Dr. Robert Michael was Professor Emeritus of European History at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, where he taught the Holocaust for nearly thirty years. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Boston University in Philosophy, he published poetry and more than 50 articles and eleven books on the Holocaust and the History of Antisemitism.
Professor Michael has also taught at Central European University in Budapest, Inter-American University in Puerto Rico, and given lectures at the University of Vienna and at the Ateneo Veneto and University of Venice. He was a founder and co-editor of the scholarly email list H-ANTISEMITISM and formerly editor of H-HOLOCAUST and H-W-CIV. He offered the world’s first distance-education course on the Holocaust in 1994 and this year has been invited to teach the same at American Military University.
Dr. Robert Michael’s Full Curriculum Vitae
Adjunct Professor, Middle Tennessee State University, 2007-2008
Adjunct Professor, Graduate Faculty, Florida Gulf Coast University, 2005
Adjunct Professor, Ringling College of Art & Design, 2005
Adjunct Professor, University of South Florida, Sarasota, 2005
Professor Emeritus of European History, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 2001
University of Venice, Visiting Lecturer, 2000
University of Vienna, Visiting Lecturer, 1996
Central European University, Budapest, Visiting Professor, 1996
Former editor, Humanities Network Scholarly Email Lists: H-ANTISEMITISM, H-W-CIVILIZATION, H-HOLOCAUST
First professor to offer The Holocaust as a cyber-ed (Distance Learning) course. See Mary Lord’s story, “Getting a Degree by Email,” U.S. News & World Report (October 30, 1995).
Menorah Review, Contributing Editor, 1989-2010
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Professor of European History, 1971-2001
University of Connecticut, PhD. 1972, European History
Inter American University, Associate Professor, 1970-1
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris, 1970
University of Connecticut, M.A. 1968, European History (N.D.E.A. Fellow)
Textbook Editor, 1962-66, Thomas Yoseloff-A.S. Barnes-University of Pennsylvania Press, Hawthorne Books-Prentice-Hall, Bobbs-Merrill, World (New York City)
Columbia University, 1961-2, Philosophy
U.S. Army, 1958-61
Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 1958 (McGeorge Bundy Chaired my Election Committee)
Boston University, A.B. 1958, Degree with Distinction in Philosophy, Magna cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa
A History of Catholic Antisemitism: The Dark Side of the Church
A History of Catholic Antisemitism: The Dark Side of the Church- from the
Crucifixion to Vatican II (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, April 2008)
*”Antisemitism in American Literature,” in Stephen Norwood and Eunice
Pollack, eds., Encyclopedia of American Jewish History (Santa Barbara:
ABC-CLIO 2007) Cover photo taken by Robert Michael at the Père Lachaise
Cemetery in Paris.
Holy Hatred: Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust 2006
This cover represents Shmuel, the boy of the Warsaw Ghetto as represented by the surrealist artist of the Holocaust, Samuel Bak.
A Concise History of American Antisemitism (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2005)
“Antisemitism: Did the Holocaust have its origins in the antisemitism of the nineteenth century??” in Tandy McConnell, ed., History in Dispute, Vol. 11: The Holocaust (Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2002)
Dictionary of Antisemitism (New York: Greenwood Press, 2005) [co-author]
Nazi-Deutsch/Nazi German: An English Lexicon of the Language of the The Third Reich (New York: Greenwood Press, 2001) [co-author]
The Holocaust Chronicle: A History in Words and Picture(Chicago: Publications International, 1999) [co-author]
The Holocaust Chronicle
The Holocaust: A Chronology and Documentary (New York: Jason Aronson Publishers, 1998)
The Houghton-Mifflin Guide to the Internet for History (Boston:Houghton-Mifflin, 1996)
*”Antisemitism and the Church Fathers,” in Marvin Perry and Frederick Schweitzer, Jewish-Christian Encounters Through the Centuries: Symbiosis, Prejudice, Holocaust, Dialogue (New York: Peter Lang, 1994)
Fatal Image (Needham Heights, MA: Ginn Press, 1992)
Fatal Vision (Needham Heights, MA: Ginn Press, 1990)
The Radicals and Nazi Germany
(Washington, D.C.: University Press of America, 1982)
cited in Crisis and Renewal in France 1918-1962 Martin S. Alexander
cited in France and German in an Age of Crisis 1900-1960 Charles Bloch, Haim Shamir
“Apostasy,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies (Fall 1982)
“God Wrestling,” Menorah Review (Winter 2002)
“I don’t want to die before I die,” Menorah Review (Spring 2002)
“Easter, 1903,” Menorah Review (Winter 2003)
