Skip to main content

The history of Diakonie in Bavaria

Diakonie as it is known today has been existing for about 60 years: As Diakonie which is represented at federal and state level as well as at the level of the deanery districts and municipalities.

But in fact, Diakonie is much older: already in 1848, the "Inner Mission" was founded, at the suggestion of pastor Johann Hinrich Wichern from Hamburg. He wanted to establish an instrument that could fight poverty and pauperisation in large cities. Wichern as well as the Frankonian pastor Wilhelm Löhe can be named as the founding fathers of German Diakonie, and to this day the regional association of Bavarian Diakonie as well as some sponsors carry the term "Inner Mission" in their name.

In the beginning, the focus of welfare and social acting was on people with disabilities and on children or young people. In 1850 the first Diakonie institutions were founded in Erlangen, Hof, Martinsberg and other Bavarian cities. In 1845, the Diakonie institution Neuendettelsau, near by Ansbach, was founded by Wilhelm Löhe - this place is still among the biggest Diakonie sponsors in Bavaria. A new job emerged from being a deaconess, a vocation became a profession. The deaconesses have shaped the image of Diakonie over many decades.

In 1890, the regional office for deacons was founded in Nuremberg, known today as the "Rummelsberger Anstalten". The deacon arises as the male form of the deaconess. In the Third Reich, the Inner Mission subjected its services, being concerned of enforced conformity, to the Bavarian national church. However: Facilities of the Inner Mission partially allowed the euthanasia programme of the Nazi regime and so the killing of "their" disabled people.

In order to alleviate the hardships in the days after the Second World War the Protestant church in Germany ("EKD") establishes the Protestant Aid Organisation in 1945. 13 years later, in 1958, the Aid Organizations and the Inner Mission unite and become what is known today as Diakonie - initially as an overall Diakonie institution of the Protestant church in Germany, then later as single regional assiciations, such as Diakonie Bavaria.

Wichern and Löhe saw the Inner Mission - just as the Protestant church later saw the Protestant Aid Organisation - as the embodiment of Christ´s love to the people, the tool of Christian brotherly love. Thus, it is to this day a manifestation of the character of church: Diakonie is acting faith.

Die Geschichte der Diakonie im Überblick

Die Geschichte der Diakonie ist - nach über 200 Jahren - vielfältig; ihre Entwicklung verlief zudem je nach Region dortiger religiöser Prägung unterschiedlich. Hier finden Sie im Überblick die wichtigsten Kapitel der Diakoniegeschichte von ihren Anfängen bis in die Gegenwart.

Diakonie´s work as we know it today has its origins in the early 19th century. Various breaks characterize this stretch of German and European history. The demise of the Holy Roman German Empire in 1806, the effects of the Napoleonic Wars and the German mediatization in 1803 has changed the political landscape. In England, the industrialization begins and Germany carries out certain reforms - such as the Stein-Hardenberg reforms in Prussia -, which lead to fundamental changes within the social system, that has been defined so far by the system of estate. Now the bourgeoisie becomes the focus.

The growth of population on the one hand and the rise of umemployment on the other as a result of the industrialization lead to the phenomenon of "pauperism" - a kind of mass poverty that hits especially small farmers and day labourers in rural areas and unemployed crafts men in the cities.

 

Here are the most important roots of diaconical work. Sustained by their Christian faith and conscience, touched by the misery and poverty both in the countryside and in the cities, Protestant clergymen as well as women and men from the bourgeoisie initiate insitutions to alleviate the social ills. So deriving from the activities of single individuals, the so called "Liebesthätigkeit", deeds of love, of the Inner Mission formed the early stage of today´s Diakonie.

Various trends characterize the Protestant church at the beginning of the 19th century: revivalism is crucial for Diakonie´s history. Men like August Hermann Franke (1663 - 1727) or Philip Jacob Spener (1760 - 1825) want to bring the biblical message back to life, so they challenge the Germans to live their undisputed faith. The words of a preaching should be understood by everybody and everybody should make a decision in favour of God. This movement forms men and women who engage in charity work. It is true that for them religious revival has priority over charitable actions, but charity is also a way to try to bring the people back to the Gospel. This body of thought characterizes the socio-charitable concept of revivalism. And another thing changes: The plight of people is no longer seen only as a personal, God-given destiny, but also due to reasons such as lack of employment opportunities and lack of life perspectives.

