After the horrors of the Holocaust were revealed, the question was
raised: How could it have happened? The shocking truth is that the Holocaust was the culmination of centuries of hatred and violent persecution,
often inspired by Christian theology.
I feel deeply convicted as a Christian but also as a German, for as
early as the Middle Ages Jews were mercilessly killed by the thousand in
German cities. Mother Basilea Schlink, founder of our community in
Darmstadt, Germany, writes movingly in her book Israel, My Chosen
People of how those who attack God's people attack Him, for Israel is
the apple of His eye.
Considering the atrocities committed against the Jews in the name of
Christ throughout much of Christianity's 2000-year history, how can we
celebrate the millennium without first expressing our deep sorrow over
the past in a spirit of repentance? By our unchristian attitude and behaviour we have brought shame upon the name of Jesus, making it offensive to His own people, the Jews And so today it is our prayer that
Christians all over the world will be inspired to commemorate the millennium with a service of repentance in a spirit of unity, acknowledging
our common Christian heritage.
Drawn from Christian and Jewish historical sources in English and
German, the following is a brief résumé of the horrific history of Christianity's dealings with the Jews -- dealings which paved the way for the
Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, Darmstadt
(an international and interdenominational Christian fellowship)
How It All Began
In the Early Church, Jews and Gentiles were gathered round
Jesus as one body, the dividing wall between Jew and Gentile
having been broken down. They were one flock with one Shepherd. Later on, the situation changed. More Gentiles entered the
Christian community so that the ratio of Gentiles to Jews steadily grew. Then, by and by, the Jews who had not yet entered the
Christian fold, were regarded no longer as brothers in the belief
in the one revealed God, but as aliens, even enemies. In spite of
all the difficulties and struggles that arose, there would have
been every reason to have been humbly and lovingly disposed
towards them, considering that it was from them that we have
received the law and the prophets and the Lord Jesus. It is not
without reason that the Apostle Paul exhorts us who believe in
Christ not to adopt a superior attitude towards the Jews but to
remain humbly aware that the Jews are the root of the tree.
They bear us, not we them, for we are only grafted in (Romans
11). But the evil one succeeded in luring the Christian Church
away from this humble, brotherly attitude when, in self-glory,
she appropriated all the graces and promises meant for Israel,
thereby expunging Israel from God's redemptive history.(1)
Theology and a Stolen Birthright
It was after the age of the apostles that those other elements of imagined superiority crept into Christian teaching, stealing Israel's birthright. The so-called Letter of Barnabas (dated late first century or early
second) spiritualised the Old Testament, claiming that it only
prefigured Christ and the Church:
Do not add to your sins and say that the covenant is both theirs
and ours. Yes! It is ours; but they thus lost it forever.(2)
This, plus similar sentiments contained in the letters of Ignatius of
Antioch (70-107 AD), gave rise to the theory that the Church is the
New Israel.(3) Later the Emperor Constantine was to declare that the land
of Israel no longer belonged to the Jewish people. From that time
forward, he said, it belonged to the Christian Church.(4) All this is simply
Replacement or Covenant Theology(5) in embryo. Gaining especial momentum between the 1400s and 1700s, it is with us to this day.
After the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (70 AD) and the
Bar Kokba Revolt (132-135 AD), Judaism did not disappear but regained its vitality and influence. Consequently, the argument that the
Church had replaced Israel was no longer convincing. Moreover, as the
struggle between Christians and Jews to win converts among the
pagans intensified, Judaism was seen as a threat to the Church. To
counter this threat, Christian theology tried to create a non-Jewish
Jesus.(6) The strangest proofs (ranging from Abraham's faith to the
promise given to Adam) were cited, all with a view to supporting the
argument that the Church not only predates Israel, but is, in fact,
'eternal Israel' (Tertullian).(7)
The dangers of such a mentality are evident from the Third Reich
when Hitler, seeking to win over the Christians, promoted an Aryan, or
Next, the Jews were accused of deicide (the crime of killing God).
