How did Germany's Christians respond to Nazism? In Twisted
, 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.