Luther and Hitler
Published on June 4, 2008 By Larry Kuperman In Religion

Some time ago I got into a discussion with a fellow blogger about Martin Luther, the founder of the Protestant Reformation and a notorious anti-Semite. I was amazed to find that anyone would defend Marin Luther, a man who urged his followers to kill without mercy, let alone that Luther would be regarded as a "good man." If Luther was so good, then he must have gone to Heaven, right? And if Luther gets in, why not his best known protege, Adolf Hitler?

In 1543, Luther wrote his infamous tract On the Jews and Their Lies, as vile a peice of hate speech as you will find. Previously, Luther had written That Jesus Christ was born a Jew, in which Luther advocated kindness toward the Jews, but only with the aim of converting them to Christianity: what he called Judenmission. However when he realized that the Jews were not going to convert, he turned on them. He advocated stripping the Jews of their property, burning their synagogues and holy books and in the end, killing them. Luther urged his followers to commit murder saying "We are at fault in not slaying them."

For 400 years, Christian preachers continued to echo Luther's words. It was this preaching of hatred that set the stage for the Holocaust and explains why Hitler's ideas won such easy acceptance in Germany and elsewhere. Nazis displayed Luther's tome at the Nuremberg rallies and held Kristallnacht on Luther's birthday in 1938. The Lutheran church would distance itself from its founder saying "It is imperative for the Lutheran Church, which knows itself to be indebted to the work and tradition of Martin Luther, to take seriously also his anti-Jewish utterances, to acknowledge their theological function, and to reflect on their consequences. It has to distance itself from every expression of anti-Judaism in Lutheran theology." But that was in 1998, more than 50 years AFTER the Holocaust.

Adolf Hitler was indebted to the writings of Martin Luther and felt that Luther was a great man.

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20th, 1889. He was the illegitimate child of Alois Hitler and Klara Pölzl. Klara was related to Alois, his half neice, and the couple needed to receive a special dispensation from the Vatican in order to marry. Finally, the dispensation was granted and Klara became Alois' third wife. But since young Adolf was born prior to the marriage, he was Adolf Schicklgruber (his mother's maiden name, they all married a LOT) until he was 39. Alois would not consent to him his bastard son his surname.

Hitler was raised in a religous household. He was baptized in the Roman Catholic church in Austria, attended school at a monastery and became an altar boy. Writing in Mein Kampf, he recalls how he wanted to become a priest. “I had excellent opportunity to intoxicate myself with the solemn splendor of the brilliant church festivals.  As was only natural, the abbot seemed to me, as the village priest had once seemed to my father, the highest and most desirable ideal.” Throughout  most of his life he maintained close ties to the church and in fact received support from the church.

Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the papal nuncio in Berlin, came to Hitler's birthday party in 1939, under instructions from Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, who would become Pope Pius XII, and the celebration of Hitler's birhtday by the church became a tradition. Cardinal Bertram of Berlin was instructed to send “warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany with “fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars.” (Source: Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwell) But there are well documented photos of meetings between Hitler and representatives of various churches well after the Holocaust began.

Hitler reciprocated. He would say “The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity.  It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines, and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today.” Hitler opposed abortion, was anti-homosexual and enforced religous teachings in German schools. He was widely regarded as a model Christian leader...except for that little genocide thing. But maybe that wasn't considered so bad.

There is Biblical support for genocide in the Bible. The first recorded genocide in chronicled in Samuel as follows:

"2 Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I have noted what Amalek did to Israel in opposing them on the way when they came up out of Egypt. 3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey." (1 Sam. 15:2-3). Saul the first king of the Israelites is deposed because he fails to follow orders.