Principal academic papers since 1990
“Nazi-Deutsch,” Deutsches Haus New York University (October 2002)
“Antisemitisms,” Keynote Speaker at Teaching About the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights: A Seminar for Teachers in Public and Private Schools and In Religious Congregations (Sunday, March 24, 2002)
“Nazis, Nazi-Deutsch, and the Holocaust,” Ateneo Veneto (Venice) (November 2001)
“Nazi-Deutsch,” University of Venice (November 2001)
“Teaching the Holocaust in Cybereducation: A Model for Teaching the History of Western Civilization,” New England Historical Association (October 1997)
“The Nature of Historical Research on the Internet, Present and Future,” American Historical Association (January 1997)
“The Continuity of Papal Jewish Policy,” Medieval Forum, Plymouth State College (April 1996)
“The Internet and History,” Northeastern University, 1995
“Black-Jewish Relations,” Colloquium on Race,” University of Massachusetts Boston, September 1995
“Medieval Historians and the Internet,” Medieval Forum, Plymouth State College, April 1994
“Crusaders and Jews During the First and Second Crusade,” Medieval Forum, Plymouth State College, April 1992
“Antisemitism: Did the Holocaust have its origins in the antisemitism of the nineteenth century?” in History in Dispute, Vol. 11: The Holocaust, ed. Tandy McConnell. (Gale Publishing, 2002)”
“Sub Spieces Aeternitatis: Teaching After Teaching,” Chronicle of Higher Education (November 2002)
“Kishinev, 1903-2003,” Menorah Review (Fall 2002)
Peter Bertocci,” Boston University College of Arts and Sciences (Fall 2002)
“Emeritus,” Chronicle of Higher Education Review (Summer 2002)
“The Present and Future of the Internet for Scholars,” On Campus (1997)
“Antisemitism and the Church Fathers,” chapter in Marvin Perry and Frederick Schweitzer, Jewish-Christian Encounters Through the Centuries: Symbiosis, Prejudice, Holocaust, Dialogue (New York 1995).
“Religious Antisemitism and American Immigration Policy During the Holocaust,” Australian Journal of Jewish Studies vol. 7, no. 1 (1993), pp. 9-40.
“Christian Antisemitism, Adolf Hitler, and the Holocaust” (Part II), Menorah Review (Winter 1993-1994), pp. 2-5.
“Christian Antisemitism, Adolf Hitler, and the Holocaust” (Part I), Menorah Review (Fall 1993)
“Facts and Fallacies About Jewish-Christian Relations,” Menorah Review (Fall 1992)
“In the Lifeboat Together: American Protestants and Jews,” Menorah Review (Virginia Commonwealth University)
“Christian Theological Antisemitism: Jewish Values Turned Upside-Down,” Menorah Review (Spring 1992), pp. 3-5.
“Christian Antisemitism and Richard Wagner: A Reexamination,” Patterns of Prejudice (December 1991-January 1992).
“Puzzling Over Evil,” Judaica Book News (Fall/Winter 1990-1), pp. 29-30, 32.
“Dreyfus and French Catholicism,” Menorah Review, Virginia Commonwealth University (Summer 1990), pp. 3-5.
“Theologia Gloriae and Civilt Cattolica’s Attitudes Toward the Jews of the Holocaust,” Encounter: Creative Theological Scholarship, Vol. 50, No. 2, Spring, 1989, pp. 151-66.
“Theological Myth, German Antisemitism, and the Holocaust: The Case of Martin Niemoeller,” reprinted in Michael Marrus, ed., The Nazi Holocaust (Westport, CT. and London: Meckler 1988).
“Review of Exile in the Fatherland: Martin Niemoeller’s Letters,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies: An International Journal, Vol. 3, No. 2 (1988), pp. 229-31.
“The Persistence of Theologia Gloriae in Modern Antisemitism: Voltaire, Wagner, Hitler,” Remembering for the Future: Jews and Christians During and After the Holocaust (Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1988), Vol. 1, pp. 720-35.
“Theological Myth, German Antisemitism, and the Holocaust: The Case of Martin Niemoeller,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies: An International Journal, Vol. 2, No. 1 (1987), pp. 105-22.
“Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews,” Encounter (Fall 1985), pp. 339-56.
“The Holocaust in Night and Fog,” Cineaste (December 1984), pp. 36-7.
“The Holocaust in Historical, Moral, and Theological Perspective,” Encounter: Creative Theological Scholarship (Summer 1984), pp. 259-70.
“The Foreign Policies of the Radical Party, 1933-1939,” Third Republic/Troisieme Republique (Spring 1984), pp. 1-92.
“Confronting and Transcending the Holocaust: Is It Possible?” Judaica Book News (Fall 1982), pp. 23-8.
“The History of the Martial Arts: From Classical Greece, Through Asia, To the United States,” Black Belt Magazine (Summer 1996).
“Surviving the Holocaust” and “Martyrdom & Resistance as a Guide to History of the Holocaust,” in Harvey Rosenfeld and Eli Zborowski, eds., A Legacy Recorded (New York 1994), pp. 86-89, 146-149.
“Good and Evil,” Liberal Judaism (electronic publication), 1 Jan. 94.
“Review of Memory Offended,” Martyrdom and Resistance (1993), pp. 2, 4.
