Rosemary told her sons the Stuttmeisters were Teutonic Knights. Our mother may have confused them with the Templers, a movement that was banned by the Evangelical Church, that they were in good standing with. This is why their tomb is at the entrance of the Berlin cemetary that may have been created to accept the parishioners of this Lutheran Union. A schism would explain why there is no history to be found on this family. The Templers became associated with the Nazis and their records were stored in East Germany. The Templers lived in the Holy Land and were intent on rebuilding the Temple – while wearing the Swastika!
I suspect Rudolph was an envoy who set out in ships to bring the Templers back into the fold – that beheld Kaiser Wilhelm as a Prussian Messiah? The Stuttmeisters may have been court preachers for the royal Prussians, and thus they gave their children their names.
Wilhelm Hoffmann served as one of the royal Prussian court preachers at the Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church in Berlin and was a co-founder and first president of the Jerusalem Association. Americans joined the Templers in the Holy Land.
Envoys of the Evangelical State Church of Prussia’s older Provinces successfully proselytised among the schismatics, gaining most of them. Thus some colonies became places of partisans of two different Christian denominations and their respective congregations (Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Sarona).
How could the Stuttmeisters tell their children and grandchildren what they have been up to – around the world. They would talk to their playmates, who would tell their Christian parents, the Germans were Calvinists who believed in a coming Doomsday, and thus the Temple in Jerusalem had to be rebuilt. When my sixteen year old daughter came into my life in 2000, I told her such wild tales, her and her mother called me mad, and ditched me in order to be with Victoria. Dan Brown’s book came out two years later.
Empress Augustus Victoria looks like my kin. Here I am slipping a coin in the crack made by the earthquake of 1989.
Hoffmann and Hardegg purchased land at the foot of Mount Carmel and established a colony there in 1868. At the time, Haifa had a population of 4,000. The Templers are credited today with promoting the development of the city. The colonists built an attractive main street that was much admired by the locals.
After the 1898 visit of Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, one of the Kaiser’s traveling companions, Colonel Joseph Freiherr von Ellrichshausen, initiated the formation of a society for the advancement of the German settlements in Palestine, inStuttgart. It enabled the settlers to acquire land for new settlements by offering them low interest loans. A second wave of pioneer settlers founded Wilhelma (now Bnei Atarot) in 1902 near Lod, Valhalla (1903) near the original Jaffa colony, followed by Bethlehem of Galilee (1906) and Waldheim (now Alonei Abba) in 1907. At its height, the Templer community in Palestine numbered 2,200.[dubious ]
] In 1898, Kaiser Wilhelm II made a trip to Jerusalem to personally dedicate the new church. For the dedication of the church, the Kaiser entered the city on horse back through two specially made ceremonial arches, one a gift of the Ottoman Empire and one a gift from the local Jewish community. The church was dedicated on Reformation Day, 1898. At the dedication, Wilhelm said:
From Jerusalem came the light in splendor from which the German nation became great and glorious; and what the Germanic peoples have become, they became under the banner of the cross, the emblem of self-sacrificing charity.
A particular purpose of the travel to Palestine was the inauguration of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem. Built on land given to King William I of Prussia (after 1870 Kaiser Wilhelm I) in 1869 by Sultan Abdülaziz of the Ottoman Empire, the church was constructed from 1892-1898. For the dedication of the church, the Kaiser Wilhelm II entered the city on horse back through to specially made ceremonial arches, one a gift of the Ottoman Empire and one a gift from the local Jewish community.The church was dedicated on 31 October, Reformation Day, 1898. At the dedication, Wilhelm said: “From Jerusalem came the light in splendor from which the German nation became great and glorious; and what the Germanic peoples have become, they became under the banner of the cross, the emblem of self-sacrificing charity.”
In 1898 the German emperor Wilhelm II (1859-1941) and his wife Augusta Viktoria made a triumphal entry into Jerusalem as multitudes gathered at Jaffa Gate to welcome the Prussian King and German monarch. The visitor left his mark on Jerusalem. He inaugurated the German Lutheran Church of the Redeemer and amongst other things donated a large sum of money for the construction of the Bikur Holim Hospital.
During the royal visit to Jerusalem, Wilhelm also laid the cornerstone for the later construction of Augusta Victoria (named after his wife), a complex on Mt. Scopus that would later become a church, hospice and hospital. Until the late 1920s Augusta Victoria also served as the residence of the British High Commissioner for Palestine until he moved to Armon HaNatziv.
