The “Sportpalast Scandal”

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On November 13, 1933, the “German Christians” held a major rally in Berlin’s Sportpalast, which went down in the history of the church as the “Sportpalast scandal”.

The cause was a speech delivered by one of their leading representatives, which unleashed a storm of outrage in the Protestant churches and press. Before over 20,000 listeners, Reinhold Krause, the German Christians’ “Gau-Obmann” for greater Berlin, demanded liberation from the Old Testament with its Jewish morality of wages, from its stories of livestock dealers and pimps. He called for abandoning Rabbi Paul’s entire theology of scapegoats and inferiority and advocated preaching a heroic Jesus. A resolution to this effect was subsequently approved by the assembly with only one (!) dissenting vote.

This incident opened many Protestants’ eyes about the German Christians. From that time onward, the group lost a share of its members as well as power. Nonetheless, many of the German Christians were able to retain their positions in elected church committees until the end of the war. The “Sportpalast scandal” stepped up the formation of church opposition among Protestants.

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  • © Bildarchiv Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Bildnummer 30013749

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