Last month, we announced the establishment of our Jerusalem office, the Bram Center, a new initiative in Messianic Jewish education for Israeli believers. The Bram Center is a place for Messianic Jewish learning to take place in the heart of Jerusalem. The announcement about the Bram Center came as a surprise to Abram Poljak’s surviving disciples in Switzerland and Germany.
We named the Bram Center after Abram (Bram) Poljak, an early pioneer of Messianic Judaism in Israel and Europe. Poljak was active in Israel’s Messianic Jewish movement in the 1930s-1950s. He had a background in journalism, which may account for his prolific work publishing numerous articles, journals, newsletters, and books in support of his prophetic vision for Messianic Judaism and the message of the kingdom. He was instrumental in the establishment of early Messianic Judaism in the new State of Israel, and he taught internationally with followers and subscribers in Switzerland, Germany, Austria, France, England, Sweden, Canada, and the United States.
After Poljak’s death in 1963, his communities disbanded and his work was pushed into obscurity. By the time American Messianic Judaism began to flourish in the 1970s, most Messianic Jews had never heard of Poljak. In America and Israel, his work and his name had been largely forgotten.
Poljak’s vast body of writings might have remained in obscurity if not for the dedication of two of his surviving disciples. Meet Karl and Annedore Krauter (83 and 74 respectively) who have made it a lifelong project to collect, archive, and disseminate Abram Poljak’s enormous contribution to the literature of Jewish-Christianity, now called “Messianic Judaism.” Karl first heard Abram Poljak teaching in post-war Germany of 1951. He and his wife have been engaged in Poljak’s work ever since. Over the years, they have painstakingly gathered Poljak’s German, French, and English writings, copied them, indexed them, and circulated them. For the last ten years, they have also been scanning the materials, one article at a time, and, with assistance from Paul and Inge Meier of Switzerland, they have been posting them to an online archive .
Their unwavering commitment to the mission that God gave them more than half a century ago is even more remarkable in light of the physical challenges they now face. Annedore is a paraplegic. She depends on her wheelchair even within her own apartment. She needs a magnifying glass for reading, and she suffers severe hearing impairment as well. She can communicate only in writing. Nevertheless she has her full mental faculties and her memory remains sharp and clear. She depends entirely on her husband Karl who provides full-time care for her. Despite her physical challenges, Annedore remains always happy and radiates a contented spirit—a bright and shining testimony to her deep love for the Master.
Annedore and her husband Karl still carry on the work of Abram Poljak by sending out monthly German reprints of Poljak’s articles to a list of subscribers. In this capacity they have served as the custodians of Poljak’s heritage for all their married lives and, in their own small way, carried on his work. Poljak died in 1963 but the Krauters have kept his teachings alive to this very day. If not for their efforts, we probably would not have discovered Poljak’s work and vision, which ultimately became a major inspiration behind the creation of the Bram Center in Jerusalem.
When the Krauter’s friends Paul and Inge Meier of Switzerland heard about the establishment of the Bram Center in Jerusalem, they decided to make a trip to Aalen, Germany to visit the Krauters and let them know about this interesting new development in the legacy of the teacher whom they have so faithfully supported these many years. Paul and Inge reported on their December 28, 2015 visit as follows:
We visited them in Aalen, Germany today. When we brought the good news about the Bram Center this morning, Karl told us that they had read earlier today the words of 1 Corinthians 15:58: “Darum, meine lieben Brüder und Schwestern, werdet fest und unerschütterlich in eurem Glauben und tut stets euer Bestes für die Sache des Herrn. Ihr wisst, dass der Herr euren Einsatz belohnen wird.”
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
Both the Krauters and the Meiers have offered to donate their extensive archives of Poljak’s writings to Bram Center in Jerusalem. When the time comes, and the center is fully established, we will follow up with Bram’s remaining disciples on that generous offer and carry on the legacy they have so faithfully kept alive.
Learn more about the Bram Center and how you can support it.