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German Missions in British India
The cessation of the European hostilities in World War II brought little relief for the German families interned in British India, at least in the immediate months following the war. At Satara, Selma Heller remembered, "for though the war had come to an end in May, 1945, we noticed absolutely nothing. ..." (1) With the collapse of Nazi Germany, the "hardest time in camp" (2) began for the German internees. For some it was only a case "from May, 1945, until April, 1946," (3) but for others it continued until their eventual departure from India. The opening months of peace ushered in scarcely any change to the camp life and activities, except that the pressures from the National Socialists were now history. Now the waiting game became predominant and where any move might bring some hope for the missionary families.
Realizing that there was no hope for their return to the Indian Church, (4) the Missions personnel had "prepared for home service" (5) in the German Church. The unqualified pastors-to-be had passed their theological exams. Yet the question of a definite day of repatriation to Germany was clouded in the distant future. Alma Tauscher expressed their feelings in the comment: "We felt that was what irritated us most. The war was long over. Why should we have to stay when the war had already been over for a year?" (6)
Five months following the defeat of the Third Reich and the evaporation of the Nazi ideologies, the first signs of a change in the British war policies towards the German nationals became apparent. In the interests of the Lutheran churches established by the German Societies, certain efforts were made before the October, 1945, Executive Meeting of the N.C.C. at Nagpur. (7) According to the minutes, the following report was made:
"Repatriation of German Missionary Internees.
The Secretary has been corresponding with the Home Department of the Government of India on this matter, and has also interviewed the Secretaries of that Department at New Delhi. The request of the Lutheran Federation for the employment of certain German missionaries in non-German Missions has been communicated to the Government and is receiving their attention.
On October 6, 1945, the N.C.C. was informed ... that the Government have decided to adopt the following policy in regard to all enemy foreigners including missionaries:
What the Government's repatriation policy amounted to in 1945, the N.C.C. Executive Committee noted once more on the subject of the German Missions personnel;
... that except for certain hard cases all German missionary internees will he repatriated to Germany and that no German missionary will he ordinarily allowed to return to India for a period of five years as was the case after the last war. The NCC Executive Committee passed the following resolution:
The news of the repatriation policy and of the five-year ban from India reached the missionaries in camp, yet it was not unexpected news. Karl and Selma Heller had experienced a similar procedure after World War I. (10) Selma Heller recalled to mind, that in 1945,
Now beginning with October, an unsettling mood arose among the Lutheran missionaries, for German nationals were gradually being released from the internment and the parole camps in British India. The remaining Jewish emigrants and refugees were naturally awarded their freedom finally. Yet the repatriation policy decreed by the Government offered little hope for any special generosity. (12) However, there were engineers and businessmen with their families, as well as the Catholic priests, who were granted their releases.
The criterion "for relaxation from this rule" (13) of the repatriation policy hinged on the urgency and on the necessity of an individual being required for a specific task by a business, a firm or a church institution in India. For the missionary families, as for the churches established by the German Societies, 1946 became a crucial year for the Indian Church. At Satara, "little by little the camp became emptier. ... There a technician disappeared; there a businessman with his family left from the camp." (14) "For there were the engineers and the business people who were needed by their firms." (15) It was sometimes demoralizing for those of an uncontested character and record, yet
Measured in the perspectives of time and circumstances, when the war fever and the fears had subsided, British generosity increased in the closing months of the Raj and in the face of the impending Independence of India. (17)
Among the German nationals there were the Roman Catholic priests and also the Evangelical-Lutheran missionaries of the four German Societies. The manner in which these two groups of missionaries were handled by their church authorities and the way the "relaxation of this rule" for release was approached by their own leaders stand out with contrasts. In the waiting game of releases, it became a now or never cause of gaining further relaxations to the rule.
The visit to India of Dr. John W. Decker, Secretary of the International Missionary Council, the New York branch, and successor to A.L. Warnshuis, and Decker's attendance at the "meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Christian Council, held at Nagpur, February 15-17, 1945, (18) greatly assisted in making a bridge between the Indian and the American Churches. Decker's presence gave him the opportunity to acquaint himself with the situation as well as the leaders with whom he would later correspond.
As "representative of the Foreign Missions Conference of Switzerland," (19) Adolf Streckeisen had also attended the Nagpur meeting. On October 18th he wrote to Decker:
The Roman Catholics' "own way of approach" was to gain the freedom of as many of their interned brethren and as early as possible. They attempted to regain their German missionaries, veterans of India and trained and versed in one or more of the Indian languages. The Roman Catholic Church saw the urgency of the situation and the only rational way was to harness these brethren immediately in the Church in India. In contrast Streckeisen seemed to be insulted, in that the Protestants were lagging too far behind the Catholic brethren. If this was a failure, who was responsible for the procrastination? As one of the internees, Richard Lipp shed some light on this subject:
The Roman Catholic organizational structure with its universal character saw the greatest consequence for its church and mission labours in India, and for that reason it was militant in its desire to have its priests and missionaries back. Already by October, 1945, they were triumphant with their first nine men leaving camp. Karl Bareiss, not released by the British authorities and not accepted by his Swiss Basel brethren, made this observation:
The Roman Catholic Church's own way of approach was in the image of the militant church, and each German missionary was an added warrior for the increasing ranks of the Church in India. The Protestant missionaries in internment did not receive the same quickened support, at least when the opportunity still existed in the years 1945 and 1946.
Prior to the close of World War II certain overtures were made by the National Christian Council in seeking a better understanding with the Home Department, similar to J. Z. Hodge's consultations with Conran-Smith and others in 1939 and 1940. As an example, Dr. Rajah B. Manikam, N.C.C. Secretary, "interviewed the Home Secretary on October 23rd, 1944." (23) Manikam, a Tamil Lutheran, pointed out;
On February 15-17, 1945, it was brought to the attention of the N.C.C. Executive Committee, that "negotiations were entered into with the Government of India regarding the release of one of the Lutheran missionaries, but the Government could not see their way to release him." (25) Further, the Committee made the following motion:
These were the beginnings of the renewed consultations and endeavours, though the missionaries on the other hand clearly had premonitions of their repatriation.
