Purely Commen ary
Repentance in Post-War Germany—and the
Resistance in Churches During the War
At the tenth German Evangelical Church Congress, held
in Berlin last week, a declaration was adopted appealing to par-
ents and teachers in Germany to "break their silence over the
past" and to teach the younger generation about the Hitler era
and the "undeniable responsibility" of the German people for
the occurrences, during the years of horror.
Another resolution emanating from the German Evangelical
Congress affirmed that. "no person who took part in the prepara-
tion or execution of the persecutions praCticed by the Hitler
regime should be allowed to hold high office in Germany."
The Evangelical church representatives also went on record
urging all Germans "to help build the State of Israel," asserting:
"We Germans are obliged to do everything we can to help build
Israel, to strengthen peace for the people of Israel, and also
to strengthen the peace of Israel's Arab neighbors."
It is doubtless that the heartrending episodes at the trial
of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem are responsible for the new
expressions of guilt that are -being heard in Germany today.
In a single issue of The Pilot, of Boston, one of the leading
Catholic newspapers in this country, there appear two articles
which set forth claims that the Catholic church had aided Jewish
victims of Nazism.
In another Catholic 'periodical, the liberal weekly .Common-
weal, appears another interesting explanation of the attitude
of the Caholic church. James- O'Gara, managing editor of Com-
monweal, recalling that on the eve of the opening of the Eich-
mann trial, in an article in Commonweal, he had asked "if the
Christian response to the slaughter of the Jews had been even
remotely adequate," and that his "own answer, granting the hon-
orable exceptions, was no." Now, in an article entitled "Re-
pentance and Expiation," s he writes:.
Emphasize Church Aid
to Hitler s Victims
and bulwark, a true friend of humanity."
So much importance is being attached to Bishop von Preysing's
statement that the National Catholic Welfare Conference this
week issued a long statement quoting it in its denial that the
Catholic church had condoned Nazi actions against the Jews.
The Catholic Conference statement also stated that Msgr. Lichten-
berg, a close associate of the Bishop, died of ill treatment in a
concentration camp, and that another of the Bishop's associates,
Gertrud Luckner, who also was arrested and tortured in a con-
centration camp, now a member of the staff of the Central
Association of German Catholic Charities in Freiburg-im-Breis-
gau, recently was honored by the government of Israel "for
saving many lives."
But a prominent West German Protestant clergyman, Bishop
Harms Lilje, admitted in a "Meet the Press" television interview
in Bonn that "in the history of the church there have been
massive onsets which have led to an anti-Semitic attitude." He
expressed the hope that "vulgar Christian arguments," still
prevalent among members of the church, will be overcome by
"strong positive elements." The hope is that the positive
elements ; now fortunately in evidence, will make themselves
JERUSALEM, (JTA) — The
President of Israel and a fam-
ous scholar from Iran joined in
paying tribute to the memory
of the founder of the Persian
Empire, King Cyrus the Great,
extolling the declaration issued
2,500 years ago by King Cyrus,
permitting the Jews to leave
their Babylonian captivity and
return to their homeland in
President Izhak Ben-Zvi was
chairman of a plenary session
held by the third World Con-
gress of Jewish studies. More
than 100 scholars from all over
the world are attending the con-
gress. The plenary was devoted
to celebration of the 2500th an-
felt for all time to come.
niversary of King Cyrus' libera-
to accept all the present asseverations by German dignitaries
without a grain of salt. Fr. Jordan, while quoting as evidence
the statement by Bishop von Preysing, nevertheless finds it
necessary to defend Hans Globke. We believe that Globke's
.innocence is yet to be proven, and even if he is the right hand
man of Konrad Adenauer he must suffer the consequences if,
as charged, he is guilty of active collaboration in the preparation
of some of the worst Nazi anti-Jewish regulations, especially
the Nuremberg code of cruelty.
But where there is genuine effort to atone, to expiate for
the crimes, due credit must be given the Germans who are so
anxious to repudiate the criminals and to compensate for the
crimes. The present German government certainly does just that.
When emphasis is placed on the importance of teaching
the youth of Germany about the crimes of the era of the "Third
Reich," it is an occasion for particular acceptance of German
sincerity. But the proof will come only when it is convincingly
shown that these programs are positive in the extreme. The
education of Germany's youth for an understanding of the
horrors of the holocaust is the most serious responsibility of
the Germany of today. Its success or failure will create the
future measuring rod for judging the German people as to their
ability- to repudiate for all time the evils of Nazism.
versity of Iran.
Ben-Zvi noted the similarity
between the Israeli nation and
the Persian nation. He pointed
out that both had to resist first
the Greek world, then the
Roman - Byzantine power, and
that both, despite odds, suc-
ceeded in preserving their
peoples' spiritual identity and
integrity. "Both Israel and Per-
sia," noted President Ben-Zvi,
"are living nations today, while
the classical world disappeared
Prof. Davoud traced the com-
mon sources of the Messianic
idea in Jewish and Zoroastrian
origins. He recalled that the
prophet Isaiah described King
Cyrus as the Messiah whom God
had promised help in conquer-
ing Babylon. .
