Op-Ed: Christians are Guilty of the Holocaust
Giulio MeottiThe writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly...
The last German edition of “Jews and Their Lies” dates back to 1936. Is it so outrageous, that little book penned by Martin Luther, that it should still be banned in Germany in the era of free flow of ideas? According to Professor Christopher Probst, it contains nothing less than the Holocaust program - five centuries earlier than Hitler.
“Demonizing the Jews: Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany” is the title of the book which Probst devoted to the Augustinian monk who in 1517 on a church in Wittenberg posted the famous “95 Theses” which spurred the most important schismatic movement in the history of the Catholic Church.
Luther’s anti-Semitism was pornographic, vernacular, physical. The solution of the “Jewish question” is part of his theology. “There is no people under the sun more eager for revenge or bloodthirsty”, writes Luther on the Jews. “The Jews are thieves and robbers who do not eat food or wear one dress that has not been stolen from us through greed”.
Luther's last sermon, “A warning against the Jews”, pronounced just three days before his death in 1546, is horribly prophetic of the Nazi policy, foreshadowing the infamous propaganda of Joseph Goebbels. Luther calls the Jews “disgusting pests” and “a terrible burden to us”, “a calamity" and "a plague in our midst”.
In addition to being an important religious figure, Luther was also a literary genius, whose writings, especially the hymns and translations of the Bible, had a pivotal effect on the German language comparable to that of Shakespeare's effect on English.
Luther opened the doors of the gas chambers. He called for a series of “steps to be taken” against the Jews: “I want to give my sincere advice. First you have to set fire to their synagogues and schools”. Luther's list of tips is long: “Destroy homes, seize prayer books and Talmudic texts, forbid the rabbis from teaching, abolish the passes that allow them to move through the streets, confiscate money and valuables".
Luther gave voice to the most uncontrolled vulgarity (“Jews want to enjoy lazy days behind the stove, to get fat and fart, boasting in a blasphemous way to be lords of Christians”).
He also asked to burn the houses of the Jews: “We must likewise destroy and dismantle even their homes because they will practice the same things they do in their synagogues”.
At the Nuremberg trial after the end of World War II, when the smell of the crematoria was stagnant over Europe, Julius Streicher, editor of the Nazi Der Streicher and hanged by the Allies, said: “For centuries, in Germany there have been anti-Semitic writings. I have a book of Dr. Martin Luther. Today he would sit in my place in the dock”.
In many passages, Luther indulges in the most grotesque hatred: “A cursed goy like me can not understand how they can be so skilled, unless you think that when Judas Iscariot hanged himself Jews sent their servants with silver plates and pots of gold to collect the piss of Judah, along with other treasures, and then ate and drank that shit”.
The most obscene language of the street pervaded the anti-Semitic rhetoric of famous monk. Luther called the synagogue “a whore” and compared the Hebrew scriptures to the “pig feces”.
The monk finally advocated mass killing: “I ask our leaders to do on Jewish subjects like the good doctor, who, when gangrene takes hold, proceeds without mercy to burn flesh, veins, bones . The same procedure should be followed here”.
Four hundred years later, the gates of Birkenau opened upon the Jewish people.
Every Nazi administrative order—from yellow stars to ghettos, from deportations to round-ups to slaughters—found its root in Martin Luther and Christian Europe. That's why the majority of both Protestants and Catholics endorsed the Nazi regime. That's why almost all of the Catholic bishops supported Hitler, with the noble exception of Berlin bishop Konrad von Preysing.
That's why Catholic schoolchildren in Germany were taught about “the close affinity between Cross and Swastika.”
That's why Popes Pius XI and XII were both Germanophiles.
That's why a disproportionate number of the leaders of the "Final Solution" were Catholics, such as Adolf Eichmann, Ernst Kaltenbruner, Odilo Globocnik, Rudolf Hoess, and Franz Stangl.
Jews were cursed by the Christians as avaricious, blasphemers, cheats, circumcisers, cowards, crucifiers, cutthroats, deicides, desecrators of the Host, devils, dogs, parasites, stinking, bleeding, locusts, usurers, murderers, perfidious, poisoners, reptiles, ritual murderers, serpents, witches, thieves, tricksters, unclean beasts, wolves.
Christians are guilty of the Holocaust.
But very few people know the Christian role in defending Israel now against chemical threats. It's exactly because of Luther's demonology that Beit El’s (Hebrew for “House of God”) air filtration systems, installed in Israeli hospitals, schools and homes, will protect Jews against chemical or biological attacks.
Today, the Beit El Christian factory, based in Zichron Yaakov, is the country’s only producer of "NBC" (nuclear, biological and chemical) filtration systems for communal shelters.
These Christians are motivated by the haunting legacy of the Second World War and inspired by the biblical prophecy of the ingathering of Jews in the Holy Land.
The first community members, under the leadership of Emma Berger, arrived in Israel in the 1960s, and some who have come are children of members of the German resistance against Hitler. Berger wasn’t welcomed favorably by the local Jews. It could not be otherwise, among those who survived the gas chambers, and among those fierce farmers who could not bear to see their land sold to the Germans. The Christians were also accused by hareidi- religious Jews, who even stoned them, of being missionaries.
Beit El Industries became a great success when the Israeli government enacted rules in 1995 requiring new hospitals, kindergartens and nursing homes to be fitted with air filtering systems. The system is designed to protect people sitting in a shelter from nuclear, biological or chemical attack. The invention will be used again in case of war against Iran.
It’s astonishing and sad that very few Israelis know about those strangers who ensure their survival. It is, however, an issue of trust.
We could write the same about the Christians who donate to "One Israel Fund", whose mission is to improve security for the residents of Judea and Samaria. Or Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein’s International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, which played a crucial role in protecting Sderot’s residents from Hamas’ rockets. Or the group “Christian Friends of Israeli communities", which is now appealing to fund different security projects: binoculars and ambulances in Neve Tzuf ($7.500), night security guards in Bat Ayin ($12.500) and cameras and fences in Maaleh Shomron ($22.500).
While millions of Jews, cursed as evildoers under the "theologia gloriae", were devoured in crematorium IV of Birkenau and their skin was used for lamp shades, Christians turned a blind eye to tate Israelite cataclysm.
And if Jews in the past were called "mala sangre", bad blood, whereas Christians were exalted by their "limpieza de sangre", pureness of blood, today the People of Israel is fighting against an enemy which considers their blood less worthy than water.
Now the question is: next time, will Christians be brave or cowardly in face of evil, should it be rockets on Beersheva, suicide bombers in Afula or slitting throats in Samaria? Will they turn to their other side during the next, long night of the Jewish people?
If they address this question, the "Jewish-Christian dialogue" will be meaningful. Otherwise, the final word will be written by the churches in Oswiecim, where Jews' ashes turned the windows opaque.