Carolyn Sanzenbacher
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In the shadows of response
1933–1936
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The lens is adjusted so that over the next three chapters ICCAJ’s developing views on antisemitism and the Jewish problem are juxtaposed on a shared landscape of UCCLW-WCCIF responses to unfolding Nazi persecution of Jews. Beginning with the ascension of Hitler in January 1933, three events shaped the parameters of response. First, the threat of ecumenical division was reignited in March over Germany’s handling of its Jewish problem, lodging as a permanent feature informing decisions about what could and could not be said about Germany. Second, the introduction of Nazi Aryan legislation began to be viewed as an attack against Christianity, moving the perceived anti-Christian aspects of Nazi antisemitism to the forefront of transnational ecumenical concerns. Third, the September adoption of the Aryan Paragraph by the Prussian Synod and the subsequent outbreak of the Confessing church internal struggle against the Deutsche Christen faction began to be ecumenically explained as a representative fight on behalf of the Church Universal. As this path was being sedulously cut by UCCLW leaders, ICCAJ’s goals remained focused on efforts to educate Protestant audiences about the Jewish problem, convince them of the need for conversionary cure and disseminate theory about the causes of antisemitism. Both before and after enactment of the 1935 Nuremberg Laws and the corresponding increase in Nazi propaganda on ‘Judaisation’, ICCAJ pointed with frequency to a ‘renaissance of Jewishness’, Jewish racial identity with nationalism and increasing atheistic Jews as ‘undeniable entrenchment of Jewry in opposition to Christianity’.

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Tracking the Jews

Ecumenical Protestants, Conversion, and the Holocaust

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