Protestant Churches and the Holocaust

The previous thread went off on a tangent, so I’m posting this again–maybe with a clearer title.

I’m interested in what the Protestant Church (really all non-Catholic Christian churches) did or said during the Holocaust.

If you have any information on what your church did, will you share it here?

Best known would be Lutheran Dietrich Bonhöeffer. The Wikipedia article on him isn’t too bad. If I remember my history correctly, Hitler tried to form a Protestant Reich, but was unsuccessful.

There were very few Methodists in Germany; the two Methodist bishops were split on their support of Hitler; one left Germany and went to Switzerland (I think) and the other stayed. Methodists outside of Germany condemned Hitler, for the most part.

You might find that there is an interesting guide to what was going on in the religious communities by studying voting patterns. This may be a guide to the attitudes of Churches ‘on the ground’.

Like the Socialist+Communist vote (the two have to be taken together because there was a lot of switching from one to the other in different elections, the Socialists were by far the bigger Party though) which remained pretty constant, the Catholic vote (there were two Catholic parties, the Zentrum - which represented all areas other than Bavaria and the BVP - the Bavarian Peoples’ Party) stood up very well to the electoral growth of the NSDAP - whose rise saw the collapse in the vote of all other ‘conservative’ Parties. Studies like Ian Kershaw’s ‘Popular Opinion & Political Dissent in the Third Reich’ would suggest that after Hitler’s arrival in power, again rather like the Socialists+Communists, Catholics (especially in Bavaria) lived in a kind of sullen resignation most of the time.

The NSDAP was fundamentally a middle-class Party (predominantly lower middle class - office and shop workers, artisans and proprietors of small farms) but, statistically-speaking, the most likely to vote NSDAP were Protestant farmers living in the German States bordering on other countries (especially to the East).

The situation in Austria was somewhat different - in Austria, the overwhelmingly Catholic population welcomed the arrival of German troops. Of course, political anti-Semitism in Hitler’s country of birth was much more developed than it had been in Germany itself - an example being Karl Lüger, Mayor of Vienna, who had certainly been an influence on young Adolf himself.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and theologian who was arrested and jailed for plotting to kill Hitler.

I don’t mean to limit the discussion of what the churches did to Germany and Austria. The churches exist just about everywhere in the world. It is the Vatican (the Churcha as a whole) that is blamed for not doing enough, and the Vatican obviously isn’t in Germany. The pope wasn’t German then, even. :wink:

I’m looking for links to documents and reports of actions taken by the churches (not individuals) against the Nazis.

Are other churchs, speaking as a body, not individuals within that body, blaming the catholic church for not doing enough againt the nazis? If so, can you link to other church documents blaming the catholic church so we can read the official condemtion of the catholic church made by noncatholic churchs.

Do an Amazon search. There are volumes on the subject. :wink:
It is common “knowledge” that the Vatican did little or nothing during WWII. And the accusations have been repeated here, so I’m asking on this forum if anyone knows what the other churches did, and if they can provide links to official documents or reliable reports of official action taken by the other churches around the world. It seems to be an impossible task, because not one document has been mentioned. People have mention individuals who resisted, but nothing official from the denominations.

The other churches are made up of individuals, and their efforts are as praise-worthy as any. But I’m looking for documents that were issued by their churches - by their leaders - that spoke for the whole body of their denomination. And if anyone can point to official action taken by the denominations, that would be helpful, too.

I don’t know if I should assume that no such documentation exists or if no one here knows what their church did. And if the documentation doesn’t exist, does it mean that the other churches never made official statements on the Nazis and never took “official” action, or were they were just sloppy record-keepers?

You didnt answer my question.

Can you link to say, an official document issued by the Methodist Church or the Lutheran Church or the Baptist Church for example, that officially condemns the Catholic Church for lack of action in WWII. A document that speaks for the whole church and not just an individual memeber of said church.

Im aware of Jewish criticisms, but Im not aware of any other noncatholic christian church condemning the catholic church for failing to act or not doing enough.

If no noncatholic church officially condemned the catholic church for doing little or nothing during WWII then I dont see why catholics or the catholic church should get into a who did the most competition :rolleyes:

It would be fair enough, if say the Anglican Communion condemned the catholic church for failing to act, to then compare what it did as a church by comparison.

I’m sorry, I misunderstood your question. I’m unaware of any documents issued by other denominations on the Catholic response to the Nazis. That wasn’t the “background” that brought this question to my mind. The common accusation about the CC is that the Church didn’t do enough or say enough during WWII. That accusation has been made by non-Catholic Christians on this forum and by others to me elsewhere. I’m most intrested in what other non-Catholic Christian churches did and said, because we operate under the same moral obligation and what is required of one group should be expected of all.

You mention knowing of Jewish criticisms of the CC. I’ve seen both–criticism and praise. Do you know of any Jewish criticism of other Christian groups specifically - the same criticism - that they didn’t do enough?

