v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel

 
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The Bethel Chronicle: 140 Years of Diakonia

The v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel started as a home for persons with epilepsy, founded in 1867 by the Home Mission  in Bielefeld. Its objective was to provide a home for persons with “seizure afflictions” at a time when persons with mental or physical weakness were increasingly being pushed to the edge of society. Friedrich Simon came to Bethel as the institution’s first managing director. Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, who significantly influenced the institution, succeeded Simon in 1872. Under his management—and the management of his successors—Bethel developed into one of Europe’s largest Christian social welfare service entity. The number of people whose lives have been touched by contact with Bethel is enormous–the figure runs into millions. We perceive Bethel’s history as the history of these persons regardless of whether their path through life brought them in touch with Bethel as employees or disabled persons or as friends, supporters, family members, students, politicians or clergymen. There are innumerable stories of persons who have received help at Bethel in a moment of need or for several decades. Our chronicle only presents a few milestones in almost 150 years of Bethel history:

1860 to 1880 – The Initial Years
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1880 to 1900 – The Young Institution Grows
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1900 to 1920 – Workers’ Colonies, War Casualties and a Hospital for the Acutely Ill
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1920 to 1940 - Weimar Republic and Nazi Dictatorship
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1940 to 1960 – The Second World War and its Consequences
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1960 to 1980 – More Freedom, More Independence
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1980 to 2000 - "Out-Patient before In-Patient!"
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