Following the war, Manikam continued to correspond with the Home Department concerning the interned families. At "the request of the Lutheran Federation for the employment of certain German missionaries, ..." (27) i.e., "the services of Rev. H. Meyer and Rev. R. Tauscher" for the Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church, (28) the possibility of retaining some of these men and women for the Church in India took on a probable trend. Manikam admitted to Decker that the "Indian leadership of the (Jeypore) Church is poor." (29) At any rate, it was thought that the missionaries might at least serve, if only for a while, with "non-German Missions," (30) be they American or European Lutheran Societies. This was the contention of Karl Bareiss (as discussed later) and the pattern which the Roman Catholic Church had used. Thus, only in October, 1945, the N.C.C. Executive Committee passed this resolution:
The German missionary himself had little choice or say in the matter, so Selma Heller described the situation then.
Restricted from making an appeal to friends, organizations or mission churches, "we had to wait until we were fetched." (33) And in the year 1945 not a single German Evangelical-Lutheran missionary had departed from Satara or Purandhar.
It was not the wish of every missionary to remain in British India. Johannes Stosch, Wilhelm Bräsen and Otto Tiedt had not seen their wives since 1937 or 1938 when they came out to India alone, or the couples Heller and Tauscher had children in Germany from the pre-war years. From Germany there were requests made for some of the internees, as in the case of a Pfarrer Pompe's letter in October, 1945;
Pompe's letter of appeal to Professor Knut B. Westman at Uppsala was in turn forwarded to Norman Goodall of the I.M.C. in London. In the latter's absence Betty Gibson acknowedged Westman's letter and informed him, "We have been receiving quite a number of inquiries through different sources from various missionary societies with regard to their people and their work abroad." (35) But the influence of the I.M.C. upon Whitehall and the Government of India had changed substantially from the days of William Paton, the man who "drove himself unmercifully beyond human endurance" (36) until his death on August 21st, 1943. (37) With the courage of a Christian warrior, Paton had so ably influenced his Government to understand Christian Missions in the British colonies.
Then in December, 1945, in the interest of the German families, a more vigorous approach was initiated by the increased role of the Federation of Lutheran Churches in India. If the N.C.C., in spite of its consultations and the correspondence with the Home Department, had to this date no appreciable results, then it was time for the other Lutherans in India to act prudently and efficiently before it was too late and all the German missionaries were repatriated and banned from India. The Indian Church needed these men and women, and the Missions personnel loved their Indian families, (38) knew their languages, taught their young and adults, and came to serve in India as all the other Christian missionaries.
At the December 4th meeting of the Lutheran Federation's Executive Council, some guidelines and requests were passed as resolutions:
While the Roman Catholics were already receiving their interned missionaries back, the Lutheran Federation was forced to assemble and make these resolutions, indicating once more its "strong desire" for "the N.C.C. to use its good offices to secure" some of the wanted German brethren. The names of the interned missionaries had been mentioned often enough, and the resolutions appeared to be a form of friendly persuasion that the N.C.C. Secretary Manikam get things moving in the interest of the German Missions. In this matter Manikam's letter to Goodall noted:
These pressing matters were not only discussed and resolutions passed at the December 4th meeting, but they were once; again taken up at "an enlarged meeting of the Executive Council (Lutheran) ... at Madras on December 28-29," (41) 1945, placing further responsibility on the N.C.C. to use its influence as the leading non-Roman body of the Indian Christian Church. The N.C.C. Secretary in turn did act, stating:
Obviously Lipp, Meyer and Tauscher fell into the category of those who could be accepted, as "there was nothing politically against them." (43) And at this stage, from the two autonomous Lutheran churches, the Gossner and the Tamil (Leipzig) Evangelical Lutheran Churches, "no definite recommendations could be expected at least for some time." (44) In the case of the Leipzig Mission, the Tamil Church's northern field, Bishop Sandegren of Tranquebar was once more on vacation in Sweden. (45) "As for Mr. Stosch the Gossner Church Council has been somewhat hesitant about inviting him to Ranchi because of the military occupation of the Church compound." (46)
However, Manikam introduced another category in a subsequent letter to Norman Goodall:
It has not been possible for them to release any of the others owing to their adverse record. ...
From Manikam's communique one is made to believe that these five releases close the case concerning the Lutheran missionaries, particularly since the remaining 23 German brethren all fall into the realm of having "adverse record(s)," and the next stage is to await their repatriation. For the N.C.C. Secretary the issue had now been fully regulated.
The February news was cause for joy, even if it was four months after the earliest Roman Catholic releases. Yet the War Emergency Committee of the Lutheran Federation met on February 26th at Bezwada again. In gratitude, these Lutherans, with Manikam in attendance,
Stosch, once the President of the Gossner Church, was granted his release by the Government, but an invitation from his Church Council remained delinquent. For that reason, "this committee further requested the N.C.C. Secretary to confer with the President of the Gossner Church regarding the employment of the Rev. J. Stosch in Ranchi District." (50)
Among the post-war developments mentioned, it was also noted: "The Lutheran Federation is making arrangements for the care or the disposal of the belongings of German missionaries if and when repatriated." (51) And following a statement on the War Emergency Fund, its receipts, payments and balance, the Committee made three further resolutions, the most important being; "That the Secretary of the N.C.C. be asked to confer further with the Home Department, Government of India, regarding the cases of the unreleased German missionaries." (52)
The Lutheran Federation and its War Emergency Committee continued to press for the release of additional German brethren, obviously since the Government had indicated a growing generosity towards their appeals. From the Federation resolutions, one might draw some conclusions:
Nevertheless, the procedure for gaining the release of a German missionary from a camp became entangled in a complicated process of successive and conditional stages.