“What the Martial Arts Mean to America,” Karate International (August 1992), pp. 8-10.
“America’s, Britain’s Failure to Rescue Jews,” Martyrdom and Resistance (November-December 1991), pp. 7, 15.
“State Department Said No to Rescue . . . But Only When It Concerned Jews,” Martyrdom and Resistance (September-October 1991), pp. 3, 12.
“American Literary Antisemitism: Twentieth Century,” in Midstream (August-September 1991), pp. 27-29.
“Review of Egal Feldman, Dual Destinies: The Jewish Encounter with Protestant America,” Martyrdom and Resistance (May/June 1991), pp. 2-3.
“Review of Michael Dobkowski and Isidor Wallimann, eds., Radical Perspectives on the Rise of Fascism in Germany, 1919-1945,” R�ue Etudes Internationales (Universite Laval) (December 1990), pp. 885-87.
“Review of Collection de Droit International, le Proces de Nuremberg:Consequences et Actualisation, Revue Etudes Internationales (May 1990).
“Review of Robert Herzstein, Roosevelt & Hitler:Prelude to War, Martyrdom and Resistance (April-May 1990)
“Review of Gottfried-Karl Kindermann, Hitler’s Defeat in Austria, 1933-1934: Europe’s First Containment of Nazi Expansionism,” Revue Etudes Internationales (December 1989), Vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 914-16.
“Review of A Bibliography of Jewish-Christian Relations,” Judaica Book News (Fall 1989).
“Review of Charles Maier, The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust, and German National Identity,” Shofar: Journal of Jewish Studies, Vol. 7, No. 3, Spring 1989, pp. 101-4.
“Review of Arno Mayer, Why Did the Heavens Not Tremble, The International Society for Yad Vashem: Martyrdom and Resistance (May-June 1989), pp. 2, 14.
“The Miracle of Jewish Resistance,” Martyrdom and Resistance (March-April 1989), pp. 7, 12.
“Review of Stanislav J. Kirschbaum and Anne C. R. Roman, eds., Reflections on Slovak History,” Revue Etudes Internationales (Universite Laval), Vol. 19, No. 4 (December 1988), pp. 744-6.
“The Jews in Medieval Art,” New England Historical Association Bulletin (Fall 1988)
“British Government Attitudes Toward Jewish Immigration During the Holocaust,” Martyrdom and Resistance (November-December 1987)
“The Jew as Antihero: Christian Images of the Jew in Medieval Art,” Proceedings of the Seventh Medieval Forum (1986)
“Theological Myth, Christian Antisemitism, and The Merchant of Venice,” Martyrdom and Resistance (January-February 1986)
“America and the Holocaust,” Midstream (February 1985)
“American Antisemitism and the Holocaust,” The South African Jewish Spectator Annual (Fall 1984)
“Theological Myth, Christian Antisemitism, and the Holocaust” Midstream (March 1984)
“German and American Antisemitism During the Holocaust: A Theological Interpretation,” The Jewish Review (U.K.) (January 1984)
“The Holocaust: Some Reflections,” National Catholic Reporter (January 1984)
“Surviving the Holocaust: Some Reflections,” Martyrdom and Resistance (November-December 1983)
“Hostile Myths, German Christian Antisemitism,” Martyrdom and Resistance (September-October 1983)
“Parallels Between Medieval and Modern Antisemitic Myths,” Proceedings of the Fourth Medieval Forum (1983)
“The Theological Causes of the Holocaust,” Martyrdom and Resistance (May-June 1982)
“The Terrible Flaw of Night and Fog,” Martyrdom and Resistance (September-October 1981)
Courses Taught at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
History of Germany
French Revolution and Napoleon
History of Western Civilization I & II
History of Western Civilization I & II through Films of Historical Fiction
War and Diplomacy
Seminar in the History of Christian-Jewish Relations
Ethical Issues of Antisemitism (General Education/Honors course)
Teaching History/Teaching the Holocaust (graduate course)
The Holocaust [cybered]
Electronic Professional Activities
Editor at H-Net, Humanities Electronic Network, a stable of more than 70 electronic scholarly lists in the Humanities, created at the University of Illinois Chicago
Co-Editor HOLOCAUS (Holocaust)
Founder and Co-Editor H-ANTIS (Scholarly History of Antisemitism)
Co-Editor, H-W-CIV (History of Western Civilization)
Former Co-Editor newsgroup SOC.CULTURE.JEWISH.HOLOCAUST
Founder, UMASSD INTERNET USERS GROUP
Founder, UMASSD.INTERNAUTS Newsgroup
Electronic Teaching Offered:
Internet Course on the Holocaust sponsored by the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Division of Continuing Education (Fall 1995)
Workshop for Public School Teachers sponsored by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth College of Arts and Sciences (Spring Semester 1995)
Workshop for Northeastern University Faculty (Spring 1995)
Workshop on the Internet sponsored by University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Academic Computing Service (Summer 1995)
Workshop for Medieval Historians sponsored by Plymouth State College (April 1994 and April 1995)
