January 2009 Newsletter

Association of Contemporary Church Historians

(Arbeitsgemeinschaft kirchlicher Zeitgeschichtler)

John S. Conway, Editor. University of British Columbia

January 2009 — Vol. XV, no. 1


Dear Friends,

My very best wishes to you all for the beginning of the New Year. It is particularly appropriate that my first Newsletter this year brings you word of the well-deserved award to our long-time mentor, Professor Gerhard Besier of Dresden University, of an Honorary Doctorate of Theology from Lund University, Sweden, for his outstanding contributions in the field of church history. I am sure our members will join me in sending you, Gerhard, our warmest congratulations. May you long continue to advance the cause of kirchliche Zeitgeschichte.

Once again I look forward to being in touch with you in 2009 even though, to my regret, I have not got the opportunity of meeting many of you in person. However do please correspond if there are points of interest which you find in these Newsletters. I am always glad to hear from you.

May I once again remind you please do NOT press the REPLY button to this message, but to communicate to me at my personal address given at the end of this message.


1) Book review:

a) Gallacher, Hurley and Pius XII
b) Henry, We know only men. Rescuing Jews in France
c) Akinsha and Koslov, The Holy Place – Moscow’s Cathedral

2) Comment on Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania
3) Dissertation abstract – P. Latvala, Mission to the Soviet Union
4) Correction: Prof N. Stoltzfus, The Rosenstrasse protests.

List of books reviewed in Vol. XIV – 2008.

1a) Charles Gallacher, Vatican Secret Diplomacy: Joseph P. Hurley and Pope Pius XII. [Reprinted with permission from the America Press, copyright 2008, all rights reserved]

Among the movers and shakers of American Catholicism, Joseph P. Hurley (1894-1967) surely deserves a high place. As priest, bishop, Vatican envoy and ally of FDR, he was at the center of twentieth-century debates involving the Church. As influential in his day as his contemporary, Francis Spellman, Hurley remains far less known. Fortunately, with the publication of Charles Gallagher’s new work, Vatican Secret Diplomacy, this forgotten prelate finally receives the attention he deserves.

Gallagher, a Jesuit seminarian, is author of a previous work on the archdiocese of St. Augustine, Florida, which Hurley led from 1940-1967. Granted access to Hurley’s private papers, he has produced a fascinating study.As Gallagher tells it, Hurley was a classic pre-Conciliar Catholic. He believed, as did many U.S. bishops, that a “blessed harmony” existed between the Church and the United States, and thought patriotism “should have the strongest place in man’s affections.” Once ordained, a combative spirit animated him: “Dominating concepts of Catholic militarism, Americanism, patriotism, and athleticism would all be transferred to his religious outlook and his later diplomatic career….To compromise, dither, walk away from a fight, or ‘not face up to facts’ placed one in the detestable category of ‘the Catholic milksop’ ”Fighting the Good Lord’s fight­as he saw it­was Hurley’s specialty. A man of the world as well as the cloth, his abilities were recognized by his superiors, who assigned him posts in India, Japan, and finally the Vatican. That Hurley took well to all these positions­despite any formal diplomatic training­speaks to his natural talents.

Gallagher’s book is as much character study as religious biography. Hurley was a man of contradictions. Though outstanding in many respects, he sometimes allowed prejudice to overtake him. While serving in the Papal Secretariat of State (1934-1940), he sympathized with the controversial priest Charles Coughlin. When he finally took a stand against “Charlie,” as he called him, it was only because of Coughlin’s criticism of FDR, not his anti-Semitism. And yet, to Hurley’s credit, after he witnessed what was actually happening to Jews during the thirties and forties, he became their champion­delivering scorching sermons against Hitler and his “criminal effort to eradicate the Jews.” He also aligned himself with the White House, becoming “the most outspoken critic of American Catholic non-interventionism and arguably the most ardent Catholic supporter of Roosevelt’s wartime foreign policy.” At a time of rampant isolationism, this was daring. Even after America’s entry into the War, conflicts continued, especially when the United States and the Holy See differed. Invariably, Hurley took his government’s side, even promoting the State Department’s “Black Propaganda” against the papacy (meant to influence its political stands). Had the Vatican become aware of this, it could have ended Hurley’s ecclesiastical career.

