John Steinbruck Papers
Scope and Content Note
The collection contains materials reflecting the work of the Lutheran minister John Frederick Steinbruck on behalf of Soviet Jewry. The materials include news clippings, correspondence, photographs, pamphlets and a memoir manuscript.
The collection consists of one folder.
- Creation: undated, 1976-1978, 1980, 1984-1985, 1990, 2008
- Steinbruck, John (Person)
The collection is open to all researchers, except items that may be restricted due to their fragility, or privacy.
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The Papers of John Steinbruck represent one collection housed within the Archive of the American Soviet Jewry Movement (AASJM). These papers reflect the effort, beginning in the 1960s through the late 1980s, of thousands of American Jews of all denominations and political orientations to stop the persecution and discrimination of Jews in the Soviet Union. The American Soviet Jewry Movement (ASJM) is considered to be the most influential Movement of the American Jewish community in the 20th century. The beginnings of the organized American Soviet Jewry Movement became a model for efforts to aid Soviet Jews in other countries, among them Great Britain, Canada, and France. The movement can be traced to the early 1960s, when the first organizations were created to address the specific problem of the persecution and isolation of Soviet Jews by the government of the Soviet Union.
Reverend John Frederick Steinbruck served for 28 years as the senior Pastor of Luther Place Memorial Church (Memorial Evangelical Lutheran Church) in Washington, D.C. and became well known for his work confronting the effects of racism, discrimination, homelessness, economic inequality, and other injustices of American society. A firm believer in interfaith solidarity, in 1968 he co-founded a Protestant-Jewish-Catholic interfaith coalition "ProJeCt of Easton," to cooperate in solving social problems of each community. The coalition marked the beginning of Rev. Steinbruck's life-long partnership with the Jewish community and involvement in the Jewish causes, including that of the Soviet Jewry. From 1970 until 1990 Rev. Steinbruck and his congregants participated in the Soviet Jewry Vigil, a daily demonstration across the street from the Soviet embassy in Washington, D.C., protesting the treatment of Soviet Jews. In the 1970s, at the initiative of Rev. Steinbruck, the Luther Place Memorial Church adopted several Soviet Jewish Prisoners of Conscience and managed to attract enough attention to the injust and inhumane imprisonments enough to result in the early release of one of the prisoners and the improved conditions for the others. In the 1980s Rev. Steinbruck was repeatedly arrested for protesting the plight of Soviet Jews in front of the the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C. One of the arrests resulted in a 15-day suspended jail term. On two occasions, in 1980 and in 1985, Pastor Steinbruck visited Refuseniks in various regions of the Former Soviet Union. During his first visit he was detained upon arrival in the Moscow airport and later harrassed by the KGB for attempting to deliver materials on Judaism and Hebrew and other gifts to the Refuseniks trapped in the USSR. For his efforts on behalf of Soviet Jews and his work to unite Jewish and Christian communities Reverend Steibruck received a string of leadership awards from Jewish organizations such as Washington Jewish Week, B'nai B'rith, Hadassah, American Jewish Committee and the Washington Board of Rabbis.
Rev. Dr. John Steinbruck died on March 1, 2015 at an assisted living facility in Lewes, Del.
Language of Materials
The papers of Reverend John Frederick Steinbruck, an ordained Lutheran minister and humanitarian activist, reflect his involvement in the American Soviet Jewry movement. The materials include news clippings, correspondence, photographs, pamphlets and a brief manuscript of memoirs.
The collection is arranged into a single series.
Collection is located in Consolidated Box P27.
Donated by John Steinbruck in 2008.
- Memorial Evangelical Lutheran Church (Washington, D.C.) (Organization)
- Guide to the John Steinbruck (1930-2015) Papers, undated, 1976-1978, 1980, 1984-1985, 1990, 2008 P-951
- Processed by Andrey Filimonov
- © 2012
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- Description is in English.
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