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Mission History

Updated Sept. 21, 2010.

This mission history is compiled from various e-mail that I have received. It is neither intended to be complete nor necessarily all-encompassing. (Thanks to George Herrmann and Dietrich Kempski for parts of this information, as well a bit saved from Brent Belnap, from the old mission page.)

The Germany Hamburg Mission has passed through five distinct phases and is now in its sixth phase:

East German Mission — 1938 to 1957
North German Mission — 1957 to 1970
Berlin Mission — 1961 to 1966
Germany North Mission — 1970 to 1974
Germany Hamburg Mission — 1974 to 2010
Germany Berlin Mission - 2010 to present

The first indication of LDS activity in Germany goes back to 1840, when a British convert unsuccessfully tried to preach there. The first record of a mission call to Germany is that of Simpson Carter, in 1841 (but there is no indication that he went). On September 8, 1851, Brigham Young called Daniel P. Carn to be the first German Mission president. The first missionary in Hannover was Edward R. Frey, from St. Clara, UT in April 1894. He also served in Berlin and finished in Bielefeld.

The German-Austrian mission was divided on January 1, 1938, to create the West German and East German missions. Nine months later, on September 16, 1938, the First Presidency ordered the evacuation of missionaries from Germany. The missionaries returned a short time later, but were again evacuated on August 24, 1939—this time, for the duration of the war. This page includes information from the post-WWII period of the mission.

After the war, Calvin Clyde, Eberhard Berthold (father of Elder Brian Berthold, Henry Siebach were the first three missionaries to serve in Berlin in 1947 and they arrived under President Stover. At the time, there were only two areas that were in the mission Berlin and Hanover. About two years later, Niedersachsen, Bremen, Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg were added to the mission.

Pres. Glaus and Sister Glaus served as a missionary couple under Pres. Stover and then were asked to stay on as President.

President Gregory served as a missionary under Pres. Stover from 1949 to 1951 and then was called to be the president Nov. 1953. During his tenure, the name 'East German Mission' was causing political problems, so Pres. Gregory suggested to the Brethren that the name should be changed, which it was upon his release.

In the late 1950s, the mission also covered the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Pres. Heinrich Bochart was the first counsellor in our mission and was responsible for the members in the East. He served for many years in this capacity. We had East German brethren serving only in the DDR.

Even after the war, missionaries used to be able to ride bicycles through the Brandenburg Gate and all over East Berlin and even speak in the Friedrichstraße Branch. Americans could not proselyte in the East; however, and the East German Elders were also restricted in their activities, teaching only on a referral basis.

Upon the formation of the Germany Berlin and Germany Dresden (now Leipzig) Missions, the Germany Hamburg Mission occupied the northwestern part of Germany including the stakes of Neumünster, Hamburg, Hannover, and Dortmund (as of June 30, 2001).

The mission boundaries have changed over time such that some areas have been removed to other missions at times, while some areas have been added. Examples include Glückstadt, located in the south of the GHM, which was part of the West German Mission in 1954. Osnabrück and Braunschweig, also in the south, have variously been part of the GHM and Düsseldorf between 1950 and 1980. Of course the former West Berlin (now part of Berlin) was part of the GHM for decades.

In 2010, the Germany Hamburg Mission was dissolved and the area then served by the mission was absorbed into the reorganized Germany Berlin Mission. While this may seem a sad event to some, it should be remembered that this is most likely how these areas of Germany would have been organized had it not been for the tragic and oppressive events of 1939 to 1989. That's a half-century of pain and healing in which the Church worked diligently to serve the people of this beautiful country.

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