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Kirk Cameron and the rabid, creationist lunatic wing have recently revved up, once again, the idiotic lie that Darwin's ideas on evolution are the direct cause of the Holocaust. Social Darwinism--which Darwin himself rejected--is cited as the link between the two. Never mind that Hitler's diseased brain thoroughly misunderstood almost any idea presented to it. The Holocaust is all Darwin's fault, according to the creationists.

Well, as a history teacher who for many years taught a course on the history of Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia, I think it's important to understand the historical context in which Nazi ideas emerged, and to see what ideas were already in the minds of Europe's people prior to 1933, ideas that had been passed down from generation to generation, ideas that made the nonsense of the racists seem plausible. Let's take a look. [Note: this is a really long post. I posted an earlier version of this diary in 2006. I thought it worthwhile and appropriate to repost and greatly expand the earlier version. I think it will be worth your time.]

From the fifth century theologian Augustine:

But the Jews who slew Him, and would not believe in Him, because it behoved Him to die and rise again, were yet more miserably wasted by the Romans, and utterly rooted out from their kingdom, where aliens had already ruled over them, and were dispersed through the lands (so that indeed there is no place where they are not), and are thus by their own Scriptures a testimony to us that we have not forged the prophecies about Christ. And very many of them, considering this, even before His passion, but chiefly after His resurrection, believed on Him, of whom it was predicted, "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, the remnant shall be saved." [Isaiah 10:22 and Romans 9:27-28] But the rest are blinded, of whom it was predicted, "Let their table be made before them a trap, and a retribution, and a stumbling-block. Let their eyes be darkened lest they see, and bow down their back alway." [Psalm 69:22-23 and Romans 9:9-10] Therefore, when they do not believe our Scriptures, their own, which they blindly read, are fulfilled in them, lest perchance any one should say that the Christians have forged these prophecies about Christ which are quoted under the name of the sibyl, or of others, if such there be, who do not belong to the Jewish people. For us, indeed, those suffice which are quoted from the books of our enemies, to whom we make our acknowledgment, on account of this testimony which, in spite of themselves, they contribute by their possession of these books, while they themselves are dispersed among all nations, wherever the Church of Christ is spread abroad. For a prophecy about this thing was sent before in the Psalms, which they also read, where it is written, "My God, His mercy shall prevent me. My God hath shown me concerning mine enemies, that Thou shalt not slay them, lest they should at last forget Thy law: disperse them in Thy might."[Psalm 69:10-11] Therefore God has shown the Church in her enemies the Jews the grace of His compassion, since, as saith the apostle, "their offence is the salvation of the Gentiles."[Romans 11:11] And therefore He has not slain them, that is, He has not let the knowledge that they are Jews be lost in them, although they have been conquered by the Romans, lest they should forget the law of God, and their testimony should be of no avail in this matter of which we treat. But it was not enough that he should say, "Slay them not, lest they should at last forget Thy law," unless he had also added, "Disperse them;" because if they had only been in their own land with that testimony of the Scriptures, and not every where, certainly the Church which is everywhere could not have had them as witnesses among all nations to the prophecies which were sent before concerning Christ.

In short, the suffering of the Jews is the fulfillment of prophecy and an example of what happens to those who reject Christ's message.

From St. John Chrysostom, Fourth Century:

Although such beasts [Jews] are unfit for work, they are fit for killing. And this is what happened to the Jews: while they were making themselves unfit for work, they grew fit for slaughter. This is why Christ said: "But as for these my enemies, who did not want me to be king over them, bring them here and slay them". You Jews should have fasted then, when drunkenness was doing those terrible things to you, when your gluttony was giving birth to your ungodliness-not now. Now your fasting is untimely and an abomination. Who said so? Isaiah himself when he called out in a loud voice: "I did not choose this fast, say the Lord". Why? "You quarrel and squabble when you fast and strike those subject to you with your fists". But if you fasting was an abomination when you were striking your fellow slaves, does it become acceptable now that you have slain your Master? How could that be right?

No comment necessary.

Pope Gregory I, the Great (died 604 AD) from the Jewish Encyclopedia.com:

Gregory had a deep-seated aversion to Judaism, which to him was Jewish superstition ("superstitio"), depravity ("perditio"), and faithlessness ("perfidia"). He discarded the literal interpretation of the Bible which prevailed among the Jews, and designated their attacks upon Christianity as idle prattle. He forbade the literal observance of the Sabbath law, wide-spread among the Christians, on the ground that it was Jewish; and his deepest grievance against the Nestorians was that they were like the Jews. He extolled the Visigothic king Reccared for his severe measures against the Jews and for his firmness against their attempts at bribery.

In fairness, it should be stated that Gregory at least forbade violence against Jews and was opposed to forcible conversion and forced baptism.

From Gates of Jewish Heritage, an account of the First Crusade, 1095-96:

In 1095 Pope Urban II declared a holy war, a Crusade, against the Muslims to make the Holy Land Christian again. Meanwhile, the feudal system in Europe was beginning to break up. The huge land barons and the Church owed millions of dollars to the Jewish money lenders who had financed the building of major cathedrals in Europe. The common folk were starving and undirected. There were serious droughts and a famine in 1095. With Urban's call and the Church's support, thousands of townspeople found a direction for their frustration and hate. With rabble-rousers leading them on, mobs formed intending to march to the Holy Land and kill the enemies of Christ. According to many rabble-rousers, however, there was a traditional enemy of Christ much closer than the Holy Land: the Jews in the Rhineland. Before the knights of Europe had even started to get organized, a "Crusade" of Christian mobs was declared. From these ranks were heard the words of a respected knight, Godfrey of Bouillon, stating that he wouldn't leave his country for the Holy Land until he had avenged the crucifixion by spilling a Jew's blood with his own hands.The mobs assembled near the wealthy Jewish communities in the Rhineland in April, 1096. It wasn't until May 3, after Easter, however, that they actually attacked. The attacks lasted into June.According to some eyewitness reports, some noblemen tried to protect Jews, but the incensed mobs ignored them. More than 1,000 Jews were slaughtered at Worms. In Mainz, more than 1,300 Jews lost their lives. Before the Crusaders ever left Europe, more than 10,000 Jews lay murdered. Not coincidentally, one of the casualties of the Rhineland slaughters was all of the records of loans made by the land barons and the Church to the Jewish money-lenders. Rhineland Jewry never did collect on those huge loans.

From an interview with historian Norman Cohn:

What happened when the crusaders conquered Jerusalem?

Well, I think what's amazing when we think about it here as we celebrate the 900th anniversary of that conquest--July the 15th, 1099--is that it succeeded. Because of course, to march armies of tens of thousands, both of knights and non-combatants, all the way across Europe, to have maybe one in 20 survive, and then to conquer the city of Jerusalem, seemed like a miracle. It even seems like a miracle to us today. But it was that miracle, of course, which gave Christians--unfortunately, I think--in the 12th century this sense of divine providence, that the city of Jerusalem was theirs; and of course then when the city was lost in 1187, made it an even more critical moment in Christian views of history and its coming end.

When the crusading armies arrived at Jerusalem finally in mid-June of 1099, one of the things that they did was to immediately have a religious procession around the whole city, a penitential rite, because Crusade was also pilgrimage; and then to have an immediate assault on the city, because they felt again that God was on their side. That assault failed. And so then the Christians began to build siege machines in order to attack the city over the next few weeks. And then finally, in the middle of July (July 12th and 13th through the 15th) the siege machines enabled the city to be breached, the crusaders to rush in, and then the most terrible thing to happen: a slaughter, almost universal slaughter of Muslims and Jews in the city, which is still the worst stain on the Crusade, I think, that history leaves to us.

How many people killed?

It's difficult to know exactly how many people were slaughtered at the conquest of the city, but it seems to have been some tens of thousands. ... Crusading chronicles say that the blood from the slaughtered reached up to the knees of their horses.

From the Lateran Council of 1215:

In some provinces a difference in dress distinguishes the Jews or Saracens from the Christians, but in certain others such a confusion has grown up that they cannot be distinguished by any difference. Thus it happens at times that through error Christians have relations with the women of Jews or Saracens, and Jews and Saracens with Christian women. Therefore, that they may not, under pretext of error of this sort, excuse themselves in the future for the excesses of such prohibited intercourse, we decree that such Jews and Saracens of both sexes in every Christian province and at all times shall be marked off in the eyes of the public from other peoples through the character of their dress. Particularly, since it may be read in the writings of Moses [Numbers 15:37-41], that this very law has been enjoined upon them.
Moreover, during the last three days before Easter and especially on Good Friday, they shall not go forth in public at all, for the reason that some of them on these very days, as we hear, do not blush to go forth better dressed and are not afraid to mock the Christians who maintain the memory of the most holy Passion by wearing signs of mourning.

This, however, we forbid most severely, that any one should presume at all to break forth in insult to the Redeemer. And since we ought not to ignore any insult to Him who blotted out our disgraceful deeds, we command that such impudent fellows be checked by the secular princes by imposing them proper punishment so that they shall not at all presume to blaspheme Him who was crucified for us.

Jews, in other words, are ordered to wear distinctive badges so that they might be clearly identified.

From Magna Carta, 1215:

  1. If one who has borrowed from the Jews any sum, great or small, die before that loan can be repaid, the debt shall not bear interest while the heir is under age, of whomsoever he may hold; and if the debt fall into our hands, we will not take anything except the principal sum contained in the bond.
  1. And if any one die indebted to the Jews, his wife shall have her dower and pay nothing of that debt; and if any children of the deceased are left underage, necessaries shall be provided for them in keeping with the holding of the deceased; and out of the residue the debt shall be paid, reserving, however, service due to feudal lords; in like manner let it be done touching debts due to others than Jews.

Although stating that all debts will be handled in the same way, isn't it interesting that Jewish debt-holders were specifically singled out.

