The German Church and the Holocaust

by Gerald Darring

1. The German Church during the Holocaust

“As believing Christians, inspired by God’s love, we faithfully stand behind our Führer.”
Bishop Maximilian Kaller of Ermland

The Catholic Church in Germany is unique in the history of the Holocaust because it confronted National Socialism throughout its existence, and because the confrontation pitted Germans against Germans. The Nazis were concerned about the German church in ways that did not concern them in connection with other national churches, so that the German church had a unique opportunity to influence events. What advantage did the German church take of that opportunity? Most importantly for our purposes: What was the reaction of the German church to the Nazi campaign against Jews?

Throughout the 1930s, as attacks on the Jews increased, a few individual priests voiced objections[1] but the church itself, through its leaders, said next to nothing.[2] At the time of the boycott of Jewish businesses on April 1, 1933, Cardinal Bertram told the archbishops that the church should not comment on “measures directed against an interest group which has no very close bond with the church,” and besides, he added, “the Press, which is overwhelmingly in Jewish hands, has remained consistently silent about the persecution of Catholics in various countries.”[3] Cardinal Faulhaber told the Bavarian bishops that the Catholic Church had more important things to be concerned with, and besides, the Jews could help themselves. The morning after the November 1938 nationwide pogrom in which hundreds of synagogues had been burned and destroyed, about 20,000 Jews had been arrested and 36 Jews were killed, and thousands of Jewish homes and businesses were pillaged, Provost Lichtenberg of Berlin publicly offered prayers for the persecuted Jews, but the bishops of Germany said nothing at all.

Once the killing of Jews began in earnest in 1941, the German bishops had access to fairly accurate information about the plans and the carrying out of those plans in the form of the “final solution.” In many cases German bishops turned a deaf ear to reports about the killings taking place, but they agonized over whether they should speak out in opposition to them. A draft letter of opposition was drafted in 1943 by Margarete Sommer, the bishops’ consultant on Jewish affairs, and it may have passed, in the opinion of Michael Phayer, if it had not been for the opposition of Cardinal Adolph Bertram, who was ex-officio titular head of the German episcopacy as the bishop of Breslau.[4] A couple of individual bishops did speak out, however. In a November 1942 sermon that the Gestapo said was an attack on the state, Bishop Preysing of Berlin defended the right of all people to life, and in June 1943, Bishop Frings of Cologne declared in his cathedral: “No one may take the property or life of an innocent person just because he is a member of a foreign race.”[5]

What factors played into the decision of the German bishops not to speak out forcefully against the treatment of Jews? During the 1930s the voice of the church was effectively muzzled by the Concordat which was negotiated between the Vatican and the new Nazi regime. Another factor was the latent antisemitism of much of German society, including Catholics. Then there was traditional church teaching regarding respect for authority. As German theologian Karl Eschweiler wrote, “the task of the individual as well as the church is to obey the legitimate (civil) authorities.”[6] Finally, Nazi effectiveness in mounting its attacks on Jews in stages made it difficult to protest.

Once the war began a major factor seemed to be patriotic feelings and pride in German victories. When Germany occupied the Rhineland, Bishop Clemens August von Galen of Münster cabled the supreme commander of the German Army: “In the name of the staunchly German Catholics of the diocese of Münster and especially of the lower Rhine, I welcome the German armed forces, which from today on will again shield the German Rhine, as protection and symbol of German honor and German justice.”[7] When Germany occupied the Sudentenland, Cardinal Bertram sent a telegram to Hitler in the name of the cardinals of Germany: “The great deed of safeguarding international peace moves the German episcopate, acting in the name of the Catholics of all the German dioceses, respectfully to tender congratulations and thanks and to order a festive peal of bells on Sunday” (Lewy, 218). When Germany invaded Poland, the bishops issued a joint pastoral letter declaring: “In this decisive hour we encourage and admonish our Catholic soldiers, in obedience to the Führer, to do their duty and to be ready to sacrifice their whole person. We appeal to the faithful to join in ardent prayers that God’s providence may lead this war to blessed success and peace for fatherland and people” (Lewy, 226). When Hitler’s armies conquered Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg, Archbishop Schulte of Cologne issued a proclamation giving thanks for the tremendous victory achieved by the German army, and Bishop Bornewasser of Trier ordered a special mass of thanks. Church bells tolled at noontime for a week. When Germany invaded the Soviet Union, Bishop Rackl of Eichstätt issued a pastoral letter terming the campaign “a crusade, a holy war for homeland and people, for faith and church, for Christ and His most holy cross” (Lewy, 231).

