Module 3: Religion & Culture

Protestant and Catholic Responses to National Socialism

Divided Hearts video: Dagmar Herzog

In this excerpt from the film, Divided Hearts (4:47-5:40), Historian Dagmar Herzog speaks about the historical evidence for Catholic and Protestant clergy hating the Jews and blaming them for sexual immorality, secularism, and their rejection of the Gospel.

Watch Divided Hearts (Talk to Action)

Antisemitism in Nazi Germany

Rebecca Carter Chand: Guest Lecture

In this guest lecture, historian Rebecca Carter Chand explains how and why German churches responded as they did during the Holocaust.

The strongest organized Christian support for National Socialism came from the formation of the Deutschen Christen or German Christian Movement. The pro-Nazi German Christian Movement wove together Christian, National Socialist and German identity, promoting the ideal of a “racially pure” church and targeting Jews as the enemy of Christianity.


Red flag with a white circle in the centre. In this white circle are the letters D and C, a cross, and a swastika in black.
Flag of the German Christians (Deutschen Christen). Vector image, Bild 102-15234, German Federal Archive.

When the churches opposed National Socialism and Nazi ideology, they were primarily motivated by questions of Christian doctrine, values, and concerns for theological autonomy. Only a handful of clergy spoke publicly to protest the treatment of the Jews.

The Confessing Church: Victoria Barnett

In this short lecture, The Confessing Church: Early German Protestant Responses to National Socialism, historian Victoria Barnett focuses on the Protestant churches to explore why there was early support for National Socialism and the importance of the Aryan Paragraph in provoking Protestant resistance to the Nazis.

Church leaders and the Aryan Paragraph




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