Church History
Germany: Chronology

“Germany: Chronology,” Global Histories: Germany (2021)

“Germany: Chronology,” Global Histories: Germany

Germany: Chronology

September 1840 • Hamburg, German Confederation

James Howard, a recent convert from England, moved to Hamburg, Germany, where he became the first Latter-day Saint to preach inside the German Confederation.

January–August 1842 • Regensburg, German Confederation

On his return from Jerusalem, Elder Orson Hyde of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spent seven months in Regensburg and oversaw the publication of “Ein Ruf aus der Wüste,” a tract containing one of the earliest accounts of Joseph Smith’s First Vision.

1843 • Darmstadt, German Confederation

Johann Greenig, a German convert who had been baptized in the United States, briefly preached in Darmstadt where he reported establishing the first branch in Germany.

September 15, 1851 • Schleswig, Duchy of Schleswig

Anna Hoth and her daughter Oline were baptized by George P. Dykes in the town of Schleswig. These were the first recorded baptisms in what is now Germany.

October 1851 • Hamburg

Elder John Taylor of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and George Viett, a German convert baptized in Paris, joined George P. Dykes, who was preaching in Hamburg. Under Taylor’s direction, Dykes and Viett began translating the Book of Mormon into German.

May 25, 1852 • Hamburg

The Book of Mormon was published in German. A special edition, with French and German translations on facing pages, was also printed.

August 1, 1852 • Hamburg

The Hamburg Branch was organized consisting of 12 members.

August–September 1854 • Hamburg

In response to false reports from disaffected former members, Mission President George C. Riser was imprisoned, and missionaries were banished from Hamburg.

1855 • German Confederation

After the majority of German Saints immigrated to Utah, the German Mission was discontinued.

Maeser, Karl G.

1855 • Dresden, Saxony

After reading a pamphlet antagonistic to the Church, Karl G. Maeser, headmaster of the Budich Institute, wrote the Scandinavian mission requesting missionaries be sent. Maeser was soon baptized with eight others, and a small branch was formed with Maeser as president.

1860 • Karlsruhe, Germany

Missionaries from the Swiss-Italian Mission began preaching in southern Germany. Serge Ballif, a former Protestant minister from Switzerland, organized a branch in Karlsruhe, the first in southern Germany.

1868 • Germany and Switzerland

The Swiss and German Mission was organized. Karl G. Maeser was appointed president of the mission on June 12, 1868, and soon began publishing Der Stern, a German-language newspaper for members in Germany and Switzerland.

1871 • German Empire

The German Empire was proclaimed in January 1871 at Versailles outside Paris with the unification of the German states.

April 1876 • Germany

The Doctrine and Covenants was published in German.

1882 • Germany

The Pearl of Great Price was published in German.

August 23, 1884 • Berlin, Germany

The first Relief Society in Germany was organized in the Berlin Branch with Pauline Kowallis as president.

1901 • Germany

Membership in Germany exceeded 2,000.

August 12, 1906 • Berlin

Church President Joseph F. Smith visited with German Saints in Berlin. This was the first visit of a President of the Church to Germany.

1914–1919 • Germany

All North American missionaries left Germany as World War I continued. In their absence, local members accepted calls as missionaries, preaching in their local areas and meeting in their branches as often as possible. More than 500 new converts were baptized during the war.

February 6, 1919 • Weimar, Germany

A coalition of political parties met, elected a new president, and established a post-war government for Germany. A new constitution, adopted August 11, 1919, established many civil rights for German citizens, including the freedom of religion.

August 1919 • Germany

The Swiss and German Mission distributed thousands of pounds of food and other aid to German Saints.

1920s • Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, Lithuania, and Poland

Lingering debts related to World War I dramatically depressed the German economy. Many, including several Latter-day Saints, left Germany to seek greater opportunity elsewhere. German-speaking branches were established in Brazil, Argentina, Ireland, Lithuania, and Poland.

1930–1933 • Germany

The Great Depression led to widespread unemployment throughout Germany. In Hamburg, members fasted an additional day each month to help ease mass suffering. Many local members accepted missionary assignments.

1933–1945 • Germany

Following Adolf Hitler’s election as chancellor of Germany, Nazi Party officials confiscated Church literature, disbanded Boy Scout organizations, disallowed Church meetings during party rallies, and began detaining and questioning Church members.

May 31, 1936 • Berlin

More than 700 youth from across Germany attended a Mutual Improvement Association convention in Berlin.