In the entire German Greater Reich, only seven Catholics refused military service, and the church brought pressure on all of them to conform to the official line. A parish priest who called the war “stupid” in 1939 was forced by his diocesan chancery to send a formal apology to the army, and another priest, arrested for his objection to the war, was refused communion by the prison chaplain on the grounds that he had violated his Christian duty by refusing to take the military oath of allegiance to Hitler (Lewy, 234).

Catholic enthusiasm for Hitler’s acts of aggression was summed up in a pastoral letter issued by Bishop Kaller of Ermland in January 1941: “In this staunchly Christian spirit we also now participate wholeheartedly in the great struggle of our people for the protection of their life and importance in the world. With admiration we look upon our army, which in courageous fighting under extraordinary leadership has achieved and continues to achieve unparalleled success. We thank God for his support. Especially as Christians we are determined to rally all our strength so that the final victory will be secured for our fatherland. Especially as believing Christians, inspired by God’s love, we faithfully stand behind our Führer who with firm hands guides the fortunes of our people” (Lewy, 230).

Besides the patriotism which the war stirred up, what other factors played a role in the German bishops’ silence regarding the Holocaust?

—The Vatican’s diplomatic approach of neutrality put pressure on the German Bishops to maintain a working relationship with the Hitler regime and not to become confrontational.[8]

—Conflicts among the bishops could not be resolved on questions such as: If a public protest were to be made, would it be clearly heard, would it be understood, and would it be worth the inevitable price that would have to be paid? Would the Catholic population accept a defense of Jews, or would they use such a defense as an excuse to accelerate their mass exodus, which reached its peak in 1937 with 107,000 leaving the church? Would a defense of the Jews cost the church the subsidies it received from the Nazi regime right to the very end, subsidies which, if lost, would seriously curtail the ability of the church to function?

—The bishops were divided in their understanding of the Church’s mission. Most of them were tied to a pre-Vatican II understanding of the Church as a perfect society, a self-sufficient institution whose main—and perhaps sole—purpose is to provide men and women with the spiritual nourishment needed to attain eternal salvation. This theology of the church obliged the hierarchy to respect the autonomy of the state and to act in ways that would protect the institutional interests of the church. The German bishops did not publicly object to the persecution of Jews, but neither did they publicly object when Storm Troopers assaulted Catholics in Munich, or when leaders of the Catholic Center party were put in jail, or when four nationally respected Catholic lay leaders were murdered by Storm Troopers in the Rohm Putsch, beginning on June 30, 1934. Their theology prompted the bishops to be concerned about the well-being of the church as an institution and to let the state do its thing, whatever that might be.[9]

— “Even as their knowledge of their regime’s heinous crimes substantially increased, they were undoubtedly deterred from making even a written protest because they feared that Hitler or his deputies would charge the Catholic church with weakening the war effort and that non-Catholics would blame the Catholic minority, especially the church itself, if Germany lost the war.”[10]

—The major brake on the German bishops was the community they led. German Catholics were strongly supportive of Hitler’s aggressive assertion of German power. Moreover, they were simply not concerned about the fate of Jews, and they had enough problems of their own with a war going on and most of their sons fighting on faraway fronts. The bishops, if they had spoken out, would have done so not for practical reasons but purely on moral grounds, with a goal not of influencing people and affecting the course of events but of preserving the moral integrity of the church. Maybe that is a lot to be asked by people who were not there to face the dilemma.

