In Memory of Dietrich Seidel(1943 - 2016)

individual picture
Name
Dietrich Seidel
Spouse
Elisabeth
Children
Christopher, Diesa
Birth Date
September 1, 1943
Blessing Date
February 21, 1977
Ascension Date
November 19, 2016  
family and friends

Dietrich was born in 1943, the middle of World War II, in the small Austrian town of Pernitz, in the Piesting valley, about 40 miles south of Vienna. Pernitz, especially the home for mothers in Feuchtenbach, was known for creating a new beginning for humanity by raising babies that came from selected parents. His German father, Friedmar, educated as a civil engineer, was part of the security forces who protected the life of Adolf Hitler, and Margaretha, his Viennese mother, fulfilled the conditions for making a new ‘human race.’ However, they divorced shortly after the end of the war, a painful event that reflected the confusion and hardships of the post-war era. Later on, in 1951, his mother remarried Dr. Cyril Vesely, who did his best to raise Dietrich and his older sister, Gisela.

Dietrich’s earliest childhood memories were of the sound of sirens warning the inhabitants of Vienna of bombing raids and huddling in shelters hoping to survive the explosions of the bombs. He recalled seeing a soldier pointing a gun at his mother, his sister and himself, in an open field in the middle of the night, and with the voice of a three-year-old he shouted, “Please do not shoot.” Another memory from his elementary school time was when his best friend said he wanted to become a Roman Catholic priest. Dietrich wanted to apply this future plan to his own life, as close friends often do but hesitated. On the one hand, he understood dedicating his life to God in response to the gratitude he felt for being alive. On the other hand, all his hope and joy about life was rooted in the experience of a loving family and he knew that priests were not permitted to marry. From that time on, he repeatedly asked himself questions about God and His providence, especially about why Jesus could not marry and have his own family and in this way be an example for his followers.

As a teenager, his interests turned to science, especially telecommunication. He studied at the Technological Museum of Trade and Economy for five years and qualified to continue studying electrical engineering at the Vienna University of Technology. During these formative years as a student, he soon realized that science has limitations in answering the important questions of life: ‘Why am I here?’ or ‘Is there a life after I die?’ Even if he made a great scientific discovery, how could he be sure that it would be used for the benefit of humanity?

During his mid-twenties, Dietrich was guided towards a spiritual vocation. He vividly remembered a conversation with a Roman Catholic priest who served at the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna. At a 5 a.m. mass, he showed the priest an invitation he had received to learning about a new spiritual movement that was dedicated to bringing unity to Christianity and to advance interfaith dialogue. “Find out for yourself,” this priest said, “if you find something good, take it, if it is not good, stay away from it.” This was the beginning of studying the Divine Principle.

Dietrich found that his Catholic faith and the Divine Principle seemed to work together well, like two parts that create one whole sphere. If there was a Catholic theological mystery, the Divine Principle would give a clear answer towards fulfilling the original purpose of Creation. After four weeks of studying and a few sleepless nights in which the heart of Jesus became clearer, Dietrich dedicated his life to True Parents on September 21, 1968.

In 1968 there were several centers in Vienna under the leadership of Reverend Paul Werner and Christel Werner. Reverend Werner was the first pioneer in Austria, having started his mission in 1965. At that time, they moved the apartment from the Zirkusgasse, located in Vienna’s 2nd district, to the Schluesselgasse in the 4th district. This was an important move because most parents associated the Zirkusgasse with one of the ‘Red Light Districts’ of Vienna.

A few months later, he was called by Reverend Werner to present Divine Principle lectures at the University of Vienna together with a few students who were also in their last year of study. They formed the ‘New Center,’ a movement that showed the way towards building God’s Kingdom, and which later became CARP (Collegiate Association for the Research of the Principle).

In February 1969, the whole Austrian movement, about 30 people, drove with three VW buses to Essen, Germany, to attend ‘the Blessing’ of 43 Couples with True Parents as the officiators. This was an important event because it signified the first Blessing outside of Korea. There were nine couples in Essen, representing all of Europe. They used the rooms dedicated to the Socialist Party in Germany and after preparing everything for the Blessing, the caretaker said, “it looks just like the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.”

