Current Focus on Dachau and
its Protestant Church of Reconciliation:
A Grotesque Display of Religion on the German Soil
or Is it Something Else?
Since 1960, four religious memorials have been erected at Dachau:
Arguably only the Jewish Memorial is a Holocaust Memorial, the others memorials being --at best-- memorials of World War II (WWII) and not of the Holocaust that was a part of WWII. (For this distinction and differentiation that not all victims of Nazism were victims of the Holocaust, please see, if you will, this Holocaust Definition detailing the Holocaust and its precise boundaries.)
-- the Catholic Mortal Agony of Christ chapel;
-- the Protestant Church of Reconciliation;
-- the Russian Orthodox chapel; and
-- the Jewish Memorial.
It is the purpose of this note to focus only on the Protestant Church of Reconciliation at Dachau.
In 1967 the Protestant Church in Germany built the Church of Reconciliation on the sacred grounds of Dachau --the infamous concentration camp of Germany.
According to the Church's website at <versoehnungskirche-dachau.de/engl-rundgang.htm> and posted by us as Exhibit-ProtestantChurch_Germany, the Church performs weekly services and other functions where, and we quote, "they try to help visitors at their public meeting room, they offer guided tours and courses, and celebrate a service every Sunday on 11 a.m." [underline supplied]
How a particular organized religion --no matter what that religion may be, could proclaim that its God would lead it to the path of forgiveness and reconciliation with the memory of the Holocaust and its victims?. Where was that elusive and imaginary God during the Holocaust when million of people, children and adults alike, young and old, male and female, were killed, tortured, humiliated and deprived of their liberty and pursuit of happiness solely for the reason of who they were and not for what they did or believed in? Does such a God deserves any worshiping, in the first place?
Let this be clear: The Holocaust most certainly was not about the Protestant victims of the Nazi Regime but about something entirely different. To see what Nazi Holocaust was and how is being defined, please click in here. The victims of the Nazi Regime opposing the Nazism were victims of the War and not of the Holocaust. This fundamental distinction that is being clearly emphasized in our definition of the Holocaust is completely absent from the Memorial Wall at Dachau where these words are being engraved:
To include all victims of the Nazism into one indistinguishable pot is a preposterous historical undertaking and a mockery of the victims of the Holocaust who were killed not because they were opposing anything (including any religious belief), but were killed solely because of who they were.
"May the example of those who were exterminated here between 1933-1945 because they resisted Nazism help to unite the living for the defence of peace and freedom and in respect for their fellow men."
The Protestant or Catholic victims of the Nazi Regime were infinitely small when compared with the millions victims of the Holocaust. Yet their memorialization, vested through the Protestant Church of Reconciliation build at Dachau appears to be at parity with the victims of the Holocaust. That preposterous travesty of History currently displayed on the German soil at Dachau is something that needs not be buried in silence. (The same goes of course for the Catholic Mortal Agony of Christ chapel and the Russian Orthodox chapel build at Dachau.)
On what sort of perverted religion this Church of Reconciliation has embraced to be guided to "celebrate" services on the grounds of Dachau --one of the most sacred grounds of the Holocaust? What is to "celebrate" there every Sunday? How sick an institution proclaiming to server God could be to see fit in placing its base of operation and "celebration" on the sacred grounds of the Holocaust? How anything can be celebrated on the grounds of Dachau?
Why the Government of Germany that made so many strides in confronting its horrendous Nazi past would allow a Church or for that matter anything else short of a Memorial be build and operate on the sacred grounds of Dachau?
There is absolute irrefutable historic evidence that the vast majority of the Protestant Church leadership did not lift even a finger in opposing the atrocities of the Nazi regime, with the exception of a few, very few, isolated cases. The Protestant and Christian Churches monstrous sins against all humanity can never be washed away or forgiven --as that would be a gross insult to the collective world's memory. There are things in history that can never ever be washed away or forgiven and, most certainly, the Nazi Holocaust is one such event.
This historic and irrefutable documented complacence of the Protestant Church to the killings and suffering of millions during the Holocaust years has been articulated in this way by the United States Holocaust Memorial in their summary analysis entitled "German Churches and the Nazi State":
Joseph Goebbels (far right) with German Catholic clergy and Nazi officials.
[Photo Credit: Bayerische Staatsbibliothek]
" In 1933, a small group of Protestant clergy formed the Pastors' Emergency League. Founded by Martin Niemoeller, the league took a stand against Nazi domination of the church. In 1934, the League's leaders founded the Confessing Church, representing a minority of all Protestant pastors in Germany. Its ideology was to resist Nazi coercion and to expose the moral hollowness of the pro-Nazi 'German Christian' movement.
The Confessing Church did not, however, protest Nazi racial or social policies. Although a very small number of individual German theologians --such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer-- opposed the regime, throughout the Nazi era the vast majority of the Protestant church leadership did not challenge the state's discriminatory legislation and actions."
What moral and historic standing the German Protestant Church could possible have had in building a church on the grounds of Dachau?, is a question that perhaps deserves an answer. Under what kind of twisted God the German Protestant Church is being guided? What are, if any, the current moral judgments of that church and its leadership?
How come the people entrusted with the guarding of Dachau would allow such an intrusion to take place into such a sacred place of history? What are their moral judgments?
Again and again we ask: How come the current Germany allows such a monumental travesty of history to continue to exist on its soil? --a soil that forever will remain tainted by its horrendous Nazi past.
It will be warranted perhaps to receive some answers from those in authority so to be able to have some understanding to all this and, be able to publish those answers and commentaries, in full, herein.
May God, if such thing exists outside man's imagination, have mercy on the German Protestant Church's monstrous sins during the Holocaust, or nobody will.
K. K. Brattman
October 31, 2006
Special Selected Links:
The Stuttgart Confession of Guilt
(Translated from the Original German)
From the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD):
1. First EKD Confession of Guilt Over Crimes Against Jews
2. An EKD Editorial on the Confession of Guilt
The Protestant Reaction To The Nazi Holocaust
by By Michael Hakeem, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Sociology
University of Wisconsin--Madison, USA
The Nazi Challenge to the German Protestant Church
by Victoria J. Barnett
Director for Church Relations, US Holocaust Museum
The Protestant Churches in Nazi Germany
The Role of the Churches: Compliance and Confrontation
by Victoria J. Barnett
Director for Church Relations, US Holocaust Museum
Martin Niemöller's visit to Dachau
by Dr. Harold Marcuse, Associate Professor of History
University of California, Santa Barbara, USA
Protestant Holocaust Scholar Confronts Years of Denial