The terraced house in nurnberg-langwasser is almost empty. In the living room a dining table, some chairs, in a corner a television on the floor. No picture on the wall, no carpet, no other furniture – nothing. A sterile, uncomfortable atmosphere. For almost a year, pastor peter ditterich has lived here, together with his housekeeper susana czeizel and oskar mellinger. He had previously lived in the same house as ditterich, on jakobsplatz in nurnberg’s center, within sight of the parish church st. Elisabeth.
But: the move to the south of nurnberg had become unavoidable. Because the old apartment had become uninhabitable due to aggressive mold infestation. In 2008, the mold had appeared for the first time. And thus a dispute broke out over the renovation of the apartment occupied by ditterich. In the clergyman’s opinion, the church foundation reacted too slowly to the rapidly spreading infestation, and ditterich called in the bishopric administration in bamberg. The first renovation measures were taken, but in the opinion of the priest and his housekeeper, they were insufficient.
The unacceptable living conditions, which in the meantime have also been medically certified, led to the hemiplegic clergyman, who is confined to a wheelchair, also contracting a severe lung disease. Once a month, he had to go to the hospital for inpatient treatment. Back at home, he had to be ventilated with oxygen around the clock – and still has to do so today. His housekeeper also fell ill. Pastor ditterich went to court, sued the church foundation for damages and compensation for pain and suffering.
The entire interior of the apartment was contaminated by black mold. The result: a legal dispute that has lasted for years and has not yet been concluded, numerous expert opinions, and high legal fees, which have now driven the pastor almost to financial ruin. Why there is no money to buy new furniture. "The church wants to finish us off", laments susana czeizel. Because the litigation costs would not end. That is why the clergyman now demands over 80.000 euros from the church foundation.
Is peter ditterich a bitter, quarrelsome spirit?? Dieter olschlegel, himself a retired evangelical clergyman, is a good friend of ditterich’s. Went to high school with him in bamberg for nine years. And to this day has always been in contact with his old classmate. He characterizes him as a good-spirited, always helpful and highly motivated clergyman, who was completely absorbed in his work. In his community, he has been a contact person for anyone who was in need. He set up a special counseling center, which was also used by prostitutes in the nearby red-light district.
When he found a single mother and her child crying in the city center in the 1980s – she was literally standing on the street – he took her in without further ado. "He helped wherever he could. That also made him so popular in his community" olschlegel emphasizes. To add that the years of litigation were also taking their toll on ditterich’s health. He is seriously concerned. "In this situation, where is the urgently needed personal and pastoral attention to ditterich by his pastor??", olschlegel asks. At the age of 72 and despite his disability, the clergyman still held office hours. Wanted to be there for people who sought his advice.
What is the bishopric management doing? Press spokesman harry luck points out that there have been repeated attempts to contact ditterich. One had the impression that he was being isolated from his surroundings. Vicar general georg kestel lieb said in a statement that he was very concerned about the health and well-being of the clergyman.
Unfortunately, he has repeatedly rejected offers of help such as a move to a retirement home or a new apartment suitable for senior citizens. Peter ditterich’s successor in office, pastor markus bolowich, is also aware that the situation has now taken on tragic proportions. Today he leads the community of st. Elisabeth and he woman what great accents his predecessor as a clergyman knew how to set. In the meantime, he continues to wait for the judiciary to finally rule in his favor.