 As a result, the attention turns to new groups of people: Children and young people, orphans and people with disabilities, sick people, poor and socially underprivileged people. So it is no surprise that especially the "Rescue house movement" - a rescue house accomodates orphans and young people with no families - marks the beginning of diaconical work. Pioneers of the rescue house movement are Christian Heinrich Zeller (1779 - 1860), who founded the first rescue house in Beuggen (Baden) in 1820, and Johann Daniel Falk (1769 - 1826), who stands up for homeless children and set up the Lutherhof in Weimar in 1823.

Similar to the other German states, the first Diakonie institutions in Bavaria go back to the initiative of individual members of the revivalism movement. The centers of this movement in Bavaria are in Nuremberg and Erlangen. There, in the Protestant heart of Bavaria, awakened citizens and pastors meet to celebrate their faith, for example in the German Christian´s Society ("Deutschen Christenthumsgesellschaft") in Nuremberg. Nuremberg is also the first Bavarian city to establish the first rescue house for boys. Karl von Raumer (1783 - 1865) who lived in Nuremberg since 1823, founded the educational institute for poor and neglected boys. Raumer, who got in touch with the awakened circle through his position in a Nuremberg private secondary school, follows the footsteps of Zeller and Falk. The close connection to Zeller can be seen in the fact that the first warden in Nuremberg is provided by the voluntary institute for teachers for the poor and negelcted children in Beuggen. In 1827 Karl von Raumer obtained a professorship in mineralogy and natural sciences in Erlangen and continued his diaconical work there.

 

 

 

 

Hier existiert, ebenfalls seit 1824, eine Erziehungsanstalt für Mädchen, die von dem von Philippine Puchta und Maria Ackermann 1822 ins Leben gerufenen Frauen- und Jungfrauenverein gegründet worden ist. Durch Versteigerungen, Spenden und andere Aktivitäten finanziert der Verein seine Arbeit.

 

Die Rettungshäuser in Erlangen und Nürnberg sind die ersten Einrichtungen in Bayern, die der evangelischen „Liebesthätigkeit“ im Sinne der späteren „Inneren Mission“ zugeordnet werden können. Davon ausgehend, entwickeln sich weitere diakonische Aktivitäten, wie das 1841 gegründete (paritätische) Rettungshaus in Bayreuth, das vom dortigen Armenpflegschaftsrat und dem Jean-Paul-Verein getragen wird.

The revolution of 1848 seems to be a good opportunity for some parties of the church to unite the various Protestant regional churches to one untited Protestant church in Germany - however, a plan that fails. In autumn 1848, a church congress in Witteberg is summoned, which will later be significant for the Inner Mission in Germany. Although originally the topic "Liebesthätigkeit (deeds of love) is not on the agenda, Johann Hinrich Wichern (1808 - 1881) from Hamburg manages to bring up his point.

Wichern has experienced the results of the social changes in Hamburg and reacted by establishing the "Rauhe Haus", an institution for neglected children and young people, who had the opportunity to receive education there. Several years later, Wichern founded the Johannes Stift in Berlin, a diaconical institution that still exists today.

In a famous impromptu speech at the church congress Wichern formulates the German Inner Mission´s programme, which he manifests a year later. One of the key sentences is:"Love is mine, and so does faith."

Following the church congress the "central committee for the Inner Mission" was founded. Its first meeting is in Berlin on November 11 and 12, 1848; its statutes defined in January 1849. In the future, it will take over the representation of diaconical initiatives and facilities of the Inner Mission all over Germany and establish a network to coordinate their activities.

Another pioneering achievemnt of that time is owed to Theodor Fliedner (1800 - 1864). Since 1822 he works in Kaiserwerth near Düsseldorf, an impoverished Diaspora community. In a collection journey, that takes hom through the Netherlands to England, he gains manifold impressions of the local social situation. He also met Elisabeth Fry (1780 - 1845), who has worked with English female prisioners since 1817. Inspired and impressed by the experiences of his journey, Fliedner sets up an asylum for female ex-prisioners in 1833. In 1836 he opens a hospital and starts educating Protestant nurses. This defines the birth of female Diakonie in Germany. The Fliedner model of Diakonie training found many eager followers in Germany and spreaded quicky by the foundation of many new parent companies.

