What are the root causes of anti semitism in Enlightened Western world ?

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,845
US
Well, this link is one of the best documented facts of history. Even today, antisemitic rhetoric is filled to the brim with Christian symbolism, or why would people call Jews "murderers of Christ" or "usurers"? Obviously, this might not indicate religious motivation on part of contemporary antisemites, but it does support my point from before that antisemitic tradition is alive and well as a source of modern antisemitism.

Furthermore, that the Nazis were "not religious at all" is a fake that has survived for such a long time because it allowed the postwar German mainstream in society, carried by the Catholic and Protestant elites, to wash their hands of Nazi stigma and conveniently forget the widespread support the Nazis enjoyed, especially by the "Deutsche Christen" who provided the Nazis with the religious legitimization they needed.
I see no religious hatred as the reason that the Nazis developed and carried out genocide against the Jews in Europe. While there may have been some imagery used as propaganda for the common person, none of this was the motivation for the top Nazi leaders, as none of them were religious to any degree. If anything, they were occultists. At best, it was used as an excuse, just as it is alleged that some use anti Israeli propaganda as an excuse for their anti Semitism.
 
Dec 2011
1,303
I see no religious hatred as the reason that the Nazis developed and carried out genocide against the Jews in Europe. While there may have been some imagery used as propaganda for the common person, none of this was the motivation for the top Nazi leaders, as none of them were religious to any degree. If anything, they were occultists. At best, it was used as an excuse, just as it is alleged that some use anti Israeli propaganda as an excuse for their anti Semitism.
That's not the point. The point is that a large chunk of Nazis below the highest echelon was religious and their antisemitism was partly inspired by religion. Hence, the statement "the Nazis were not religious at all" is simply wrong. And for the record, I am not making an "absolute" statement here.
Antisemitism among German Christians, especially Protestants who called upon Martin Luther in their antisemitism, wasn't exactly rare and while many rejected racially motivated varieties, they did embrace a religiously motivated antisemitism, the Protestant Bishop of Hamburg comes to mind. When the Nazis took over, many didn't find it difficult to identify similarities in the two ideologies because in the end, what does it matter why one didn't like the Jews? In "Mein Kampf", Hitler himself thought of Christian antisemitism as "Scheinantisemitismus" (bogus antisemitism), i.e. not real antisemitism because it allowed the Jew to escape his fate simply by conversion, but that doesn't mean that many "lower tier" Nazis didn't find motivation for their antisemitism or their antisemitic actions in Christian doctrine.
According to several historians reviewed in Manfred Gailus work of Protestantism and National Socialism in Berlin during the 30s (Protestantismus und Nationalsozialismus: Studien zur nationalsozialistischen Durchdringung des protestantischen Sozialmilieus in Berlin, 2001), around a third of German Protestants can be reasonably placed among the Deutsche Christen. In fact, German antisemitism had a potent Protestant source in the works and deeds of Adolf Stoecker, a priest and adamant "Deutscher Christ" (German Christian) who sought to unite religious antisemitism with several strands of modern social and racial antisemitism. In Austria, Catholic antisemitists such as Karl Lueger or Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, are said to have been most likely major inspirations of Hitler. These streams of thought affected many of those who went on to become more or less ardent Nazis and antisemitists.
To sum up, yes, I agree, the holocaust as such was not (significantly) motivated by religious hatred, but there were 1) Nazis who were Christians and Christians that were Nazis, 2) religion did play a role in their antisemitism, and 3) they weren't few. Hence, it is simply false to claim that the Nazis "were not religious at all". This turned out as more of a follow-up to sparky's post, but I hope the point I am making has become clear, now.
 
Aug 2014
218
New York, USA
I see no religious hatred as the reason that the Nazis developed and carried out genocide against the Jews in Europe. While there may have been some imagery used as propaganda for the common person, none of this was the motivation for the top Nazi leaders, as none of them were religious to any degree. If anything, they were occultists. At best, it was used as an excuse, just as it is alleged that some use anti Israeli propaganda as an excuse for their anti Semitism.
Nazis most definitely capitalized on already pre-existing antisemitism among the German protestants stemming from a disgusting and vile antisemite Martin Luther himself:
On the Jews and Their Lies - Wikipedia
Gott mit uns - Wikipedia
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,351
Sydney
That's the whole point , the religion was a cover , an alibi , a moral justification for persecuting the Jews
while the real reasons were societal

every time someone do criminal things without being a criminal , a moral justification has to be found
 