H-TEACH (Washington University and University of Chicago)
HOLOCAUS (University of Illinois Chicago)
BRITAIN & THE JEWS (Roger Williams College)
H-FILM (University of Houston)
IATH-L (Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities; University of Virginia)
ORB (Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies, University of Kansas)
ECCHST-L (History of Christianity)
SOPHIA (Ancient Philosophy, University of Liverpool)
THUCIDIDES (Temple University)
MDVLPHIL (Medieval Philosophy and Political Science, Louisiana State University)
H-EDIT (Prof. Richard Jensen, U. of Illinois, Chicago)
ECHO (European Commission Host Organization)
IOUDAIOS (First-Century Judaism, Tel Aviv University)
DEREMI-L (medieval warfare, University of Kansas)
WWII-L (World War 2)
CONTENTS (Religious Studies, University of Ottawa)
GUTNBERG (electronic publication of historical and literary texts)
ST. AUGUSTINE (Prof. James O’Donnell, University of Pennsylvania, Spring 1994);
RACISM (run by Prof. Gary Klass, Illinois State University, Spring 1994)
Subject-Matter Expert in Jewish History (Electronic-Emissary Project, University of Texas at Austin & Texas Center the Educational Technology)
Praise for Holy Hatred: Christianity, Antisemitism, and the Holocaust
“A praiseworthy achievement—a model of its kind.”—Paul R. Bartrop, Honorary Research Fellow, The Faculty of Arts, Deakin University, and Head of History, Bialik College
“Holy Hatred is a masterful, beautifully written study of how Christianity and the churches shaped and sustained a lethal antisemitism for almost two millennia. Future studies of the Holocaust or of antisemitism will have to address Michael’s work.”—Eunice G. Pollack, University of North Texas
“Following in the footsteps of Poliakov and Flannery, this book offers a powerful description of Christianity’s intimate involvement with Judeophobia and anti-Semitism from the gospels forward.”—Peter J. Haas, Abba Hillel Silver Professor of Jewish Studies, Chair, Department of Religious Studies, and Director, The Samuel Rosenthal Center for Judaic Studies, Case Western Reserve University
“If anyone still remains ignorant of the Christian origins of anti-Semitism—ancient and modern—and its contribution to the Holocaust, this book will remedy that bliss: clearly, and in comprehensive detail.”—Richard Elliott Sherwin, Professor, Bar-Ilan University
|HISTORY OF CATHOLIC ANTISEMITISMDark Side of the Church
|DARK SIDE OF THE CHURCH
|Monday, March 17, 2008 – My new book just came out this month, published in New York by Palgrave-Macmillan. Below I submit the table of contents,dedication, preface, and intro for your consideration.
|THE DARK SIDE OF THE CHURCH: A HISTORY OF CATHOLIC ANTISEMITISM FROM THE CRUCIFIXION TO VATICAN II
Professor Emeritus of European History
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Graduate Faculty, Florida Gulf Coast University
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: The Catholic Church and the Jews
1: Pagans and Early Catholics
2: Value Inversion and Vilification
3. Roman Law
4. Medieval Deterioration
5. Crusades and Defamations
6. Papal Policy
10. Papal Policy During the Holocaust
Postscript: Catholic Racism
I dedicate this book to the patience and inspiration of my wife, Susan, and my children, Stephanie, Andrew, and Carolyn.
To my parents, Gilbert E. Friedberg and Jeanne Greene Friedberg.
To my brother, Stephen H. Friedberg. When Steve and I were children, our second mother was Ruth Mary Hubbard Miller, a Roman Catholic. This loving person, married to a Protestant, expressed no prejudice toward us or our Jewish family. Not until researching the earliest origins of the Holocaust did I discover the Church Fathers, and from there the whole sorry history of Catholic antisemitism.
This book is also dedicated to Ruth Mary Hubbard Miller.
Finally, I want to dedicate my work to my late friend, the Reverend Father Edward Flannery, a human exemplar of the kind of Catholic who followed the tradition of authentic love for Jews his whole life long.
The search for truth is imperative if Catholics and Jews are to be reconciled. This search requires us to remember and not forget the bitterest facts. For without memory, past evils will replicate themselves in new forms. Without memory, we cannot complete a healing process that requires us to understand the dark side of things we cherish. Without memory, there can be no solid foundation for a compassionate and productive relationship between Catholics and Jews, in which human similarities override human differences. As the Ba’al Shem Tov has indicated, without memory there can be no redemption.
INTRODUCTION: THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND THE JEWS:
“In the last analysis, antisemitism is not only an isue of physical life and death for the Jews, it is also a spiritual problem for Christians.”
