The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Caring for former enemies

In 2006, Russia's Carl Blum House opened its doors — those of a former schoolhouse — in Zadorozhye, a village in the impoverished enclave of Kaliningrad/Königsberg.

The 24-bed home is five miles south of Nemmersdorf, now called Mayakovskoye. In October 1944, that city was the scene of the first Soviet war crime — the systemic rape of women — on what was then German (East Prussian) soil.

The killing of an estimated 300,000 civilians in Königsberg forced the mass evacuation and ultimate expulsion of the historic, ethnic German population living in the territory.

Dietrich Brauer, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of European Russia(ELCER), said the location on this historic spot is coincidental, but church representatives do regard the home as a symbol of reconciliation. (The ELCER is under the umbrella of the St. Petersburg-based Evangelical Lutheran Church in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Central Asia, a Lutheran World Federation member.) 

The late Horst-Peter Boltz from Steinfurt, Germany, was instrumental in the home's founding. His widow Anna-Grete and other German citizens remain active in its upkeep.

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