The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Volume I Chapter VII
Means Used by the Nazi Conspiractors in Gaining Control of the German State
(Part 34 of 55)

With the help of their Reich Bishop, Bishop Mueller, they maneuvered the Evangelical Youth Association into the Hitler Jugend under Von Schirach in December 1933. (1458-PS)

They arrested prominent Protestant leaders such as Pastor

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Niemoeller. By 1937, the result of all these measures was complete administrative control by the Nazi conspirators over the Evangelical churches.

(b) Against the Catholic Church. Just as in their program against the Evangelical Churches, so in their attack on the Catholic Church, the Nazi conspirators concealed their real intentions under a cloak of apparent respect for its rights and protection of its activities. On 20 July 1933, a Concordat was concluded between the Holy See and the German Reich, signed for the Reich by Von Papen (280-A-PS). It was the Nazi Government, not the Church, which initiated the negotiations.

"The German Government asked the Holy See to conclude a Concordat with the Reich." (268-PS)

By Article I of the Concordat,

"The German Reich guarantees freedom of profession and public practice of the Catholic religion.

"It acknowledges the right of the Catholic Church, within the limit of those laws which are applicable to all, to manage and regulate her own affairs independently, and, within the framework of her own competence, to publish laws and ordinances binding on her members." (3280-A-PS)

Other articles formulated agreements on basic principles such as free communication between Rome and the local ecclesiastical authorities, freedom of the Catholic press, of Catholic education and of Catholic action in charitable, professional, and youth organizations. In return, the Vatican pledged loyalty by the clergy to the Reich Government and emphasis in religious instruction on the patriotic duties of the Christian citizen. (3280-A-PS)

In reliance upon assurances by the Nazi conspirators, the Catholic hierarchy had already revoked their previous prohibition against Catholics becoming members of the Nazi Party (389 PS). The Catholic Center Party, under a combination of Nazi pressure and assurances, published on 29 December 1933, an announcement of its dissolution (2403-PS). Thus the Catholics went a long way to disarm themselves and cooperate with the Nazis. Nevertheless, the Nazi conspirators continued to develop their policy of slow strangulation of religion, first in covert, and then in open, violation of their assurances and agreements.

In the Encyclical "Mt Brenneder Sorge", on 14 March 1937, Pope Pius XI described the program:

"It discloses intrigues which from the beginning had no other aim than a war of extermination. In the furrows in which we had labored to sow the seeds of true peace, others like the enemy in Holy Scripture (Matt. xiii, 25) sowed

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the tares of suspicion, discord, hatred, calumny of secret and open fundamental hostility to Christ and His Church, fed from a thousand different sources and making use of every available means. On them and on them alone and on their silent and vocal protectors rests the responsibility that now on the horizon of Germany there is to be seen not the rainbow of peace but the threatening storm clouds of destructive religious wars. *** Anyone who has any sense of truth left in his mind and even a shadow of the feeling of justice left in his heart will have to admit that, in the difficult and eventful years which followed the Concordat, every word and every action of Ours was ruled by loyalty to the terms of the agreement; but also he will have to recognize with surprise and deep disgust that the unwritten law of the other party has been arbitrary misinterpretation of agreements, evasion of agreements, evacuation of the meaning of agreements, and finally more or less open violation of agreements." (3280-PS)

The Nazis suppressed the Catholic Youth League, beginning ten days after the concordat was signed. (See Section 8, infra.)

On 18 January 1942, in declining to accede to a demand made by the German Government that no further appointment of Archbishops, Bishops, and other high administrative dignitaries be made in the new territories of the Reich, or of certain of them within the old Reich, without previous consultation with the German Government (3261-PS), the Secretary of State of Pope Pius XII pointed to measures taken by the German Government,

"Contrary not only to the existing Concordats and to the principles of international law ratified by the Second Hague conference, but oftenand this is much more graveto the very fundamental principles of divine law, both natural and positive."

The Papal Secretary of State continued:

"Let it suffice to recall in this connection, among other things, the changing of the Catholic State elementary schools into undenominational schools; the permanent or temporary closing of many minor seminaries, of not a few major seminaries and of some theological faculties; the suppression of almost all the private schools and of numerous Catholic boarding schools and colleges; the repudiation, decided unilaterally, of financial obligations which the State, Municipalities etc. had towards the Church; the increasing difficulties put in the way of the activity of the religious Orders and Congregations in the spiritual, cultural and social field

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and above all the suppression of Abbeys, monasteries, convents and religious houses in such great numbers that one is led to infer a deliberate intention of rendering impossible the very existence of the Orders and Congregations in Germany.

"Similar and even graver acts must be deplored in the annexed and occupied territories, especially in the Polish territories and particularly in the Reichsgau Wartheland, for which the Reich Superintendent - has issued, under date of September 13th last, a 'Decree concerning Religious Associations and Religious Societies' (Verordnung uber eligioese Vereinigngen und Religion-gesellschaften) in clear opposition to the fundamental principles of the divine constitution of the Church." (3261-PS)

Illustrative of the numerous other cases and specific incidents which might be adduced as the program of suppression was carried into action within Germany proper, are the measures adopted beginning in 1936 to eliminate the priest Rupert Mayer of Munich. Because of his sermons, he was confined in various prisons, arrested and rearrested, interned in Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and the Ettal Monastery, from which he was released by Allied troops in May 1945, and later died. '(372-PS)

(c) Against other religious groups.

Members of the sect known as "Bibel Jorscher"meaning "Members of a Biblical Society" or "Bible-Researchers"were as early as 1937 sent as a routine matter to concentration camps by the Gestapo, even after serving of a sentence imposed by a court or.after the cancellation of an arrest order (D-84). At one camp alone -- Dachau -- there were over 150 "Bibelforscher" in protective custody in 1937. (2928-PS)

The original plaintext version of part one or part two of this file is available via ftp.

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