Did the German bishops oppose any of Hitler’s aggressive campaigns against humanity? Yes, they opposed his euthanasia program. Did their opposition have an effect? Yes, it seems to have been a major factor in the termination of the program.[11] The obvious conclusion has been drawn by Guenter Lewy:

The forceful reaction of the Catholic Church, especially the sermon of Bishop Galen against the killing of the mentally infirm, was probably the most important reason why Hitler was forced to abandon the euthanasia program. These public protests helped form and solidify public opinion and contributed to the general feeling of outrage which eventually led the Fuhrer to order the suspension of the euthanasia program. Here was an example of the strength, power and influence of public opinion in Hitler’s state ruled by brute force, and that at a time when the Fuhrer stood at the zenith of his military successes. Had German public opinion shown a similar response against other crimes of the Nazi regime committed on an even greater scale, such as the extermination of the Jews of Europe, the results might well have been similarly telling. (Lewy, 266)

Michael Phayer was even more assertive on this point, writing that “it is certain that many more German Catholics would have sought to save Jews by hiding them if their church leaders had spoken out.”[12]

Cardinal Faulhaber, writing to minister of the interior Wilhelm Frick on the subject of forced sterilization, said that “in those questions where a law of the state conflicts with an eternal command of God, the bishops cannot through silence betray their holy office” (Lewy, 260). Apparently the annihilation of Jews did not conflict with an eternal command of God, for the German bishops remained largely silent, a silence which was questioned during the Holocaust. Speaking at a conference of priests held at Fulda in 1943, the Jesuit priest Alfred Delp asked, “Has the Church forgotten to say ‘Thou shalt not,’ has the Church lost sight of the commandments, or is she silent because she is convinced of the hopelessness of her clear and firm preaching?” (Lewy, 307).

The German bishops “had repeatedly issued orders to exclude from the sacraments Catholics who engaged in dueling or who agreed to have their bodies cremated. The word that would have forbidden the faithful, on pain of excommunication, to go on participating in the massacre of the Jews was never spoken” (Lewy, 292-293). The result was that Catholics were as fully engaged in Holocaust-related activities as the rest of German society, and among the S.S. nearly one-fourth were Catholics. Some Catholics went to confession after obeying orders to kill Jews, but apparently this didn’t keep them from obeying subsequent orders to participate in the genocide.

The Catholic Church in Germany was neither as supportive of National Socialism as the Protestant German Christian Movement, nor was it as opposed to National Socialism as the Protestant Confessing Church.[13] The German Catholic hierarchy was neither as mean-spirited towards Jews as the hierarchy in countries such as Slovakia and Hungary, nor was it as courageous as elements of the hierarchy in countries such as France and Holland.[14]

I am partly of German descent, and I have found myself becoming depressed and embarrassed over aspects of the German church during the Holocaust:

—Archbishop Konrad Gröber of Freiburg joined the S.S. in 1933 as a “promoting member,” and had to be forced to relinquish his membership in 1938 (Lewy, 45-46).

—The papal nuncio’s monsignor-secretary was a member of the Nazi party.[15]

—A Nazi official reported in 1934 that when Cardinal Faulhaber came for a meeting, he entered and left giving a “flawless Hitler salute conforming to the rules” (Lewy, 382, note 131).

—Bishop Wilhelm Berning frequently signed his letters to the authorities, “Heil Hitler.” On a visit to one of the concentration camps, he spoke to the prisoners about the “obligation enjoined by faith to obedience and loyalty to nation and government,” he shared a glass of beer with the guards, and then he uttered a “threefold Sieg Heil to Führer and Fatherland” (Tinnemann, 68).

—The Augsburg diocesan newspaper declared in April 1941 that “the person of the Führer contains the strength, greatness and future of the German people.”[16]

—All of the bishops of Germany ordered that church bells be rung on the occasion of Hitler’s fiftieth birthday in April 1939 (Lewy, 221).

—Prominent Catholic theologian Karl Adam wrote that, since the Jews had increased their influence in German economics, art, scholarship and literature, the Nazi action against the Jews was a painful necessity for German survival (Lewy, 279). According to Adam, Jesus was not a pure Jew because he came from Galilee, where there was much intermarriage with Gentiles, and “Jesus’ mother Mary had no physical or moral connection with those ugly dispositions and forces which we condemn in full blooded Jews.”[17]

—About 150 priests were active members of the Nazi party and “distorted their own perception of Catholicism to accommodate their love, faith and trust in National Socialism.”[18]

I am encouraged by these bright spots in the story of the German church during the Holocaust:

