Sanctuary is a municipality in the district of Diepholz in Lower Saxony. She is a member municipality of the velvet municipality Kirchdorf. Since 1923, Sanctuary is an independent municipality.

  • 3.1 municipal


Sanctuary covers 12.53 km ², the major part is the Wietingsmoor under nature protection.

Community structure

Most inhabitants live in the core area Free Movement in the vicinity of the federal highway 214; to sanctuary include about 6 km north -lying district homestead, including, the retirement home, the settlement Sprekelshorst and lying on the moor care facility Deckertau.


Sanctuary was founded by Friedrich von Bodelschwinghstraße as Bethel Branch Office in Wietingsmoor in 1899. After the first German workers' colony, Wilhelm village, the available land was no longer sufficient new employment opportunities for the so-called migrant arms had to be found. In Wietingsmoor then 1,010 hectares of land were purchased in 1901.

Friedrich von Bodelschwingh motto was "Work, not charity " - who wanted to come into sanctuary, has had to, inter alia, commit to regular work and attending church services. The aim of the occupation was the cultivation of the moor, this extensive work (including drainage, Abtorfung, processing, fertilizer) were necessary. Earned colonists were then given their own piece of land in order to independently establish a family there can. This goal was never achieved.

In addition to the " Tippelbrüdern " there was in sanctuary since 1903, the Moor Inn, as a home for " leadership needy gentlemen of the upper class". The reasons why these people went into care or were sent, were varied (including homosexuality, alcohol or intoxicant addiction ). These " men ", often from " a good family " originated, were used in the garden and in the house in the bog. In 1969, the Moor Inn became the specialist hospital, this she remained until 1994.

Already since 1899 also found caring pupils in the house Moor Instead accommodation. Following the adoption of a new Prussian care education law in 1900 - which is now also allowed preventive arrangement of a compulsory education - increased the demand for home care has rapidly; already in 1901 a new home was built ( Moor hoard ), 1903 was followed by Big Marsh and moor castle. The latter was like a prison, with barred windows and single cells. Here pupils were mainly housed that had escaped already from several homes or delinquent.

The young people had, inter alia, on the moor work for parting of the peat, but were also engaged in agriculture and home economics. With the surplus generated thereby were, inter alia, the losses in the colony financed. Nevertheless, the service was in sanctuary for Bethel always a losing proposition.

The supplied from all over Germany adolescents lived temporarily in up to six homes that were each led by the householder, a deacon, the deacon institution " Nazareth " in Bethel. This came under more deacons and deacon students who had little to receive no pedagogical training. Sanctuary has long been considered " terminal", as one of the strictest homes in the Federal Republic of Germany. Among other things, because prevailing at the beginning of the century methods of education here (but also in many other homes ) were continued in part to the early 1970s; Penalties and military leadership of the homes were on the agenda. The last punishment on record in Sanctuary happened yet in 1973 the same year the Built in 1901 ( and 1908 extended ) wooden church was destroyed by arson -. Nichtseßhafte two ( as the then- used term ) they had kindled. In retrospect, this event became a symbol of the need for restructuring, well beyond the municipal boundaries.

In addition to men with social difficulties ( until 1982 for the first time enrolled women ), the welfare pupils and the retirees of Moor Inn, lived only the employees and deacons who had to move with their families in houses or flats to rent in Freehold. Retiring employees could not keep her home in Freehold. Only after the Second World War it was possible for retirees to remain living in Sanctuary, and since 1965 can build or buy their own houses employees in sanctuary. In 1999, in the development area for the first time baker pasture land sold to families who do not belong to the staff of the Diakonia sanctuary.

After increased criticism of the outdated methods of that home education, the youth services changed significantly since the early 1970s; pedagogical training of the staff here was just one element among many. The other areas of work in Sanctuary learned in the decades around the millennium change.

Since the early 1990s, conventional agriculture has been restricted and converted to the management in the context of nature conservation. 1995 Torfförderung is set, the Freistätter Moor nature reserve since 1994.

The establishment of " Sanctuary " is a recurrent theme in the course of working conditions in the German homes after the Second World War. The states, educational methods and circumstances are considered and critically; several books on the subject have appeared. The screenplay sanctuary for authentic biographies 2012 was honored with the award for best screenplay in 2012.

Barrack in Deckertau

Main house in the home of

House Moor Hoard (now Flushing box )


Parish council

The council is made up of 11 council women and councilors together ( all Independent voters Community - UWG sanctuary ). Mayor: Gero Enders. (As at municipal election held on September 11, 2011 ).

Economy and infrastructure

For the nearly 600 residents Sanctuary offers a fairly good infrastructure. The citizens are a supermarket, cafe, doctor's offices, community office, craft shops, gymnasium, mini golf course and a children's zoo available. Furthermore, a high ropes course is located in the community.

Sanctuary is part of " Bethel in the north " (formerly Diakonia Sanctuary ), a foundation of the field of Bodelschwinghschen Foundation Bethel. Bethel operates in sanctuary services for homeless / homeless people, residential homes for mentally disabled and mentally ill people, a nursing home with day care, child care facilities and a school network with a program focusing on emotional and social development ( educational assistance ). In addition, located in Freehold qualification operations for long-term unemployed.

Is known nationwide sanctuary for the remaining functioning Moor Railway ( Light Railway ), formerly served by the Abstichstellen to transport the peat to peat.

Since 2010, Sanctuary offers increased tourist attractions: On the commune road connecting Sanctuary Home Instead there is a " Planet ", the scale is at about 5 km the distances of the planets to the sun.

In the " sensory garden " there is a playground for the kids, water games and a lot to discover. There are regular events, such as common bread baking or the " light railway Diploma " instead. These attractions resulting from labor skills training and performed at several funded by the EU and the state of Lower Saxony.

In the Moor a panoramic hill, from which, for example, cranes can be observed in their train came.

Sons and daughters of the town

Wilhelm Ehmann (1904-1989), was a German musicologist and church musician. He was born the son of a deacon working in the House Moor instead.


Walter Link (1937-2010), was a deacon and qualified sports teacher at the Janusz Korczak residential special school for behavioral problems in Freehold, Member of Parliament of the Lower Saxony state parliament and member of the Bundestag for the CDU. He used to live in sanctuary, then in the neighboring municipality Wehrbleck.

Gustav von Bodelschwinghstraße (1872-1944), worked in the years 1910-1912 as a pastor and theological warden in sanctuary.


Civic engagement, there is a sports club in the volunteer fire department, in the parish, in the churches and in the trombone choir.