Although Matthew 20:18-19 and Acts 4:26-28 clearly state that the
Gentiles were also to blame for Jesus' crucifixion, the theory of exclusive Jewish guilt and punishment came into vogue. The 'tribulations
were justly imposed upon you, for you have murdered the Just One'
(Justin c.100-165).(8) Third-century Christian theologians, including
Hippolytus and Origen, elaborated on this theory. In the fourth century
it was to dominate Christian thinking.(9)
Meanwhile, as 'ordinary' Christians continued to mix with Jews or
even visit the synagogues, Church leaders, fearful of losing their flock,
increased their verbal attacks, in order to inspire fear and revulsion of
Chrysostom (344-407), whose name means 'golden mouth',
denounced the Jews in the strongest language: 'most miserable of all
men' -- 'lustful, rapacious, greedy, perfidious bandits' -- 'inveterate
murderers, destroyers, men possessed by the devil' -- 'debauchery and
drunkenness have given them the manners of the pig and the lusty
goat' -- 'pests of the universe' -- 'they have surpassed the ferocity of
wild beasts, for they murder their offspring.'(11)
But far more damaging was the theology this highly esteemed
Church Father developed concerning the fate of the Jews as a result of
their deicide. For this crime, he maintained, there is 'no expiation
possible, no indulgence, no pardon'; their 'odious assassination of
Christ' was the origin of all their woes.(12)
'God hates you.' These words of Chrysostom popularized Jew-hatred for centuries to come. Thus, to quote one historian: 'The popular
Christian doctrine has always been that anyone, whether pagan or
Christian, who has at any time persecuted, tortured or massacred Jews
has acted as an instrument of Divine wrath.'(13)
Chrysostom's contemporary, Augustine (354-430), though more
restrained, was ambivalent. While reaffirming Paul's attitude that we
have a duty to love the Jews, he shared the view of other Church Fathers that Judas was the image of the Jewish people. From Augustine
came the theory that the Jews are a witness-people destined to live as
testimony to both evil and Christian truth, but who were not to be
killed, for like Cain they bore a sign.(14) 'Let them live among us, but let
them suffer and be continually humiliated' (Augustine).(15) The witness-people theory was later misused by many as a pretext for increasing the
misery of Jews, short of taking their lives.
From Theology to Law
After Christianity became officially recognized under Constantine in
the fourth century, theology was translated into government policy, and
the Synagogue came under repressive measures.(16) Under Emperor
Justinian I (483-565) many laws protecting Jewish religious and civil
rights were abolished and restrictions imposed.(17) Later, in the seventh
century, for political purposes the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius imposed forced baptism upon the Jews in order to ensure unity within his
realm.(18) This practice was to be repeated elsewhere with devastating
results in following centuries.(19)
The Middle Ages
In medieval society, the close link between Church and State meant
that the seeds of Christian anti-Semitism, already sown, yielded terrible
The year 1096 ushered in a period of viciously cruel harassment unique
in Jewish history in terms of duration: the Crusades.(20)
Great, ill-organized hordes of nobles, knights, monks, and peasants -- 'God wills it' on their lips as they set off to free the Holy
Land from the Muslim infidel -- suddenly turned on the Jews
One chronicler, Guibert of Nogent (1053-1124), reported the
crusaders of Rouen as saying: 'We desire to combat the
enemies of God in the East; but we have under our eyes the
Jews, a race more inimical to God than all the others. We are
doing this whole thing backwards.'(21)
Approximately a quarter to one-third of the entire Jewish population in Germany and northern France was murdered during the First
In Jerusalem the Jews fled from the Crusaders, locking themselves
in the main synagogue, where all 969 were burnt to death. Outside, the
Crusaders, who believed they were avenging the death of Christ, sang,
Christ, We Adore Thee, holding their Crusader crosses aloft. Earlier
that day, as the Crusaders ran over the mutilated bodies of those
slaughtered, one leader, Raymond of Aguilers, quoted Psalm 118:24:
'This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in
it.' The Crusaders intended to make Jerusalem a Christian city.(23)
Doomed to Perpetual Servitude
During the first two Crusades German Jews appealed to the crown for
help. In return for royal protection they were made 'serfs of the Imperial Chamber'. Required to pay vast sums for this privilege, the Jews
eventually became a very real source of royal revenue. As the king's
property, they could be -- and were -- bought, loaned and sold, to pay
off creditors.(24) The custom spread to other countries. Church leaders
justified this status theologically on the basis of earlier Church teaching
that the Jews were doomed to perpetual servitude for having crucified
Other factors, too, contributed to the demeaning of the Jews. Barred
from most professions and the guilds which permitted only Christian
membership, Jews were virtually forced into money-lending as outsiders in feudal society. Rather like a sponge, they would soak up the
floating capital in the country, only to be periodically squeezed by the
exchequer.(26) Though frowning on Christians practising usury, the
Church would borrow money from Jews to build cathedrals and
churches.(27) The negative image of the Jewish money-lender was later
immortalized in Shakespeare's Shylock and Dickens' Fagin.(28)
Sadly, the protection for which the Jews paid such a high price did
not always materialize. Sometimes economic motives also lay behind
the massacre of Jews. At the time of the Third Crusade one of the most
tragic anti-Jewish riots in England occurred in York.(29)
There, Crusaders, before setting out to follow their King, plundered the possessions of the Jews, who fled into the royal castle
where they were besieged by the warriors -- many of whom
were deeply in debt to their quarry. The climax was reached
when a stone, thrown from the castle, killed a monk whose
custom it was to celebrate Mass outside the castle every morning and urge the people to 'destroy the enemies of Christ'.
