Demonizing the Jews

Demonizing the Jews

Luther and the Protestant Church in Nazi Germany
Christopher J. Probst
Distribution: World
Publication date: 06/08/2012
Format: Hardback 9 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-00098-9
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The acquiescence of the German Protestant churches in Nazi oppression and murder of Jews is well documented. In this book, Christopher J. Probst demonstrates that a significant number of German theologians and clergy made use of the 16th-century writings by Martin Luther on Jews and Judaism to reinforce the racial antisemitism and religious anti-Judaism already present among Protestants. Focusing on key figures, Probst's study makes clear that a significant number of pastors, bishops, and theologians of varying theological and political persuasions employed Luther's texts with considerable effectiveness in campaigning for the creation of a "de-Judaized" form of Christianity. Probst shows that even the church most critical of Luther's anti-Jewish writings reaffirmed the antisemitic stereotyping that helped justify early Nazi measures against the Jews.

Author Bio

Christopher J. Probst is a visiting assistant professor of modern European history at Saint Louis University. He was a Charles H. Revson Foundation Fellow at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.


“A close look at specific ways in which Protestant theologians and pastors used and reacted to Luther in their teaching and preaching under Nazism. . . . In his treatment of the supposed disconnect between anti-Judaism and anti-Semitism, Probst shows how German Protestants during this period [following Luther] combined theological opposition to Jews with irrational, anti-Semitic stereotypes. . . . An important and useful book.”
 — Robert P. Ericksen, Kurt Mayer Professor of Holocaust Studies, Pacific Lutheran University

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
1. Protestantism in Nazi Germany
2. "Luther and the Jews"
3. Confessing Church and German Christian Academic Theologians
4. Confessing Church Pastors
5. German Christian Pastors and Bishops
6. Pastors and Theologians from the Unaffiliated Protestant "Middle"