By M. Mazzenga
This book examines how American Protestants, Catholics and Jews answered to the persecution of Jews in Germany and German-occupied territory within the Thirties. The essays specialize in American spiritual responses to Kristallnacht and symbolize the 1st exam of multi-religious crew responses to the beginnings of the Holocaust.
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Extra resources for American Religious Responses to Kristallnacht
24 Victoria Barnett belief that Western civilization embodied certain ideals that were consistent with Christian faith, and that the time had come for the Church to witness these ideals in its life in the world. In the United States, this conviction was at the heart of religious efforts during the 1920s to create an interfaith network. Among Europeans, it manifested itself during the 1920s in some of the debates about pacifism and nationalism. Between 1939 and 1945, the identification of the ecumenical spirit with the spirit of democracy was a theme that permeated the ecumenical documents of the period.
A number of churches, including President Roosevelt’s church (St. 21 In New York, the Very Reverend Milo H. Gates, Dean of the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine, hastily altered his Armistice Day service to include a vigorous condemnation of the Kristallnacht pogrom. Declaring that the European persecution of the Jews and the German revival of the ghetto augured ill for the future peace of the world, Gates depicted German antisemitism as a tragic return to the Middle Ages. 22 Responding to the urgency of the situation, the Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights hastily organized a broadcast on the radio station WMCA and the Intercity Broadcasting network for the evening of Armistice Day.
Hoover’s statement, which quite naturally received the most attention, is instructive for the way in which it illustrates how mainline Protestant responses to Kristallnacht centered on Nazi barbarism as a threat to Western civilization, and for how Protestant and civic responses tended to blend together: I am glad to again evidence my own indignation and to join in an expression of public protest at the treatment of the Jews in Germany. It is not the German people at large who are to be blamed for this action.
American Religious Responses to Kristallnacht by M. Mazzenga