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Book explores U.S. chaplain’s ministry to Nazi criminals

Book explores U.S. chaplain’s ministry to Nazi criminals

From Religion News Service:

He was a minister to monsters.

That’s what Tim Townsend writes of Henry Gerecke, the unassuming Lutheran pastor from Missouri who shepherded six of the most notorious Nazis to the gallows in “Mission at Nuremberg: An American Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis.”

The book is one of a string of new titles that dust off a remote corner of World War II history — the role religion played both in and beyond the conflict.

“That’s why I wanted to write this book,” Townsend said from Washington, D.C. where he is a senior writer and editor for The Pew Research Center.

“A large part was trying to figure out why did the Allies provide spiritual comfort for men who were on trial for what was ultimately called the Holocaust,” he said. “They clearly did not have anyone’s spiritual welfare in mind when they were murdering Jews, so why did we feel it was necessary and humane to provide them with chaplains to see to their spiritual comfort?”

Read more.


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Rod Gillis

oops, forgot to include the link in previous post, note, site is slow to load, its a local paper.

Rod Gillis

Interesting item. There were a lot of moral ambiguities in WW2, more than people realized. The latest Brad Pitt movie explores that theme. On the other end of the continuum is Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the German plot to assassinate Hitler.

My first ecumenical clergy gathering in Nova Scotia had two Lutheran pastors, both retired at the time, one of whom had been a U.S. Army padre and had been at the Battle of the Bulge, the other, a naturalized Canadian, had been in the Wehrmacht.

Slightly off topic, earlier war, different times still, but in a kind of reversal of roles ( The U.S, entered late and a lot of Americans joined Commonwealth Forces to get in the war early, they have a monument at Arlington) its about a Maritimer who died while serving overseas in the Maine National Guard. My grand uncle worked in New England, and ended up serving in the Army of the United States during WWI. He died shortly after being repatriated. A one man detail accompanied his body back to Canada for burial.

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