COLOGNE (Aug. 1)
One of West Germany’s leading Protestant theologians, Prof. Helmut Gollwitzer, last night sharply attacked German Protestantism for failing, during the Hitler era, to oppose the “German plan to annihilate the House of Israel and kill its Jews.”
Addressing the Congress of Churches being held here, with 35,000 lay and clerical delegates representing every Protestant denomination and community in the country, Prof. Gollwitzer said: “Not only the German people, but the churches themselves were thoroughly at fault during the time of the Third Reich. Neither the Protestant churches, nor the people, openly expressed their solidarity with the Jewish people. God Himself will forever be disgusted with the Christians, should they tolerate another Jewish massacre.”
Other delegates and guest speakers criticized German industry and the German Government for not being sufficiently interested in strengthening Israel’s economy. One of the guest speakers, Dr. Ludwig Erlich, of Switzerland, attacked German industry for its “close contacts with the Arab world” and called such contacts “a sign that German industry once again wants to enrich itself on Jewish blood.”
Dr. Christoph Freiherr von Imhoff, a theologican from Dusseldorf, criticized the Government’s Middle East policy, saying: “We deliver arms to one party or the other party. This is not the way for Germany to develop its prestige. The real German policy should consist of actively helping Israel’s economic development.”
The congress is the largest Protestant gathering held in this country since the war. Throughout its proceedings, begun last week, the heavily-attended parley seemed to want to prove that German Protestants and other religious circles in this country are among the staunchest friends of Israel and of the Jewish people in general.