Encouraged by the success of the church congress in Wittenberg, Johann Hinrich Wichern travels Bavaria in June 1849, after having visited other German federal states. Thus, he wanted to promote his visions and ideas about the task of the Inner Mission. His concept provides that the diaconical and social work is done by voluntary associations that are in fact related to the church, but not sponsored by the corresponding national church. The work of such voluntary associations is rather intended to renew the church structures from the outside. His journey takes Wichern through the most important Bavarian cities. He reported from his impressions he gained in Würzburg, Erlangen, Nuremberg, Augsburg and Munich. He was quoted to be euphoric, "conquering" Bavaria and gaining followers to help him to support his visions.

After Wichern´s promotion tour, several Diakonie institutions were set up all over Franconia. Rescue houses like the Trautberger Haus near Castell were built, the Puckenhofer Brüderanstalt was established in Erlangen - a rescue house that is connected to another one that was established 1850 in Schallershof. The "Brüderanstalt", institution for men, was designed by the city vicar of Erlangen Julius Schunck (1822 - 1857), based on the model of the "Rauhe Haus" in Hamburg.

 

In 1849, the so-called "Flying leaves", published by Wichern for friends and sponsors, gave information about the Inner Mission´s achievements in Bavaria:"... I am pleased on this occasion to give you good news from Bavaria. As you know, our country has so far been terra incognita for the Inner Mission. Even though there is no lack of single institutions and ambitions ... but in comparison to our blessed neighbouring state Württemberg or the greater part of Northern Germany, the previous statement can hardly be too strong."

At the beginning Wichern described his journey through Bavaria in a very positive manner, until he faced resistance coming from the Franconian pastor Wilhelm Löhe and his followers. Born in Fürth in 1808, Löhe became pastor in 1837 in the small Franconian village Neuendettelsau. He stayed there until his death in 1872. Wilhelm Löhe and his friends, normally Lutherans, watched Johann Hinrich Wichern´s activities closely. He has visited the Rauhe Haus in 1848, but Wichern was not present at that time. The strict Lutherans saw a threat to the Lutheran confession in Wichern´s work. Moreover, Löhe aimed at a closer integration of Protestant parishes. Löhe was initially hostile to the idea of Diakonie organised in clubs. Löhe writes to a friend:"I set my target at Wichern. You might think that I understand the poverty around us and that I do anything I can to ease the hardship. Still, Wichern´s plan is awkward and dangerous. Not the actions are to be avoided, but the plan is wrong."

 A visible sign of Löhe´s opposition is the unification of Lutherans so far loosely gathered around him, forming the "Society for the Inner Mission in line with the Lutheran church" on September 12, 1849.

In retrospect Löhe again explains his motifs:"I do confess straight out that by founding the society for the Inner Mission and later the deaconess house I had no other intention but to support my local ideas of the Inner Mission and the deaconery and to be in the way of the current trend (he means Wichern!)."

On May 9, 1854, Löhe starts the first Bavarian deaconess institution in Neuendettelsau, which turns out to be the centre of diaconical work in Bavaria. After the training, a deaconess starts her work in villages or cities in Bavaria. She works in hospitals, Kindergärten, or does community work, or she works in institutions for people with disabilities, old people´s homes or social welfare centres in Neuendettelsau. The costume of a deaconess becomes the trade mark of diaconical work.

Almost simultaneously the second Bavarian deaconess institution is established in Augsburg. On October 15, 1855 it starts its work, initiated by the local St. Johannis branch.

In the time after 1848, there have been mergers in serveral German states, unifying the various clubs and associations without resolving their autonomy. In Bavaria, however, the formation of a higher-level umbrella organization for the various clubs and institutions of Diakonie and the Inner Mission took place very late.

On behalf of the "Central committe for the Inner Mission" in Berlin, several permanent employed priests were sent in the 60s of the 19th century to different German states to promote the work of the Inner Mission and Diakonie and to propagate them. One of the men, pastor Johann Hesekiel, visited Bavaria in 1863. One aim of his journey is to find suitable individuals to represent the central committee and at the same time to engineer the merger of the different Bavarian Daiakonie clubs and sponsors. He finds this person in Karl Buchrucker (1824 - 1899), who works since 1863 as a pastor in Nördlingen. During this time Buchrucker stands out especially for his religious education works and gains his good reputation by numerous publications.

