‘Peeking though the Berlin wall’

Christine Winter

Research output: Other contribution


In this episode:

Religion in Germany has been shaped by powerful forces - reformation, war and incomprehensible tragedy. When Germany was split into East and West after World War II, each side took a radically different approach to religious institutions. The lasting effects can still be seen today in the newly reunified Germany.

Lutheranism is a small denomination in Australia, but it played an important role in our history. Lutherans were some of the first religious refugees Australia ever took, and the hardship they experienced forged a strong Lutheran identity. But it was an identity they suffered for during the World Wars when being Lutheran and being German looked the same to the Australian government.

The Confessing Church is held up as a tragically heroic chapter in Christianity, when faithful Christians resisted the Third Reich's takeover of the Protestant churches. Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer were so virtuous and steadfast they still influence Christianity today. But how accurate is that story really? It turns out it's much, much more complicated than it first appears.

Not all Lutherans are German: Lutheran missions have influenced religious practise all over the world, including in central Australia. The Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir sings the old hymns from the mission days, and integrates Lutheran theology into their own cultural identity.
Original languageEnglish
TypeRadio panel interview
Media of outputAudio
PublisherABC Radio National
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2018


  • Lutheran
  • Germany
  • Berlin Wall
  • religion


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