This is the story of how the Protestants in the GDR struggled to survive while striving to put their theology into practice and remaining true to their vision of what the role of the church should be – a 'church for others' as Dietrich Bonhoeffer put it. Having taken the reader from the foundation of the GDR, through the peaceful revolution, to the unification of Germany, the story ends with some reflections on the church's past as well as on the challenges it faces in present-day Europe.
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Protestants in Communist East Germany makes a unique contribution to existing literature by drawing not only on written sources but on a series of first-hand interviews with theologians, pastors and lay people of different ages whose experiences, views and analyses bring the story to life. The East German church's relationship to the state will probably always remain controversial and the vision for a different socialism in the GDR espoused by those involved in the peaceful revolution may now be considered illusory. Nevertheless, many of the issues raised by the Protestants in the GDR remain as vital challenges to the churches in Europe today. Foreword by Paul Oestreicher.