Dec 2015
3,494
USA
I see no religious hatred as the reason that the Nazis developed and carried out genocide against the Jews in Europe. While there may have been some imagery used as propaganda for the common person, none of this was the motivation for the top Nazi leaders, as none of them were religious to any degree. If anything, they were occultists. At best, it was used as an excuse, just as it is alleged that some use anti Israeli propaganda as an excuse for their anti Semitism.
I feel the best way to view this is that while Germany was 99 % Christian during WW2 , and while Reich allies such as the NDH and First Slovak Republic were anti semitic Catholic States, that the Axis powers went against Christian values as ISIL goes against Islamic values.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2015
3,494
USA
In August 1942, Jozef Tiso, president of the Slovak State and a Catholic priest, gave a speech in Holič, Slovakia in which he defended the deportation of Jews from Slovakia. Referring to Jews as "parasites" and "the eternal enemy", Tiso claimed that their deportation was both economically necessary and congruent with Christian moral principles. The speech has been recognized as a key part of Tiso's moral legacy, symbolic of his complicity in the Holocaust.

Jozef Tiso's speech in Holič - Wikipedia
 
Likes: bboomer
Dec 2011
1,303
That's the whole point , the religion was a cover , an alibi , a moral justification for persecuting the Jews
while the real reasons were societal

every time someone do criminal things without being a criminal , a moral justification has to be found
No, that's simply not true and no amount of repetition will make it true. This is just an argument from convenience. There was no dearth of economic, social and racial justifications when it came to the persecution of Jews during the Third Reich. However, the time and energy that had to flow into finding religious justifications for a large part of believers show that those weren't just "a cover, an alibi, a moral justification". The moral status of a völkischer antisemitism (i.e. of arguments referring to the purity of the German people, of its "Geist", of its Darwinian struggle etc.) was higher than any other. Yet, a substantial minority of the population was not satisfied with that and had to be persuaded by direct recourse to Christian doctrine. Hence, it is wrong to say religion was used as a cover or an alibi even by the upper ranks of the Nazis, they didn't need to cover up anything as they spelled out everything as clear as possible. Rather, it was used as an additional discursive strategy to get the said substantial minority on their side.

As for the second part, "societal reasons" do not have anymore explanatory power than "moral reasons". Or, were there any objective social structures present that can explain Third Reich antisemitism, alone?
 
Oct 2018
1,209
Adelaide south Australia
That's the whole point , the religion was a cover , an alibi , a moral justification for persecuting the Jews
while the real reasons were societal

every time someone do criminal things without being a criminal , a moral justification has to be found
Persecution of the Jews in Europe was due to a visceral, systemic hatred of the 'Christ killers'. There were certainly factors which compounded and made the persecution easier, even profitable.
One may been that the Jews 'otherness' triggered a natural Xenophobia in the rest of populations where Jews lived. Profit, sometimes vast , were often made by persecution of the Jews Eg from pogroms carried out by Crusader off to the crusades; they murdered their Jewish creditors.

I'm loathe to mention the Holocaust.I do so because the Holocaust is the most obvious example. The extent of official state profit is often glossed over. Nobody knows the extent of the covert profit made by the Einsatzgruppen, in eastern Europe , who followed the Wehrmacht murdering Jews. It is estimated the Einsatzgruppen murdered in excess of 2 million Jews.

The Nazi state made a fortune as the result of Krystallnacht ; by simply confiscating Jewish Insurance pay outs. When Jews sent to the death camps, the state confiscate their property. Final profits of a few marks per person were made at the camps, from such things as any gold teeth and their hair.

Human beings have been described as rational-ising rather than rational animals. As individuals and as groups we can rationalise literally any behaviour, no matter how vile. As a rule of thumb, I think it can be argued that the more elaborate the justification, the more spurious it is likely to be.
 
