Christian Churches During The Third Reich

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade September 2001

download word file, 2 pages 0.0

Downloaded 1007 times

Role of Christian Churches during the Third Reich Many Christian churches helped with the nazi's persecution of Jews, however hundreds of thousands of Jews were saved with the help of Christians, and Christian Churches.

Daniel Goldenhagen claimed that, "...Most Germans enthusiastically supported the holocaust, and that Christianity paved the way for its disaster. The church taught that ancient Jews who rejected Jesus Christ were responsible for killing him. Some people even believed that the Jews were working with the devil. The German Christian movement tried to create a "peoples church" which was based on blood and race. The movement tried to combine Christianity and Nazism. The movement preached a "manly" aggressive religion, which assumed that Judaism and Christianity were opposed. German Christians urged the expulsion of non-Aryans from Christian pulpits and congregation. Being a member of the movement was a sure sign that someone was pro-Nazi. German Christians were willing and even eager to prove their anti-Semitism.

Many of them joined the military during the Nazi era. Under the idea that an ideal church was "pure Germans" devoted to the exclusion of Jews, the German Christians tried to separate Christianity from its Jewish origins. They even tried to eliminate the Old Testament.

Christian children didn't always follow in the footsteps of their anti-Jewish parents. In one case, a young girl felt bad for the Jews. When she cried about it, her dad told her that she'd "better learn that Jews are there for suffering." In some areas of Christian Europe (such as: Scandinavia, Holland, Serbia, Ireland, and Belgium), anti-Semitism has been rare, or even non-existent. Also, some Christian Churches (such as Lutheran in Denmark and Norway, Orthodox in Serbia and Bulgaria, and Calvinist congregations everywhere) strongly disagreed with the Nazi persecution of Jews. Protestant and Catholic churches strongly suggested that Christians refuse to follow anti-Jewish orders. Many Jews went into hiding. Non-Jewish neighbors and friends protected them. Thousands of Germans (most devout Christians) risked their lives to help Jews. Many Jews hid in the monasteries and convents of the Catholic Church. Jewish children wet to Catholic orphanages, and were given Christian names. Some Jews got fake documents, such as Catholic certificates of baptism. Under Pope Pius the 12th, the Catholic Church helped save the lives of at least 700,000, but probably closer to 860.000 Jews. Pope Pius the 12th was sometimes referred to as "a lonely voice", because his voice was the only one that spoke out on behalf of the victims of Nazism.