And the Witnesses Were Silent: The Confessing Church and the Persecution of the Jews

By A, Norman | Shofar, Summer 2002 | Go to article overview

And the Witnesses Were Silent: The Confessing Church and the Persecution of the Jews


A, Norman, Shofar


by Wolfgang Gerlach. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000. 304 pp. $45.00.

As the title of this heavily documented, revised, and abridged dissertation suggests, it is the thesis of this book that the witnesses even in the so-called "Confessing Church" (leaders in the various Lutheran, Evangelical, Reformed, Methodist, and Moravian synods and groups that, unlike the "German Christians," protested that their confessional Christian stance required that they resist the encroachment of the Nazi policies into Church practice and polity) were largely silent not only as the Nazi reign of terror against the Jews of Europe began and reached its climax, but even long afterward. Gerlach contends that "[m]any tried to vindicate themselves by falsifying, omitting, or downplaying the record of their failures," that some of them condemned his studies and others similar to his as "arrogant" and "irresponsible," the work of "people who had no idea of the pressures on Christians during the Nazi era." Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that Gerlach himself admits that it is probable that he too "would have remained a silent witness," would also "have failed, either out of fear" or because his "perspective had been blurred by traditional anti-Judaism".

Gerlach develops his book in four sections: Part 1: The Defamation of the Jews, 1933-35; Part 2: The Isolation of the Jews, 1935-38; Part 3: The "Elimination" of the Jews, 1938-45; and Part 4: The Legacy of the Church Straggle. As would be anticipated, he finds "German Christian" theologians such as Werner Elert, Paul Althaus, and Gerhard Kittel uncritically supportive of Hitler's National Socialism and its policies that foster German self-esteem.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the evidence that he gathers shows Dietrich Bonhoeffer consistently speaking and writing his concerns for all Jews as they were defamed, isolated, and killed, and not just concerned, as most of the "Confessing Church" bishops and pastors were, about "non-Aryan Christians," pastors and then later lay members of the Church who were former Jews who had been baptized as Christians, or, as defined by the Nuremberg Laws, Christians with one to four Jewish grandparents, or Christians married to Jews.

Gerlach finds that Karl Barth was consistently opposed to the "Aryan paragraph" that the "German Christians" introduced into the proceedings of the German Evangelical Church as early as September of 1933, the ruling that excluded everyone of "non-Aryan" (Jewish) extraction, as well as anyone who was married to a person of "non-Aryan" extraction from the ordained ministry of the Evangelical Church, and later from participation in its worship services.

One of the gems uncovered by Gerlach, one of the isolated examples of courage shown by the Evangelical Church press, was what Gerlach calls a "provocative piece in large letters on the title page" of the Breslau Evangelischer Ruf, quoted here in full from Gerlach's book:

VISION

Worship service. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

And the Witnesses Were Silent: The Confessing Church and the Persecution of the Jews
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.