From the Medieval Sourcebook, an account of how Jews were forced to confess, under torture, that they were deliberately "causing" the Black Death--and what was done about it in 1348:

I. The Confession of Agimet of Geneva, Châtel, October 20, 1348
[The Jew Agimet]confesses further that he put some of this poison [The Black Death] into the public fountain of the city of Toulouse and in the wells that are near the [Mediterranean] sea. Asked if at the time that he scattered the venom and poisoned the wells, above mentioned, any people had died, he said that he did not know inasmuch as he had left everyone of the above mentioned places in a hurry. Asked if any of the Jews of those places were guilty in the above mentioned matter, he answered that he did not know. And now by all that which is contained in the five books of Moses and the scroll of the Jews, he declared that this was true, and that he was in no wise lying, no matter what might happen to him. [This Jew does not seem to know that the books of Moses and the scroll of the Jews are identical!]

II. The Cremation of Strasbourg Jewry St. Valentine's Day, February 14, 1349 - About The Great Plague And The Burning Of The Jews

In the year 1349 there occurred the greatest epidemic that ever happened. Death went from one end of the earth to the other, on that side and this side of the sea, and it was greater among the Saracens than among the Christians. In some lands everyone died so that no one was left. Ships were also found on the sea laden with wares; the crew had all died and no one guided the ship. The Bishop of Marseilles and priests and monks and more than half of all the people there died with them. In other kingdoms and cities so many people perished that it would be horrible to describe. The pope at Avignon stopped all sessions of court, locked himself in a room, allowed no one to approach him and had a fire burning before him all the time. [This last was probably intended as some sort of disinfectant.] And from what this epidemic came, all wise teachers and physicians could only say that it was God's will. And as the plague was now here, so was it in other places, and lasted more than a whole year. This epidemic also came to Strasbourg in the summer of the above mentioned year, and it is estimated that about sixteen thousand people died.

In the matter of this plague the Jews throughout the world were reviled and accused in all lands of having caused it through the poison which they are said to have put into the water and the wells-that is what they were accused of-and for this reason the Jews were burnt all the way from the Mediterranean into Germany, but not in Avignon, for the pope protected them there.

Nevertheless they tortured a number of Jews in Berne and Zofingen [Switzerland] who then admitted that they had put poison into many wells, and they also found the poison in the wells. Thereupon they burnt the Jews in many towns and wrote of this affair to Strasbourg, Freiburg, and Basel in order that they too should burn their Jews. But the leaders in these three cities in whose hands the government lay did not believe that anything ought to be done to the Jews. However in Basel the citizens marched to the city-hall and compelled the council to take an oath that they would burn the Jews, and that they would allow no Jew to enter the city for the next two hundred years. Thereupon the Jews were arrested in all these places and a conference was arranged to meet at Benfeld rAlsace, February 8, 1349. The Bishop of Strasbourg [Berthold II], all the feudal lords of Alsace, and representatives of the three above mentioned cities came there. The deputies of the city of Strasbourg were asked what they were going to do with their Jews. Thev answered and said that they knew no evil of them. Then they asked the Strasbourgers why they had closed the wells and put away the buckets, and there was a great indignation and clamor against the deputies from Strasbourg. So finally the Bishop and the lords and the Imperial Cities agreed to do away with the Jews. The result was that they were burnt in many cities, and wherever they were expelled they were caught by the peasants and stabbed to death or drowned. . .

[The town-council of Strasbourg which wanted to save the Jews was deposed on the 9th-10th of February, and the new council gave in to the mob, who then arrested the Jews on Friday, the 13th.]

THE JEWS ARE BURNT

On Saturday - that was St. Valentine's Day-they burnt the Jews on a wooden platform in their cemetery. There were about two thousand people of them. Those who wanted to baptize themselves were spared. [Some say that about a thousand accepted baptism.] Many small children were taken out of the fire and baptized against the will of their fathers and mothers. And everything that was owed to the Jews was cancelled, and the Jews had to surrender all pledges and notes that they had taken for debts. The council, however, took the cash that the Jews possessed and divided it among the working-men proportionately. The money was indeed the thing that killed the Jews. If they had been poor and if the feudal lords had not been in debt to them, they would not have been burnt. After this wealth was divided among the artisans some gave their share to the Cathedral or to the Church on the advice of their confessors.

Thus were the Jews burnt at Strasbourg, and in the same year in all the cities of the Rhine, whether Free Cities or Imperial Cities or cities belonging to the lords. In some towns they burnt the Jews after a trial, in others, without a trial. In some cities the Jews themselves set fire to their houses and cremated themselves.

A map of Jewish expulsions from various European states may be found here.

From On the Jews and Their Lies by Martin Luther, 1543:

What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews? Since they live among us, we dare not tolerate their conduct, now that we are aware of their lying and reviling and blaspheming. If we do, we become sharers in their lies, cursing and blaspemy. Thus we cannot extinguish the unquenchable fire of divine wrath, of which the prophets speak, nor can we convert the Jews. With prayer and the fear of God we must pratice a sharp mercy to see whether we might save at least a few from the glowing flames. We dare not avenge ourselves. Vengenance a thousand times worse than we could wish them already has them by the throat. I shall give you my sincere advice:
First to set fire to their synagogues or schools and to bury and cover with dirt whatever will not burn, so that no man will ever again see a stone or cinder of them. This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians, and do not condone or knowingly tolerate such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of his Son and of his Christians. For whatever we tolerated in the past unknowingly - and I myself was unaware of it - will be pardoned by God. But if we, now that we are informed, were to protect and shield such a house for the Jews, existing right before our very nose, in which they lie about, blaspheme, curse, vilify, and defame Christ and us (as was heard above), it would be the same as if we were doing all this and even worse ourselves, as we very well know.

Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed. For they pursue in them the same aims as in their synagogues. Instead they might be lodged under a roof or in a barn, like the gypsies. This will bring home to them that they are not masters in our country, as they boast, but that they are living in exile and in captivity, as they incessantly wail and lament about us before God.

Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them. (remainder omitted)

Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb. For they have justly forfeited the right to such an office by holding the poor Jews captive with the saying of Moses (Deuternomy 17 [:10 ff.]) in which he commands them to obey their teachers on penalty of death, although Moses clearly adds: "what they teach you in accord with the law of the Lord." Thoses villains ignore that. They wantonly employ the poor people's obedience contrary to the law of the Lord and infuse them with this poison, cursing, and blasphemy. In the same way the pope also held us captive with the declaration in Matthew 16 {:18], "You are Peter," etc, inducing us to believe all the lies and deceptions that issued from his devilish mind. He did not teach in accord with the word of God, and therefore he forfeited the righ to teach.

Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside, since they are not lords, officials, tradesmen, or the like. Let they stay at home.

And lest we forget the role of the Inquisition, the Jewish Virtual Library reminds us here:

In 1481 the Inquisition started in Spain and ultimately surpassed the medieval Inquisition, in both scope and intensity. Conversos (Secret Jews) and New Christians were targeted because of their close relations to the Jewish community, many of whom were Jews in all but their name. Fear of Jewish influence led Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand to write a petition to the Pope asking permission to start an Inquisition in Spain. In 1483 Tomas de Torquemada became the inquisitor-general for most of Spain, he set tribunals in many cities. Also heading the Inquisition in Spain were two Dominican monks, Miguel de Morillo and Juan de San Martin.

First, they arrested Conversos and notable figures in Seville; in Seville more than 700 Conversos were burned at the stake and 5,000 repented. Tribunals were also opened in Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia. An Inquisition Tribunal was set up in Ciudad Real, where 100 Conversos were condemned, and it was moved to Toledo in 1485. Between 1486-1492, 25 auto de fes were held in Toledo, 467 people were burned at the stake and others were imprisoned. The Inquisition finally made its way to Barcelona, where it was resisted at first because of the important place of Spanish Conversos in the economy and society.

More than 13,000 Conversos were put on trial during the first 12 years of the Spanish Inquisition. Hoping to eliminate ties between the Jewish community and Conversos, the Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492..

The next phase of the Inquisition began around 1531, when Pope Leo X extended the Inquisition to Portugal. Thousands of Jews came to Portugal after the 1492 expulsion. A Spanish style Inquisition was constituted and tribunals were set up in Lisbon and other cities. Among the Jews who died at the hands of the Inquisition were well-known figures of the period such as Isaac de Castro Tartas, Antonio Serrao de Castro and Antonio Jose da Silva. The Inquisition never stopped in Spain and continued until the late 18th century.

By the second half of the 18th century, the Inquisition abated, due to the spread of enlightened ideas and lack of resources. The last auto de fe in Portugal took place on October 27, 1765. Not until 1808, during the brief reign of Joseph Bonaparte, was the Inquisition abolished in Spain. An estimated 31,912 heretics were burned at the stake, 17,659 were burned in effigy and 291,450 made reconciliations in the Spanish Inquisition. In Portugal, about 40,000 cases were tried, although only 1,800 were burned, the rest made penance.

Yes, the Inquisition in Iberia continued into the eighteenth century.

There were Protestant leaders who were not hostile to Jews, most notably John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli, but they fought against an immense tide of popular anti-Semitism. (Useful information on Calvin and Zwingli may be found here.)  Among the widely held beliefs found in Christian Europe, the Blood Libel (the assertion that Jews murdered Christian children to get blood for the preparation of Passover feasts) and the Desecration of the Host (the torturing of consecrated bread used in Communion ceremonies) were most prominent. Blood Libel accusations are still sometimes made even in the present time, and were used by the Nazis to stir up hatred against Jews. (See here.)

In the 18th century, Enlightenment figures often advocated tolerance of Jews (although Voltaire's hostility was noteworthy), but even here there were contradictory elements. From My Jewish Learning here:

The plans put forward included far‑reaching changes in the economic occupations of the Jews, their way of life and their communal organization. In his book on the Civil Reforms of the Jews (1781),C. W. Dohm proposed that they be granted equal rights and complete freedom in choice of occupation, although, above all, they should be encouraged to engage in crafts. He also proposed freedom of worship and the opening of synagogues, the abolition of special Jewish quarters (ghettos), admittance into schools, and permission to engage in science and the arts. At the same time, he advocated the prohibition of commercial bookkeeping in Hebrew in order to increase mutual trust and prevent deception.