Buchrucker works for the Inner Mission in Nördlingen, a job he is already familiar with due to his university time in Erlangen and the local poverty association. It is also in Nördlingen where he gets in touch with the work of the deaconesses of Neuendettelsau, because a friend of Wilhelm Löhe has established a crèche in Nördlingen in 1859. The deaconesses have taken over the child care from Neuendettelsau. In this way, Buchrucker gets in touch with Löhe´s Diakonie.

In the spring of 1864, the pastor from Nördlingen asked for the representative role and becomes official agent of the Berlin central committee.

 

Buchrucker initially behaves very hesitant regarding the question of the merger of the various diaconical institutions. He doesn´t want to enlarge the gap between the society around Wilhelm Löhe in Neuendettelsau and the followers of Wichern´s Inner Mission, based in Erlangen, by unilateral actions. Tensions between those two parties have been existing since Wichern´s journey through Bavaria in 1849.

However, in the following months Buchrucker manages to motivate the two opposite parties to join a loose conference. The "society for Inner Mission", consisting of a circle of people around Löhe, assures to support the merger without actually joining it.

In a letter, written in February 1866 to Johann Hinrich Wichern, Löhe personally talks about the planned merger of the Inner Mission´s institutions. "Anything you want and what goes without the production of an organic compound and without contradicting the basic thoughts of both societies such as the Inner Mission and the female Diakonie of the Lutheran church, we will gladly support. We heartily wish to create a collection point to put all possible messages and deeds of charity together." Löhe clearly expresses his point of view, that the individual diaconical institutions need a better information network to intensify their work.

The first meeting takes place in Baiersdorf near Erlangen in October 1866. Buchrucker emphasizes in his opening address that the conference is supposed to be a loose coalition. That´s how the "Conference for Inner Mission" started, a preliminary stage of the later national association for Inner Mission. In a circulating conference, the Bavarian representatives of the Inner Mission from now on annually meet to discuss current topics. The importance of the this exchange of information shows the example of the deaconess institute in Augsburg. In 1873 Buchrucker invites the director of the deaconess institute in Augsburg to introduce it to the conference members. He then realizes with horror that many participants have never heard of the existence of such an institute in Augsburg ...

In 1886 the conference for Inner Mission is replaced by the foundation of the national association for Inner Mission in Nuremberg. A structured framework is supposed to guarantee a regular exchange of information. In the future, the national association is to coordinate the individual institutions. Its foundation doesn´t mark a major change in Bavaria´s Inner Mission, though. It´s more the changing socialframework that calls for such an organizational merger. Just a year later, in 1887, 11 clubs have joint the national association (Munich, Nuremberg, Kirchsittenbach, Ahornberg, Windsheim and  Ingolstadt als local clubs and Seibelsdorf, Markteinersheim, Hersbruck, Kreuzwertheim and Pappenheim as district clubs). However, it is difficult due to financial reasons to employ a full-time priest. In 1890, pastor Ferdinand Reindel starts work, after being employed in Nuremberg since 1888.

In its early days, the national association pursuits three targets: The existing diaconical institutions, clubs and services have to be coordinated from Nuremberg, new work fields have to be explored and/or supported and eventually a new Diakonie institution has to be established.

The latter can be implemented by Reindel in 1890: A Diakonie institution is founded in Nuremberg, which is relocated to Rummelsberg, community of Feucht, in 1905. The work of the national Diakonie association is constantly growing and is up until 1947 an important part of the national association´s work. Eventually, Rummelsberg becomes independent and separated from the national association.

By establishing the national association for Inner Mission it is attempted for the very first time to establish an organization that unites all the different diaconical institutions under one roof. The affiliated clubs and sponsors, apart from the Rummelsberger Diakonie, remain legally independent institutions. Nowadays the national association´s work is being continued by the Diakonie Bavaria.

The history of Bavarian Diakonie has to be put in the right historical context, considering the higher-level developments in Germany. For the conditions and legal foundations that led to the Weimar welfare state are set at Reich-level and implemented in the following instances.

The setting of course for the massive extension of state-organized welfare takes place during the First World War. The long war time, the new form of warfare with its material battles and long position battles lead to the mobilization of all forces. Everybody has to make a contribution to this effort, because without the use of all resources the burden of war cannot be mastered. To integrate the workers in this process, political and social concessions must be made by the government. Many claims that would have been mostly ignored during the imperial period are now being implemented at the instigation of trade unions, such as the recognition of collective agreements.

