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Mothering the FatherlandA Protestant Sisterhood Repents for the Holocaust$
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George Faithful

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199363469

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199363469.001.0001

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Public Confessions of German National Guilt, 1945–1947

Public Confessions of German National Guilt, 1945–1947

(p.40) 2 Public Confessions of German National Guilt, 1945–1947
Mothering the Fatherland

George Faithful

Oxford University Press

Leaders of the Confessing Church found themselves in prominent positions in German society under Allied occupation. With the help of Karl Barth, a few of them issued statements affirming Germans’ collective guilt for the Third Reich. The 1945 Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt (Stuttgarter Schulderklärung), also known as the Stuttgart Confession, placed Germans in a “solidarity of guilt” but remained vague as to what that guilt entailed. The 1947 Darmstadt Statement (Darmstädter Wort) provided greater clarity and specificity: the guilt was both political and social. Christians in general and Protestants in particular had done little to oppose Hitler, apart from rejecting governmental encroachment into church affairs. Neither document made direct reference to the Holocaust or to Nazi treatment of the Jews. Only a few of their signers, such as Martin Niemöller and Hans Asmussen, actually agreed with the documents; others acted under compulsion, forced by the occupying Allied powers.

Keywords:   Confessing Church, Allied occupation, Stuttgart Declaration of Guilt (Stuttgarter Schulderklärung), Stuttgart Confession, solidarity of guilt, Darmstadt Statement (Darmstädter Wort), Martin Niemöller, Hans Asmussen, Karl Barth

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