When the Jews saw the fury of the besiegers and felt their fate
to be sealed, they took their own lives, cutting one another's
throats. When the mobs gained access to the tower, the few
Jews left, who begged for baptism and deliverance, were
slaughtered. The total casualties have been estimated variously
from 500 to 1500. From this scene of carnage, the attackers
converged on the cathedral and burned all the records of financial obligations to the Jews kept in its archives.(30)
Writing in 1135, the French scholar Pierre Abelard has the Jew in
Dialogue between a Philosopher, a Jew, and a Christian speak these
No nation has ever suffered so much for God. Dispersed among
all nations, without king or secular ruler, the Jews are oppressed
with heavy taxes as if they had to repurchase their very lives
every day. To mistreat the Jews is considered a deed pleasing to
God. Such imprisonment as is endured by the Jews can be
conceived by the Christians only as a sign of God's utter wrath.
The life of the Jews is in the hands of their worst enemies. Even
in their sleep they are plagued by nightmares. Heaven is their
only place of refuge. If they want to travel to the nearest town,
they have to buy protection with the high sums of money from
the Christian rulers who actually wish for their death so that
they can confiscate their possessions. The Jews cannot own land
or vineyards because there is nobody to vouch for their safekeeping. Thus, all that is left them as a means of livelihood is
the business of money-lending, and this in turn brings the
hatred of Christians upon them.(31)
Though opposed to mass murder of Jews, France's Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) declared that they were 'a race who had not God for
their father, but were of the devil'. Following the custom of theologians
of his day, he had taken a scripture (John 8:44) and applied it to the
whole Jewish people for all time. Centuries later Nazi leader Julius
Streicher carried this further, recommending 'the extermination of that
people whose father is the devil'.(32)
An early example of the scapegoat theory occurred in 1021 when Pope
Benedict VIII had Jews executed, blaming them for a hurricane and an
When the Black Death (1347-1350) broke out in Europe, the Jews
were held responsible: they had poisoned the wells. In southern France,
northern Spain, Switzerland, Bavaria, Rhineland, eastern Germany,
Belgium, Poland and Austria the charge was believed -- and over 200
Jewish communities throughout Europe were destroyed. The extent of
the tragedy can best be gauged by the reported 10,000 casualties in
Poland -- where the Jews escaped comparatively lightly. Considerably
more than 10,000 were killed in three German towns (Erfurt, Mainz
and Breslau) alone.(34)
Originating in antiquity, the charge of ritual murder was first levelled
against Jews by Christians in twelfth-century England. Jews were said
to kill Christian children, often before Easter, for ritual purposes. These
fabrications, known as the Blood Libel, which made a cult of the
supposed victims, were to take a toll of thousands of lives throughout
Europe.(35) The tale of little Hugh of Lincoln was incorporated in
Chaucer's Prioress' Tale.(36) Between 1880 and 1945 the ritual-murder
lie was widespread in central Eastern Europe, among both Roman
Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians.(37) The Nazi newspaper Der
Stürmer regularly featured rabbis sucking the blood of German
A similar accusation was that the Jews desecrated the sacred elements
in Holy Communion (the Host) in an attempt to crucify Jesus anew.(39)
In 1298 the host-desecration accusation caused Röttingen's entire
Jewish community to be burned at the stake. Their attackers went on to
massacre Jews elsewhere in Germany and also in Austria. According to
estimates, 100,000 were murdered, and some 140 Jewish communities
In Prague, in 1389, a priest carrying a wafer host was accidentally
sprayed with sand by Jewish children at play. As a result 3000 Jews
The Badge of Shame
In 1215 the Fourth Lateran Council, called by Pope Innocent III, decreed that, on the basis of Numbers 15:37-41, Jews should wear distinctive dress (a restriction also applied to Saracens and later to heretics, prostitutes and lepers).(42) In addition, a distinctive mark was
imposed on their clothing -- centuries before the Nazis' Yellow Star
-- the badge of shame, the shape and colour of which varied from
country to country. The badge of shame made Jews social outcasts,
exposing them to both physical and verbal abuse.(43)
This expression, denoting baptism chosen as an alternative to death or
exile, became a big issue in medieval Spain. In 1391, when some
50,000 Jews died in riots instigated by the preaching of Ferrand
Martinez, an archdeacon in Seville, several times that number were
baptized, including many rabbis.(44) Forced baptism, however, created a
problem, since many of the converts still practised their former faith
secretly, while others compromised for personal advantage; both
groups were called marranos, meaning 'swine'.(45)
Obsession with Purity of Blood
In Spain anti-Semitism as well as anti-marranism grew alarmingly.
