A Post-Christian Germany with Burning Synagogues: Will Hitler Get His Wish?

By Jonathan Leaf Published on January 18, 2017

On Friday, a German appeals court in the North German town of Wuppertal upheld a lower court decision that three Muslim men who firebombed a synagogue were engaged in political protest and therefore need not go to prison.

The court maintained that the men, who were drunk when they attempted to burn down the temple, were not engaged in anti-Semitic vandalism. Rather, the Court concluded, they were thoughtful political protestors speaking out against Zionism and criticizing Israel’s relations with Gaza.

The synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany, burning during the Nazi Kristallnacht.

The synagogue in Wuppertal, Germany, burning during the Nazi Kristallnacht.

The same synagogue had been firebombed during Kristallnacht, the series of attacks on Jews organized by the Nazis on November 8-9, 1938. It is often seen as the commencement of the Holocaust. Left-wing intellectuals, especially in Germany, don’t like to face the analogy.

In Europe, much is made of the assertion that Nazism was a right-wing movement and that its anti-Semitism was founded in a historical German hatred of Jews whose Christian roots go back Martin Luther and before.

Silent Night, Hitler’s Rite

There is some truth to this. But it also badly misunderstands the basis of Nazi ideology, which was focused not on Germany’s Christian past, but an imagined Aryan future. The Nazis scoffed at Christianity in favor of a cult of collective racial self-worship, focused on their Führer. That is why the Hitler Youth sang a version of “Silent Night” which venerated … Adolf Hitler.

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, and all is bright.
Only the Chancellor steadfast in fight
Watches o’er Germany
by day and by night
Always caring for us.
Always caring for us.

Silent night! Holy night!
All is calm, and all is bright
Adolf Hitler is Germany’s wealth
Brings us greatness,
favor and health.
Oh give us Germans all power!
Oh give us Germans all power!

The Nazi intelligentsia was frank in its hatred for the Catholic Church, and during the war Hitler boasted to aides about his plans to hang the Pope in his pontifical robes in Saint Peter’s Square. Famously, the German Fuhrer remarked that history’s greatest misfortune was the defeat of the “war-like” religion of Islam at the Battle of Tours in 732 A.D.  

In Nazi ideology Christianity is seen as a “slave religion” whose belief in mercy, pacifism and kindness is debilitating, an “infection” that came via Judaism. By contrast, they saw Mohammed as an exemplary figure because he frequently enslaved or killed his enemies. To the Nazis, this Darwinian approach to life was “healthy,” in contrast to Judeo-Christian concepts of good and evil. To propagate their race, the Nazis planned to legalize polygamy, once the war was over. Nazi circles were brimming with plans for a new society free of the “taint” of Judaism. That started with revisions of Christianity (in Nazi-controlled Protestant churches) that rejected the Hebrew bible.

As the Nazis saw violence as inherently good, they necessarily employed it routinely as a political stratagem. For that reason, even before taking power in 1933, they encouraged acts of terrorism. This included physical attacks on political foes, following the example of proto-Nazi groups like Organisation Council. During the early 1920s, it had arranged for the murder of the Weimar Republic’s finance minister, Matthias Erzberger, and its Foreign Minister, Walther Rathenau. In all, the group is reported to have killed 354 people. In its mission statement, the group spoke out for violence, and it called for a new morality among its members which would be “without scruples.”

German Courts Condoned Nazi Violence, Too.

These slayings were often condoned by the German judiciary. Thus, many of the killers got off with light sentences or slaps on the wrist — like the punishment given the Muslim arsonists in Wuppertal. That cavalier approach to political violence gave encouragement to Hitler, who decided to organize his own band of extremists. He would attempt to take over the German government in the so-called “Beer Hall” putsch of 1923. Like Kristallnacht, it took place on November 8 and November 9.

The failure of the Beer Hall putsch led to a brief prison sentence for Hitler. But it also assured his celebrity. Moreover, the book he wrote in prison, Mein Kampf, brought him greater prominence, and the ideas he set forward had great appeal among those Germans who were hostile to Judaism and Christianity. One of those who gravitated towards him was eventual SS leader Heinrich Himmler.

Though Jews are now Islamists’ principal victims, Christians who still predominate in Europe are the ultimate targets.

As Wikipedia correctly notes, Himmler

saw a main task of the SS to be that of “acting as the vanguard in overcoming Christianity and restoring a Germanic way of living” as part of preparations for the coming conflict between “humans and subhumans.” Himmler was vehemently opposed to Christian sexual morality and the “principle of Christian mercy,” both of which he saw as a dangerous obstacle to his planned battle with “subhumans.” In 1937, he said that the movement was an era of the “ultimate conflict with Christianity” and that “It is part of the mission of the SS to give the German people in the next half century the non-Christian ideological foundations on which to lead and shape their lives.”

Though Jews are now Islamists’ principal victims, Christians who still predominate in Europe are the ultimate targets. That is being seen more and more, as in the recent attacks on priests in France, Egypt and Syria. In each country, priests have been decapitated at the altars. Islamists see Christian clergy especially as proper targets, under the principle of jihad bis saif — jihad of the sword. Islamists believe that this is justified, citing the Koran’s so-called Verse of the Sword, which reads, “But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war)…”

Germans who shrugged at the jihad attack on Jews in Wuppertal should think again. Cathedrals in Munich and Cologne may well be next.

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