Though positive toward Hurley, Gallagher offers a one-sided view of Eugenio Pacelli (Pope Pius XII). Relying upon questionable evidence, Gallagher depicts Pacelli as overly cautious; more fearful of Communism than Nazism; and not as outspoken as his predecessor, Pius XI. These are familiar but unpersuasive charges, given that Hitler’s most fervent supporters always blamed Pacelli for the anti-Nazi line taken by the Holy See. Gallagher errs when he writes that Cardinal Pacelli’s 1937 warning to American diplomat Alfred Klieforth was “arguably the only time Pacelli personally expressed his disdain for Hitler.” In fact, as early as 1923, Pacelli, then papal nuncio in Germany, wrote the Vatican (following Hitler’s failed putsch), and denounced the future dictator by name. One of Gallagher’s sources against Pius XII is Hurley himself, who revered Pius XI but doubted Pacelli. But the claim that there was a big difference between Pius XI and Pius XII is unconvincing, since Pius XI appointed Cardinal Pacelli his Secretary of State, and said the Cardinal “speaks with my voice.”

Some of Hurley’s criticisms may have been based on simple ignorance. For example, Gallagher cites an entry in one of Hurley’s papers, where he praises Pius XI’s anti-Nazi encyclical Mit brennender Sorge: “Ratti [Pius XI] said it in March 1937, even if Pacelli missed the point later.” Apparently, Hurley was unaware that Pacelli drafted Pius XI’s encyclical. Similarly, Hurley believed Pius XII’s wartime statements were not direct enough; but the Nazis themselves denounced Pius as a “mouthpiece of the Jewish war criminals,” and many rescuers have testified that Pius inspired them. In 1940, Pius XII suddenly appointed Hurley (still stationed in Rome) the bishop of St. Augustine, a move which had the effect of placing the outspoken prelate in a “backwater” diocese. Gallagher sees this as Pius’s punishment for Hurley’s independent ways. But whatever tensions existed, the pope must have admired the feisty American on some level; for when the War ended, he surprised Hurley by reviving his diplomatic career, appointing him acting chief of the apostolic nunciature in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. There he courageously battled the Communists, even as he met with constant frustration.

Hurley experienced far more success in his St. Augustine diocese, where he returned in 1950, expanding it through savvy real estate deals and religious gusto. If only Hurley’s knack for property development had been matched by a more prophetic imagination. A staunch traditionalist, he opposed Vatican II, and even ridiculed John Coutney Murray as a “master of double-talk.” Last, though an outspoken foe of racism abroad, Hurley was less sensitive to it back home. During 1964, Rev. Martin Luther King transformed St. Augustine into “a major area of civil rights activity and media attention.” Hurley wanted no part of this. Declining to meet with King, he instead sent him an equivocal letter expressing Christian fraternity “among people of different races,” but warning against “any act which might occasion…ill will.” Mind you, this was six years after the American bishops had issued­on the orders of a dying Pius XII­a pastoral condemning the sins of racial segregation. One wonders whether anyone, observing Hurley’s failure, might have mistaken him for a “Catholic milksop.”

William Doino Jr., Weston, Connecticut

1b) Patrick Henry, We only know men. The rescue of Jews in France during the Holocaust. Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2007. 191 pp
[This review appeared first in Catholic Historical Review, Vol. 74, no. 3, July 2008]

In 1979 an American professor of philosophy, Philip Hallie, published an account of the notable efforts by a small group of French Reformed Protestants during the second world war to give sanctuary to Jews oppressed by the Nazis and their Vichy collaborators. This pioneering work, Lest Innocent Blood be shed. The Story of the Village of Le Chambon and How Goodness Happened There, described to English-speaking audiences how these villagers, on a lonely rural plateau a hundred miles south of Lyons, undertook what is now recognized as a uniquely heroic rescue attempt. No other communal effort on this scale occurred for this length of time anywhere else in Occupied Europe. Hallie’s findings were later followed by a moving documentary film, Weapons of the Spirit, produced by a film-maker who himself, as a child, was one of those rescued. Not surprisingly, these events have been given prominence, not only to support the cause of post-war Jewish-Christian reconciliation, but also to promote the image of the French resistance to Nazi-organized tyranny.

