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The Lost Battle Of The Last Chairman: François Schmitt And The Decline Of The Dutch Reformed Community In St. Petersburg, 1920–27

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Chapter Summary

François Schmitt was the last chairman of the Dutch Reformed Church in St. Petersburg, serving from 1920 till 1924. The Dutch community in St. Petersburg had always consisted mainly of merchants. By 1920 the church had not only declined in terms of numbers, but also in terms of finance. With the departure of De Lingestroom, Schmitt had become the chairman of a bankrupt property without a constituency to speak of. The first incident with which Schmitt was confronted after the departure of De Lingestroom was the raid on the church safe. By the expropriation of 1922 the Reformed community had become the tenant of its own place of worship. Even though the Dutch church under Schmitt's leadership had managed with great effort to keep the right to use the church hall, this hall had hardly been in use as such since 1919 for lack of a minister.

Keywords: bankrupt property; De Lingestroom; Dutch reformed community; François Schmitt; St. Petersburg

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