Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Katholische Laien Im Nationalsozialestischen Bayern: Verweigerung Und Widerstand Zwischen 1933 Und 1945

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Katholische Laien Im Nationalsozialestischen Bayern: Verweigerung Und Widerstand Zwischen 1933 Und 1945

Article excerpt

Katholische Laien im nationalsozialistiscben Bayern: Verwiueigerung und Widerstand zwischen 1933 und 1945. By Bernhard Hopfl. [Veroffentlichungen der Kommission fur Zeitgeschichte, Reihe B: Forschungen, Band 78.] (Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh. 1997. Pp. 359. DM 48,-.)

With this study of resistance against the Third Reich, Dr. Bernhard Hopfl has considerably expanded our knowledge of opposition to the Nazis among the Bavarian Catholic laity. Hopfl's thoroughly researched study under the direction of Professor Dr. Winfried Becker at Passau University has merited publication by the prestigious Kommission fur Zeitgeschichte.

This prosopographical study of some four hundred mini-biographies chronicles the resistance and persecution of three groups of Catholic lay leaders whose convictions and values were shaped by Catholic doctrines and traditions. The groups include members and supporters of the Bavarian People's Party from a wide range of occupations that encompass farmers and members of Catholic trade associations, merchants, entrepreneurs, government officials, and the Harnier Group; secondly, editors, publishers, journalists, and thirdly, educators. The persecution of priests and clerics was generally not included by Hopfl, although their roles are discussed when a priest and lay person happened to be involved in the same cause.

Central to the conceptual framework and conclusions of the book is the author's broad definition of resistance, which places him in that school of historiography that includes Martin Brozat, Konrad Repgen, and Winfried Becker, all of whom disagree with the narrow definitions of such scholars as Ian Kershaw, Thomas Breuer, Gerhard Paul, and K.-M. Mallmann. Hopfl defines resistance as "every form of active or passive behavior that indicates rejection of the NS-- Regime or a part of NS-Ideology and which implied some risks" (p. 19). Accordingly, the cases describe a broad range of behavior including not only acts or plans of overt resistance, but also nonconformism such as the refusal to participate in Nazi rituals and customs, limited disobedience, self-preservation, opposition to officials or Nazi Party members, expressions of solidarity with those persecuted or discriminated against by the Regime, and demonstrative adherence to religious customs and symbols. …

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