July/August 2007 Newsletter

Association of Contemporary Church Historians

(Arbeitsgemeinschaft kirchlicher Zeitgeschichtler)

John S. Conway, Editor. University of British Columbia

July/August 2007— Vol. XIII, no. 7-8

 Dear Friends,


1) Reactions to Dick Pierard’s review of The Theocons
2) Book reviews:

a) K-J Hummel and C Kösters, Kirchen im Krieg
b) ed. Austin and Scott, Canadian Missionaries, Indigenous Peoples

3) Rolf Hochhuth Reassessed

a) Feldkamp, Hochhuth Exposed
b) Ritzer, Alles nur Theater?

4) New publication

a) Representation of the Holocaust in Literature and Film
b) Mark Noll, What happened to Christian Canada?

1) a) William Doino writes: As a long-time reader of your newsletter, which I greatly admire and appreciate, I just finished reading the June issue, especially the reiew of Damon Linker’s book, The Theocons. With all due respect, I think this review falls well short of your journal’s usually high standards. The review, like the book itself, is not a thoughtful Cjhristian critique, but rather – in my opinion – a diatribe – overly-partisan, and marked by caricature. And it is written as if the only thoughtful Chriistians in the world are those who agree with the reviewer. For a much different persepctive on Fr Richard John Neuhaus and his journal First Things – and one I think far closer to the truth – I suggest two other reviews, one by Michael Uhlmann in the Claremont Review of Books (http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/id.1342/article_detail.asp), or alternatively Melinda Henneberger’s review from last October in Commonweal.

1b) Bob Doll writes: I found the latest issue, June 2007, particualrly enlightening and useful. Thank you for the work you continually do with these compilations.

2a) Karl-Joseph Hummel and Christoph Kösters, ed., Kirchen im Krieg: Europa 1939-1945 Paderborn: Schöningh, 2007, 614 pp.

In the last several years, historians and theologians have increasingly turned their attention to the role of the European churches during the Second World War. For decades, the relationship between Christianity and antisemitism and the churches’ response to the Holocaust dominated historical controversies. The newer emphasis on the churches’ conduct between 1939 and 1945 marks, in fact, less of a new beginning than a return to questions raised already in the late 1950s by the American sociologist, Gordon Zahn – what was the relationship between the European churches and the Second World War?

This extensive collection of essays, edited by Karl-Joseph Hummel and Christoph Kösters of the Kommission für Zeitgeschichte in Bonn, is the fruit of an interdisciplinary and interconfessional conference, “Kirchen im Krieg, 1939-1945” held in October 2004 at the Catholic Academy in Bavaria, an event sponsored by the Kommission für Zeitgeschichte and the Marburger Lehrstuhl für Kirchengeschichte under the aegis of Jochen-Christoph Kaiser.

The size and scope of this collection alone is impressive. The 23 individual chapters draw upon a variety of historical and theological methodologies, examine more than one dozen countries and look at both the responses of both Protestant and Roman Catholic (but unfortunately, not the Orthodox) churches to the war. As such, this volume provides a sweeping survey of the current scholarly landscape, as many of the contributors stem from younger scholars.

It is, of course, impossible to summarize 23 individual chapters in a brief review. The volume itself, however, is divided into four major parts. In the first section, the reader will find excellently nuanced summaries of the responses by the churches in nations that were occupied by the Nazis, including Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, Norway, France, amongst others. The chapter by Lieve Gevers, a Belgian historian, is particularly well crafted, comparing the responses by the Roman Catholic and Calvinist churches to the persecution of Jews, the deportations and the larger occupation in the Netherlands and Belgium, two nations whose religious and historical traditions differed significantly. She shows that the protests against the Jewish deportations in the Netherlands were far more vocal than in neighboring Belgium, but the Roman Catholic’s quieter approach in Belgium paradoxically succeeded in rescuing more Jews.

Part II of this volume contains three chapters that examine the changes in what might be termed war theology. Wilhelm Damberg’s chapter argues that the church returned to its traditional understanding of war, which maintained that war is a punishment for having fallen away from God. Subjects had a duty to obey authority. . The experiences of the Second World War, however, shattered this traditional understanding, and many Catholic leaders were at a loss to give any sort of convincing meaning to this six year period. In his chapter, Jochen-Christoph Kaiser noted a significant transformation in Protestant theology as a result of the experiences during the Third Reich. Many Protestants learned that they could no longer rely on the generosity or neutrality of state authority, a shock which indelibly influenced debates after 1945 over how to restructure the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland (EKiD).