Jacques MaritainCATHOLIC ANTISEMITISM
It is almost impossible to find examples of antisemitism that are exclusively racial, economic, or political, and free of religious configuration. The infamous, secular, and “racial” Nuremberg Laws of 1935, for example, employed the religious affiliation of Jews in order to identify them for discrimination. What else could they do? There is no such thing as race and so there was no authentic scientific way to detect the racial nature of a Jew. So the Nazis had to resort to using birth and baptismal records (seven of them, for 4 grandparents, 2 parents, the person him/herself) to establish who was a Jew, who was not.
Many lay Catholics and widely respected Catholic writers still hesitate to come to grips with the two millennia of Catholic antisemitism that prepared Catholics not only to perceive Jews in a negative way, but also primed them to accept the anti-Jewish aspects of secular ideas—and to take action on them. Catholic, as distinguished from Orthodox and Protestant, refers to those Christians in communion with the Holy See of Rome, with the whole ecclesiastical structure of the Church, with the popes at the top of an extensive episcopal hierarchy. “Catholic antisemitism” refers to the anti-Jewish elements in the theology of the Church Fathers, both Latin and Greek, the pronouncements and actions of the papacy and Catholic orders, the teachings and actions of clerics, the content of canon law, the laws and behaviors of secular Catholic princes, as well as the works and behaviors of secular Catholic faithful, including writers and artists. This definition does not deny that some Catholics have thought positively of, and acted benificently toward, Jews–especially since Nostra Aetate in 1965 offered official sanction to such humane and philosemitic behaviors. Nor does it deny that official Church doctrine, based on St. Augustine, regarded the Jews as suffering witnesses, not to be murdered–though this restriction was violated by Catholics time and again. But until 1965, the Catholic Church’s “dark side” in regard to the Jews, Jewishness, and Judaism was predominant.
According to some authors, the early Church’s hostility to Jews grew out of a Gentile antisemitism that converted pagans carried into the Church. These writers take into account neither the positive pagan attitudes, nor pagan indifference, toward Jews, nor the qualitative differences between pagan and early Catholic antisemitism. Of the approximately twenty-five percent of pagan writers who disliked the Jews, almost all of them felt Jews were an annoying people who ate differently, wasted time on the Sabbath, believed in a ridiculous invisible God, and so forth. But the earliest and strongest Catholic charge against the Jews was “Christ-killer” and the charge exploded beyond Jesus of Nazareth’s generation of Jews when Catholics cited holy writ: “Let his blood be on our heads and the heads of our children.” (Matthew 27)
Other authors argue that Christianity taught contempt of Jews only during the medieval period and that modern antisemitism is essentially secular. Such writers find no definite connecting link or continuity between Christian antisemitism and Nazism.
Still other scholars dismiss the continuing power of Catholic antisemitism; instead, they believe modern antisemitism originated in the “secular” Enlightenment period. Robert Wistrich argued that if modern Catholics were antisemitic, then Jews would never have been granted any civil rights or other freedoms in modern Christian society. Wistrich assumed that Christian antisemitism was unambiguous and could not be hidden, disguised, or modified, and he ignored the fact that, based on St. Augustine’s Witness-People dictum, many Catholic antisemites treated Jews like Cain, degraded them but did not set out to kill them all. Wistrich also observed that Hitler’s “either-or” policy of destruction of the Jews did not reflect the essential beliefs of Catholic orthodoxy but followed instead the path of Catholic heresy. But Catholic anti-Jewishness has been the predominant position on the Jews, as this book will show, not the product of heterodoxy. Michael Marrus believes that the causes of the Holocaust have no roots earlier than the nineteenth century. In discussing Uriel Tal’s analysis of nineteenth-century antisemitism, for example, Marrus misses Tal’s point that even when racist antisemitism is theoretically anti-Catholic, it involves crucial elements of Catholic beliefs and of Catholic culture. Marrus mentions Peter Pulzer’s analysis of Austrian antisemitism at the turn of the century but omits Pulzer’s recent appreciation of the continuing importance of religious factors in modern antisemitism. Pulzer’s point is similar to that of Tal’s: “I am more strongly convinced than I was when I wrote the book that a tradition of religiously-inspired Jew hatred . . . was a necessary condition for the success of antisemitic propaganda, even when expressed in non-religious terms and absorbed by those no longer religiously observant.” Marrus writes as though the Nazis were the first to demonize the Jews and ignores the crucial importance of Christian antisemitism in their mentality. St. Augustine, for example, called all Jews Cains, St. Jerome saw all Jews as Judases, St. John Chrysostom regarded all Jews as useless animals fit for slaughter. Catholic ideas such as these are not the kind that exist in a detached Platonic realm, but idées forces—ideas with emotional punch affecting the real world. “Ideas, endlessly repeated, furnished justification for the vilest acts.”
James Parkes, John Gager, Robert Willis, and Alan Davies have all made provocative statements concerning the enduring negative effects of Catholic-Christian theology. Robert Willis concluded that “There are obviously, political, social, and economic factors that must be taken into account in assessing the causes of the Holocaust. What is at stake is a proper understanding of the contribution of theological antisemitism to the creation of a social and moral climate that allowed the ‘final solution’ to become a reality. . . . It is necessary . . . to appreciate the cumulative impact of a centuries-long tradition of hostility towards Judaism and Jews within the church as a crucial condition enabling [Hitler’s] mobilization [of public opinion] to take place.”
