Module 3: Religion & Culture
“The old antisemitism had created a climate in which the ‘new’ antisemitism was, at the very least, acceptable to millions of Germans.”
Donald Niewyk, ‘Solving the “Jewish Problem’—Continuity and Change in German Antisemitism, 1871-1945,” Leo Baeck Yearbook (1990): 369.
How do the Nazis leverage Anti-Jewish Christian Sources? As you review these primary sources from the New Testament, how are these ideas about Jews repeated and reframed in Nazi propaganda and other public discourses?
New Testament Sources
What common themes do you recognize from Christian anti-Judaism that are also in these quotes by Hitler and other Nazis and their supporters?
Nazi Conceptions of Christianity
The Nazi propaganda image below invokes the medieval Christian anti-Jewish blood libel that falsely accuses Jews of kidnapping Christian children (particularly boys, suggesting they are kidnapping Jesus) to collect blood for matzah (unleavened bread eaten during holiday of Passover). The perceived link between Jews and the Devil relates back to anti-Jewish rhetoric that dates back to the New Testament.
The trajectory from Luther’s anti-Jewish writings to Nazi ideology is explicit in this propaganda poster from the German Christian Movement that sought to leverage the 450th anniversary of the birth of Martin Luther. Appealing to the German Protestant pride in Martin Luther, and invoking his more virulent anti-Jewish teachings, the poster links Hitler with Luther as defending the German nation. In these ways, this propaganda image does important work in asserting the continuity and congruity of Christianity and Nazi ideology.