Albert Maier

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Albert Maier (Reutlingen - Kornwestheim 1944) was the founder of the German Christadelphians.[1]

As a young man he had travelled to America, where he was converted to the Christadelphian faith and taught by A. H. Zilmer, a German-speaking Christadelphian of Waterloo, Iowa. Maier returned to Obertürkheim in Stuttgart in the mid-1890s with the intention of preaching there, but found little interest so sold his house and prepared with his mother to emigrate permanently. He left two converts: 27-year-old Friedrich Weber (30 April 1899) and, in Schmalkalden near Kassel, Henriette Britzius, who with her husband emigrated to Birmingham, England and remained a bridge between British and German Christadelphians into her old age.

Following the death of his mother in the USA, Maier returned to Germany, carrying his own translations of booklets by John Thomas and Robert Roberts, and Thomas Williams' book „Der Welt Erlösung” translated by A. H. Zilmer and Johann G. Miller.

With materials in German, and the help of Weber, Maier was more successful. He founded the first Urchristen Gemeinde in Kornwestheim and in Stuttgart-Gaisburg. After the First World War in 1922 Maier met Johannes Reich a preacher of the Neuapostolische Gemeinde, and Reich and most of his congregation were rebaptised. New Gemeinde appeared in Nufringen, Reutlingen, Pfullingen, Ludwigsburg und Kirchheim am Neckar.[2]

At the same time Ludwig von Gerdtell, who had made direct contact with Professor Thomas Turner of the English Fraternal Visitor magazine, was leading a Gemeinde in Berlin with the Christadelphian Ludwig Knupfer. Gerdtell was originally with the Baptists, and for a time would be with the Christadelphians, though following his outspoken engagement in politics - and the reporting of a statement made in a local grocer's shop in 1934 that "Hitler is synonymous with war",[3] he had to flee via Spain to America.

Maier was more circumspect. Although the Christadelphians were suspect for their pacifism, and pro-Jewish interpretations of prophecy, Maier maintained a "strangers and pilgrims" attitude to Germany's politics, with the result that most of the Christadelphians avoided arrest until war broke out and conscription was introduced; several were imprisoned and Albert Merz was executed in April 1941.[4]

Maier died peacefully on 3 April 1944.[5]

Legacy[edit]

Gemeindehaus der Christadelphians in Esslingen am Neckar

After the war the Gemeinde started by Maier in Baden-Württemberg recovered and built a new Gemeindehaus in Esslingen am Neckar.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gustav Bogner Geschichte der Christadelphians in Deutschland (1)
  2. ^ Bogner "An verschiedenen Orten in Deutschland entstanden auch kleinere Gruppen, z.B. in Nufringen, Reutlingen, Pfullingen, Ludwigsburg und Kirchheim a. N. Bei den erstgenannten Gruppen war der tragende Geist Bruder Albert Maier und in Kirchheim a. N. Bruder Johannes Reich."
  3. ^ German Wikipedia sources: Im Januar 1934 äußerte er sich beim Einkaufen im örtlichen Tabakladen von Schöneiche bei Berlin dahingehend, dass Hitler gleichbedeutend mit Krieg sei.
  4. ^ Botten, J. The Captive Conscience
  5. ^ Bogner "Während des Krieges, am 3. April 1944, ist Bruder Albert Maier im Alter von 85 Jahren in Kornwestheim sanft in dem Herrn entschlafen, kurze Zeit vorher, als eine Luftmine den Dachstock des Hauses, in dem er wohnte, wegriss. Die Geschwister, bei denen Bruder Albert Maier über ein Jahrzehnt ein Heim gefunden hatte, wurden in wunderbarer Weise bewahrt."