He also favoured supervision to ensure that Jewish schools should not be infiltrated, “by anti‑social attitudes towards those who think differently…(and that) some of the pure and holy truths of the religion and moral theory of rationalism (benurtured), in particular the respect of all citizens for the state and acknowledgement of their obligations towards it.” Dohm also warned that Jews should not be encouraged to train for state service and suggested that if a Jew were equal in qualifications to a Christian, the latter should be preferred. His point of departure was, naturally, the belief that Jews had a tendency to be dishonest and were afflicted with greed, and that their religious tradition was imbued with hatred of Christians and of the state. A new educational method was required, therefore, under efficient government supervision “to prepare the coming generations, at least, for a more moderate attitude toward those with different views.”

There were efforts during the nineteenth century to extend political rights to European Jews (for example during the revolutionary upheavals of 1848), but European LIBERALS were at the forefront of these efforts. And the defeat of liberals in Austria and the German states had sad results:

Franz Joseph's 1849 constitution contained a clause guaranteeing equal rights, but he abrogated the document two years later. By 1853, new bans against Jews acquiring real estate and moving to certain areas of the empire were constituted. Soon "Jewish oaths" were restored, and in some districts, like Galicia, Jews were forbidden to hire Christian domestics. Similarly in Hungary where Jews played a more minor role than they did elsewhere, they were nonetheless blamed by the counter revolutionaries and forced to pay a special tax for their support of the revolution.

The results of 1848 were ambiguous. In many nations, Jews kept some of their newly won freedoms, while in other states their emancipation was repealed. In Germany when the parliament of Frankfurt dissolved, it was replaced by the old Bundestag, and alliance of rulers instead of nations. The "Basic Rights of the German People" was abolished in 1851, and Jews were once again subject to discrimination. The idea of a "Christian state" reechoed in Prussia and many other states. Prussian law included a paragraph stating that: "The Christian religion shall be the basis in all government institutions that are associated with religion." Jews would have to wait until 1871 for legal emancipation to take hold, ironically the Jewish emancipation went hand in hand in once again with German unification. Yet in the decades following 1848 many Jews realized that the social and economic emancipation depended less on legalization and more on the willingness of the population at large to accept Jews as fellow citizens.

Note, by the way, that the reimposition of anti-Jewish laws took place BEFORE the 1859 publication of On the Origin of Species by Darwin.

(A convenient timeline of Christian anti-Semitism may be found here.)

The brutal anti-Semitism found in Orthodox Russia needs to be noted as well, especially as it was manifested in The Pale of Settlement and the horrible activities of The Black Hundreds. Many Russians were enthusiastic about the Nazi extermination of the Jews in the Soviet Union, an activity carried out chiefly by the Einsatzgruppen (Special Action Squads), and there was very extensive collaboration between anti-Semitic Russian civilians and the Nazis.

There were many other causes of the rise of fascism in general and Nazism in particular. The rise of ferocious German Nationalism in the early (pre-Darwin) 19th century was a major factor (sources here.) German Romanticism fed into these feelings. The spectacular rise of German militarism in the 19th century cannot be overlooked, since worship of the military is at the heart of fascist thinking. The perverted racist ideas of Arthur Gobineau also played a major role. (It is noteworthy that Gobineau's notorious The Inequality of Human Races was published in 1853, six years prior to Darwin's Origins.)

The German response to the traumatic defeat of Germany in the First World War, and the social upheavals of Weimar Germany were major factors in facilitating the rise of Nazism in the German nation. The "Stab in the Back" theory of Germany's defeat gave a prominent role to Jews. (See here.) An excellent source of BASIC information on Weimar Germany may be found here.

In short, the assertion that "Darwinism" is the foundation of Nazism is absurd and historically illiterate on its face. Darwinism was twisted and distorted by certain racists and social conservatives in 19th and 20th century Europe, but it was used chiefly as a rationalization of attitudes that already existed.

It was ferocious Christian anti-Semitism that helped set the psychological stage for the mass murder of Jews in the 20th century. Although I love and cherish the Christians in my life, as a historian I must testify to the facts. I mean the citation of these historical examples as no disrespect to the many wonderful Christians who love and respect Jews and speak up in their defense, nor is it an indictment of the many Christian rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, especially those in Bulgaria, Denmark, and Hungary. But in order to deal with the past, we must confront it honestly.

All huge historical events have deep and complex causes. For the enemies of reason and scientific rationalism to blame Darwin for the Holocaust is both obscene and preposterous. It shows a willful ignorance of history that cannot be countenanced. Evolution is a scientific fact. To accuse its discoverers and interpreters of having caused the horrible crimes of the Nazis is grotesque in the deepest sense--and as wrong as anything people have ever believed.

Originally posted to Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:02 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Aren't you ignoring the role of such men as (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MmeVoltaire, LNK, erratic

      Alfred Ploetz, the founder of racial hygiene, who very much regarded himself as a follower of Darwin and Haeckel?

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:15:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A fundamental weakness in this (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Wee Mama

      otherwise excellent diary is its failure to address the fact that Hitler specifically repudiated religious based anti-Semitism in the pages of Mein Kampf. He objected that Religious anti-Semitism allowed for the conversion of the Jews. In his words "a splash of water" would "save the business".

      Against religious anti-Semitism he advanced what he described as "scientific" anti-Semitism. The "scientific" aspect consisting of "racializing" anti-Semitism along the lines of heirarchic theories of racial supremacy popular at the time. By such pseudo-scientific means Hitler recast anti-Semitism as a question of "racial-purity" rather than a matter of religious confession.

      One can't have a comprehensive discussion of the roots of the Nazi extermination campaign without dealing with this crucial innovation.    

      •  While Hitler himself did indeed assert (0+ / 0-)

        that "Jewishness" was a racial and not a religious designation, Nazism appeared in a cultural setting in which millions of people were receptive to any effort to blame Jews for the problems of their lives. In a culture of tolerance, could Hitler's absurd racial theories have found any mass audience at all?

        Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

        by Yosef 52 on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 11:22:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That would depend (0+ / 0-)

          on how you define "a culture of tolerance." Hitler's lunatic theories found many receptive ears throughout the western democracies prior to WWII. Including the US.

          •  Again, what is the CULTURAL context here? (0+ / 0-)

            And was it Hitler's ideas or the dynamic nature of his program that attracted (some) support in the U.S. and elsewhere? (Outside of the German-American Bund, I'd be hard-pressed to think of other prominent American groups receptive to the Nazi message.)

            Henry Ford and his ilk had been influenced by the preposterous forgery Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but from what I can gather about the Protocols from this excellent site (here), they spoke of Jewish plans for economic and political domination in classic conspiracy-theory terms.

            I contend that foreign praise of Hitler rested more on Hitler's "resurrection" of German military and economic power than any mass embrace of his perverse "racial theories". Further, the fact remains that deep cultural animus towards Jews helped make Europeans receptive to any idea that confirmed their prejudices.

            Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

            by Yosef 52 on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 01:27:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Cultural Context is fine (0+ / 0-)

              but it doesn't negate the unique characteristics of the Nazi regime. Hitler's lunatic theories became state dogma and permeated German society at every level. Framing anti-Semitism within the context of then popular ideas of racial purity and racial supremacy provided it with a "scientific" patina making it digestable to the educated classes of an advanced technological/industrial society. The inculcation of this ideology prepared the industrial and technological basis for the extermination of "lesser orders". Without both the active and passive collaboration of the technical and managerial classes, the holocaust could not have occurred. This is an inescapable reality of history.

              I understood your diary to be an attempt at debunking the right wing canard that links Darwinism to Nazism in a cause and effect relationship. This is a laudable and just goal. However, refusing to give proper weight to the Nazis manipulation of purportedly scientific arguments can only weaken your case.

  •  Sorry for the really long diary (37+ / 0-)

    (almost 12 pages if printed out), but I've had it with these right-wing fanatics, liars, and historical illiterates.

    Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

    by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:04:15 PM PDT

  •  The fault lies in those (11+ / 0-)

    who twisted the theory for their own malevolent ends.

    Language is wine upon the lips. -Virginia Woolf

    by valadon on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:10:25 PM PDT

  •  I accept your research question (6+ / 0-)

    but Jews did quite well in Europe, and in Russia after the revolution, and in Weimar Germany, at least in terms of social equality and opportunity, and persecution.

    For anti-semitism as a statist POV, one has to go back to Josephus, a Jew, writing about the Jewish revolts at the time of the historical origins of the Christian faith.

    Four sects, four factions, killing each other (and the Roman oppressors)  about matters of piety.  

    The root of modern, Western, Anti Semitism, that's where it starts

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:11:44 PM PDT

    •  Well, there were indeed deep divisions (12+ / 0-)

      in first century CE Palestine among those Jews who were somewhat rural and provincial in outlook (and who spoke only Aramaic), and more urbanized, Hellenized Jews and those Jews who considered themselves Roman citizens. In Weimar Germany there were deep and terrible currents of anti-Semitism, and the ugly growth of the Freikorps (and later the SA) were only the most noticeable components of it.

      Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

      by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:16:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely true (4+ / 0-)

        but the cultural groups of Jews in the first CE were bent on killing each other.   The Iscarii are often cited as the first real organized terrorists.  

        In Weimar Germany and Post 1917 Russia Jews had legal and social protections from persecution, and flourished, in law, arts, the professions.

        In Weimar, the seeds of the SA were present by the soil was infertile until the economic contraction of 1929.

        In fact, they two experiences interact.   In Weimar, The Jews were simultaneously Bolshevik missionaries and financial system capitalist manipulators. Go figger.

        Carnegie spent more money on Eugenics than the Fascists, eugenics was expropriated and mobilized by the Nazis as a race classification and persecution scheme.  

        Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

        by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:26:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Is it really meaningful to say... (14+ / 0-)

      ...that Jews did well for the twenty years of the Weimar Republic (I think you're badly mischaracterizing the fate of Jews in the early USSR, and certainly by the time of Stalin, the good times were over)?

      Meanwhile, fully half of European pre-war Jewry lived in Poland, in miserable conditions.  But the brief period where Jews in Europe were seeing conditions improve was less than a single generation, and can hardly be viewed without considering that this is the period where Zionism in Europe becomes a significant movement.