Hitler had a lot of support in his war of extermination. Father Charles Coughlin was a radio preacher in the US, based out of Michigan. Millions of people tuned into his broadcasts. In a rally in the Bronx, New York in 1938, Coughlin said "When we get through with the Jews in America, they'll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing." (By the way, my parents were living in the Bronx at that time, think how terrifying that must have been.) In all fairness, many Catholics opposed Coughlin, but he had the support of Detroit Bishop Michael Gallagher and there was a concern that if the church silenced Coughlin, he would lead a schism. The sense was that the lives of the Jews were not worth risking a drop in membership.

Until the end of World War II, anti-Semitism was tolerated by the Christian churches, if not  felt to be a Christian duty. So maybe Hitler and Luther are hanging out in Heaven with all the other religous haters.


Comments (Page 1)
on Jun 04, 2008

No offense, but Hitler was a lay member doing word service, not an actual follower of Christ.

on Jun 04, 2008
Hitler was a lay member doing word service, not an actual follower of Christ.


Who are you to judge his heart?
on Jun 04, 2008

"No offense, but Hitler was a lay member doing word service, not an actual follower of Christ."

With all due respect, Erathoniel, you shouldn't have to say that. He should have been excommunicated in 1939, then the issue would not be open to debate and millions of lives may have been saved.

I do see where my friend SanChonino is coming from. Many times Christians seem to quibble over this type of issue. Someone asserts "Oh, no Christian would do that!" Someone responds by saying "Look at So-and-so, a Christian that did that very thing!" and the response "Well, they weren't a REAL Christian."

For the entire duration of Hitler's reign, churches supported him. Few voices (memorable, but few) were raised against him. Almost never were those voices more than individuals. Paul Vogt, for example, was a Swiss theologian who wrote "Am I My Brother's Keeper?" A brave act. But the Swiss government continued turning Jews away.

Any comments of Father Coughlin? There is no question about his official position. A priest who publicly espoused murdering the Jews, lived in the US, yet was allowed to keep speaking for years.

Does he get to go to Heaven too?

on Jun 15, 2008
Hitler was raised in a religous household.


I've read Hitler's bio and as a Catholic can assure you Hitler was not raised in a "religious household". Yes, he went to the Benedictine monastery in Laubach for a few years, but you say he was supposedly an altar boy...what is your source of that?

Throughout most of his life he maintained close ties to the church and in fact received support from the church.


If, by "the church" you are referring to the Catholic Church, this is untrue. Hitler absolutely hated the Catholic Church and apostatized from Catholicism well before he came to power.

As you have pointed out, Hitler was enthralled with Luther and Lutheranism but that was not in the religious sense...Hitler wanted to create a church-state for the whole Reich. He really wanted to supplant faith in Christianity by faith in national socialism. Once this goal was attained he wanted to annihilate the Catholic Church as an institution.


I don't know what you think of the teachings of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution or what that has to do with governments, morality, racism and anti-Semitism. But believe me, there is a very important connection and one you should consider.

In the 1800s, as a result of Darwinism, God was declared dead. That's right...that's the heart of Evolution ideology...man descended from one ancient ancestor through purposeless forces over millions of year...Darwinism is an atheistic theory..it eliminates the need of the Creator God.

The German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche who died in 1900, drew the conclusion that without God there are no moral absolutes, therefore man must create his own right and wrong. Nietzsche also predicted that without GOd there would be bloodshed and his insights were prophetic. More people have been killed in wars and by genocide in the 20th century than all others put together.

Do you know that in his book, Mein Kampf, Hitler makes it crystal clear that Darwin's theory of Natural Selection was the basis for his belief in Arian superiority and a justification for what would be his mass murder of the Jews?

He wrote, "If nature does not wish that weaker individuals should mate with the stronger, whe wishes even less that a superior race should intermingle with an inferior one; becasue in such cases all her efforts, throughout hundreds of thousands of years, to establish an evolutionary higher stage of being, may thus be rendered futile.

But such a preservation goes hand-in-hand with the exorable law that it is the strongest and the best who must triumpth and that they have the right to endure.He who would live must fight. He who does not wish to fight in this world, where permanent struggle is the law of life, has not the right to exist."

