The National Socialist Workers’ Party leader, Adolph Hitler, became chancellor of Germany on Jan. 30, 1933, and began implementing a plan of universal health care, with no regard for conscience.
The New York Times reported Oct. 10, 1933: “Nazi Plan to Kill Incurables to End Pain; German Religious Groups Oppose Move. … The Ministry of Justice … explaining the Nazi aims regarding the German penal code, today announced its intentions to authorize physicians to end the sufferings of the incurable patient … in the interest of true humanity. …”
The New York Times continued: “The Catholic newspaper Germania hastened to observe: ‘The Catholic faith binds the conscience of its followers not to accept this method.’ … In Lutheran circles, too, life is regarded as something that God alone can take. … Euthanasia … has become a widely discussed word in the Reich. … No life still valuable to the state will be wantonly destroyed.”
When Germany’s economy suffered, expenses had to be cut from the national health-care plan, such as keeping alive handicapped, insane, chronically ill, elderly and those with dementia. They were considered “lebensunwertes leben” – life unworthy of life. Then criminals, convicts, street bums, beggars and gypsies, considered “leeches” on society, met a similar fate.
Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger had been the editor of the Birth Control Review, a magazine that published in April 1933 an article by Ernst Rudin, one of the “fathers of racial hygiene.” Ernst Rudin advised the Nazi Socialist Workers Party to prevent hereditary defective genes from being passed on to future generations by people considered by the state to be inferior mankind – “untermensch.”
Labeling the Aryan race “ubermensch'” (super mankind), the National Socialist Workers Party enacted horrific plans to purge the human gene pool of what they considered “inferior” races, resulting in six million Jews and millions of others dying in gas chambers and ovens.
U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop stated in 1977: “When the first 273,000 German aged, infirm and retarded were killed in gas chambers there was no outcry from that medical profession … and it was not far from there to Auschwitz.”
British Journalist Malcolm Muggeridge explained: “We have … for those that have eyes to see, an object lesson in what the quest for ‘quality of life’ without reference to ‘sanctity of life’ can involve. … The origins of the Holocaust lay, not in Nazi terrorism … but in … Germany’s acceptance of euthanasia and mercy-killing as humane and estimable.”
Then there was an event of domestic unrest and violence. The German Reichstag (Capitol building) was set on fire in 1933, under suspicious conditions. Hitler declared an emergency, suspended basic rights, arrested his political opponents and had them shot without a trial. Hitler forced old military generals to retire, thus purging his administration of any who might resist him. He swayed the public with mesmerizing speeches.
Then Nazis confiscated weapons. An SA Oberführer warned of an ordinance by the provisional Bavarian Minister of the Interior: “The deadline set … for the surrender of weapons will expire on March 31, 1933. I therefore request the immediate surrender of all arms. … Whoever does not belong to one of these named units (SA, SS, and Stahlhelm) and … keeps his weapon without authorization or even hides it, must be viewed as an enemy of the national government and will be held responsible without hesitation and with the utmost severity.”
Heinrich Himmler, head of Nazi S.S. (“Schutzstaffel” – protection squadron), stated: “Germans who wish to use firearms should join the S.S. or the S.A. Ordinary citizens don’t need guns, as their having guns doesn’t serve the state.”
When a suspected homosexual youth shot a Nazi diplomat in Paris, it was used as an excuse to confiscate all firearms from Jews. German newspapers printed, Nov. 10, 1938: “Jews Forbidden to Possess Weapons By Order of SS Reichsführer Himmler, Munich. … ‘Persons who, according to the Nürnberg law, are regarded as Jews, are forbidden to possess any weapon. Violators will be condemned to a concentration camp and imprisoned for a period of up to 20 years.'”
The New York Times, Nov. 9, 1938, reported: “The Berlin Police … announced that … the entire Jewish population of Berlin had been ‘disarmed’ with the confiscation of 2,569 hand weapons, 1,702 firearms and 20,000 rounds of ammunition. Any Jews still found in possession of weapons without valid licenses are threatened with the severest punishment.”
Of the Waffengesetz (Nazi Weapons Law), March 18, 1938, Hitler stated at a dinner talk, April 11, 1942 (“Hitler’s Table Talk” 1941-44: His Private Conversations, 2nd Edition, 1973, p. 425-6, translated by Norman Cameron and R. H. Stevens): “The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing. … So let’s not have any native militia or native police. German troops alone will bear the sole responsibility for the maintenance of law and order.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated of Hitler, Dec. 15, 1941: “Government to him is not the servant … of the people but their absolute master and the dictator oftheir every act. … The rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness which seemed to the Founders of the Republic inalienable, were, to Hitler and his fellows, empty words. …”
FDR continued: “Hitler advanced: That the individual human being has no rights whatsoever in himself … no right to a soul of his own, or a mind of his own, or a tongue of his own, or a trade of his own; or even to live where he pleases or to marry the woman he loves; That his only duty is the duty of obedience, not to his God, not to his conscience, but to Adolf Hitler. … His only value is his value, not as a man, but as a unit of the Nazi state. …”
FDR stated in his state of the union address, Jan. 6, 1942: “The world is too small … for both Hitler and God. … Nazis have now announced their plan for enforcing their … pagan religion all over the world … by which the Holy Bible and the Cross of Mercy would be displaced by Mein Kampf and the swastika.”
