Kolling, William John (1888–1963) and Pauline (1890–1981)

By Remwil R. Tornalejo

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Remwil R. Tornalejo is an associate professor in the Historical-Theological department of the International Institute of Advanced Studies Seminary (AIIAS). Tornalejo has a B.A. in theology from Mountain View College, Valencia, Philippines, and M.P.S., M.Div., and M.Th. degrees from AIIAS. He had served as a pastor, Literature Ministry Seminary dean and instructor at the South Philippine Union Conference. He had served as chair of the theology department of the South Philippine Adventist College. Tornalejo completed his D.Theol. from Theological Union (ATESEA). He is married to Marilou Manatad. They have four children.

First Published: September 26, 2022

William and Pauline Kolling were Adventist missionaries to Tanzania, Ethiopia, and the Celebes Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. They served for a total of 39 years. 

Early Life

William J. Kolling, also known in his native Germany as Wilhelm John Koelling, was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1888. He was baptized in 1903.1 There are no available records about his immediately family members.

William Kolling was married to Pauline Henrietta. Pauline was born on January 21, 1890, in Hamburg Germany. They had one daughter, Elfreda Carla Raunio, who later became a missionary to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Africa.2

Ministry

William J. Kolling started his denominational service at the German East African Mission in 1908 at age 20.3 He served in Tanzania as a missionary from 1908 to 1914. After World War I, he served with his wife, Pauline, in Ethiopia from 1920 to 1927. The Kollings then answered the call to serve in the Celebes Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia, in 1929.4 Together with the Twynstras, the Kollings boarded the German freighter Heidelberg to sail for Jakarta.5 In 1938 they moved to Surabaja in East Java, where Elder Kolling served as the mission president.6 In one article, he stated the challenges and need to share the gospel to the many islands of the Dutch East Indies. He wrote, “Some of these islands, such as Java, parts of Sumatra, and the Celebes, have been hundreds of years under the influence of western conquerors. Great and beautiful cities have been built, but most of the people on these islands are still living in the darkness of sin.”7

In 1940, during the start of the Japanese invasion, Kolling and a number of German missionaries who were assigned in the Dutch East Indies, at first were taken by the Dutch government, but were later transferred by the Japanese forces to internment camps in India. Church leaders from the Southern Asia Division “visited them in their camp and have supplied them with such requisites as they found themselves in need of, and they are being supplied with funds by the General conference as they require.”8

The wives of these missionaries were interned separately from their husbands, and were supposed to return to their homelands via Japan and Russia, but were stranded in Japan because Germany attacked Russia. Other missionaries in the Far Eastern Division were stranded in their mission field in Indonesia.9

After six years in internment, on the morning of Thursday, August 22, 1946, W. J. Kolling, together with some interned missionaries in India, boarded the S.S. General Gordon to sail to America. “For over six long years these German brethren had been interned for war reasons, and they were now on their way to America after having been released from the Prisoners-of-War Canip in Dehra Dun.”10

On October 28, 1946, the missionaries finally arrived in Seattle onboard the S.S. Marine Falcon. The list included, “Pastor and Mrs. George Dietrich and their three daughters, Inga, Erma, and Erica; W. J. Pudewell; Mrs. Drinhaus and her daughter, Waltraud; Mrs. Zimmermann; Mrs. Dittmar and her son, Heizon; Mrs. Krautschick and her daughter, Sigrid.”11 These returning missionaries were meet and welcomed by the brethren in the United States. However, Mrs. Horn, Mrs. Kolling and her daughter, Elfriede, and Mrs. Faass and Mrs. Erlecke were not able to secure transportation that time and were left behind in Java.12 A year later on April 26, 1947 these six missionaries arrived in America and were reunited with their families “after seven years of separation.”13

Later Life

After their missionary service the Kollings settled in Angwin California, near Pacific Union College.14 Kolling passed away in 1963 at 75 years old. He was buried in Sierra Hills Memorial Park, Greenback Lane, Sacramento, California.15 Pauline H. Kolling his wife died in January 31, 1981 at age 91 in Deer Park, California. She was buried beside her husband in Sierra Hills Memorial Park, Greenback Lane, California.16

Legacy and Contribution

The Kollings are remembered as missionaries in the continents of Africa and Asia. They served for a total of 39 years. Their service in leading the mission work in Surabaja and East Java is their great contribution to Adventist growth in the area. However, their commitment to the Adventist mission in spite of the overwhelming odds will be considered their greatest legacy. They endured great difficulties during the war years. They were interned separately and suffered being apart for almost seven years.

Sources

Adams, E.M. “Former Missionaries Hold Reunion.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1956.

Armstrong, V.T. “Advances in the Far Eastern Division.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, December 1946.

“Day of Special Intercession for Interned Missionaries, Oct. 30.” Central Union Reaper, October 19, 1943.

“Deaths.” ARH, April 16, 1981.

“Dr. Nantje Twynstra Recalls Experiences in Indonesia.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1961.

“Freed from Internment.” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1946.

“From Here and There.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1947.

"Great Missionaries to Africa: Koelling, Wilhelm John." African Seventh-day History. Accessed July 14, 2022. https://www.africansdahistory.org/missionaries-to-africa/great-adventist-missionaries-to-africa/.

Kolling, W.J. “The Great Needs of the Islands of the Sea.” The China Division Reporter, April 15, 1940.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1909.

“Wilhelm J. Kolling.” Accessed July 15, 2022. https://peoplelegacy.com/wilhelm_j__kolling-006F081.

Notes

  1. "Great Missionaries to Africa: Koelling,Wilhelm John,” African Seventh-day Adventist Historyhttps://www.africansdahistory.org/missionaries-to-africa/great-adventist-missionaries-to-africa/. Accessed July 14, 2022.

  2. “Deaths,” ARH, April 16, 1981, 23.

  3. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1909), 142.

  4. "Great Missionaries to Africa: Koelling,Wilhelm John." See also “Deaths,” Adventist Review, April 16, 1981, 23.

  5. “Dr. Nantje Twynstra Recalls Experiences in Indonesia,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1961, 4, 5.

  6. “Deaths,” ARH, April 16, 1981, 23.

  7. W. J. Kolling, “The Great Needs of the Islands of the Sea,” The China Division Reporter, April 15, 1940, 2.

  8. “Day of Special Intercession for Interned Missionaries, Oct. 30.” Central Union Reaper, October 19, 1943, 1.

  9. Ibid.

  10. “Freed from Internment” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1946.

  11. V. T. Armstrong, “Advances in the Far Eastern Division,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, December 1946, 1.

  12. Ibid.

  13. “From Here and There,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1947, 4.

  14. E. M. Adams, “Former Missionaries Hold Reunion,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, November 1956, 2.

  15. “Wilhelm J. Kolling,” https://peoplelegacy.com/wilhelm_j__kolling-006F081. Accessed July 15, 2022.

  16. “Deaths,” ARH, April 16, 1981, 23.

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Tornalejo, Remwil R. "Kolling, William John (1888–1963) and Pauline (1890–1981)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 26, 2022. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DFY3.

Tornalejo, Remwil R. "Kolling, William John (1888–1963) and Pauline (1890–1981)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. September 26, 2022. Date of access May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DFY3.

Tornalejo, Remwil R. (2022, September 26). Kolling, William John (1888–1963) and Pauline (1890–1981). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 23, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DFY3.