Monday, April 26, 2010

What About the Church in Nazi Germany?

Sadly, resistance to the Nazi regime was the exception and not the rule.  Among those who should have taken a stand for right but didn' fact probably the saddest, sorriest example of all....was the Church...Protestant and Catholic.  Their reaction and actions ran the gamut from doing nothing to stop the actually supporting, promoting and helping to carry out the "Final Solution."  I came across a cartoon that sums up the attitude of the churches in the time of Hitler...and the willingness to conform the church to the political agenda of the day. 


I read quite a bit online about the whys and hows....the reasons the church fell so far short in their response...going all the way back to Luther and his nasty little book, On the Jews and Their Lies:

 First, that their synagogues be burned down, and that all who are able toss sulphur and pitch; it would be good if someone could also throw in some hellfire...

Second, that all their books-- their prayer books, their Talmudic writings, also the entire Bible-- be taken from them, not leaving them one leaf, and that these be preserved for those who may be converted...

Third, that they be forbidden on pain of death to praise God, to give thanks, to pray, and to teach publicly among us and in our country...

Fourth, that they be forbidden to utter the name of God within our hearing. For we cannot with a good conscience listen to this or tolerate it.

Anti-semitism abounded.  In Girardian thought, the Jews were the scapegoats...the elimination of the Jews would cure all the ills that affected Germany. In fact, the Holocaust was the epitome of scapegoating...a dogged, determined elimination of all those who were in any way different than the Aryans...the master race.  The handicapped, the mentally ill, gypsies, Jehovah Witnesses, homosexuals...were all sacrificed to purify Germany.

One of the best articles I found online discusses the church's role in depth discussing among other things: 

Protestantism In the Weimar Republic

German Christians

The Protestant Church and the Third Reich until 1935

The Methodist Church and the Third Reich

and another article,  The Protestant churches in Nazi Germany, explains in detail what was going on at the time and some of the history that led to the situation. 

There were a few Christians who actually stood up to the Nazi regime...and one who stood out among those few..... Dietrich Bonhoeffer. His story and beliefs and courage have been the focus of most of my internet journeys this weekend.

But more on that....tomorrow.....

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