Hitler used Evolution as the philosophical basis for his racism. Hitler believed in Darwin's "survival of the fittest". If we evolved from survival of the fittest, then getting rid of the unfit is desirable. If humans evolved up from some ape-like creature, then some people have advanced higher on the evolutionary ladder than others. Some classes of people should be inherently superior to others.

This is the twisted logic Hitler used to try to establish his super, Aryan race, and to justify killing 6 million Jews. Godless evolution ideology providing the rationale for racism.
on Jun 15, 2008

I agree Lula.  Hitler was a Darwin man, not a Luther man. 

Luther said some strange and hard things about the Jews especially later in his life but it was all from a religious sense not from a social one.   A lot of what he said has been taken out of context to prove his anti-semitism but just doesn't add up when you take all of his writings and put them together. 

 

on Jun 15, 2008
[quote]Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the papal nuncio in Berlin, came to Hitler's birthday party in 1939, under instructions from Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, who would become Pope Pius XII, and the celebration of Hitler's birhtday by the church became a tradition. Cardinal Bertram of Berlin was instructed to send “warmest congratulations to the Fuhrer in the name of the bishops and the dioceses in Germany with “fervent prayers which the Catholics of Germany are sending to heaven on their altars.” (Source: Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, by John Cornwell) But there are well documented photos of meetings between Hitler and representatives of various churches well after the Holocaust began.[/quote]

My, my, using Cornwell's utterly dishonest book to make a point!

In the 90s, there was a rash of assaults on the Church in the hopes of democratization. It didn't work, but the tragedy of the war was exploited anyway. They used the Holocaust as their chief tool in a smear campaign against the Catholic Church and particularly against Pope Pius XII. Cornwell made a name for himself with this book, a dishonest name that is. With "Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII," Viking, 1999, the dishonesty begins with the dust jacket showing a photo of Cardinal Pacelli (later Pius XII) reviewing a German honor guard wearing WWII-type helmets. The photo is deceiving and made to look like the Pope was Nazi-German friendly. The dustjacket neglected to mention that this honor guard was from the Weimer Republic government-a democracy!

Cornwell's book was completely refuted by Ronald Rychlak and since then others have put to rest the alleged "silence" on Pius XII.

If you're going to make charges in an attempt to discredit the Catholic Church, it's best to know both sides.

That Catholicism itself is anti-Semitic and helped cause the Jewish holocaust are baseless attacks as is the big lie that the Pope was a Nazi sympathizer and did little to help the Jews suffering under Nazi rule.

Until the end of World War II, anti-Semitism was tolerated by the Christian churches, if not felt to be a Christian duty.


As to your claim, I can't speak for or against the Protestant churches...I simply do not know. I can however, assure you that it never, ever has been a Christian duty to tolerate
anti-Semitism.

Again, during WW II, anti-Semitism was not tolerated by the Catholic Church.

Pope Pius XII was not silent, and his courageous acts are incontestable. The Vatican Archives were opened in 2003 for the period of 1922-1939 for all the media to see. The material confirms that all accusations against him are baseless and affirms that he was a champion for peace, freedom and human dignity and that he encouraged all Catholics to look on Jews as our fellow brothers and sisters. Private letters, editorials and other documents reveal that he saved hundreds of thousands of Jews and Christians from death in concentration camps. His contribution to his love of all humanity during the Holocaust is incontrovertible.

Check history. The Pope did what he could to prevent WWII and then rescue nearly 1 million Jews. Chruchill and FDR knew the location of the death camps, the railroads, and didn't bomb them. They turned Jewish refugees back, while the Pope took them in.

Churchill and FDR took Stalin in though and in the end "Uncle Joe--the Red Hitler--- Stalinism took over Eastern Europe...Russia spread its errors and the slaughter continued ...millions were marched into the Gulag and never returned. 100 million dead and no holocaust museaum for them. Who were these 100 million people who were slaughered under Godless communism?


on Jun 15, 2008

Hitler as a altar boy sources:

http://www.useless-knowledge.com/1234/apr/article397.html

http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/murphy_19_2.html

There are more.

