American Religious Responses to Kristallnacht by M. Mazzenga

By M. Mazzenga

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

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Indeed, with various discussions carried forward from issue to issue, it is no exaggeration to assert that this cluster of topics comprised the single most important agenda of the Churchman over the course of the year. Prominent in this coverage were reports about the work of organizations like the National Conference of Jews and Christians and the American Committee for Christian German Refugees, as well as the editorial cartoons of Charles A. Wells, who regularly and creatively produced images asserting the importance of liberal religion as the guardian of tolerance, freedom, democracy, and civilization.

18. Ibid. 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.

Second, I will outline four key moments between November 10 and 20, during which mainline American Protestants first voiced their disbelief and outrage, and then roundly condemned the National Socialist regime for its treatment of German Jews. While I will deal primarily with churches in the United States, I will also make some observations about the Canadian scene. Third, I will address, if only briefly, the question of practical aid for Jewish refugees. Context The sociopolitical and cultural context into which news of the Kristallnacht pogrom broke was filled with ambivalent and contradictory attitudes to both Germany and Jews.

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