In 1958, while the Synod of Protestant Church in Germany was formulating a position on army chaplaincy and on the question of allowing nuclear weapons to be placed on German soil, Lothar Kreyssig presented a "Call for Peace". Young Germans should go into the former enemy countries and to Israel, to show through their practical work a sign of the reconciliation. Kreyssig's vision became reality: Aktion Suehnezeichen - Action Reconciliation - was founded in 1958.
Lothar Kreyssig, was born in 1898 in Floeha, Saxonia and 1986 died, was a judge in the Prussian city of Brandenburg. He worked in a guardian court where he was responsible for several hundred mentally retarded children and adults. During the summer of 1940 death certificates from his wards began to accumulate on Kreyssig's desk. He suspected that the deaths were connected with the "Operation Mercy Killing" (Operation Gnadentod), the systematic extermination of the mentally and physically handicapped, in accordance with orders of Nazi-Government. Nevertheless, Kreyssig had the courage to file charges against officials of "Euthanasia" - at the same time informing the Minister of Justice in Berlin. He was dismissed from his office as a judge.
Lothar Kreyssig was a prominent member of the Protestant opposition, the "Bekennende Kirche" (Confessing Church). He understood this commitment as a moral and political obligation to speak out against totalitarian ideology. After the war Lothar Kreyssig became a member of the Government Board of the Protestant Church in Germany and President of the Synod. Earlier he practised ecumenical Christianity. He had a charismatic power and the gift of encouraging in poeple a sense for justice.
This biography describes the very different life stations of Lothar Kreyssig and examines the motives for its radical transformations. It is based on an unpublished autobiography, and on numerous letters and documents. Also included are quotes from his friends and fellow-travellers from all periods of his life. Here, published for the first time also are literary texts by Lothar Kreyssig.