Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saint Edith Stein

I have previously mentioned James Carroll's wonderful book "Constantine's Sword" and its unflinching examination of the history of anti-semitism in Christianity.  That book and Daniel Goldhagen's book, "Hitler's Willing Executioners" lay out the history and causes of the Nazi Holocaust and make it quite clear that it was a Christian enterprise from start to finish.

Christianity laid the groundwork for it with centuries of the most virulent anti-semitic propaganda imaginable; then Christians planned and carried out the killing.  After the war, Christians (the Catholic Church in particular) spirited the guilty away to countries they controlled where the guilty usually lived out their lives free from any justice.

I have also mentioned how the Christians now claim that they were ignorant of this huge genocidal scheme and how these denials are simply not believable.  They are obvious lies.  In addition to factors I mentioned before, one must remember that this was a very large, long term undertaking by the entire Nazi state--coordinated with the puppet governments set up in the occupied territories.  There were huge camps, thousands of Christian guards, and special trains full of deportees to those camps that took precedence over other trains full of Christian soldiers and civilians--who had to wait on side tracks while the trains full of Jews destined for the camps went by.

The evidence clearly shows that before, during, and after the killing virtually everyone in Germany and much of Europe knew what was going on and essentially did nothing to stop it.  In fact, it is arguable that many Christians not directly involved took actions to make sure that the killing continued, such as by trying to delay or prevent the entry of the United States into the war.

One of the most revealing parts of the documentary based on Carroll's "Constantine's Sword" concerns the life and actions of Edith Stein.  Edith Stein was a German Jew who, after earning a doctorate in philosophy, converted to Catholicism and then later became a nun.

In 1933, nine years before the Wannsee Conference in which the actual extermination plan was formed and well before the extermination plan was put into effect, Edith Stein wrote a letter to the Pope asking him to speak up to try to stop the "extermination campaign being waged against the Jews".  She made sure that he actually received her letter.  He did nothing.  As the documentary also pointed out, the Pope did nothing even when Jews were being rounded up for transport in Rome less than 300 yards from the gates of the Vatican.

When Edith Stein was made a saint in 1998, the Church did not mention her letter.  It quietly released the letter to the public several years later, however.

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