The notion arose that hereditary Jewishness or mala sangre (bad blood)
was the problem, a problem which not even baptism could alter.
Spanish racism, the obsession with pure blood, was born.(46)
Similarly, racism was the basis of the Nazis' Aryan Paragraph and
Nuremberg Laws, barring Jews from public office and denying them
The Spanish Inquisition
In 1480 King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain established a
tribunal to purge the Church of those who clandestinely clung to their
Jewish faith. Wholesale arrests followed. In 1481 the first victims were
burnt at the stake.(48) Over the years an estimated 30,000 marranos were
consigned to the flames. The Spanish Inquisition had a long history
(from the fifteenth century until the threshold of the nineteenth)(49) and
a wide geographical reach, spreading with all its well-documented atrocities to Latin America.
Jews have been expelled from nearly every country in which
they have resided.(50)
In 1290 the Jews were expelled from England. Sixteen thousand left for
France and Belgium, some to meet with death on the way.(51)
There were repeated expulsions of Jews from France and Germany.
Ferdinand and Isabella expelled all Jews from Spain in 1492 in order to consolidate their Christian realm. Many of the 300,000 refugees
fled to Portugal. There they were permitted to stay for a few months,
but at a price. Afterwards they were temporarily enslaved by King
John II (1481-1495), then -- freed by his successor -- brutally and
Jewish sufferings were often a highlight of pre-Lenten carnivals.
In medieval Rome the weakest member of the Jewish community
would be thrust naked into a nail-spiked barrel and rolled down the hill
to his death, his fellow-Jews forced to watch his martyrdom.(53)
At the time of the Counter Reformation, Jews in Rome, especially
fattened for the occasion, were pelted with mud by the crowds -- 'as
the faithless deserve' -- and made to run naked through the streets of
the carnival in the icy cold and rain.(54)
Martin Luther (1483-1546) originally favoured the Jews in the hope
that they would accept his form of the faith, even praising their contribution to Christianity. However, when he did not succeed in converting
the Jews, his attitude changed dramatically.
All the blood kindred of Christ burn in hell, and they are rightly
served, even according to their own words they spoke to
Verily a hopeless, wicked, venomous and devilish thing is
the existence of these Jews, who for fourteen hundred years
have been, and still are, our pest, torment and misfortune. They
are just devils and nothing more.(55)
In the tract Concerning the Jews and Their Lies (published 1542)
Firstly, their synagogues should be set on fire Secondly, their
homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed
Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer-books and Talmuds Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat
of death to teach any more Fifthly, passport and travelling
privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews Sixthly,
they ought to be stopped from usury Seventhly, let the young
and strong Jews and Jewesses be given the flail, the axe, the
hoe, the spade, the distaff, and spindle, and let them earn their
bread by the sweat of their noses We ought to drive the
rascally lazy bones out of our system Therefore away with
To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your
domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a
better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable
devilish burden -- the Jews.(56)
In a sermon shortly before his death he called for the immediate expulsion of all Jews from Germany.(57)
Later, Luther's anti-Semitic teachings were to be applied literally in
the Third Reich.