—Bernhard Lichtenberg, Provost of the cathedral in Berlin, prayed daily in public for the Jews, and was finally arrested in October 1941. He told his interrogators that the deportation of the Jews was immoral and asked to accompany the deportees as their spiritual adviser. They sentenced him to two years imprisonment and shipped him off to Dachau, but he died on the way.[19]

—Wilhelm Neuss, chair of the faculty of Catholic theology at the University of Bonn, published an article in June 1933 denouncing antisemitism as a violation of Christian faith. Engelbert Krebs, professor of Catholic theology at the University of Freiburg, spoke out on April 21, 1933, against the Reich’s dismissal of Jewish professors.[20]

—Margarete Sommer, a leader in the Catholic resistance circle of Berlin, worked between 1938 and 1941 to facilitate Jewish emigration; in 1942 and 1943 she tried to get the Catholic Church to speak out; and she assisted Jews being deported during the last years of the war and hid other Jews.[21]

—About 425 Germans have been recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous Gentiles, Germans such as Josef Meyer, who made it possible for thirty-five Jews to hide twenty feet under a market square for over a year.[22]


2. The German Church after the Holocaust

The German Catholic bishops met in Fulda in August 1945, and they had been encouraged by a group of Rhineland Catholics to honestly and courageously recognize German guilt so as to make possible an inner renewal. The bishops chose instead to admit no guilt at all on the part of the church, acknowledging only that many Germans were contaminated by National Socialism, many Germans were bystanders in the presence of crimes against human dignity, and many Germans, including Catholics, were war criminals.[23] After a 1948 statement by the German bishops admitting that there had been crimes against “the people of Jewish stock,” Holocaust amnesia set in, and throughout the 1950s the bishops backed off the issue of restitution, busying themselves with defenses of Nazi perpetrators and ignoring growing waves of antisemitism in German society.[24]

In the ensuing years, the German bishops followed the lead of Pope Pius XII, who had stated immediately after the war that German Catholics were martyrs and that most Catholics had opposed Nazism. They portrayed the church as victim rather than as bystander, and they seldom showed any ability to express sadness or grief over the Jewish tragedy, although they never went as far as the Austrian bishops’ declaration that “no group had to make greater sacrifice in terms of property and wealth, of freedom and health, of life and blood as Christ’s church.”

Some prominent German theologians acknowledged after the war that the church’s voice in defense of Jewish lives should have been louder. Joseph Lortz, professor of church history at the University of Mainz, admitted that horrific mass crimes were committed in Hitler’s Third Reich against Jews and that the Christian conscience was not moved to prevent them from happening or at least to protest sufficiently against them.[25] The great German theologian Karl Rahner pointed out that priests already had their hands full trying to protect their own skins but they should have done much more to protect also the skins of other people, especially non-Christians.[26]

A sea change took place in 1959—not coincidentally, after the death of Pius XII—and the German Church became, in Michael Phayer’s phrase, “a penitent church.” Bishops began to speak out about the Holocaust, and in 1961 the bishops responded to the Eichmann trial by singling out the Jews as victims and presenting Germans as perpetrators who acted out of antisemitic hatred. The bishops instructed that a prayer be recited in all Catholic Churches on June 11, 1961, begging the Lord to “lead all to understanding and change of outlook, and those who among us were also guilty, through conduct, neglect or silence [help] atone for our sins.”[27] In statements immediately before and after the Second Vatican Council, the German bishops owned up to the guilt of their country and their church for Nazi crimes.[28]

In November 1975, the common Diocesan Synod issued a document entitled “Our Hope,” in which they admitted that the German Catholic Church turned its back too often on the fate of persecuted Jewish people, worried too nuch about the threat to its own institutions, and remained silent about the crimes committed against the Jews and Judaism.[29] The statement ends with the striking assertion that the German churches have “a special obligation within the universal church precisely to bring about a new Christian relation to the Jewish people and its religious history.”[30]

The “Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Judaism,” issued by the German bishops in Bonn in May 1980, again acknowledged the church’s guilt and called on Germans to rip out the evil of antisemitism at its roots. “In Germany we have particular cause to ask forgiveness of God and of our Jewish brethren.... we may not, nor do we wish to, either forget or suppress what has been done by our nation to the Jews.” The document calls attention to all the positive elements found in Judaism and to all the commonalities linking Christianity and Judaism, and even though it interprets Jesus’ statement that “salvation is from the Jews” to mean that everyone is saved through Jesus Christ, and it had nothing to say about two major issues, the state of Israel and the mission to the Jews, the document represented an advance in the official position of the German Catholic Church.[31]

