Destruction of the Josefstal Church

Josefstal-Church-1937-001With most of their priests shot by 1937, and all of their Churches forbidden to operate, all that was left for the socialists in the USSR was to tear down the churches.

Soviet officials must have asked for permission to tear down the Church in Josefstal, by the content of this document. That it was deplorable condition may or may not be correct….after all…you could be shot if you have any public inklings toward religion and even it’s temples.

But no matter. Soviet officials documented the final days of the Catholic Church in Josefstal. Originally built in 1904 with the help of parish priest Alois Oks (Shot in Novosibirsk also in 1937), the Church was torn down as was requested.

Here is the translation of the document from the Josefstal “Secret” archives. (GAVO Fond 2659) (Thanks to Hugh Lichtenwald for the accurate translation)

To: The Josefstal German Soviet, Canton Erlenbach.

Excerpt Nr. 52 of the minutes of the meeting of the Presidium of the Central Executive Committee of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Volga Germans, June 25, 1937.

Discussed: The request of the Erlenbach Canton Executive Committee concerning the demolition of the church building in Josefstal.

Decided: Considering the fact that the existing church building in the village of Josefstal, which according to records of the State Building Control, is “demormiert” (untranslatable word) and is quickly becoming so rundown that it will not be able to be used for cultural purposes by the village, it is permitted that the Erlenbach Canton Executive Committee dismantle (literally, clear away) the existing church building of the village of Josefstal and use the building materials for the construction of a cinema in the upper part of the village (“im Dorfe Oberdorf.”).

The Erlenbach KVK (Canton Executive Committee) is obligated to use the building materials for cultural purposes for the village of Josefstal.

Chairman: A. Welsch

Secretary: Schlegel

Correct: Director of the Allg.Abtl. (probably Allgemeine Abteilung–general/overall, Section/Department) of the Central Executive Committee of the ASSRdWD (Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Volga Germans).

A. Nuss

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