Skip to comments.Papers Reveal Nazi Aim: End Christianity .
Posted on 01/10/2002 9:53:22 AM PST by marshmallow
A Rutgers journal will put rare Nuremberg documents online. A plan to rout the church and install a Reich faith is shown.
Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith - in Germany's Third Reich.
More than a half-century ago, confidential U.S. government reports on the Nazi plans were prepared for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and will be available online for free starting tomorrow - some of them for the first time.
These rare documents - in their original form, some with handwritten scrawls across them - are part of an online legal journal published by students of the Rutgers University School of Law at Camden.
"When people think about the Holocaust, they think about the crimes against Jews, but here's a different perspective," said Julie Seltzer Mandel, a third-year law student who is editor of the Nuremberg Project for the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion.
"A lot of people will say, 'I didn't realize that they were trying to convert Christians to a Nazi philosophy.' . . . They wanted to eliminate the Jews altogether, but they were also looking to eliminate Christianity."
Mandel said the journal would post new Nuremberg documents about every six months, along with commentary from scholars across the world, on its Web site at www.lawandreligion.com.
The material is part of the archives of Gen. William J. Donovan, who served as special assistant to the U.S. chief of counsel during the International Military Tribunal after World War II. The trials were convened to hold accountable those responsible for war crimes.
The first installment - a 120-page report titled "The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches" - was prepared by the Office of Strategic Services, a forerunner of the CIA.
"Important leaders of the National Socialist party would have liked to meet this situation [church influence] by complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion," said an OSS report in July 1945. "The best evidence now available as to the existence of an anti-Church plan is to be found in the systematic nature of the persecution itself.
"Different steps in that persecution, such as the campaign for the suppression of denominational and youth organizations, the campaign against denominational schools, the defamation campaign against the clergy, started on the same day in the whole area of the Reich . . . and were supported by the entire regimented press, by Nazi Party meetings, by traveling party speakers."
A second online journal posting - to be added in about six months - will spotlight a secret OSS document, "Miscellaneous Memoranda on War Criminals," about the efforts of various countries to bring Nazis to justice.
A third installment - to be included in the journal in a year - focuses on translated, confidential Nazi documents. A message sent during the Kristallnacht ("Night of Broken Glass") pogrom of November 1938 is titled "Measures To Be Taken Against Jews Tonight." Authorities were given specific instructions: "Jewish shops and homes may be destroyed, but not looted. . . . Foreigners, even if Jewish, will not be molested."
Mandel, whose 80-year-old grandmother is a survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, said that allowing the public access to such documentation is "phenomenal."
"Some of the papers will answer questions that scholars have been asking for years," said Mandel, 29, of Berlin Borough, Camden County. "What did we know? When did we know it?"
The documents are part of the collection of the Cornell University School of Law library, which has about 150 bound volumes of Nuremberg trial transcripts and materials. They are housed at the school and are being cataloged.
"Gen. Donovan kept extensive, detailed records of Nazi atrocities," said Mandel, who taught at Triton High School in Runnemede and at Shawnee High School in Medford, where she led a course on "Literature of the Holocaust."
She and other journal editors - Daniel Bahk, Christopher Elliott, Ross Enders and Jessica Platt - examined hundreds of documents at Cornell before choosing those to be posted on the journal site. "The project could not be published in a conventional journal without losing the international accessibility that it demands," said Rayman Solomon, dean of the School of Law. "This student initiative will make a significant contribution to legal history scholarship while being of great interest and importance to the general public, especially at this time in our history."
Greg Baxter, marketing editor of the journal and a third-year Rutgers law student, said the online project was "definitely pertinent in light of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack" and Bush administration plans to hold a military tribunal to try the accused.
"The Nuremberg trials provide a framework for today's trials," said Baxter, 24, of Winslow, Camden County.