A six (or more) point process of release seemed to develop;
If one step in the intricate procedure was unintentionally or intentionally omitted, i.e. the missionary's guarantee papers were pushed aside and left to rest on the table, the chances for a particular individual to remain in India were then negligible. It was a tedious system to contrast it with the direct approach of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. There was a reward in fighting "to secure the retention of the missionaries in question" (62) for the Lutheran churches.
By the time the February news of the five missionary releases reached the parole camps, e.g. Richard Lipp at Purandhar, and the necessary "undertakings" had been signed, it was March, 1946. (63) Ten months after the collapse of Nazi Germany and five months after the release of the first Catholic priests, the release orders arrived. Yet what was good news for these five families, was at the same time a disturbing experience for the others. Why should one missionary be chosen and another be rejected by the same mission church? Nevertheless, the Lutheran Federation and the N.C.C. had only achieved their first major goal.
It was altogether a painful situation of missionary families interned six years, a world war nearly a year behind them and everyone waiting in British India for their repatriation day. Suddenly five, all without question worthy candidates and invaluable leaders for the continuing work of the Indian Church, were granted their freedom. Except for six brethren applying for repatriation, (64) all interned were prepared to return to the mission churches.
While the evaluations and the judgments continued to be made on these missionaries by others "behind the scenes," (65) it was a pathetic guessing game in the camps, as no one was able to make an appeal outside. Not to be accepted by the mission church which they had served these years, meant a compulsory eviction and a ban from an adopted land.
At first the Government of India sanctioned the re lease of at least one man from each mission church, and it is interesting to note some of the developments leading up to the release orders of March, 1946. From the Breklum Mission Heinrich Meyer and Rudolf Tauscher, as the former President of the Mission Church and as the missionary with the longest period of service (since 1927), respectively, were unanimously requested by the Jeypore Evangelical Lutheran Church. (66) Manikam had stated that he himself "made a special plea for the immediate release" (67) of these two men. In fact, in February, 1945, before the close of the war, Manikam indicated to Decker, that "we commend to the Federation the needs of the West Jeypore Church … for two resident missionaries." (68)
From the Basel Mission Richard Lipp, who during the war had emphasized his missionary vocation and his task to not get politically involved, (69) was the only choice of the Swiss personnel. Based on what had been a "hitherto considerable correspondence," (70) Adolf Streckeisen, "Superintendent of the Basel Mission, has given the necessary undertaking in the case of Mr. Lipp." (71) Streckeisen accepted the token offer of the Government, but he felt strongly that "as far as our Mission is concerned, we confine ourselves to one family - Rev. and Mrs. R. Lipp." (72) This admission of Streckeisen's attitude stood in contrast to the Basel Mission Church, when the Indian church leaders voted 14 to 2 in favour of the resolution: "The Synod welcomes heartily missionaries who thus are enabled to come back and assures them that the bond of Christian fellowship with them is as strong as ever." (73) The Indian Christians spoke of "missionaries", while the Swiss personnel, still very much the administrators, spoke of "one family". Earlier in the year Manikam had commented on the Mission to Decker; "I do not believe that in other ways Indian leadership has been greatly countenanced or encouraged." (74)
From the Gossner Mission Johannes Stosch, a missionary to India since 1908 and Chairman of the Mission as well as President of the Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church until his resignation in 1942, was the natural person to be invited by his Church. However,
The initiative for Stosch's return began, as Manikam noted;
On March 5th, 1946, at Nagpur the N.C.C. Secretary
And on March 9th Manikam conveyed the news to the I.M.C.:
Rajah Manikam also pointed out to Betty Gibson in London,
On precisely the same day, April 23rd, 1946, and at the Parole Camp of Satara, Stosch also wrote to London;
In May, 1946, an entire year following World War II, Stosch departed from Satara to take up the teaching position at the Lohardaga Seminary. Since "the Government of India have tabooed the entry of German missionaries into this country for the next five years," (81) there existed the obstacle "regarding his wife and daughter joining him in India." (82) For that reason Stosch did not see the year out in India. On November 19th Manikam wrote to Betty Gibson:
Yet it is not difficult to understand Stosch's desire to depart from India, considering the initial reluctance of the Gossner Church to extend him an invitation, but also that his wife and his daughter would not be allowed to come out to the British colony. The departure of Johannes Stosch from the Indian scene brought to a close the career of one of Germany's most able missionaries of the 20th century on the sub-continent and a service to the Indian Church over a span of nearly 40 years, interrupted and scarred by two world wars and the Gossner Church's many difficulties.
From the Leipzig Mission, much to the surprise of everyone, Dr. Walter Graefe was selected, but more than any other person he seemed to unleash an unrest among the missionary families and some complications for the N.C.C. One missionary's comment was: "That they permitted Graefe to go free and that they sent Gäbler home, was obviously a mistake, for Graefe was certainly everything else but a missionary. He was a language researcher" (84) and a scholar of Indian religions. Not only was Graefe's release unexpected, but he had been favoured before Paul Gäbler, the Leipzig Mission chairman. Manikam also expressed his amazement in the selection, "We did not ask for his release, nor did the Lutheran Federation, but he was released because there was nothing against him in his political record." (85) It also substantiated the position that "the Tamil Lutheran Church has not yet taken any definite action for the retention of any of its missionaries." (86) Thus Manikam tried to explain to Norman Goodall the meaning of Graefe's freedom;
At any rate, regarding "Dr. Graefe, there was a lot said about him going back to the field. There were a lot of un-pleasant things said about people staying or not staying." (88) It was quite understandable that Graefe's selection caused some turmoil, for of the three strictly German Lutheran Missions, the Leipzig Society work, under the care of the Church of Sweden Mission, was the only Mission which did not see its chairman, Paul Gäbler, invited by his church.
One explanation for Graefe's release, beyond his clean political record and also Manikam's evaluation, was the fact "that Mrs. Graefe was Secretary to the Commandant (Fern), Satara Camp, and that this had much to do with their release." (89) The Graefes departed from the parole camp and he went to serve at the Department of Modern European languages, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. (90) In this manner a German researcher was retained for India.