      The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

      by Jay Elias on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:32:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Stalin? (0+ / 0-)

        when did he stride on the stage?   Yeah it was done by then.  Post revolution Russia was a brief, but meaningful window of time when Jews had equal rights an opportunity, same with Weimar.  At least in constitutional protections.  

        Jay, it is very difficult for me to equate the status of the German Jew in Weimar and the Shtetl Jew in Poland and Russia.  We see that distinction playing out today in Israel, but both are superior to North African Jewry, and don't ask me about the ethiopian and Indian Olim,
        and we certainly saw it here in New York.  

        Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

        by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:02:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, if we're not counting Stalin... (8+ / 0-)

          ..then we're talking about all of five years - 1917-1922.  So, I mean, who cares?  What can those five years possibly measure?  How can anything that brief, representative of such a period of massive disorder, be indicative of anything?

          The German Jews is Weimar and the Shtetl Jews aren't equatable.  The only things they have in common are that both groups were Jews, and both groups were almost entirely dead within a quarter century.

          The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

          by Jay Elias on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:08:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Apparently it means that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kaolin, Gatordiet

            the root of anti-Semitism was Jewish schism.

            I mean, wtf?

            Dante on wrath - "... love of justice perverted to revenge and spite..."

            by arielle on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:16:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I doubt that it what it means... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jeffersonian Democrat

              ...since that wouldn't make any sense at all.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:17:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Unless you think anti-semitism pre-dates (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Yosef 52

              the 1st Century, then the root cause is a Jewish schism interpreted by later generations of gentiles as a Jewish anti-Christian persecution. Even within the early Jewish Jesus cults, there was friction between his Jerusalem followers and the rural devotees. It's easy to read parts of the Gospels as being anti-semitic, unless you recognize that all the parties concerned are Jewish and at odds about fundamental religious principles, not about the fact of being Jews. Internecine battles are common within all religions (think Sunnis and Shiites). What's unusual about Christianity is it started within Judaism but over time was completely co-opted by gentiles.

              I never liked you and I always will.

              by Ray Blake on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:43:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  First off, (0+ / 0-)

                a Jew can have a schism when they're alone in the room.

                Be that as it may, I don't see the conflicts within the believers of Jesus as the Christ and those who did not as the source for bigotries.

                Even the Bible as written (although I've never read the whole thing) is not that bad except in distinct parts.

                I could actually view it as Jews at odds with each other except that large portions of the Bible were written long after Jesus supposed death.

                The "teachers" of the faith carried that line through the ranks and, since hate grows like a fungus, the commoner relied on those teachings since most of them could not read Latin.

                Dante on wrath - "... love of justice perverted to revenge and spite..."

                by arielle on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:40:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Paul's letters weren't written that long after (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Yosef 52

                  Jesus' death (20-30 years), nor were the Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Matthew, Luke). John's gospel is the odd man out, dated around 50-60 years later. The Barnabas episode, which is the basis for the libel that "the Jews" killed Jesus is also fairly early. These accounts reflect beliefs of small Christian communities sharing similar sources of information, oral and verbal, and clearly contain inaccuracies. However, it's not unreasonable to assume that there was lingering resentment over what had happened to their leader, and given the violent political climate preceding the destruction of the temple, that it was more prudent to blame one's fellow Jews, with whom this cult had issues, then to bring the wrath of Rome down on your head. After all, look where that got Jesus and the other disciples--nailed to a telephone pole.

                  I never liked you and I always will.

                  by Ray Blake on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 09:45:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  As a matter of fact there was anti-semitism (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Yosef 52

                before the first century. The Jewish practices that led to a closed table and to a rejection of idol worship were necessarily in conflict with Greek and Roman practice, and there was considerable if patchy anti-Jewish sentiment from the Hellenistic period on.

          •  Um (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            corvo

            Stalin's faction didn't become the sole ruling faction in the USSR until the defeat of the so-called Right Opposition identified with Bukharin in the late 1920's. Stalin's undisputed personal dictatorship wasn't consolidated until the mass purges of 1935-1938.

            •  I think it would be fair to say (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              corvo

              that Stalin had achieved dominant power by December 1927. Trotsky was exiled soon after. The Purges were done to crush resistance within the Party to the excesses of the Five Year Plan, specifically reaction to the horrors of collectivization. Later, the Purge would be broadened, reflecting Stalin's innate paranoia.

              Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

              by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:59:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I suppose (0+ / 0-)

                that depends on what you mean by "dominant power." If you mean that he was leader of the dominant faction then I would agree. If you mean he had attained an absolute personal dictatorship I'd have to say you are wrong. The purges targeted the only remaining institutions capable of checking his actions. The Party itself and the military.

              •  A further point (0+ / 0-)

                I think it problematic to say that the mass purges were motivated by a desire to suppress criticism of the collectivization. First because the collectivization was an accomplished fact by 1935. Second, the initial wave of purges didn't target critics of collectivization. To the contrary, the targets were those who had supported collectivization. The so-called Trotskyists and Zinovievists.

                •  The assassination of Sergei Kirov (0+ / 0-)

                  on 1 December 1934 is generally seen as the opening shot of the Purge. Kirov had been well-received at the 17th Party Congress earlier that year, arousing Stalin's hair-trigger suspicion. Much of the discontent in the Party had to do with the terrible effects of the 1932-33 famine, and there was widespread whispering that Stalin needed to be replaced. Stalin lashed out in his typical fashion: he took his revenge cold.

                  Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

                  by Yosef 52 on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 11:29:18 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That Kirov (0+ / 0-)

                    posed a political threat to Stalin as a rival for leadership is, I think, well established. However, considering that Kirov was a supporter of both the forced collectivization and the industrialization drive, I don't see how this contradicts my earlier point or how it supports the thesis that the purges were an attempt to liquidate critics of either of these policies. In the end, the purges consumed both the critics and the supporters of these policies, snuffing out the last vestiges of independent political life within the ruling party and consolidating Stalin's leadership into a personal despotism.

                    I think the practical political result of the purges provides a completely satisfactory explanation as to their motivation.

            •  So? (0+ / 0-)

              Who cares?  I mean, seriously, does it make it more significant if we say it was ten years instead of five?

              I mean, I'm not trying to be a douche - I believe that historical details matter, and yes, Stalin doesn't have absolute authority in 1922 when Lenin has his stroke.  But it still strikes me as a meaninglessly small measure of time to discuss the treatment of Jews in pre-war Europe.

              The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

              by Jay Elias on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 09:38:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                if you're going to link Soviet anti-Semitism to Stalin's reign, it would seem wise to be accurate about the time frame.

                •  But I wasn't (0+ / 0-)

                  I was saying that the brief period in Russian history when the Soviet government didn't actively make Jewish lives miserable is so brief as to simply be an aberration which was quickly corrected.

                  The urge to save humanity is almost always a false face for the urge to rule it. ~ H.L. Mencken

                  by Jay Elias on Wed Sep 30, 2009 at 07:42:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Aberration? (0+ / 0-)

                    Whatever one's final verdict on the Soviet experiment one thing that is indisputable is that at its inception it opposed anti-Semitism. Indeed, opposition to anti-Semitism was a principle of the Russian Social Democratic movement generally and the Bolshevik Party in particular in the decades prior to the Russian Revolution. Hence the prominence of Jews in its leadership, Lev Davidovitch Trotsky being only the most notable of these.

                    Likewise it is indisputable that the Soviet regime degenerated into anti-Semitism. Even so, its own legacy of opposition to anti-Jewish bigotry produced contradictions. Even under Stalin the regime never openly espoused formal anti-Semitism, more often cloaking its actions in an entirely different rhetorical garb. This stands in stark contrast to the blatant Jew hatred espoused by reactionaries in Europe at the time, not to mention the previous institutionalization of such hatred under Tsarism. Possibly the clearest example of this contradictory stance is the early support for the State of Israel, occurring as it did while Stalin was at the Zenith of his power and while domestic campaigns against "rootless cosmopolitans" were in full swing.

                    All this argues for a more complex view of Soviet anti-Semitism than simply writing off its early opposition to such as an aberration. Consider, the legacy of opposition to anti Jewish bigotry was still potent enough following the death of Stalin to produce such ringing condemnations as the powerful Babi Yar by official Soviet Poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

        •  Well, not everyone knew Stalin was Stalin (5+ / 0-)

          (to make a cute rhetorical turn out of things) until the late 1920s or early 1930s.  Jews did have years of relative promise up until the late 1920s, but by the time the Birobidzhan Autonomous Oblast was founded, things were already getting dicey -- the idea of giving Jews a territory upon which to develop their own national brand of socialism was a poor disguise for state suspicion of Jews.

          •  God bless 'em (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jeffersonian Democrat

            give the Jews an opportunity and they will thrive.    Much of the tragic history is that Jews do we well if given a chance, however brief,  (present conditions being an obvious exception, the jury is out on this statehood thing ).

            Assimilation, readiness for, and resistance against,  is the central argument.   Many anti semitic zionists agreed that the Jew was unassimilable, think Liberia as a solution for the abolitionist/racists, Many Jews (Germans, Brits and US) argued otherwise, that it is possible to be a Jew and a citizen.

            Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

            by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:17:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  As far as Weimar is concerned, (7+ / 0-)

        I think it's fairly accurate to say that while there was little legal discrimination against Jews, and while some of them were successful in their personal and career endeavors, Jews still faced a heady dose of prejudice, and their personal safety was not a given in all parts of the country, social strata, etc.  

        Nazi anti-Semitism didn't arise out of nothing, after all, and the association of Jews with leftist parties (which was of course not always accurate, as successful assimilated businessmen were more likely to vote with the liberal [European definition] parties) was frequently disadvantageous in a country in which violence against leftist politicians was rarely prosecuted, let alone punished, thanks to the hide-bound nationalist conservatism of the police and the judiciary.

    •  Recc'd for inappropriate use of HRs (5+ / 0-)

      Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

      by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:07:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This could have been more cautiously worded (4+ / 0-)

      and I find some of the assumptions shaky, but I don't think it was written with animus.  HR uncalled for; recced for that reason.