In addition, the state more and more regulates, as for example by conveying jobs. But also the municipal welfare is comprehensively reformed. There are also serveral new social groups in need of care. Many families suffer social and financial hardship because the father, brother or husband was called up to do military service. The result is a special war-welfare. Additionally to that are the victims of war with physical disabilities or widows and orphans of war - people who have become involuntary victims. To save these people from the traditinal welfare, they were granted a higher level of welfare. Also the mental attitude changes: The plight of the people is, unlike before, more and more respected.

The new welfare services lead to increasing responsibilities of the state and lay the foundations of the future welfare state. The former welfare that has only considered certain parts of emergencies is being modernized. The Weimar Rebublic, deriving from the German Reich after the war and the 1918 revolution, takes up these developments and shapes by the relevant legislation a welfare state.

In the Weimar constitution August 11, 1919, the separation of church and state is set. The Inner Mission however is not included in the constitution of the church.

Also the Bavarian national church is changed by the political upheavals of 1918 and 1919. Initiated by the downfall of the monarchy, the new Bavarian constitution includes the separation of the church and the state, legally initiated by the constitutinal powers of the Lutheran national church in 1920. Also in the negotiations of the Bavarian state and the leaders of the church Diakonie is seen as a part of the inner affairs of the church. So Diakonie is only mentioned at higher-level aspects.

Fears that the new government could take over or restrict the work of the church- or voluntary organizations turn out to be unfounded. The right of every citizen to state welfare in case of an individual emergency even requires the state to involve all the different welfare organizations. Since the mid-20s the work of all welfare organizations including the diaconical institutions are being more and more financially supported by the state.

With the establishment of the German League of charity organizations in 1925, consisting of the five major associations Caritas, Inner Mission, German Red Cross, the German Joint Association of Assistance and Israelite Central Office of Assistance an organization is set up that represents a majority of people to the authorities. The relevant involvement of Caritas and the Inner Mission supports the establishment of the German League of charity organizations. The future outcome of negotiations between the German League of charity organizations and the authorities affect all Diakonie, whether associations or institutions. The results are "Reich regulation of the duty to have regard to the welfare" (1924) and the "Reich child and youth welfare act" (1922).

In the period of the Weimar Rebublic, the enlargement of the work fields of charity is immense, and thus the Diakonie institutions are expanded and strengthened as well - in Bavaria as well.

The major Diakonie sponsors, the deaconess institute Neuendettelsau, the deaconess institute Augsburg or the national Diakonie institute Rummelsberg were able to expand and intensify their diaconical work since the beginning of the 20ies. Up until then they were as well struggling with a bad economy, inflation and the resulting problems that stopped important investments or even made them impossible. Especially the major sponsors gained benefit from the Weimar welfare state.

The global economic crisis in 1929 has terrible consequences for the Weimar welfare state. Mass unemployment deprives the the basis for social politics - a functioning labour market. The unemployment rate is at its peak in 1930. Six million people are without jobs. The state cannot support the citizens anymore and faces more and more criticism. This development has an impact on the Inner Mission, which is by now depending on payments from the state as well. In addition, the bankruptcy of the Inner Mission´s home loan bank "Devaheim" has shaken the people´s confidence in Diakonie´s work. In the so-called Devaheim scandal thousands of small investors lost their savings.

The rise of Adolf Hitler´s NSDAP, which was eventually to become the most powerful party in the Reichstag, is being monitored closely as well in Bavarian Diakonie and by the national church. Hitler met the approval of many leading personalities within the church, among pastors and within the Inner Mission.

The conversion of the German state begins, after Hitler was appointed as Chancellor. The enabling act of 23 March 1933, giving Hitler dictatorial rights, forms the legal basis; the political and social pluralism is repealed.

Hitler intends restructuring the chruch as well. The 28 Protestant territorial churches are to be joined together in one state church. Hitler gets support for this idea by the German Christians, a movement within the various Protestant national churches that has been set up in Berlin in the spring of 1932. They also aim at a unified national church and in 1933 the position of a state bishop for the Protestant church was meant to be introduced. Hitler plans to appoint the military pastor Ludwig Müller to be the national bishop. In order to preserve the indpendence of the state, the national churches nominate Friedrich Bodelschwingh as an opposing candidate. Bodelschwingh withdraws his candidacy, though, after some differences. Thus, Ludwig Müller becomes national bishop in September 1933. Still, the enforced conformity of the Protestant church cannot be achieved. Many municipalities and national churches form movements against conformity and later on become the Confessing Church.

