Albertz, Günther Dehn and Vicar Elisabeth Grauer (1904–1995) and sentenced to imprisonment on December 22, 1941 by the Berlin Special Court I in the so-called examination process. In 1943, Bishop Theophil Wurm brought him to the Württemberg regional church .

Theological, political and professional path after 1945

In 1945 he was elected chairman of the EKD's brother council. At the church leaders' conference in Treysa in August 1945, he was elected to the council of the evangelical church in Germany (EKD) and appointed head of the church chancellery that he built up in his place of residence in Schwäbisch Gmünd . It became of historical importance through its participation in the Stuttgart confession of guilt , in which the Protestant Christians confessed to their complicity in the crimes of the Nazi era . Conceived by Asmussen and Martin Niemöller , it was approved by the EKD Council on October 19, 1945 in Stuttgart.

In the following years Asmussen fell out increasingly with both Wurm and the EKD Council because he called for a more independent role for Lutheranism within the EKD. He criticized the attitude of the Council of Brothers, shaped by Karl Barth and Niemöller, even more sharply, especially the Darmstädter Wort of 1947. In 1948 he was released from his office as President of the Church Chancellery and was not re-elected to the Council of the EKD. From 1949 to 1955 he was provost in Kiel .

Asmussen, who had also become a member of the CDU , criticized in the 1950s what he saw as the too political course of wide circles of the Protestant church. In a statement to a petition by the confessional brotherhoods to the synod of his church, Asmussen justified the atomic armament in the arsenal of the NATO countries:

Anyone who speaks of the atomic bomb 'in the name of the gospel' cannot fail to see that the atomic bomb is a rod in the hand of God. "

In the last decade of his life he was very committed to ecumenism and came very close to the Roman Catholic Church (see High Church Movement ).

Asmussen was buried in the Eichhof park cemetery near Kiel.


Asmussen received honorary doctorates from the universities of St. Andrews (1939) and Kiel (1949).

Fonts (selection)

  • Essays, letters, speeches. 1927–1945, Itzehoe: "Die Spur" Herbert Dorbandt 1963 , therein:
    • 1927: Finitum capax infiniti
    • 1931: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Church of Our Time
    • 1931/32: Confirmation class
    • 1934: Christian teaching
    • 1934: Confession and Synod
    • 1934: Lutheran Confession today
    • 1936: The Biblical Doctrine of Original Sin
    • 1936: Karl Barth and the Confessing Church
    • 1937: Communion with communion. Consensus de doctrina evangelii?
    • 1940: Our dead in the hand of Christ
    • 1940: Letter to Dr. Fürle (November 23, 1940)
    • 1942: Letter to Visser 't Hooft (December 13, 1942)
    • 1944: From the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar
    • 1945: the hour of the church
  • Essays 1: 1927–1934 (Leben und Werk III, 1) , Berlin 1976 ( ISBN 3-87126-226-9 ), therein:
    • 1927: Finitum capax infiniti
    • 1930: The Letter to the Hebrews
    • 1930: the life of a Christian
    • 1931: The Confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Church of Our Time
    • 1931: Marriage in the light of the relationship to God
    • 1931: The practical office and National Socialism
    • 1931: Is Communism Coming?
    • 1931/32: Confirmation class
    • o. J .: The Old Testament and its illumination by Jews, fellow Jews and ethnic groups (online at geschichte-bk-sh.de)
    • 1933: Confessionality and Political Attitude
    • 1934: Christian teaching
    • 1934: Confession and Synod
    • 1934: Lecture on the theological declaration on the current situation of the German Evangelical Church
    • 1934: Lutheran Confession today
    • 1934: Church of the Augsburg Confession
  • Small writings (Life and Works IV) , Berlin 1973 ( ISBN 3-87126-129-7 ), therein:
    • 1928: The plight of the rural people
    • 1934: Cross and Reich
    • 1938: Simplicity and the Church
    • 1948: The Sacrament
    • 1950: Mary - the mother of God
    • 1960: ways to unity
    • 1961: Practice in Christianity
    • 1964: The secret of love
  • Between the times :
    • 1927: Finitum capax infiniti
    • 1928: Justification as an exemption from the law
    • 1928: About Lutheran teaching. An argument with Werner Elert
    • 1930: The Embassy of Lausanne and Jerusalem
    • 1933: Confessionality and Political Attitude
  • The revelation and the office. 1932, 2nd edition 1934.
  • Politics and Christianity. Hanseatic Publishing House, 1933.
  • The parish church :
    • Book 2: Confession and Synod , 1934.
    • Book 3: The Bishop of the Congregation , 1934.
    • Volume 4: Lutheran Confession Today , 1934.
  • Christian teaching. 1934, 6th edition 1946.
  • Pastoral care. Practical manual on pastoral care and soul guidance. 1934, 4th edition 1937.
  • Theological and ecclesiastical considerations on the Galatians , Munich: Chr. Kaiser, 1934, 2nd edition 1935.
  • Theological existence today :
    • Issue 16: Church of Augsburg Confession! , 1934.
    • Issue 24: Barmen! , 1935. Digitized , State Church Archive Stuttgart
    • Issue 31: Theology and Church Leadership Johs. 15.3 , 1935.
    • Book 41: God's Law and Human Law , 1936.
    • Issue 49: Sola Fide - that's Lutheran! I, 1937.
    • Booklet 50: Sola Fide - that's Lutheran! II, 1937; therein: The people of Israel (Rom. 10.18-11.29) (online at geschichte-bk-sh.de)
    • Book 56: Simplicity and the Church , 1938.
  • Divine service teaching , three volumes, 1936/1937
    • Vol. 1: The teaching of worship
    • Vol. 2: The church year
    • Vol. 3: Order of worship
  • Why still Lutheran Church? A conversation with the Augsburg Confession. 1949.
  • The sacrament. 1957.
  • Tradition. From the regional church of Schleswig-Holstein to the original church , Itzehoe: Verlag "Die Spur" 1961.
  • To recent church history. Notes and conclusions , Stuttgart: Evangelisches Verlagswerk 1961.
  • The Holy Scriptures. Six chapters on the dogma of the church , Berlin: Verlag "Die Spur" Herbert Dorbandt 1967.


