Kirche und Revolution. Das Christentum in Ostmitteleuropa vor und nach 1989. Edited by Hans-Joachim Veen, Peter März, and Franz-Josef Schlichting. [Europäische Diktaturen und ihre Überwindung. Schriften der Stiftung Ettersberg, Vol. 14.] (Cologne: Böhlau Verlag. 2009-Pp- 241. euro19,90. ISBN 978-3-412-20403-7.)
The Ettersberg Foundation (Stiftung Ettersberg) in Weimar, Germany, is devoted to the comparative study of European dictatorships, organizing international scholarly symposia and producing publications. The Seventh International Symposium, held in October 2008, hosted participants from central and eastern Europe. The symposium addressed the role of the Church in the democratic transformations of central and eastern Europe since the 1980s, examining the relationship among church, state, and democracy before and after the change of political regimes. The ensuing publication includes contributions arranged in three sections.
The first set of contributions offers a detailed look at the churches' involvement in political change in three countries. It discusses the extent to which the churches harmonized with the communist government- if they became "a church in socialism" (Kirche im Sozialismus) and thus a factor in communist government structures, offered shelter to opposition groups, and/or reflected national interests. Regarding the German Democratic Republic, Richard Schröder examines the role of the Evangelical Church, Ehrhart Neubert presents the impact of the churches on the revolutionary changes of 1989-90, and Franz-Josef Schlichting analyzes the place of the small Catholic community in Eichsfeld. Dirk Lenschen discusses the attitude of the Catholic Church, socialism, and the transformation in Poland; while Thomas Bremer studies the relationship between the Orthodox Church and the Soviet regime. Peter Maser states that the German Protestants have never generated any revolution. …