In 1988, on the fiftieth anniversary of Kristallnacht, the German and Austrian bishops issued a joint declaration focusing on the Church’s reaction to the national pogrom that took place on the night of November 9-10, 1938. They acknowledged that after the event “our predecessors in the episcopate did not raise a common protest from the pulpit.” In other words, they admitted that the official Church had been silent. They expressed understanding for the difficult situation the bishops were in at the time, but they asked “if in November 1938 yet other expressions of brotherly solidarity would not have been possible and expected,” and they said that the failure to do something “saddens us today.” The bishops went on to encourage stronger ties and increased dialogue between Christians and Jews.[32]

On January 23, 1995, the German bishops issued a statement on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.[33] The bishops declared that “many times there was failure and guilt among Catholics” and that “the failure and guilt of that time have also a church dimension.” Calling on German Catholics to reject antisemitism and to cultivate mutual contacts with Jews, the bishops made it clear that the position of the Catholic Church at the end of the century was radically different from that of the amnesia-filled 1950s.

The Protestant post-Holocaust journey in Germany began as negatively as the Catholic one. In the Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt of October 1945, the German Evangelical Church acknowledged Christian complicity in Nazi atrocities, but it made no reference to the widespread failure of the German churches to support Jews and combat antisemitism.[34] The April 1948 “Statement on the Jewish Question” by the Reich Council of Brethren of the Evangelical Church of Germany asserted that Israel had counteracted its election and rejected salvation when it crucified the Messiah, and it called on Jews “to convert to Him in whom alone their salvation stands.”[35] The Confessing Church Council of Brethren’s 1949 Darmstadt Declaration depicted the Holocaust as God’s punishment for Jewish disobedience.[36]

The statement of the synod of the Evangelical Church, issued in 1950 at Berlin-Weissensee, was a step in the right direction. As for German complicity, it had this to say: “We declare that, through omission and silence, we have, before the God of mercy, become co-responsible for the outrage committed against the Jews by people of our nation,” and on the subject of Judaism, it said: “We believe that God’s promise to the people of Israel whom he has chosen remains in force even after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.”[37]

In January 1960, the Provincial Synod of Berlin-Brandenburg reacted to antisemitic riots with a statement that called on parents and educators to break “with the widespread embarrassing silence in our country about our share of the responsibility for the fate of the Jews” and asserted that “our salvation cannot be severed from Israel’s election.”[38] Then in 1980 the Synod of the Protestant Church of the Rhineland issued “Toward Renovation of the Relationship of Christians and Jews,”[39] a statement which John Conway calls a “remarkable resolution”[40] and which Franklin Littell describes as “without question the most impressive accomplishment to date of any official Church body, going far beyond previous landmarks in the re-thinking of Christian-Jewish relations.”[41] In its statement the synod declared: “Stricken, we confess the co-responsibility and guilt of German Christendom for the Holocaust.” On the subject of Jews and Judaism, the synod declared that “We believe in the permanent election of the Jewish people as the people of God” and “We believe that in their calling Jews and Christians are always witnesses of God in the presence of the world and before each other.”

Since 1980, a spate of Protestant documents on Christians and Jews have been issued, such as “Points for Orientation on ‘Christians and Jews’” of the Synod of the Evangelical Church of Berlin,[42] the German Baptists Declaration,[43] and “Christians and Jews: A Declaration of the Lutheran Church of Bavaria.”[44] With these documents, German Protestants have rejected antisemitism, admitted Christian complicity and guilt with regard to the Holocaust, recognized the insoluble bond of Christian belief with Judaism, acknowledged the continuing election of Israel, affirmed the State of Israel, and rejected missionary activity directed against Jews.[45]

There is no doubt that official church positions in Germany have changed radically over the course of the half century following the end of the Holocaust. But have the rank and file followed their leaders into a new day of Christian-Jewish understanding and respectful coexistence? We know that it has been a struggle, and as late as 1986 John Conway concluded that  “the German Catholic community has been slow to respond to the Vatican’s initiatives in Christian-Jewish relations.”[46]