According to Selma Heller's observations and the speculation among the internees, certain criteria were necessary to a release order;
They were strictly theories, but they were born of experience and much time for contemplation.
March, 1946, five German missionary families were granted permits to leave internment; it would be some weeks before they all had departed. The remaining families were still very much internees and destined for Germany.
April, 1946, brought encouraging signs for the interned Lutheran families. Another release, on account of further appeals, was indicative now that the Government of India was going beyond the token releases of "one experienced missionary in each of the four important churches and missions." (93) Also, "in the spring of 1946 some of the smaller camps were dissolved, among them also the larger one at Purandhar, and from there the internees ..." were accommodated at Satara. (94) Through this move all the German missionary families, except for the five already released and the three men at Dehra Dun, were now assembled for their eventual journey to Germany. Yet the closing down of the other camps meant that the Jewish and the German national families continued to depart in freedom. (95) According to one family transferred from Purandhar,
Those families transferred from the hill fort spent only a brief seven months at Satara. Yet it too was an uncertain time; "as the International Missionary Council's May, 1946, Bulletin stated, 'A survey ... presents a rather monotonous picture of people carrying on doggedly or waiting patiently for deliverance.'" (97)
In April the first major break-through in the Government's policy on releases occurred, supporting Manikam's view "that the Government of India have been very good to German missionaries in the country and have been very generous and kind in their treatment of them." (98) Manikam wrote to Betty Gibson over the latest development:
Traugott Jungjohann's release meant that the third Breklum man of a total of six brethren leaving the parole camps was now permitted to return to his mission church work. One might conjecture that an influential factor in Jungjohann's freedom was due to his excellent service as Commandant Fern's "economic minister" at Satara. His release supported Selma Heller's observations, mentioned above under point 3. (100) Jungjohann's release from the parole settlement, contrast to the first token releases, now awakened a real hope for the remaining Missions personnel. It was well known that the Jeypore District Commissioner thought well of his German missionaries. Yet more so, Jungjohann's freedom to depart disqualified Manikam's March, 1946, statement - "It has not been possible for them to release any of the others owing to their adverse record." (101) And Jungjohann's release gave new impetus for those outside the camp; for
In the same April 23rd letter, Manikam explained to Gibson:
The Lutheran Federation recommendations of Paul Gäbler, the Leipzig Mission chairman, and Wolfgang Gerlach, a younger missionary with administrative ability at the Shiyali School, were short lived. The Tamil Church vote indicated certain fears towards the German brethren returning to take up the positions which the Indian leadership had carried in their absence. Manikam had also spoken of the tensions between the Swedes and the Germans, though the first group were the administrators in freedom and the other the hapless internees at the mercy of others. Furthermore, if Sigfrid Estborn was representative of the erroneous, inexcusable thinking of the Swedes, then who could tolerate "the German missionaries, some of whom were members of the Nazi party and had openly propagated Nazism, ..." (104) to be in their midst again.
It was actually the junior missionary Gerlach who was most 'in demand' of the Leipzig men, and not Gäbler, the trusted and experienced head of the Mission. Gerlach was needed for his services at the Shiyali School, hut from the position of the Government of India, his release seemed unlikely, since he was one of the two Leipzig men not released on parole in the few months of 1940. (105) How often did each of the remaining 22 missionary internees have the occasion and the time to make a self-evaluation or to attempt to give a justifiable explanation for the lack of an invitation from his mission church and his continued presence in the parole camp? Gäbler and Gerlach were two brethren who never had a chance, even as the Government of India became increasingly "very generous and kind in their treatment" of the German families. (106)
April in Satara came and went, and only the Breklum missionary Jungjohann received his release order. The hot season was once again upon the land and upon the internees in the barracks. For the months of May and June, the British officials, most Christian missionaries and the more affluent Indians had departed for one of the many wonderful hill-stations of India. The 'early April' transfer from Purandhar to Satara, from an altitude of 3.600 feet down to, 2.300 feet, seemed to be a particularly harsh measure for these families with babies and children. Likely the British needed the Purandhar sanatorium facilities for their own personnel.
From outside the camp there was little fresh news in these vacation months. Inside the camp the families saw the weeks drag on, waiting for deliverance from the heat in the barracks and from the uncertain future. With the anticipated repatriation already announced in October, 1945, so one missionary said, "Since we knew nothing about all the, things (outside the camp), we prepared ourselves for the journey home." (107) In the summer heat, followed by the monsoon rains, the families prepared themselves for Europe;
There were other concerns about returning to the Vaterland, and Christian Lohse envisioned one problem:
After a three-month lull for the holidays, a respite came to "the monotonous picture of people carrying on doggedly" (110) at the Satara Parole Camp;
This was the case of the Karl Hellers (Leipzig Mission); for
The Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church eventually accepted the offer of the Government, as Selma Heller stated, "They took my husband out of necessity." (113) Seemingly "they did not want him back, as he was quite enterprising; yet they still did receive him back" (114) to assist in the financial concerns and administration of the Tamil Church.
