Christianity's Response to Nazism in Germany during WWII
Thursday, June 13 & June 20 // 6:45 – 8:15PM
WEEK ONE: Between the Cross and the Swastika: Hitler, Nazism and the Christian Churches
In this session we will discuss (i) the ways in which the Nazis co-opted the Protestant Churches while marginalizing through legal restraint and social vilification the Catholic Church; (ii) what leading Nazis thought of the place of religion in society and at how the two great branches of Christianity responded; (iii) the attempt to build a Nazi Christianity; (iv) the Concordat with the Vatican; (v) the trumped up scandals with which Catholic clergy were charged by the Nazis; and (vi) Martin Niemöller and the Confessing Church.
WEEK TWO: A Great Betrayal? German Christians and the Holocaust
In this session we will examine (i) the responses of the churches in Germany to Nazi racial policies, highlighting cases of brave resistance, including Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Bernhard Lichtenberg; (ii) the religious response to the Nazi’s euthanasia and sterilization programs; and (iii) the disappointing failure of most of organized Christianity and individual Christians to confront Nazism and the Holocaust. We will look in depth at the factors that mediated the Christian response; i.e., what people knew and when, the historic attitudes of the Catholic and Protestant churches toward war, the nature of Nazi repression, and the attitudes among German Christians regarding obedience toward legally constituted civil authority.
Hosted by Church at the Crossing