Holmgren’s article attempts to describe the situation in Germany at the turn of the century. He begins with the official stances taken by the Catholic and Protestant churches, describing them as “a historic break with the past” and “a new path.” He then outlines the groundbreaking work being done by German theologians, who have turned away from the prejudicial scholarship of past years and are working to bring about a clear and unbiased understanding of Judaism.[47] Holmgren points out that more than 20,000 Jews and Christians meet regularly in about eighty organizations but that these study and work groups have a limited influence on the wider society. One reason for this limited influence is that, in a country with about 85,000 Jews, only a few dozen Jews are actively engaged in the work of Jewish-Christian relations. The nearly 20,000 Christians participating represent a tiny percentage of the total German population of over 80 million. Obstacles have been placed in the way of progress by Catholic measures, including the actual/proposed beatification/canonization of Pius IX, Pius XII, and Edith Stein, and the document Dominus Jesus. Another obstacle has been the revelation that both the Catholic and Protestant churches participated in the Nazi forced-labor program.

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, then, there is official support for Jews and Judaism, but there is also continued support for missionary activity among Jews and there is rising antisemitic sentiment and activity. One has the feeling that a first step has been taken on what will apparently be a very long road.


[1] Donald J. Dietrich, “Catholic Resistance in the Third Reich,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 3:2 (1988) 171-186; Vincent A. Lapomarda, “Germany,” The Jesuits and the Third Reich, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989, pp. 9-66.

[2] See, for example, Walter Zwi Bacharach, “The Catholic Anti-Jewish Prejudice, Hitler and the Jews,” in Probing the Depths of German Antisemitism: German Society and the Persecution of the Jews, 1933-1941, David Bankier, ed., Jerusalem: Yad Vashem and the Leo Baeck Institute, 2000, p. 417.

[3] The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, Peter Matheson, ed., Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1981, p. 11.

[4] Michael Phayer, “The Catholic Resistance Circle in Berlin: German Catholic Bishops during the Holocaust,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 7:2 (1993) 216-229.

[5] Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965, Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2000: Chapter 5, “In the Eye of the Storm: German Bishops and the Holocaust,” p. 77.

[6] Robert A. Krieg, Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany, New York: Continuum, 2004, p. 38

[7] Guenter Lewy, The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany, Da Capo Press, 2000. Reprint of 1964 edition, p. 202.

[8] See, for example, Randolph L. Braham, “Remembering and Forgetting: The Vatican, the German Catholic Hierarchy, and the Holocaust,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 13:2 (1999) 222-251.

[9] See Krieg, Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany, pp. 152-162

[10] John Zeender, “Germany: The Catholic Church and the Nazi Regime, 1933-1945,” in Catholics, the State, and the European Radical Right, 1919-1945, Richard J. Wolff and Jorg K. Hoensch, eds., Boulder, CO: Social Science Monographs, 1987, pp. 107-108.

[11] Donald Dietrich, “Racial Eugenics in the Third Reich: The Catholic Response,” in The Churches’ Response to the Holocaust, Holocaust Studies Annual, vol. 2, Greenwood, FL: Penkevill Publishing Company, 1986, pp. 87-126.

[12] Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965, p. 67.

[13] On the Protestant churches and the Third Reich, see Kenneth C. Barnes, “The German Church Struggle and the Oxford Conference,” in Holocaust and Church Struggle: Religion, Power and the Politics of Resistance,  Hubert G. Locke and Marcia Sachs Littell, eds., Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1996, pp. 139-162; John S. Conway, “A Comparative Study of Catholic and Protestant Responses to the Holocaust,” Covenant Quarterly 42:1 (Fall 1984) 3-15; Susannah Heschel, “Transforming Jesus from Jew to Aryan: Theological Politics in Nazi Germany,” Dialog 35 (Summer 1996) 181-187; The Third Reich and the Christian Churches, Peter Matheson, ed., Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1981; A. James Reimer, “Theologians in Nazi Germany,” in The Twentieth Century: A Theological Overview, Gregory Baum, ed., Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1999, pp. 61-75; Franklin H. Littell, “The German Churches in the Third Reich,” Doris L. Bergen, “Collusion, Resistance, Silence: Protestants and the Holocaust,” Victoria J. Barnett, “The Role of the Churches: Compliance and confrontation,” The Holocaust and the Christian World: Reflections on the Past, Challenges for the Future, Carol Rittner, Stephen D. Smith and Irena Steinfeldt, eds., London: Kuperard for the Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre and the Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies, 2000, pp. 44-47, 48-54, 55-58; Donald D. Wall, “The Reports of the Sicherheitsdienst on the Church and Religious Affairs in Germany, 1939-1944,” Church History 40 (1971) 437-456; Susannah Heschel, “Making Nazism a Christian Movement: The Development of a Christian Theology of Antisemitism during the Third Reich,” in What Kind of God? Essays in Honor of Richard L Rubenstein, Betty Rogers Rubenstein and Michael Berenbaum, eds., Lanham, Md: University Press of America, 1995, pp. 159-174; Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust, Robert P. Ericksen and Susannah Heschel, eds., Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999.