Patrick Henry, writing a generation later, seeks to amplify Hallie’s account, to correct a few historical errors, and to put the inhabitants of Le Chambon in a wider setting. He also takes issue with some of the mythical interpretations, which perhaps inevitably had crept in. Naturally Henry has to cover a lot of the same ground, but stresses particularly the role of these Protestant Huguenots as the successors to a long history of religious persecution in that part of France. This made them sensitive to the plight of the Jews, a sentiment reinforced by their strong sympathies with the people of the Bible.

Henry is at pains to dispute the view that the villagers of Le Chambon and district were primarily motivated by economic factors. Instead he emphasizes the spiritual calling which they shared with like-minded Christians of the area, such as Quakers, and Darbyites (Brethren). Since ninety percent of the area’s population was Protestant, the Catholics were underrepresented. Their efforts to assist Jews took place elsewhere, and are not here discussed.

This Protestant determination to resist Nazi oppression and to rescue Jews was all the more notable for being linked to their equal commitment to pacifist non-violence. Henry devotes one chapter to the uplifting story of Daniel Trocme, a young cousin of the Le Chambon’s pastor, who with six of his charges was deported by the Nazis. All lost their lives in concentration camps.

Henry also records the equally self-sacrificing but unknown witness of Madeleine Dreyfus, a righteous Jew, who took enormous risks to bring fellow Jews to the sanctuary on the plateau. Arrested in November 1943, she was to spend eleven months in the horrors of Bergen-Belsen, but luckily survived. Henry believes that her story, and that of other Jews who were part of the resistance in France, has been unfairly neglected and deserves to be better known.

In his concluding chapter Henry regrets that not enough attention has been paid to these rescuers. For the first fifty years after the Holocaust, survivors stressed the evils they had endured. But there was also goodness, even love and compassion amongst those, few and far between, who saved Jews. from the death camps. Unfortunately these efforts have sometimes been disparaged, or their motives challenged. Even notable figures, such as the only American Righteous Gentile, Varian Fry,who also operated in southern France, are largely unknown. Henry’s contribution seeks to rectify this omission, and to put the heroes of Le Chambon into a European-wide context. Their legacy, whether as Jews or Christians, is that they protested against the racial hatred of the day, and because they knew only men, witnessed to the essential similarity of all humanity.


1c) Konstantin Akinsha and Grogorij Kozlov, with Sylvia Hadfield, The Holy Place: architecture, ideology and history in Russia. New York: Yale University Press 2007. 212 Pp. ISBN 978-0-300-11027-2

Two hundred years ago Napoleon’s defeat in Russia seemed to the then Czar, Alexander I, to be a miracle which deserved to be commemorated. He resolved to build a cathedral in Moscow, dedicated to Christ the Saviour. The story of this cathedral, its construction, subsequent demolition and final reconstruction, as told in this sprightly account by two Russian architectural historians, is more of a parable about Russia’s turbulent political history than an architectural treatise, but entertaining on both levels. This is the story of a holy place, where successive rulers of Russia wanted to indulge their views. Alexander yearned for a symbol of universal Christendom; Stalin wanted its replacement to be the tallest building in the world; Yeltsin rebuilt it as a reparation for seventy-four years of Soviet tyranny. Architects of all stripes created hundreds of proposals for the site, but most were doomed to remain unfulfilled. Thinkers, ideologues and artists planned grand decorations which were never realized. As the authors wryly remark: “Alexander was compared to King Solomon creating the Temple, but the history of Christ the Saviour reminds us more of another biblical construction: the Tower of Babel.”

The original site proposed for the cathedral was on the Sparrow Hills, where the University of Moscow now stands. But the vast task assigned to Alexander’s chosen architect, quarrels amongst the leading politicians, problems with the recruited labour, suspicion of Masonic influences, corruption in the procurement of building materials, all caused delays. Then Alexander suddenly died and the project was doomed.

