How did Germany's Christians respond to Nazism? In Twisted Cross, Doris Bergen addresses one important element of this response by focusing on the 600,000 self-described 'German Christians,' who sought to expunge all Jewish elements from the Christian church. In a process that became more daring as Nazi plans for genocide unfolded, this group of Protestant lay people and clergy rejected the Old Testament, ousted people defined as non-Aryans from their congregations, denied the Jewish ancestry of Jesus, and removed Hebrew words like 'Hallelujah' from hymns. Bergen refutes the notion that the German Christians were a marginal group and demonstrates that members occupied key positions within the Protestant church even after their agenda was rejected by the Nazi leadership. Extending her analysis into the postwar period, Bergen shows how the German Christians were relatively easily reincorporated into mainstream church life after 1945. Throughout Twisted Cross, Bergen reveals the important role played by women and by the ideology of spiritual motherhood amid the German Christians' glorification of a 'manly' church.
In examining one of the defining events of the 20th century, Doris Bergen situates the Holocaust in its historical, political, social, cultural, and military contexts. Unlike many other treatments of the Holocaust, this revised, second edition discusses not only the persecution of the Jews, but also other segments of society victimized by the Nazis: Gypsies, homosexuals, Poles, Soviet POWs, the handicapped, and other groups deemed undesirable. With clear and eloquent prose, Bergen explores the two interconnected goals that drove the Nazi German program of conquest and genocide "purification of the so-called Aryan race and expansion of its living space "and discusses how these goals affected the course of World War II. Including firsthand accounts from perpetrators, victims, and eyewitnesses, the book is immediate, human, and eminently readable. New to the Second Edition: --Enhanced illustrations program with new photographs and expanded captions --More personal accounts from members of specific groups targeted for destruction in Nazi Germany and German-occupied Europe --Incorporation of new scholarship on key points, such as the work of Raffael Scheck on the German killing of thousands of French African soldiers in 1940 --Updated bibliography at the end of the text
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