The Renaissance popes had been fairly liberal in their treatment of
Jews in Italy, but the Counter-Reformation, especially with Pope
Paul IV (1555-1559) at the helm, brought an abrupt change in attitude.(58) In the second half of the sixteenth century ghettos were introduced, firstly in Italy and then in the Austrian Empire. The ghetto was
considered an additional demonstration of the error of Judaism: 'A
Jewish ghetto is a better proof of the truth of the religion of Jesus Christ
than a whole school of theologians' (G. B. Roberti, eighteenth
The Modern Era
By the modern era Christian anti-Semitism was so deeply entrenched
that it shaped the attitudes of ordinary people, regardless of Christian
tradition or political persuasion.
The taunt 'Christ-killers' continued to be hurled at Jews. A young
child who, in 1921, fled with his family from Kiev to Poland, later
recalled the first Polish sentence he had been taught: 'The Jews killed
Caught in the Middle
Poland was once a haven for German Jews fleeing from the Crusades,
the Black Death and repeated massacres.(60) But then the situation was
complicated by Polish-Ukrainian relationships. As Eastern Orthodox
Christians oppressed by Polish Catholics, the Ukrainians came to resent
particularly the Jewish middlemen acting on behalf of the hated Poles.
When in 1648 Eastern Orthodox Cossacks from the Ukraine devastated
Poland, the Jews were singled out for special cruelties.(61)
An eye-witness reported:
Some were flayed alive and their skins were tossed to the dogs
as meat. Others were severely wounded and then thrown onto
the streets Others were buried alive. Babes in their mothers'
arms were stabbed to death Large numbers of Jewish children were thrown into the water in order to make the fords
Other atrocities are unmentionable.
During the Swedish invasion of 1655-1658, Polish Jews were
again, so to speak, caught in the crossfire. They were attacked in turn
by Russians, Cossacks and Swedes and, after their departure, by the
Poles themselves on the grounds that they had aided the invaders.(63)
In Poland, from 1648-1658, until then perhaps the bloodiest decade
in Jewish history since biblical times, some 100,000 to 500,000 Jews
were murdered, and 700 Jewish communities destroyed. Refugees fled
in droves to other European countries.(64)
In Russia, during the civil war between the White and Red Armies
(1918-1920), Jews were attacked by both sides -- by the White Army
as revolutionaries and by the Red Army as bourgeois oppressors.
In the wake of Jewish emancipation in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Jews' new status was not welcomed by all. In
Germany anti-Semitism took on racist features in reaction to the move
towards Jewish assimilation.
In 1819 one pamphleteer went so far as to propose massacres,
castrations, and consignment of Jewesses to prostitution. These
extravagances moved Graetz -- no friend of Catholicism -- to
state: 'Protestant theology and German philosophy proposed
regulations against Jews unrivalled by the canonical restrictions
of Innocent III and Paul IV.'(65)
The Dreyfus Affair
When in France, in 1894, a French Jewish officer, Alfred Dreyfus, was
accused of spying, a wave of extreme anti-Semitism was unleashed --
and that in one of the most civilized countries in the world, and the first
in Europe to grant emancipation to the Jews. In the end Dreyfus was
exonerated, but not before the affair scandalized the world and rocked
the French government, leaving behind much bitterness towards Jews.
One of its legacies was the Vichy regime, which collaborated with the
With the partition of Poland in the late eighteenth century, Russia became governor of the largest body of Jews in the world. Catherine II
restricted Jews to the newly won provinces, now called the 'Pale of
Settlement'. At the same time she invited foreigners, excluding Jews,
to settle in Central Russia.(67) Under Nicholas I (1825-1855) the situation
for the Jews worsened. Military conscription began at age 12 for
Jewish youths and could be extended up to 25 years. They were sent to
remote areas. Every method was employed, including torture and
verbal abuse, to make them renounce their faith and accept
After Russia, Romania at that time was the greatest oppressor of
Jews. Its population of 200,000 Jews suffered in conditions similar to
those in the worst days of the Middle Ages.(69)
During the reign of Czar Alexander III, Russia's first major pogrom
began at Easter 1881 and spread to a hundred Jewish communities.
