American Religious Responses to Kristallnacht by M. Mazzenga

By M. Mazzenga

This book examines how American Protestants, Catholics and Jews replied to the persecution of Jews in Germany and German-occupied territory within the Thirties. The essays specialise in American non secular responses to Kristallnacht and signify the 1st exam of multi-religious crew responses to the beginnings of the Holocaust.

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Initiated by the FCC two months earlier,25 this prayer movement, which had taken on new urgency since Kristallnacht, was endorsed by the heads of 17 major American churches. As Clinchy explained: We unite in inviting all Christian people to join in prayer and intercession on Sunday, Nov. 20, for the victims of racial and religious oppression, 42 Kyle Jantzen who, because of loyalty to conscience or the accident of birth, are forced to endure persecution or exile. This inhumane treatment falls heavily on many groups in many lands and occasions acute distress of spirit in all who believe in justice and brotherhood.

Indeed, Russian communism was deemed by Americans to be a far greater threat that German National Socialism. A July 1937 poll asked Americans—if they were forced to choose—whether they would prefer to live under the kind of government in Germany or in Russia. Over 60 percent of the respondents favored Germany over Russia, a sentiment echoed in a June 1938 poll asking Americans which was worse: communism or fascism. Even in February 1939, after the Munich Agreement and Kristallnacht, more Americans believed communists in America to be a greater threat than Nazis.

19. “The Situation in Germany,” by H. Schoenfeld, dated April 25, 1933. ” 20. See especially the reports by A. J. Macdonald and Bishop Batty in Chandler, Brethren in Adversity. 21. Henry Smith Leiper papers, Burke Library, Union Theological Seminary, New York: Folder, Correspondence—Federal Council of Churches 1934–39, Letter, Leiper to Cavert, en route to Copenhagen, September 2, 1933. 22. , Letter Walter Van Kirk to Leiper, March 20, 1933. 23. Letter, Siegmund-Schultze to Cavert, October 17, 1933.

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