The New Apostolic Church in the 3rd Reich


Now and then the position of the New Apostolic Church within state and
society has been misinterpreted. In the following therefore, we will highlight
individual facts in order to correct existing misunderstandings.

In 1932 Mr. K.S. from K., a member of the SA, applied for the member-
ship in the New Apostolic Church. It was suggested to him to enquire first
of all whether such a step would not receive disapproval of the party leader-
ship. He turned directly to the highest leader, the present Reichskanzler.
The reply printed below characterizes the attitude of our Reichskanzler to
the New Apostolic Church.

Prof. Dr. J.S. in E. 19.6.1932
to Mr. K.S. in K.

Dear Mr. S.,
on behalf of Mr. Hitler I would like to thank you for your letter from the
8th of June. As he is involved in other urgent matters it is my privilege to
reply.
In all statements concerning church policy so far, Mr. Hitler made it clear
that a national socialist government would be no means intend to outlaw
the New Apostolic Church. As all other christian denominations it will re-
ceive protection and support in the 3rd Reich.
With German greetings
(signed) S.

A similar reply, regarding this question, was given by the leader of the dis-
trict of Baden on the 5th of Nov. 1932: "It is completely wrong to assume
that the NSDAP or its leader, Mr. Adolf Hitler, would not recognize the New
Apostolic Church or, after having seized power, would outlaw the same.
Statements reporting the opposite are simply not true."

As early as the 18th of July 1932 the Chief Apostle J.G. Bischoff, resi-
ding in Frankfurt (Main) told all New Apostolic churches in Germany that
national socialists in uniform are to have access to the services, to be trea-
ted with respect and to receive the Holy Communion and all other blessings
of the church.

The following two cases are evidence enough to prove that these instructions
have in fact been put into practice.

On the 3rd of Dec. 1932 the wedding of a SA-man took place in the New
Apostolic Church congregation Stuttgart-South, where his uniformed brigade
accompanied him and drew up inside and outside the church. Of course this
led to hatred towards the New Apostolic Church by their opponents as can
e.g. be read in the supplement of the Communist South-German working-
class newspaper from the 7th of Dec. 1932:
"Nazi-wedding with 'unbuckled belts'!
On Saturday the 3rd of December a Nazi-wedding took place at the New
Apostolic Church in the Immenhofstrasse in connection with a public demon-
stration. About 25 SA-troops drew up in front of the church... The SA drew
up inside the church and a zealous priest blessed the distinguished couple.
After the wedding they held a grand ceremony. If workers had organized a
similar event, things would have been different..."

Led by a minister of the New Apostolic Church, the funeral of a National
socialist took place in Esslingen in December 1932, which the clergy of
other denominations had refused to conduct, as is reported in the propa-
ganda newspaper for national socialist policy and German culture "Der
Fuehrer" in Baden on the 23rd of Dec. 1932.

On the 20th of March 1933 the Chief Apostle of the New Apostolic Church
wrote to the church presidents and district leaders of all New Apostolic
churches at home and abroad in order to inform him about the true situation
in Germany and spoke up vehemently against all atrocity propaganda. He
asked the church leaders to pass on this information to all church members.
This letter was also published in international newspapers such as the "De-
troit Abendblatt" in full length on the 19th of April 1933.

In a circular from the 21st of March 1933 the Chief Apostle of the New
Apostolic Church told all members and ministers of the New Apostolic
Church to be obedient and be subject to the God given authority. He cal-
led upon them to pray for the government and to diligently follow laws and
instructions passed by church and state. He referred to a decree by the
then-Chief Apostle of the New Apostolic Church from the year 1908
where it says that New Apostolic christians ought to behave in such a way
in church and state that they are an example to others and that they should
be the first to be counted loyal to their government and their country.

On the occasion of the Reichstagseroeffnung (the opening of the par-
liament) on Tuesday, the 21st of March 1933 the Chief Apostle ordered
evening service to be held that day, based on the Textword Sirach 10,
verses 1-5.

On National Laborday, the 1st of May 1933, the Chief Apostle gave out
new instructions according to which prayers were to be offered in all New
Apostolic congregations in Germany to ask God to protect and bless the
entire nation and to grant success to the unemployment scheme of the go-
vernment. Furthermore all church property was to be decorated with the
swastica and the flag bearing the colors black, white and red on all national
holidays.

In a circular from the 25th of April 1933 the Chief Apostle gave out the
instruction that all door-to-door witnessing as well as the distribution of
pamphlets was to be stopped in order to have done everything to promote
peace between the denominations and contribute to the unity of the nation.
On this same day another letter was published:
"Membership of indivuduals from dissolved, subversive and liberal
organizations
.
Fron now on it can be expected that individuals from the above-mentioned
groups will try to become a member of a religious community without the
tention, however, of living a true and positive christian life. If such a person
attends our services we will have to watch carefully whether he or she is
sincerely willing to change and to try his or her best to become a true chris-
tian and a respectable citizen. In cases of doubt it will be helpful to pass the
personal data on to the local branch of the NSDAP for the purpose of
checking the possibility that such a person will pursue subversive activi-
ties within the church. Only after a clearance certificate has been drawn up
by the NSDAP, the individual can be accepted as a member".

