A German Quaker writes simply of her life under Hitler’s regime and during the Russian occupation of East Germany, a life full of meaning and peacemaking. Translated by Florence Kite.
About the Author(s)
Margarethe Lachmund (1896-1985) was born and raised in Germany, and struggled to live a life in line with Friends’ testimonies during the Nazi period and during her husband’s imprisonment in the Russian zone after the war. She described her struggles during this period in the pamphlet With Thine Adversary in the Way. Her integrity and consistent witness to truth while living under regimes openly hostile to Friends enabled her to survive without feeling a sense of compromise. During this time, she proffered assistance to refugees, working both independently and alongside the Quaker International Center in Berlin, where this assistance remained available until 1941. At the same time, she supported the Quaker Center’s efforts to sort books and instruments that were sent to POW camps in Germany through the Red Cross. She began doing similar work for prisoners in the concentration camps afterwards.
Her husband had been imprisoned because he had remained in his position as a judge under the Nazis. Margarethe’s integrity and service to the afflicted during the Nazi period earned her the trust of many officials, and she ended up coordinating social welfare for the city of Mecklenberg. During this period, she traveled frequently between the eastern and western zones, acting as a courier on behalf of many displaced Germans. She continued to work with German Friends, clerking the German Yearly Meeting and traveling among Friends. In 1973 she left Germany to receive an honorary doctorate of laws from Haverford College. German Friends also paid her a significant tribute by gathering many of her speeches in Margarethe Lachmund Zum 80 Geburtstag.
Pendle Hill Pamphlet #228