He was born on April 20, 1889, in Austria, just across from Germany. Adolf was the third child of the third marriage of his father, Alois. As a small child, his father, Alois, who, as a child, was beaten by his father, beat Adolf savagely and regularly. Alois had been born to an unmarried woman, named Anna Schicklgruber. While pregnant, a wandering miller, named Hitler, married her and signed papers saying that he was Alois’ father. Alois married his second cousin, Klara Polzi. He was 52 and she was only 28 years old years old when Adolf was born. Adolf had a sister, Paula; a half brother, Alois; and a half sister, Angela.
All the suspicions that Adolf Hitler was part Jewish were not true. The only reference of anyone Jewish in his family was of his maternal grandmother who became pregnant while working for a Jewish family. As a boy, Hitler sang in a church choir and thought one day he would become a priest. But as an adult he hated Christianity and said it was a religion for weaklings. His father died in 1903 and Adolf, having such low grades, quit school 2 years later at the age of 16. Even though his mother was poor, he did not work to support them, instead, he spent his time daydreaming, drawing pictures (as he now wanted to become an artist), and reading books. Twice in 1907, he failed the entrance exam of the Academy of Fine Arts while in Vienna, Austria. After his mother’s death, he stayed in Vienna where he learned to hate all non-Germans, especially Jews. Like many German-speaking Austrians, Adolf considered himself German and took fierce pride in his German ancestry.
In 1913, after failing the Austrian Army physical, he left Vienna and went to Germany. After Germany declared war on the world in 1914, Adolf eagerly volunteered for service in the German Army and rose to the rank of corporal. After its defeat, the German army returned to a bankrupt country. Millions could not find any work and the economy lay in ruins. While still a corporal in the defeated German Army, Hitler served in a gigantic conspiracy that had been hatched by the German generals who were determined to wipe out the humiliation of defeat. They blamed their defeat upon the Jews.
Adolf Hitler began his rise to power in 1919 when he revived the secret terrorist group, the “Fehme.” His first step was to show Germany who their enemies were and murdered hundreds of Jews for allegedly having caused Germany’s downfall. Hitler was a skillful schemer, politician and organizer. In 1920, he joined and soon became leader of the group called the “National Socialist German Workers’ Party,” later to be known as the Nazi Party. Hitler knew how to arouse people and understood how a “scapegoat” could unite Germany. He kept on repeating that Germany lost the war because of the “Marxian-democratic-liberal-capitalistic Jews” who stabbed it in the back to aid the country's enemies. In fact, in an April 1923 speech, he even charged the Jews with having caused the world war in the first place. They brought it on, he said, to destroy the Aryan (a Caucasian of non-Jewish descent, like a Nordic, who were tall, blond, blue-eyed people) civilization. Hitler believed he could win back Germany’s past glory and promised to rebuild Germany into a mighty empire that would last a thousand years and that only the Nazi party could do this. Many Germans believed he was their friend and protector, their Savior and went along using Jews as their scapegoat.
Seven out of the twenty-five points in the program of the Nazi Party dealt exclusively with Jews. It nakedly proclaimed its objective; “No Jew can be considered a fellow countryman.” Hitler organized a private army of hoodlums (who became known as storm troopers). In 1923, these “storm troopers” numbered 15,000 men, armed with machine guns and rifles wearing brown-shirted uniforms and the swastika emblem. Munich became the center for Nazi activities in Germany where the city was flooded with anti-Semitic leaflets, posters and stickers. Hitler said to a journalist; “Two worlds confront each other! The God-man and the Satan-man! The Jew is the counter-human being, the anti-human being.”
Strange that Pope Pius XI, during Hitler’s reign, said almost the same thing when talking to a large Christian audience, “Only what is Christian is truly fully human, and what is anti-Christian is inhuman.” Guess he was referring to John 8:44-45 in the New Testament when he had Jesus saying, “Ye (Jews) are of your father the devil and the lusts of your father ye will do.”
The Catholic theologian and scholar, Father Gregory Baum wrote regarding Hitler; “The Church has made the Jewish people a symbol of unredeemed humanity; it painted a picture of Jews as a blind, stubborn and perverse people, an image that was fundamental in Hitler’s choice of the Jews as the scapegoat.” An editorial by Franklin H. Littell agrees when he wrote; “Without hundreds of centuries of anti-Semitic Christian preaching, Hitler could never have mobilized passionate Jew-haters and dispassionate spectators who could turn their back on all the evil around them. The image which the Church’s in Europe created aroused instant contempt and hate of Jews.”
The Catholic church was not the only group de-humanizing Jews. In 1542, Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran church, wrote in his infamous pamphlet (which was reprinted nine times in the twelve months following its first appearance) “If it is a mark of a good Christian to hate the Jews, what excellent Christians all of us are.” His Christian hatred was so strong, that a year later, he wrote; “What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews? Since they live among us and we know about their lying and blasphemy and cursing, we can not tolerate them….” And then proceeded to outline seven steps “good” Christians were to do:
1) Burn all their synagogues;
2) Destroy their homes and businesses;
3) Burn their prayer and holy books;
4) Forbid the Rabbis to teach;
5) Forbid Jews to travel, combine them in special areas;
6) Take all their money, property and valuables; and
7) Make them slave labor.
