May ’32 in the Exponent: Ominous Religious News Reported from Overseas Christian Churches Line Up With Increasingly Powerful Hitler


The nation was in the darkest throes of the Great Depression when the May 6, 1932 Jewish Exponent was published, but there’s nary a word about economic issues.

That’s quite a contrast from the May 17, 1991 issue featured last week, where a relatively minor recession merited front-page coverage.

Still, the 1932 issue did focus on another troubling subject.

That would be word from Berlin that Christian churches were supporting Adolf Hitler, who was consolidating his power in advance of his 1933 appointment as German chancellor.

“And so in Germany today we witness the unusual and disheartening spectacle of a great liberal Protestant Church making common cause with a narrow nationalism which has the odious programme of anti-Semitism inscribed on its banners,” Pierre Van Paasen wrote for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency (now known as JTA).

“Forty per cent of the Lutheran pastors are either members of the National-Socialism Party or they are sympathetic to the economic and political doctrines enunciated by Herr Adolph Hitler,” the article continued.

The Catholic Church was more torn, with some opposed to Hitler, while a noted scholar of the day advised the church to make peace with Hitler.

“The Catholic Church, which always knew how to accommodate and adapt itself to the political situation, looks a long way ahead. It sees the advent of Hitler sooner or later. Rome is making up to the conqueror in advance,” the article concluded.


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