The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Nazi Conspiracy & Aggression
Individual Responsibility Of Defendants

Franz Von Papen

(Part 11 of 15)

[Page 937]

(3) The signing of the Concordat was only an interlude in the church policy of the Nazi Conspirators, which was a policy of reassurances and repression. The signing of the Concordat merely marked the beginning of evasions and violations of both its spirit and letter. The ink was hardly dry before it became

[Page 938]

necessary for the Vatican to complain about a false interpretation of the text, made by the Nazi government in it own favour. (See Section 6 of Chapter VII on Suppression of the Christian Churches.)

By action taken only ten days after the signing of the Concordat, and despite its provision for the continuance of the Catholic Youth Association, simultaneous membership in the Hitler Jugend and the Catholic Youth Association was forbidden, and the campaign to smash the latter organization thereby commenced (2456-PS).

These first steps were merely a foretaste of a long series of violations which were to commence almost immediately and eventually to result in papal denunciation and serious excesses committed against the clergy (3280-PS).

The continuing character of the conspirators' church policy -- and of von Papen's participation in it -- is further revealed by von Papen's action of 19 September 1934, when, as president of the Union of Catholic Germans (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Katholischer Deutscher), he ordered dissolution of this organization. By this time the Nazis were dropping all pretext that rival organizations might be permitted to exist, and were well along in their plans for the integration of all German institutions into the Nazi system. The official published announcement of dissolution is a revealing document:

"Since the Reich Party Leadership through its department for spiritual peace increasingly and immediately administers all cultural problems and those concerning the relationship of State and Churches, the tasks at first delegated to the Union of Catholic Germans are now included in those of the Reich Party Leadership in the interest of a stronger coordination.

"Vice-Chancellor von Papen, up to now the Leader of the Union of Catholic Germans, declared about the Dissolution of this organization that it was done upon his suggestion, since the attitude of the national socialist State toward the Christian and Catholic Church had been explained often and inequivocally through the leader and chancellor himself." (3376-PS).

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