v. Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel


1900 to 1920 – Workers’ Colonies, War Casualties and a Hospital for the Acutely Ill

13 November 1900
Pastor Bodelschwingh is elected to the Prussian Parliament.

Friedrich von Bodelschwingh calls his youngest son Fritz to Bethel to support him.

The Workmen’s Housing Association is able to build over 180 small homes on the outskirts of Bielefeld.

16 May 1905
Registration of the “Hoffnungstal Association for Homeless of the City of Berlin”. Von Bodelschwingh organizes renowned Berlin citizens to join this association. Its aim is to establish a workers’ colony on the outskirts of Berlin.

15 October 1905
Opening of the theological school in Bethel called Bethel Theological College (today ”Theological College Wuppertal-Bethel”)

12 November 1905
Dedication ceremony of the Hoffnungstal Colony and admission of the first twenty colonists. They are housed in the colony in so-called individual rooms.

18 November 1906
Opening of a second building with 54 small single rooms for “unemployed and homeless young vagrants”. This building is named Lobetal.

15 November 1907
Dedication of the Gnadental building in the Hoffnungstal Colony as a workers’ home for the “poorest and almost hopeless class of elderly drinkers”.

1 September 1908
Directive issued by the institution’s management to recall the receipt journals that were previously used by employees of Bethel businesses to register cash purchases. These journals were used to allocate a portion of the profits from Bethel businesses to customers. This system had become so extensive that the receipt journals were replaced with product vouchers that are still in use today, so-called “Bethel Money”.

Purchase of a farm near Erkner (Hoffnungstal Institution) for housing endangered young women.

29 March 1910
Friedrich von Bodelschwingh suffers a major stroke that paralyzes his entire left side.

2 April 1910
Friedrich von Bodelschwingh dies. Following his death, his youngest son “Pastor Fritz” becomes the director of Bethel, and his oldest son assumes his father’s duties as director of the Sarepta Deaconesses’ Mother House.

In the year that von Bodelschwingh dies, the following numbers of persons are receiving aid and support at Bethel’s various institutions: 2,293 persons with epilepsy, 351 so-called “insane persons”, 197 persons with nervous disorders, 196 persons with lung disease, 1,533 “bodily ill”, 714 orphans, 1,617 unemployed persons, 200 alcoholics, 114 “other persons requiring institutional care and disoriented persons”, 474 foster children. Sarepta has 1,335 nurses working on 405 wards, and the Nazareth Brotherhood of Deacons has 491 brothers and male nurses working in approx. 159 different working places.

December 1911
The new Morija Hospital is opened following years of planning. It provides space to admit 120 so-called “insane patients” and “insane epileptic patients”, i.e. persons with psychiatric disturbances. Morija admits both acutely ill persons and long-term patients.

Sarepta opens Gilead Hospital for acutely ill patients. Stringent nursing regulations require improved training of deaconesses. Requisite training can be completed on site at one of Bethel’s own hospitals.

1 August 1914
Farewell ceremony held in Zion Church for men drafted into military service, including 6 doctors from the institution.

429 deaths among patients caused by malnutrition. Hunger at Bethel despite relief from peat deliveries for heating purposes, oat deliveries from Freistatt and farm products from Bethel’s own agricultural facilities.

Bethel has 30 military hospital wards by the end of World War I.

1 January 1919
Publication of “Aufwärts” (“Upwards”), a Christian daily newspaper. The newspaper’s objective is to “introduce and serve Christian thoughts and criteria, in the public life of our people, devoid of political affiliation, and provide a response for persons seeking light and instruction from the gospel, also in political matters”.

Summer 1919
Commencement of the “Lindenhof” Adult Education Center.

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