Antisemitism, Christian Ambivalence, and the Holocaust by Kevin P. Spicer

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By Kevin P. Spicer

Lately, the masks of tolerant, secular, multicultural Europe has been shattered via new different types of antisemitic crime. even though a lot of the perpetrators don't profess Christianity, antisemitism has flourished in Christian Europe. during this e-book, 13 students of ecu heritage, Jewish stories, and Christian theology learn antisemitism's insidious position in Europe's highbrow and political lifestyles. The essays display that annihilative antisemitic inspiration used to be now not constrained to Germany, yet should be present in the theology and liturgical perform of such a lot of Europe's Christian church buildings. They dismantle the declare of a contrast among Christian anti-Judaism and neo-pagan antisemitism and express that, on the middle of Christianity, hatred for Jews overwhelmingly shaped the milieu of 20th-century Europe.

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Thus, a racial antisemitism as such was generally rejected out of hand. Nevertheless, Lutheran pastors and theologians never hesitated to emphasize that both the positive and the negative features of the Jewish spirit or character have to be mentioned. The negative traits seemed no less real to them simply because they belonged to the arsenal of antisemitic reasoning. ’’ They recognized that Jews still constituted the Chosen People of God, but they argued that after undergoing a mass conversion at the end time, Jews would have the crucial task to bring the Gospel to the rest of the world.

Furthermore, Jews constituted the bulk of an ethnically indigestible anti-Germanism that the Nazis fought to neutralize: ‘‘Germany has taken notice of its Jews and its Jewish question to a degree which is unknown to us. . ’’6 Such thinking led Balslev to argue that the burning of allegedly morally detrimental books was a meaningful act of self-defense. While Balslev purported to have the main objective to refute racist antisemitism and to reject racial theories and generalizing accusations against all German Jews, he still presented the ongoing disenfranchisement and persecution of Jews as the battle between two peoples.

Some Grundtvigians also went as far as stating that the Nazi regime was merely overreacting in a exaggerated way to a Jewish question constituting a real problem for German society. In general, a significant distinction marked the years of occupation leading up to the attempted deportation. 29 In the light of these debates, the Lutheran Church’s fearless and unequivocal condemnation of the roundup has to be reevaluated. In the 1930s and 1940s, the Jewish issue had primarily been discussed as part of other discourses.

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