The czar's anti-Semitic adviser intended to solve the Jewish problem
by causing a third to emigrate, a third to die, and a third to disappear
(i.e. to be converted).(70) Pogroms and accompanying mass emigrations
continued under Czar Nicholas II (1894-1917), who regarded the Jews
as Christ-killers Even after World War II, pogroms occurred in
Poland, despite the horrors of the Holocaust and the greatly decimated
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion
First appearing in 1905 in czarist Russia, this anti-Semitic propaganda
charged the Jews with conspiring to conquer the world. Translated into
many languages after World War I, it made a lasting impact on the
twentieth century, even after being exposed as a forgery in 1921. Three
editions were given wide circulation in America due to the efforts of
Henry Ford, the influential industrialist.(72) In 1922 the Jewish foreign
minister of Germany's Weimar Republic was murdered by two fanatics
imagining him to be one of the 'Elders of Zion'.(73) In Nazi Germany the
influence of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion reached a peak.(74)
Although Nazism was anti-Christian, Christian anti-Semitism made the
Hitler and the Nazis found in medieval Catholic anti-Jewish
legislation a model for their own, and they read and reprinted
Martin Luther's virulently anti-Semitic writings. It is instructive
that the Holocaust was unleashed by the only major country in
Europe having approximately equal numbers of Catholics and
Protestants. Both traditions were saturated with Jew-hatred.(75)
Kristallnacht, in November 1938, the night the synagogues were
burnt in Germany, was chosen in honour of the anniversary of Luther's
birthday. Hitler claimed, as he chronicled his sixteen steps to Nazi policy, 'I am only doing the work of the Catholic Church.'(76)
An awkward situation was created for the churches when baptized Jews with stars turned up for services The representatives of the Evangelical-Lutheran church in seven provinces
invoked the teachings of Martin Luther to declare that racially
Jewish Christians had no place and no rights in a German
Although individual Christians assisted the Jews, the official
Church generally did not.(78)
World War II
Even in the face of the horrors of full-blown Nazism, many failed the
Jews in their hour of need. Centuries of anti-Semitism took their toll in
At a war-crimes trial in 1958 a former Lithuanian minister was
asked why he remained silent in the face of the terrible shootings he
witnessed. His reply was that he believed the scripture verse was being
fulfilled for the Jews: 'His blood be on us and our children.' Horrific
though it is that this scripture could be used to justify such callousness,
similar views have been expressed by Christians of other nationalities.(80)
When a papal ambassador was asked to intervene in the deportations from Slovakia to Auschwitz, considering the innocent blood of
Jewish children, his reply was: 'There is no innocent blood of Jewish
children in the world. All Jewish blood is guilty. You have to die. This
is the punishment that has been awaiting you, because of that sin [the
Switzerland closed its borders. The strict immigration policies of
Canada and America prevented many Jews from entering those countries.(82) The British government reneged on their promises to the Jews
concerning a national homeland (as stated in the 1917 Balfour Declaration), closing the door to thousands of Jews seeking asylum in Palestine during and immediately after the Nazi era.(83) The tragedy of the
Struma deserves special mention. After being turned away by the
British, the ship was torpedoed in the Black Sea in the winter of 1942;
of the 769 Jewish refugees on board only one survived.(84)
Sadly, after 2000 years of Christianity, this is the charge to be laid at
the door of virtually all. In fact, had it not been for the abject passiveness of almost the entire world community on the eve of World War II,
Hitler could not have gone ahead with his mass extermination of the
Jews. At the Evian-les-Bains conference in France, specifically convened by President Roosevelt in July 1938 to discuss the lot of
European Jewry, only three of over thirty nations (Denmark, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands) volunteered to take in a few thousand Jews. Nazi informers reported back to Hitler: 'You can do what
you like with the Jews, nobody wants them.'(85)
A Call to Repentance
The Catholic priest and historian Edward Flannery, reflecting on Christian anti-Semitism, observes:
It is a tragedy in which Jesus participates, crucified again in the
person of His people at the hand of many baptized in His name.
The sin of anti-Semitism contains many sins, but in the end it is
a denial of Christian faith, a failure of Christian hope, and a
malady of Christian love. And was not this Christianity's supreme defection: that the Christian people to whom persecution
was promised by its Master (John 16:2-4) was not the most
persecuted people in Christendom, but rather was it the people
from whom He came? And the ultimate scandal: that in carrying
the burden of God in history the Jewish people did not find in
the Christian churches an ally and defender but one of their
most zealous detractors and oppressors? It is a story that calls
In the same spirit Mother Basilea writes:
Today let us take our place at Jesus' side and look upon His
people with His eyes, full of love and mercy. Then our hearts
would ache to see this chosen people of God wandering through
the centuries, wretched, despised, shunned, ostracized and afflicted with pain like the suffering Servant of God in Isaiah 53.
