Minority Christian groups in the third reich: their strategies for survival: a comparative study

King, Christine Elizabeth (1980) Minority Christian groups in the third reich: their strategies for survival: a comparative study. Doctoral thesis, Preston Polytechnic.

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Whilst scholarship has shown that conflict between the major churches and the National Socialist regime was inevitable, there has been little written on the relationship between the Nazis and the Christian sects.
This work takes five of the largest and most representative sects in Gennany and examines what happened to them during the Third Reich.
Two introductory chapters set the scene. Chapter One examines the complex and often contradictory views of the Nazis on religion and summarises the position of the major churches. Chapter Two outlines the history and teaching of the five sects and introduces those Nazi government agencies ith which the sects caine into contact. The central body of the work is devoted to an analysis of the fate of the sects.
The Jehovah's Witnesses are accorded two chapters, one discussing their experiences in the Reich and one outlining their life in concentration camps. Christian Science, Seventh Day Adventism, the New Apostolic Church and Mormonism are each discussed in sepaxAate chapters.
Of the five sects, one was banned, one survived untouched for eight years and three suffered little or no harassment. Nevertheless, it is clear that the Nazis were suspicious of all sects and only accepted a modus vivendi with reluctance. Those sects who enjoyed a temporary co-existence had more to offer than just a loyal and patriotic membership, for all managed to convince the government that they were useful. This was done by financial or welfare contributions to the state, or by the use of foreign contacts, and all had to implement positive and carefully worked out policies to ensure their survival.
Each group's survival strategy was worked out according to its own criteria, based on its own history and theology. To the Witnesses, survival meant the preaching of God's word, whatever the personal costs. To others, it meant the safety of members and of the sect, even at the cost of some compromises. All the sects represented rival claimants to the loyalty
and obedience properly due to the Nazi state and even with these compromises, it is likely that, had the war been won, what happened to the Witnesses would have happened to all sects in Germany.

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