Paul Oestreicher (born 29 September 1931, Meiningen) is an Anglican priest.
Life and work
In 1938, shortly after he began school, his family had to leave Germany due to the Jewish ancestry of his father, the paediatrician Paul Oestreicher (1896–1981). They moved to New Zealand, where he grew up. He studied German studies and political sciences from 1949 to 1955, when he moved to Bonn for a one-year research fellowship to study Christianity and Marxism under professor Helmut Gollwitzer. He then spent time at a seminary in Lincoln from 1956 until 1958, before spending 1958 and 1959 as assistant guest pastor to the Protestant church in Rǖsselsheim in the church province of Hessen-Nassau.
In 1959 he was ordained deacon in St Paul's Cathedral London and priest a year later. He served as curate in the parish of Holy Trinity, Dalston in east London. From 1961 to 1964 he was a programme producer in the religious department of the BBC from 1964 to 1969 was the Secretary of the East Europe Relations Department of the British Council of Churches. He took an active part early on in the Christian Peace Conference (Prague) and in 1964 was elected to its executive committee. On account of his critique of Soviet policies he was expelled from the Executive in 1968. From 1968 to 1981 he was the parish priest of the Church of the Ascension, Blackheath, and from 1981 to 1985 the Director of the Division of International Affairs of the British Council of Churches. During this period he became a member of the Society of Friends, and from 1985 to 1987 was a residentiary canon of Coventry Cathedral and director of the Cathedral's Centre for International Reconciliation. He made a substantial contribution to the work of the Dresden Trust, which raised funds in the UK for the reconstruction of the Frauenkirche in Dresden.
He retired from the Cathedral in 1998, becoming its Canon Emeritus and moving to Brighton, where he lives with his second wife, the New Zealander Barbara Einhorn, a professor at the University of Sussex. He travelled through Germany in autumn 2010. He still works as a journalist and expert on human rights, peace, faith and society. He recently wrote a controversial piece in The Guardian (Online edition, 20 April 2012) claiming that Jesus was 'probably gay'. As chairman of the British section of Amnesty International, he worked for political prisoners in Eastern Europe during the Cold War and South Africa under apartheid. He has also worked for the end of the Cold War, German reunification, and improving relations between the Church of England and churches in East Germany and South Africa.
- Federal Service Cross first class
- Works on and by Oestreicher in the Deutschen Nationalbibliothek
- Other works by Oestreicher