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„Truly, it is not hard to have to die“

Pastor Karl Friedrich Stellbrink to his wife Hildegard

Hamburg, 10th of November, 1943

My much-loved Hildegard!

Now all the waiting has come to an end, the way ahead is clearly laid out in front of me, and the destination is well known to us Christians [spelling „Kristen“ instead of Christen!]. How often have I talked about it in my sermons, and now it will be reached soon. Now my first word is for that true God who has protected my life a thousandfold and has enriched my life with untold joys. – Truly, it is not hard to have to die and place oneself in God’s hands.

And look: The only thing I can do for you (and if I addressed you as “You”, so did I always mean you and the children) as I have always done for you: to commend you all to the Father in Heaven. I shall have reached my destination soon (Rom. 8,18), but you remain still to face the fight and struggles. And I won’t be able stand at your side anymore, as I would have lovingly done. But believe me, God knows much better than we, what is good for us. And there is truth in what I have often said when preaching: Fathers on this earth make thousands of mistakes, the Heavenly Father not a single one. I can commend Him to you without hesitation. I know that you have forgiven me for my failings. For that I thank you with all my heart. It will not be necessary to make mention of the same for me. I thank you for all the love you have ever shown me;-all joy you gave me; – all the patience with which you have borne me. Ask also all the others, my sisters Hilda, Lenchen, Magda, my relatives, friends and acquaintances on my behalf to forgive me for anything bad I may have unknowingly done to them, or forgot to do good. Intentionally I have never wanted to hurt anyone. As I myself bear a grudge to anyone.

And now, I have a big request to make to you: Keep holy the union as a legacy to me, the union of family was truly all I ever strove to uphold. Now, raise it up. For that, I only have to wish You, my dear Hildegard, courage and good fortune that yours is such a nice mission to see to our lovely children.- But you, dear children , I would ask: rally round your mother, who from now will do and carry out all in my name. That will be hard for Mother, very hard, and even if not help her with all your strength. God’s blessing will be your staff.- And rally together among yourselves, as long as you live. Don’t prize money or possessions more than you communion! If possible, stay close together, so you can rely on a constant exchange of advice and help from one another! – Dear Erika, you are already always included. I also think of Dietrich. Dear children, you are all different from one another, but that can be the loveliest enrichment of your communion, because in the end only the will of the communion to be obedient to God’s will (John 13, 34+35 – John 1,7).Thus you will be able to grow by you differences and enrich yourselves. In these past months I have often contemplated your various tendencies, talents, and capabilities, as well as your weaknesses and mistakes. And always I had to think how wonderful your life could become, if you would supplement each other. And now think of me; because I have made many mistakes here on this earth. But from now I shall always be with you. Time and space no longer set any boundaries for me, and I shall see God’s face forever, pleading for you. My soul shall always be about you, be glad with you, and bear sorrows and pain with you, until weall meet again there, where I shall now go before you, but where you all as God’s children shall be allowed to go to be in that never-ending home with Him, who is the real Father over what, children, is called Heaven and Earth.

And now give my regards to all, for those for whom my prayers went to heaven: all who love us, who endure with us and from now on shall be bound to you in spirit. I won’t mention a single name, so as not to palce any-one last in that large number. You know them all: in Lübeck, in Detmold, Hamburg and Amberg, Bielefeld etc etc. – I thank everyone for all the good I have received from them which enriched my life. I wish them and all our German compatriots that after these dark, difficult times another time will dawn, where a holy peoples-communion will live in love and peace, in-land and out, to heal wounds, comfort the bereaved and to begin the wonderful task of Rebirth in a long, long time of peace!!

God bless and shield you, dearest Hildegard!
God bless and shield you, dearest Children!
God bless and shield our German people and Fatherland!
God bless and shield all who love him or seek to find him with all their Heart!

With gratitude and trust,

Your Fritz, your father


English Translation: Hans-Heinrich Boeker, Wyoming, Australia