Then, looking on them, we would be reminded of Him.(87)
Material from Has the Church Fallen Under a Curse?, Our Hands Are Stained with
Blood, and The Anguish of the Jews has been used by kind permission of the
Abella, Irving and Harold Troper, None Is Too Many: Canada and the
Jews of Europe, 1933-1948, published 1983 by Lester Publishing Limited,
56 The Esplanade, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1A7.
Broadway, Dr. William James, Has the Church Fallen Under a Curse? And
if the Whole Congregation Sins, published 1996 by Broadway Ministries,
Box 55003, Knottwood Postal Outlet, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6K
4C5. Fax: (403) 450-4238. Phone: (403) 910-0478.
Brown, Michael L., Our Hands Are Stained with Blood: The Tragic Story
of the "Church" and the Jewish People, published 1992 by Destiny Image
Publishers, P.O.Box 310, Shippensburg, PA 17257, U.S.A.
(Inside the U.S., call toll free to order: 1-800-722-6774.)
Burnett, Ken, Why Pray for Israel?, published 1983 by Marshall-Pickering,
3 Beggarwood Lane, Basingstoke, Hants. RG23 7LP, England.
Flannery, Edward H., The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of
Antisemtism, published 1985 by Paulist Press, 997 Macarthur Boulevard,
Mahwah, N.J. 07430, U.S.A.
Israel Pocket Library, Anti-Semitism, published 1974 by Keter Publishing
House Jerusalem Ltd., P.O.Box 7145, Jerusalem, Israel.
Schlink, M. Basilea, Israel, My Chosen People, (originally published in
German in 1958), latest English edition 1995, Kanaan Publications,
Darmstadt, Germany and Radlett, England.
© Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, 1997.
For further copies of this free information leaflet as well as suggestions for
a service of repentance write to:
Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, P.O.Box 13 01 29, D-64241 Darmstadt,
Australia Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary,
30 Taylor Place, Theresa Park, NSW 2570
Canada Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary
4285 Heritage Drive, Tracy, NB, E0G 3C0
and R.R.1, Millet, Alberta, T0C 1Z0
U.K. Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary, Radlett, Herts. WD7 8DE
U.S.A. Evangelical Sisterhood of Mary
P.O.Box 30022, Phoenix, AZ 85046-0022
1. M. Basilea Schlink, Israel, My Chosen People, Kanaan Publications, Darmstadt,
Germany, 1995, pp.27-28.
2. The Letter of Barnabas, 4:6-7; FCCH, Apostolic Fathers, p.195, as cited by Edward
H. Flannery, The Anguish of the Jews: Twenty-Three Centuries of Antisemitism,
Paulist Press, New York/Mahwah, 1985, p.34.
3. Ibid., pp.34-35; also Dr. William James Broadway, Has the Church Fallen Under a
Curse?, Broadway Ministries, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, p.16.
4. Transcript of a talk by Olga Marshall (Lydia Research Adviser), Swanwick, England,
May 1997, p.7.
5. Broadway, p.7.
6. Flannery, p.38.
7. Tertullian, Apol. 17:6 (PL, 1:433), as cited ibid., p.39.
8. Dialogue, ch.16; FCCH, St. Justin Martyr, p.172, as cited ibid., p.40.
9. Ibid., p.46.
10. Ibid., pp.46, 50.
11. Ibid., pp.50-51; also Homily I:6 (PG, 48:852), as cited ibid., p.64.
12. Ibid., p.51.
13. Quoted in Malcolm Hay, The Roots of Christian Anti-Semitism, Liberty Press, New
York, 1981, p.27, as cited by Michael L. Brown, Our Hands Are Stained with Blood:
The Tragic Story of the "Church" and the Jewish People, Destiny Image Publishers,
Shippensburg, 1992, p.11.
14. Flannery, pp.52-53.
15. Marshall, p.7.
16. Flannery, pp.47-48, 55-58.
17. Ibid., pp.68-69.
18. Ibid., p.70.
19. Ibid., p.71.
20. Ibid., p.91; see also Eerdmans' Handbook to the History of Christianity, Grand
Rapids, 1977, pp.24-25.
21. Flannery, pp.91-92.
22. Ibid., p.93.
23. David Rausch, A Legacy of Hatred: Why Christians Must Not Forget the Holocaust,
Baker, Grand Rapids, 1990, p. 27, and Robert Payne, The Dream and the Tomb: A
History of the Crusades, Dorset Press, New York, 1984, pp.102-103, as cited by
24. Flannery, p.95.
25. Brown, p.13, Flannery, pp.51, 53, 96.
26. Flannery, p.97.
27. Ibid., p.97. See also Anti-Semitism, Keter Publishing House, Jerusalem, 1974, p.17.
28. Ibid., pp.98, 121.
29. Flannery, pp.98, 119.
30. Ibid., p.119.
31. Petrus Abelardus, Dialogus inter Philosophum, Judaeum, et Christianum (PL,
178:1617-18), as cited by Flannery, pp.142-143.
