Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust

Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust

Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust

Betrayal: German Churches and the Holocaust

Synopsis

"What was crucifixion? Why was Jesus of Nazareth executed and what really happened? Gerard Sloyan begins with history and traces the development of the New Testament accounts of Jesus' death. He shows how Jesus' death came to be seen as sacrificial and how the evolving understandings of Jesus' death affected those who suffered most from it - the Jews. He then traces the emergence and development - in theology, liturgy, literature, art - of the conviction that Jesus' death was redemptive, as seen both in soteriological theory from Tertullian to Anselm, in the Reformation and modern eras, and in more popular religious responses to the crucifixion. Especially fascinating is the story of the emergence of a distinct "Passion piety" that still characterizes the West. In all this Sloyan detects the separation of the cross from Jesus' life and resurrection, allowing the mythicizing of an event too large for mere words to handle: the mystery of the cross." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

Robert P. Ericksen and Susannah Heschel

Franz Stangl, the future commandant at the death camp Treblinka, worked during the early war years in the so-called Euthanasia Program of the German Reich. Far from “mercy killing,” this program permitted the murder of patients (children as well as adults) who were deemed mental, physical, or social burdens on society—“life unworthy of life,” as they were designated. “No law compelled the killings”; rather, a bureaucratic structure was established that permitted medical personnel to transfer certain patients to designated killing centers. Physicians, nurses, and orderlies participated voluntarily in the program, while the patients themselves often pleaded for their lives or tried to flee the hospital. Patients' families were told that the patients had died of natural causes. Stangl himself apparently had some moral doubts about the murders. In November 1940, he took the time to visit a hospital, run by a Catholic order of nuns, in order to locate a keepsake belonging to a child patient who had been put to death. The child's mother had received notice of the supposedly natural death and had also been sent the child's toys and other effects, but a candle she had given her daughter was missing and she wanted it back.

That's why I had to go there: to find the candle. When I arrived, the Mother
Superior, who I had to see, was up in a ward with the priest and they took me
up to see her. We talked for a moment and then she pointed to a child—well,
it looked like a small child—lying in a basket. “Do you know how old he is?”
she asked me. I said no, how old was he? “Sixteen,” she said. “He looks like
five, doesn't he? He'll never change, ever. But they rejected him.” [The nun
was referring to the medical commission.] “How could they not accept
him?” she said. And the priest who stood next to her nodded fervently. “Just look at
him,” she went on. “No good to himself or anyone else. How could they
refuse to deliver him from this miserable life?” This really shook me … Here
was a Catholic nun, a Mother Superior, and a priest. And they thought it was
right. Who was I then, to doubt what was being done?

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