The population fluctuated between 300-400 settlers between 1870 and 1914. Sixty of the colonists were American citizens and their leader, Jacob Schumacher served as the U.S. consular agent for Haifa and northern Palestine. Due to their population increase and the on-going urbanisation of Haifa, the colonists searched to buy lands in order to found new settlements. These were to be exclusively monodenominational. Thus the Templers settled in Bethlehem of Galilee and the Evangelical Protestants founded the neighbouring Waldheim.
Employing modern farming methods, the Templers introduced soil fertilization, better methods of crop rotation and new crops such as potatoes. They imported agricultural machinery and engaged in “mixed farming,” combining dairy farming and field crops.
Registering the land was problematic due to back taxes and local boundary disputes, which sometimes turned violent. The Templers thus abandoned farming in favor of industry and tourism. They built hotels, opened workshops and established an olive oil soap factory.
The affluent German colony stood out in its poor surroundings. The only doctor in the city lived there, and one of the residents was a construction engineer. By the end of the Ottoman era the colony had 750 inhabitants, 150 houses and dozens of businesses.The colony was the first model of urban planning in Palestine, with a main street running from north to south (today, Ben-Gurion Boulevard), leading down to the harbor. Smaller streets branched out from the main street. At the southern end of the colony were the Templer vineyards (where the Bahá’í World Centre stands today). The colony was built as a garden city with single-family homes surrounded by gardens and shade trees lining the main boulevard.
In 1817 – under the auspices of King Frederick William III of Prussia – the community of the Supreme Parish Church, like most Prussian Calvinist and Lutheran congregations joined the common umbrella organization named Evangelical Church in Prussia
Christoph Hoffmann and Georg David Hardegg (1812–1879) founded the Temple Society at Kirschenhardthof near Ludwigsburg in 1861. This religious society has its roots in the Pietist movement within the Lutheran Evangelical State Church in Württemberg. Called “Deutscher Tempel” by its founders, their aim was to promote spiritual cooperation to advance the rebuilding of the Temple in the Holy Land, Palestine, in the belief that this foundation will promote the second coming of Christ.
While the Lutheran state church in Württemberg condemned and fought the Templers as apostates, the Prussian Protestant position was somewhat milder. Their settlement in the Holy Land found a warm support through Wilhelm Hoffmann (1806–1873), who was no apostate from the official church, like his younger brother Christoph. Wilhelm Hoffmann served as one of the royal Prussian court preachers at the Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church in Berlin and was a co-founder and first president of the Jerusalem Association (German: Jerusalemsverein), a charitable organisation founded on 2 December 1852 to support Samuel Gobat‘s effort as bishop of the Anglo-Prussian Bishopric of Jerusalem.
Christoph Hoffmann fell out with his fellow leader Hardegg, so that in June 1874 the Temple denomination underwent a schism with Hardegg and about a third of the Templers seceding from the Temple Society. The schismatics around Hardegg searched to join another Christian denomination. To this end they addressed theLutheran Church of Sweden (1874) and the Anglican Church Missionary Society (1879), but both refused to take care of the schismatics. In 1878 Hardegg and most of the schismatics founded the Temple Association (Tempelverein), but after Hardegg’s death in the following year the cohesion of its adherents faded. Then envoys of the Evangelical State Church of Prussia’s older Provinces successfully proselytised among the schismatics, gaining most of them. Thus some colonies became places of partisans of two different Christian denominations and their respective congregations (Haifa, Jaffa, Jerusalem, Sarona).
While in Germany the Templers were regarded sectarians, the Evangelical proselytes gained major financial and intellectual support from German Lutheran and unitedchurch bodies. This created an atmosphere of mistrust and envy among the colonists of different denominational affiliation.
Hoffmann and Hardegg purchased land at the foot of Mount Carmel and established a colony there in 1868. At the time, Haifa had a population of 4,000. The Templers are credited today with promoting the development of the city. The colonists built an attractive main street that was much admired by the locals. It was 30 meters wide and planted with trees on both sides. The houses, designed by architect Jacob Schumacher, were built of stone, with red-shingled roofs, instead of the flat or domed roofs common in the region. Hard work, the harsh climate and epidemics claimed the lives of many before the colony became self-sustaining. Hardegg stayed in Haifa, while Hoffmann established colonies in Sarona near Jaffa a year later, in the Valley of Refaim Jerusalem. The Templers’ first agricultural colony was Sarona on the road from Jaffa to Nablus. The colony’s oranges were the first to carry a “Jaffa orange” brand, one of the better known agricultural brands in Europe, used to market Israeli oranges to this day. The Templers established a regular coach service between Haifa and the other cities, promoting the country’s tourist industry, and made an important contribution to road construction.