It was a lasting experience to meet True Parents in person at the Essen Airport. Intentionally and strongly, True Father shook hands with everyone from the European movement and encouraged them together with True Mother to remain faithful and to continue God’s providence. At the time of this Blessing in Essen, True Father switched around the national leaders of Germany and Austria. Reverend Paul Werner together with his wife Christel became the leaders in Germany, while Reverend Peter Koch together with his wife Gertrud took over the leadership positions in Austria.

After graduating from the Vienna University of Technology in the summer of 1970, Dietrich worked for more than two years as a research assistant for Prof. Weinmann at the newly founded ‘Institute for Remote Control Engineering.’ During this time, Peter Koch purchased a farm about 1.5 hours’ drive from Vienna. Dietrich was involved with the renovation, reinstalling all the electricity in the building including the water pump. After much restoration work, the old farmhouse turned into a beautiful weekend seminar building where many Divine Principle lectures were given to guests.

At the beginning of 1973, Dietrich decided to move to the United States, pursuing missionary work and studies in theology. About 120 members from Europe, like a modern version of the Mayflower, arrived in the US and were welcomed by True Father at the airport. After spending two weeks at the Belvedere training center, Dietrich became the ‘Mobile Unit Commander’ in Utah for nearly two years. Then, in the summer of 1975, he became a pioneer in the city of Worcester, MA, after attending the 100-day workshop with Reverend Sudo in Barrytown.

The Unification Theological Seminary (UTS) was founded in the fall of 1975 and Dietrich was invited to attend the first class together with about 50 other students from many different nations. He found it quite a challenge to study theological subjects after having studied natural science.

In February 1977, he met his wife Elisabeth in Tarrytown, NY, through the matching of Father Moon. Dietrich was asked by Father Moon if he wanted to have theological discussions with his future wife or if she should just have a good heart. His answer was that a good heart is more important than intellectual education, and that was the way he met Elisabeth.

A few months after the marriage Blessing ceremony in 1977, Dietrich completed his two-year education at UTS, being a graduate of the first class in 1977.  He and Elisabeth moved to Toronto where Dietrich continued his studies for a Ph.D. in theology at the University of St. Michael’s College. There he met Prof. Herbert Richardson, who later became his thesis advisor.

The first president of UTS, Dr. David S.C. Kim, sent them a VHS video player so they could show the professors of St. Michael’s College and other interested people the latest video tapes about our movement. They had many evenings in their small apartment where they invited professors and students and introduced them to the teachings of True Parents.

Both their children, Christopher and Diesa, were born at the Toronto Western Hospital; Chris in 1978 and Diesa in 1980. Building his marriage with Elisabeth and raising their children became for Dietrich the path of discovering the heart of God. He developed a keen interest in topics that were related to marriage and family, not just from a theological viewpoint but also in terms of practical skills of relationship building. Here were the roots for developing courses on marriage and family and activities conducting relationship and marriage enrichment seminars together with Elisabeth. They later founded a home business, ‘Life Enrichment Enterprises,’ to help couples with their marriage relationship and child rearing.

After finishing his graduate studies in theology in the summer of 1987, the family moved to Barrytown, NY, where Dietrich started a full time teaching position at UTS, teaching theology and related subjects for 12 years. He developed an interest in philosophy and the emerging field of science and religion. In 1996, he won the Templeton Prize for developing a syllabus for the course ‘Science and Religion.’ He also taught courses related to psychology, philosophy, and science at different places like Marist College in Poughkeepsie and mathematics at Bridgeport International Academy.

In 2003, Dietrich went back and forth to Europe as a visiting professor in Vienna International University and Webster University. While there he taught teleclasses on marriage and family, and science and religion. He also organized forums with religious leaders, and conferences and events for a peaceful world. He always loved his students, reconciling their different faiths through dialog and his example of showing love and respect to all churches.

Dietrich was a reconciler and a unifier. He never complained, never kept grudges, and always showed love. In 2009, he suffered a stroke and his health began deteriorating. He was diagnosed with leukemia a few years later. He had an unshakable faith and never doubted. He was always his wife’s most beloved, and she was his. One of his last sentences was “I will be always with you, forever together.”

Seonghwa Ceremony

The Seonghwa Ceremony for Dietrich will be held on Sunday, November 27, at 12:30 p.m. at the Barrytown campus of UTS in Lecture Hall 1.