The third and most extensive section of this volume, which includes ten chapters, analyzes Christian society in Germany during the war. Individual chapters focus on the seizure of monasteries, on the leadership of the Catholic military chaplains, the use of forced laborers in the Protestant and Catholic churches, and gender relations in the Protestant church during the war, the churches’ efforts for Christians of Jewish descent, amongst others.

Part IV turns to an area which has become the focus of significant historical attention during the last ten years – memory and the creation of what have been called ãcultures of memory.ä Of the four chapters, the most extensive Ð nearly sixty pages – was penned by Karl-Joseph Hummel. This chapter “Geschichtsbilder im deutschen Katholizismus,” focuses on the controversies since 1945 regarding the relationship between the Roman Catholic church and National Socialism. Hummel is clearly very critical of many of the critics, as he points out the dark side of many of their own positions and personalities. Walter Dirks, the co-founder of the Frankfurter Hefte, published an article on July 7, 1933, claiming: “(the youth) recognizes with passion the historical task in National Socialism, which has moved closer by one epoch with the overcoming of liberalism and liberal-parliamentary democracy.” Finally, Franziska Metzger’s concluding chapter on Catholic discourses of memory about the Second World War in Austria and Switzerland successfully integrates newer approaches of cultural history into this volume.

For scholars in the field, this volume will be indispensable, as it brings together some of the most important research of the last decade. It is also worth pointing out that this volume contains a brief summary in English, adeptly translated by the German-American historian, Christof Morrissey.

Mark Edward Ruff, Saint Louis University

2b) Edited by Alvyn Austin and Jamie S. Scott, Canadian Missionaries, Indigenous Peoples: representing religion at home or abroad. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005. 330 pp. $65.00 cloth, $29.95 paper.

This review appeared in Church History, Vol. 75, March 2007, and is reprinted by kind permission of the author.
Lately, Canadians have become ashamed of their missionary past. High profile court cases involving abuse by missionaries in institutions and in Aboriginal communities, or the public reaction to an exhibit on Canadian missionary work in Africa at the Royal Ontario Museum in the early 1990s, tended to give Canadians the sense that they knew all there was to know about Christian missionaries in Canada’s past, and what they knew was that they were bad. Fortunately scholars, like those whose work is included in Canadian Missionaries, Indigenous People: Representing Religion at home and abroad, have begun to bring this past out of the dark corners of Canadian consciousness and to subject it to more probing and nuanced analysis.

This collection of essays shows that the history of Canadian missions is both more complex and more significant internationally than many recognized. The book is divided into three sections dealing with home missions, the foreign field and material histories of mission work. Certain themes dominate, including the involvment of Christian missions with imperialism, the tensions surrounding indigenizing Christianity and the prominence of Canadian missionaries on the world stage. This latter point, along with the quality of the scholarship presented herein, and the importance of its subject matter, recommends this volume to a broad audience.

The role that missionaries played in imperialism is an obvious theme and one that emerges most clearly in the first section on home missions to Aboriginal people. Here is where many Canadians feel most uncomfortable and the first three articles, by Scott, Rutherdale and Edwards will confirm that discomfiture. Collectively, these articles explain the discursive formations of missionary work to Native Canadians that led to the invasive practices of residential schooling and forced cultural change. Gail Edwards’ article, in particular, explores the limits of the category ‘missionary’, one that excluded Aboriginal converts, even (or Edwards argues especially) when they married white missionaries and were the principal representatives of Christianity to their own people.

Neylan’s article in the same section, offers another view one from an Aboriginal perspective that simply refused to accept the Christian mantel that colonialism wore on the North Pacific coast. Rather, Neylan’s subject, Tsimshian Christian Arthur Wellington Clah, challenged the local agent of government control by asking: “Did you ever see a Christian take land from another Christian, and sell it, not letting him know anything about it?” Incorporating Christianity into Tsimshian culture, Clah drew conclusions about the Christianity of white people that defied the standard rhetoric of savagery and redemption.