    •  I think that should be explained in more detail (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, corvo, Eiron, mariachi mama, ubertar

      I think that would be a "Jaein" (yes and no).

      Your comment made me think of Hannah Arendt's great work "The Origins of Totalitarianism" where she describes in detail the history of Jewry in Germany.

      One of the points she examines is that of the medieval courtly Jews who conducted both diplomatic and financial transactions among the nobles.  The nobles couldn't trust each other but they would agree to trust a disinterested "outside" party for negotiations.

      This part of Jewry lived well and made connections and through the generations into the bourgeois Enlightenment became successful in occupations that are today stereotypes and the object of conspiracy theories.

      From her thesis, it is easy to see how law and finance were actually relevant to courtly duties in the service of a prince or duke.  Eventually, she writes, these families of the Jewry became upper class bourgeoisie.

      However, she points out the vast majority of European Jewry forcibly living in Ghettos such as in Frankfurt.  She writes that this was a two-tier system of class that was split between "good Jews" and "bad Jews" as she calls them.  In the boutiques of turn of the century Berlin, it was fashionable to have a "token" good Jew as a member because as she writes, it was "exotic".

      As far as early Soviet Russia, I seem to recall learning during my year abroad there, that upwards to 90% of the Bolsheviks were Jewish.  Stalin, gaining power after Lenin's death, had them all arrested or executed as a threat to his authority since they were part of the initial Bolshevik cadre and carried a lot of clout within the new Communist Party.

      So, it seems it was a mixed bag.  And it seems to me, that even if you lived well, it would still be humiliating to be the "token" whatever in high society.  But certainly those who were less affluent and connected, the majority, were not very well off.

      And I still don't understand why this has a hide rate, or maybe I'm missing something.

      Hello? Hello? Hunter? Hunter what? Ain't nobody doing no huntin' up here, fool! This is a party not a safari!

      by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:13:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  bogus hr, uprated (0+ / 0-)

      consider the source

      if lovin' beer is wrong, i don't wanna be right

      by memofromturner on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:29:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, but (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arielle, Gatordiet

      "Jews did quite well in Europe" reminds of Babs Bush saying about Katrina refugees 'So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway so this is working very well for them.'

      Jews were subjected to rank hatred and bigotry at a slightly reduced level for a short number of years following WWI, as pressure to institute reforms inside governments tried to moderate Central Europe's madness. It was all for show: there's plenty of examples showing how the feeble attempts were just that, feeble.

  •  Well the Creationist Right Would Say That's Not (5+ / 0-)

    really contradicting the Darwin claim.

    I bet I could connect Darwin's theory with Jews by some kind of influence, acceptable to most any Liberty University scholars, in less than 5,400 words.

    Without cracking a book, even.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:15:00 PM PDT

  •  False meme v. False meme (8+ / 0-)

    While I compliment you on rejecting an absurdly false meme ("Darwinism," whatever that is" lead to the Holocaust), it is equally false to blame the Holocaust on Christianity.

    Yes, in 2000 years of Christian history you can find much anti-semitism.  But you can find also find a great deal that is not anti-semitic.  Further, Nazism is a particularly 20th Century creed, and so reading works from the 5th Century in order to figure out who is to blame is absurd.

    Who is responsible for the Holocaust?  Not the Christians, not the "Darwinists," the Nazis.

    •  Of course (20+ / 0-)

      thousands of years of hatred of Jews and violence against Jews sanctioned by Christianity made the Holocaust possible.  I can't understand how it is even remotely possible to deny this.

      Incredible.  

    •  No historical event simply "erupts" in a vacuum. (22+ / 0-)

      If the Nazis found so many collaborators in Europe--and they did--what historical and cultural ideas psychologically prepared these collaborators to do the terrible things they did? When the Roman Catholic Church teaches generations of Europeans that the Jews "killed Christ" and when Martin Luther is held up as a hero, there are going to be ugly and tragic consequences. Would Nazism have still been able to infect the minds of so many with anti-Semitic hatred had not 20 centuries of violent hatred and prejudice not prepared the ground?

      Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

      by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:22:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not so much collaborators (4+ / 0-)

        but indifferent persons.

        Think Palestinians in our current era.  They simply don't matter.  Disposable people

        Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

        by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:28:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Indeed it does not (5+ / 0-)

        But the vast majority of Christians did not engage in or support the Holocaust.  Most of those who died fighting the Nazis were Christians.  Likewise, the Roman Catholic Church that you denounce had not been dominant in Germany for 300 years before the Holocaust, and few of the Nazis were Catholic, hence the connection is tenuous.  There are a great many "Christian" nations, but only one launched the Holocaust, any only in extreme circumstances when a fanatic cult had taken over in the chaos and humiliation following defeat in WWI and the utter collapse of the Weimar Republic.

        You have to be very selective in your history to blame the Holocaust on Christianity.  You have to reach far back (to the 5th Century, as you did), and you have to ignore a great deal much more recent history.  

        •  but, read their charter (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          weasel

          their holy writ.

          Don't they still thank God they weren't born a woman?  Or is that converting the Jews.  I can't keep that straight

          Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

          by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:44:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  weasel, I will be the first to stipulate (9+ / 0-)

          that many Christians heroically resisted the Nazis. As for engaging in or supporting the Holocaust, many did not (but I have no way of ascertaining whether they were a majority of people in Europe). I recognized in my diary the role of The Rescuers and the whole nations that resisted Nazi barbarism against the Jews.

          Only one Christian nation launched the Holocaust, that's true, but many other people in other nations actively supported it. Romania, Lithuania, Ukraine, Poland,(at least in 1939-40) France, and many others had large numbers of collaborators with the Nazis.

          Hitler, by the way, was raised a Catholic, although he left the faith in his teens.

          Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

          by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:46:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  what matters (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jeffersonian Democrat, kaolin

            if it was a majority of Christians that opposed or supported or just tried to ignore the reality of the Shoah.  What are the lessons?

            American Jews bickered amongst themselves about what conditions to accept for the rescue of the Jews.  Look at the ST Louis tragedy.  Read the documents

            American Jewry couldn't agree on what constituted the fair price for rescue.  

            The shame is widely shared,

            Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

            by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:52:23 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  There is alwaly a little problem (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yosef 52, erratic

          in talking about "-isms" of any kind (or -ity's).

          "-Isms" as such don't exist, they are a catch all phrase for a set of ideas that usually can't be fully defined and usually are only partly shared. E.g., self-identified Christians can disagree very strongly on what is "true" Christianity.

          An "-ism" -- or any idea --isn't an agent, only people are. People with motivation. And moitivation involves more than ideas, emotion and circumstance have to come together to create the opportunity for application.

          It we sharpened up our language sometimes in this regard, it might be helpful. "Christians did this," is more precise and possibly more useful than "Christianity caused it."

        •  Unfortunately "Christianity" has been used as the (6+ / 0-)

          banner through which many were roused to join or tacitly accept an ideology that pitted good Germans, good Christians, against a Jewish (or Muslim) threat.  We see that same frame used today.  

          I don't think that pointing out the great sway that Christianity as an ideology or culture (rather than as a religious belief) had in creating the ground from which a Hitler and the Nazis could rise and thrive is without merit.  And as for the few Catholics, it is true, most Germans weren't Catholics, but Hitler was born and raised as a Roman Catholic, his beloved and revered mother being a pious and practicing Catholic.  Hitler attended at least one year of Catholic school, Benedictine, I believe. Roman Catholics in Austria were as anti-semitic as most of Christian Europe at the time.  

          Hitler ultimately rejected the Catholic Church but I don't believe it was for theological reasons, per se, but because he desired a more specifically Germanic national brand of Christianity.  

          I would absolutely agree that you are right to say that a large number of Christians (as well as atheists, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, pagans, etc) died fighting the Nazis.  But I think you would be hard pressed to prove that they did so because they were Christians.

          I also agree that Christians as individuals and some organized churches strongly opposed Nazis and anti-semitism, but I don't think one can ignore the history of antisemitism as a part of the rise of a cultural Christianity (if you will) that blamed the murder of Jesus Christ on "the Jews", even if it was Romans who executed him.    

          "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

          by Uncle Moji on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:01:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The vast majority of those who died (0+ / 0-)

          fighting the Nazis weren't doing so because they were fighting for the Jews or against European Anti-Semitism.  The Holocaust was not learned about until the conclusion of the war.

          I finally put in a signature!

          by Boris Godunov on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:46:52 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Also, you seem not to have actually read (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yosef 52

          the diary:

          You have to be very selective in your history to blame the Holocaust on Christianity.  You have to reach far back (to the 5th Century, as you did), and you have to ignore a great deal much more recent history.  

          That's an odd thing to say, since the diarist clearly cited examples all throughout the last 1500 years of European history, not just the 5th Century.  Did we do some skimming?

          I finally put in a signature!

          by Boris Godunov on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:48:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Most of those who died fighting were (0+ / 0-)

          Christians?  Is there a source for that, I'm asking because I would be interested in reading further.

          But to my knowledge, Christian or not, it's not really discussed as a relevant point, the fighting resistance was mostly SPD, KPD and assorted leftists.  Whether they were Christian, Atheist, or Jew doesn't seem to be a major consideration.

          In den Vereinen des Arbeitermilieus waren sozialdemokratische Werte und Traditionen verwurzelt, so dass in Dortmund aus den Kreisen der Arbeitersportler eine sehr aktive Widerstandsgruppe erwuchs, die erst 1940 zerschlagen wurde. Die Jugendorganisation SAJ drängte bereits früh auf die Errichtung einer illegalen Widerstandsorganisation in Dortmund, die mit Emigranten in den Niederlanden in Kontakt trat. In Tarnschriften wurden Aufrufe und Mitteilungen der SoPaDe verbreitet, man stellte Flugblätter her, wertete ausländische Rundfunknachrichten aus und verbreitete die daraus gewonnenen Informationen. Wurde ein widerständiger Sozialdemokrat gefasst, bedeutete dies Folter, Zuchthaus, Konzentrationslager und oft auch Tod.

          http://www.ns-gedenkstaetten.de/...