Churchill, in “From War to War,” (Second World War, Vol. 1, ch. 4, p. 50) described Hitler’s Mein Kampf as: “… the new Koran of faith and war: turgid, verbose, shapeless, but pregnant with its message.”
Originally, Hitler was going to allow Jews to be deported to Palestine, but the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Amin al-Husseini, convinced Hitler to pursue another solution. Mufti al-Husseini attempted to follow Hitler’s example by expelling Jews from Palestine, as the Muslim Brother would also do in Egypt. He recruited 30,000 Bosnian Muslims to join Hitler’s Waffen-SS. Hitler gave al-Husseini financial assistance, and then asylum in 1941, with the honorary rank of an SS major-general. During the final battle in Berlin in April of 1945, around Hitler’s bunker, making their last suicidal stand, were 100 Muslims of the Mufti’s Arab Legion.
Hitler’s view was the Nazis had the right solution but the wrong religion, stating: “Had Charles Martel not been victorious at Poitiers … then we should in all probability have been converted to Mohammedanism, that cult which glorifies the heroism and which opens up the seventh Heaven to the bold warrior alone. Then the Germanic races would have conquered the world.”
Hitler stated: “The peoples of Islam will always be closer to us than, for example, France.”
According to Albert Speer, Third Reich’s minister of armaments and war production, Hitler stated in private: “The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity … with its meekness and flabbiness?”
Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels confided in “The Goebbels Diaries” 1939-41, that in reality Hitler “hates Christianity, because it has crippled all that is noble in humanity.”
Though early in his career Hitler pretended to be a Christian in order to get elected, once in power he revealed his nazified social Darwinism and became openly hostile toward Christianity.
Franklin D. Roosevelt stated Dec. 15, 1941: “To Hitler, the church … is a monstrosity to be destroyed by every means.”
Ministers who resisted Hitler’s attempt to “nazify” the German Protestant Church were imprisoned, such a founder of the Confessing Church, Rev. Martin Niemöller, who wrote: “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Another Confessing Church leader who resisted Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was born Feb. 4, 1906. He studied in New York in 1930, where he met Frank Fisher, an African-American seminarian who introduced him to Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. He was inspired by African-American spirituals and the preaching of Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., who helped Bonhoeffer turn “from phraseology to reality,” motivating him to stand up against injustice. Bonhoeffer helped found the Confessing Church in Germany, which refused to be intimidated by Hitler into silence.
In his book, “The Cost of Discipleship,” Bonhoeffer rebuked nominal Christians: “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline. Communion without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ.”
Bonhoeffer stated in a 1932 sermon: “The blood of martyrs might once again be demanded, but this blood, if we really have the courage and loyalty to shed it, will not be innocent, shining like that of the first witnesses for the faith. On our blood lies heavy guilt, the guilt of the unprofitable servant.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned Germans not to slip into the cult of Führer (leader) worship, as he could turn out to be a Verführer (mis-leader, seducer).
Jimmy Carter wrote in his book “Sources of Strength,” 1997: “Rev. Niebuhr urged Dietrich Bonhoeffer to remain in America for his own safety. Bonhoeffer refused. He felt he had to be among the other Christians persecuted in Germany. So he returned home, and … in resistance to Hitler … preached publicly against Nazism, racism, and anti-semitism. … Bonhoeffer was finally arrested and imprisoned. …”
Jimmy Carter continued: “Dietrich Bonhoeffer died April 9, 1945, just a few days before the allied armies liberated Germany. He was executed on orders of Heinrich Himmler. He died a disciple and a martyr. …”
Jimmy Carter concluded: “The same Holy Spirit … that gave Bonhoeffer the strength to stand up against Nazi tyranny is available to us today.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer challenged: “To endure the cross is not tragedy; it is the suffering which is the fruit of an exclusive allegiance to Jesus Christ.”
On Feb. 16, 2002, Dr. James Dobson told the National Religious Broadcasters: “Those of you who feel that the church has no responsibility in the cultural area. … What if it were 1943 and you were in Nazi Germany and you knew what Hitler was doing to the Jews. … Would you say, ‘We’re not political – that’s somebody else’s problem’?”
Dobson concluded: “I thank God Dietrich Bonhoeffer did not give that answer, and he was arrested by the Nazis and hanged in 1945, naked and alone because he said, ‘This is not right.'”
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