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By Dr. Beth A. Griech-Polelle

Clemens August Graf von Galen, Bishop of Munster from 1933 until eventually his demise in 1946, is well known for his competition to Nazism, such a lot significantly for his public preaching in 1941 opposed to Hitler's euthanasia undertaking to rid the rustic of in poor health, aged, mentally retarded, and disabled Germans. This provocative and revisionist biographical examine of von Galen perspectives him from a unique viewpoint: as a posh determine who moved among dissent and complicity throughout the Nazi regime, opposing yes parts of nationwide Socialism whereas deciding on to stay silent on concerns bearing on discrimination, deportation, and the homicide of Jews. Beth Griech-Polelle locations von Galen within the context of his instances, describing how the Catholic Church reacted to numerous Nazi guidelines, how the anti-Catholic laws of the Kulturkampf formed the repertoire of resistance strategies of northwestern German Catholics, and the way theological interpretations have been used to justify resistance and/or collaboration. She discloses the explanations for von Galen's public denunciation of the euthanasia venture and the ramifications of his overtly defiant stance. She finds how the bishop portrayed Jews and what that depiction intended for Jews residing in Nazi Germany. eventually she investigates the construction of identical to von Galen as "Grand Churchman-Resister" and discusses the results of this for the parable of Catholic conservative "resistance" built in post-1945 Germany.

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55 Ignoring the disruption of Jewish daily life in Germany, von Galen then proceeded to relate the story of the arrest of several men in Münster who had defended the right of Catholic schools to remain confessional. He beseeched his listeners to remember that they were all parts of one body and that if one body part was harmed, then all parts were affected. I would argue that in von Galen’s definition, only Christians belong to the body, not Jews. 56 Again, in November , after Kristallnacht (the night of broken glass), von Galen did not speak publicly in defense of the Jews for fear of endangering what he viewed as Catholics’ precarious inclusion in the German state.

2 07:45 The quest to be fully integrated as an accepted member of the German nation had led many Jews and Catholics to set aside a variety of their own traditions. ’’ 21 For many individuals within each community, the answer was to pull closer together to maintain a distinctive identity. 22 For Catholics, the feeling of being second-class citizens, persecuted by their own government, led to an increase in religious involvement. ‘‘In fact . . ’’ Membership in Catholic organizations increased and brought a sense of mutual support, reinforcing Catholic identity.

Refusing to see that remaining neutral in such an unequal battle added strength to Nazi persecution, von Galen continued to limit his attacks on the state to violations against Catholicism. In a sermon to the Kolping Union in January , von Galen expressed the feelings of upheaval and unease present in German society. ’’ 53 In this sermon he not only ostracized Jews from the ‘‘new house of Germany’’ by stating that Germany must be a Christian state, but he also reasserted his belief that a battle was being waged to destroy Catholicism on German soil.

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