Religion and the Third Reich

“Hitler meeting the Catholic nuncio to Germany on January 1, 1935.”

“Heaven will smile on us again.” Adolf Hitler (Mein Kampf)

“[I]t has become abundantly clear that [the Churches'] failure to respond to the horrid events … was not due to ignorance; they knew what was happening. Ultimately, the Churches’ lapses during the Nazi era were lapses of vision and determination.” Victoria J. Barnett, “The Role of the Churches: Compliance and Confrontation.”

“Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany: Christian Nationalism, Christian Anti-Semitism, Anti-Communism.” Agnosticism / Atheism – Skepticism & Atheism for Atheists & Agnostics. Web. 30 Dec. 2011. <>. “The Nazis and Adolf Hitler are commonly thought of as representing the antithesis of Christianity and Christian values. If that’s true, why did tens of millions of German Christians adore Hitler, join the Nazis, and participate in the Holocaust (among other atrocities)? Hitler and the Nazis promoted a Christian nationalism, anti-communism, anti-Semitism, and return to traditional values which most Christians appreciated. The Nazi party platform specifically endorsed ‘positive’ Christianity.” Bibliography.

Barnett, Victoria. For the Soul of the People: Protestant Protest against Hitler. New York: Oxford UP, 1992. Print. “The book offers a thorough and insightful picture of the churches in Nazi Germany.”

Brown-Fleming, Suzanne. The Holocaust and Catholic Conscience: Cardinal Aloisius Muench and the Guilt Question in Germany, 1946-1959. Univ. of Notre Dame, 2006. Print. “In this meticulously documented and morally sensitive study, Brown-Fleming shows that evading all Catholic responsibility for Nazi Germany’s crimes often was the other side of unbroken postwar Catholic anti-Jewish hostility.”

Cline, Austin. “Catholic Complicity in Nazism, Anti-Liberal Ideologies (Book Notes: Catholic Theologians).” Agnosticism / Atheism – Skepticism & Atheism for Atheists & Agnostics., 6 Oct. 2006. Web. 11 Nov. 2011. <>. “There were lots of reasons why Catholic leaders should have opposed Hitler and the Nazis and this makes people wonder why they bent over backwards to accommodate the Nazis. What people need to understand is that there were also lots of reasons why Catholics and other conservative Christians wanted to work with the Nazis.”

Cline, Austin. “Christians on Hitler & Nazis: Quotes from Christians Supporting Hitler – German Catholics & Protestants Praised, Supported Hitler as a Gift from God.” Agnosticism / Atheism. New York Times. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <>. “American Christians seem to be completely unaware of the degree to which Christians in Germany threw their support behind the Nazi Party.”

Cline, Austin. “Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust.” Agnosticism / Atheism. New York Times. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <>. Review of Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust, by Daniel Jonah Golhagen.

Cline, Austin. “Nazis: Slave Labor in the Church.” Need. Know. Accomplish., 10 Apr. 2008. Web. 29 Sept. 2011. <>. “Most people familiar with the history of World War II and the Nazi regime are aware of how large numbers of slave laborers from eastern regions were brought back to Germany and forced to work in various industries. What not so many people are aware of, though, is the fact that the Catholic Church took advantage of some of this free, slave labor: nearly 6,000 were forced to work for the church as gardeners, grave diggers, hospital orderlies, etc.”

Cline, Austin. “Pope Benedict XVI: Sins of Omission.” Agnosticism / Atheism. New York Times. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <>. “Has Pope Benedict XVI been completely honest about his past? The facts suggest that he hasn’t – that his activities in Nazi Germany went a bit further than what he has thus far said.”

Cline, Austin. “Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy,” by Susan Zuccotti.” Agnosticism / Atheism. New York Times. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. <>. Review of Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy, by Susan Zuccott.

Cline, Austin. “Was Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) A Nazi? Why Join the Hitler Youth?” Need. Know. Accomplish. New York Times. Web. 25 Sept. 2011. <>. The author questions Joseph Ratzinger’s involvement with Nazi Germany.” Ratzinger has been less than fully candid about his past.”