In July and August 1918 the British sent 850 Templers to an internment camp at Helwan near Cairo in Egypt. In April 1920, 350 of these internees were deported to Germany. All the property of the Templers of enemy nationality (thus except of that of a few US citizens among them) was taken into public custodianship. With the establishment of a regular British administration in 1918 Edward Keith-Roach became the Public Custodian of Enemy Property in Palestine, who rented out the property and collected the rents.
In April 1920 the Allies convened at the Conference of San Remo and agreed on the British rule in Palestine, followed by the official establishment of the civil administration on 1 July 1920. From that date on Keith-Roach transferred the collected rents for property in custodianship to the actual proprietors. On June 29, 1920, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon, informed the British Upper House that Great Britain agreed in principle to their return to Palestine.
The League of Nations legitimised the British administration and custodianship by granting a mandate to Britain in 1922 and Turkey, the Ottoman successor, finally legalised the British Mandate by the Treaty of Lausanne, signed on 24 July 1923 and becoming effective on 5 August 1925. Thus the public custodianship ended in the same year and the prior holders achieved the fully protected legal position as proprietors.
The Mandate government and the Public Custodian of Enemy Property paid them 50% restitution for war losses of livestock and other property. The Bank of the Temple Society, formed in 1925 with its head office in Jaffa and branches in Haifa and Jerusalem, became one of the leading credit institutions in Palestine.
Affiliation with the Third Reich
After the Nazi takeover in Germany the new Reich’s government streamlined foreign policy according to Nazi ideals, using financial pressure especially. The Nazi emphasis was on creating the image that Germany and Germanness were equal to Nazism. Thus, all non-Nazi aspects of German culture and identity were discriminated against as un-German. All international schools of German language subsidised or fully financed by government funds were obliged to redraw their educational programmes and to solely employ teachers aligned to the Nazi party. The teachers in Bethlehem were financed by the Reich government, so Nazi teachers also took over there. In 1933 Templer functionaries and other Gentile Germans living in Palestine appealed to Paul von Hindenburg and the Foreign Office not to use swastika symbols for German institutions, without success. Some German Gentiles from Palestine pleaded with the Reich government to drop its plan to boycott shops of Jewish Germans on April 1, 1933. Some Templers enlisted in the German army. By 1938, 17% of the Templers in Palestine were members of the Nazi party. According to historian Yossi Ben-Artzi, “The members of the younger generation to some extent broke away from naive religious belief, and were more receptive to the Nazi German nationalism. The older ones tried to fight it.” At the start of World War II colonists with German citizenship were rounded up by the British and sent, together with Italian and Hungarian enemy aliens, to internment camps in Waldheim and Bethlehem of Galilee. 661 Templers were deported to Australia via Egypt on July 31, 1941, leaving 345 in Palestine.
In 1939, at the start of World War II, the British authorities declared the Templers enemy nationals, placed them under arrest and deported many of them to Australia.During the war the British government brokered the exchange of about 1000 Templers for 550 Jews under German control. “The swap, Bauer stresses, stemmed primarily from British and German interests: Just as the British wanted to get the Germans out, Germany was happy for the chance to rid itself of a few hundred more Jews. The exchange, however, was not an even one. The number of Germans deported from Palestine was greater than the number of returning Jews.” In 1962 theState of Israel paid 54 million Deutsche Marks in compensation to property owners whose assets were nationalized.
In 1817 – under the auspices of King Frederick William III of Prussia – the community of the Supreme Parish Church, like most Prussian Calvinist and Lutheran congregations joined the common umbrella organization named Evangelical Church in Prussia (under this name since 1821), with each congregation maintaining its former denomination or adopting the new united denomination. The community of theSupreme Parish Church adopted the new denomination of the Prussian Union. Today’s presbytery of the congregation bears the unusual name in German: Domkirchenkollegium, literally Cathedral College, thus recalling the history of the church as collegiate church.