In view of what is transpiring in the world today, on the tion order. In addition to the
eve of a verdict against Eichmann, viewing the conflicting Ger- address by Ben-Zvi, the prin-
man attitudes and the emergence of a spirit of "repentance and cipal paper was delivered by
expiation," let credit be given where credit is due. It is difficult Prof. Poure Davoud, of the Uni-
"Thanks to Monsignor John M. Oesterreicher of Seton Hall Univer-
sity's Institute of Judaeo•Christian studies, it is now possible to. call
attention to an important contemporary German reaction to the Eichmann
trial—that of the Caholic bishops of Germany. Assembled at Buehl,
Baden, under the chairmanship of Cardinal Frings, the Archbishop of
Cologne, the bishops issued the following declaration:
" 'The stirring testimonies at the (Eichmann) trial force us to
ponder anew what it was that made that horrible desecration of human
dignity, that destruction of countless human lives, possible. These things
happened because the • political leadership of our people presumed to
abrogate the eternal laws of God.
" 'Our people must try everything humanly possible to make amends
for the injustices done to the Jewish people and to other peoples. Though
material restitution is necessary, it alone does not suffice. The bishops,
therefore call on German Catholics to implore, in a spirit, of repentance,
God's forgiveness for the sins committed by members of our people but
also to beg for the spirit of peace and reconciliation. At the same time,
the bishops appeal to the initiative of priests and layrnent to join, as
far as possible, visible signs of expiation to their prayers.
" 'Most urgently, the bishops call on all men and women on whom
the responsibility for our nation rests today, in conscience to resist every
new attempt to do away with God's commandments, every attempt to
jeopardize again the dignity and the rights of men.
" 'Those who help form public opinion should keep alive in the
consciousness of our people, and particularly in that of our youth, the
memory of those selfless women and men who in the dark hours of our
history, at the risk of their own lives, helped the persecuted and often
suffered with them unto death.' "
asairian qggos liicn ,chiiisuracr:eicsleAtIzelxsetdoftothiedrrgye jr•otpaotf w
to ie OreG
God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob! Father of mercy and God of
all consolation!", the prayer, couched, of course, in christological terms,
(Direct JTA Teletype Wire to
The Jewish News)
"We confess before Thee: Countless men were murdered in our - _
midst because they belonged to the people from which comes the Messiah,
— A surplus
according to the flesh. We pray Thee: Lead all those among us who
became guilty through deed, omission, or silence that they may see of doctors in Israel and a 'short-
their • wrong and turn froth it . . . May the example of those who strove age in the United States was
to help the persecuted and resist the persecutors become a power among
us .- . . Comfort the mourners, calm the embittered, the lonely; and the listed Wednesday as the reason
sick. Heal the wounds that have been inflicted on souls . . . Give to the for a registration by 40 per
murdered Thy peace in the land of the living . . ."
To U.S. Because of
Surplus in Israel
cent of the 1961 graduating
class of the Hebrew University
School of Medicine with the
American Consulate for immi-
gration to the United . States.
The registration figures were
reported to the board of the
National Science and Research
Council of Israel. Israel, which
already has the world's highest
ratio of doctors, graduates 400
to 500 new physicians annually.
In addition to graduate physi-
cians from Israel schools and
from schools abroad, the coun-
try also is getting a large num-
"The trial appears to have the most immediate impact on youth,
the generation which did not experience the 'Third Reich.' Now they ber of doctors among new im-
O'Gara concludes his article with the comment: "Both the
declaration of the German bishops and the prayer speak elo-
quently, for themselves, I think, without _additional comment."
For our purpose, there is need for additional comment. It is
important that repentant and expiatory declarations come from
both the Catholic and Evangelical churches. They are indica-
tions that the sense of guilt is not limited to a single church
group, that Germans of all faiths feel the responsibility for the
And it is to the credit of the churches that they are delving
into the record to establish that among their adherents there
were some who resisted against the Nazi tormentors.
In a front page article in a July issue of the Pilot, Julius
Cardinal Doepfner, Archbishop of Munich, writing on "Eich-
mann: A Trial for Germany?," stated: •
are asking persistently, how the horrible crimes of that time were possible,
wily so many people have kept silent about them, thus furthering or at
least tolerating the wrong by their silence. But they are also asking
how one can believe that millions of Germans knew or even guessed
hardly anything about those misdeeds."
