|HITLER AND THE GESTAPO CLAMP-DOWN|
Buchman was staking his life's work and such reputation as he had on an attempt to present Germany with an alternative to Nazism. He made this the theme of his call to Europe from Kronborg in Denmark, a call delivered that same Whitsun when Frau von Cramon was staying, half-guest, half-prisoner, at the Himmlers' home: 'There must come a spiritual dynamic which will change human nature and remake men and nations. There must come a spiritual authority which will be accepted everywhere by everyone. Only so will order come out of chaos in national and international affairs... Some nation must produce a new leadership, free from the bondage of fear, rising above ambition, and flexible to the direction of God's Holy Spirit. Such a nation will be at peace within herself, and a peacemaker in the international family. Will it be your nation?'
This speech was broadcast in several countries, but refused by the German Propaganda Ministry. Buchman knew he would have to find other ways of getting a hearing in Germany.
During the Oxford house-party in the summer of 1935 Buchman seemed uncertain what to do in Germany. He told Hans Stroh he 'feared that Himmler had closed his heart'. Whether Himmler's heart had ever been open - or whether, as was certainly the case later, he merely wanted to use Buchman and his colleagues for his own ends - was harder to assess then than it is to assume now. Buchman knew that Himmler was a lapsed Catholic - in youth he had been an altar boy - and hoped that some remnant of unease at lost faith still lurked in him. On 19 November 1935 Berlingske Tidende of Copenhagen printed Himmler's photograph with the headline 'Nazi confesses his faith in living God', and other papers reported that Frau Himmler had been influenced by the Oxford Group. 'Frank always realised what it would mean for the world if Himmler were to be changed,' Frau von Cramon writes; and Buchman said at the time, 'People will say I'm pro-Nazi if I pursue this, but I am not worried.'
In August 1935 he was once again invited to Nuremberg through Frau von Cramon. He took the Oxford theologian, Dr B. H. Streeter, with him.
This was the first Nuremberg Rally in which detachments of the German Army took part, and Buchman and Streeter were struck, as was every visitor, by the massive mobilisation it represented. 'Frank Buchman,' said Frau von Cramon, 'constantly spoke to me about his growing concern at the military development. He said several times that he felt Himmler had, as his power grew, lost any interest in the Group's message.' He also felt a tenser atmosphere surrounding his own work. It came to light that a Dutch girl who had attended some Oxford Group meetings had fallen for an SS officer and made allegations which supported those in the Gestapo who looked on the Oxford Group as a super-subtle spy network of the democracies. This made Buchman apprehensive for his German team, as well as rendering his own task more difficult.
Photo: Professor and Mrs. B.H. Streeter with Buchman (right) in Oxford. In the background centre are Roland Wilson and John Roots.