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Research Paper: Pentecostalism in Nazi Germany by Sven Brenner — last modified 2009-02-28 17:38
Pentecostalism in Germany in the time of Third Reich cannot be treated as a whole “movement”, because till the end of World War II, the German Pentecostal Movement, with few exceptions, consisted predominantly of groupings with strong leaders. As Pentecostalism in Germany emerged at the beginning of the 20th century, also some fears and uncertainties concerning Pentecostal spirituality precipitated, which eventually cumulated in the „Berliner Erklärung“ (Berlin Declaration) and led to “special circumstances” in Germany. In spite of all of that the German Pentecostal „Movement“ experienced further growth during the time oft he Weimar Republic, only to be interrupted by the “breaking in” of the Third Reich. A number of congregations were forbidden; others only could stay alive by forming an alliance with the Baptists, e.g. the Elim-Movement. In Berlin the „Deutsche Volksmission“ remained the only group that was not forbidden, because the „Volksmission“ was not considered to be “Pentecostal” in the eyes of the authorities. During this time the Gestapo forbade some public gatherings, spied on church services, and hindered the printing and distribution of tracts and magazines. In consequence, some groups had to meet in the underground. All in all we can say that through the war situation and the repression of the Gestapo, Pentecostal spirituality and evangelism was hindered and at times virtually impossible. Only after the war a new freedom for evangelism and church growth arose. Eventually the Pentecostals were allowed once again to conduct meetings and soon unification aspirations developed.