“Cybrary of the Holocaust: Learning Links.” Holocaust Cybrary Remembering the Stories of the Survivors – Cybary of the Holocaust. Web. 03 Nov. 2011. <>. “Holocaust Community founded in 1995 to Remember, Zachor, Sich Erinnern. offers contributors (survivors, liberators, historians, and teachers ) a place to connect and share the best research resources and stories through art, photography, painting, audio/video, and remembrance.”

Goldhagen, Daniel Jonah. A Moral Reckoning: The Role of the Catholic Church in the Holocaust and Its Unfulfilled Duty of Repair. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002. Print. A “penetrating moral inquiry into the Catholic Church’s role in the Holocaust.”

Hammond, Alan L. “Propaganda, Fear Lead to Holocaust.” Suite 101. Com. 17 Feb. 2007. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <>. “Sentiments of renowned, popular Germans bring racial hatred to Jews.”

The Holocaust History Project. 6 June 2011. Web. 03 Nov. 2011. <>. “The Holocaust History Project is a free archive of documents, photographs, recordings, videos and essays regarding the Holocaust, including direct refutation of Holocaust-denial.”

Humber, Paul G. “Hitler’s Evolution Versus Christian Resistance.” The Institute for Creation Research. Web. 07 Dec. 2011. <>. The Institute for Creation Research claims that Hitler’s agenda met with Christian opposition.

Kimel, Alexander. “Holocaust Educational Digest – A. Kimel, Holocaust Survivor.” Holocaust Understanding and Prevention by Alexander Kimel. Alexander Kimel. Web. 03 Nov. 2011. <>. Alexander Kimel, a Holocaust survivor, has written many articles about the different aspects of the Holocaust, including its victims, survivors etc.

Mason, John B. “The Concordat with the Third Reich.” The Catholic Historical Review 20.1 (1934): 23-37. JSTOR. Web. 2 Jan. 2012. The Concordat between the Holy See and the German Reich under Hitler (1933) is examined. “The present study aims to examine certain provisions of the Reich Concordat which affect most the Church-State relationship, viz., those dealing with Catholic education and organization, priests in politics, the appointment of bishops, papal and episcopal liberty of communication, and the settlement of disputes arising over provisions of the Concordat.”

Mengus, Raymond. “Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Decision to Resist.” The Journal of Modern History 64.S1 (1992): S134-146. JSTOR. Web. 29 Apr. 2011. A discussion of “resistance with respect of Hitler’s dictatorship” and an examination of “Bonhoeffer’s motivations for taking part in the resistance against National Socialism.”

Phayer, Michael. “Questions about Catholic Resistance.” Church History 70.02 (2001): 328-44. JSTOR. Web. 21 Nov. 2011. “After the war was over leading Catholic laity and the lower clergy pointed their finger at their bishops, faulting them for no having the backbone and willpower to stand up to Hitler. Was this fair?” YES! “Crossing over the line of respectable warnings to courageous, outspoken protest was more than the German bishops could manage.”

Phayer, Michael. The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2000. Print. “This book is an indispensable resource for anyone who seeks to understand one of the most tragically painful episodes in the entire history of Jewish-Christian relations.”

Phayer, Michael. “Totalitarianism: Questions about Catholic Resistance.” Church History 70.02 (2001): 328-44. JSTOR. Web. 1 Apr. 2011. “Was there no Catholic resistance to Hitler himself and to his aggressive, unjust wars? Here is where the official church failed most conspicuously.”

Schroth, Raymond A. “Bonhoeffer Was Wrong.” National Catholic Reporter (Jan. 27, 2006): 15. Web. 2012. The author, who was not there, disagrees with Bonhoeffer.

