An Alsatian pastor committed to politics
This Reformed pastor in Mulhouse was both a brilliant preacher and active in social work. While Alsace still belonged to Germany he joined the Progressive party, and in 1914 published a pamphlet designed to explain the Alsatian character to the German leaders. They would not accept it. As a Francophile he was exiled to Hermannburg in Eastern Prussia, in 1916, and then interned in Göttingen in 1917.
On his return to Mulhouse in 1918, he joined the Democratic – Republican Party, was elected as a deputy for the Haut-Rhin area in 1919, and re-elected in 1924. Two of his speeches addressed to the Parliament had great impact and were widely circulated. The first one in 1921 explained the “Alsatian unrest”, and the second in 1925 insisted on the importance of the religious aspect in the integration of Alsace-Lorraine to France. In the 1929 elections, he withdrew his candidacy before the second round of votes to prevent the election of an “autonomist” candidate.
In 1930 he was a professor of practical theology at the faculty in Strasburg. Member of the French Protestant Federation, he led the French Reformed delegation at the ecumenical assembly in Stockholm in 1925, and represented the Reformed Church of Alsace-Lorraine at the ecumenical meeting in Lausanne in 1927.
Charles Gide (1847-1932)
Charles Gide was a theorist of social economy and a leading figure in the French economic cooperative movement and Christian socialism. A spirit of solidarity pervades all his work.
André Gide (1869-1951)
André Gide was one of the most well-known writers of the first half of the XXth century. He was born into a protestant family and was brought up in an austere manner – he was a prolific writer and these values were apparent in his work : indeed he was continually torn between the desire for happiness and a dark obsession with sin.
Charles Munch (1891-1968)
Charles Munch was a great French conductor.
Charles Seignobos (1854-1942)
Charles Seignobos, a protestant, and a leading figure of the French school of history. He was known for his scientific precision and neutrality in matters of religion.
Charles Westphal (1896-1972)
Charles Westphal was a pastor of the Eglise Réformée de France (he was a man of great discernment and sound judgement). Not only will he be remembered as someone whose great spirituality had a deep influence on many people, but also as a highly cultured man in the field of literature.
Protestants in Alsace since 1871
Few French provinces have experienced as many traumatic experiences as Alsace, twice annexed to the German Reich and twice returned to France. The Protestant community participated, with varying degrees of happiness, in these upheavals, the European ideal allowing the entire population to find renewed hope.