Village Church & Vicarage
The first church in Börln was recorded in 1346 but this was probably destroyed during the Hussite War (or was the chapel (see "Pilgrims' Chapel) and a new church was erected in the 14th century.
In 1609-1610 the church was enlarged and a tower added. The current form dates from 1732 and is in the baroque style. Nothing is known about the architect.
In 1861-1862 the church interior was renewed in new gothic style, including the chancel and baptismal font. The organ, which can still be found in the church, was built by the Dresden Court organ builder, Jehmlich, in 1866 and was his 50th instrument.
A large part of the current inventory was donated by the von Döring family and by Countess von Zech-Burkersroda in memory of her departed son, including the stained glass window behind the altar.
The overall impression of the church was described by the famous Professor Gurlitt as "in unity". The church is the spiritual and cultural centre of the village, where services of worship, baptisms, marriages etc. take place.
The church was restored in 1990 and the organ, which had to be entirely removed for restoration, was played for the first time again on 19 September 1995 during a festival church service accompanied by more than 100 singers from the Wurzen bishopric.
Between 1539 and 2011 there were a total of 30 ministers in office, including Jürgen Schneider who died after many years of service on 3rd January 2011. Stefan Rost followed but since his departure, Börln will no longer have it's own ressident minister. The Reformation in 1539 meant Börln's superintendent was changed from Wurzen to Oschatz but today he is in Grimma.
Some of the highlights of the church year are Thanksgiving Day (Börln being in farming country) and Christmas.
To the left of the main entrance to the church, there is a memorial stone to the murdered son of a merchant from Liegnitz in Silesia, who was murdered on his way from Börln to Dahlen in 1684. The stone was erected by his father.
Until 1604 the cemetery surrounded the church but since then it was closed and a new cemetery was located at the end of the village, on the road to Bortewitz.
The church became well known in 1989, when plans became public for the erection of a nuclear power station in Schwarzer Kater, a hamlet 3km from Börln, leading to protests by about 500 people and about 50 protestors experienced first hand how the State tried to suppress the protesting.
The fall of the Wall removed the danger of the plant being built.
Only one decorative feature has survived in the interior of the church, as during the restoration in the 1990s all the other paintings were covered over on the grounds of a lack of funds needed for a proper restoration.
In the baroque period it was common practice to refer to the Jewish roots of the Christian Faith and this led to the display in many churchs of the Hebrew writing of God's name, "JHWH" (Jehova).
In the Church in Börln this is in a triangle in the centre of the ceiling, surrounded by a shining wreath.
"Judas" Zimmermann - Evangelical Stasi Secret Police Informant
The difficult days in 1989 are mentioned above, when a nuclear power plant had been planned for Schwarzer Kater. In retired minister Martin Kupke's book "SED und Staatssicherheitdienst im Kirchenbezirk Oschatz", Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2009 (ISBN 978-3-86583-367-9), dreadful facts came to light. "The research was written against forgetting, against the falsifying and against attempts to make the GDR history appear harmless". A member of the church council of Börln, code named Agent Fortschritt (Progress) spied on his own brothers and sister in Christ. A Judas.
Born on 28th August 1923 in nearby Frauwalde, a brother of Agent "Forest Man" and recipient of the bronze medal for "loyal services" of the National Peoples' Army on the 24th anniversary of the founding of the GDR, Gotthold Zimmermann was a soldier until 1945, then a farmer in his parents' business, and latterly an Agronomist. From 1976 he held the function of area leader for fodder of the cooperative's plant production unit "Fortschritt" in Dahlen. (He signed his allegiance as secret agent on 30th November 1954 in Wurzen, while he was in the agricultural school in Wurzen and was signed up by Mr. Breller of the Wurzen area services.
In 1959 he was transferred to the Oschatz regional service who on 30th August 1976 reported that he had contact with the church minister and to other negatively-minded persons and was therefore in the position to supply valuable information to the Ministry of State Security. As a member of the CDU political party he had a progressive attitude to the GDR and was therefore prepared to take on the orders of the Ministry. He used his contacts to other persons, also to the church minister, to carry out his activities and maintain contacts with persons in the West. The secret service could follow his political-idealogical inclination. This informer was a member of the church council, he could use this position for his goals. Also as a member of the CDU, the regional board for German-Soviet Friendship and a member of the National Front, he was supposed to use his contacts to look out for negative forces. He carried out espionage in the residential area of Börln and also spied on certain persons in the military association missions of the USA, Great Britain and in France's defence system.
