Resistance Within the Church

church resistanceThe opposition of the German bishops and the Catholic faithful to the Nazis was based essentially on the fact that in his book, Mein Kampf, and in his speeches, Hitler took the supremacy of the state to an extreme, to the degree of doing away with individual freedom, especially freedom of religious expression. Although opposition to the Nazis, or even just expressing political dissent to Hitler and his regime, was notoriously difficult, there were many within the Church who took a courageous stand against them. Christian churches, both Catholic and Protestant, opposed the imposition of Nazi ideology on German life; some in these churches gave shelter to those persecuted by the regime.

One of the most remarkable examples of clergy taking a stand to protect Jewish citizens was that of Metropolitan Stephan, the Head of the Sofian Church, and Metropolitan Kiril, the Head of the Church in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv, who vigorously opposed the anti-Jewish policies of the Bulgarian regime, and took active steps against its policy of deporting the Jews of Bulgaria and handing them over to the Germans. In May 1943, the Jews of Sofia received deportation orders to the Bulgarian countryside. The Jewish community’s two chief rabbis, Daniel Zion and Asher Hannanel, asked Metropolitan Stephan to shelter them and pleaded for the cancellation of the deportation order. Stephan sent a number of messages to King Boris, pleading for him to have mercy on the Jews.

Do not persecute,” he wrote, “so that you, yourself, will not be persecuted. The measure you give will be the measure returned to you. I know, Boris, that God in heaven is keeping watch over your actions.”

The Church and Nazi Germany: Opposition, Acquiescence and Collaboration II
Catholic News Agency

Catholic Martyrs of the Holocaust
Catholic Education Resource Center

Konrad von Preysing

Christian Rescue
Teaching Resources for Faculty
Churches and the Holocaust
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Opposition in Nazi Germany
History Learning Site

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Pacifist, Nazi Resister (2003)
Pop Matters

Two Bulgarian Clergymen Named as Righteous Among the Nations for saving Jews during the Holocaust
29 November 2001
Yad Vashem

Bulgarian Church Protection of Jews in World War II
East & West Church Ministry Report

How Bulgaria saved its Jews from Nazi concentration camps
Washington Post

A Bishop who Stood in the Way
Website of the Orthodox Peace Fellowship

Metropolitan Stephan
Web European Forest Righteous

cardinal von galens against nazi eurhanasia The History Place

Humanitarian actions of Monsignor Angelo Roncalli
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Pope John XXIII and the Jews
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Don Brondello and the Catholic Church
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Pope John XXIII
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Bulgarian Church Protection of Jews in World War II
East & West Church Ministry Report

Purim in Bulgaria – With Kaddish
The Unknown War Story of the Brave Metropolitans
The Jewish Daily Forward

The Miraculous Rescue of the Bulgarian Jews during the Holocaust (1939 – 1945) (The Bulgarian Miracle) (Part 1) by Dr. Marcel Israel

Monsignor Beniamino Schivo, savior
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Bonhoeffer – Timeline

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Foundation

Kreisau Circle

Opposition to the Nazis
Alpha History

Protest of the Danish Church Against the Persecution of the Jews
Jewish Virtual Library

Clemens August Graf von Galen

Cardinal Clemens von Galen
Against Nazi Euthanasia
Great Speeches Collection
The History Place

Clemens August Graf von Galen

Priests for Life
Sermon against the Gestapo

The Bishop vs. the Nazis
Bl. Clemens von Galen in World War II Germany
Catholic Answers

Three Sermons in Defiance of the Nazis by Bishop von Galen
By Bishop von Galen
The Church in History Information Center

Bishop Von Galen
Weimar and Nazi Germany

He Stood Up to Hitler Without Flinching

The Persecution of Jews in Hungary and the Catholic Church During the German Occupation
19 March 1944 – 4 April 1945
Chapter III – Catholic Institutions in the Resistance Movement
The Church in History Information Center
Institutions, schools, convents, monasteries, students’ hostels, etc. which offered asylum to persecuted Jews.

Christians against Nazis: the German Confessing Church
Christianity Today Library

Book Download:
Church Resistance to Nazism in Norway, 1940-1945
by Arne Hassing
Project Muse

Norway’s Response to the Holocaust
Thanks to Scandinavia


Nazis and Church Locked Horns Early
Catholic Education Resource Center

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