History of the Frankfurt Diakonissenhaus

History of the Frankfurt Diakonissenhaus

The Frankfurter Diakonissenhaus emerged from an initiative of Frankfurt congregations and, from the beginning until today, has had the goal of fulfilling the diaconal mission of the church as a diaconal institution with various work areas and training centres and through services in congregations.

The initiator of the 1861 founded Diakonissenverein zu Frankfurt am Main, 1st chairman and first house chaplain was Rev. Joh. Chr. Deichler, Peterskirche. Other founding members, who were also involved as board members of the Frankfurt Inner Mission Association, were Rev. Dr. Joh. Jak. Krebs, Dreikönigskirche, Rev. Joh. Ludw. Schrader, German Reformed congregation, Rev. Dr. Jean L. Bonnet and Dr. jur. Ed. Souchay, as well as Amalie and Rosalie Gontard (French Reformed congregation), Christina Metzler (German Reformed congregation) and Therese and Louise Lindheimer (Lutheran).

The Diakonissenverein was granted association rights by the Senate of the Free City of Frankfurt in 1866. The association and the association board were identical; new members were elected for life. With the amendment of the statutes in 1970, the name was changed to "Frankfurter Diakonissenhaus", the members of the association are the blessed Diakonissen.
1861 began Diakonissen from the Diakonissenhaus in Karlsruhe, joined by other women, began serving the sick, elderly and poor in Frankfurt a. M. With the inauguration of matron Marie Breitling on 8 June 1870, the Diakonissengemeinschaft became independent. This date is considered the official founding date of the Frankfurt Diakonissenhaus, even though the association had already been recognised by the magistrate of the city of Frankfurt in 1866 and had been founded as early as 1861.

The Diakonissengemeinschaft moved into a motherhouse with hospital and chapel at Eschersheimer Landstraße 122 in 1874, where public services and domestic devotions were held, and since 1897 in the Diakonissenkirche.
in 1874, Pastor Carl Leydhecker was appointed as provost. Through him and matron Natalie von Veltheim, the worship and community life became Lutheran, with the Lutheran reform movement (Rev. Wilhelm Löhe, Neuendettelsau) having a strong influence. This was evident, among other things, in the founding of a parament workshop (1883-2003) and a host preparation workshop (1885-2014).

Subsequently, after 1874, old people's homes, a kindergarten, an after-school care centre and training centres for nursing and social pedagogy were built on the site. Many sisters worked in community nursing, in kindergartens and women's and youth groups, as well as in the Elisabethenhof educational home in Marburg/Lahn. During World War 2, the church and several buildings were destroyed. After being expelled in 1945 by the US occupation forces, they returned to their compound in 1955.

The Frankfurter Diakonissenhaus is now organised as an old-law association. A board of directors consisting of the matron Diakonisse Heidi Steinmetz and the commercial manager, run the house. Pastor Alexander Liermann, with a half-time position at the Diakonissenhaus, and Rev. Jeffrey Myers, who assists with a smaller number of hours, are the theologians, pastoral workers and main liturgists at the house.