[14] On the Catholic response to the Third Reich, see, in addition to other works quoted in this section, Donald J. Dietrich, “Catholic Theologians in Hitler’s Reich: Adaptation and Critique,” Journal of Church and State 29 (1987) 19-46; Chris Manus, “Roman Catholicism and the Nazis: A Review of the Attitude of the Church during the Persecutions of the Jews in Hitler’s Europe,” in Remembering for the Future: Working Papers and Addenda, Yehuda Bauer, ed., Oxford, England: Pergamon Press, vol. 1, 1989, pp. 93-108. Michael Phayer, “The Response of the German Catholic Church to National Socialism,” The Holocaust and the Christian World: Reflections on the Past, Challenges for the Future, Carol Rittner, Stephen D. Smith and Irena Steinfeldt, eds., London: Kuperard for the Beth Shalom Holocaust Memorial Centre and the Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies, 2000, pp. 59-61; Gordon C. Zahn, German Catholics and Hitler’s Wars: A Study in Social Control, New York: Dutton, 1969.

[15] Ethel Mary Tinnemann, “The German Catholic Bishops and the Jewish Question: Explanation and Judgment,” in The Churches’ Response to the Holocaust, Holocaust Studies Annual, vol. 2, Jack Fischel and Sanford Pinsker, eds., Greenwood, FL: Penkevill Publishing Company, 1986, p. 67.

[16] Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965, p. 72.

[17] Kreig, Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany, pp. 102-103.

[18] Kevin Spicer, “To Serve God or Hitler: Nazi Priests, A Preliminary Discussion,” in Remembering for the Future: The Holocaust in an Age of Genocide, 3 vols., John K. Roth and Elisabeth Maxwell, eds., Houndmills, UK and New York: Palgrave, 2001, vol. 2, p. 505.

[19] Donald J. Dietrich, “Catholic Resistance in the Third Reich,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 3:2 (1988) 171-186; Vincent A. Lapomarda, “Germany,” The Jesuits and the Third Reich, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989, pp. 9-66.

[20] Donald J. Dietrich, “Catholic Resistance in the Third Reich,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 3:2 (1988) 171-186; Vincent A. Lapomarda, “Germany,” The Jesuits and the Third Reich, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989, pp. 9-66.

[21] Donald J. Dietrich, “Catholic Resistance in the Third Reich,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 3:2 (1988) 171-186; Vincent A. Lapomarda, “Germany,” The Jesuits and the Third Reich, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1989, pp. 9-66.

[22] Mordecai Paldiel, The Path of the Righteous: Gentile Rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, Hoboken, NJ: KTAV Publishing House in association with New York: The Jewish Foundation for Christian Rescuers/ADL, 1993, pp. 161-165.

[23] Michael Phayer, “The Postwar German Catholic Debate Over Holocaust Guilt,” Kirchliche Zeitgeschichte 9:2 (1995) 426-439. See also Michael Phayer, “The German Catholic Church after the Holocaust,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 10:2 (Fall 1996) 151-167; Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000, pp. 134-136.

[24] Michael Phayer, “German Catholic Bishops, the Vatican, and the Holocaust in the Postwar Era,” in G. Jan Colijn and Marcia Sachs Littell, eds., The Netherlands and Nazi Genocide: Papers of the 21st Annual Scholars’ Conference, Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1992, pp. 172-189. See also Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, pp. 142-143.

