H Stories

Johanne Sorensen aka Johanne Hoeg

Johanne Hoeg became the first citizen of Denmark to become a Bahá'í and was the only Bahá’í in Denmark for 22 years before the first declaration of a Dane named Palle Bischoff in 1947. 

Johanne Sorensen aka Johanne Hoeg

Born: January 5, 1891
Death: November 13, 1988
Place of Birth: Denmark
Location of Death: Kearney County, Nebraska
Burial Location: Minden, Kearney County, Nebraska

Johanne Hoeg became the first citizen of Denmark to become a Bahá’í and was the only Bahá’í in Denmark for 22 years before the first declaration of a Dane named Palle Bischoff in 1947.  She was a nurse and first heard about the Faith at a public meeting in Honolulu in January 1925, and soon declared. 

She, along with other pioneers and Dagmar Dole, was instrumental in bringing forty-seven believers into the Faith in Denmark. 

In 1927 when Martha Root visited Denmark she assisted in arranging public meetings  and contacting the 3 largest newspapers in Copenhagen. In 1935 Johanne accompanied Martha Root on a teaching trip to Iceland.

L – Johanne Hoeg R – Johanne Schubarth

She was a close friend of Johanna Schubarth – the first Bahá’í in Norway and sometimes they travelled together to summer Schools in Esslingen in Germany where she made friends with Dr. H. Grossman and Dr. A. Mühlschlegel. {She also was a friend of  in Eskil Ljungberg, Knight of Baha’u’llah in the Faroes Island  and he used to come and visit her during the summers.} 


She went on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land for the first time in 1929, then in 1936 and for the last time in 1972. 

Johanne Hoeg and Dr. H. Ra’fat with Hendrik Olsen, Jul 1965.

 In 1940 she sent Bahá’í books to prominent persons in Greenland, one of them was Hendrik Olsen who lived in Uppemavik and they kept in touch until his death in 1967. He translated the first literature to Greenlandic and in July 1965 she was invited by Hendrik to travel to Greenland and she visited several locations where she gave public speeches for approximately 50 to 100 people.  Hendrik declared his faith as the first Bahá’í in Greenland. Johanne was 74 years old when she went on her 4 week journey to Greenland which was far from a modern country. She was accompanied by Dr. Hooshang Rafat, an early pioneer to Norway.

Johanna also sent Bahá’í books in Danish and Greenlandic to libraries in both Denmark and Greenland. 

During those years she was involved with translating, or seeing to translations being done, and corresponded in over 100 letters with Shoghi Effendi, about the translation work. In 1926 Sørensen published a translation credited as a work of John Esslemont‘s the year after his death. She then translated John Esslemont’s Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era which drew approving academic review. But there were no other converts to the religion during this early period. Sørensen remained active in her translation work until the community elected a Local Spiritual Assembly which then held the authority for the community’s translating endeavours.

Johanne Sorensen translated and paid for the publication of Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era in Danish.  Between 1946 and 1951, Johanne Sorensen (later Hoeg), the first Danish Bahá’í, sent letters and Bahá’í literature to 93 towns, villages, settlements, and radio stations throughout Greenland.

Johanne married Dr. Hoeg in 1945 and moved from Copenhagen to the province (Citizens of the World: A History and Sociology of the Baha’i’s by Margit Warburg p. 233).

National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Norway (2008-03-25). “Johanna Schubarth”. Official Website of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Norway. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Norway. Archived from the original on 2009-09-08. Retrieved 2008-04-27.

Special thanks to Ms. Vigdis Alice Angell

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Bahá'í Chronicles

We simply want to provide direct access to the heroes and heroines who have recognized and served the Bahá’í Faith and mankind. Our hope in sharing these stories is to offer enlightenment, respect and a wholehearted appreciation for the Gift.

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