Councillor Zaphne Stretton MBE has been awarded the Etienne-Bach Prize by the Evangelical Church in Datteln.
Councillor Stretton received the award whilst attending a service in Datteln last month. This is the first time that this prize has ever been awarded and was given to Councillor Stretton in recognition of her commitment to reconciliation and peace between the British and the German people.
The Etienne Bach Prize is used to honour women and men or initiatives, who work for more understanding and exchange between people of different culture, religion or nationality. Lieutenant Etienne Bach was a French Officer after WWI, who was in charge of the Datteln administration during the occupation of the Ruhr in 1923-25.
Councillor Stretton attended the service in Datteln with her husband Michael, the Leader of the Council Councillor George Adamson, Managing Director Tony McGovern and the Chairman of the Council, Councillor Alan Dudson.
Councillor Zaphne Stretton said “I am honoured to be the first person to accept the Etienne-Bach Prize. I was overwhelmed when I received the telephone call to say that I’d won this prize. I’ve been to Datteln every year for the last 30 years and I absolutely love the place and the people. I’ve had many people stay with me on exchanges, mainly to learn English. I enjoy their company and we’ve made some wonderful friends over the years, it’s really been a pleasure."
Background: Bach, a confessing Protestant Christian and bilingual, took part in the evangelical service on Good Friday 30th March 1923 in Lutherhaus. This alone was quite unusual; when it came to Holy Communion he and his German counterpart of the Datteln administration Mr. Karl Wille both received bread and wine and afterwards shook hands as a sign not of friendship, but of accepting each other as Christians. After this incident, which became to know as Dattelner Abendmahl (or Dattelner’s Supper), Bach and Wille worked together for the good of the population of Datteln.
Later Bach left the French army and became the founder and a professional worker for his peace movement ‘Knights of the Prince of Peace’ (later Christian Peace Service).
Photograph: Cllr Zaphne Stretton MBE and her husband Michael Stretton.
Photograph courtesy of Silke Wilhelm-Maemecke