A verbal report of the Ministry is dated 15th December 1976, wherein he reported on a church community gathering that took place in the Gemeindehaus (community house) in Börln. He reported what Reverend Jürgen Schneider (who died on 3rd January 2011) was supposed to have said. Thereafter there was a discussion during which the informant declared "the Russians are our friends and churches and communists belong together". He regulalry met informants "Astor" or "Theo" with their commanding officer. On 9th March 1977 he was ordered to check the arrivals of visitors from West Germany and to find out where they would be sleeping. Already on 15th March he reported to SED-Member Bäurich about the visit of the church community from Achim. He disclosed the agenda for the day and the entire programme of the visit, also the accommodation in Börln and Bortewitz. Later, he informed on his colleagues' opinion of events in Poland. At a meeting on 29th March 1982 he was ordered to report on the opinions of "church forces" and to immediately phone the service point when the key words "Make Peace without Weapons" appeared.
The 63 year old communal farmer Anna Arnhold (left, seated) does not feel too old to do her specialist worker examination. Pictured here with the communal farmer Maria Sauer and the Agronomist Gotthard Zimmermann (Agent "Progress") explaining about fodder plants. Source: Bundesarchiv Bild 183-78565-0001, Börln, Schulung in der Dorfakademie, Schaar, Helmut, 20.1.1961
War Memorial 1914 - 1918
The triangular hedge surround this monument was removed and replaced by concrete paving blocks after the Peaceful Revolution. The Fallen and the Displaced of WWII and the victims of the terrible GDR Regime whose perpetrators were never brought to account have no memorial (unlike in most villages where they have been erected since 1989).
In our virtual memorial we should like to hold at least one victim in remembrance:
Mr. Horst Berger of Börln who as a young man at the end of WWII worked in a motor factory in nearby Wurzen, was captured by Stasi secret police agents and disappeared without trace. He was tried in Moscow for a crime of espionage he never committed (a victim had to be found, any one would have done) and was executed there, as the death penalty had been removed in the German Democratic Republic. Only in the 1990s did Horst Berger's family find out what had become of him. The secret police agents and East German state officials who sent him to his death were never punished. Is it not shameful, that Dahlen's Town Council which calls itself "democratic" still tolerated a Stasi Secret Police Agent as one of its members and furthermore protected and supported this Town Councillor until 2014? One has to ask the question why the citizens of Dahlen remain loyal to such persons and vote for them time and again. Why should this person not be named? Is it right that in the 2014 town councillor and 2015 mayoral elections the mayor Matthias Löwe chose a former Stasi agent to head the electoral process and sent Roderick Hinkel a lawyer's letter trying (against German Basic Law) to silence him? The Saxon Chancellery in Dresden doesn't think the mayor should have done this. A slap in the face for all victims of the Stasi !
Horst Berger, Stasi Victim, Executed in Moscow
Die Kirche in Börln, alter Kupferstich, 1834
God's Name in Hebrew "JHWH"
The Vicarage in Börln is well maintained and the roof was retiled at the end of 2010 with historic "beaver tail" ceramic tiles. The Vicarage serves as a meeting place for church functions as well as providing overnight facilities for pilgrims on the St. James Way and also as an administration centre. The minister also resides in the house. Börln is part of the church parish of Börln-Meltewitz with its sister churches of Falkenhain-Thammenhain, Kuhnitzsch and Müglenz.
04774 Dahlen OT Börln
Tel.: 034361/ 51696
War Memorial with Vicarage in the background
Copyright (C) Tom Wenger
Text and all images unless specifically mentioned Copyright (C) 2016-26 Roderick Hinkel
War Memorial, in those days surrounded by a hedge. After 1989 the streets in the village centre were paved with concrete
Copyright (C) Tom Wenger