In eastern Germany, the land of Luther, church pews are mostly empty


From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:

In eastern Germany, the land of Luther, church pews are mostly empty:

“On the streets where Martin Luther preached, about 85 percent of residents have no religion, 40-plus years after Soviet rule ingrained a deep skepticism of God and religion.”

This article had a lot of interesting details about how the Soviet Union suppressed religion in Eastern Germany. I had never before heard of withholding medicine:

[quote=article]"It was in this world that the Rev. Paul Rogers of Minnesota found himself in the 1960s, working in what was then West Berlin. Rogers learned from Lutheran leaders there that the government often denied medicine to pastors and their families as leverage so they would become informants for the state.

In a scene reminiscent of a James Bond movie, Rogers would sometimes help the Lutheran World Federation secretly deliver medicine “so they didn’t have to make that difficult decision.”

“I would go to [Soviet] East Berlin, ostensibly to photograph a church,” explained Rogers, of Minneapolis. “While I was there I would make contact with the pastor. In the conversation, I’d give him the time and a location of a medicine drop … typically under a bridge.”

Our Minneapolis Institute of Art is currently hosting a big Luther exhibit, so our press is doing a lot of Luther stories.


I wonder if there are other factors here. Presumably the Soviets behaved similarly in Poland, but with quite different results. Also, the Wall fell in 1989. The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. That’s most of a generation ago. I would think that the causes of empty pews have more to do with myriad current and cultural factors. And of course Poland and Ireland are seeing empty pews also.


I’ve heard Bavaria is still Catholic.


I have heard that it is one of the more religious areas in Germany.

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