In August a most encouraging event occurred, here retold by Frau Heller;
By August, 1946, the Government of India and the N.C.C. knew fairly well how the German missionary families were going to fare regarding their releases, and as Manikam wrote, "the financial implication of such a procedure;" (117)
The Lutheran Federation was dependent on the world-wide efforts for the 'Orphaned Missions' under the guidance of the I.M.C. in London and New York, but strongly supported by the Lutheran Churches of America and the Lutheran World Convention. (119) From their post-war budgets the American Lutheran organizations forwarded substantial financial aid for the many orphaned Lutheran mission churches in the world. (120)
From British India Manikam's August 20th letter gave Betty Gibson this elaborate survey:
As a point of clarification, Betty Gibson's letter to Walter Freytag mentioned the fact that "Dr. Manikam's letter of August 20th indicated that 11 missionaries were to be kept in detention, I presume, with the possibility of later release in India." (122) Yet in her closing paragraph, she conceded to Freytag the very opposite; "... but I expect that they too will be sent home now." (123)
With only a year remaining for India's Independence set for August 15th, 1947, the British Government made the generous offer of the above "8 missionaries" to the N.C.C. and the Indian Church. In this regard Manikam could write:
And with the Government's increasingly generous policy, it was the thinking among the missionaries, as expressed by Christian Lohse, that "if the N.C.C. had claimed us, we could all have been released. Each private person, ... whoever he might have been, who seriously was requested, ... he was released." (125)
One further glimpse into the Central Internment Camp at Dehra Dun might offer an insight into the continuing problems of the post-war years. Most of the German missionaries from the Dutch East Indies were quartered at this camp; and following the death of Fritz Mack (Basel), only Otto Tiedt and Hans Röver (both Leipzig), and Wilhelm Bräsen (Breklum) remained at Premnagar from the brethren once serving with the Missionary Societies to British India. Tiedt described how heavily these post-war months hung upon the internees:
Whatever the Government plans may have been for the German nationals, the missionaries had little knowledge regarding their future. The British seemed to be moving extremely cautiously. Yet besides the YMCA and the International Red Cross personnel in India, some further church organizations offered assistance. In one case Tiedt noted:
Now I had written a letter, because we also wanted Christian literature for the camp. And I knew who to write to ... (in) the Berlin Church Foreign Office. ... They suggested that I turn to a certain person, Olivier Béguin, in Geneva. And then he concerned himself with supplying us Christian literature, with novels and whatever else they were permitted to send, though everything could not be sent out. In this manner we formed our own library. ... (129)
Ever since World War II was over, the male internees at Dehra Dun could only look forward to the happy reunions with their families in Germany, and the continuing supply of literature from the World Council of Churches was no substitute. Tiedt, as a camp pastor, appealed to Béguin again;
These were the customary internment complaints, but Tiedt's letter pointed to a grave disappointment among the German brethren. His frank letter was properly channelled. Béguin, in his letter of October 22nd, 1946, appealed to Norman Goodall for assistance:
It was a discouraging situation, to say the least, and what further encouragement the Church organizations were able to render in this period is difficult to assess.
After the seven years of internment, the missionaries, in their role as the camp chaplains, expressed a growing indignation. It was not only a case of having "lost courage" under the futile detention, hut the brethren had lost faith in the representatives of the Christian Church outside the camps. What had happened to the spirit of Tambaram? It was even more surprising how much courage Tiedt and his colleagues had, considering the physical and the psychological pressures, the barbed-wire fences and guarded gates, and then the isolation or the desertion behind the barracks life. Wilhelm Bräsen (Breklum) reiterated what non-Germans seemingly were not able to understand for lack of the experience, namely, "the meanest thing which one can afflict upon any creature is to place him behind barbed wire and fences," (132) and strictly because of his nationality.
In the closing months of internment another enlightening correspondence was carried on between Hans Röver (Leipzig) and Betty Gibson in London. In writing to Röver at Dehra Dun, Gibson informed him that Walter Graefe of his Mission had been permitted "to return to missionary work" and that a "special appeal to the Government" had been made for Gäbler and Gerlach. (133) Röver was aware of these developments. Also Betty Gibson consoled him with the news:
Even less comforting for the missionaries under detention was the awareness of a growing alienation with their mission churches. Here Gibson pointed out the hard facts to Röver;
Gibson's delineation on the critical spirit of the mission churches was a realistic appraisal, though it was a depressing note for those who suddenly had "no choice" in the affairs of the mission work. As inmate No. 91 of the Dehra Dun Internment Camp, Röver had already been granted a release by the Government in August, 1946, yet he lacked the necessary undertaking from his mission church or the N.C.C.
Hans Röver's reply to Betty Gibson was also direct;
In reference to the appeal for Gäbler and Gerlach, he wrote:
Röver closed his letter to Gibson with this hope:
In 1946 British India was already very much aware of the impending independence of the country by August, 1947. It was impossible to evaluate the Church and the mission scene without sensing the national and the chauvinistic aspirations of the Indian people. Most Indians rejoiced at the thought, that finally the white rulers of the British Raj were once and for all times withdrawing. This was not the case among all Christians in the mission churches, yet there were others who could not he withheld from the political climate in the land. This latter group rightly enhanced the coming of age of the Indian Church. (139) At the same time, Hans Röver had pointed out the danger in the German Church during the Nazi period of mixing up the political and religious matters. (140)
The approaching independence and the nationalistic sentiments of Indian Christians greatly affected the German missionaries' future. It is true that the Christian Church in India sought its own independence, yet it still could "not become autonomous with regard to the finances." (141) It was clear to the German brethren that their release depended on "those whom the Indian Church is ready to receive," yet the one and possibly the only person who was able to press for the return of each missionary, as in Stosch's return to Ranchi, was the N.C.C. Secretary, Rajah Manikam.
During 1945 and 1946, in the meetings of the Lutheran Federation of India and its War Emergency Committee, in the conferences with the leaders of the German Mission churches, at the N.C.C. Executive meetings as well as their general gatherings, in the consultations with the Government of India and in the correspondence with the I.M.C. (London and New York) and the Lutheran leaders in America, no other church figure in India stands out so dominantly, especially on the question of German Missions, as the Lutheran Dr. Rajah Bushanam Manikam, as the N.C.C. Executive Secretary.
