Nazis' Anti-Catholicism Ran Deep

Konrad Löw's "The Guilt" Documents Racial and Religious Hatreds

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ROME, DEC. 23, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Nazi hatred for the Catholic Church has been documented in Konrad Löw's new book, "Die Schuld" (The Guilt), with the subtitle "Jews and Christians in the Opinion of Nazis and in Present Times."



The book, published by Resch Press, is promoted as "a response to 'Amen' and 'The Vicar,'" referring to film and theater works that accuse Pope Pius XII of having been too conciliatory to Nazism.

At the same time, the volume is a response to Daniel Goldhagen's work "Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust" (New York: Knopf, 1996), which accuses Germans in general of being accomplices of Nazism.

The book's greatest contribution is the documentation presented in its 355 pages, including 1,063 footnotes and a 331-item bibliography. Löw uses specific historical documents to address aspects of Nazi policy up to now little known, in particular the continuous and systematic persecution of Catholics.

The Bavarian author demonstrates, in a critical spirit, how Zentrum, the Catholic party, was supported and voted for precisely by Jews, a phenomenon that can be explained by the fact that the Catholic Church condemned the nascent racism and nationalism with great clarity. The author also points out that Protestant groups, on the contrary, were to a large extent fascinated by the racial theories.

Löw recalls that Hitler's appointment as chancellor was applauded by Protestant denominations, while the Catholic bishops condemned Nazi theories. This was why the Nazis persecuted Catholics as well as, if not as much as, Communists and Jews.

According to the Nazi theory, Christianity's roots in the Old Testament meant that whoever was against the Jews should also be against the Catholic Church. And ample documentation, gathered by Löw, records Catholics' assistance to Jews, which angered the Nazis.

The author cites how the Nazis invoked "the unconquerable arm of the spirit of blood and earth against the Hebrew plague and Christianity."

Löw recounts in detail what Adolf Hitler, Alfred Rosenberg, Joseph Goebbels, Heinrich Himmler and Martin Bormann said and wrote about Jews and Catholics. In particular, Hitler wished to trample the Catholic Church "as one does a frog."

The book reproduces articles and sketches on Catholics published by Das Schwarze Korps, the official SS periodical, and Der Stürmer, a racist periodical.

In a sketch published by the Nazis in 1938, a Jew, a Catholic priest and a capitalist entrepreneur try to stop the Nazi swastika that turns like the hands of the clock of history.

In another sketch, published by Der Stürmer in 1934, a Jew, standing before a picture of Christ on the cross, says: "We have killed him, we have ridiculed him, but we are still defended by his Church." Another sketch in the same newspaper, published in 1939, shows a Catholic priest stretching out two large hands: one with the Star of David, and the other with the hammer and sickle.

To give an idea of what the Nazis thought of Catholics, Löw presents an SS report, which states: "It is indisputable that the Catholic Church in Germany is decisively opposed to the governmental policy of opposition to Hebrew power. As a consequence, it carries out work in support of Jews, helps them flee, uses all means to support them in daily life, and facilitates their illegitimate stay in the Reich. The people in charge of this task enjoy the full support of the episcopate and do not hesitate to take away from Germans, including German children, the little food they have, to give it to Jews."