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Friday, 26 August 2011

English Church in Heidelberg mourns death of its senior member

This year, the English Church in Heidelberg is celebrating 40 years of its re-establishment after the war. Most recently, however, the community lost a beloved member, who was herself a pioneer of post-war reconciliation between Germany and England, Mrs Gladys Fischer MBE. Gladys is pictured above with locum priest, the Venerable Fred Ailwood, last June.

The reader in Heidelberg, Dr Rosemary Selle writes:

Mrs Gladys Fischer MBE, the senior member of The English Church Heidelberg, died peacefully at home on August 4th at the age of 97. Born in Oxford in the year when Britain and Germany engaged in the hostilities of the First World War, 1914, Gladys Munday proved an enlightened and visionary champion of reconciliation and good relations between the two countries. Together with her German husband Friedrich Fischer, she founded a School of Translation and Interpreting in Heidelberg immediately after the end of the Second World War, soon to be complemented by a Grammar School. The latter in particular thrives to this day and has educated generations of young people "at a German school in the British way" - which includes fostering an excellent hockey team! Gladys Fischer was made a Member of the British Empire for her services to Anglo-German relations. She strongly supported The English Church (though because of the death of her husband that year she was not closely involved in our re-founding in 1971) and only two weeks before her death hosted a Summer Celebration for our 40th Anniversary with music, dance, poetry and endless cups of tea at her beautiful home in Heidelberg. Gladys leaves two daughters and a host of grandchildren and great-grandchildren - and we at the English Church have lost a dear friend and supporter and a great encourager. May she rest in peace. 

The website of the English Church in Heidelberg is here.


  1. I deeply regret reading Dr Selle's obituary of Gladys Fischer!
    I first met Mrs Fischer in 1971 as a 13-year-old, trying to make a really difficult transition from a primary school in Quebec to the Englisches Institut. This was made all the more difficult as I really couldn't speak German at all, let alone well enough to go to school in. Mrs Fischer knew this, and always had time and many kind words for me. Every other Saturday, she'd allow me to take Pomodoro (Pommy) for a walk, which also helped boost my morale. It was taking Pommy out that helped me explore my surroundings, and to gain an appreciation of Heidelberg that I have held on to, to this day.
    I was last in Heidelberg in 2007, a little trip down memory lane. I even stood in fromt of the Englisches Institut for a few minutes, although I never went inside. I regret now that I never made further enquiries about Mrs Fischer - I certainly would have tried to get in touch. I realise now that I owe her a strong vote of thanks for making things a little easier at the time.
    My deepest sympathy to all her family and friends for the loss!
    Steven Schnack
    Lancashire, England
    Best regards to all from a stranger!

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