“Jesus has lifted me towards a meaningful life.” 

Obituary for Dr. Deichmann

Dr. Heinz-Horst Deichmann, the founder and chairman of wortundtat, passed away on 2 October 2014 at the age of 88. He did not want a funeral with eulogies and expressions of condolences, but a mourning ceremony, which would concentrate on what had always been important to him: speaking about the good message from the Bible. He left with the hope, which accompanied him through his whole life. Acting without causing a stir, but focussing on his objectives and being devoted to people – above all those in need. In his last interview, only a few weeks prior to his death, Dr. Deichmann explained to a journalist how he became aware of the work of Jesus during his life: “He called me and lifted me towards a meaningful life. He provided me with gifts and opportunities and at the same time allocated responsibility and duties to me. I have tried to incorporate His will into my environment. Where I did not succeed, I was and I am still able to be sure of His forgiveness.” Dr. Deichmann founded wortundtat in 1977. The name became synonymous for a whole programme: right from the start, help for the poorest of the poor and spreading the gospel went hand in hand. This work – meanwhile on three continents – will continue. Dr. Deichmann’s son, Heinrich Deichmann, has let it be known that he will be taking over the chair of the wortundtat organisation. In her capacity as a board member, Heinrich Deichmann’s wife Susanna has been accompanying wortundtat’s work for many years.

Dr Deichmann also was a successful businessman. However, he never regarded profit as an end in itself. He demanded: “The Company has to serve the people”. In 1977, he founded the aid organisation wortundtat. When I visited leprosy sufferers in India “I could not stop my heart from aching”, he said later. “These people had been completely disfigured by the disease. There were only two options: I could have turned my back on them. Or I could have, following Jesus’ example, approach people, embrace them and offer my help.” And this is exactly what he did. Hence, the foundation stone to help poor and needy people in India, later in Tanzania, Greece, the Republic of Moldova and many places in Germany had been laid. In the meantime, help has reached about 200,000 people, whereby the focus lies on medical care and education. However, the main concern always is help for self-help, which is provided locally and exclusively by local members of staff.

Over the past decades, the work of the aid organisation has time and again adjusted to local conditions. However, one thing will not change. Gospel and diaconal engagement will continue to go hand in hand.