Indigenizing Christianity was a process that preoccupied missionaries the world over. In written texts, the tendency remained to make the white missionary the hero and the convert the subject of shifting descriptors serving the needs of larger missionary narratives. Margo Gewurtz’ article analyzes the story of “Old Blind Chou” and reveals how gender and race were deployed to shape the story of Christian missions by ‘writing out’ the agency of women as well as that of non-white converts. By contrast, Brouwer’s article foregrounds the work of women but complicates our view of that work. While some women missionaries still embraced ‘motherhood’ as their activating metaphor (in this volume Rutherdale demonstrates this among missionaries in Canada’s arctic), Brouwer’s subjects, working between the two world wars, rejected the restrictions of ‘women’s work for women,’ and focused on preparing Christian men to claim power within emerging Indian, Chinese and Korean nations. Ironically, this connection between masculinity, indigenized Christianity and nationalism may have paved the way for secularism’s ascendancy. Austin’s study of Edward Wilson Wallace in China and A. Hamish Ion’s analysis of Christian missions under Japanese Imperialism furthers our understanding of the complex connections between Christianity and nationalism under imperialism.

For some time historical studies have explored the dialectic between headquarters and periphery in missionary circles, how policy developed in Toronto was transformed in remote locations like Kitamaat or Pangnirtung, Kangra or Vanuatu. The place of missionary narrative in shaping public opinion in Canada about imperialism, subaltern or indigenous peoples, however, remains largely a mystery. The third section of this volume, which examines ethnographic research and collecting by missionaries, offers opportunities to examine this question. Articles by France Lord, Barbara Lawson and Arthur Smith study ethnographic collections, demonstrating how these artifacts display the complexity of mission contact zones. France Lord shows how Jesuit collecting was oriented towards their own history and has had a profound impact on the writing of Canadian history. Lawson and Smith using Oceania collections offer us intriguing glimpses into how gendered colonial agendas influenced the science of collecting. The last chapter by Linfu Dong on the remarkable scholarship of James Mellon Menzies brings home the international importance of Canadian missionary work. Menzies’ archaeological study in Chinese history, language and theology, though directed to finding a monotheistic Chinese past, established scientific archaeology in China.

Canadian missionaries engaged in important work abroad. Whether establishing medical schools and teaching hospitals, systems of education or making important discoveries in Chinese history, Canadian missionaries worked with post-colonial agendas as well as with imperial ones. Interestingly, this appears to be less the case at home with Aboriginal people than on the international stage but further work may reveal more parallels. Nonetheless, the complexity of missionary relationships with subaltern peoples, with the creation of knowledge around gender, colonialism and nationalism indicate that far from a parochial preoccupation, Canadian mission history has much to say to an international audience.

Mary-Ellen Kelm, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia

3) Rolf Hochhuth Reassessed The following two contributions are paired in their reassessment of the German playwright Rolf Hochuth and his impact on literary and political culture in the 1960s.

a) Michael Feldkamp, Hochhuth Exposed.

This article appeared in the German edition of In The Vatican, and is here translated by John Jay Hughes, and reprinted by permission of the author

For over 40 years Rolf Hochhuth has been surrounded by scandal. He drew attention most recently with his expression of sympathy for the British historian and Holocaust denier, David Irving, in the journal Junge Freiheiton 18 Feb. 2005, managing to provoke indignation not only from the Chairman of the Central Jewish Council in Germany, Paul Spiegel (who called Hochhuth “an intellectual arsonist”), but also from Hochhuth’s fellow travellers on the Left.

Hochhuth’s notoriety stemmed from his provocative attacks on well-known and respected public figures. Examples from his often mediocre plays and stories are his charge that Winston Churchill arranged a murder, his attacks on the pharmaceutical industry, superficial tirades against “Ossies” [inhabitants of the former East Germany] in Hochhuth’s work “Wessies [West Germans] in Weimar,” slanders against business consultants in “McKinsey,” and back in 1978 his claim to have “toppled” the Minister-President of Baden Württemberg, Hans Filbinger. Hochhuth has repeatedly used self-invented legends to manipulate public opinion. After the fall of the Berlin wall we learned that at least in the case of Hans Filbinger, Hochhuth had used reports from the secret police of the German Democratic Republic. Now we learn that in his 1963 work, The Deputy, which catapulted its previously unknown author to worldwide fame overnight, Hochhuth used forged reports from Eastern European police sources.