Israel's President Pays
Tribute to 1st Persian
King at World Parley
Official figures also showed
that of the 600 physicians grad-
uated by the Hebrew Univer-
Cardinal Doepfner declares emphatically that "it is good sity Medical School during the
and necessary that these questions are being asked;" that "every past several years, about 90
German who really loves his people will feel deeply ashamed have emigrated to the United
these days that the crimes of National Socialism were possible States and other countries.
in the German people"; that shame alone and material compensa-
tion are not sufficient; that "it is a very good thing that German U.S. State Department
youth is making a real effort to obtain a. better understanding
of the history and the cultural and spiritual achievements of Official, Golda Meir
Discuss Middle East
the Jewish people . . . "
JERUSALEM, (JTA) — Rob-
Cardinal Doepfner then writes that German youth "must
get to know those people who did not betray their conscience ert Strong, director of Near
even during the darkest hours," and he lists instances of aid Eastern Affairs in the U. S.
given to Jewish victims of Nazism by Christians in Berlin. He State Department, left Jeru-
especially pays tribute to the war-time Catholic Bishop of Berlin, salem after an intensive three-
Konrad Count von Preysing, who, in a pastoral letter read in day tour of Israel.
He departed for the meeting
all Berlin churches, in December, 1942, declared:
"Whoever bears a human countenance, possesses rights at Cyprus of United States
which no earthly power must take away from him .. . Man's Middle East diplomats.
Strong made a special inspec-
- original rights—the right to live, the right of freedom, of pri-
vate possession and of marriage—whose continued existence tion of Israel's Jordan River
does not depend on the arbitrariness of the state, cannot national irrigation project, on
and must not be denied .even those people who do not speak which he was accompanied by
our language. We must always remain aware of the fact that Israel Water Planning Author-
a denial of such rights or, even worse, brutal measures against ity officials. He had a 40-minute
our fellow-men are a wrong not only against the foreign talk with Foreign Minister
Golda Meir in which he was
people but also against our own one."
Interestingly enough, in the very same issue of the Pilot, in presented with an overall re-
another article, entitled "Nazi Persecution: Eichmann Trial view of the Middle East situa-
Recalls Aid Given Jews by Christians of Germany," Fr. Placid tion from the Israeli point of
Jordan, O.S.R., also writing from Berlin, quotes this very state- view.
Reliable sources denied wide-
ment by Bishop (later named a Cardinal) von Preysing. Fr.
Jordan calls attention to the fact that Cardinal von Preysing spread speculation that the
was honored by the Berlin Jewish Community in a memorial Arab refugee situation was
resolution in which it was stated that he was "to us a protector discussed during his visit.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Inc.)
March of Time
Thirty of the 90 member nations of the United Nations
which have been in existence just about a decade are all
opposed to Christianity . . . This gives leaders of the Protestant
and Catholic churches in this country—and throughout the
world—much food for thought . . . They are beginning to realize
that, with the emergence of new nations in Asia and Africa,
Christendom is becoming a minority in the world today . . .
And they feel the need, now more than ever, to pay greater
attention to the strengthening of Christian-Jewish relations .. .
They are beginning to look upon the Jews as allies in the minority
status of Western religion in the World . . Actually, Chris-
tianity was always a minority in the world, but now its leaders
are becoming aware of the consequences of this fact . . . The
Moslem religion is conquering Africa and there is a great revi-
talization of ancient religions in Asia . . . Not to speak of the
fact that Communism presents a great threat to Christianity
everywhere . . With a view to bringing the Judeo-Christian
conception nearer to the understanding of every Christian, a
basic self-examination of Christian education is now going on
.x . . Especially in the field of textbooks which have for years
contained anti-Jewish insinuations, if not direct anti-Jewish
bias . . A significant Catholic-Jewish symposium at Loyola
University, a Catholic institution, in Chicago, led to the con-
clusion that the two religions can come together and probe what
they consider to be respective shortcomings . . . On the Protestant
side, the Yale Divinity School has carried out an important study
of teaching materials of Protestant groups with a recommenda-
tion to eliminate from there any remarks about which Jews are
With the United Nations General Assembly only two weeks
away, Arab intrigues in Washington against Israel are being
intensified . . . Their aim is to pressure the United States Govern-
ment into supporting the Arab demands against Israel at the
Assembly session . . . Especially, the demand that property
left in Israel by Palestine Arab refugees should be placed -
under United NationS custodianship . . . At present this property
is under the custody of a special body set by the Israel Govern-.
ment to admirilster,it,.in accordance with the international cus-
tom followed by any, country for enemy alien property . .
Opening the drive in Washington was none other than the
Ambassador of the United Arab Republic, Dr. Mostaga Kamel
. . . He provocatively dared the United States to show "courage"
at the UN and support the Arab demands against Israel there
. . . He implied that the U.S. would probably not show such
"courage" because, he asserted, "Israel and her Zionist groups
in the United States have injected their positions very deeply
into local politics" . . . 0, Yes! the Arab ambassador had also
something "wise" to say to leaders of American Jewry .. . "It
is time," he said, "that the leaders of the American Jewish
community should 'persuade' Israel's Premier David Ben-Gurion
to give up his "re-ingathering plan."