  • Hans Kirsten : Asmussen and Orthodoxy (= The word they should let stahn! Time issues in the light of the Bible, issue 2) . Zwickau: Verlag des Schriftenverein (E. Klärner) (no year).
  • Wilhelm Halfmann : Hans Asmussen, a biographical sketch , in: Walter Bauer, Hellmut Heeger, Friedrich Huebner , Walter Zimmermann (eds.): I believe a holy church. Festschrift for D. Hans Asmussen on his 65th birthday on August 21, 1963 , Stuttgart: Evangelisches Verlagswerk 1963, pp. 33–40.
  • Georg Zenk: Evangelical in catholicity. Ecumenical impulses from the service and work of Hans Asmussen. Vol. I: Text part. Vol. II: Bibliography and apparatus , Frankfurt / M .: Peter Lang 1977.
  • Juha Pihkala: Mystery of Christ. Church with Hans Asmussen since 1945. Writings of the Luther Agricola Society A 17, Helsinki 1978, ISBN 951-9047-11-5 .
  • Herbert Goltzen , Johann Schmidt , Henning Schröer : Art. Asmussen, Hans . In: Theologische Realenzyklopädie 4 (1979), pp. 259-265
  • Enno Konukiewitz: Hans Asmussen, a Lutheran theologian in the church fight . The Lutheran Church, History and Design 6, (1984) 2nd edition Mohn, Gütersloh 1985, ISBN 3-579-00115-9 .
  • Rudolf Halver: Hans Asmussen - the fighter. In: Wolfgang Prehn (Hrsg.): Time to walk the narrow path. Witnesses report from the church fight in Schleswig-Holstein. Kiel 1985, pp. 187-191.
  • Heidi Ditschke: Hans Asmussen. Theology and church politics up to the Altona Confession. Stade 1987.
  • Gerhard Besier : The dispute between Karl Barth and Hans Asmussen - a paradigm for the denominational problem within Protestantism? In: Berliner Theologische Zeitschrift 6 (1988), 103–123.
  • Wolfgang Lehmann: Hans Asmussen. A life for the church. With 21 illustrations, some in color. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1988, ISBN 3-525-55406-0 .
  • Josef Ausermair: Concretion and shape. “Corporeality” as an essential element of a sacramental understanding of the church using the example of the ecclesiological approaches of Paul Tillich , Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Hans Asmussen from an ecumenical point of view . Denominational and controversial theological studies 67. Bonifatius, Paderborn 1997, ISBN 3-87088-875-X .
  • Heinz Eduard Tödt : Hans Asmussen's ideological and theological path to the first synod of the Reich Confessional Synod in Wuppertal-Barmen , in: ders .: accomplices, victims and opponents of the Hitler regime. On the “inner history” of Protestant theology and the Church in the “Third Reich” . Edited by Jörg Dinger and Dirk Schulz, Gütersloh: Chr. Kaiser 1997, pp. 96–104.
  • Karl Hauschildt : Hans Asmussen (1898–1968). A Lutheran theologian in the church struggle. Memories and legacy. Church collection on the Bible and Confession, Hamburg 1998.
  • Josef Ausermair (Ed.): Hans Asmussen in the context of today's ecumenical theology. Studies on systematic theology and ethics 24. Münster 2001, ISBN 3-8258-4852-3 .
