German protestants flee Ukraine


Eastern Europe


Children of the German community in Ukraine. Photo Ukraïner.net

The German Protestant minority living in Ukraine is fleeing the country. They leave because of the Russian aggression.

Recently, a meeting centre for Germans was destroyed in Mariupol. After that, many ethnic Germans decided to leave the town, the Association for International Media Aid (IMH) reported according to Idea.

Many Ukrainian Germans have fled the coastal region of Ukraine since the beginning of the war. Numerous of them go back to Germany.

Hesitation about German heritage

According to official statistics, about 30,000 people in Ukraine have German roots, Idea writes. However, their actual number is probably higher because many hesitate to tell about their ancestry, IMH director Björn Akstinat explains. He says that ethnic Germans have been persecuted, tortured and expelled under the communist regime of the Soviet Union.

About 100 years ago, more than half a million German-born people lived on Ukrainian soil. Most of them belonged to the Lutheran or Mennonite denominations.

Protestant pastor flees Russia

The protestant pastor Dietrich Brauer is one of the Germans who fled his hometown because of the Russo-Ukrainian war. He is bishop of the German Lutheran community in Russia. He lived in Moscow but now stays with his family in Germany. That is reported by several media, such as InVictory and RPI Loccum based on an interview of the Evangelische Pressedienst.

Brauer said to the Evangelische Pressedienst that he left Russia because he felt increasing pressure from the state. "Leading clergymen and public figures must take a stand. Those who do not support President Putin's policies in Ukraine should expect consequences."

In an earlier interview with Zeit Online, Brauer stated that Russian pastors were forbidden to preach peace. He explained that it is dangerous for Russian church leaders to say anything about the conflict. "I continue to retract my words about the war. If I refuse, I risk being removed from my position."

In a sermon, the pastor had expressed his view that "violence breeds violence." Later on, he also called the conflict a war against humanity.

Leader of 40,000 protestants

Pastor Dietrich Brauer (39) fled to Germany in March. He accepted an invitation from the German Protestant Church (Evangelische Kirche Deutschland, (EKD), InVictory writes.

In Russia, Brauer led a community of 40,000 Protestants. He has been a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia since 2014.



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