Diakonische Basisgemeinschaft in Hamburg
Arbeit für Frieden und Gerechtigkeit
Gastfreundschaft für Flüchtlinge
Leben in Gemeinschaft
News from our house

by Matt Clemens / September 2005

With the 60th anniversary of the dropping of the Atomic Bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki we are struck with the gravitas of what it means to live in the post-atomic age. The human capacity to inflict destruction and suffering on the grandest of scales baffles and overwhelms the mind. A candle burns here in the community in memorial of the horrific events of August 1945. It stands as both reminder and challenge-let us not lose hope in the wake of such overwhelming atrocity, but continue to work for a world where the kind of injustice that scared the world 60 years ago in Hiroshima and Nagasaki can never again come to pass.

We firmly believe that this work towards a just world finds its most meaningful expression when it is shared by many committed individuals working in collaboration with one another. We were thusly, proud to be a part of a wonderful meeting of committed individuals and collaborative communities at the eighth annual European Catholic Worker summer gathering, this year in Nimwegen, Netherlands. At least seven Catholic Worker Houses were represented this May, with individuals travelling from Hamburg, Dortmund, Amsterdam, Oxford, London and Des Moines (Iowa, USA) to be a part of this year’s retreat near the German-Dutch border. The days were full of seminars, sharing from our own CW experiences, times of cooking and eating together, and even a talent show and soccer match (where our own future Bundesliga star, Jonas scored a hat-trick and the game-winning goal). We were grateful to experience the kind of solidarity that exists within the CW movement here in Europe, and relished the time with our friends and comrades from near and far.

Those of us from B&R who attended the CW gathering arrived a few days before the official start to enjoy some time together at De Refter (a converted school for girls, now a large WG where the retreat was held) and on the banks of De Waal (the Rhein).

Hardly had we returned to Hamburg and we were on the road again, this time for the Deutsche Evangelische Kirchentag 2005 in Hannover. Between meeting old friends, making new ones, attending to our stand, presenting our own Veranstaltung, leading a panel discussion on the situation of refugees in Germany, and taking in all the sights and sounds of KT, we had our hands full. Along with our own interactive booth (complete with B&R video from filmmaker Eve Rennebarth), we presented a skit dealing with the experiences of refugees in the Asylum process and performed a few tongue-in-cheek songs as the Chor der Hamburger Ausländerbehörde. We’d like to thank everyone who helped out with our stand, or stopped by to say, hello!

Soon after our return from Kirchentag, the vacation season here at B&R began in earnest, with many of us enjoying time away in various places (often-in contrast to our beloved Hamburg-where the sun still makes regular appearances). However, at least one of us had plenty of sun this summer, as our very own Viola participated in the Los Angeles Catholic Worker Summer Program in sunny California. Viola lived and worked at the LA CW House for six weeks, where amongst many other experiences, she helped in serving up to 2,000 guests per day in the House’s soupkitchen.

Throughout the summer here in Hamburg, we have continued our demonstrations against deportation every week in front of the Hamburger Ausländerbehörde. This act of solidarity and protest continues to elicit positive reactions from many, and serves as catalyst for important discussion with many others.

We have been in contact with Denis and family, now in Serbia (family deported to Belgrade in December, Denis followed in May). Through letters and reports from family members who have visited we have learned that with the money we were able to collect, the family was able to purchase a very small house. We are all grateful that the family now has their own roof over their heads, and at the same time, are painfully aware that the situation continues to be a very difficult one for the family.

We are glad to welcome Frauke back into our midst after a longer stay in the hospital and sincerely hope that things continue to improve health-wise for her from here.

We are pleased to announce that plans for a new Gäste Wohnung in Steilshoop are being finalized, and this very needed project will become operational sometime in the Fall.

Even in these (admittedly, somewhat cooler) August days, we continue to geniess the last days of summer on the terrace and look forward to another lovely Hamburg Fall.


Unsere Gastfreundschaft für obdachlose Flücht­linge wird erst mög­lich durch Spenden und ehren­amtliche Mitarbeit


Hausgottesdienste, Offene Abende und immer wieder mal ein Fest: Herzlich will­kommen bei uns im Haus der Gast­freund­schaft


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