Just as the Catholic attitude toward the Jews was bipolar, so Catholic antisemitism was not without exception. Indeed, had the Church attempted to eradicate all the Jews, as it did the heretics, Jews would have disappeared by the fourth or fifth century, when Catholicism came to dominate the Roman Empire, or certainly by the High Middle Ages, when at times the Church’s influence was almost totalitarian. Let us briefly examine the contradictory attitudes and actions of St. Bernard of Clairvaux (d.1153) –certainly the greatest spiritual figure, and perhaps the greatest historical figure, of the twelfth century. He was the Church’s most respected and influential cleric, the leading figure of the Latin Church, its greatest writer and preacher, a reformer of the powerful and prestigious Benedictine order, confidant of Pope Innocent II, and teacher of Pope Eugenius III. Like the popes, Bernard believed that religion should control every aspect of society. He was one of the founders of the Cistercian monastic order, encouraged the cult of Mary, and contributed to popular piety. We shall see in chapters 4, 5, and 6 that Bernard wrote against the Jews as deicides, slaves, and racially evil. But the case at hand is his relationship to the French Cistercian monk Rodolphe and the Second Crusade. Rodolphe was believed to perform miracles and attracted enormous crowds; he preached that the Jewish enemies of God must be punished. His preaching was followed by massacres in Strasbourg, Cologne, Mainz, Worms, Speyer, Würzburg, and in other French and German cities to the Crusader cry of HEP, HEP (Hierosolyma est perdita, Jerusalem Is Lost). His demagogy was finally terminated by St. Bernard, who spoke out against the murder of Jews in England, France, and Germany. Bernard warned the English people that “the Jews are not to be persecuted, killed, or even put to flight.” An adherent of St. Augustine’s precept about the Jews as the Witness People, Bernard traveled to Germany in late 1146 both to preach Crusade and to hush Rodolphe, “It is good that you go off to fight the Ishmaelites [Turks]. But whoever touches a Jew to take his life is like one who had touched the apple of the eye of Jesus; for [Jews] are his flesh and bone. My disciple Rodolphe has spoken in error–for it is said in Psalms [59:11], ‘Slay them not, lest my people forget.'” The psalm continues, “My God will let me look in triumph on my enemies. Do not kill them, or my people may forget; make them totter by your power, and bring them down, O Lord . . . consume them in wrath, consume them until they are no more.” [Psalm 59:11-13]–words themselves quoted earlier by St. Augustine.
Yet Bernard’s motives were not clearly mercy, charity, or human decency. He told the Archbishop of Mainz that Rodolphe’s murderous preaching against the Jews was the least of his three offenses, namely, “unauthorized preaching, contempt for episcopal authority, and incitation to murder.” Again following St. Augustine, Bernard held that “the Jews ought not to die in consequence of the immensity of their crimes, but rather to suffer the Diaspora.” Bernard recalled to his English audience that Jews must “remind us always of what our Lord suffered.” Bernard also noted that at the Second Coming of Christ Jews already dead would remain in hell. Likewise, he called the Jews hard-hearted and regarded the synagogue as a “cruel mother” who had crowned Jesus with thorns. He used the servile condition of the Jews (“no slavery is as demeaning as that of the Jews” ), along with their lack of kingdom, priesthood, prophets, and temple, to demonstrate that the Jews were being punished for history’s greatest sin, the crucifixion of Christ. For Bernard, the Jews were venomous vipers whose bestial stupidity and blindness caused them to “lay impious hands upon the Lord of Glory.” Bernard also wrote that a Christian who neglected Christ’s sufferings was “a sharer in the unparalleled sin of the Jews.” He commended the Abbot Warren of the Alps for attacking the indiscipline of churlish monks as “destroying those synagogues of Satan”–a phrase from Revelation. Following St. John Chrysostom, Bernard condemned the Jews as ever ungrateful to God and as always resisting the holy spirit, calling them the minions of Satan. He preached that “The Jews, ever mindful of the hatred wherewith they hate his Father, take this opportunity to vent it on the Son . . . these wicked men . . ..” and that “Judaea hates the Light.”
The intimate connection between Judaism and Catholicism has motivated authentic Catholics–those who follow theologia crucis within Catholic thought–to treat Jews decently, and in every generation they have genuinely respected Jews. The Roman Catholic Church’s historical prohibitions against Catholic-Jewish fraternization presumed the existence of social relationships between Catholics and Jews. Catholic theologians continually complained about the faithful who grew too close to Jews or treated them as human beings rather than as theological types. In every era, some Catholics steadfastly taught their children to respect other human beings, Jews included. “For most rescuers [of Jews during the Holocaust,] helping Jews was an expression of ethical principles that extended to all of humanity . . ..”
