Archive for Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Hitler and the Church- what newspapers tell us and how history warns us today

Posted in Bonhoeffer, Hitler, Hitler and the Church, holocaust, Nazi, Quotes with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2014 by saynsumthn

I am not going to write a lot of commentary here. I am including snippets of news articles about Hitler and the Christian Church in Germany. I am trying to place in chronological order. This is by no means a full compilation of facts but a summary of what was happening during this time. Perhaps there is much for the American Church to learn as we read through these reports:

1933- Hitler regime hailed as an aid to religion:

“The stories if anti-Jewish atrocities have been exaggerated. There are exaggerations to with reference to Hitler’s plan for the church. Press dispatches which state that the new German government plans to forbid teaching of the Old Testament in the churches are obviously false.”

Propoganda blamed hitler

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1933: Hitler’s election brought about largely thru support of evangelical churchmen:

Churches elect Hitler

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1933: Churches express readiness to corporate with Hitler’s government but demand right to preach:

Chuch cooporation as long as it can preach

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1933: Hitler says it takes at least one generation to wean people off their religion and political faith:
One Generation to wean off religion

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1934: Pastors oppose Hitler
1934 pastors oppose hitler

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1934- two churches praise Hitler:

two churches praise hitler

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1934: Hitler controls German Churches:
Hitler controls German CHurches

1934: Pastors refuse to take oath to Hitler:
Pastors refuse to take oalth to Hitler
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1934- churches defiant against Hitler for his meddling in their religion:

Capture1934 defiance for meddling Read the rest here
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1935: Pastors Jailed:

Pastors Jailed
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1936: Pastors brave Hitler’s Wrath:
Pastors brave hitler wrath
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1937: Churches defy Hitler Edict:
1937 German Churches defy hitler edict

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1937 – church splits into two factions the so-called German Christians who favor the Nazi program and the Confessing Church which adamantly opposes Hitler’s theology:
1937 church splits

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1937- National Socialism could claim complete victory if not for the church:

National Socialism could claim victory if not for the church
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1938: Pastors take oath to obey Hitler:
Pastors take oath to obey Hitler

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1938: By now churches have been forced out of politics: (sermon delievered at Glad Tidings Temple by G. Herbert Schmidt missionary from Europe:

1938 churches forced out of politics

He goes on to say that there is no interference in the pulpits as long as ministers confine their sermons and activities there instead of politics:

Pulpits ok

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1941 – Church alone dares to oppose Nazis

Church Dares Oppose Nazis

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1942- Churches defy Hitler:

1942

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1942: the Nazis purposely arranged for the Hitler Youth to meet during the time adults would be at church?

Hitler Youth meets during church

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1942- Church Property seized, clergy forbidden to visit sick in hospitals or perform religions instruction in schools, religious press has ceased to exist

Property Seized Clertgy forbidden

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1942: Secret Memorandum anyone who clings to Christian Church cannot hold political office after war ends:

1942 Secret Memorandium
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1942: Churches in Germany poised to overthrow Hitler

churches poised to overtrhrow hitler

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1943- Christians led by Hitler – predicts doom of confessional church
Christians led by Hitler

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1943: Book exposes how Hitler was clever enough to see how the church could be used despite his atheistic ideology. Carl Carmer in his War Against God book, quotes Hitler as later saying, if the Church will not accommodate us. “ I will let loose on her a propaganda that will exceed her power of hearing and sight. I will set in motion against her the press, the wireless, and he film.”

1943 Book

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1943: Song of Nazi School Children “we need no Christian virtue”:

Song of Nazi School Children

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Christian Resistance

Capture1949: Hitler “succeeded all to well in becoming lord and master in Germany and everyone shrank back in fear until he came to the Christian Church. That organization had to be brought under his control like all other organizations, but suddenly he began to feel a resistance which was a riddle to him. This resistance sprang from the fact that Christ is by no means a myth, from bygone days but the Lord of the Church who was raised from the dead and is the living Lord and Master. Whose Lordship is not only proclaimed but is exercised.” Hitler gave the order “Thou Shalt Kill” but the people heard the churches order “Thou shalt not kill,Pastor Martin Niemoeller, German Pastor and concentration camp prisoner, 1949.

Pastor Martin Niemoeller made this famous statement:

In germany first communists

“There comes a point when you can only say yes or no and in this case: NO !” ~ German theologian Eberhard Bethege.

“Perhaps you can preserve your life and our children, and if you can, let them know that their father did not do nothing.” ~ Klaus Bonhoeffer to his wife Emy, 1945. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was his brother they were both arrested in a plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

“When people know enough to know to learn more it will require some risk…then it is surprising how little people want to learn.” ~ Renate Bethge daughter of an executed Christian resister to Hitler’s Nazi regime and niece of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

About Bonhoeffer, biographer John Godsey of Wesley Seminary in Washington DC writes ” He saw it was the duty of the church not just to bind the wounds of those hit by a madman, but to put a stick in the spokes of his wheel and stop the driver.”

“Those who stood strongest were first to confess their own guilt for not doing more,” ~ Authur Chochrane of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

“One of the lessons of Barmen is that there is a time and a place when Christians are not only entitled but obligated to resist criminal governments and to resist immoral actions by legitimate governments.” ~ Franklin Littell of Temple University.

Confessing Church denunciation

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For your education this 1970’s article: Why did the churches give into Hitler is a great read- here