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Rainer Zacharias

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On 21 October 2023, Dr Rainer Zacharias, historian and Evangelical theologian, passed away in Preetz near Kiel after a period of severe illness.

On 21 October 2023, Dr Rainer Zacharias, historian and Evangelical theologian, passed away in Preetz near Kiel after a period of severe illness.

Dr Zacharias was born in Malbork on 14 April 1935, and spent his early childhood in the Old Town, where his father Curt had a dental practice at 20 Wysokie Podcienia Street. In his own words, the sight of that tenement, the window open ajar with the curtain billowing in the wind, his mother waiting for him and his brothers to come home as they are late from playing with friends, was forever etched in his memory.

On 22 January 1945, the Zacharias family left Malbork for Schleswig, which they reached after two weeks of travel. That is where Rainer completed his secondary education, before studying German philology, history and theology in Göttingen and Kiel between 1955 and 1961 In 1968, he taught religious education to future teachers, and in 1976, he joined the National Education Institute as an advisor responsible for religious education in schools across the entire state of Schleswig-Holstein. He retired from both positions on 31 July 1997.

Dr Zacharias was an active contributor to the West Prussia Hometown Association. As a member of the Commission for the Historical Research on West and East Prussia, he published a series of historical articles concerning the two regions. In December 1967, after two years of intense work at the helm of a 60-person team, he oversaw the publication of Neues Marienburger Heimatbuch, so far the only monograph on Malbork and its surrounding areas with a strong emphasis on contemporary history. In 1976, he published Die Marienburg im Wandel der Jahrhunderte, and in 1982, together with Helmut Buchecker, Marienburg, Schloß und Stadt in alten Ansichten. Zacharias also published many articles in Marienburger Zeitung and Westpreußenjahrbuch. His research interests also included the history of the Malbork Evangelical community. The capstone of his historical research was the extensive 2020 monograph Evangelische Kirchengeschichte für die Stadt Marienburg 1526 bis 1945.

Dr Zacharias visited Malbork and our museum frequently, and his visits were always met with great interest and a warm welcome.

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