The address is 30 Seminary Drive, Barrytown, NY 12507

Following the memorial, the Won Jeon burial ceremony will take place at the Red Church cemetery on Rt 9G in Tivoli, NY.

A reception will be held afterward at UTS. If you are planning to attend the reception, please bring a dish with you.

Flowers, Donations, and Testimonies

Flower arrangements should be sent to Burnett and White Funeral Home in Red Hook, NY 12571.

They can easily be ordered from Dijk Flowers tel. 845-339-0980 or www.flowersbymaria.net

Donations can be made through the YouCaring website at https://www.youcaring.com/elisabethseidel-696976

Testimonies are welcome and can be sent to Sebastian Huemer at albanyfamchapel@aol.com

Please contact Sebastian if you would like to give a testimony in person.

Seonghwa Ceremony

Time
12:30 PM
Date
Sunday, November 27
Location
Unification Theological Seminary - 30 Seminary Drive, Barrytown, NY 12507

Comments (17)

  • Greg Breland

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    Dietrich was a saint in so many ways. Godspeed!

    Reply

  • Lilly Gundacker nee Skruzny

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    Dietrich taught us the Marriage Enrichment Course in 2006 on the phone in the days before we knew about webinars. It was so exciting to be participating at a UTS course from our own home in the Austrian country-side. It was probably also the beginning of our work in preparation for founding the Family Forum Austria http://www.familienforum.at/ which has since had representations at the UN in Geneva and Vienna. Thank you Dietrich and Elisabeth.

    Reply

  • Keith McCarthy

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    God bless you, Dietrich; and may God comfort Elisabeth and their family. We were able to meet Dietrich when he conducted a marriage workshop in Pasadena; about fifteen years ago. Truly a life well-lived.

    Reply

  • Josef Gundacker

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    First of all, I want to say THANK YOU Dieter, for the exemplary life you lived! You´ve lived your life for God and TP and have been an inspiration to brothers and sisters throughout the world. The Marriage Enrichment Course was not a regular seminar, it enriched our life and our marriage. In SW you will enrich the life of many more people. So I wish you God´s Blessing on your new journey. Your footprints here in the physical world will remain. In loving memory Josef & Lilly Gundacker

    Reply

  • Colette Melard-Takigawa

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    Dear Elizabeth, I have just finished reading your beloved husband’s life course! I feel so proud of both of you! You are truly a living example of what a blessed couple should look like.
    I happen to be in your spiritual ligneage about 5 generations down. Right now you must feel the loss of your husband but, as he rightly said you will be forever together. I will pray for Dietrich’s transition to the spiritual world to be as smooth as possible and for you to remain strong to continue on the path of restoration until you join your husband in the heavenly realm! Colette

    Reply

  • Julian Gray

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    I remember meeting Dr. Seidel just once, here in Korea, probably 20 years ago or more, when he spoke at the English language service. His warmth filled the large chapel and this encounter with a real older brother in faith and heart remained with me as a very nice memory. I will pray for him; he will be a pillar of goodness and bright light.

    Reply

  • Gregorio Villafana

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    My dear brother Dietrich is so beloved by so many. I was just thinking about him a couple of days ago, he is a big part of the “Ever Expanding Wave of Love” in my life experience. Hope to see you again.

    Reply

  • Brigitte Wada

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    Dear Elysabeth, I am very impressed by the life course of your husband, I met you both shortly when you came to France, I had more occasions to share with you and I felt strong unity with your husband . I will pray for him for a good transition in the spiritual world where he will be surely a bright light.

    Reply

  • Johann Rechberger

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    Dietrich Seidel has been there in 1972 when I joined the Unification Church in Vienna. At this time, he was a research assistant at the technical university in Vienna and for me he was an exemplary brother.
    In recent years, he and his wife spent much time in Austria and my wife and me had the incredible Blessing to meet with them on several Occasion. We visited them in 2013 on Dietrich’s 70th Birthday Celebration and on several other Occasion. We will miss Dietrich very much and He will be always with us, forever together. We pray for all of God’s Blessing for him. He will be in Heaven with True Parents!

