Magazine article The Christian Century

Two German Pastors Accused of Spying

Magazine article The Christian Century

Two German Pastors Accused of Spying

Article excerpt

A former high-ranking official of the West Berlin Protestant church, Horsta Krum, has been suspended from her pastorate pending results of an investigation of charges that for over a period of 15 years she passed confidential church information to an East German Marxist party official, who in turn passed the information on to the German Democratic Republic's (DDR) secret police.

Krum was a member of the council (Kirchenleitung) that administers the West Berlin church's affairs, and from 1979 to 1990 was chairwoman of a similar ecclesial body (the Moderamen) that oversees church affairs for the Reformed congregations within the regional Berlin-Brandenburg Landeskirche. She has also served as pastor of a Reformed congregation since 1970; it was from this position that she was suspended.

According to the charges, Krum's contacts with the party official, Johannes Klein, began in 1974. Klein held a government position in Potsdam, a small city south of Berlin in what formerly was East Germany. He was also an agent for the DDR's secret police, known as the Stasi. Whether Krum knew the Stasi was receiving the information she passed to Klein is a matter under investigation. Many observers feel it is unlikely that someone as familiar with the DDR as Krum was could have believed that a Marxist party official would withhold her reports from the secret police. Her husband, Ulrich Krum, pastor of a Lutheran congregation in the same Landeskirche, has been suspended on similar charges.

Among the most serious of the charges against Krum is the allegation that she used her relationship as the mentor of an American pastor, Barbara Green, to report regularly on Green's work as a contact person between American Protestant churches and churches in the DDR. Green was in Berlin as a representative of the New York-based National Council of Churches to determine how churches in the U. S. could best help those in the DDR.

Green was assigned to Krum's parish to gain experience in a local church setting. She was a frequent visiter in Krum's home, and the German minister supervised her parish work. All the while, state the charges, Krum was sending detailed reports about Green's activities and ideas to Klein, who forwarded them on to the Stasi. Green has declared that these, reports were made without her knowledge or consent and were based in part on theft of materials in her possession.

It is also alleged that Krum reported about the weekly meetings of the Kirchenleitung and on ways in which the Moderamen maintained contacts in East Germany and helped to arrange aid transfers from the West German Reformed churches to Reformed congregations in the DDR. …

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