Untkampfte Volkskirche: Leben und Wirken des evangelisch-sachsischen Pfarrers Konrad Mickel (1892-1965). By Andreas Mockel. Koln/Weimar/Wien: Boehlau Verlag, 2011. ISBN-13: 978-3-4122-0662-8. xiii and 393 pages. Cloth. 49.90 Euros.
Andreas Mockel demonstrates how the "church struggle" in the homeland was repeated in the Saxon diaspora between Nazi churchmen and their confessional opponents. He has written a needed biography of his father, Konrad Mockel, a prominent pastor in the Saxon Lutheran church in the region known as Transylvania in northern Romania. The distant ancestors of the Saxons had begun to emigrate from western Germany in the twelfth century and numbered some 240,000 souls by the Nazi era.
After the Reformation, German ethnicity and Protestantism provided the two dimensions of Saxon identity that characterized the Lutheran church as a "folk church" (Volkskirche). In modern times the ethnic pole began to overshadow the religious pole as prospects dimmed for the survival of the Saxons as an ethnic minority, most recently in hostile Romania.
In the 1920s Saxons debated among themselves how they could "renew" the staying power of their threatened minority. One answer led to Nazi ideology. In its most radical iteration, Nazism excluded Christianity from the Saxon synthesis of folk and faith. By contrast, Konrad Mockel sought redress for the neglected religious pole. As National Socialism tightened its grip on Saxon society, Konrad Mockel was confirmed in his earlier belief that exorbitant concern for Saxon ethnicity had falsified the religious testimony oldie Saxon church. At the same time, he also joined the voices of those seeking a "renewal" of the ethnic Folk. Earlier in his career, K. Mockel asserted that the Saxons had survived as a people over the centuries because of the...