Gertraud Wallbrecher (* May 18, 1923, † July 29, 2016) was a representative of the 20th century’s Catholic avantgarde. In post-war Germany, facing the horrors of the Shoah, she searched for a renewal of the Church starting at its very origins.
She had support from many sides: Church representatives such as the later cardinals Johannes Joachim Degenhardt and Joseph Ratzinger, agnostics like Gerhard Szczesny and artists like Alexander von Branca.
From the very beginning, her husband, business lawyer Dr. Herbert Wallbrecher († 1997), helped the newly formed “integrated community” to live “entirely in the world and entirely in God at the same time”. He set the conditions needed to serve the Church as a financially independent entity. The new approach was partly met with lack of understanding and resistance. Inspired by the communities of the New Testament, Traudl Wallbrecher envisioned that the modern Christian mission was to create the conditions for the secular people of the modern age to find interest in the Christian faith and live from its impetus. She inspired the love of God in many. With the help of those who shared her concern, places were formed where the notion of a “new heaven and a new earth” was not merely a utopia.
To many Jewish friends she instilled the hope that a profound reconciliation between Church and Judaism was possible. Those who had the privilege to get to know this tremendous determination and innovative spirit may have an inkling of the dimensions of what is possible but still needs to be done. This is an enormous encouragement.
Katholische Integrierte Gemeinde