* Lew’s comments on Bishop von Galen: German Catholicism and National Socialism by Beth A. Griech-Polelle

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 14, 2016

Galen & AFOE


Bishop Galen of Munster is renowned for his opposition to the Nazis, a distinction thoroughly demolished by this book. He did oppose Hitler’s euthanasia program, but as Griech-Polelle points out, this only serves to emphasize his lack of concern for Nazi terror and murder of Jews, when he was fully aware of what was happening.

Bishop Galen was not unlike most other German Bishops, and the Vatican, in his failure to speak out against the persecution, deportation and murder of Jews. What is infuriating was the post-war attempt of the Catholic Church to portray him as an ardent fighter against the Nazis, even to the point of proposing sainthood. Fortunately, Pope John Paul II decided in 1987 that Bishop Galen would not be canonized, and instead named Edith Stein for her courageous witness to the horror of Nazi brutality.


… Galen … renowned for his very public denunciation of euthanasia … was silent concerning the fate of the Jews, even when he had verifiable proof that deportation meant death … similarly, Galen did not protest the April 1933 boycott, the 1935 Nuremberg Laws, the 1938 pogrom, or any other act of violence perpetrated against Jews who had lived in his diocese of Munster since the 12th century

… Galen surely saw the signs outside Munster … Jews are Germany’s misfortune … trespassing of this community by Jews is unwanted

… Galen sermon … directly quoted Hitler’s words regarding the need to fight the “Judeo-Bolshevik conspiracy”

… Galen, in a single sermon, combined the imagery of disorder, Russian terror, heresy, and Jewishness … thus immunizing Catholics against feeling the need to intervene on behalf of their Jewish neighbors

… the Jewish question was not an immediate concern of the Church, nor was it an immediate concern of the Bishop Galen


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