"Julius Axenfeld, A Luther Legacy" - Part I



    The Lutheran Journal, Vol. 61, #2, 1992 - Erwin Weber


The orphanage in which I was raised is called Godesheim. It is located on a hill overlooking the city of Bad Godesberg with the Rhine River in the background. It was founded by a Lutheran pastor named Julius Heinrich Axenfeld in 1883 as his contribution to the 400th anniversary of Luther's birth. This article concentrates on the life and work of Julius Heinrich Axenfeld, a follower of Martin Luther, a crusader, and a pioneer for social improvement and ecumenical cooperation.

This article concentrates on Axenfeld's place of birth near Kiev, Russia, his stay in a monastery when his father died, his residence in Berlin with his mother, his studies in Stettin, East Prussia, his theological studies at Halle, his tutoring of children at the home of a Prussian Duke, his activity at the University of Königsberg, Prussia, his marriage, his first assignment as a Lutheran Pastor, his teaching days at a preparatory school in Düsseldorf, his six-year stay as a missionary in Smyrna, Turkey, his fund-raising activities to build a Lutheran church and a school in Smyrna, to his call to Bad Godesberg where he built a new Lutheran Church, a school for small Lutheran children, a college for girls, a Christian rest home for men, an orphanage and trade school, and an organization for volunteers to care for the sick in the Lutheran congregation, a children's hospital for 42 children at little or no cost, a building for students and apprentices traveling throughout the country, a Christian rest home for women with little income, and a college of education.