LWF congratulates EVA publishing house on 75th anniversary

7 Sep 2021
The LWF and EVA publishing house have jointly produced several publications. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay

The LWF and EVA publishing house have jointly produced several publications. Photo: LWF/S. Gallay

"Promoting a lively dialogue between theology, church, and society”

(LWI) – The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has congratulated the Evangelische Verlagsanstalt (EVA), based in Leipzig, Germany, on its 75th anniversary. In a letter, the LWF acknowledged the longstanding cooperation in producing many of its publications.

“We are proud of the publishing partnership between EVA and the LWF,” said Rev. Arni Danielsson, Head of Communications at the LWF, in a letter sent to the publishing house on this occasion. It is our “conviction that the publications that have emerged from this relationship have contributed to your goal of promoting a lively dialogue between theology, church, and society not only in Germany but across the world.”

On its 75th anniversary, the EVA looks back on a turbulent history. After World War II, private publishers in the Soviet occupation zone were no longer granted a license to produce books, since communist ideology did not permit private ownership and generally placed all publications under sociopolitical reservation. However, the needs of the Christian population were to be met at least to some extent, which is why the Soviet Military Administration began negotiations with the church leadership in East Germany. The goal was to establish a central Protestant publishing house. Thus, in May 1946, the EVA was established with headquarters in Berlin.

After the peaceful revolution of 1989, the only Protestant publishing house of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) had to reorganize itself completely. “The raison d'être, supplying literature to the Protestant congregations in the GDR state, had collapsed overnight,” explains EVA managing director Sebastian Knöfel. As a result, the EVA faced an entirely new situation.

While the biggest problem in the GDR era had been procuring paper, the publishing house now had to come to terms with an economic reorganization and changed market conditions. It had to cope with significant business cuts, declining sales, new competition from Protestant publishing houses in West Germany, and the closure of the Berlin headquarters. These challenges were overcome with great effort.

“Today, EVA is one of the theological publishers with the largest number of titles and highest circulation in Germany and internationally,” Knöfel said. EVA’s portfolio includes small editions of specialist books and wide-circulation editions of gift books and fiction. In addition to specialized theological literature, several titles for pastoral practice are also available.

EVA celebrated its anniversary on 2 September with a festive event in Leipzig’s St. Thomas Church. The leading bishop of the Evangelical Church in Central Germany, Friedrich Kramer, contributed the sermon to this occasion.

Source: epd, Editing: LWF/A. Weyermüller