Lulapilgram said :I can however, assure you that it never, ever has been a Christian duty to tolerate anti-Semitism."

You are denying that 1500 years of history happened? The was no attack on the Jews of Germany by the Crusaders? No Inquisition?

Here is a good and brief article the history of anti-Semitism by the Church:

http://www.religioustolerance.org/vat_hol11.htm

Here is a longer and much more detailed chronology of anti-Semitism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_antisemitism

Please note that the Church "reversed its stance" AFTER the Holocaust.

The assertions that the Catholic Church saved hundreds of thousands of Jews come solely from the Church and Catholic writers. Solely. There is no question that thousands of Jews were saved by individual clerics, but not anywhere close to what is stated by the Church.

Here is an event by event chronology: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/anti-semitism/pius.html

Here is a refutation of Hitler and Darwinism:

http://wiki.cotch.net/index.php/Hitler_based_his_views_on_Darwinism

Hitler's public statement on Christianity 1927:

"My feeling as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter."

By the way, Stalin was also educated in Christian beliefs, attending Gori Church School from age 10, then attending the Georgian Orthodox Seminary of Tiflis from age 16.

Basically, nothing that you have said can be supported by other than Church sources. Repeating what you want to be true doesn't make it so,

 

on Jun 15, 2008

One might also ask why the Church is ready to excommunicate priests who consecrate women, but not Nazis.

Also, neither of you addressed Father Couglin's hate speech in America and why it was tolerated for years. Church documents show that the Church was well aware of his activities, but was afraid that American Catholics would leave the Church, creating a schism, if denied their weekly broadcasts of anti-Semitism.

on Jun 15, 2008

Hitler wth Archbishop Cesare Orsenigo, the papal nuncio in Berlin, 1935

on Jun 16, 2008

The photo above is the Church's official representative conveying birthday greetings to Hitler, what was to become part of an annual event. The Church's opposition to Hitler was so secret that neither Hitler nor the rest of Europe knew about it! (Wow, that's some secret!)

Here are some other articles that you might find of interest:

The Protestant Church in Hitler's Germany and the Barmen Declaration (http://www.christianodyssey.com/history/barmen.htm) "The Nazi "Führer Principle" was to be adopted by the churches, which was a claim that Hitler was "lord" over the German church and that its Christ and Christianity were uniquely Aryan." Please note that the site referenced is a Christian site.

The Mormon Church Attempts to Conceal Temple Records for Adolf Hitler (http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/hitlertemplework.htm) Based on LDS Temple records "Eva Anna Paula Braun, born in Munich, Bavaria, Germany, on February 7, 1912, was "baptized" by Mormons on October 16, 1964, and "endowed" on February 5, 1965, in the Los Angeles Temple." The Mormon Church attempted to deny this.

on Jun 16, 2008
I can however, assure you that it never, ever has been a Christian duty to tolerate
anti-Semitism.


You simply haven't a clue if you really believe it's a Christian's DUTY to tolerate anti-Semitism.

Yes, there is no denying that Christians have tolerated anti-Semiticism. However, it was never, ever a mandate from the Church or from the teachings of Christ. These ill-conceived acts bring odium upon the guilty individuals rather than the Church or Christianity from where they sprang.

Same thing with Jews whose actions at times are just as abhorrent. Do dishonest, immoral, and criminal acts committed by persons of Jewish parentage bring odium upon the whole of Jewry?

Pope Pius XI said that "anti-Semitism is a movement in which Christians cannot share." The Catholic opposition to anti-Semiticism was practically expressed over and over again during the Hitler persecution. The Vatican archives have been opened and all has been released to the public...I'm done arguing this point. If you want I can recommend books that rebutted and refuted these links.