Even though the Church has often sought to preserve Jews–at least a remnent thereof–and Judaism as historic forebears of Christianity, most Catholic writers, thinkers, theologians, politicians, and prelates have expressed a profound hostility toward Jews, and their attitudes have incontestably influenced average Catholics. In the earliest centuries of the Christian era, a relatively bland pre-existing pagan antagonism toward Jews was replaced by historical and theological beliefs that the Jewish people were abhorrent and that any injustice done to them, short of murder, was justified. Jews became the archetypal evil-doers in Catholic societies. This anti-Jewish attitude was a permanent element in the fundamental identity of western Christian civilization–and, for the purposes of this book, in the national identities of countries with large Catholic populations like Poland, Austria, and France. Catholics who took this antagonistic position toward Jews adhered to triumphalism, or theologia gloriae.
The Churches’ predominant, normative theological position in regard to the Jews has been called theologia gloriae—according to James Parkes, an “inbred religious paranoia [that] has been a perversion of everything Jesus meant.” This antisemitic theology of glory, this dark side of the Church, generally holds that: 1. The Christian Church, the new Israel—”ordained and sanctioned by God himself”—has triumphantly succeeded the cursed and rejected old Israel morally, historically, and metaphysically. 2. Jews denied the true Messiah, the Christ, and murdered him, for which all Jews were forever collectively guilty. 3. The Jews were paradigmatic evil-doers even before their atrocious act of deicide 4. Jews were not to be totally exterminated since they adhered to the Law and gave Christianity the history that it needed to legitimize itself.
Moral perception and behavior are shaped by the society into which we have been social-ized and even more by the community we acknowledge as our own. What the Church thought about Christ and itself as an institution determined what most Catholics believed about Judaism and Jews. Anti-Jewish theological defamations, communicated and empowered by the Church, justified most Catholics in their antisemitic ideas. Moreover, this anti-Jewish repugnance has not been restricted to the realm of ideas; like any ideology, it has boiled over into contemp-tuous feelings and behaviors. Tragically, to love Christ for many if not most Catholics came to mean hatred of his alleged murderers. How could Catholics have ever learned to love the Jewish people, asked Pierre Pierrard, when favorable religious ideas about Jews “were lost in the blood of Calvary. ‘The History of the Church’ made [Jews] appear only as an antithesis of the glorious epic of the Roman Church.”
Until 1965 and beyond, the most significant ideology about Jews within the Church, the theology of glory, has encouraged Catholics to view Judaism as little more than the work of Satan and the Antichrist, and to regard Jews with sacred horror. This anti-Jewish theology has been so pervasive that even decent Christians have sometimes uttered the most “factually untrue and grossly libelous” statements about Jews. Moreover, these negative perceptions have existed independent of what Jews themselves have actually done, or, indeed, of a Jewish presence at all. In their ideological assault on the Jews, the Fathers of the Church, for example, never cited the misdeeds of their contemporary Jewish neighbors. It was mythical Jewish actions—their alleged deicide and later medieval defamations—that stood as the basis of resentful Catholic misperceptions. God was always pictured as “in there punching” on the side of Catholicism and Catholics against Jews and Judaism.
These religious antagonisms, elaborated by the theological and popular writings and preachings of the Church’s great theologians and popes, exploited by Catholic authorities, enhanced by the liturgy, art, and literature of the Church, created in most of the faithful an automatic hostility toward Jewishness. This diabolizing of the Jews has continued into the modern period with only minor deviations.
Just as Catholic theology denied Jews salvation in the next life, so it disqualified Jews from legitimate citizenship in Christendom. In a sense, Jews were ostracized from full human status. Some protective Roman legal traditions, some Catholic feelings of charity, and the Jews’ ambivalent role as suffering examples of the consequences of offending God provided Jews with a precarious place within Catholic society. But until their emancipation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries—and to this day, for some—Jews had only a very tenuous legal and moral right to exist, let alone act as citizens. The Jews had to plead with Catholic authorities—kings and princes, bishops and dictators, popes and presidents—to protect them. Sometimes this worked. Other times the authorities turned their backs on the Jews or collaborated with those Catholics who were intent on cursing, expropriating, expelling, or murdering them.
Despite the close theological relationship between Judaism and Catholicism, despite Jesus’ commandment about love of neighbor, despite the modern Roman Catholic Church’s insistence on “justice and charity” in the treatment of Jews, despite the Church’s emphasis on caritas (love within families that extended outward toward neighborhood, city, and nation) and agape (the self-sacrificial love taught by Jesus on the cross that extended to love of enemies), most Catholics found it impossible to love Jews. When Catholicism was a new religion and had to fight for its own individual identity, churchmen and theologians found it necessary to distance themselves from Jews. Furthermore, humane behavior toward Jews required Catholics to follow the difficult moral precepts of Jesus as expressed in the Gospels. Although the Church professed the same moral precepts, it usually followed anti-Jewish policies. Some Catholic writers called on the faithful to love Jews but only as a first step toward converting them, that is, this kind of love was meant to precede the elimination of Jews as Jews.
