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100 years of

German Seamen's Mission





The commission for German Protestant Seamen Mission in Berlin debate in year 1909 with the Protestant Consistory Berlin about a Seamen`s Mission in Santos. The commission offers 1.000 Mark per year for the salary of a pastor, sent by the Protestant Consistory. In 1911 they send Vicar Gustav Heidenreich from Stuttgart to Brazil.

With him, the work of the seamen's home and the seamen's mission starts at 26. February 1912.


(extract of the first side)

In March 1916 this bylaws are fixed:

Bylaws of
German Seamen's Home Association

1) The German Seamen's Home Association intends to offer a comfortable domicile for seafarers during their stay in Santos.

2) The association is based in Santos.

3)Members of the association are all persons that pay an annual contribution. Members, that leave Santos can notify their temporary leaving in written form to the directors, otherwise they are required to pay their annual dues.

In 1918 Gustav Heidenreich is succeed by pastor Hartmann. After two years W. Schmidt takes over the function of the seamen's mission pastor in Santos for five years. On 1925 follows Pastor Hahn.

A letter of Pastor Hahn (1926):

"To the German seafarers:

Herewith you are cordially invited to visit the German Seamen's Home during your stay in Santos. It's in Rua Dr. Cochrane Nr. 66, which street ends at the harbor-storehouse- shelter Nr. 10.

In the rooms of the seamen's home you find German newspapers, light fiction and parlor games, just as a piano.

Soft drinks are sold at cost price. Possibility to write is available.

The cards enclosed I beg to hand out to your colleagues.

The administrator of the seamen's home

HAHN,  Pastor"


German Seamen's Home in Santos

Rua Dr. Cochrane, 66

This street ends at harbor-storehouse-shelter Nr. 10.

Daily opened from 3 to 10 pm.


Pastor Hahn's report about the German Seamen's home in Santos of 12. May 1930:

"The Seamen's home came up to it's responsibilities in year 1929 in the same way like in previous years. A number of seafarers constantly followed the invitation to visit our home. The opportunity to take reading material on board was particularly popular. We are very grateful to the German colony in Santos and the office of German Protestant Seamen's Mission in Altona for opulent donations of magazines and books that made it possible for us to satisfy the seafarers' wishes in this regard. In order to arrange the stay in the home more comfortable, small acquirements and renovations were took in hand in reporting year: more pictures, new table-clothes, the chairs were fixed and suchlike more. Thereby the home definitively won more amiability. (.) Because the celebration of two ceremonies found general approval, the directorate decided at the undersigned's suggestion, to organize again two ceremonies in Christmas time, and that the first one at Christmas Eve and the second one at Saturday, 28 February. Because two ships were in the harbor and also the crews of the damaged steamship Denderah and of seagoing tug Seefalke turned up, both festivities were quite well attended. (.)

Now there are still a few things left to tell about the financial circumstances of our association: Preparing our budget we always expected the usual financial aid of the German empire of 500 Mark. We couldn't expect that our request concerning this matter of 21 May 1928 remained unsuccessfully. (.) But although we didn't received no aid money in the year 1928, we are kind of indemnified by getting granted the aid money for year 1929 in full amount of a loan in spite of the empire's tough financial situation. We expect our budget to be stable with this money. (.)

HAHN, Pastor

Head of Seamen's Mission"


(Statistic 1929) costs of the station in year 1929: RM ___

thereof  covered

- through own gains (lodging, rent etc)RM ----

- aid of public funds RM 500.-

- contributions of navy circles RM 1500.-

- gifts parcel membership dues RM 900.-

Value of the property ? RM

Comments: __________


To the German Seamen's Home

Mr. Pastor Hahn,



With gladness I can inform you, that in spite of the bad financial state of the empire, which takes concessions at all sectors, we could obtain the same amount of money (500.-) for the local seamen's home on yesterday's division of financial aids of the empire.

Sincerely yours!

W. Thun

(W.Thun is business manager of the professional association German Seamen's Mission from 1923 to 1952)


At 31.May 1931 pastor Hahn finish his work and pastor Reichard becomes the new seamen's pastor in Santos.

In new national socialistic Germany also the advertisement of the Seamen's Mission gets a new tone for the propaganda for this special time. In 1933, 200 examples of this promotion sheet arrive in seamen's home in Santos:


Home, oh home, you fountain

of all deepest and sacred  powers!

All genial forces of being

spring forth from your shafts.

You are our peace, you are our sword,

only you make worth our life.




60 000 German Seafarers


All over the world become homeless through their profession again and again






Who stands up for them?

Who supplies them with civil liberty and home?


The seamen's mission follows the German seafarer in all around the world


275 000 reichsmark does the seamen's mission need per year,

In addition there are completely new duties in many harbors of the world.

Our service is directed at the whole German seamen's country in our home country and overseas.

Who assists?











German Protestant Seamen's Mission


Also pastor Reichard feels obliged to adapt to the new circumstances. In the annual reports of year 1933 and 1934 he writes:

"The German seamen's home in Santos (.) was visited in year 1933 again by 300 to 400 German seafarers. The pastor visits the German ships and invites at this occasion to come to the home. (.) Especially nice was the Christmas ceremony in seamen's home.