Likes: Entreri

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
That's not the point. The point is that a large chunk of Nazis below the highest echelon was religious and their antisemitism was partly inspired by religion. Hence, the statement "the Nazis were not religious at all" is simply wrong. And for the record, I am not making an "absolute" statement here.
Antisemitism among German Christians, especially Protestants who called upon Martin Luther in their antisemitism, wasn't exactly rare and while many rejected racially motivated varieties, they did embrace a religiously motivated antisemitism, the Protestant Bishop of Hamburg comes to mind. When the Nazis took over, many didn't find it difficult to identify similarities in the two ideologies because in the end, what does it matter why one didn't like the Jews? In "Mein Kampf", Hitler himself thought of Christian antisemitism as "Scheinantisemitismus" (bogus antisemitism), i.e. not real antisemitism because it allowed the Jew to escape his fate simply by conversion, but that doesn't mean that many "lower tier" Nazis didn't find motivation for their antisemitism or their antisemitic actions in Christian doctrine.
According to several historians reviewed in Manfred Gailus work of Protestantism and National Socialism in Berlin during the 30s (Protestantismus und Nationalsozialismus: Studien zur nationalsozialistischen Durchdringung des protestantischen Sozialmilieus in Berlin, 2001), around a third of German Protestants can be reasonably placed among the Deutsche Christen. In fact, German antisemitism had a potent Protestant source in the works and deeds of Adolf Stoecker, a priest and adamant "Deutscher Christ" (German Christian) who sought to unite religious antisemitism with several strands of modern social and racial antisemitism. In Austria, Catholic antisemitists such as Karl Lueger or Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, are said to have been most likely major inspirations of Hitler. These streams of thought affected many of those who went on to become more or less ardent Nazis and antisemitists.
To sum up, yes, I agree, the holocaust as such was not (significantly) motivated by religious hatred, but there were 1) Nazis who were Christians and Christians that were Nazis, 2) religion did play a role in their antisemitism, and 3) they weren't few. Hence, it is simply false to claim that the Nazis "were not religious at all". This turned out as more of a follow-up to sparky's post, but I hope the point I am making has become clear, now.
The fact that the ranks and file of Nazi Germany was nominally Christian does not support what you claim. It is the top leaders, not he rank and file that determined Nazi policies and direction. Since most of Germany was nominally Christian, the Nazi allowed Christianity to exist as a useful tool of the state, but I s combining of all the churches under one state organization shows the Nazi were not religiously committed and if you read the anti-semitic works of he Nazi, it was racially motivated, not religiously based. The Jews wee killed because they were an inferior religion. Even converted Jews were targeted, just having Jewish ancestry was enough to condemn someone. The Nazis would have been happier if the religion of most Germans was the pagan worship.of.Odin, but they worked with what they had.

Nazis were able to exploit existing prejudices, but their motivations were different from the religiously based anti-semitism of the past. The racially based anti-semitism is rather new, only showing up in the last century or two.

Minorities offer suffer and are targets of discrimination. Long before the Nazi, the Tuks of the Turkish Republic targeted Christian Armenians, and the fact that the equally non Turkish Kurds did not surfer the same date showed the motivation was at least partly religious, despite Turkey being a nominally secular society. Jews being a small minority and restricted primarily to the cities made them less of a target, but attacks in recent years on Jews in Turkey shows I is not entirely free of anti-semitism.

As I said, minorities with different life styles are always prone to generate distrust, Roma's/gypsies are another group often discriminated against.

As the Kitos War in ancient times showed, the anti-Semitic tendencies existed long before the rise of Christianity and were part of Western Civilization before Christianity. Christianity reinforced an existing hostility, but did not create it. Much of Christianity hostility toward Judaism was a carryover of the intra Jewish sect rivalry that existed before the triumph of Rabbinic Judaism than eliminated all other forms of Judaism. The hostilities between the Samaritan and the Jews are well known. Jewish leaders were seldom in a position to punish deviants like the Kaarites with force themselves. That is was mostly the Jews who were mostly the victims rather than the Christians merely reflects the reality that Jews were seldom in charge or in a position to enfo ce discrimination. (King Herod was decendend of people.dorced to convert to Judaism under the brief period of Jewish independence under the Maccabees.)
 
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sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
4,351
Sydney
" had to be persuaded by direct recourse to Christian doctrine "
that sound to me like a classic cover
the third Reich accused the Jews of being morally corrupt , eroding the "national spirit " ( whatever that is) and being agent of bolchevism
no good Nazi would have worried about Christ , there were even some unease at his Jewishness
this gave rise to spurious theories about him being the natural son of a German legionary
the Christ killer argument was good for the country yokels who never had seen a jew
 

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