One year after he ascended to the throne in 1798, Frederick William III, being summus episcopus (Supreme Governor of the Protestant Churches), decreed a new common liturgical agenda (service book) to be published, for use in both the Lutheran and Reformed congregations. The king, a Reformed Christian, lived in a denominationally mixed marriage with the Lutheran Queen Louise (1776–1810), which is why they never partook of the Lord’s Supper together. A commission was formed in order to prepare this common agenda. This liturgical agenda was the culmination of the efforts of his predecessors to unify these two Protestant churches in Prussia and in its predecessor, the Electorate of Brandenburg, becoming later its core province.
In 1814 the Principality of Neuchâtel had been restituted to the Berlin-based Hohenzollern, who had ruled it in personal union from 1707 until 1806. In 1815 Frederick William III agreed that this French-speaking territory of his joined the Swiss Confederation (then not yet an integrated federation, but a mere confederacy) as Canton of Neuchâtel. The church body of the prevailingly Calvinist Neuchâtelians did not rank as a state church but was independent, since at the time of its foundation in 1540, the ruling princely House of Orléans-Longueville (Valois-Dunois) was Catholic. Furthermore, no Lutheran congregation existed in Neuchâtel. Thus the Reformed Church of Neuchâtel Canton (de) was not an object of Frederick William’s Union policy.
In 1821, the administrative umbrella comprising the Protestant congregations in Prussia adopted the name Evangelical Church in the Royal Prussian Lands(German: Evangelische Kirche in den Königlich-Preußischen Landen). At Christmas time the same year, a common liturgical agenda was produced, as a result of a great deal of personal work by Frederick William, as well by the commission that he had appointed in 1798. The agenda was not well received by many Lutherans, as it was seen to compromise in the wording of the Words of Institution, to a point where the Real Presence was not proclaimed. More importantly, the increasing coercion of the civil authorities into Church affairs was viewed as a new threat to Protestant freedom of a kind not seen since the Papacy.
At the instigation of Frederick William IV the Anglican Church of England and the Evangelical Church in the Royal Prussian Lands founded the Anglican-Evangelical Bishopric in Jerusalem (1841–1886). Its bishops and clergy proselytised in the Holy Land among the non-Muslim native population and German immigrants, such as the Templers. But also Calvinist, Evangelical and Lutheran expatriates from Germany and Switzerland, living in the Holy Land, joined the German-speaking congregations.
So a number of congregations of Arabic and German language emerged in Beit Jalla(Ar.), Beit Sahour (Ar.), Bethlehem of Judea (Ar.), German Colony (Haifa) (Ger.),American Colony (Jaffa) (Ger.), Jerusalem (Ar. a. Ger.), Nazareth (Ar.), and Waldheim(Ger.).
With financial aid from Prussia, other German states, the Association of Jerusalem (de), the Evangelical Association for the Construction of Churches (de), and others a number of churches and other premises were built. But there were also congregations of emigrants and expatriates in other areas of the Ottoman Empire (2), as well as inArgentina (3), Brasil (10), Bulgaria (1), Chile (3), Egypt (2), Italy (2), the Netherlands(2), Portugal (1), Romania (8), Serbia (1), Spain (1), Switzerland (1), United Kingdom(5), and Uruguay (1) and the foreign department of the Evangelical Supreme Church Council (see below) stewarded them.
Timeline of the Temple Society
- 1861 The Temple Society was founded in south-west Germany by Christoph Hoffmann (1815–1885) and others, following a split with the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg (7/10/1859) over dogmatic rituals. Plans for a move to Palestine were considered.
- The centre of the new movement was from 1856 on at Kirschenhardthof, where a community hall and a school were commissioned in July that year. The community consisted of 9 properties of approximately 5ha each. It could at most accommodate 132 residents.
- Attempts by impatient members in 1867 at settlement in Palestine on their own had tragic consequences. Of the 25 persons in the group who tried to settle in the north, 15 died within a year, 7 in Medjedel and 8 in Samunieh.
- 1868 Beginning of carefully planned migration of Templers to the Holy Land (then part of the Ottoman Empire). In 1869 begins the construction of the first house in Haifa, the community hall (Gemeindehaus). Over many years urban and rural settlements with community halls and schools, commercial, trade, farm and transport enterprises were established in a number of locations including Haifa, Jaffa and Jerusalem.