A Christmas tree with lights and ornaments stood in the room as a symbol of the German Christmas celebration. (.) And then we sat together a long time. Apples and nuts, beer and cigars were handed round, and now and then German folk-songs sounded from forceful German throats."

"As a special festivity in seamen's home there's to mention the Christmas ceremony in 1934, in which took part the crews of three German ships. Furthermore seafarers participated in the commemoration of heroes at 17 March, and at the celebration of the day of German work. The day of German seafaring the present seamen celebrated within the German colony of Santos."

In 1937 the German Seamen's Mission Santos moves into Praça dos Andradas 87.

However as a consequence of World War II, which started in 1939, the mission closes in year 1943.

In 1950 the seamen's home opens again and pastor Reichard continues his service for 20 years more.

sant_100_08Dr. Maas in SantosDr. Maas, chairman of German Seamen's Mission, visits the seamen's home in Santos in 1974 and campaigns for an agreement between the German Seamen's Mission and the protestant church of Lutheran denomination Brazil (IECLB).

Shortly after the contract between the IECLB and the German Seamen's Mission is signed.

Extract of the contract from year 1974:

"Article 1:

The IECLB considers the work with seafarers in Santos as its missionary task, which it takes in close collaboration with German Seamen's Mission under the title "Missão aos Marinheiros". The seamen's mission in Santos is open to seafarers of all nations without a difference of sex, race, religion or political conviction."sant_100_09

1975 pastor Liebig arrives in Santos and takes over the lead of the Mission. By a hire contract with the German community they make available a land to build a new seamen's home.

sant_100_10Picture of the building place in Avenida Francisco Glicerio, 6261976 pastor Liebig leaves Santos and pastor Seibel becomes his follower.

sant_100_11Photos of the new seamen's home, 1980Guestbook entries:

- From 08.11.77:

"We came here as your guests and only found the very best, much friendliness and sympathy that we'll never forget. Tomorrow we go away again, We lie here, and we lie there. But we're already looking forward to the reunion in the seamen's mission!

The Ariane I from Hamburg"

sant_100_12- from 19.07.1978:

"We are from the MS Wien where I'm the wife of the Chief Mate. Just having arrived in Santos we sat ourselves down in a taxi and ride to the sailors' mission where we were welcomed with joyful vision. Often you found the whole "Wien" there, from the captain to the last man. We got to know a lot of people, I can't even name all of them. With them we spent nice hours, sometimes till late in the night."

From the guestbook as well:


sant_100_14Michael Rousseau in 1991 at a christening1983 Pastor Seibel resigns from his office in the seamen's mission.

Captain Michael H. Rousseau assumes the seamen's home in new hired rooms in Avenida Epitácio Pessoa.

sant_100_15Seamen's home in Av. Epitácio PessoaIn year 1992 the German Seamen's Mission Santos hires new rooms in Avenida Washington Luiz, 361.

In 1998 the seamen's mission signs an agreement with Stella Maris, which is a catholic seamen's mission and located in the same building. The contract arranges that the Seamen's Mission Santos and Stella Maris consider the mission work in the harbor of Santos as their collective assignment and that they'll work together.

sant_100_16Photo of the signing of the contract between Stella Maris and German Seamen's Mission at August 3, 1998sant_100_17

The new locality of the Seamen's Mission in Avenida Washington Luiz


sant_adelarIn 2002 Pastor Adelar Schünke starts as a director of the Seamen's Mission in Santos.

He has made some experience in 2001 by visiting and working in many seafarers centers in Europe. This helps to develop in Santos a better cooperation and ecumenical work between Roman Catholic and Lutheran Church.

Pastor Adelar mention that the main purpose of the Seamen's Mission is provide support to seafarers, helping them in their needs without any discrimination by social, psychological and pastoral care.

Now a days, with so many changes in the maritime work, with low sant_100_19time to go ashore and many other difficulties, like ISPS control and exploitation by taxi drivers, the seafarer's center and its workers have a very important mission: first of all contacting seafarers on board, asking what are their main problems and always listen to them with empathy and friendship and if we can't help them we need to find some one who can. In this way the seamen's center wants and needs to be a good and friendly place, like a home, were they can find all help that they need and especially friendly people in whom they can trust, tells Pastor Adelar.


The work of the seamen's mission today consists as a part of:

Ship visits Free transport
sant_100_20 sant_100_21
(Now the Seamen's Mission also has a civilian service post. One of the "Zivis" here at a ship.)
(Seafarers are brought from the harbor to the seamen's club.)
Visiting in hospital Possibility to phone
sant_100_22 sant_100_23
(Employees of the Seamen's Mission visiting an injured seaman.) (Seafarers calling to their home country.) 
To offer a place to relax Allocation of computers and internet
sant_100_24 sant_100_25
(A cozy evening in the seamen's club.) (A seaman takes the chance to use the Internet.)




Av. Washington Luiz, 361 - 1º and. -

CEP. 11055 - 001

Boqueirão - Santos - SP - Brasil

E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tel/Fax: (+55)(13) 3224-2880

Cel: (+55)(13) 9142-7748


100 years of German Seamen's Mission


Hellena Rössle and Rev. Adelar Schünke


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