Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Frank Ebert

Confessional Church

The Confessional Church and Father Werner Hilse were among those that opened their doors to politically persecuted people in East Germany during the 1980s. These included groups that wanted to change the dictatorship through their criticism and people who wanted to leave the country. 

From 1983, a Peace Circle and the Gay Working Group met in the church. A seminar on human rights planned for November 1985 was cancelled under pressure from the state. The Initiative for Peace and Human Rights was formed independently of the church, as a reaction.

From 1988 onwards, the church published the underground magazine Kontext, on politics, society and culture. A working group set up by people who had applied to emigrate also met in the church from 1988. On 13 August 1989 – the anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s construction – opposition activists from the Initiative for Rejection of the Practice and Principle of Separation called for political changes in East Germany here, along with the formation of a collective opposition movement. As a result of this initiative, the grassroots movement Democracy Now was founded on 12 September 1989. Four days before the Wall fell, on 5 November 1989, the Initiative for the Foundation of a Green Party in the GDR was established in the Confessional Church.

Meeting of the Travel Group 88, which provided mutual support for people who had applied to leave the GDR.
Quelle: Robert-Havemann-Gesellschaft/Barbara Hanus
Openly addressing pollution and environmental damage was seen as criticism of the East German state.
Quelle: Gemeinde der Bekenntniskirche Berlin-Treptow
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