    Reply

  • Herbert & Wonkyong

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    We are grateful that we were able to get to know our dear brother Dietrich and his family in Austria. His exemplary approach to life and good advice have always been a good inspiration and help for us. We believe that our Heavenly Parent will receive him with open arms for all the good he has done while he was working on this earth. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and we pray that he will succeed in his new mission in the spiritual world.
    Herbert @ Wonkyong from Austria

    Reply

  • Marta Maria de Carvalho Rodrigues

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    Wonderful testimony and I may see that he was the one who understood what is true love and also, TP´s Teachings… Building his marriage with his lovely wife Elisabeth and raising their children together became to Dietrich the main path of discovering the heart of God… This last sentences: “I will be always with you, forever together.” shows how much he understood about true love… May HP & TP´s love and bless be with Dietrich and he’s family in this difficult moment.
    I’d like to raise my profound respect to him and all family and members…
    I may see on him an example of elder brother…

    Reply

  • Moulinet Jean-François

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    « Quand notre vie sur terre sera achevée,
    l’amour que nous avons généreusement
    prodigué à notre prochain,
    les services que nous avons rendus
    de tout cœur pour le bénéfice des autres,
    les sacrifices que nous avons courageusement consentis
    pour l’humanité et pour Dieu,
    tout cela deviendra notre trésor
    pour l’éternité. »
    − Rév. Sun Myung Moon

    Chers Elisabeth, Christopher et Diesa,

    Nous venons d’apprendre le départ
    de DIETRICH pour le monde spirituel.

    Nous garderons un excellent souvenir de lui.

    Soyez assurés de nos encouragements et prières,
    particulièrement pour lui permettre
    une bonne transition vers le bon monde spirituel.

    Bien cordialement,

    Jean-François & Hisako Moulinet
    et vos frères et sœurs en France

    Reply

  • John Lowen

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    Dietrich and I have had many profound conversations over the years. We have a lot in common, but from opposite sides of the river. We both had fathers who were born in Germany. Mine was born to Jewish parents and escaped the external Holocaust by the skin of his teeth but was never able to escape the fear of annihilation that marked him for life. I grew up breathing the second hand smoke of the Holocaust through my father. By contrast Dietrich’s father participated directly in Adolph Hitler’s vision to create a super race for the purpose of world domination.

    Dietrich Seidel is the German brother God put on my path in my search for innocence that is stronger than murder and genocide. I have had hundreds of conversations with brothers who were interested in restoration between Germans and Jews. My conversations with Dietrich, however, were different than any of those. What made them different was that Dietrich, like myself, had never lost the connection to being a boy who needed the encouragement, understanding and blessing of his father. When we talked, we transcended history and political correctness, because we spoke from that place of need that lives inside the boy who lives inside the adult and is at his mercy. My German brother understood the need for mercy, compassion and empathy from the inside out. What Dietrich and I discovered together is that there is a Holocaust that occurs every day in the microcosm of individual men, who decide whether or not they will listen to the inner cry love inside of themselves. It’s that simple. And in spite of all Dietrich intellectual accomplishments he was a simple, beautiful man. I love you, Dietrich and I am so grateful for the deep work of restoration that you and I did from that ironically powerful place of vulnerability and innocence. Be proud, my dear brother. You and I disentangled a piece of the Holocaust together and in so doing we freed our fathers in profound ways from the troubled world they were born into and the crazy impossible paths they were forced to walk.

    Reply

    • Grace Davin

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      Thank you Mr. Lowen for your testimony. Jim and I are just now studying some history from that time period; and can’t help but be over-whelmed by the suffering in those days; the occupation of Europe and especially Eastern Europe by the superpowers of those days. So I really appreciate your words: “we freed our fathers in profound ways from the troubled world they were born into and the crazy impossible paths they were forced to walk.” Surely, a path neither one of them chose. So amazing that you could both bring some liberation and happiness to your families in the end. So much suffering to bring True Parents to the earth.Thank you.

      Reply

  • William Connery

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    I was sent from Dr. Sheftick’s OWC team to pick up our European Brothers & Sisters. Dietrich was the leader and I worked with him in Salt Lake City for almost two years. He was always positive with a ready smile. I am sure he is in a good place in the Next World.

    Reply

  • Lynn Dutertre

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    Dear Dietrich, it was and is a blessing to know you.

    Reply

  • Mike Breslin

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    Dietrich, my dear brother, I miss you and think of you often. Many blessings and peace to you, Elizabeth, Chris and Diesa.
    Mike Breslin

    Reply

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