Not until twenty years later was it to be revived. This time, the site was moved to the banks of the Moscow River, not far from the Kremlin, as being much more suitable for ceremonial parades and processions. Czar Nicholas I wanted it to become, not the symbol of European unity, but of Russia’s national superiority and its historic destiny. The decorations and furnishings reflected this new emphasis. The murals, frescoes and numerous statues, all spoke of the history of holy Russia, and included mementos of how God had granted Russia victory over the anti-Christ Napoleon. But progress was very slow, and the cathedral was still not finished in 1855 when Nicholas died from shock at his army’s defeat in the Crimea. Slowly work resumed with more and more expensive, even luxurious decorations added. More than nine hundred thousand pounds of gold were used for the dome alone. The result of these extra embellishments was stylistic cacophany, with East and West reflecting uneasily Russia’s central position in the world. The total cost exceeded more than fifteen million rubles. The Cathedral was finally consecrated in May 1883.

Despite the criticisms of the artistic elite, the cathedral was popular with the masses. Its very size, as the largest church in all Russia, was impressive, even awe-inspiring. It became the most successful mass culture project of its age, instructing the onlooker in the history of both Russia and the Bible. The visitor could be filled with wonder and pride in being Russian.

However, the Cathedral – even with a gigantic statue of Czar Alexander III erected in the 1890s and placed by the front entrance – did not long endure as the mascot of Russia’s imperial monarchy. Thirty-four years after its inauguration, the last Czar, Nicholas II, was deposed and soon after murdered by Bolshevik extremists. The revolutionary violence which engulfed the country, the mass executions of class enemies, and the wholesale confiscation of property, including the church’s, did not leave the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour unscathed. For a while it became the seat of the new Patriarch, whose sermons and decrees were aimed at arousing resistance to the new Communist rulers. He was soon enough placed under house arrest and remained so for several years. His pulpit was then occupied by a fellow-traveller with the Communists, who claimed that the teachings of Christ and Marx were identical. The kingdom of heaven would now result from the success of the Communist revolution. The Cathedral became cold, empty and bird-spattered.

On 5 December 1931, on the orders of the Soviet Politburo, the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour was demolished, blown up by dynamite. In its place, a Palace of Soviets was proposed. Stalin himself gave this idea his full support. Numerous avant-garde architects from all over the world entered the competition to find the appropriate style for the embodiment of the Soviet New Order. The new palace was to be the crowning glory of the Five-Year Plan, and a triumphant vindication of the Communist ideology.

Akinsha’s descriptions of the rival plans for this mammoth piece of architectural idolatry are suitably sardonic. But, as he makes clear, the ordinary Russians were not impressed. The Cathedral’s destruction had been a cruel blow. Memories of its splendour were, however, preserved for an as yet unimaginable future. Instead, under Stalin’s command, a vast and unrivalled edifice was to be built, crowned by a gigantic statue of Lenin. Once the site had been cleared, preparations began for its new fate. By 1941 only a large circular foundation had been built. Then in June the German invasion began. Men and material were immediately transferred for the war effort. The work was never resumed.

After Stalin’s death in 1953, this hole in the ground was turned into Russia’s largest swimming pool, even heated through the depths of winter. But the Cathedral was not forgotten. Its demolition came to be seen as symbolic of the Soviet crimes against civilisation, and its former richness as a sign of Russia’s long-lost heritage. Nostalgia grew for the Cathedral’s golden dome so ruthlessly destroyed by the agents of an increasingly discredited ideology. A revival of interest in religion in the 1970s and 1980s also helped.

With the downfall of the Soviet empire, Russia needed a new identity. Its new leader, Boris Yeltsin, turned to the Orthodox Church as a still viable source for national renewal. The Patriarch, Alexei II, welcomed the chance to recover from seventy years of persecution and exclusion. The price demanded was the rebuilding of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, on its former site, but not with the same elaborate decoration. In September 1994 a powerful committee of both church and state leaders gave the signal for plans for the reconstruction to begin.

Opposition was of course heard from those who objected to the great expense the rebuilding would incur, or from those who wanted to retain their favourite swimming pool. But the church and the city of Moscow authorities launched a large-scale public relations drive and fund-raising campaign which proved highly successful. The Cathedral now became the symbol of the renaissance of the new Russia. By 1997 the exterior was finished in time for Moscow’s 950th birthday, celebrated with passionate Russian enthusiasm. Finally in early 2000, on the Orthodox Church’s first Christmas of the new millennium, the Cathedral was opened for public worship. A few months later, an even more impressive ceremony was held during which the last Czar Nicholas and his wife Alexandra were granted sainthood. At long last, the ruined cathedral was resurrected and the murdered czar sanctified.