The institutions of Diakonie face the risk of enforced conformity by the "National Socialist People´s Welfare (German "NSV")". The NSV was founded in Berlin in 1932. Its aim was to support party members in need of help. After coming to power in 1933, the NSV leader Erich Hilgenfeld manages within very short time to expand the NSV to a nationwide organization. This period also includes the enforced conformity of the "German League of the Independent Welfare". In January 1934, the NSV submits a draft of an agreement between the two organizations, which is supposed to lead to the foundation of a national community in March, lead by the NSV.

 This strong effort of enforced conformity is a serious thread to the institutions of Bavarian Diakonie. The danger of losing work fields to the NSA and also the risk of expropiations is high. To forestall these developments, the Bavarian Inner Mission attempts rapprochement to the Bavarian national church. Already in May 1933, Hans Lauerer, director of the deaconess institute in Neuendettelsau, drafts a declaration that subordinates the Inner Mission to the national bishop. The independent diaconical institutions are therefore "almost coup-like" subject to the legal protection of the national church. The national church enacts an order on 28 June 1934 for the Inner Mission, to give legal ground to the whole process. But since most of the diaconical institutions are independent, those who want to be under the care of the national church have to explain their request in writing to the church leadership. The three major institutions (deaconess institute Neuendettelsau, the deaconess institute Augsburg and Rummelsberg institutes) do so, an exception remains the community deaconess house Hensoltshöhe.

 

The diaconical institutions in Bavaria can consolidate and secure their existence in this way, so that during the Nazi regime the biggest institutions and also the national institution could survive.

The time after the war was over in 1945 and the end of the Nazi dictatorship was characterized by various factors. The future development of German Diakonie was shaped by the foundation of the "Protestant aid agency for Germany". In addition are the efforts of single Diakonie institutions to re-organize and to re-build their work. Also at state level, new structures must be found.

 In post-war times, the diaconical institutions are dedicated to repair the damages of war. Many buildings were damaged or destroyed by the bombings. In addition to that came the damage caused by misuse. Many of the buildings have undergone a change of use in war or the post-war period, for example schools served as hospitals. The nursing homes for people with disabilities became vacant by transporting the sick people to to the death camps, so resettlers from Bessarabia or South Tyrol moved in. The co-called Hitler Youth also moved into premises of the Inner Mission on their "Landverschickung"-mission. The return of the buildings to their original purpose is a priority for diaconical institutions.

 

The great distress of the citizens adds to all of that. Evacuees and refugees need support and help. Due to the loss of great areas in the former German Eastern territories and the expulsions parallel to that, more social problems arise. After the war, Bavaria alone takes up almost two million displaced people.

Especially the supply of the evacuees, returnees, displaced people and refugees is a hallmark of the work of the Protestant aid agency. Even before the "Aid agengy of the Protestant church in Germany" was founded in August 1945, the "Aid agency of the Inner Mission of the Evangelical Lutheran church in Bavaria" was constituted in 1945.

 

The aid agencie´s effectiveness can be seen during the collections within the "sacrificial weeks" which still exist today. It is also visible in the distribution of relief goods, which have been brought to Germany by foreign aid organizations. The churches are in an exceptional position. The fact that the churches did not collaborate with the Nazis, apart from the "German Christs movement", makes the church a contact person for the Allies. In addition, the churches are the only organizations with an at least half-way functioning infrastructure to provide a fair distribution of relief goods coming from abroad.

 

Under the lead of the first head of the organization, Eugen Gerstenmeier, the aid organization develops to a large organization over the years and it is adjacent to and in competition with the Inner Mission. Only in 1957, this situation is terminated by the merger of the two organizations. The Protestant church allocates the tasks of the aid organization over to the "Central Committee for the Inner Mission." The new merged association under the new name "Inner Mission and Aid Organization of the German Protestant Church" begins its work. There´s another name change in 1965: The Diakonie - Inner Mission and Aid Organization of the Protestant Church in Germany, today known as "Diakonisches Werk of EKD".

