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TitleThe Postwar Transformation of German Protestantism
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Table of Contents
                            The Multiple Legacies of the Church Struggle
The Hour of the Churches
	reconstructing church life
	guilt and national self assertion
	protestants and postwar politics
Laying the Foundation
Powers and Authorities
Institutional Reform
The Church in the World
A Delicate Balance
Document Text Contents
Page 256

attention to this contradiction, Troeger concluded: “What, I ask, is the value of the love

of one’s neighbor, if it does not lead at minimum to tolerance between all people?”12

The Göttingen Old Testament scholar Walther Zimmerli opened the next speech

with a basic question. The motto of the 1959 Kirchentag was “You will be my People,”

words that God had originally spoken not to the church but to the Jews. How then, could

the church think about the meaning of these words without also considering their own

recent treatment of God’s chosen people? “Here in the territory of our Christian West,”

he reminded his listeners, “we have experienced a storm of hatred and an outpouring of

inhumanity toward the Jews that no one would have earlier thought possible.” Even

before the World Wars, the Poles and Russians had carried out pogroms against the Jews.

The French had persecuted them in the Dreyfus affair. And anti-Semitism had spread

and grown throughout all of Europe. In Germany, “the land of the Reformation,” this

hatred and anti-Semitism—promoted even in the churches—had culminated in the

unthinkable. The Nazis had only taken the legacy of Christian and European anti-

Semitism to its logical conclusion in their attempt to work out a “Final Solution” to the

“Jewish question.” The results had been calculated mass murder. Yet these efforts to

annihilate the Jews had failed. In the creation of the modern nation of Israel, God had

saved a remnant of his people.13

Zimmerli had visited Israel the previous autumn and he described to his audience

the experiences of his trip. Drawing on his encounters with Israel’s Jews, he painted a

portrait of a vibrant people passionately committed to their religious tradition. The

Judaism he had seen did not line up with common Christian portrayals of a dry and

12 Ibid., 705-706.

13 Ibid., 707.


Page 509

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