The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Searching for German pastors

From 1882 to 1931 more than 500 pastors came to North America from two small German villages. Helmut Edelmann, representing the North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church in the District of Husum/Nordsee, recently traveled the U.S. to find out what happened to this unusually large amount of pastors who left Breklum and Kropp. Edelmann says there is a missing link regarding the settlement of those pastors and their impact on the Lutheran churches in the U.S. and Canada.


Naomi Firnhaber Karmeier

Naomi Firnhaber Karmeier

Posted at 1:16 am (U.S. Eastern) 12/12/2009

My Grandfather, August Firnhaber, and his two brothers, Edvard and Karl, were sent to America from Breklum Seminary in 1891 to be missionaries to German speaking Lutherans in America.  I have since become  well acquainted with Firnhaber cousins in Germany.  Through them, I have learned that my grandfather's oldest brother,Adolf, also a pastor, remained in Germany.  My cousin, Dr. Eberhard Firnhaber, retired Chancellor of the University of Bielefeld, hosted a Firnhaber reunion at the town of our origins, Schaebisch Hall, in 1998.  We had 25 American Firnhabers meet about 70 German relatives.  Eberhard told all of us which Firnhaber branches we were from.  I learned then that I came from the Pastorenzweig, and we had Lutheran pastors in our family almost since the Reformation.  I was able to tell them why the 3 Firnhaber pastor brothers were sent to America.  Since then, my husband and I have visited Germany many times, become very close to Eberhard and his family.  Eberhard comes from that same Pastor's Branch.  This past April, we took our immediate family to Germany and visited Eberhard and his family at his son, Martin's apartment in Hannover.  They had invited Adolf Firnhaber's grandson and family to the get-to-gether also.  My husband and I have also visited churches in Germany that were pastored by Great Great Great Great, etc. Grandfathers of mine.  Some Firnhaber relatives were Lutheran teachers, choir directors and organists, as was my father, Karl Firnhaber.

Thank you very much,

Naomi Firnhaber Karmeier

12206 Avila Drive, Kansas City, MO 64145



Print subscribers and supporting Web members may comment.

Log in or Subscribe to comment.

text size:

this page: email | print

March issue

MARCH issue:

All are welcome