My Brother’s Keeper How American Lutherans Fought to Preserve the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia in the USSR, 1921–1939
Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Scripture References in this Resource
Isaiah 1:5; Proverbs 28:20; Psalm 118:24-26; Revelation 2:10
The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail
The years between 1939 and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 were bleak for Christians. Surrounded by the daily drumbeat of atheist propaganda, many kept their faith underground, not just figuratively but literally by hiding Bibles under the floorboards. World War II enacted a severe toll upon the nation as well as Christians, whether underground or open about their faith. Friedrich Wacker had survived the Great Terror and the closing of the churches, but when Nazi Germany invaded the USSR on June 22, 1941, he knew his family would suffer as a result and he deemed it best that they suffer together as a family. Previously he would illegally take the local night train to visit his wife and children in Leningrad, assuming that under the cover of dark he could slip in and out of their apartment more easily. But with the coming of war to Russia, he decided to risk it and take the day train. The caretaker at the apartment recognized him and in-formed the NKVD. He was arrested on June 28, 1941. When his wife heard about his arrest, she went looking for him. She, too, was arrested. Wacker was shot on July 10th, the last professor of the Leningrad Lutheran seminary who had been left alive. His wife suffered the same fate as well.
Heise, Matthew, "My Brother’s Keeper How American Lutherans Fought to Preserve the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Russia in the USSR, 1921–1939" (2017). Doctor of Philosophy Dissertation. 68.
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