Esther von Kirchbach
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Esther was the eldest daughter of four children of Adolph von Carlowitz, Saxonian officer and later War Minister. At the beginning of the First World War, shortly before she graduated, she married Graf Georg zu Münster ("Count George of Munster"), who died of war injuries two years later. As a young widow with a child, she home-studied Mathematics, German, Philosophy and History in Marburg and Leipzig.
In 1921 she married theologian Arndt von Kirchbach, who had two children and had become a priest after his first wife's death. She bore him another six children. As head of Protestant youth work, as Hofprediger of the Sophienkirche and as Superintendent of Freiburg, he was heavily involved in the Church. Together, the von Kirchbachs wrote articles, essays and letters and gave lectures addressing the status of women in various circles.
In 1927 Esther led the Bundes für eine lebendige Volkskirche ("Society for a Living People's Church") in Dresden. Starting from the Nazi takeover in 1933, she fought against the Nazi policy of Gleichschaltungspolitik der Kirchen (roughly, "Political Synchronisation of Churches"). Her husband was also one of the leading representatives of the Inclusive Church in Dresden. Together, they continued their literary work and lecturing, despite repeated arrests and Adolph von Carlowitz's dismissal.
In 1934 Esther was German delegate to the International Women's Congress in Budapest. In 1945 she was the only woman on the Advisory Board of the Regional Office engaged with refugees and war victims. She took refugees into her own parsonage in Freiberg.
She died at the age of 51 during surgery for an embolism.
In Freiburg, a refuge and an association for the promotion of women's work were established in 1991. This committed non-profit organisation continues the work Esther von Kirchbach began.
Her life was commemorated on a German stamp (depicted above).
- Esther von Kirchback, German National Library, retrieved 17 January 2012.
- Arndt von Kirchbach: Lebenserinnerungen RGG III S1296
- This page was abridged and translated from the German Wikipedia on 23 March 2009.
- "Esther von Kirchbach". Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German).
- Herausgabe des Postwertzeichens
- Esther von Kirchbach in the German National Library catalogue