By Wolfgang Gerlach
An perpetually puzzling query of the 20 th 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 who have been dedicated, energetic, and sometimes fearless competitors 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 crew was once the Confessing Church, Protestants who usually 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
One was sent to the Church Federation ofﬁce in Frankfurt by church councilman Johannes Kübel. ∞Ω In other parts of the country, church administrations received inquiries as to whether and how the church should react to the anti-Semitic campaigns. All these protests, however, remained within the channels of internal church correspondence. Little reached the public. Church historian Klaus Scholder has concluded, correctly: ‘‘The Church as a whole remained silent. ’’≤≠ a legislative foundation for persecution Some in Germany insisted on viewing the events of 1 April as the spontaneous action of fervent Nazis and a harmless expression of public opinion.
A few isolated protests emerged from the ranks of the Evangelical Church. One was sent to the Church Federation ofﬁce in Frankfurt by church councilman Johannes Kübel. ∞Ω In other parts of the country, church administrations received inquiries as to whether and how the church should react to the anti-Semitic campaigns. All these protests, however, remained within the channels of internal church correspondence. Little reached the public. Church historian Klaus Scholder has concluded, correctly: ‘‘The Church as a whole remained silent.
Bodelschwingh’s response was to water down the declaration considerably. Calling on several colleagues for support, he reworded point 1 to leave open the question of ordaining non-Aryans in the future. ∞∏ The Bonhoeffer-Niemöller declaration paved the way for two further steps. On 12 September, Niemöller sent out the ﬁrst Pastors’ Emergency League pledges, which paraphrased the three points of the declaration sent to Bodelschwingh and committed the signers to stand by those being persecuted.
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