Civilian Internment in Occupied Germany and the German Churches, 1945-50

When:29 Apr 2014, 12:30pm - 1:45pm
Venue:Morven Brown 310 (map ref C20)
Who:Dr Andrew Beattie, European Studies, UNSW Australia
Dr Andrew Beattie

History Seminar Series

Abstract: The German catholic and protestant churches’ criticism of denazification and their assistance to former Nazis and war criminals in the late 1940s and 1950s are well known. Yet previous accounts have been highly judgemental in tone and have had little explanatory power. The talk will explore the churches’ responses to the Allies’ mass internment of German civilians, who were mainly SS members and Nazi party and state functionaries. I will argue that internment and church responses to it can help to explain how and why the churches, while lauding their own “struggle” against Nazism, assumed the role of “advocate” not just of the German people in general, but also of many of its most compromised members.

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