No one has been able to produce a document. Did they not make and official statements or did they not keep records? Or maybe non one here knows what their church history is regarding the Nazis.

here are the results of a very quick google search, first 5 hits
The Protestant churches in Nazi Germany - Garnet Peet (1960 - 1987)

By permission from the Clarion Volume 37, No. 22 - 24 Oct. 28 - YE 1988
See also The Five Students of Lyons

German Churches and the Nazi
from the Holocaust Encyclopedia

Protestant Churches in the Third Reich
from the Fascism and Religion site

Christian Anti-semitism, roundup of sources from

The German Lutheran Church’s Response to the Holocaust
from Holocaust Studies papers

so I am sure you can find much more information in answer to your question with a little basic research

I am not able to determine if you have an agenda, but find it hard to believe you can find no information out there

I was looking for information only. Agenda searching makes one seem a liiitle paranoid. :wink:

Thank-you for the links. I’ll check them out. Some of the sources, at first glance, look a little sketchy, but I’ll take a peek.

This is all part of history…most of the Christian churchs did the best they could under such evil circumstances…a wonderful book…A Vatican Lifeline 44…by William Simpson tells how a protestant man worked in the Rome underground with the Catholic Church and Monsg.Hugh OFlaherty…all decent folks did the best they could…remember most if not all,were disarmed,watched closely and food was not in plentiful supply!..Pas

A few of these are student papers–interesting but not authoritative. The rest are summaries of the events. None is a link to an official document by the churches on Nazism. There were statements made about what the Reich was perpetrating against them. That’s not what I’m looking for.

Many have said that the CC didn’t do enough to help the Jews during the Holocaust - didn’t say enough, loud enough, often enough, and the CC didn’t do enough.

No one can argue with those claims. IMO, few in the world did enough to save any of those who were targeted by the Nazis (Jews and the 4 million others). My point, contrary to your suspisions, isn’t an evil agenda. I think it’s important to know what the various churches did to fight the Nazis. Since so many non-Catholic Christians say that the CC didn’t do enough, one naturally wonders what the other Christian churches did. If they’re saying this about the CC, they must know what their own churches did. Why are they silent? :confused:

What’s the point of this thread? The person has already shown that a little research can yield resuslts if you just do it. Is this just another way of trying to prove that the CC was the only ecclesiastical body that issued a uniform condemnation of the Holocaust, thereby proving that Protestantism is a farce?

A good book called “Quakers and Nazis, Inner Light in Outer Darkness” is a comprehensive history of the Society of Friends in Germany.

No. It’s not. I’m looking for the information. The search that the other poster did proved nothing. There were no official documents listed in the links the other poster provided. And my own searches have come up empty, too.

There are many non-Catholic Christians who post here, and some of those have even said that the CC didn’t do enough. Is it unreasonable to ask them (and all non-Catholic Christians) what their churches did during WWII to defend the Jews and others who were targeted? And why is this seen as an attack by me? A simple request for information is seen as an attack. Why? Shouldn’t one know the history of his own church? Especially such recent history on an important topic? Does anyone know where their church stands on similar issues today? What documents has your church published on still more recent holocausts? Can you provide a link to those? Will this request also be seen as an attack? How dare anyone ask where a church stood and did–and where it stands and what it’s doing.

Many seem willing to discuss the CC and Nazism, why the reluctance to discuss the other Christian churches and Nazism? Why the accusations of attack? Why not just discuss the facts? And where are the facts??? Does no one know what their church did, officially, during WWII? How can that be? Is this a history that one would rather not shine a light on? Or is it that no one really knows? If they don’t know, why hasn’t this thread piqued their interest? Don’t these people want to know the history of their own church? If not, why not? Heck, many of the people posting here were alive then! It’s not like it’s ancient history that has little relevance today.

I’m amazed–really amazed–that no one knows what their church did during WWII. Apparently you don’t, either, or you would have provided the information.

Does anyone know of any official documents regarding Nazi atrocities that were put out by your church during WWII?

Does it include the text of official documents published by the Quakers during WWII? I’ll read it anyway. I’m just wondering if it has what I’m actually looking for.

There are copies of the “Minutes” the Yearly Meetings shared. One link below gives some detail to the only Quaker Meeting to be held at Gestapo Headquarters…

Probably unknown to the Gestapo, Friends end their meetings for worship with everyone shaking hands.

Assembly of God does not keep online records of official documents of 60 years ago.

I was not around then, so I have no first hand experience of this time period as far as the church goes.

If I were really motivated, I suppose I could do research to try to figure this out. Such research would probably involve a flight to headquarters in Missouri to look at back records.

I do not have sufficient motivation to justify the time and money to justify such a research project.

I suspect people of other denominations here probably could if they wanted to, invest the time and money to search their church archives to find the information you request. But likewise, I suspect they do not have the motivation to justify this expense in time and money.

I do not get the point of this thread.

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