The Pope’s “Silence”

Hochhuth’s play about Pope Pius XII and his supposed silence about Nazi Germany’s murder of millions of Jews won its author a place in the canon of the twenty most important literary works in German. ãThe Deputy,ä first performed on Feb. 20th, 1963, and published simultaneously in book form, sold over a million copies in the original German. It continues to shape the prevailing negative image of Pius XII as a man who, out of indifference to European Jews, fear of Communists, and for financial reasons, not only remained silent, but remained a cowardly spectator of Adolf Hitler’s murder of Europe’s Jews.

When Hochhuth made these charges, he said that he was availing himself of an author’s ãliterary license.ä He also claimed that he had received documents from priests in the Vatican, whose names he had promised not to disclose. A claim of this kind opens the door to unlimited speculation. Even Pius XII’s’ longtime secretary, Fr. Robert Leiber SJ, was charged with betrayal. Others suspected that Bruno Wüstenberg, a German priest in the papal Secretariat of State whom Pius XII had refused to promote because of homosexual tendencies, had sought revenge.

Soviet propaganda

One can speculate endlessly about Hochhuth’s informants. But his charges were clearly not new. They had been launched long ago by communist propagandists in the Soviet Union. As early as the winter of 1944-45, shortly before the end of the Second World War, the Soviet newspaper Pravda called the Pope a fascist and an ally of Hitler. On Jan. 9, 1945 Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, called such charges “completely laughable.” A few months later the Russian Orthodox Patriarch of Moscow charged that the Vatican had protected Nazi Germany and engaged in light hearted attempts to evade its responsibility for crimes against the Jews. Finally historians in the Soviet Union, under a pretense of objectivity, made selective use of the sources, which they interpreted in one direction only.

It was in the interest of the Soviet Union to undermine the open and worldwide regard for the Pope and the Catholic Church, in Germany especially. For it was Pius XII who, as Nuncio in Germany after its loss of World War I, helped the new Weimar democracy to achieve worldwide respect. Later, as Pope, he rejected the charge of German collective guilt for the Second World War and the Holocaust. And he intervened successfully with the victorious western allies to free Germany quickly from the bonds of military occupation, so that it could get on its feet economically and emerge from political isolation.

The Vatican’s reaction to Soviet slanders was prompt. In 1959-1960, at the very time that Rolf Hochhuth was in Rome carrying on his research for The Deputy, Alberto Giovannetti, a priest on the staff of the papal Secretariat of State and subsequently papal observer to the United Nations in New York, was permitted to make use of extensive documentation for his book, The Vatican and the War, which was published in Italian in 1960 and the year following in German. He emphasized the Pope’s efforts for peace, which had brought him worldwide recognition during his lifetime, as well as thanks from the State of Israel and from numerous Jewish organizations both in the United States and in Europe.

The year 1963 brought a radical change. Hochhuth’s dubious and scurrilous charges are still being discussed today. In the summer of 1963 the Vatican pointed out “numerous similarities” between Hochhuth’s play and “the usual communist propaganda against the Church and the Pope,” among them the charge of a “common crusade with Hitler against the Soviet Union,” and the claim that the “enormous economic power” of the Holy See and the Jesuit order explained their abandonment of Christian moral principles. The West German government expressed its “deepest regret” for such attacks on Pius XII, since he “had on various occasions protested racial persecution by the Third Reich and had thus saved as many Jews as possible from the hands of their persecutors.”

