September 1949: Sasse Arrives in Australia

In September, 1949, Sasse arrived in Australia with his family to take up the position of lecturer (equivalent to professor in US or German institutions) in church history at Immanuel Seminary, North Adelaide, the seminary of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church in Australia. I'm not sure which port Sasse's ship docked at, but he arrived in Adelaide via train at the Adelaide Railway Station. Happily, we can publish here at What Sasse Says some invaluable photographs recording that momentous day in the life of Australian Lutheranism  (by clicking on the image the reader should be able to view a larger version):

Johannes Paul Loehe, the first President of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church of Australia and Principal of Immanuel Seminary, North Adelaide, extends a hand of greeting to Sasse. Used With Permission.

Comparing this photo with the first, JP Loehe appears to have taken Sasse's hat off to get a better look at him! To the right stand Dr Siegfried Hebart (dark suit; it was Hebart, who had completed his doctorate at Erlangen in the 1930s, who was instrumental in bringing Sasse to Australia, although later they found they didn't always see "eye to eye" on theology or church life) and Pr W. Riedel, both of the Immanuel Seminary faculty. The figure to Sasse's left, with his back turned towards the camera, is likely Pr. K. Muetzelfeldt, another member of the seminary faculty. Used With Permission.

Interestingly, about a month after Sasse's arrival, on the13th October, 1949, Immanuel Seminary enjoyed a visit by Pr Martin Niemoeller, the anti-Nazi  campaigner, concentration camp survivor and author of the famous "First they came for the Communists..." poem. Niemoller was by this time president of the Protestant Church of Hesse and Nassau, one of the German Landeskirche, and may have been visiting Australia in that capacity.  It was Niemoeller who, in late 1933, had published the 'Bethel Confession' jointly authored by Bonhoeffer and Sasse (and others). Unhappily, Niemoller later became an advocate of a highly politicised theology at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Nazis and the "German Christians", aligning Christianity with Left -wing causes in the 1960s.  
L-R: unknown, Dr Siegfried Hebart, Niemoller, Sasse, Prs. W. Riedel, K. Muetzelfeldt (?), unknown, J.P. Loehe.
Used With Permission.

These photographs are from the collection of my colleague pastor in the LCA, the Rev. Tim Jarick, via his father the Rev. Vincent Jarick, a 1950 graduate of Immanuel Seminary. Interestingly, seminarian V. Jarick's graduating thesis was a study of  the controversy on the Lord's Supper in the Pre-Scholastic Period focusing particularly on the teachings of Radbertus and Berengarius in the 9th and 11th centuries - subjects Sasse would consider in passing in his seminal 'This Is My Body: Luther's Contention for the Real Presence in the Sacrament of the Altar' (Augsburg, 1959).
Thanks Tim for sharing them with us!

Readers can advise of any identification of unknown figures or corrections of names or titles to my email via the blogger profile. 

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