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By Wolfgang Gerlach

An without end difficult query of the 20th century is how “decent” humans got here to permit, and infrequently even perform, the ultimate answer. worry evidently had its position, as did apathy. yet how does one clarify the silence of these those that have been dedicated, energetic, and infrequently fearless rivals of the Nazi regime on different grounds—those who spoke out opposed to Nazi actions in lots of parts but whose reaction to genocide ranged from tepid disquiet to avoidance? One such team was once the Confessing Church, Protestants who frequently risked their very own defense to help Christian sufferers of Nazi oppression yet whose reaction to pogroms opposed to Jews was once ambivalent.

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Additional info for And the witnesses were silent: the Confessing Church and the persecution of the Jews

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On these grounds, the Marburg faculty rejected the notion of separate non-Aryan Christian congregations. ’’≥π In contrast to civil regulations,≥∫ the church could ‘‘not surrender its unity . . ’’∂≠ The Marburg professors criticized the classification of race and nationality as orders of creation that compelled church constitutions to provide for special rights for those of other races. ’’∂∞ The very title of the Erlangen Gutachten illustrated its contrast to the Marburg document. ’’ The Erlangen faculty had asked theologians Paul Althaus and Werner Elert (who were not members of the Erlangen faculty) to write the opinion.

Althaus’s and Elert’s earlier writings help explain why the Erlangen opinion was markedly different from the Marburg one. ’’ Paul Althaus’s early views on the relationship between ‘‘church and nationality,’’∂∂ presented at the second German Evangelical Church Convention in Königsberg on 17 June 1927, were also revealing: Irrespective of what has just been said about anti-Semitic Pharisaism and the corruption and adulteration of nationality by the Germans 39 The Defamation of the Jews themselves, the church must see and respond to the Jewish threat .

The crucial point of ‘‘The Church and the Jewish Question’’ was that Bonhoeffer (in part 1) was concerned about the Jews in general, not just the non-Aryan Christians. To Bonhoeffer’s great regret, the Confessing Church would confine its concern to the plight of the latter. Because of the salvation-historical and missionary aspects of Christian attitudes toward the Jews, Bonhoeffer believed this was a status confessionis: ‘‘The conversion of Israel: that is to be the end of the period of suffering for this people.

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