Friedrich Bock (Rev.)

Life and ministry

Friedrich (‘Fritz’) Bock was born in Schaumburg-Lippe in 1903 and entered the mission seminary in 1925. Bock arrived in Addis Ababa at the end of the year 1932, concluded his ministerial formation in 1934, married Marie (née Harmening) and arrived in Aira in early 1935.

On the German field director’s instructions, Dietrich Wassmann (sen.) left Aira (for Beddellee) at the end of 1935. Rev. Bock took over several of Wassmann’s educational and pastoral tasks. The expansion of the liturgy and the translation of hymns into Oromo also continued. It can be assumed that Dafaa Jammoo worked with him. On 12 January 1936, Rev. Bock had conducted the wedding service for Dafaa Jammoo and Qanatu Kororsaa (see picture below).

On 19 May, he narrowly escaped death for the first time when embittered soldiers approached Aira and wanted to kill the whites. Rev. Bock left Aira in July or August 1936 for Gambella and the Sudan (Bauerochse, Oromoland, p. 246‒48).

From 1937 to 1944, Rev. Bock worked as missionary in South Africa. After that, he served in Germany. Friedrich (‘Fritz’) Bock passed away in 1993.

Bock’s letter in March 1936

Bock wrote to mission director Schomerus on 21 March 1936 [ELM Archive: AE 1.311]:

“Unsere Schule ist insofern weitergekommen, dass wir jetzt eine ordentliche dreiklassige Schule haben. Jede Klasse hat getrennten Unterricht, auch in den religiösen Fächern. […] Eine der schwierigsten Arbeiten in der Schule ist die Schaffung eines brauchbaren Schulkatechismusses. Damit soll jetzt der Anfang gemacht werden, auch andere Schulbücher müssen noch geschaffen werden.
Unser Gottesdienst geht in seiner gewohnten Weise weiter. Hin und wieder erscheint einmal ein neues Gesicht, besonders in der letzten Zeit. […] Seit Advent haben wir in unsere Gottesdienste auch eine längere Liturgie eingeführt, die wir noch weiter auszubauen gedenken. Bis zum Ende dieses Jahres hoffen wir auch noch ein Gesangbuch bis zu 100 Lieder fertigzustellen mit voller Gottesdienstordnung im Anhang. […] Vielleicht lohnt sich auch schon einmal die Drucklegung.” (Bauerochse, Ziel was das Oromoland, p. 244)

English translation:

“Our school has progressed to the extent that we now have a proper three-class school. Each class has separate lessons, even in the religious subjects. […] One of the most difficult tasks in the school is the creation of a working school catechism. A start is now to be made on this, and other textbooks must also be created.
Our church service continues in its usual way. Every now and then, a new person appears, especially in recent times. […] Since Advent, we have also introduced a longer liturgy into our services, which we intend to develop further. By the end of this year, we also hope to have a hymn book with up to 100 hymns ready with a full order of service in the appendix. […] Perhaps it will also be worthwhile printing it.”


Rev. Friedrich Bock (second row) at the wedding of Qanatu Kororsaa
and Dafaa Jammoo (1st row, 2nd from right) in January 1936.
The other persons in the front row are (from left) Hermann Hornbostel
(craftsman who led the brass band), Miijanaa Jammoo (Dafaa’s brother
who taught at the Adventist mission in Gimbi) and Dafaa’s mother.
[Picture adapted from a photograph at the Hermannsburg Mission Archive]


Bock had filmmaking skills (Bauerochse, Oromoland, p. 210).

  • Are there films about Ethiopia recorded by him?

Further reading

Bauerochse, Ernst. Ihr Ziel war das Oromoland: Die Anfänge der Hermannsburger Mission in Äthiopien. Münster: Lit, 2006.