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There are thousands of Bruce Wilsons @brucewilson
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Time has come for the lesson, "Who killed Anne Frank".

The lesson was originally taught by Doris Bergen, author of "Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich".

Do you think Hitler was the most responsible for the death of Anne Frank ?...
Who killed Anne Frank ?

It was an exercise Bergen designed for teachers in a course she was leading, for schoolteachers, that was called "Teaching The Diary Of Anne Frank", to raise their awareness of the "chain of complicity" that led to the Holocaust...
Bergen wrote out, on cards she passed out one by one to the teachers, "identities" of different people who each played a part in the death of Anne Frank - Hitler, Himmler, the person who snatched a scrap of bread from Anne Frank's hand in the concentration camp...
...the Dutch couple who turned Frank's family in to the Nazis, and so on. There were about 15 teachers, 15 cards. The assignment was that the teachers, based on their given "identity" written out on their card, should line up in order based on the relative responsibility...
....each bore for Anne Frank's death, from greatest responsibility to least responsibility. As Bergen describes the results, in Steve Martin's documentary "Theologians Under Hitler", "My expectation was...
... that the person who held the card that said 'Adolf Hitler' would immediately march to the front of the line and stay there and the others would line themselves up behind that person. That's not what happened...
Instead the teacher who had a card that said 'a German pastor who preached hatred of Jews, from the pulpit, in the 20s and 30s', that person marched immediately to the front of the line and refused to cede that position.
No matter who came along, the person with the 'Hitler' card, the person with the 'SS' card... that woman said 'this person is the most responsible, this person who used the power of the pulpit, who used the authority of the Christian Church, of Christian tradition...
...that it was not only acceptable but desirable to hate fellow human beings, to hate Jews, to fear Jews, to fight against them to attack them - this person is as responsible and more responsible than anyone else.' ".
I originally wrote that description 10 years ago, for a story titled "Confronting The Storm Troopers Of Christ" which discussed a video documentary concerning the little-known role that German Protestants played in supporting Hitler and the rise of Nazism in Germany...
Let me make it clear - the point of the story is that the ultimate responsibility for the death of Anne Frank, or for the deaths of eleven people in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, does not lie with the people who directly carried out the persecution and killing. Rather...
responsibility lies with those who abused their positions of authority to promote narratives that demonized & scapegoated entire societal groups. Responsibility lies with those whose words provoked the hatred. So when top leaders of the #Republican party promote...
...conspiracy theories that paint George Soros, a very wealthy Jew, as a major enemy of the American people (the American volk, if you will) we must state directly and forcefully that such messages are teaching Americans to commit acts of violence against Jews.
There are many targets - LGBTQ citizens, African-Americans, Muslims, liberals generally, atheists... all are targeting and demonized in narratives that once were ghettoized on the US far right fringe but now are being mainstreamed within the #GOP.
This is where we are.

Here. Now. Today.
Here's my story/review covering the role of German Protestants in the rise of Hitler and his Nazi movement : talk2action.org/story/2008/1/2…
Now, consider what conservative Baptist scholar David P. Gushee declared, 12 years ago in an address cosponsored by the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning at Boston College, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Hebrew College, and Andover-Newton Theological School...
Gushee began by talking about the national climate of cultural despair in Germany, and the rise of conspiracy narratives that blamed Jews for the German defeat in WW1 and subsequent (perceived) national decline. He went on...
"It was this cultural despair--a toxic brew of reaction against secularism, anger related to the loss of World War I, distress over cultural disorientation and confusion, fears about the future of Germany, hatred of the victorious powers and of those...
...those who supposedly stabbed Germany in the back, and of course the search for scapegoats (mainly the Jews)--that motivated many Germans to adopt a reactionary, authoritarian, and nationalistic ethic that fueled their support for Hitler's rise to power...
A broadly appealing narrative of national decline (or conspiratorial betrayal) was met by Hitler's narrative of national revenge leading to utopian unity in the Fuhrer-State...
...Conservative American evangelicals in recent decades have been deeply attracted to a parallel narrative of cultural despair. Normally the story begins with the rise of secularism in the 1960s, the abandonment of prayer in schools, and the Roe decision, all leading...
...to an apocalyptic decline of American culture that must be arrested soon, before it is too late and "God withdraws his blessing" from America. While very few conservative evangelicals come into the vicinity of Hitler in hatefulness...
elements similar to that kind of conservative-reactionary-nationalist narrative can be found in some Christian right-rhetoric: anger at those who are causing American moral decline, fear about the future, hatred of the "secularists" now preeminent in American life...
...and the search for scapegoats. The solution on offer--a return to a strong Christian America through determined political action--also has its parallels with the era under consideration."
Gushee's indictment was not widely noticed. Now, here we are.
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