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Location: St. Louis, Missouri, United States

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hitler and the Catholic Church

My brother Brian is a history professor, with an emphasis on 20th century history. He takes umbrage with a tired canard of the Left in a letter to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

To The Editor,

In the Wednesday, August 10th edition of the Post-Dispatch, Matthew David Janicke criticizes PD commentator Tad Armstrong over comments that Christianity is under assault by atheists who support a secularist agenda. Mr. Janicke begs to differ with Armstrong, but undercuts his argument when he takes a gratuitous swipe at the commentator's intelligence, or supposed lack thereof.

Mr. Janicke ridicules Armstrong's contention that the Holocaust was perpetrated by atheists, and he launches into a tired and erroneous litany of sins committed by the Christian churches during the Nazi tyranny. He leaves no doubt as to his own leanings when he states, "...Adolf Hitler was well aligned with and endorsed by the Catholic Church during his reign of terror. The soldiers who carried out his dreadful orders were soldiers who were Christians..." Mr. Janicke then suggests that Tad Armstrong should return to school, declaiming that "I would suggest that Mr. Armstrong invest some time in reading about the Holocaust; he might learn something."

If Mr. Janicke would take some of the advice he freely dispenses to others, he would know that his statements concerning supposed Catholic complicity in the Holocaust are pure balderdash. The Catholic media in Germany and the German bishops were stoutly anti-Nazi as early as 1928. The bishops directed German priests to deny the sacraments to Nazi Party members, Catholic newspapers denounced the Nazis and a Papal Encyclical condemned Nazism in 1937.

Adolf Hitler, not a man to take defiance lightly, vowed vengeance against the Catholic Church. Priests were routinely assaulted by Party hooligans during the 1930s. Ultimately, thousands of Catholics, both lay and secular, were arrested and sent to the extermination camps. Thousands died, along with all of Hitler's victims.

On the question of atheists being primarily responsible for the Holocaust, Tad Armstrong may be reaching a bit. He is right, however, in characterizing the Nazi regime as atheist in nature. The National Socialists were officially atheist, and their actions in power were anti-clerical in the extreme. Nazi documents show that Hitler intended to execute Pope Pius XII in St. Peter's Square at the presumably successful conclusion of the war. (Hitler was also quoted on numerous occasions as stating that Jesus Christ was the illegitimate son of a Roman soldier) Many Nazi Party members, while officially atheist, leaned in the direction of paganism, dabbling in the occult and witchcraft.

So, Mr. Matthew David Janicke should cease questioning the intelligence of others, until he faces the questions squarely. People may disagree about the atheist culpability in the Holocaust. What is no longer a question is the fact that the National Socialist regime was officially atheist, and Mr. Janicke's slanders against the Catholic Church are founded on error and are completely reprehensible.

Brian E. Birdnow


Many Nazis - including founder Alfred Rosenberg, Rudolf Hess, Deitrich Eckart, Heinrich Himmler, etc. - were members of the Thule Society, a neo-pagan entity that followed the teachings of Helena Blavatsky.
While Blavatsky taught universal compassion, there were other elements to Theosophy that was disturbing. The Thule Society borrowed elements from Blavatsky and from other occultic figures (like Guido List) as well as adopted mystical teutonism and racism. They were heavily influenced by occult Ariosophy.

All of the unique Nazi insignia - the swastika, the lightening-bolt SS, the Eagle, etc. - are symbols associated with the Thule Society.

There is no evidence that Hitler himself was a Thule member, although he was surrounded by Thulians and had at least a passing interest in the occult. (Remember the movie Raiders of the Lost Arc? The Nazis were seeking occult items around the world for their Fuehrer; this actually happened.) Hitler did break with them (and, indeed, banned secret societies - after creating his own via the Nazis) eventually, but by then his power was firmly entrenched and he really didn't need the competition. Hitler may just have known a good thing when he saw it.

For instance, Hitler allegedly stated about Freemasonry:

"All the supposed abominations, the skeletons and death’s head, the coffins and the mysteries, are mere bogeys for children. But there is one dangerous element and that is the element I have copied from them. They form a sort of priestly nobility. They have developed and esoteric doctrine more merely formulated, but imparted through the symbols and mysteries in degrees of initiation. The hierarchical organization and the initiation through symbolic rites, that is to say, without bothering the brain by working on the imagination through magic and the symbols of a cult, all this has a dangerous element, and the element I have taken over. Don’t you see that our party must be of this character...? An Order, the hierarchical Order of a secular priesthood."

(I couldn't find the source of the quote, so it remains alleged.)

At any rate, Hitler was doubtlessly influenced by neo-paganism. What can be stated unequivocally is that Hitler did not follow any sort of Christianity. He used Christianity as a tool perhaps, but one can hardly say that murdering innocent people somehow flows from Christian doctrine. For that matter, I doubt Blavatsky would recognize Hitlerism as stemming from her original concepts of Theosophy. Hitlerism has more in common with an abomination called the Christian Identity Movement that started in the United States and was at the root of the recent Norwegian massacres. Again, it's about as Christian as the Peoples Democratic Republic of Germany was Democratic. Just because something has a name doesn't mean it typifies a thing.

Nazi associations with the Thule Society are documented here.



Blogger Tad Armstrong said...

I have just now seen these posts. Please, the article I wrote can be found at

You folks are delusional. I did not say atheists were behind the Holocaust. The entire premise of the diatribe of Mr. Janicke is false. Tad Armstrong

7:12 PM  
Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Dear Mr. Armstrong,

That was precisely the point Brian was making. Perhaps he wasn't clear. Bear in mind; he was replying to Janicke, not you.

8:52 AM  

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