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Nazi Massacres of Jews in Poland Deplored by Council of Churches

August 16, 1942
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Nazi massacres of Jews in Poland and other parts of occupied Europe are condemned in statements issued by the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, the World Council of Churches, and the Church Peace Union. The statements, sent to the Synagogue Council of America on the occasion of the fast of Tisha B’Ab, are reproduced in the Congressional Record as extension of remarks of Congressman Samuel Dickstein.

Dr. Samuel McCrea Caver, executive secretary of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America, said in his statement: “On the occasion of the fast of Tisha B’Ab, the hearts of hosts of Christians beat in sympathy with you as we think of the Jews facing massacre in Poland and undergoing incredible suffering in many parts of Europe. Sharing with you in the spiritual heritage of Israel, we are conscious of a great historic indebtedness. Confronting a common threat to freedom and justice, we feel bound to you in a common defense of the best values in our civilization. We join you in praying that Jews and Christians alike may prove steadfast in this hour of fiery trial and work together for the triumph of the right.”

Dr. Henry Smith Leiper, American secretary of the World Council of Churches, issued the following statement: “The sensibilities of mankind have been so dulled by repeated shocks during recent years that further news of bloody terror at the hands of savage Nazis does not arouse public outcry of amazed outrage that otherwise would rise to heaven. The massacre of helpless Jewish citizens in Poland and other lands overrun by cruel, heartless Hitlerite hordes are on a par with the worst calamities of the Dark Ages. The conscience of all true Christians should smart with recollections of those past wrongs perpetrated against Israel by those who dared call themselves Christians. There is small comfort, however, in the realization that those who today most hate the Jew hate him most for having given to the world the founders of Christianity. The World Council of Churches, like every other agency of aroused Christendom, is urging church members everywhere to guard against the poison of anti-Semitism wherever found. Let the story of murdered thousands in Poland be a warning to any who think they can play with dynamite. It is surely an explosion which shatters civilization. A righteous God in heaven will avenge the wrongs of his children, but He lays upon all believers everywhere the task of upholding law and restoring order to that high purpose. Let us rededicate ourselves in the name of God, whose servants we are and whom we serve in synagogue or church.”

Dr. Henry A. Atkinson, general secretary of the Church Peace Union, declared: “Christians everywhere share the sorrow of their Jewish brothers as they recall the black shadows of Tisha B’Ab. We protest the hideous crimes in Poland and other countries under the hateful domination of the Nazis. Hitler is using anti-Semitism as a propaganda wedge toward degradation and division in unconquered countries, including our own. He has sworn to exterminate the Jews from Europe, but they are no longer without support in that the entire democratic world has vowed to exterminate Hitler’s military machine. Christians everywhere, stirred by compassion and a fellowship of indignation, are determined that in the post-war reconstruction Jews will receive just opportunities in Europe, Palestine, and throughout the world. Full individual equality as well as religious and other cultural freedoms must be guaranteed everywhere. With weighted conscience, the Christian world extends its hand of brotherly sympathy as we fight the common foe together.”

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