 

Mit der Abgabe der Rummelsberger Anstalten an einen eigenen Trägerverein werden die rechtlichen Voraussetzungen geschaffen. Auch die anderen Einrichtungen, die der Landesverein bislang selbst geführt hat, werden nun den Rummelsberger Anstalten unterstellt, die sich zu einem der wichtigsten Träger diakonischer Arbeit entwickeln.

In Bavaria, the merger of the aid organization of the Inner Mission in Bavaria and the Inner Mission was set already set in 1948. Also the restructuring of the "national association of the Inner Mission" to a regional association in 1947 and the following year lay the foundation for a change. The submission of the Rummelsberg institutes to an individual sponsor lay the legal foundations. The other institutions that have been led so far by the national association are now under the Rummelsberg institute´s control, which are becoming a major sponsor of diaconical work.

 

Der Landesverband soll nun nur Aufgaben eines Spitzenverbandes übernehmen und die entsprechenden Verbindungen zur Landesregierung aufbauen.

Das 21. Jahrhundert bringt auch für die Diakonie einschneidende Veränderungen mit sich. Einige davon sind deutlich sicht- und spürbar, andere geschehen langsam und unmerklich.

Zu den ersteren gehört die Aussetzung der Wehrpflicht und damit auch des Zivildienstes. Mit dem Bundesfreiwilligendienst schafft die Politik eine Alternative; die Diakonie gehört bald zu den größten Anbietern von Einsatzplätzen für Menschen unter und auch über 27. Denn auch Ältere sollen sich nun für einen längeren Zeitraum und unter klaren Rahmenbedingungen freiwillig sozial engagieren können. Angebote mit einem deutlichen Bezug zu Osteuropa sowie zu zum Thema Flüchtlinge differenzieren diese neuen Freiwilligendienste immer weiter aus - wie überhaupt das Thema "Flüchtlinge" auch die Diakonie stark beschäftigt. Die stark angestiegenen Flüchtlingszahlen im zweiten Jahrzehnt des 21. Jahrhunderts lassen auch den Bedarf nach diakonischen Angeboten in diesem Bereich wachsen. Die Diakonie - im Bundesgebiet, inbesondere aber in Bayern und hier mit starker Unterstützung der Evangelisch-Lutherischen-Kirche in Bayern - engagiert sich besonders bei der Betreuung unbegleiteter minderjähriger Flüchtlinge, aber auch in der Asyl- und Migrationsberatung.

Gesetzesveränderungen wie das Bundesteilhabegesetz (BTHG) sowie mehrere Pflegereformen verändern die Rahmenbedinungen sozialer Arbeit im Bundesgebiet hingegen langfristig,

Eher unmerklich verändert sich auch die Struktur der Diakonie. Die Zahl der Zusammenschlüssel Fusionen und Übernahmen innerhalb der Landesverbände nimmt zu - sei es aus wirtschaftlichen oder aus strategischen Gründen. Manch diakonische Einrichtung "schlüpft" unter das Dach großer diakonischer "Komplexträger". Gleichzeitig entstehen neue, diakonisch-kirchliche Projekte abseits der alten Strukturen, wie etwa die Vesperkirche in Schweinfurt oder Nürnberg.

The development of Diakonie in the second half of the 20th century is characterized by social politics at federal level. This is how the Social Assistance Act and the Youth Welfare act of 1961 describe the role of the sponsors of diaconical institutions as well as the position of people who need help. Due to the social change, but especially due to the growing prosperity social work experienced a strong expansion until the seventies. Diakonie participated in that as well. Connected to that was an ever increasing differentiation of diaconical offers. The regional association of Diakonie in Bavaria, the Diakonie Bavaria, has more than 100 different work fields - from AIDS counselling to community service. There are counselling services for education, marriage, familiy and general life issues, creches, day care centers and youth centres, schools and boarding schools, aid for disabled people, aid for old people, psychosocial support or the support of foreigners as well as asylum seekers.

 

At the same time, the face of Diakonie is changing. Fewer and fewer women choose a way into a diaconical community; according to that, the number of deaconesses has been steadily declining for years. In the area of Diakonie new jobs arise and with Diakonie run training centers the diaconical sponsors commit themselves to the junior staff. The convergence of Europe, the opening of Eastern- and Central Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the engagement of many diaconical sponsors outside of Germany. Wilhelm Löhe has already sent deaconesses not only to America and France, but also to Eastern Europe.