          Unless you are speaking of the passive resistance of various individual pastors and priests who hid Jews and others.

          Hello? Hello? Hunter? Hunter what? Ain't nobody doing no huntin' up here, fool! This is a party not a safari!

          by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:37:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  You're missing the point: the darwinian (3+ / 0-)

        pseudo science and the nationalism and the genetic bunkum is what allowed Nazism to take advantage of anti semitism without actually having to adopt the teachings of any particular christian or christian sect.  After all, christianity was weak and backward, and not endorsing of Nazism.

        THe darwinism and nationalism also made racism almost beyond the emotion of hatred, so that an extermination could be cooly executed by a vast modern bureaucracy using many of the same tools as, say, mail delivery.  That's why the years of periodic pogrom never came close to a sliver of the deaths worked by the Nazis.  It takes a bureaucracy of nine to five workers to kill that many people.

        So while the anti semitism was there, as was anti Roma sentiment, and a feeling of superiority over Slavs...there's no vacuum....christianity was something really for the Nazis to get over and get past.

        Only some conservatives are racist. The rest are merely enabling racists, allying with racists, and hoping they win the next election with racism.

        by Inland on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:18:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  We have a winner (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, Ahianne, Eiron

      You might as well blame Holocaust on the Egyptians, Babylonians, or the Romans for their treatment of the Jews. Yes, Christianity has a bizarre love/hate affair with Judism and certainly there have been some doozies like the institutionalized anti-Semitism in the Magna Carta but Hitler might as well have been called a Hindu for stealing the swastika as a symbol from another culture as he could be called a Christian. They were both means to further his propoganda, nothing more.

      I love that Jon Stewart quote, "You know who was like Hitler? Hitler was like Hitler!".

      I'm a Puntheist. If your religion doesn't make you laugh out loud at least once a week you may have picked the wrong one.

      by ontheleftcoast on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:27:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Egyptians and Babylonians (10+ / 0-)

        did not culturally dominate Europe, and the Roman Empire became fused with the Roman Church in the Fourth Century CE. Hitler would simply have been a ranting, lonely figure in a beer hall, speaking to a few dozen people at best, had the Germany in which he lived not been infected by the sickness of what might be called (as it was in Schindler's List)"good, old-fashioned Jew hating." Jews made convenient scapegoats for the economic and political crises which swept over post World War I Germany because they had always been scapegoats.

        Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

        by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:38:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And that is partly my point (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayBat

          If the simple "cultural domination" of Europe was so essential to the Holocaust of the Jews why didn't we see it elsewhere? Oh, but we did. We saw it in the Spanish purge, We saw it in the Roman destruction that led to the Diaspora we saw it in the conquest of the Babylonians, we saw it the slavery in Egypt. The Jews have been persecuted more than by the Nazis and brutally at that. Yes, Christianity has blood on its hands. But to claim Hitler did this because he was Christian is intellectually dishonest at best, quite possibly foolish, or even tainted by bigotry at worst.

          The shame is I really liked the work you did gathering the history of the persecution of Jews together. This is good work and should be applauded. But I really disagree with your conclusion.

          Oh, and think about this: If the Romans hadn't scattered the Jews to the four corners of the Earth there may not have been a Holocaust in WWII. You simply want to chose a convenient point in history and claim it is the root cause of a problem 1500 years later, well I'll trump you and go to 1900 years.

          I'm a Puntheist. If your religion doesn't make you laugh out loud at least once a week you may have picked the wrong one.

          by ontheleftcoast on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:52:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Indeed the Hebrews/Jews did suffer (4+ / 0-)

            repeated persecution prior to the rise of Christianity. That doesn't really mitigate the guilt of such people as Augustine, John Chrysostom, or Luther. Moreover, it was NOT my contention that Hitler initiated the Holocaust because he was a Christian. (Indeed, he had left the faith as a teenager.) But he was able to exploit the hatred of Jews felt by millions of others, a hatred that was nurtured by official religious doctrine. Think about it: if there had been 20 centuries of tolerance and acceptance of Jews in Europe, could Hitler have been able to wield the power he did?

            Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

            by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:03:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Hitler used what he could to achieve his ends (5+ / 0-)

              Granted, the legacy of anti-Semtic behavior was definitely part of his arsenal. But he used the occult, Germanic mythology, and anything else he saw fit to further his ends. The leftist, the gays, the infirm who were Christians were amongst the first targets of his "cleansings" and anti-Semitism had nothing to do with that. I think you're making too much of the Christian history of anti-Semitism. But I'm still glad you put all of this together and gave folks like me to an opportunity to voice our opinion on it.

              I'm a Puntheist. If your religion doesn't make you laugh out loud at least once a week you may have picked the wrong one.

              by ontheleftcoast on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:12:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I don't think that's what the diarist did (9+ / 0-)

            to claim Hitler did this because he was Christian

            The point is that hundreds of years of Christianity-related bigotry and bad treatment of the Jews ensconced a precedent deep in the heart of European culture and the subconscious of Europeans -- the Jews as foreign, the Jews as sinister, the Jews as an appropriate target for rage. Hitler then called upon that deeply internalized cultural model for his own purposes.

            •  I was trying to point out that was only one (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              erratic

              piece of the equation. But I don't think (or perhaps feel is a better word) it was as significant to the Holocaust as the diarist does.

              I'm a Puntheist. If your religion doesn't make you laugh out loud at least once a week you may have picked the wrong one.

              by ontheleftcoast on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:14:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, let's see... (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Yosef 52, Gatordiet

                Here we are in 2009 with the economy sliding down the tubes, our preeminent position in the world crumbling under our feet, and it probably won't be too many more years before our military might is overshadowed. I and many people like me are seeing our way of life disappear; we are slipping down the economic ladder rung by rung. But I have a great plan: to feel better about myself and to gain power, I will set in motion a propaganda machine aimed at schoolteachers or construction workers or maybe left-handed people! Think it will work?

                Nope. Because having a deep reservoir of hate to draw upon is indispensable to Hitler's method.

                It's too late for more think tanks. We need do tanks. ... Hungry people need food. It's not any more complicated unless we make it so.--No Impact Man

                by MizC on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 07:11:49 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  well, there's always (0+ / 0-)

                  the commies and socialists. Also, we haven't yet hit the point where it takes a wheelbarrow full of $20s to go grocery shopping (that's about where Germany was, after WW1). And history's verdict on WW2 (as determined by the victors) is that, while it's evil to deliberately exterminate cultural groups, the "collateral damage" incurred by bombing civilian areas is acceptable. Eg, Dresden, Hiroshima, Vietnam... What were the estimates on civilian deaths during Iraq 2 again?

                  I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this. (Emo Philips)

                  by erratic on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 10:22:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think the diarist (6+ / 0-)

      intended to directly blame Christianity.  He blames the elements within Christianity who very openly and unapologetically sought to either exterminate the Jews or at least relegate them to livestock status in society.  These elements are alive and well even today, they have just been marginalized by secular government systems and forward thinking Christians.

      You're oversimplification of the thesis is dishonest.  

      "The revolution will be no rerun, brother. The revolution will be live" Gil Scott-Heron

      by marknspokane on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:28:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I mean "your" oversimplification...nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yosef 52, Clio2

        "The revolution will be no rerun, brother. The revolution will be live" Gil Scott-Heron

        by marknspokane on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:30:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Read his response to me (2+ / 0-)

        and tell me if you still think that.

        •  Ok, I see what you're saying (8+ / 0-)

          Remember that prior to the enlightenment, the bible itself wasn't printed in the vernacular, thus leaving the church laity vulnerable to the political winds of the church and its outposts.  So to say that rank and file Christians are responsible is unfair.  To say that Christian doctrine is responsible is also false.  

          But I think that the irresponsibility of the Roman Catholic church leadership, especially during the early and high Middle Ages, fueled by the Inquisition, created a hostility toward Jews is fair.  

          So is this an indictment of Christianity itself?  I don't think so.  It is, however, an indictment of power mad, politically motivated clergymen and scholars who used their influence to seed racism.  

          It is true that Jews in Europe did well in some places.  It's also true that occasionally leadership would change and the Jews would suddenly be expelled or massacred.  

          I'm not posting links to back this up at this time, which I realize is a no-no, but I'm just trying to say that I don't believe you should have read that Christianity itself is directly responsible for the Holocaust.  No person with any understanding of history at all could reasonably make that claim--it walks the same line as anti-semitism, as far as I'm concerned.  And your point is well taken.

          "The revolution will be no rerun, brother. The revolution will be live" Gil Scott-Heron

          by marknspokane on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:49:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I do indeed blame those elements (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayBat, Uncle Moji, Clio2, kaolin

          in Christian doctrine which were blatantly anti-Semitic, not Christianity as a body of beliefs per se. However, I do find the interpolation placed in Matthew by an early writer to be intriguing:

          When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands and said, “I am innocent of the blood of this Just person. You see to it.” And all the people answered and said, “His blood be upon us and on our children.” (Matthew 27:24–25)

          Further, the tone of the gospel of John is markedly cooler toward Jews than the three synoptic gospels.

          Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

          by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:51:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Iscarrii Zealots (0+ / 0-)

            were making war on the Cohanim for not doing he rituals quite the right way.  The Sanhedrin, not unlike the Iranian Mullocracy were criticized for not cracking down.  The Romans were frustrated by all this religious kerfluffle interfering with the grain (think oil today) trade.

            heck, Judas the apostle was an Isacrii

            Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

            by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:09:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  That is intriguing, but (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Yosef 52, MizC

            the same gospel refers to Jesus as the Christ, King of the Jews, several times.  I interpret this as Jesus being a Jew, which is generally accepted, I believe.  Might this more be a condemnation of the Sanhedrin?  Matthew 27:20:  "But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed."  This is one of many insidious plots executed by the elders and chief priests (which compare to latter day clergy in the Christian faith) to turn the laity against a percieved threat to their power.

            I don't know that I interpret the same cool tone that you read in Matthew.  Either way, there is much written in the gospels and the New Testament that has been used to justify anti-semitism.  But I think that the words of Jesus himself put any question of whether Christianity should have embraced anti-semitism or not to rest.