2) Comment on Religion and Politics in Post-Communist Romania (Newsletter, November 2008, Vol . XIV, no. 11, p. 8.

The following comment has been sent in by an Oxford scholar who has recently had occasion to visit Romania several times on church business:

“The two authors, L.Stan and L Turcescu, have clearly gone through
the trauma of living through the horrible stages of Ceausescu’s rule
and eventual death, then within a year or two transferring
themselves to Canada, and taking up, no doubt with considerable
enthusiasm, the freedoms and questioning that Canada allows and
encourages. In particular they have clearly adopted a good many of
the ‘assumptions’ about human society which North Americans take for
granted, but which not only looked different in Romania when they
were there because of the Communist rule and ideology, but which are
also very different in Romania and most other countries, in Europe
and in different ways in other continents. North America has had its
specific history and ideologies which have shaped a set of
assumptions which some people, including these two, find congenial
and ‘natural’, but others are more sceptical about (including me !).
The way they approach the particular questions they choose to
give their space to – church and state, religious education in
schools, homosexuality – is entirely that of a certain sort of
North Americans. They no doubt still speak and read Romanian, but write
as outsiders rather than as insiders. It is also evident that the
great majority of the ‘scholarly’ books they refer to,
understandably enough given that they are living in Canada, are by
American authors and reflect their sets of ‘values’ and assumptions.

I don’t say this ‘against’ them, but I feel sure that most Romanians
reading them will be struck by this North American-centred approach (which I
have of course all too often met in books dealing with China,
especially with China’s Christians!). For some it may be welcome,
as illustrating how they are seen, but for many others I feel pretty
sure that they will be looked at more than a little askance, as
writers who are no longer ‘one of us’ ! And I suppose that my
long-standing search and habitual starting-point has been, and
remains, to try and understand any given society, and the people I
am meeting and hoping in some way to serve, from within their
own outlook(s) and assumptions. I may well not ‘agree’ with
some, even many, of those but it’s virtually always more important
to show people that one has understood and sympathised with them
rather than to rush into showing how differently they ‘ought’ to see
things and behave, let alone how much better they could have done
this and that if only they had listened to me !

So while I find the book, of course, interesting and at points
illuminating, it isn’t the Romania I have met and begun to love in
the people I have been with ! Where are the delights of those
‘painted monasteries’ in Moldavia whose tradition is still so alive
and kicking in the Romanian Orthodox Church, where the hundreds of
young women crowding into the nunneries and offering their time and
service to the poor (of whom there are of course still many in
almost every area), where the thrill with which the people of the
city of Sibiu so evidently welcomed the big Europe-wide Ecumenical
Assembly there a year and a bit ago now … ? I don’t doubt that
most of what these authors write about is factually ‘true’, but
there’s so much more to the life and faith of Romanians than the
things they write about, even if those deserve a lot more
exploration and deeper thinking than they mostly yet get.”

3) Dissertation abstract

Piia Latvala, Valoa itään? – Kansanlähetys ja Neuvostoliitto 1967–1973 Light to the East? – The Finnish Lutheran Mission and the Soviet Union 1967–1973.

Ms Piia Latvala, of the Theological Faculty of the University of Helsinki, Finland, recently successfully defended her doctoral thesis on the above topic. We congratulate her on her success.

The Cold War affected the lives of Christian churches, especially in Europe. Besides the official ecumenical relations between east and west, there existed unofficial activity from west to east, such as smuggling Bibles and distributing information about the severe condition of human rights in the USSR.

This study examines this kind of unofficial activity originating in Finland. It especially concentrates on the missionary work to the Soviet Union done by the Finnish Lutheran Mission (FLM, Suomen Evankelisluterilainen Kansanlähetys) founded in 1967. The work for Eastern Europe was organised through the Department for the Slavic Missions. FLM was founded within the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, but it was not connected to the church on an organisational level. In addition to the strong emphasis on the Lutheran confession, FLM presented evangelical theology.