Anti-Semitism is a strange phenomenon that in many ways seems unexplainable save on the basis that to "whom much has been given, of him much will be required." St.Luke 12:48. Much having been given the Jews, much was the moral obligation placed upon them which they failed to fulfill. Therefore God who brought the Jews out of the land of the Egyptians, God Who broke the chains on their necks so they could walk upright, seems to be recalling to them through anti-Semitism the words He uttered ages ago, " If you will not harken to Me, but will walk against Me, I will go against you with opposite fury, and I will chastise you with seven plagues for your sins." Lev. 26.








on Jun 16, 2008
Hitler had a lot of support in his war of extermination.


Here you are inferring the Catholic Church which since it's 100% untrue is a thoroughly hateful statement...but guess what? I've come to realize that this wasn't the first and won't be the last time for bashing and attacking the Catholic Chruch and Christianity seems to be the last acceptable prejudice.

Father Charles Coughlin was a radio preacher in the US, based out of Michigan. Millions of people tuned into his broadcasts. In a rally in the Bronx, New York in 1938, Coughlin said "When we get through with the Jews in America, they'll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing." (By the way, my parents were living in the Bronx at that time, think how terrifying that must have been.)


Also, neither of you addressed Father Couglin's hate speech in America and why it was tolerated for years.


Fr. Coughlin wasn't anti-Semitic, rather he was anti-Communist...and the Jews he was referring to were Communist pushing Communism in the US. Why your parents were more afraid of one Catholic priest than of Communism is very strange to me.








on Jun 16, 2008
Also, neither of you addressed Father Couglin's hate speech in America

First off Larry....I happen to agree with you on the CC's anti-semitism against the Jews. I know personally because my great uncle was Jewish living in NY. I'm a supporter of the Jews and will always fight on their side as I believe they have been the most persecuted people group in all of time. No objection from me.

This is one subject Lula and I would disagree on. I also agree she is looking at what her church history is telling her. My grandmother who was a Catholic and still calls herself one left the CC back then because of how the Jews were treated by the Vatican. She lived during those days and was very objective when it came to the CC's treatment of the Jews.
There were many individuals tho, both Catholic and Protestant who helped work the underground in saving as many Jews as they could. Some were found out and killed or imprisioned.

My two favorite stories are about Detriech Bonhoffer who was like the only minister who dared to speak out against Hitler during a meeting and the story of Corrie Ten Boom who wrote "The Hiding Place" among other books. Her whole family died in the camps as a result of being found out. But not before saving many before their capture.

And who can forget the story of Anne Frank?

So instead of going after the churches, why not praise those who were part of the churches doing all they could to preserve Jewish blood?

on Jun 16, 2008
I also agree she is looking at what her church history is telling her.


History of the war itself is the history of the Catholic Church. Are you both aware that it isn't only 6 million Jews who were killed?

Try googling books such as "Christ in Dachau" by Rev. John M. Lenz who writes an account of his personal experiences in the concentration camp, "of the 2,700 clergy who were interned in Dachau, 1034 died as opponents to the Nazi pseudo-religion."

"The Forgotten Holocaust" by Richard C. Lukas is about the genecide of 6 million people other than the Jews.

"The Myth of Hitler's Pope" and "The Pius War" both written by a Jewish Rabbi, David G. Dalin, who demolishes the myth that Hitler was in cahoots with the Pope and the Church. He also writes that there was a cleric in league with Hitler: the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini. So as Pius worked to save the Jews, Hitler's cleric advised and assisted the Nazi's in carrying out Hitler's Final Solution.



on Jun 16, 2008

The christian leanings of the Third Riech makes a lot of Christians uncomfortable... but the photographic evidence of it is overwhelming. Every member of the wehrmacht even wore this belt buckle Gott Mit Uns (God With Us).

http://www.nobeliefs.com/mementoes.htm

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