Pope Paul VI summoned a group of scholars who produced a collection of more than seven thousand documents which is a model of its kind. The work remains essential reading today for anyone studying Vatican policy during the Second World War. However, scholarly works find little interest in comparison with ever new slanders. In 1999 John Cornwell used falsified citations to convict Pius XII of anti-Semitism. In 2002 the American historian Suzanne Zucotti made use of one of Hochhuth’s fictionalized scenes in a scholarly book. In 2003 Daniel J. Goldhagen, then a faculty member at Harvard, disseminated further historical falsehoods through the book market. These authors made no secret of their hope that their “revelations” would block the beatification of Pius XII. It has still not been possible to conduct a serious scholarly discussion of these matters “sine ira et studio.” Debate remains on the level of politics.
On January 25th, 2007, Mihai Pacepa, a former double agent for the Romanian secret service and the American CIA, who for several months had been reporting about his activities in the National Review, disclosed that immediately after Pius XII’s death the Soviet KGB had launched an extensive campaign of defamation against the Pope, in order to undermine his moral authority. Pacepa wrote that he was put in charge of this effort, and that he had sent Romanian agents to the Vatican disguised as priests. They gained access to the archives and copied documents which, carefully falsified, were made available to Hochhuth, who was then conducting research in Rome.

The widespread infiltration of West German journalists and the distribution of forged documents by the KGB and the security police of East Germany, was known long before the fall of the Berlin wall. Pacepa’s report is wholly credible. It fits like a missing piece in the puzzle of communist propaganda and disinformation aimed at discrediting the Catholic Church and its Pontiff. That Paceba is unable, after forty years, to remember just which Vatican archive was the source for the falsified documents does nothing to destroy his credibility.

For more than forty years the Pope’s “silence” has supplied headlines for the media. The same media however have never questioned Hochhuth’s silence, even though he still refuses to identify his Vatican contacts. While Hochhuth is clearly concerned for his own good name, and that of his Roman informants, he has never hesitated to defame others. But his readers should know that his readiness to tamper with historical veracity is by now well established. They can’t claim that they haven’t been warned against such a long-term manipulator of the facts. Scholars know well that the only answer to bad history is better history. But it certainly seems that Rolf Hochhuth has had a long innings with his inferior product.

Michael Feldkamp, Berlin.

b) Nadine Ritzer, Alles nur Theater? Zur rezeption von Rolf Hochhuths “Der Stellvertreter” in der Schweiz, 1963/1964 (Fribourg: Academic Press Fribourg, 2006).

The German playwright, Rolf Hochhuth, is back in the news. After the Miniserpräsident of Baden-Württemberg, Günther Oettinger, gave a eulogy for his predecessor, Hans Filbinger, earlier this month, Hochhuth attacked both Oettinger and the deceased Filbinger, calling Filbinger a “sadistic Nazi,” who had carried out death sentences after the formal cessation of hostilities in 1945. In 2006, the conservative American journal, The National Review, printed an article by the Rumanian defector, Ion Mihai Pacepa, alleging that the work that launched Hochhuth’s career, The Deputy, was the product of a KGB disinformation campaign that had also succeeded in smuggling hundreds of documents out of the Vatican archive and library. While the reality in both cases is most likely much less dramatic (the accounts of both Hochhuth and Pacepa contain significant inaccuracies and are likely to be largely untrue), they underscore the pivotal role that Hochhuth played in cementing German discourses on “overcoming the past,” or Vergangenheitsbewältigung, to use the German term.

In this highly polarized and ideological context, the wonderfully sober and balanced first book by the young Swiss historian, Nadine Ritzer, comes as a welcome relief. This readable account is refreshingly free of polemic. Focusing on the reception of Hochhuth’s play, The Deputy, in Switzerland in 1963 and 1964, this book casts Hochhuth neither as a heroic crusader seeking to expose the truth about the Catholic past nor as a craven villain beholden to ideological interests. Instead, her book represents one of the first recent significant efforts to historicize the entire Hochhuth controversy. In his play, Hochhuth alleged that Pope Pius XII maintained an icy silence in the wake of the Holocaust. Ritzer places the charged discussions surrounding this work and these claims within the larger contexts of the discussions regarding Christian anti-Judaism, the confrontation of Catholics with the recent past during the years of National Socialist hegemony in Europe and finally, the coming to terms with a darker chapter in Swiss history, the turning away of more than 4000 Jewish refugees between 1942 and 1943 under the pretext that “the boat is full.”

To many North American readers unfamiliar with the history behind Hochhuth’s production, it might seem something of a stretch to devote an entire book to the reception of Hochhuth’s play in Switzerland, a nation that has often lived in the shadow of its larger German speaking neighbor to the north. After all, there are sundry books and articles devoted to the controversies that Hochhuth’s play engendered in Germany, many penned in the immediate wake of these controversies between 1963 and 1965. Ritzer is, of course, Swiss, her book the result of her Magisterarbeit written at the bilingual university in Fribourg. Her archival materials newspaper articles, the records from the relevant theater companies and not least the papers of Hochhuth himself all stem from her home country.