The fundamental work of the Department for the Slavic Missions was to organise the smuggling of Bibles and other Christian literature to the Soviet Union and other countries behind the Iron Curtain. No exact figures are available as to how many people supported or took part in these smuggling operations. Even today many of those involved in these operations are either reluctant or do not dare to reveal the extent of their exploits.. But already within a few years, the Department reported employing some two hundred reliable and trustworthy agents. The number of bibles these individuals took with them varied between a few dozen to fifteen hundred books at a time. They also financed several Christian radio programmes produced and aired mainly by the international Trans World Radio. The Department diversified its activity to humanitarian help by distributing material help such as clothes and shoes to the unregistered evangelical and Baptist groups, which were called the “underground churches”.

In Finland the Department focused on information services. It published its own magazine, Valoa idässä (Light in the East), 5 to 6 times per year. Through the magazine and by distributing samizdat material received from the unregistered Christian groups, it discussed and reported the violations of human rights in the Soviet Union, especially when the unregistered Christian groups were considered the victims. In the Department’s opinion, the legally registered churches and communities had lost something of their genuine Christian character. Their collaboration with the Soviet system of tyranny had perverted their true witness. They now needed to be given the unpolluted Gospel truth. This resistance against the Soviet Union was therefore not so much political as religious: the staff members of the Department were keenly motivated and revivalist young people who thought, for instance, that communism was in some way an apocalyptic world power revealed in the Bible. Consequently they unequivocally denounced the religious policies of the Soviet Union as being un-Christian and despotic, and criticized as cowardly the tactical silence of the Finnish church authorities.

Smuggling Bibles was discussed widely in the Finnish media and even in parliament and the Finnish Security Police (SUPO, Suojelupoliisi) – and in the Lutheran Church. From the church’s point of view, this kind of missionary work was understandable but bothersome. Through their ecumenical connections, the bishops knew the critical situation of churches behind the iron curtain very well, but wanted to act diplomatically and cautiously to prevent causing harm to ecumenical or political relations. As a result, the openly critical attitudes towards the Soviet Union proclaimed by these ardent missionaries caused some concern. This led the church leaders to declare that such activities were not part of the official missionary engagement of the Finnish Church.

The leftist media and members of parliament especially accused the work of the Department of being illegal and endangering relations between Finland and the Soviet Union. SUPO did not consider the work of the Department as illegal activity or as a threat to Finnish national security.

The pioneer phase of this mission ended in 1973 when its chief organizer Per-Olof Malk resigned, due mainly to internal quarrels regarding the use of the financial subsidies received. Malk was clearly a skilful propagandist in whose view this controversial mission was fully justified. The Bible’s command laid upon all Christians a duty to go forth and proclaim the truth of the Gospel to the unconverted nations.
Subsequently, the bible smuggling operations continued but were undertaken less spectacularly or flamboyantly. After 1989 they were no longer necessary.
Piia Latvala

4) Professor Nathan Stoltzfus of Florida State University writes to send us the following correction to a quote attributed to him in ‘The Rosenstrasse protest reconsidered’ (item 2b in the May, 2006 newsletter):

“A friend has brought to my attention a piece in this newsletter with a short reference to Antonia Leuger’s excellent essay (<http://aps.sulb.unisaarland.de/theologie.geschichte/inhalt/2006/11.html>http://aps.sulb.unisaarland.de/theologie.geschichte/inhalt/2006/11.html). It asserted that Wolf Gruner “takes issue with the basic contention, put forward for example by Nathan Stoltzfus, that ‘if only more people had behaved like the wives of the Rosenstrasse, the mass murder of the Jews would never have taken place’.