Isn’t it strange that Hitler did all the above to the Jews? Where did he get the idea? He even went further and reinstated laws that were once initiated by the Church, such as:
1) Jews could not hold public office;
2) Jewish doctors could not be patronized by non-Jews;
3) Jews had to live in special areas, called Ghettos;
4) Jews had to wear a special badge on their clothing with the name JUDE in it.
This was nothing new as the Church did the same thing many times in the past.
In 640 C.E., Jews were ordered to insert a yellow strip of cloth into their outer garments which would distinguish them from the rest. In 1301, they were also required to wear yellow turbans. Pope Innocent III and the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215 forced Jews to display prominently on their breasts the Yellow Badge of Shame. In 1218, Henry III of England also forced the “badge” on the Jews. In 1248, Louis IX of France, who later became Saint, ordered the Jews of his country not only to wear a badge on their chest but also on their back so they would be recognized from both sides. With some variations, the wearing of the yellow badge was enforced in Poland, Hungary, Germany and other European countries. In 1267, the Christian Diocesan Council added to the humiliation by ordering Jews to wear, along with the yellow badge, the “Jedenhut,” meaning “Jew’s hat,” shaped like a sugar cone, like a “dunce cap.” This was designed to make the Jew appear ridiculous, an object of scorn. Yes, it was obvious that Hitler got his ideas from the Church! And Germany went along with it.
Martin Luther continued in his infamous literature; “Such a desperate, thoroughly evil, poisonous, and devilish lot are these Jews, who for these fourteen hundred years have been and still are our plague, our pestilence, and our misfortune.” He continued; “It all coincides with the judgment of Christ which declares that they (the Jews) are bitter, venomous, vindictive, tricky, serpents, assassins, and children of the devil. Next to the devil, a Christian has no more bitter and galling foe than a Jew, this brood of vipers.” The New Testament, in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, each tell of John the Baptist saying to the Jews, “O generation of vipers” (Matthew 3:7 & Luke 3:7). Matthew repeats this great line in 12:34 and then adds in 23:33, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the dam-nation of hell?” This comparison with the Devil, snakes and vipers was a staple of Luther’s rhetoric Church teachings, which for centuries dominated every aspect of Christian bible studies. The “damn Jew” was enhanced and reinforced in church art.
Passion Plays were put on annually at Easter creating a mood of tension. The evil, scheming Jews in these plays were cast to remind the audience of how the Jews rejected Jesus. The cruelty of the Jews plotting against Jesus dramatized in these plays produce the most profound impression on audiences, young and old (especially the young minds) already exposed to lifelong conditioning from the church. By attending these Passion Plays, they could now see with their own eyes what they had heard all their lives. The basic theme of these plays is, of course, the traditional one, presented with dramatic highlights: Jews are presented as having been stricken with blindness since the Crucifixion (following Paul’s thesis that blindness had come upon Israel after the Resurrection). In most of the Passion Plays, the Devil often appears in person, egging the Jews on against Jesus.
In the French drama, “La Mystere de la Passion,” the devils are at first in the forefront; then the plotting against Jesus is taken up by the Jews, the true evil doers, while the devils are now in the background. The conspiracy between Jews and the devils is the key theme of the play. The famous artist, Michelangelo, formed a statue of Moses with devil horns protruding from Moses’ forehead which is still displayed in the Church of St. Peter in Rome.
Thus “the Jew,” as developed in the Christian interpretation of the Bible as a whole and in particular the bias Gospel passages concerning and leading up to the crucifixion, became the worse type of sinner, whose depravity was hammered home year after year decade after decade, generation after generation and centuries after centuries. It was no wonder that the Christians of Europe looked at the Jews as evil people. This is the anti-Semitic atmosphere Hitler grew up in.
The German people, half Catholics and half Protestants saw Jews as inhuman. In 1936, in his pastoral letter, the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Hlond, advised all Catholics: “It is also true that the Jews are committing frauds, practicing usury and dealing in white slavery–one does well to prefer his own kind in commercial dealings and to avoid Jewish stores and Jewish stalls in the markets.” The Catholic Romanian Orthodox Church declared piously in 1938; “The Jews are sucking the marrow from the bones of the nation.”
On the nights of November 9-10, 1938, sixty short years ago, 191 synagogues through-out Germany were set on fire, and another 76 were completely destroyed – 815 Jewish owned shops were demolished – 29 Jewish-owned warehouses and 171 homes were set on fire and destroyed – 36 Jews were murdered and on those nights more than 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps and ultimately to their deaths.
One can surely see how Hitler used all of his background to make Jews his scapegoat. In the course of the thirteen years of furious propaganda, Hitler and the Nazis succeeded in making anti-Semitism “respectable and even patriotic.” With the help of the church, and the New Testament, this helped unite Germany.
The church planted the seeds of hate. Hitler was the water and fertilizer in which these seeds grew allowing the Holocaust to happen.