Spicer, Kevin P. Hitler’s Priests: Catholic Clergy and National Socialism. DeKalb: Northern Illinois UP, 2008. Print. “Hitler’s Priests will contribute to the much debated argument of the level of Catholic Church resistance, conformity, and accommodation to the Nazi regime. Spicer’s use of archival materials is almost superhuman.”

Spicer, Kevin P. Resisting the Third Reich: The Catholic Clergy in Hitler’s Berlin. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois UP, 2004. Print. Nazism “provided—indeed demanded—a total way of life, encompassing rituals and social belonging, personal identity and charismatic leadership, moral values and a sense of purpose. In a word, it was a religion.”

Stieg, Margaret. “Catholic Libraries and Public Libraries in the Third Reich: A Reciprocal Relationship.” The Catholic Historical Review 77.2 (1991): 235-59. JSTOR. Web. 18 Jan. 2012. “By the time of the Nazi takeover a strong system of Catholic public libraries existed in Germany, concentrated in the predominantly Catholic areas of the Reich, Bavaria, Baden, the Rhineland, and Silesia. In 1933 the two Catholic library organizations, … had a total of 4,880 libraries that held over 5 million volumes and had lent more than 10 million volumes in the preceding year.”

Streich, Michael. “Humani Generis Unitas and the Jews: An Opportunity to Avert Genocide May Have Been Lost in 1939.” Suite 101: History/Philosophy Books., 29 Oct. 2008. Web. 14 Apr. 2011. <>. “History may never know how the Nazis would have reacted if the encyclical [Humani Generis Unitas] was promulgated at the height of growing Jewish persecution in the Third Reich in early 1939.”

Streich, Michael. “The Holocaust, Nazism, and Rewriting History.” Suite 101 Media Inc. Web. 13 Sept. 2011. < rewriting-history-a109376>. “Catholic and Protestant misrepresentations of the Past”

Van Suawn, Henry P. “The Church Did It.” Saturday Evening Post. Academic Search Premier, 20 Jan. 1944. Web. 2012. The author claims that the church “is the only unintimidated voice of truth, the only unshattered champion of the oppressed and persecuted.” After the War many Germans and other WWII survivors disagreed with this.

Wall, Donald D. “The Confessing Church and Hitler’s Foreign Policy: The Czechoslovakian Crisis of 1938.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion XLIV.3 (1976): 423-38. JSTOR. Web. 27 Jan. 2012. The Confessing Church’s “service set a precedent … instead of proclaiming the righteousness of Germany’s cause … Muller confessed Germany’s sins.”

Wilensky, Gabriel. “Going to Mass on Sunday and Killing on Monday.” 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>. “Both ordinary Germans and their local helpers in France, Slovakia, Croatia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania and elsewhere managed to reconcile the persecution and mass murder of Jews with their religion and morality.”

Wilensky, Gabriel. “Membership-in-the-Nazi-Party—Is-That-OK,-Father?” Ezine. 22 July 2010. Web. 8 May 11.<,_Father.html>. “Even if the [Catholic] church cared about democracy, it would not have lifted the ban [against the Nazis] unless it thought that it was the right thing to do.”

Wilensky, Gabriel. “Official Church Publications: What Did the Church Have to Say?” 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>. “Both L’Osservatore and Civilta Cattolica had a horrible and long record of publishing antisemitic rants.”

Wilensky, Gabriel. “Pius XII to Roosevelt: Please Spare Us.” 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>. Pope Pius XII wrote a letter begging President Roosevelt to spare Rome from Allied bombing.

Wilensky, Gabriel. “Was Pope Pius XII a Saint?” 2011. Web. 26 Sept. 2011. <>. Pope Pius XII’s inactions contributed to the murder of six million Jews.

Zerner, Ruth. “Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Jews: Thoughts and Actions, 1935-1945.” Jewish Social Studies 37.3/4 (2011): 235-50. JSTOR. Web. 31 May 2011. “Bonhoeffer’s scattered observations about Jews and Jewish experiences, problematic passages, ambiguities, and contradictions.”