Demonizing the Jews
Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany
Publication Year: 2012
The acquiescence of the German Protestant churches in Nazi oppression and murder of Jews is well documented. In this book, Christopher J. Probst demonstrates that a significant number of German theologians and clergy made use of the 16th-century writings by Martin Luther on Jews and Judaism to reinforce the racial antisemitism and religious anti-Judaism already present among Protestants. Focusing on key figures, Probst's study makes clear that a significant number of pastors, bishops, and theologians of varying theological and political persuasions employed Luther's texts with considerable effectiveness in campaigning for the creation of a "de-Judaized" form of Christianity. Probst shows that even the church most critical of Luther's anti-Jewish writings reaffirmed the antisemitic stereotyping that helped justify early Nazi measures against the Jews.
Published by: Indiana University Press
Cover, Title Page, Copyright
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This book would have never been completed without the assistance of many friends, colleagues, and institutions. It gives me great pleasure to express my gratitude to them here. I extend my thanks first of all to Dan Stone. His constant guidance...
List of Abbreviations
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On January 10, 1934, German Protestant pastor Heinrich Fausel gave a lecture titled “Die Judenfrage” (The Jewish Question) at a completely filled town hall in Leonberg, near Stuttgart. Most of the second half of the address is dedicated to correcting...
1. Protestantism in Nazi Germany
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At the 1927 Königsberg Protestant Church Congress, Paul Althaus gave a rousing and groundbreaking keynote address on Kirche und Volkstum (Church and Nationality). In it, he offered a carefully constructed new political theology that railed...
2. “Luther and the Jews”
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The most prominent figure of the German Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther was a truly remarkable man. Whether we speak of his posting of the ninety-five theses on the church door at Wittenberg, his refusal to recant his teachings before...
3. Confessing Church and German Christian Academic Theologians
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In 1937, Jena University theologian Wolf Meyer-Erlach, a member of the pro-Nazi German Christian wing of the Protestant church, published a book titled Juden, Mönche und Luther (Jews, Monks, and Luther) in which he refers to Jews...
4. Confessing Church Pastors
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The baptism of Jewish subjects was not solely a religious act during the Third Reich; it carried serious political undertones as it signified the inclusion of Jews in a state-supported social institution. When the subject was an adult, the act of baptism...
5. German Christian Pastors and Bishops
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In his work on Berlin’s Protestant social milieu in the Third Reich, Manfred Gailus has shown that in Berlin at least, Confessing Church pastors “more often than their DC [Deutsche Christen; German Christian] colleagues” came from...
6. Pastors and Theologians from the Unaffiliated Protestant “Middle”
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Over the course of the twelve-year Nazi rule, roughly 35–40 percent of Protestant clergymen were not affiliated with either the Confessing Church or the German Christians.1 In 1936, the largest church-political group among professors...
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Heinrich Fausel delivered a farewell sermon to his Heimsheim congregation in January 1947. He had ministered in this small village community in southwest Germany for nearly twenty years, a period that encompassed the demise of the Weimar...
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Page Count: 270
Illustrations: 9 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2012