Manikam was born in Cuddalore, also a station founded by the Danish-Halle Mission in 1737, revived again by the Leipzig Mission in 1856 and finally brought under the Danish Missionary Society work. Thus Manikam came out of the heart of the Leipzig Mission field and the Tamil Lutheran Church. After having received his Ph.D. degree from Columbia University, New York, from 1929 to 1937 he taught at an American Lutheran institution, the Andhra Christian College at Guntur. Thereupon he joined the National Christian Council team as the Secretary of Christian Education. (142) In 1941, upon the retirement of J. Z. Hodge, Manikam and Dr. Charles Wesley Ranson served jointly through 1945 as Secretaries of the N.C.C. (143) In reference to World War II,
The turbulent, politically-oriented years of 1945-1947 in the post-war British era were crucial for the country, for the Indian Church and for the foreign missionaries. The trend towards indigenous, autonomous churches was well overdue, and yet it was problematic on most mission fields. (145) The question of the withdrawal of the German Missions personnel from the churches and the yielding of their responsibilities, i.e. the Gossner and the Breklum fields, had been resolved largely by the internment of the missionaries. Yet in the post-war period, when the men and women so dearly yearned to return to their mission churches, their acceptance or their rejection was conditional to the political climate among the Indian Christians. These churches, seeking their own identity, were influenced by the N.C.C. and Rajah Manikam. The observation of a German missionary was correct, in that there was both "the politics of the Government and the politics of the N.C.C." (146)
It would be an evasive gesture not to recognize the fact that Manikam was an Indian nationalist. (147) It would be logical to expect an educated church leader, having studied in the United States of America and in England, to then be "very definitely Indian-minded." (148) Helmuth Borutta (Gossner), one of the fortunate men to be released in late 1946, offered a defence of Manikam's sentiments;
Even if Manikam contained his disapproving attitude towards the Government, the British authorities greatly relied on his advice and his undertakings for the German families. His sentiments went beyond an anti-British spirit; he was encompassed by a caste and colour consciousness, e.g."brown and white, ... they must work together." (150) This consciousness became the more obvious following the war and it could well have influenced the N.C.C. Secretary in making the association of the German missionaries with the dominant ruling class of British officialdom.
Manikam's first name was 'Rajah', and he was a prince of the Indian Church;
Manikam was an outstanding person as the Executive Secretary. of India's highest non-Roman church body. However,
Manikam "was this curiously mixed person;" (153)
Rajah Manikam had on the one hand a higher caste consciousness, while on the other hand,
Of course, the missionaries' internment made a vacuum and thereby the occasion for this greater freedom. Yet Manikam himself, as a personality drawn from the Indian caste structure (a particular problem in the Tamil Church), "came as a kind of superior into the camp." (156) Richard Lipp remarked:
to the Tamil people, they were rejected outright at first when the Government of India intended to release them.
It was a sign of strength and vision that the Indian Church should become totally indigenous. Yet Manikam
Quite understandably, among the Indian Church leadership,
Herein lay one of the pronounced difficulties surrounding the German missionaries. With the mission churches becoming independent and some leaders nationally minded, it is significant that there were so many German brethren permitted to remain in India. However, in the matter of the exemptions, Christian Lohse (Breklum) believed that "we could all have been released, if the N.C.C. had requested us." (160)
After "considerable amount of talking with the National Christian Council for the release of the missionaries and for the posting of them," (161) it was already November, 1946.
(1) Selma Heller, Manuscript on Internment (Rummelsberg: 13 June, 1970; Appendix), p. 4.
(2) Alma Tauscher, P.I. (Glückstadt: 19 July, 1972), Tr. P. 4.
(4) Richard Lipp, P.I. (Süssen: 14 April, 1973), Tr. p. 17.
(5) Ibid., p. 18.
(6) Tauscher, op. cit.. p. 7.
(7) Rajah B. Manikam and Charles W. Ranson, Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Christian Council (Nagpur: NCC Offices, 24-25 October, 1945), p. 4.
(9) Ibid., p. 5.
(10) Selma Heller, P.I. (Erlangen: 28 May, 1970), Tr. p. 1.
(11) Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.
(12) Christian Lohse, P.I. (Husum: 18 July, 1972), Tr. p. 12.
(13) Manikam and Ranson, op. cit., p. 4.
(14) Heller, Manuscript, loc. cit.
(15) Karl Bareiss, P.I. (Ebingen: 23 May, 1973), Tr. p. 10.
(16) Lohse, op. cit., pp. 11-12.
(17) Ibid., p. 12.
(18) Rajah B. Manikam & Charles W. Ranson, Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Christian Council (Nagpur: NCC Offices, 15-17 February, 1945), p. 3.
(20) Adolf Streckeisen, Letter to John W. Decker (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 18 October, 1945).
(21) Lipp, op. cit., p. 14.
(22) Bareiss, loc. cit.
(23) Manikam & Ranson, Executive Committee - February, 1945, op. cit. p. 6. As in the opening months and years of World War II under the Secretaryship of J.Z. Hodge, so too in the closing months and years of the war and also in the post-war period, the NCC officers, particularly Rajah Manikam, served as spokesmen for the Indian churches and missions in their appeals to the Government of India.
(26) Manikam & Ranson, Executive Com., Feb., 1945, loc. cit.
(27) Manikam & Ranson, Executive Com., Oct., 1945, loc. cit.
(28) Manikam & Ranson, Feb., 1945, loc. cit.
(29) Rajah B. Manikam, Letter to Norman Goodall (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 29 January, 1946); Rajah B. Manikam, Letter to John W. Decker (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 23 February, 1945). According to William Richey Hogg, Ecumenical Foundations (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1952), p. 323, "In January, 1943, he (Decker) succeeded Warnshuis. In similar fashion, following Paton's death, the Reverend Norman Goodall was chosen in London." Decker served in New York.
(30) Manikam & Ranson, October, 1945, loc. cit.
(31) Ibid., p. 5.
(32) Heller, Manuscript, loc. cit.
(33) Heller, P.I., op. cit., p. 10.
(34) Pfarrer Pompe, Letter to Knut B. Westman (Geneva: WCCA -IMC File, September, 1945). Westman forwarded the letter to Goodall in London.
(35) Betty D. Gibson, Letter to Knut B. Westman (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 5 October, 1945).
(36) Hogg, op. cit., p. 321.