  • Reinhart Staats : Hans Asmussen and German anti-Semitism. In: Ders .: Protestants in German history. Historical theological considerations. Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig 2004, ISBN 3-374-02175-1 .
  • Roland Hosselmann: Turn to cultic ontology in the concern of salvation. A controversial theological memory of Hans Asmussen. Studies on systematic theology and ethics 40. LIT, Münster 2004, ISBN 3-8258-7175-4 .
  • Rainer Hering : Asmussen, Hans . In: Franklin Kopitzsch, Dirk Brietzke (Hrsg.): Hamburgische Biographie . tape 5 . Wallstein, Göttingen 2010, ISBN 978-3-8353-0640-0 , p. 29-30 .
  • Jan Langfeldt: The clergyman with the late Hans Asmussen. In: Lutheran Contributions 3/2011, 180–187.
  • Siegfried Hermle: Art. Asmussen, Hans. In: Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart , 4th ed., Vol. 1, 1998, Col. 843.
  • Johannes Rempel : Hans Asmussen , in: ders .: Jump over the wall with God. From Mennonite farm boy in the Urals to pastor in Kiel . Edited by Hans-Joachim Ramm, Husum: Matthiesen 2013, pp. 470–486; also p. 453 ff.
  • Karl Ludwig Kohlwage , Manfred Kamper, Jens-Hinrich Pörksen (eds.): “What is right before God”. Church struggle and theological foundation for the new beginning of the church in Schleswig-Holstein after 1945. Documentation of a conference in Breklum 2015 . Compiled and edited by Rudolf Hinz and Simeon Schildt in collaboration with Peter Godzik , Johannes Jürgensen and Kurt Triebel, Husum: Matthiesen Verlag 2015, ISBN 978-3-7868-5306-0 .
  • Karl Ludwig Kohlwage, Manfred Kamper, Jens-Hinrich Pörksen (eds.): “Do what he tells you!” The reconstruction of the Schleswig-Holstein regional church after the Second World War. Documentation of a conference in Breklum 2017. Compiled and edited by Peter Godzik, Rudolf Hinz and Simeon Schildt , Husum: Matthiesen Verlag 2018, ISBN 978-3-7868-5307-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. http://www.geschichte-bk-sh.de/fileadmin/user_upload/BK_im_Reich/VKL_an_Hitler_1936_k.pdf
  2. Eberhard Röhm , Jörg Thierfelder : Jews, Christians, Germans. Volume 2 / I: 1935-1938. Disenfranchised . Calwer, Stuttgart 1992, pp. 184f., ISBN 3-7668-3022-8
  3. Eberhard Röhm, Jörg Thierfelder: Evangelical Church between cross and swastika. Pictures and texts from an exhibition . Calwer, Stuttgart 3rd ed. 1983, pp. 98ff., ISBN 3-7668-0688-2
  4. ^ Heinrich Vogel , Günther Harder : Task and path of the Church University Berlin 1935–1955 . Berlin 1956, pp. 58-61.
  5. Evangelical Lutheran Church Newspaper 7/1958, p. 331.
    Kirchliches Jahrbuch 1958. pp. 34–36.
    Ten counter-theses by Probst Asmussen. 1958. In: Otto Dibelius Working Group (Ed.):Otto Dibelius 1880-1967.Berlin 2009, pp. 118-120; PDF-S. 126-128
  6. https://www.historisches-lexikon-bayerns.de/Lexikon/Zwischen_den_Zeiten_(ZdZ)

Web links