A first-hand explanation.

There seems to be a new Nazism on the rise. The confrontations between residents of Skokie, Illinois, and a group of Nazis last summer is just one example. In Germany a film titledHitler, eine Karrierehas generated high interest and controversy. Historians are asking if it could happen again, maybe in this country.

At the same time, there is a move in city high schools in this country to introduce Holocaust studies to ensure that young people know what happened during the Third Reich. Educators believe that such required courses will prevent fascism from reappearing. Another way to do that is to listen to a man like Helmut Thielicke, who lived through the Holocaust, and, as a young pastor, resisted the Nazi encroachment in Europe. The following is an excerpt from his “Between Heaven and Earth: Conversations with American Christians.”

Question: I expect that during your visit you have frequently been asked how the terrible things perpetrated by Hitler could ever have happened in a country which brought forth Bach, Beethoven, Thomas Mann and other luminaries of art and science. I too would like to present this question.…

Answer: This question does indeed seem to trouble many Americans and has often been put to me; I am rather afraid of it, but not really because it is a “hot” subject. (I have grown somewhat inured to “hot” questions!) I am afraid of it rather because it involves such a.… complex of political, historical, and psychological problems.…

First: The so-called “Weimar State,” which Hitler then so horribly liquidated, left the German people in a desperate situation. A host of many millions of unemployed crippled ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.