            "The revolution will be no rerun, brother. The revolution will be live" Gil Scott-Heron

            by marknspokane on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:32:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you for posting this (8+ / 0-)

    Far too many people believe that these sort of things are just spontaneous upheavals in history.  The truth is, the holocaust in Europe has been underway more or less since the Crusades, as you very deftly proved.

    You sound like my college Western Civilization professor, who will to me always be remembered as the person who "opened my eyes" to the current state of affairs by demonstrating the cultural and political cause and effect chain that built our modern society.

    "The revolution will be no rerun, brother. The revolution will be live" Gil Scott-Heron

    by marknspokane on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:22:42 PM PDT

  •  Excellent work... (15+ / 0-)

    People need to know and understand the history of anti-Semitism to know exactly why a secure Jewish homeland is necessary. Perhaps another place other than the former British Mandate of Palestine might have been chosen...maybe a nice carved out chunk of Germany, maybe Sicily...but what was done in 1948 was done and we need to simply deal with it. Preferably with a two-state solution, internationalization of Jerusalem, and a return to pre-1967 borders.

    However, Naziism does not just start and end with anti-Semitism. The Nazis were hostile to the Catholic Church and to all Protestant churches that did not bend their knees to the Nazis. The history of the Confessing Church is interesting in that there was indeed some resistance to Naziism amongst Protestant Christians in Germany at the time. Some even were rescuers of Jews and numbered among the "Righteous Gentiles" later by Israel.

    The Nazis also persecuted Romany, Africans, some Asians, the mentally and physically disabled, and GLBT people. Over 10,000,000 people were killed by the Nazis, 6,000,000 of which was the almost total destruction (Shoah) of the Jews. This leaves 4 million dead of all other categories of untermenschen.

    To quote Indiana Jones: "Nazis. I hate those guys."

    The next Single Payer Happy Hour is 10/30/2009. Come in costume!
    "RTLM in Rwanda was totally Fox News." -- a survivor

    by Pris from LA on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:22:54 PM PDT

  •  It seems to me that any understanding of Darwin's (9+ / 0-)

    works would repudiate the Nazi beliefs like the fact that the more "pure" the species is the weaker it is and the quicker to die off when things change would totally destroy the Nazi belief of The Pure Aryan Race being Superior to all others.

  •  OT, we are all untermenschen and the sooner (11+ / 0-)

    we realize it and have more humility, the sooner we will stop looking at other humans as untermenschen.

    Another contributing factor to making the Holocaust possible was modern American Public Relations techniques, pioneered by people like Edward Bernays.

    During Bernays' lifetime and since, propaganda has usually had dirty connotations, loaded and identified with the evils of Nazi PR genius Joseph Goebbels, or the oafish efforts of the Soviet Communists. In his memoirs, Bernays wrote that he was "shocked" to discover that Goebbels kept copies of Bernays' writings in his own personal library, and that his theories were therefore helping to "engineer" the rise of the Third Reich.

     http://www.prwatch.org/...

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:27:42 PM PDT

  •  The Kirk Cameron phenomenon is fascinating (10+ / 0-)

    That he has decided to become a leading "thinker" on the major issues of the day, and that people - including us, now - are paying attention to him.

    He is about as much of a nothing as one can be. Picked for his averageness to be an expert on everything. I guess there are others on the right like this, in Alaska for example.

  •  More thoughts about the Holocaust.... (0+ / 0-)

    Dr. Robert Jay Lifton on the psychology:

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/...

    Rome and the Byzantine Empire were more  cosmopolitan and 'civilized' than Europe was, but Europe rose to power perhaps too quickly.....before mentally and emotionally adjusting to dealing with a wider world, before overcoming provincialism.

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:31:10 PM PDT

    •  Massive wholesale slaughter and genocide (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yosef 52, mariachi mama, MizC

      is a tad bit more than 'provincialism'.

      'Provincialism' reminds me of a sense of pride in one's local dialect and food preferences.

      It seems a bit tame of a word to describe the sustained, heinous and well coordinated vicious attacks made by authorities within various branches of The Church upon Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, holders of aboriginal natural beliefs and of course, atheists.

      •  Provincialism's mindset easily leads to (0+ / 0-)

        violence against perceived outsiders, though.

        Provincialism is more than pride in local district. It's a definite closed-minded position. "My country right or wrong"........and wrong is just fine with them.

        Provincialism is also ignorance, gullibility, being behind the times and proud of it.  Hostility to anything new, even if it is better.

        Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

        by LNK on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 11:47:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Holocaust denial is rampant through GOoPer land (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JayBat, Uncle Moji, kaolin

    I consider ANY distortions of the Holocaust horror or misrepresenttations of Hitler and act or Holocaust denial.

    As an agnostic, but Jewish by birthright, might I say this . . .

    FUCK THE REPUBLICAN HOLOCAUST DENIER PARTY!

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' - 1984

    by MinistryOfTruth on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:43:45 PM PDT

  •  I have nothing to add (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yosef 52, JayBat, Uncle Moji, Clio2, MizC

    I just wanted to say thanks for this diary.

    So. Thanks :)

  •  Monocausal explanations of the Holocaust... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eiron, erratic, DemocraticLuntz

    ...are a waste of time.  The Kirk Cameron crazies are in fact correct that Darwinism is part of it...certainly not a sufficient part and maybe not a necessary part, but it's there.  So is Leninism (without which National Socialism would have been inconceivable).  So is Christianity, as the diary notes.  So is techno-modernism, though Rwanda shows that you don't need modern killing methods.  

    I don't think we have to deny the presence of a twisted Darwinism in the mindset behind the Holocaust--it's not like Darwin or his direct acolytes did it, and in the end it's not "Darwinism" as the crazies would have it, it's a very solid scientific explanation that just happens to be Darwin's brainchild.  It would be just as true if someone else had come up with it, or (in a tree-in-the-forest sense) if nobody had.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:52:41 PM PDT

  •  I appreciate the refocus, (4+ / 0-)

    and agree that antisemitism in Europe was historically based on Christian thought at the time. However, neither the Dolchstoss myth nor the Holocaust were exclusively focussed on the Jewish people. The Dolchstoss was blamed on socialists, communists and war profiteers, as well as Jews: http://en.wikipedia.org/....

    The Holocaust targetted the many other groups of people, "including ethnic Poles, the Romani, Soviet civilians, Soviet prisoners of war, people with disabilities, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and other political and religious opponents" from (http://en.wikipedia.org/...). These victims hadn't all historically been vilified by the Church.

    While there was collaboration between the Nazi party and the Catholic Church, I feel that it was more of a tolerance thing, then an alliance. There wasn't a close affinity, but the Church was too powerful and popular for Hitler to attack directly. They were probably on his list, right after conquering Russia...Nazism was pushing pre-christian ideologies, like Aryanism and various nordic cults/beliefs.

    Christian antisemitism certainly played a strong role, but so did Darwinism - the concept of racial purity was a very scientific one, at the time.

    Again, good diary, and great research, but to respond to attempts to demonize evolution by demonizing christianity isn't as productive as it could be. In my mind, the key flaw in trying to make a connection between evolutionary theory and Nazism is that pure science doesn't have a moral component. It's the responsibility of humans to use their skills and tools and insight in a moral, humane way.

    Nazis developed rocket technology, that the US imported (by bringing in the key scientists involved) and used that to build their space program. But no-one's painting swastikas on the space shuttle - why is that?

    I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this. (Emo Philips)

    by erratic on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 04:55:10 PM PDT

    •  Many of your criticisms and comments are valid. (4+ / 0-)

      However, I must take issue with the assertion that Darwinism "played a strong role" in setting the stage for mass murder.

      Yes, the Nazis hated many people besides Jews, but only one group was slated for complete extermination: Jews. Even the cultural remnants of Judaism were to be excised from European life.

      I assure you my intent is not to "demonize" Christianity. As I said,

      I mean the citation of these historical examples as no disrespect to the many wonderful Christians who love and respect Jews and speak up in their defense, nor is it an indictment of the many Christian rescuers of Jews during the Holocaust, especially those in Bulgaria, Denmark, and Hungary. But in order to deal with the past, we must confront it honestly.

      Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

      by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:13:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks Yosef! (3+ / 0-)

        I agree, "demonize" was an exageration on my part. I was trying to say that we can no more blame Darwinism as the source of the Holocaust, than we can, Christianity (or christian antisemitism). A large number of factors played into the rise of Nazism and the Holocaust, and I don't feel that any one factor can be considered the "Real Origin".

        As to the claim that only Jews were slated for complete extermination, I'd have to see some documentation on that. I certainly agree that they were the primary focus, as a very visible and powerful minority in a culture that had a strong history of antipathy toward them.

        There were many reasons beside anti-semitism for people to support or join the Nazis - nationalism, fear, opportunity for advancement, apathy/convenience, tradition. Just as the Civil War wasn't just fought over slavery, the Holocaust wasn't just about anti-semitism.

        I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this. (Emo Philips)

        by erratic on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:28:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yosef touches on this briefly in his diary (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yosef 52, mickT, buhdydharma, erratic, MizC

      Nazism was pushing pre-christian ideologies, like Aryanism and various nordic cults/beliefs.

      This part began ca. 1801 with the Romantics.  It was a strange combination.  The Romantics idealized the middle ages and the authority of the Church.  They had really been hired by aristocratic patrons to fire up the peasantry for soldiers as Napoleon was pushing Republicanism through Europe at the point of the bayonet and a great threat to the aristocracy.

      What happened was a strange mixture of pagan Nordic and Christian beliefs into what was termed Pan-Germanism as a nationalistic call to arms.  It's just that there was no such thing, not even a Germany, just a collection od principalities and the like.  There were Prussian, Bavarians and Saxons but no such thing as Germans.

      The Romantics lumped them all together as "Germans" through poetry, music, and literature.  The national epic of Germany, Das Nibelungenlied, was lost for centuries until the 19th century and then the Romantic composer Richard Wagner picked it up.

      While antisemitism reduced one population of society the other side of the coin was that pan-germanism elevated the other population of society into nationalism.