I have not put forth this contention and would not have made the above quote attributed to me. This mistake is reminiscent, however, of one Joachin Neander corrected in the December, 2005 issue of this newsletter (item 2). Neander refuted the charge, printed in the newsletter’s review of Antonia Leuger’s edited collection, Berlin Rosenstrasse 2-4, that the authors believed that the Rosenstrasse Protest “changed the course of history.” (<http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/akz/akz2512.htm>http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/akz/akz2512.htm)

Indeed, in a review of Gruner’s latest book, Widerstand in der Rosenstrasse, I have just corrected a similar charge. Gruner wrote that I “advocate” a thesis that more protests like those on Berlin’s Rosenstrasse would have “impeded” the Holocaust. As evidence for this assertion, Gruner cited a provocative question (an important tool of scholarship) that I had put forward, asking whether further protests might have “slowed or impeded” the annihilation. Gruner also made similar charges, including one that I claim the Nazi regime could not have quelled the protest with force, although I have always argued that the regime avoided using force in this case for tactical reasons (AHR Review 112/5, 1628,


In fact, I have regularly presented considerations that, had more Germans protested, the regime may well have responded more harshly. For example, in Resistance of the Heart (WW Norton, 1996, p. 260), I write: “It is possible to see the release of Jews at Rosenstrasse as a small, isolatable exception the regime made in order to move forward with its larger purposes. In this view, the Rosenstrasse protesters made an isolated, limited demand the regime could agree to, a calculable cost it could pay. The regime could count the protesters, and count their demands–about 1,700 Jews. It could be certain the Rosenstrasse Protest would end with the release of these Jews, and that the regime could then proceed with the enormous program of genocide elsewhere, where there were no protests. A more general protest against the Final Solution itself, that frustrated all of the regime’s will to genocide, would have pushed the regime into responding with brutal force, one might argue. Gutterer [Goebbels’ Under Secretary of Propaganda] implied that the result of the Rosenstrasse Protest did not necessarily indicate that larger protests would have led to further liberations of Jews.” Nathan Stoltzfus

List of books reviewed in 2008.

Anglicanism and Orthodoxy May
Austin, A., China’s Millions.The China Inland Mission and the late Qing Society April
Berdahl, D., Where the world ended. Re-unification in the German borderland September
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich: London 1933-1935 December
Boyd, R., The Witness of the Student Christian Movement April
Brinkmann, H., God’s Ambassadors. The Bruderhof in Nazi Germany November
Burleigh, M, Sacred Causes February
Damberg, W., and Liedhegener, A., Katholiken in der USA und Deutschland Jul/Aug
Daughrity, D., Bishop Stephen Neill October
Dembowski, P, Christians in the Warsaw Ghetto February
Dramm, S., Dietrich Bonhoeffer. An introduction to his thought May
V-Mann Gottes und der Abwehr? Dietrich Bonhoeffer und der Widerstand May
Faltin, L. and Wright, M., eds., The religious roots of contemporary European identity December
Gailus, M., ed., Elisabeth Schmitz November
Green, Lowell C., Lutherans against Hitler. The untold story June
Hughes, M., Conscience and conflict. Methodism, peace and war in the 20th century Jul/Aug
“Ihr ende schaut an” Evangelische Märtyrer des 20 Jahrhunderts December
Jantzen, Kyle, Faith and Fatherland. Parish politics in Hitler’s Germany June
Kammerer, G., Aktion Sühnezeichen Friedensdienst November
Kunter, K., Erfüllte Hoffnungen und zerbrochene Träume October
Lehmann, T., Blues Music and Gospel Proclamation November
McLeod, H., Saarinen, R., and Lauha, A., North European Churches. From the Cold War to Globalization December
Paldiel, M., Churches and the Holocaust, Unholy teaching, good Samaritans and Reconciliation March
Plokhy,S. and Sysyn, F., Religion and Nation in Modern Ukraine January
Ringshausen, G., Widerstand und christlicher Glaube Jul/Aug
Shuff, R .N., Searching for the true church. Brethren and Evangelicals in mid-twentieth century England Jul/Aug
Silomon, A, Der Ost-West Dialog der deutschen evangelischen Kirchen 1969-1991 October
Spicer, K. Ed., Antisemitism, Christian ambivalence and the Holocaust January
Stan, L., and Turcescu, L, Religion and Politics in post-communist Romania November
Tavard, G. H., Vatican II and the Ecumenical Way September
Webb, Pauline, World-Wide-Webb October
Wolf, H., Flammer T., and Schueler, B., eds Clemens August von Galen September
Zumholz, M. A., Volksfrömmigkeit und Katholisches Milieu April

With every good wish
John Conway