Frank Buchman and the Germans
By Pierre Spoerri. Translated and edited by Peter Thwaites
This is a book of historical research. Frank N.D. Buchman (1878-1961). leader of the Oxford Group from around 1921, initiator of Moral Re-Armament 1938 was an American with distant Swiss-German roots. Buchman had a deep love for Germany. The period covered here, roughly 1920-1950, begins with a defeated Germany suffering economic collapse and widespread hardship following World War I. It covers the twelve years of Nazi power which promised rebirth but brought tyranny, genocide and national destruction. It ends as a democratic Federal Republic and a reconciled Western Europe are about to take shape.
Germany’s improbable renaissance from the ruin and shame of 1945 has now continued for two generations. National repentance for the evils of Nazism has been systematic and ongoing. From being a global pariah the country is now viewed as the lynchpin of an increasingly integrated democratic Europe.
Pierre Spoerri grew up in Zurich where his father, Theophil Spoerri, was Professor of Romance Languages and Literature (Romanistik), and in 1948-1950 Rector of the University. Pierre has spent his entire life working with Moral Re-Armament (MRA) and Initatives of Change, as the movement is now named. With his wife, Fulvia, he worked in Asia, Africa and Europe and later became part of the team guiding the operations of the Caux conference centre. The Spoerris based in Bonn for twenty years, returning to Switerland shortly after Germany, against all predictions, was reunified in 1990.
Peter Thwaites, translator, born in 1942, graduated in German and Russian from Melbourne University in 1964. 1965-1967 further studies (Slavonic Philology) at Zurich University. From 1967 he worked internationally as a full-time volunteer with Moral Re-Armament/Initiatives of Change, particularly in Europe and in his own country Australia. He maintains his interest in the German and russian cultural areas. For Caux Books he translated Russian philosopher Grigory Pomerant’s essay The Spiritual Movement from the West (2004) and co-translated Theophil Spoerri’s book on Frank Buchman, Dynamic out of Silence (1976).