The Church

The church offered Estonians great emotional support during the displaced persons period. Among the Estonians were quite a large number of people who had served in the clergy in the pre-war period. Since everyday life went on, then in addition to regular worship, there were burials, baptisms, confirmations, and singing.

The centre of Estonian religious life in the US zone was Geislingen, where 90% of camp inhabitants were Lutherans. In the summer of 1945, Pastor Samuel Eduard Lind was in Geislingen, and conducted the first religious service in the Altenstadt district church, then in September, the first confirmation for 11 young people. Six clergymen arrived after the large camp of Geislingen was founded, of whom the most notable were the associate pastor Aleksander Hinno, who was also assigned as the Estonian ecclesiastical organiser in Germany. The opening service was held on 21 October in Geislingen Church. A total of 87 Sunday services were held, 93 children were baptised, 44 married, and 22 buried. Outside of the camp there were more services, a total of 95. The camp congregation had 3800 members at its peak.

In January 1946, the theologian’s conference took place in Geislingen, which was attended by clergymen from 11 major Estonian centres. Moral issues were discussed, like the presentation "What does the DP do, as a Christian?" In September of the same year a second meeting of theologians took place, which was attended by 37 clergymen from both the US and British zones.

In March 1946, A. Hinno edited the monthly bulletin "Kirikuleht". Later, when the majority of Estonians had travelled on from Germany, the Lutheran World Federation supported the continuation of the bulletin and it was edited by Konrad Veem from Munich.

The centre of the Orthodox Church was located in the British zone in Oldenburg, where the metropolitan Aleksander led the church. The archpriest Sergius Samon held the Orthodox services in the US zone. There were close to 300 Orthodox DPs in Geislingen. In the summer of 1946, an Orthodox clergy gathering took place in Geislingen, where it was proposed that the Orthodox Church should be relocated from Oldenburg to Geislingen, but this change did not happen.

An overview of the activity of St. Paul Lutheran congregation in New York in 1951.
ERA.1622.2.61, pages 123–124 (digitized,
A program of service dedicated to the 27th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia.
ERA.1583.2.24, page 230 (digitized,
An overview of ecclesiastical statistics at the 15th year in exile by Arvo Horm.
ERA.5010.1.23, images 4–5 (digitized,
A monument for Estonians at the cemetery of Geislingen, probably in 1950.
VEMU FK.61-27
Confirmation day in Amberg on May 30, 1946, with dean Max Vaher in the middle.
VEMU FK.61-40

The beginning of displacement

DP camps in Germany



Soldiers in Germany

Care for refugees

Children in DP camps

Culture and sport activities


The Church


Organization Red Cross in Germany

Youth organizations

Public holidays

The Statehood representatives – envoys in DP camps

Unity of the Baltic States

The resettlement of refugees

Audiovisual Chronicle