Fortress Press

A Church Undone: Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement, 1932-1940

A Church Undone

Documents from the German Christian Faith Movement, 1932-1940

Mary M. Solberg (Editor & Translator)


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Decades after the Holocaust, many assume that the churches in Germany resisted the Nazi regime. In fact, resistance was exceptional. The Deutsche Christen, or “German Christians,” a movement within German Protestantism, integrated Nazi ideology, nationalism, and Christian faith. Marrying religious anti-Judaism to the Nazis’ racial antisemitism, they aimed to remove everything Jewish from Christianity.
For the first time in English, Mary M. Solberg presents a selection of “German Christian” documents. Her introduction sets the historical context. Includes responses critical of the German Christians by Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9781451464726
  • eBook ISBN 9781451496666
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 486
  • Publication Date April 1, 2015


“The German Christian movement, which sought to ‘nazify’ German Protestantism, ranks as one of most extreme distortions of Christian theology in history. Yet, especially in the early Nazi period, this group appealed to a broad sector of Protestants, including some of Germany’s leading theologians, and it controlled most of Germany’s Protestant theological faculties throughout the Nazi years. A Church Undone includes a variety of German Christian documents, from major theological statements to obscure pamphlets. By giving a clearer picture of this movement and its followers, this volume offers important insights into the ideological debates that divided the German Protestant churches under Nazism.”
—Victoria J. Barnett
General Editor, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works

“English-language audiences have had extensive exposure to Holocaust studies. Thousands of works have investigated how a nation, then teacher to the world, could have descended to the depths of unspeakable evil. But English-language audiences have not had, until now, documentation and analysis of a significant movement in the Protestant churches that contributed to the theological and cultural production of that evil. Mary Solberg, in A Church Undone, provides previously untranslated documents for close-in contact with the German Christian Faith Movement. Until religious perversion of truth and humanity are ended, the cautionary tale of this volume remains relevant. I highly commend careful attention to it and thank Fortress Press for making it available.”
Larry Rasmussen
Emeritus, Union Theological Seminary

“Our temptation for seven decades has been to seek out and describe Christians in Germany who opposed the Nazi regime. The publication of these documents provides a very welcome corrective. It is not just that Christians in Nazi Germany lacked the courage to oppose Hitler. Too many also misconstrued what we would like to consider the appropriate Christian stance.”
Robert P. Ericksen
Pacific Lutheran University
“Solberg’s book is a tremendous contribution both to scholars of German Christian church life and to all who care about the uses and misuses of Christian theology. These previously untranslated primary documents provide clear-eyed, chilling witness to the development of Nazi-inflected thinking among theologians and pastors. A remarkable and indispensable volume.”
Lisa E. Dahill
Trinity Lutheran Seminary