      There is a whole constellation of historical reasons, seemingly unconnected, for the Shoa that seemed to align at just the exact time and place for the rise of the Third Reich.

      Hello? Hello? Hunter? Hunter what? Ain't nobody doing no huntin' up here, fool! This is a party not a safari!

      by Jeffersonian Democrat on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:50:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe the Romany people (6+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Boris Godunov, weasel, erratic, kaolin, Lib Dem FoP, Dhirty
    Hidden by:
    Gatordiet

    can legitimately claim a homeland in Northern India, where there traditions suggest they originated from before a diaspora. Perhaps a State, a country of their own, where nobody can displace or harm them.  
    How about Kashmir?  That's an excellent idea.  

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:05:10 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this very good diary (6+ / 0-)

    Which was too short for my tastes!  

    Kudos for taking on a very heroic (in thought and mass) task of adding depth to the conversation on Nazism and antisemitism.  

    This is the one good thing that has come of this horrible lie about Obama & progressives as Nazis, perhaps this opens some to really read and understand history.  It does, of course, often lead to a disagreement on the interpretation of the impact of trends and movements, but even this is good.  We can have a measured conversation here, versus the simple shouting down that happens when the right is held responsible for their criminal bastardization of history.

    "Out of Many, One." This is the great promise of our nation -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:11:59 PM PDT

  •  Excellent research, (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yosef 52, erratic, ubertar, kaolin, MizC, Gatordiet

    virulent hatred of Jews through history was used by the Nazis explicitly .. Martin Luther specifically comes to mind. Much of the Nazi religious propaganda used in central Europe referenced Luther directly.

  •  Here is another (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yosef 52, arielle, erratic
    factor that influenced non-Jewish Europeans' view of Jews (post-Darwin, but nothing to do with Darwinism)...[scuse formating, computer acting blinky]

    Wikipedia, "Trilby":

    Trilby (1894) is a gothic horror novel by George du Maurier and one of the most popular novels of its time, perhaps the second best selling novel of the Fin de siècle period after Bram Stoker's Dracula. Trilby is set in the 1850s in an idyllic bohemian Paris...its most memorable character is Svengali, a Jewish rogue, a masterful musician, and an irresistible hypnotist.

    Or, in other words, a Jewish supervillian. BTW,

    Trilby inspired Gaston Leroux's novel The Phantom of the Opera (1910).

    •  When I was a kid I saw a cover for (5+ / 0-)

      Dracula that caught my attention. It depicted the Count as wearing a large Star of David around his neck.

      Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

      by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:27:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Trilby (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yosef 52, erratic, TruthOfAngels

        also came out as a silent film in 1915: here are stills and contemporary reiews.

        I would be curious to know if it was distributed in Germany.  

      •  Holy Manischewitz (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yosef 52

        That's some nasty anti-Semitic imagery for you. And completely misguided with respect to vampire mythology. I don't seem to recall any vampirism in Hebrew mythology. Golems, witches, and succubi, yes. But not vampires.

        I'm a Puntheist. If your religion doesn't make you laugh out loud at least once a week you may have picked the wrong one.

        by ontheleftcoast on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:43:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nazis (and more) (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yosef 52, ontheleftcoast, Gatordiet

          portrayed Jews as vampires in political cartoons.

          Blood sucking, monstrous, sexually deviant, afraid of the crucifix......

          Today, many of the white supremecist types portray Jews that way, too.

          Dante on wrath - "... love of justice perverted to revenge and spite..."

          by arielle on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:08:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The roots of European vampire tradition (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            arielle

            simply believed that they were unclean spirits. IIRC any body improperly buried could become a vampire according to the Slavic tradition. Once it had become one they were notoriously difficult to dispose of and later Christian mythology was lumped into the legend (crucifix, holy water) but the old mythology was still there (stake thru the heart and weakness to silver, garlic, and daylight). But if you're looking for an image of a demonic form they are a handy one I suppose.

            I'm a Puntheist. If your religion doesn't make you laugh out loud at least once a week you may have picked the wrong one.

            by ontheleftcoast on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:36:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There has been a lot written about (5+ / 0-)

              Stoker's portrayal of Dracula using typical 19th century anti-Semitic themes.

              Drinking blood, hording gold, aversion to Christian symbols, what was viewed then as a perversely heightened sexuality coupled with homo eroticism and an almost effeminate elegance all seem to point that way, given the era.

              Sir Richard Burton and Stoker were very close friends and, of course, Burton's tract The Jew, the Gypsy, and El Islam led to a horrible blood libel and riots in Damascus where the sultan had to order the protection of the Jewish people.

              Fortunately for all of us, vampires have been able to overcome the tropes they were saddled with in 19th century literature to become the awesome, romanticized, hotness that they are today.  :o)

              Dante on wrath - "... love of justice perverted to revenge and spite..."

              by arielle on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:57:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I hate it when Christianity gets its tangles (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                arielle, Gatordiet

                into otherwise interesting tales and perverts them. But that's culture for you: always changing, always evolving. I really never liked Stoker's Dracula anyways so I'm glad he is falling out of favor.

                I'm a Puntheist. If your religion doesn't make you laugh out loud at least once a week you may have picked the wrong one.

                by ontheleftcoast on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 07:18:07 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Magna Carta (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alec82

    For somebody claiming to teach history, you are remarkably ignorant of the fact that at the time Christians were forbidden to lend money as it was the sin of usuary. Therefore the only people who could lend money were Jews so it is totally UNsurprising that they be referred to in the context of debt holders.

    To pretend that there were lenders other than Jews, as you imply in your comment, is ahistorical and stretches your argument beyond breaking point.

    "Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism." Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and son of Holocaust survivor.

    by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:40:31 PM PDT

    •  Well, someone other than Jews was owed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MizC
      1. If a man dies owing money to Jews, his wife may have her dower and pay nothing towards the debt from it. If he leaves children that are under age, their needs may also be provided for on a scale appropriate to the size of his holding of lands. The debt is to be paid out of the residue, reserving the service due to his feudal lords. Debts owed to persons other than Jews are to be dealt with similarly.

      I was merely pointing out that Jews were being mentioned specifically in Magna Carta. Yes, I am aware of the medieval usury laws.

      Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

      by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 05:52:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Money is the operative word (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alec82

        There may well have been debts in kind (for example goods not paid for by merchants) which would have been considered in much the same way that commercial debts are distinguished from bank loans today however you comment refers specifially to loan holders.

        What those usuary laws did of course was to establish the same sort of relationship we see today with Banks and people who lend from them, albeit in an extreme form. Which raises the question of how much of attacks on Jews in the medieval period were simple anti-semitism and how much was debt avoidance justified by the Church's teaching.

        "Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism." Sir Gerald Kaufman, British MP and son of Holocaust survivor.

        by Lib Dem FoP on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:08:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Magna Charta and Antisemitism (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yosef 52

        Your inclusion of the Magna Charta in a clutch of antisemitic screeds does suggest that the Magna Charta in your view should be categorised as such.

        The medieval prohibition of usury, which was a major platform element of the Papacy in the 12th and 13th century, is more complex than just a prohibition on interest.  In any event, credit was an economic need, which Jews - though prohibited from charging interest to co-religionists - were able to fulfil (as did the Lombards, who were also exempt from the prohibition).

        So the provision of the Magna Charta is not anti-semitic, just a provision dealing with a legal situation that (in England) could only arise in respect of debts to Jews but not others.

        Jews anyway had a peculiar position in medieval Europe (and regional particularities abound):  They were generally prohibited from owning land, they couldn't join guilds, and they were excluded from military service (all of which meant they were excluded from political power as well).  On the other hand, they were often under the direct protection of the prince, so harming a Jew was not an ordinary crime but a felony.  To benefit from the protection, they had to wear distinctive clothing, but that was a feature of many groups in the highly compartmentalised medieval world.

        That a policy which marginalises a group of people into non-guild crafts and trades on one side of the spectrum and into trading and money-lending at the other; that excludes them from daily life; that forces them into being the bad guys who call the loans; and that then protects them in a privileged way - that this would lead to resentment is not surprising.  It is of course a manufactured resentment, but it ignores the baffling complexities of medieval society equate this with 19th/20th/21st-Century antisemitism.

        γνωθι σεαυτόν

        by halef on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 10:12:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  By the way, an addendum: a Catholic Statement (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MizC, halef

    As Holy Scripture testifies, Jerusalem did not recognize the time of her visitation (9), nor did the Jews, in large number, accept the Gospel; indeed not a few opposed its spreading (10). Nevertheless God holds the Jews most dear for the sake of their Fathers; He does not repent of the gifts He makes or of the calls He issues -- such is the witness of the Apostle (11). In company with the Prophets and the same Apostle, the Church awaits that day, known to God alone, on which all peoples will address the Lord in a single voice and "serve him shoulder to shoulder" (Soph. 3, 9) (12).

    Since the spiritual patrimony common to Christians and Jews is thus so great, this Sacred Synod wants to foster and recommend that mutual understanding and respect which is the fruit, above all, of biblical and theological studies as well as fraternal dialogues.

    True, the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (13); still, what happened in His passion cannot be charged against all the Jews, without distinction, then alive, nor against the Jews of today. Although the Church is the new People of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or accursed by God, as if this followed from the Holy Scriptures. All should see to it, then, that in catechetical work or in the preaching of the Word of God they do not teach anything that does not conform to the truth of the Gospel and the spirit of Christ.

    Furthermore, in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone.

    --Issued 28 October 1965

    Dammit, it's time for some poetry! And some news!

    by Yosef 52 on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 06:24:00 PM PDT

    •  Ah, yes, Vaticanum II... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yosef 52

      ... viewed a lunatic fringe in the Catholic community as the beginning of the end:  No more Latin mass, communion wine for all - LIBERALISATION in all its deleterious forms.

      It's ironic how obscurantist Protestants, die-hard pre-Vatican II Catholics, radical Islamists and Jewish fringe groups all seem to agree on a few core tenets:  austerity, exclusivity and repression of women (and facial hair for men).

      γνωθι σεαυτόν

      by halef on Tue Sep 29, 2009 at 10:23:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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