Since the 28th of June 1933 the instructions mentioned above have been
amended, in order that persons persons willing to join the New Apostolic
Church need to sign a written statement saying: "I apply for membership
in the New Apostolic Church without having been influenced from out-
side, and I declare the oath that I do not belong to a subversive organi-
zation and do not pursue subversive ideas".

Furthermore a decree put forward by the Chief Apostle on the 1st of Aug.
1933 to sustain and promote family life says: "A husband or wife desiring
to become a member of the New Apostolic Church, whereas the spouse
does not belong to the New Apostolic Church, must produce a written
consent of the latter, stating that he or she does not object to such a
membership".

On the 10th of July 1933 the Chief Apostle called upon all New Apos-
tolic congregations of Germany to give a donation for the promotion of
the national employment scheme, which produced the amount of 57533.35
Reichsmark. From this time on all employees of the New Apostolic Church
in Germany gave a voluntary monthly donation for the same purpose.

The Chief Apostle invited representatives from all continents to Germany
in order to discuss church matters and at the same time see for themselves
the true situation in Germany, so that they could speak up abroad for the
German heritage and tradition. In connection with this invitation a demon-
stration took place in Frankfurt (Main) on the 31st of July 1933 where the
director of the local branch of the ministry for "Volksaufklaerung und Pro-
paganda" ("people's education and propaganda"), Mr. Mueller-Schelt, de-
livered a speech on the subject of "national socialism and propaganda
abroad" to representatives of the press and national and international
district leaders of the church.

In a circular from the 1st of Aug. 1933 the Chief Apostle appealed to all mi-
nisters and members of the New Apostolic Church to follow his instructions
carefully and to stop all degrading remarks about other religions and ideo-
logies, about their institutions and ministers. For following accurately
all instructions and decrees of the Chief Apostle, who resides in Germany,
is the duty of every member of the church, because the church is the
realisation of the Fuehrerprinzip ("principle of leadership") concerning
religious matters in every respect.

On the 26th of Sept. 1933 the Chief Apostle called upon all German New
Apostolic congregations to make a contribution in order to support the
Winterhilfswerk ("winter relief fund") against hunger and cold. The sum
raised amounted to 69372.55 Reichsmark which was then transferred
accordingly. Apart from the donations mentioned above, individual admini-
strative districts gave generously to help reduce unemployment and alleviate
the need in the wintertime. District leaders and other employees also gave
generously to support their compatriots.

In closing it is worth mentioning that in D., after the general elections in
1929, the communist party published a list of 28 names of persones who
had voted for the NSDAP, with the headline: "Fight the fascists wherever
you find them". Among the 28 compatriots no less than 28 were New
Apostolic Church members. Not to pass unnoticed is the fact that since
1921 and 1923 members of the New Apostolic Church have shared
joys and sorrows with the Fuehrer. Two of them have died, more than
60 have been wounded and others have been sent to prison for their
involvement in national socialist activities. Compared to the overall mem-
bership of the church this represents a considerable large proportion.

On the 1st of Dec. 1933 the Chief Apostle brought the following to the
attention of the ministers of the New Apostolic Church: "Soon this year
will come to an end but that, which it has brought about, will remain.
With thankful hearts we look back to the events of 1933. Germany has
escaped the tragedy of division. All party conflicts are over. Thousands
of compatriots and fellow believers have found jobs. Others have recei-
ved support so that they would not starve or freeze this winter. This
shows clearly what one man, who is inspired by the love to the German
people to recreate everything, can accomplish. As New Apostolic chris-
tians we will do our best to closely follow the instructions given by the
Fuehrer for the good of the people so that we will not be a burden to
him. Taking one's stand and doing what needs to be done with accuracy,
is the best way of serving the Fuehrer and the entire nation efficiently.
Concerning religious matters we are especially grateful. the vide-Fuehrer
has announced that no pressure is to be exercised in questions relating
to faith. May God continue to bless our Fuehrer abundantly with every-
thing he needs in order to leade the great German nation".

Taking these facts into consideration, it should be unequivocally clear that
the New Apostolic Church has fulfilled all prerequisites, both before and
after the seizing of power of our Reichskanzler, Mr. Adolf Hitler, as re-
quired in article 24 of the program of the NSDAP.

Frankfurt (Main), December 1933

A. Landgraf

Secretary to the Apostle College of the New Apostolic Churches of Germany

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