The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Herbert Hensley Henson's FOREWORD to the English translation of DER GIFTPILZ



1. To encourage effective co-operation for the prevention of war and the establishment of peace.

2. To provide accurate information about Nazi Germany for use throughout Great Britain, the British Empire, the U.S.A., Europe and wherever the English tongue is known.


With a Foreword by
(The Rt. Rev. Dr. H. Hensley Henson)



The revolting composition here published in an English version should be read by all who desire to form a just estimate of the Anti-semitism of the German State. It cannot fail to demonstrate the impossibility of any reconciliation of the Nazi doctrine and practice with the teachings of Christ. The cruelty and coarseness of "The Poisonous Mushroom" are sufficiently guaranteed by the fact that it is published by the notorious editor of "Der Stuermer," the foul weekly paper which is circulated in Germany with official encouragement. Herr Julius Streicher proclaims and develops in his own inimitable fashion the views which the Fuehrer himself has authoritatively formulated in "Mein Kampf." Dr. Dibelius tells us that the "Pimfps" (small Hitler Youth boys) are told to remember and repeat: "Which is our Bible?" "Our Bible is Hitler's 'Mein Kampf'."

Anti-semitism in Germany is a strange phenomenon and it is defended by strange arguments. The Jews, we are told , are a crowd of greedy capitalists, and, at the same time, that they are the stalwarts of a murderous communism. Their demonic ability enables them to gain control of the professions and of the Government service, and yet they are so ignorant and squalid that they lower the standards of the German people. It is admitted that there are no more than half-a-million Jews in the whole German population of sixty-seven -millions. The absurdity of the paradox would ensure its rejection were it not that deep in the German mentality are dark factors of fear, envy, and fanaticism, which can be worked up into a frenzy of hatred by the sustained and calculated efforts of the State.

Austria has now been brought within the range of the Fuehrer's control, with the result that a new stream of stripped and broken-hearted exiles is pouring out from that miserable country to swell the volume of outcasts who are seeking admission to more civilised communities. European statesmanship has so far failed to find a solution to the international problem which Hitler's anti-semitism has created. Anti-semitism, it must never be forgotten, is an infectious disease. It is spreading fast and will spread faster as Hitler's power waxes. Meanwhile, it is creating for the Christian churches in Germany a situation of the utmost perplexity. They cannot, without spiritual apostasy, acquiesce silently in the crude nationalism which dominates the German State. Their resistance is bringing them into the bitter experience of persecution.

But they must not be excluded from non-German sympathy. Their protest is not merely German concern. So closely knit is modern civilisation that divergent 'ideologies' cannot permanently be tolerated within it. Anti-semitism, of which "The Poisonous Mushroom" is a disgusting but characteristic expression, is a danger to civilisation itself.


Bishop Auckland
July, 1938

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