July 1937 • Germany, Switzerland, and Austria

Church President Heber J. Grant visited the Saints in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

April 14, 1939 • Germany

Alfred C. Rees, president of the East German Mission, published “Im Lande der Mormonen,” a pamphlet detailing the history and teachings of the Church in Völkischer Beobachter, the official newspaper of the Nazi Party.

August 1939–September 1940 • Europe

As tensions in Europe escalated, missionaries throughout Europe were evacuated. On September 1, 1939, Nazi forces invaded Poland, initiating World War II. Der Stern, the locally run Church newspaper, was discontinued by government policy in September 1940.

October 27, 1942 • Berlin

Helmuth Hübener, a 17-year-old member of the St. Georg Branch in Hamburg, was executed for writing and distributing pamphlets challenging Nazi propaganda. Rudolph Wobbe and Karl-Heinz Schnibbe, two other Latter-day Saint youth, were sentenced to labor camps for assisting Hübener.

May 1945 • Germany

As World War II ended, more than 600 German Saints had been killed, 2,500 were missing, most were homeless, and nearly every meetinghouse of the Church had been destroyed. Many members fled the devastation via a network of refugee camps operated by Latter-day Saints in Wolfsgrün, Cottbus, Chemnitz, and Langen.

January 14, 1946 • Germany

Elder Ezra Taft Benson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who was serving as European mission president, directed the distribution of approximately 2,500 tons of Church-provided aide in Germany and the surrounding nations.

November 16, 1947 • Netherlands

Members of the Church in the Netherlands sent their entire harvest of potatoes to the starving members in Germany.

June 1952 • Berlin

Church President David O. McKay dedicated meetinghouses in Berlin-Charlottenburg, Berlin-Dahlem, and Hannover.

December 7, 1953 • Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany)

The Church received recognition as a corporation under public law, which gave the Church equal rights with other established churches in Germany.

January 1, 1960 • Frankfurt am Main

The European Mission was reestablished with headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

September 10, 1961 • Berlin

The Berlin Germany Stake, the first in Germany, was organized with Rudi H. Seehagen as president. Stakes were created in Stuttgart and Hamburg later that year.

1965–67 • Federal Republic of Germany

A Church-sponsored building program led to the construction of meetinghouses in Augsburg, Celle, Darmstadt, Dortmund, Essen, Freiburg im Breisgau, Munich, and Nuremberg.

November 10, 1968 • German Democratic Republic (East Germany)

During his first visit to East German Saints, Elder Thomas S. Monson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles promised them all the blessings enjoyed by Church members throughout the world.

October 1, 1977 • Salt Lake City, Utah

F. Enzio Busche was called as a General Authority Seventy. He was the first German citizen to serve as a General Authority of the Church.

August 29, 1982 • Freiberg, German Democratic Republic

The Freiberg German Democratic Republic Stake was organized with Frank Herbert Apel as president.

June 29–30, 1985 • Freiberg

The Freiberg Germany Temple was dedicated by Thomas S. Monson.

Frankfurt Germany Temple

August 28, 1987 • Frankfurt

The Frankfurt Germany Temple was dedicated by Ezra Taft Benson.

October 3, 1990 • Germany

East and West Germany were reunified.

February 1998 • Neubrandenburg, Germany

Members of the Neubrandenburg District held a concert which drew $6,000 in donations to benefit disabled youth in the region.

November 11, 2001 • Herne, Germany

The Herne Ward, the first Church unit organized in the Ruhrgebiet, celebrated the 100th anniversary of the organization of the ward.

October 2, 2004 • Salt Lake City

Dieter F. Uchtdorf was sustained as a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

2008 • Erlangen, Germany

Since 2003, members of the Erlangen Branch had been volunteering at the local Ronald McDonald House to help families affected by childhood cancer. In 2008 members contributed €1,000 to assist in refurbishing the facility.

February 2, 2010 • Rhine-Main, Germany

Women from 11 Latter-day Saint Relief Societies in the Rhine-Main area sold handmade goods at a Christmas bazaar and donated the proceeds of €3,685 to a women’s shelter in Offenbach to buy furniture for a newly renovated children’s playroom.

2011–13 • Hamburg

A series of concerts featuring renowned German musicians was hosted by the Hamburg Stake.

July 6, 2018 • Berlin

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles met with Angela Merkel, federal chancellor of Germany. During the meeting, which marked the first meeting between a Latter-day Saint Apostle and a German chancellor, the two discussed the current state of affairs in Germany and the contributions of the Church to the country.

January 8, 2020 • Berlin

The school at the youth detention center in Berlin was renamed Helmuth Hübener School in honor of the Latter-day Saint teenager who challenged Nazi propaganda.