- The faith and ideas of the Templers also spread to the German Mennonites from the Russian settlement of Molotschna where Johann Lange, former student from Württemberg, formed the Tempelhof congregation in Gnadenfeld after years of bitter controversy.
- 1874 schism of the Temple Society, with a third of the members seceding and founding the Temple Association (Tempelverein) in 1878, later joining the Evangelical State Church of Prussia’s older Provinces
- 1875 Publication of ‘Occident und Orient, Part 1’ by Christoph Hoffmann. English translation 1995 ‘The Temple Society and its Settlements in the Holy Land’ [ISBN 0-9597489-4-6], Occident and Orient, Part 1.
- 1921 Templers who had been interned in Helouan, Egypt, towards the end of World War I returned to their settlements in Palestine, now a British Mandate. The settlements soon flourished again.
- 1939 German Templers were interned in Palestine at the outbreak of World War II.
- 1941 Over 500 Templers from Palestine were transported to Australia, where internment continued in Tatura, Victoria, until 1946-7.
- 1948 Formation of the State of Israel. Templers cannot return there, those left had to leave. As of 2010 most live in Australia and Germany.
Temple Society Australia
- 1948-50 Australian Templers consolidate around Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. Over the years church halls and community centres were established atBoronia, Bayswater and Bentleigh in Melbourne, Meadowbank in Sydney and at Tanunda near Adelaide.
- 1950 Formation of the Temple Society Australia with Dr. Richard Hoffmann as Regional Head
- 1970 Australian and German Templer Regions linked formally by appointment of Dr. R. O. Hoffmann as President of the Temple Society
- 1972 Templer Home for the Aged opened in Bayswater
- 1979 Tabulam Nursing Home, located next to the Templer Home for the Aged, begun as a joint undertaking with the Australian-German Welfare Society.
- 1981 New Youth Group club room and school rooms completed at Bayswater.
- 1986 Templers in Germany and Australia celebrate 125 years of Temple Society.
- 1987 Sydney Templers secure places in the St. Hedwig Homes for the Aged of the Catholic German Community of St. Raphael in Blacktown NSW, opened in 1989.
- 1988 Dr Richard Hoffmann retires. Dietrich Ruff is elected as the new President of the Temple Society
- 1990s New initiatives: Templer residential unit development in Bayswater, Kids’ Club, Australian-German Templer Exchange, Country Victorian Templer Groups
- 2001/2 Dietrich Ruff retires. Peter Lange is elected as the new President of the Temple Society
- 2002 A new Temple Chapel is built in the Bayswater Community Centre. Extensive Remodel of the TTHA.
- 2005 TSA Constitution changed to reflect the lifestyle of its members in Australia. It is no longer a community-based organisation, but one consisting of many focus and interest groups.
Tempelgesellschaft in Germany
- 1949 After a pause of 10 years, publication of Die Warte des Tempels is resumed in September. Rundschreiben keeps members informed.
- 1950 Management office installed at Mozartstraße 58, where meetings and religious services were held. Treffpunkt Mozartstraße became hub of social activities.
- 1954, at a General Meeting in September a revision of the 20-year-old constitution is proposed.
- 1962, on January 27 the new constitution was finalised and accepted and the Tempelgesellschaft in Deutschland e.V. (TGD) instituted. A move to larger premises initiated.
- 1967 New community centre officially opened in Felix-Dahn-Straße, Degerloch
- 1970 the Australian and German Templer Regions formally linked by the appointment of Dr. R. O. Hoffmann as President of the society.
- 1976 TGD joins Bund für Freies Christentum.
Templers’ settlements in Palestine
In chronological order of their establishment:
- 1869-70: German Colony, Haifa, became a settlement of mixed denominational affiliation
- 1869-70: German Colony, Jaffa
- 1872: Sarona, became a settlement of mixed denominational affiliation
1874: The Temple denomination underwent a schism.
- 1878: German Colony, Jerusalem, became a settlement of mixed denominational affiliation. First settlers in 1873, became a colony in 1878.
- 1886: Walhalla in Jaffa, north of the first colony.
- 1902: Wilhelma, a monodenominational settlement of only Templer colonists
- 1906: Bethlehem of Galilee, a monodenominational settlement of only Templer colonists
- 1907: Waldheim, a monodenominational settlement of only Protestant-church affiliated colonists