32. Brown, p.12; also Hay, pp.54-56, as cited by Brown, p.179.
33. Hans Kühner, Der Antisemitismus der Kirche, Verlag Die Waage, Zurich, 1976, p.108.
34. Flannery, pp.109, 111.
35. Ibid, pp.99-100; also Broadway, p.30.
36. Flannery, p.121.
37. James Parkes, The Foundations of Judaism and Christianity, as cited by Dennis
Prager and Joseph Telushkin, Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism, Simon and
Schuster, New York, 1983, p.100, as cited by Brown, p.62.
38. Prager and Telushkin, pp.100-101, as cited by Brown, p.63.
39. Prager and Telushkin, p.103, as cited by Broadway, p.29.
40. Flannery, p.107.
41. Ibid., p.112.
42. Ibid., p.103.
43. Ibid., pp.103-104.
44. Ibid., p.132.
45. Ibid., pp.135-136.
46. Ibid., p.136.
47. Anti-Semitism, p.47.
48. Flannery, p.137.
49. Brown, p.78.
50. Prager and Telushkin, pp.17-18, as cited by Brown, p.99.
51. Flannery, p.120.
52. Ibid., pp.139-140.
53. Kühner, p.107.
54. Ibid., p.166.
55. John Hagee, Should Christians Support Israel?, Dominion Publishers, San Antonio,
1987, p.167, as cited by Broadway, p.35.
56. Martin Luther, Concerning the Jews and Their Lies, reprinted in Talmage, Disputation
and Dialogue, pp.34-36, as cited by Brown, pp.14-15.
57. Flannery, p.153.
58. Ibid., p.155.
59. Anti-Semitism, p.23.
60. Flannery, pp.155-156.
61. Ibid., p.157.
62. Werner Keller, Und wurden zerstreut unter alle Völker: Die nachbiblische Geschichte
des jüdischen Volkes, Evangelische Buchgemeinde Stuttgart, Droemersche
Verlagsanstalt Th. Knaur Nachf., Munich/Zurich, 1966, pp.330-331.
63. Flannery, pp.157-158.
64. Ibid., p.158.
65. Ibid., p.165.
66. Ibid., p.186.
67. Ibid., p.171.
68. Ibid., p.172.
69. Ibid., p.173.
70. Ibid., pp.189-190.
71. Ibid., pp.191, 272.
72. Ibid., pp.192-193.
73. Ibid., pp.207-208.
74. Ibid., p.193.
75. Prager and Telushkin, p.104, as cited by Brown, p.7.
76. Hagee, Should Christians Support Israel?, p.19, as cited by Broadway, p.37.
77. Raul Hillberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, p.58, as cited by Brown, p.181.
78. Eerdmans' Handbook to the History of Christianity, p.584, also pp.575-578.
79. Ibid., pp.50-51; also Walter A. Elwell, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Marshall-Pickering, England, 1985, pp.519-520.
80. Rudolf Pfisterer, Verantwortung, 1985, p.217.
81. Eliezer Berkovits, Faith After the Holocaust, Ktav, New York, 1973, p.19, as cited by
82. Irving Abella and Harold Troper, None Is Too Many: Canada and the Jews of Europe,
1933-1948, Lester Publishing Limited, 56 The Esplanade, Toronto, Ontario M5E 1A7,
83. Ken Burnett, Why Pray for Israel?, Marshall-Pickering, England, 1983, pp.94-100.
84. Sarah Honig, 'The last voyage of the Struma', The Jerusalem Post International
Edition, February 1, 1992.
85. Prophecy Today, The Park, Moggerhanger, Beds., MK44 3RW, England, Vol.5, No.1,
Jan./Feb. 1989, pp.12-13. See also None Is Too Many, p.32, and Martin Gilbert (author of
The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War, Henry
Holt, New York, 1985), in Final Journey: The fate of the Jews in Nazi Europe,
Mayflower Books, New York, and George Allen & Unwin, London, 1979, pp.1-9.
86. Flannery, p.295.
87. Schlink, p.39.