(38) Tauscher, op. cit., p. 5; Lipp, op. cit. p. 18; Hermann Palm, P.I. (Böhringen: 13 June, 1973), Tr. p. 3; Theodor Lorch, P.I. (Ludwigsburg: 13 April, 1973), Tr. p. 2, Lorch expressed a basic concern of all missionaries in India; "Wir wollten bewusst den Indern dazu verhelfen, dass sie die indische Kirche würden. Ich habe meinen Kollegen im College nahegelegt, ihre Andachten doch in Malayalam zu halten. Sie haben gesagt, sie seien da überfordert; es falle ihnen leichter das in Englisch zu tun. Aber wir Missionare waren weiterhin die die gedrängt haben, dass die Inder bewusst ihre Dinge selbst in die Hände nehmen sollten, ohne zu ahnen, dass der Krieg das dann zwingend notwendig machen würde kurze Zeit später. Wir taten das einfach aus der richtigen Erkenntnis, denn die Zeit des Mündigwerdens war nicht weit weg."
(39) Rajah B. Manikam, Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Christian Council (Mysore City: Wesley Press & Publishing House, 3-4 April, 1946), p. 5; Manikam, Letter to Goodall, loc. cit. The meeting was held at Allahabad instead of the customary Nagpur.
(41) Manikam, Executive Committee, April, 1946, op. cit. ,p. 4.
(42) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, loc. cit.
(45) Heller, P.I., op. cit., p. 8.
(46) Rajah N. Manikam, Letter to Norman Goodall (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 9 March, 1946).
(47) Manikam, Minutes of Executive Committee, April, 1946, loc. cit.; Manikam, Goodall Letter - March, 1946, loc. clt.
(49) Manikam, April Minutes, op. cit., p. 6.
(50) Ibid., p. 7.
(52) Ibid, pp. 7-8.
(53) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, March, 1946, loc. cit.
(54) Manikam, April, 1946, Minutes, op. cit., p. 8.
(55) Ibid., p. 6.
(56) Ibid., p. 5.
(57) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, March, 1946, loc. cit.
(58) Manikam, April, 1946, Minutes, op. cit., p. 5.
(59) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, January, 1946, loc. cit.
(60) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, March, 1946, loc. cit.
(61) V. Shankar (Deputy Secretary), "Order" (of Release for Richard Lipp), (New Delhi: Government of India, Home Department, No. 24/28/1/45 - Political (EW), 21 March, 1946; also "Order" (of Release for Heinz von Tucher; No. 67/2/40 - Political (E), 4 January, 1944; Appendix).
(62) Manikam, April, 1946, Minutes, loc. cit.
(63) Shankar, Order of Release for Lipp, loc. cit.
(64) Rajah B. Manikam, Letter to Betty D. Gibson (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 20 August, 1946).
(65) Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit. She wrote, "In Bezug auf die Missionare spielte sich hinter den Kulissen einiges ab, von dem wir erst später erfuhren."
(66) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, January, 1946, loc. cit.
(68) Manikam, Decker Letter, loc. cit.
(69) Lipp, op. cit., p. 15.
(70) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, January, 1946, loc. cit.
(71) Manikam, April, 1946, Minutes, op. cit., p. 6.
(72) Streckeisen, Letter to Decker, loc. cit.
(73) Adolf Streckeisen, Minutes of the Basel Mission Church Synod at Calicut, 16 October, 1945 (Geneva: WCCA).
(74) Manikam, Letter to Decker, loc. cit.
(75) Rajah B. Manikam, Letter to Betty D. Gibson (Geneva: , WCCA - IMC File, 23 April, 1946).
(76) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, 9 March, 1946, loc. cit.
(77) Manikam, April, 1946, Minutes, op. cit., p. 7; Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 23 April, 1946, loc. cit.
(78) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, 9 March, 1946, loc. cit.
(79) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 23 April, 1946, loc. cit.
(80) Johannes Stosch, Letter to Betty D. Gibson (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 23 April, 1946).
(81) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 20 August, 1946, loc. cit.
(83) Rajah B. Manikam, Letter to Betty D. Gibson (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 19 November, 1946).
(84) Lohse, op. cit.. p. 12.
(85) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 23 April, 1946, loc. cit.
(86) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, 29 January, 1946, loc. cit.
(87) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, 9 March, 1946, loc. cit.
(88) Tauscher, loc. cit.
(89) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 23 April, 1946, loc. cit.
(90) Walter Graefe, Letter to Karl Heller (Erlangen: LML - Heller File, 2 February, 1952).
(91) Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.
(92) Wolfgang Gerlach, Letter to the International Missionary Council (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 8 March, 1946). Gerlach wrote concerning "Mrs. Gerlach's parents: Herrn Pfarrer Curt Weidenkaff, ... and from my parents: Herrn Pfarrer Th. Gerlach, ... (all in Saxony). ..."
(93) Manikam, April, 1946, Minutes, op. cit. p. 5.
(94) Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.
(95) Ibid.; Lohse, ojp. cit.. p. 11.
(97) Kenneth Scott Latourette & William Richey Hogg, World Christian Community In Action (New York & London: International Missionary Council, 1949), p. 37.
(98) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, 9 March, 1946, loc. cit.
(99) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 23 April, 1946, loc. cit.
(100) Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.
(101) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, 9 March, 1946, loc. cit.
(102) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 23 April, 1946, loc. cit.
(104) C.H. Swavely, ed., The Lutheran Enterprise in India 1706-1952 (Madras: Diocesan Press, 1952), "The Church of Sweden Mission 1874" by Sigfrid Estborn, p. 140.
(105) Martin Weishaupt, ed., "Unser indisches Missionsfeld 1939/40" by Carl Ihmels, Evangelisch-lutherisches Missionsblatt (Leipzig: Verlag der Evang.-luth. Mission zu v Leipzig, September, 1940), p. 101.
(106) Manikam, Letter to Goodall, 9 March, 1946, loc. cit.
