Ernst Jakob Christoffel, born 1876 in Rheydt / Rhineland, pastor, founder and long-time leader of the later named after him Christoffel-Blindenmission, was twice where it did not seem to go on. When he traveled to Turkey in 1908 and founded a home for the blind, otherwise disabled and orphans in Malatia, he was only supported by a small circle of friends. The missionary societies previously mentioned saw no mission to help the blind in the Orient.
The end came after the First World War: expulsion in 1919. Turkey remained closed to Christoffel, as well as to all other Germans.
Founder and namesake of the Christoffel Blindenmission
Immediately after lifting the entry ban, Christoffel went again; but the house in Malatia was lost. Attempts to restart in Constantinople (from 1930 Istanbul) ended with a ban. Christoffel continued to travel to Iran. In 1925 and 1928 two homes were built in Tabriz and Isfahan for blind and differently handicapped young people.
The Second World War destroyed everything again; the expulsion threatened. Christoffel did not want to leave his charges alone - was arrested in 1943 and spent three years behind barbed wire; Zero point number two. His will, however, was unbroken.
When the road was cleared in 1951, Illita, aged over 70, returned to Isfahan to do what he saw his entire life as his mission: to help the disabled and the poor and abandoned in the name of Christ.
On 23.4.1955 Christoffel died. His tombstone in Isfahan calls him "the father of the blind, deaf-mutes and no-man's children".