The Dark Side of the Church will summarize and analyze the history of Catholic antisemitism, a set of beliefs creating a climate of opinion that led to untold suffering and millions of Jewish deaths before the Holocaust, and not only made the Holocaust possible, but likely. What does it take for a nation’s workers, middle class, aristocracy, artists, and intellectuals in a few years to collaborate in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of its Jewish neighbors and fellow citizens, and millions of Jewish coreligionists outside the national borders? As historian Walter Zwi Bacharach wrote, “no human being gets up one fine morning and sets out to kill Jews, just because he is ordered to do so.” This comment was mirrored decades later by James O’Gara, editor of the Catholic Commonweal: “Could the Nazi horror have sprung full-blown out of nowhere, without centuries of [Christian] antisemitism to nourish it and give it strength.” It takes centuries of preparation, tradition, and religion to enable people to see others as inhuman monsters and act on this perception. Gordon Allport points out that Christianity stands as the focus of prejudice because “it is the pivot of the cultural tradition.” Catholic theological and Catholic racist antisemitism prepared, conditioned, and encouraged Catholic antisemites, and others, to collaborate actively and/or passively with individual and institutional antisemitic behaviors–avoidance, antilocution, discrimination, expropriation, physical assault and torture, murder, and mass murder. This Catholic antisemitism paved the long via dolorosa that led to Auschwitz and beyond.
Catholic antisemitism has been exported to the Middle East where Christian Arabs were the conduit for entry, so that traditional antisemitism has been grafted on to pre-existing Muslim Jew-hatred and portends a grave danger for Jews in the future. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion (translated into Arabic by a Lebanese Christian) in the early 1920s), Hitler’s Mein Kampf, and Ford’s International Jew are readily available all over the Muslim world. Mel Gibson’s antisemitic film, The Passion of the Christ, gained instant popularity in the Middle East. Neither Arab immigrants to Europe nor reactions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict explains “the resurgence of European antisemitism after the Holocaust.” On the contrary, explains Manfred Gerstenstein, the facts suggest that continuing antisemitism “is integral to European [Christian] culture.” Leftists, Rightists, and in between express hatred of Jews. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, most European nations are exhibiting significant levels of antisemitism. The doublethinking European Union attacks Israel and at the same time seems to oppose traditional antisemitism. (In 2005, the European Union Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia established a “Working Definition of Antisemitism.” )
Unanswerable questions remain. Can the Churches truly eliminate the anti-Jewish elements in their teachings? Can the Church admit to the mythic nature of the Gospel stories, which may contain some fact but more fully convey the authors’ (anti-Jewish) perspectives and the Church’s (anti-Jewish) interpretations–especially the Crucifixion story, which fixes on the Jews eternal responsibility and collective guilt for the murder of God? A final question is whether the Catholic Church can give up its anti-Jewish position and remain as an intact institution.
“Michael’s work is path-breaking, in that few before him have tackled both the historical and theological foundations of Catholic antisemitism and, at the same time, traced its path from biblical times all the way through to Auschwitz. In this, Michael is brave; but, as this outstanding work shows, his bravery is vindicated. His treatment of such topics as the Church’s age-old and ongoing dehumanization of the Jews, coupled with its failure to confront that supreme manifestation of evil that became manifest in the Nazis, is an important contribution to an already massive literature on antisemitism and the Holocaust.”
–Paul R. Bartrop, Head, Department of History, Bialik College, Melbourne, Australia
From Booklist: Review of Dictionary of Antisemitism
Anti-Semitism has been called the longest hatred. Unfortunately, hatred of Jews and Judaism has a very long, disturbing, and frequently murderous history. Containing more than 2,500 entries, this dictionary covers a wide range of political, economic, racial, religious, and historical manifestations of anti-Jewish prejudice. The entries cover individuals (ranging from the Nazi leaders to Ezra Pound and David Duke), historical incidents (the Chmielnicki massacres and the Dreyfus case), and infamous anti-Jewish publications and publishers (The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Noontide Press), among many other topics. The bibliographic references even for entries of two or three sentences are an outstanding feature, listing both print and Web sources (many of the Web citations are for a single Wikipedia entry on ethnic slurs). The work of more than 200 scholars, Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution (ABC-CLIO, 2005) has 612 entries, most of which are longer than those found in Dictionary of Antisemitism. The wide range of entries, a useful introduction, and numerous citations make the latter an essential ready-reference source that is recommended for public and academic libraries. Altschiller, Donald
|Portrait of Robert Michael by Carolyn R. Michael
|Kinky Friedman and Robert Michael, Austin TX 2007
Robert Michael, Bitburg, Germany
Robert Michael Murfreesboro TN 2008
Robert Michael, Murfreesboro TN 2009