(107) Heller, Manuscript on Internment, loc. cit.
(108) Renate Klimkeit, P.I. (Bierde, near Minden: 23 August, f 1973), Tr. p. 17.
(109) Lohse, loc. cit.
(110) Latourette & Hogg, loc. cit.
(111) Heller, Manuscript, loc. cit.
(114) Heller, P.I., op. cit. , p. 7.
(116) Heller, Manuscript, loc. cit.
(117) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 20 August, 1946, loc. cit.
(119) L.S. Albright, Aid For Orphaned Missions (Financial Statement - January 1 - December 31, 1946; London & New York: International Missionary Council, 31 March, 1947), p. 4; Latourette & Hogg, op. cit., p. 44.
(120) Gustav Bernander, Lutheran Wartime Assistance to Tanzanian Churches 1940-1945 (Uppsala: Almquist & Wiksells, Studia Missionalia Upsaliensia IX, 1968, pp. 170). Though the work focuses on the Tanzanian Churches, the assistance stems from a world-wide endeavour of the Church.
(121) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 20 August, 1946, loc. cit.; Betty D. Gibson, Letter to Walter Freytag (Geneva: WCCA-IMC File, 15 November, 1946). According to Manikam's tabulation and letter, under No. 10 a Rev. Guiseppe Palmann is listed. He did not belong to any of the four major German Missions in India, nor is the writer able to assess forwhich Society Palmann laboured. His name does have both German and Italian origins. However, Rudolf Ertz, as printer and manager of the Mangalore Basel Mission Press, was overlooked.
(124) Manikam, Letter to Gibson, 20 August, 1946, loc. cit.
(125) Lohse, op. cit. , pp. 11 - 12.
(126) Otto Tiedt, P.I. (Erlangen: 27 September, 1973), Tr. pp. 18-19.
(127) Lohse, op. cit., p. 16; Helmuth Borutta, P.I. (Exten: 23 August, 1973), p. 12.
(128) Tiedt, op. ciz., p. 19.
(129) Ibid., p. 16.
(130) Otto Tiedt, Letter to Olivier Beguin (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 22 August, 1946).
(131) Olivier Bèguin, Letter to Norman Goodall (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 2 October, 1946).
(132) Wilhelm Bräsen, P.I. (Neukirchen, near Malente: 28 September, 1970), Tr. p. 6.
(133) Betty D. Gibson, Letter to Hans Röver (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 12 August, 1946).
(136) Hans Röver, Letter to Betty D. Gibson (Geneva: WCCA - IMC File, 19 September, 1946).
(139) Lorch, op. cit., pp. 2-3. Very parallel to Lorch's comments, under footnote 38, were these remarks: "Dazu kam in der damaligen Zeit, dass die Frage der südindischen Kirchenunion bereits aktuell war. Ab '39 hat man sehr bewusst daran gearbeitet; vorher hat man bereits darüber gesprochen, man hat vorbereitet in der Richtung auf diesen Schritt. Auch von daher war die Indianisierung der Kirche in vollem Gang. Wir haben uns darauf eingerichtet, unabhängig von der Gefahr eines Krieges, dass diese vielen Erziehungseinrichtungen in der Basler Missionskirche möglichst eine eigene Organisation bekommen sollten. ... Wir gingen davon aus, die Zeit ist da, dass die Missionare sich sehr zurückziehen und die Inder ihre Dinge selbst in die Hand nehmen."
(140) Röver, loc. cit.
(141) Easter Raj, P.I. (Erlangen: 19 July, 1970), Tr. p. 9. In its entirety, the future Bishop of Tranquebar's statement was, "That is very important; you see, even with regards to the Tamil Evangelical Lutheran Church, though this Church became autonomous with the Constitution, with the Bishop, with the Church Council and the Administrative Council and all that, they did not become autonomous with regard to the finances."
(142) Günter Gloede, ed., Ökumenische Profile - Brückenbauer Der Einen Kirche (Stuttgart: Evangelischer Missionsverlag, GmbH, Vol. II, 1963), p. 61. Kenrick M. Baker jr. contributed the biographical sketch on "Rajah Bushanam Manikam - Der ökumenische Botschafter in Ostasien," pp. 59-65.
(143) Kaj Baago, National Christian Council of India, 1914 - 1964 (Nagpur: Christian Council Lodge, 1964), p. 87. The author lists all the Presidents and the Secretaries of the N.C.C. for the above period.
(144) Ibid., p. 62.
(145) Manikam, Letter to Decker, loc. cit. In reviewing the scene and the status of the Continental Missions in India, Rajah Manikam, as NCC Secretary, expressed his doubts; "This, indeed, is a gloomy picture of the Orphaned Missions and Churches in India. But there is another side to it. I am glad that Lutheran missionaries and Indian Lutherans have rallied to the support of these distressed Church and Mission bodies. They have given liberally for their support. They have transcended national and linguistic barriers. They have shown their oneness in Christ. ..."
(146) Lohse, op. cit., p. 11.
(147) Martin Pörksen, P.I. (Hamburg: 24 August, 1973), Tr. p. 14; Borutta, op. cit., p. 15; Michael Hollis, P.I. (Bury St. Edmunds, UK: 19 April, 1973), Tr. p. 17; Lipp, loc. cit.; Heller, P.I., loc. cit.
(148) Lipp, loc. cit.
(149) Borutta, loc. cit.
(150) Pörksen, op. cit. , p. 15. The comment was made to Martin Pörksen when the Breklum Missionary Society director journeyed to India in 1956 to attend the ceremony at which time Rajah Manikam became the Bishop of Tranquebar
(151) Hollis, loc. cit.
(152) Ibid., p. 18.
(153) Ibid., p. 13.
(155) Ibid., p. 17.
(156) Lipp, op. cit., p. 18.
(158) Pörksen, op. cit., p. 14.
(159) Lohse, loc. cit.
(161) Easter Raj, loc. cit.