Johanniter in North America

The formal organization of the United States Subcommandery of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg can be traced back to 1952, although members of the Order have been here for over a century.

Johanniter Knights have lived and worked in the United States since the 1840s, and our presence here has been nearly constant since the 1880s. In fact, the Johanniter are believed to be the only branch of the Order of St. John—including The Venerable Order of St. John and the Order of Malta—to have enjoyed so continuous a presence in the United States.

Early History

The first known Johanniter in North America was Swedish diplomat and Knight of Honor Adam Christoffer Lövenskiold, who resided in Washington DC from 1845 to 1850 as the Swedish chargé d’affaires to the United States.

A total of twenty-two Johanniter lived in the United States before World War II. In total, from 1845 to the present, over 350 Johanniter are known to have lived in North America. They were not all permanent residents, however. Of those, at least 115 eventually returned to Europe.


The Order has grown from one member in the United States in 1845 to over seventy in the United States and one in Mexico today. Knights are widely dispersed, but there are geographic centers of concentration with a strong Johanniter presence.


  • Washington, D.C. – About 1/3 of all Johanniter in the United States today live in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area, including Maryland and Virginia.
  • New York – About 1/4 live in or near New York City.
  • Dallas and Atlanta – An additional 1/5 live in either the Dallas Metroplex or the Atlanta Metropolitan Region.
Delegates Representing North America
(USA & Mexico after 1986)

1952 – 1952    Baron Magnus v. Braun
1952 – 1966    Dr. Hans v. Saucken
1966 – 1981    Dr. Henning A. v. Rieben
1981 – 1987    Mr. Jean-Christophe Horstmann
1987 – 1993    Mr. Ernst F. Wood
1993 – 2000    Brig. Gen. Christian Clausen
2000 – 2003    Dr. Gunter v. Conrad
2004 – 2015    Prof. Hans-Martin Sass, PhD
2016 – 0000    Mr. Rainer Köhler

Want to Learn More?

More information may be found in Robert M. Clark’s book, The Evangelical Knights of Saint John: A History of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg of the Knightly Order of St. John of the Hospital at Jerusalem, Known as the Johanniter Order (Dallas, TX, 2003; ISBN 0-9726989-0-9).

Find a Copy


Johanniter activity in North America stretches back to the mid 19th century. Hover over the years to see important events in our history.


1845 —FIRST IN NORTH AMERICA – Knight of Honor Adam Christoffer Lövenskiold resided in Washington DC from 1845-1850. He had been admitted to the Royal Prussian Order of St. John in 1837 and appeared on Johanniter membership rosters after 1852.

1884 —CONTINUOUS PRESENCE – German Ambassador Karl Johann Georg von Eisendecher, who had become a Knight of Honor in 1883, arrived in Washington DC in 1884. Since then, Johanniter have had a nearly constant presence in the United States.

1888 —MEXICO – The first known Johanniter in Mexico was Knight of Honor Baron Moritz Curt von Zedtwitz, who served as German envoy to Mexico from 1888-1891.

From 1895-1897, Baron Max Franc Guido von Thielman served as German ambassador to the United States. He was the first known Johanniter to hold the rank of Knight of Justice in North America.

1931 —HUNGARIAN ASSOCIATION – The first known member of the Hungarian Association in North America was Knight of Honor Lt. Col. von Palffy de Tolna-Szentgyorgy von Beregh, who lived in New York City in 1931.

1952 —SUBCOMMANDERY – Nearly a century after the first Johanniter lived and worked in the USA, the United States Subcommandery of the Bailiwick Brandenburg was formally organized in 1952.

1964 —FIRST CONVOCATION – The first Johanniter Convocation in the United States was held in 1964.

1981 —AID ASSOCIATION – A charitable Johanniter Aid Association was incorporated in 1981 in New York. It was succeeded by the Johanniter Humanitarian Groups, independent charitable groups incorporated as JHG Texas, JHG Washington, and JHG Southeast.

2015 —COMMANDERY CONVOCATION – The 2015 Convocation of the Commandery of the Bailiwick of Brandenburg was held in Washington DC—the first time the event was hosted outside of Germany. The Herrenmeister, HRH Oskar Prinz v. Preussen, was present for the occasion.