But as Ritzer shows, there are compelling historical reasons to look at the response to The Deputy in Switzerland as a critical and until now, long overlooked and overdue chapter in a much larger saga. Following its initial run in Berlin beginning in February 1963, The Deputy was next produced on the stage in Basel long before performances in Paris, London and New York or even in other German cities. It was also produced in the smaller locales of Zofringen, Olten and Aarau. The militancy of the protests before and during some of the productions in Basel rivaled and even dwarfed those of Berlin. Young Catholics set off stink bombs during the productions and picketed the theater waving inflammatory signs. One Italian group even threatened the bomb the theater, the synagogue and Free Masons’ Center, claiming that all three groups stood behind the production in a perfidious conspiracy. As Hochhuth was to comment in February, 1964: “I experienced the largest and also the most angry demonstrations against the Deputy in Basel, but at the same time such kindness, so much heartfelt sympathy as at no other location.” Finally, Hochhuth relocated to Switzerland, where he still resides, to coincide with the production of The Deputy, a move which triggered intense debates about his residency permit.

Ritzer convincingly shows how the often bitter Catholic reaction to The Deputy reopened, at least temporarily, longstanding fissures in Swiss society. This play by a German Protestant reawakened Catholic anxieties regarding the Kulturkampf, which was waged not only in Germany but also in Switzerland, in which the Catholic minority in the second half of the 19th century had been subjected to repressive and illiberal measures by the liberal Protestant majority. The Deputy reactivated the Catholic milieu. Catholic leaders took pains to appear as a united, monolithic front, even if Catholic public opinion was not completely in accord on how to respond to this apparent danger to confessional peace in Switzerland. But at the same time, she makes clear that this call to arms was little more than a convenient device with which to rally the faithful, since the specter of a renewedKulturkampf bore little resemblance to the realities of Swiss society in the 1960s, an era in which the religious subcultures were eroding.

Perhaps most interesting for American readers is the skillful manner in which she weaves the reception of The Deputy into the discussions about the complicity of the Swiss government in the genocide. Hochhuth’s work moved the focus of the public away from the perpetrators to those of the bystanders, and it was only logical that in Switzerland, not only Pius XII but the Swiss nation would come under critical scrutiny. The Swiss government refused to rehabilitate Paul Grüninger, the Swiss policeman from St. Gallen who had procured papers for more than 1000 Jews to entire Switzerland, a step which triggered critical debate once Grüninger was honored abroad for his efforts. The official rehabilitation took place only in 1995, 23 years after his death.

Early in her work, Ritzer provides a brief sketch of earlier attempts to examine the Catholic past under National Socialist rule. She correctly points to the pivotal role played by individuals such as Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde and others in the late 1950s and early 1960s. This is a subject worthy of monographs in their own right and to date, at least three historians, including this reviewer, are preparing significant scholarly treatments of the examination of the Catholic past in the Federal Republic. But Hochhuth was the culmination of the process, the individual who left his indelible thumbprint on the discussions for the next forty years. In this respect, Ritzer’s adept historicization of Hochhuth’s work serves as a pioneer work for others charting these turbulent waters.

Mark Edward Ruff, Saint Louis University

4 a) One of our members, Marc Raphael, of the College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, draws attention to a new book he has edited: The Representation of the Holocaust in Literature and Film. This is a second volume, and is published by the Department of Religion, College of William and Mary. See http://www.wm.edu/religion/publications.php

b) The perceptive article “What happened to Christian Canada?” by Mark Noll, which appeared in Church History last June (see note in December issue of this Newsletter) has now been republished as a separate pamphlet by Regent College Publishing. This insightful essay makes timely observations about the shifts in church support in Canada, and would be most valuable as a study guide for church discussion groups everywhere. The ISBN is 1-57383-495-X, see www.regentbookstore.com, 5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver B.C. V6T 2E4 Canada

With all best wishes for the summer holidays
John Conway jconway@interchange.ubc.ca