Johannes Schwartzkopff

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Theodor Johannes Schwartzkopff (born August 2, 1889 in Wolfsburg , Gardelegen district , † June 22, 1968 in Berlin ) was a German Protestant clergyman and promoter of Ernst Barlach's work .


Johannes Schwartzkopff was the son of a pastor. He grew up largely in Berlin, where his father David Schwartzkopff took over a pastoral position in the Church of Reconciliation (Berlin-Mitte) in 1896 and initially worked as a part-time and later full-time director of the Berlin City Mission .

He attended the Humboldt High School (Berlin-Tegel) , which he graduated from high school in 1908, and studied Protestant theology at the universities of Tübingen , Berlin and Halle . In 1911 he took part in the conference of the Christian Student Union in Istanbul and then made a trip through Greece. An eye disease made it necessary to postpone his first theological exam, which he passed on the second attempt in spring 1912. He served his seminar time in the seminary of the Church of the Old Prussian Union in Naumburg am Queis , now Nowogrodziec . In April 1914 he was ordained pastor of the Evangelical Church of the Old Prussian Union. His first job was that of an assistant pastor with his uncle in Bromberg, now Bydgoszcz .

In 1915/16 he did military service as a chaplain ; in January 1916 he was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class.

Evangelical Church of Varchentin

In the spring of 1917 he entered the service of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Mecklenburg and became a pastor in Varchentin . Here he soon developed an extensive popular missionary activity that had an impact far beyond the community. In 1920 he was one of the founding members of the pastoral association for theological deepening and popular church work , which in cooperation with Rostock theology professors offered free time and from 1925 on the so-called "build-up week". The construction week took place five times up to 1933 and offered a variety of events over the entire area of ​​the regional church over 14 days.

The Float (1970)

In 1925 Schwartzkopff was appointed cathedral preacher at Güstrow Cathedral and also took over religious instruction at the Güstrow Cathedral School . His acquaintance and later friendship with Ernst Barlach began in his first year in office in Güstrow. Schwartzkopff convinced Barlach to create a memorial for the cathedral. The floating was inaugurated in 1927. Schwartzkopff defended Barlach's work from the start. Schwartzkopff also supported Barlach in the run-up to the erection of the memorial in Magdeburg Cathedral .

The assumption of power by the German Christians in the Mecklenburg regional church in 1933 prevented Schwartzkopff's planned appointment as state superintendent in Rostock . He soon became one of the leading members of the Pastors' Emergency League and the Confessing Church in Mecklenburg. In February 1934 he was temporarily removed from office for the first time by the German-Christian church authorities. In June 1934 he and six other pastors ( Gottfried Holtz , Henning Fahrenheim , Hans Werner Ohse and Christian Berg from Boizenburg , Viktor Wittrock from Schwerin and Walter Pagels from Rostock) were tried in a special court in Schwerin for violating the treachery ordinance and for "degrading" Sentenced by the National Socialist state to four months in prison, but pardoned in the course of a general amnesty. The proceedings led to Schwartzkopff's health problems being transferred to Mölln (Mecklenburg) . In 1935 he was banned from speaking. His successor in Güstrow, the German Christian state superintendent Friedrich Kentmann , arranged for the Barlach memorial to be removed from the cathedral in 1937.

Schwartzkopff left Mecklenburg on May 1, 1937 and accepted an appointment at the Immanuel Church (Berlin). At the end of October 1938 he held the funeral service for Ernst Barlach in his Güstrow studio and headed the funeral in Ratzeburg . He was appointed to the estate committee for the administration of Barlach's artistic estate, to which he belonged until his death.

Immanuel Church (Berlin)

In Berlin, in addition to his community work, he provided practical help in supporting oppressed Jews and Christians who were affected by the Nuremberg Laws . In 1937 he was briefly imprisoned in Plötzensee . Further arrests took place in 1938 and 1939. A trial in March 1939 resulted in an acquittal. During the Second World War , Schwartzkopff's help for the persecuted intensified. In 1944 he baptized and confirmed the later writer Sigmar Schollak , who came from a mixed marriage . He temporarily offered hiding places and placed persecuted people in parsonages in Mecklenburg, for example the young woman Rosa Dessauer, who found shelter in various parsonages and thus survived.

In 1947 he was appointed part-time consistorial councilor and member of the Berlin upper church council. The station mission is part of his area of ​​responsibility, but its activities in the GDR were prohibited in 1956. At the same time he was in charge of the first Barlach exhibition in Berlin after the war. In 1950 he was able to undertake a lecture tour through Barlach to Sweden and Denmark. He campaigned for the re-erection of the memorial in Güstrow Cathedral and spoke at the re-inauguration in 1952. Elmar Jansen named him loyal patron saint of the Angel of Güstrow in an obituary .

In January 1958, Schwartzkopff retired and moved to West Berlin .

He was married to the officer's daughter Helene, born in August 1914. von Loeper († 1963). The couple had two sons, Johann Georg (* 1917) and Hartmut (* 1923) and their daughter Irmtraud (* 1920). After the death of his wife in 1964, he married his former community helper Hilde, geb. Kurzawa.


  • The divine in nature. Railway, Schwerin [1924]
  • Structure: Contributions from a church development week in Mecklenburg. Railway, Schwerin 1925


  • Christian Bunners : The Güstrow cathedral preacher Johannes Schwartzkopff and Ernst Barlach: a contribution to religious and ecclesiastical resistance in Mecklenburg. In: Heidi Beutin (ed.): Ernst Barlach (1870–1938): his life, his work, his persecution in the Nazi dictatorship. Lectures at the conference in Berlin from May 30th-1st June 2008 on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the artist's death. Lang, Frankfurt am Main [a. a.] 2009, ISBN 978-3-631-58817-8 , pp. 217-243
  • Jonas Herms: With strength and light against the demons of the time. The life of the pastor Johannes Schwartzkopff. Past Publishing, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-86408-118-7

Web links

Commons : Johannes Schwartzkopff  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. See also Tom Crepon : Friedrich Schult. Friend Ernst Barlach. Demmler, Schwerin 1997, ISBN 3-910150-37-3 , p. 134 f.
  2. Herms (lit.), p. 58
  3. ^ Refuge in the rectory .  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved August 10, 2013@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  4. Elmar Jansen: Faithful patron saint of Engels von Güstrow: in memory of Pastor Johannes Schwartzkopff. In: Neue Zeit Republic edition. Berlin. 1968, 176, p. 3 (July 27, 1968)