US Holocaust Memorial Museum 100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW Washington, DC 20024
What Did Faith Communities Stand For? Doctrine and Deed in Nazi Germany
Roman Catholic clerics give the Nazi salute at the fifth Catholic youth rally (Jugendtreffen) in Berlin, 1933. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of bpk-Bildagentur
The rise of National Socialism in Germany and the ensuring terror raised profound theological and ethical questions for people of all faiths. While some religious leaders openly supported the Nazi regime, others refused allegiance to the Party or defied the laws and sheltered victims of state-sanctioned hate, even if it meant risking arrest and ultimately, their lives.
Join us for a program to examine how different faith communities, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Protestants, and Catholics, reacted in the face of the challenges then—and the questions the history poses today.
Watch online Stream the program live at ushmm.org/watch. Registration is not required to watch the live-streamed event.
The Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust offers
programs and resources on the history of churches’ responses to the
Holocaust and the ways in which religious institutions, leaders, and
theologians have addressed this history and its legacy since 1945.
Holocaust Encyclopedia: German Resistance to Hitler
The government of Adolf Hitler was popular with most Germans. Although the Gestapo (secret state police) and the Security Service (SD) suppressed open criticism of the regime, there was some German opposition to the Nazi state.
Holocaust Encyclopedia: The German Churches and the Nazi State
The population of Germany in 1933 was around 60 million. Almost all Germans were Christian, belonging either to the Roman Catholic (ca. 20 million members) or the Protestant (ca. 40 million members) churches.
Holocaust Encyclopedia: The Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany
The Nazi regime targeted Jehovah’s Witnesses for persecution because they refused, out of religious conviction, to swear loyalty to a worldly government or to serve in its armed forces. Jehovah’s Witnesses also engaged in missionary activity to win adherents for the faith.