War was raging 100 years ago. The slaughter had rampaged over France in particular for two years already. Under this pressure of on-going butchering, the long-established French Reformed Church in Frankfurt came to a decision. In the future, worship would be in the German language. For more than 350 years, French-speaking citizens of Frankfurt had worshipped in French. Over the centuries, Frankfurt had been of great significance to religious refugees from France – the Huguenots – in particular. Refugees from what today is Belgium formed a French-speaking church in the city in 1554.
How French church life looked 100 years ago is described in an audio recording by the daughter of the former pastor. Lulu Neubauer (née Correvon) tells about her childhood and youth.
Beside the French hymnbooks from Frankfurt, you can see objects which shed light on the way the Reformation anniversary was celebrated 100 years ago. The coin minted in 1917 in the Kingdom of Saxony in commemoration of the Reformation depicts once again the electors in Luther’s time. Of 100 commemorative coins in silver, 50 were immediately melted down again for the war effort.
A Bible from the 20th century reflects the image of Martin Luther that was formed 100 years ago: the artist Rudolf Schäfer shows Martin Luther with armour on and a sword at his side in front of a castle. The flag depicts the arms of the Luther rose – a militant image that fits with the militarism of 100 years ago. The real image is to be found in the text of the Bible, in the background: “serve one another humbly in love” (Galatians 5 v 13). At the foot of the castle, you will see two figures: one sits on a donkey and the other is supporting him. The symbol for charity is the Good Samaritan, who shines through the image here in contrast to the combative Luther.