[25] Robert A. Krieg, Catholic Theologians in Nazi Germany, New York: Continuum, 2004, p. 80.

[26] Krieg, p. 173

[27] Quoted in “The Church and the Jews,” statement of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bonn 1980, V:7, http://www.bc.edu/research/cjl/meta‑elements/texts/documents/catholic/german_church_jews.html.

[28] Phayer, “The Postwar German Catholic Debate,” p. 439.

[29] Hans Hermann Henrix, “In the Shadow of the Shoah: Being a Theologian in Germany Today,” Humanity at the Limit: The Impact of the Holocaust Experience on Jews and Christians, Michael A. Signer, ed., Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000, p. 71. The entire text can be found at Micha Brumlik, “Post-Holocaust Theology: German Theological Responses Since 1945,” Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust, Robert P. Erickson and Susannah Heschel, eds., Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999, pp. 166-167.

[30] Leonard Swidler says that in comparison with statements made by the national hierarchies of the United States, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Switzerland as well as the Archdiocese of Vienna and the Latin American bishops, “this showing of the German Catholic Church has been extremely disappointing.” Leonard Swidler, “Catholic Statements on Jews—A Revolution in Progress,” Judaism, 27:3 (Summer 1978) 301.

[31] Charlotte Klein, OLS, “Jewish-Christian Relations in Germany: Recent Developments,” Christian Jewish Relations, 14:2 (June 1981) 49-53.

[32] The statement is reviewed rather unfavorably by Karl J. Kuschel, “Ecumenical Consensus on Judaism in Germany? A Theological Analysis of Recent Catholic and Protestant Statements on the Jewish Question,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 20:3 (Summer 1983) 385-386. According the Kuschel, it is inferior to other documents, official and unofficial, which were issued around the same time.

[33] http://www.bc.edu/research/cjl/meta‑elements/texts/documents/catholic/german_bishops_statement.html.

[34] John S. Conway, “The German Churches and the Jewish People Since 1945,” Antisemitism in the Contemporary World, Michael Curtis, ed., Boulder/London: Westview Press, 1986, p. 129.

[35] Brumlik, “Post-Holocaust Theology,” p. 174.

[36] Brumlik, “Post-Holocaust Theology,” pp. 173-174.

[37] Kuschel, “Ecumenical Consensus on Judaism in Germany?” p. 387. The entire text can be found at Brumlik, “Post-Holocaust Theology,” p. 175. See also Conway, “The German Churches and the Jewish People Since 1945,” p. 130.

[38] Quoted in “Points for Orientation on ‘Christians and Jews,’” 1984 statement of the Synod of the Evangelical Church of Berlin, http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/research/cjl/Documents/EvChBerlin1980.htm.

[39] The complete text can be found in Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 17:1 (Winter 1980) 211-212.

[40] Conway, “The German Churches and the Jewish People Since 1945,” p. 134.

[41] Franklin Littell, “A Milestone in Post-Holocaust Church Thinking,” Christian News from Israel, 27:3 (1980) 113-116.

[42] http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/research/cjl/Documents/EvChBerlin1980.htm.

[43] Christian Jewish Relations, 17:4 (December 1984) 54.

[44] Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 36:3/4 (Summer/Fall 1999) 480-484.

[45] Fredrick C. Holmgren, “Jews and Christians in Germany: A New But Still Troubled Relationship,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 38:2/3 (Spring/Summer 2001) 300.

[46] Conway, “The German Churches and the Jewish People Since 1945,” p. 135.

[47] For a view from within the world of German theologians, see the four essays in Humanity at the Limit: The Impact of the Holocaust Experience on Jews and Christians, Michael A. Signer, ed., Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2000: Hans Hermann Henrix, “In the Shadow of the Shoah: Being a Theologian in Germany Today,” pp. 66-78; Peter von der Osten-Sacken, “The Revival of the Jewish People Within the Christian Consciousness in Germany,” pp. 79-84; Bertold Klappert, “An Alternative for Christian Substitution Theology and Christology after the Shoah,” pp. 85-94; Hanspeter Heinz, “After Sixty Years C How Can We Speak of Guilt, Suffering, and Reconciliation?” pp. 95-104.