Fosdick Harry Emerson

Back to list

Shofar archives:


1933 petition to germans

New York Times, Friday, May 26, 1933 (pp 12-13)

According to the article “The petition was written by the Rev. Dr.
Harry Emerson Fosdick of the Riverside Church and edited and signed by a
commission of twenty-four clergymen.”

==Petition printed in the New York Times==

We, a group of Christian ministers, are profoundly disturbed by the
plight of our Jewish brethren in Germany. That no doubt may exist anywhere
concerning our Christian conscience in the matter, we are constrained, alike
with sorrow and indignation, to voice our protests against the present
persecution of the Jews under Herr Hitler’s regime.

We acknowledge the grievous provocations which have led to the German
revolution, especially to condemnation of unborn generations of German
children to economic servitude by the terms of the peace. Our nation shares
part of the blame for this situation. We understand the accumulated
resentment which has led German youth to undertake at all costs the
reconstruction of the nation and its re-establishment in unity and power.
We claim no right to censor the methods by which this shall be accomplished simply because they are not our own.

We acknowledge, also, the existence of racial and religious
prejudice in America, against which we have repeatedly taken our stand, but
all the more on that account do we deplore a retreat from gains once made in
Germany while we continue to struggle for human rights in the United States.

For weeks we waited patiently, refusing to believe stories of a State
policy against the Jews. Now, however, having in our possession testamony to
the facts, which seems to us unimpeachable, we cannot forbear speaking. Herr
Hitler for years has preached relentless hatred against Jews. One of the
fundamental doctrines of the Nazis, explicitly acknowledged by them, is that
the Jews are poisonous bacilli in the blood of Germany to be stamped out like
a plague. What the followers of Herr Hitler have proclaimed they now
practice. Systematically they are prosecuting a “cold pogrom” of
inconceivable cruelty against our Jewish brethren, driving them from positions
of trust and leadership, depriving them of civil and economic rights,
deliberately condemning them, if they survive at all, to survive as an outlawed and excommunicated people,
the threatening Jews with massacre if they so much
as protest. It is our considered judgment that the endeavor of the German
Nazis to humiliate a whole section of the human family threatens the
civilized world with the return of medieval barbarity.

We deplore the consequences that must fall upon the Jews, upon
Christendom, which permits this ruthless persecution, and in particular
upon Germany itself. For, protesting thus against Herr Hitler’s anti-semitism,
we conceive ourselves to be speaking as the sincere friends of Germany.

==End of Petition==