In East Germany, A War Of Attrition

God and Caesar in East Germany, by Richard W. Solberg (Macmillan, 1961, 192 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by Harold B. Kuhn, Professor of the Philosophy of Religion, Asbury Theological Seminary.

At no place is the contemporary struggle between the Christian Church and the forces of modern Caesarism more acute than in the so-called “German Democratic Republic,” this being of course the Russian-occupied area of Germany. The shifting of the attack which the masters of Pankow level from time to time against the religious life of East Germany is so frequent that it is difficult to keep pace with it. One of the outstanding merits of this volume is that it seeks to follow the tortuous paths of dealing by which the East German puppet government has sought to confuse the Christian leaders there.

The author indicates an intimate acquaintance with the melancholic series of events by which Soviet perfidy has accomplished the enslavement of the churches (predominantly Protestant) within its area of occupation. He not only traces the events of the years following 1945, but with even greater skill he analyzes the meaning of these events for the Church, which found itself closely involved in the “on again, off again” policies by which the Kremlin masters sought to condition the reflexes of the citizenry of East Germany. If Dr. Solberg seems to have devoted an unduly large section to the “Einleitung,” the value of his method becomes evident when he traces the successive stages by which the Pankow Reds sought to strangle the Lutheran church.

One’s first reaction to a reading of this volume is that he has been walking through a place of unreality. Can it be, one asks himself, that so-called bearers of civilization ...

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