“In Sharpest Contradiction to the Word of God”

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Theophil Wurm, Bishop of the Württemberg Regional Church, appealed to Hitler in a powerful letter of July of 1943 to put a stop to the extermination measures, which were in sharpest contradiction to God’s commandment since they violated the foundation of all Western thought and life. The state must give all human beings treatment in keeping with the principles of law and justice, regardless of nationality or religion. Wurm formulated his appeal in the name of God and for the sake of the German nation.

Wurm chose the private channel, petitioning, because he was bound to the Lutheran tradition and considered the church’s function to be that of an “office of a guardian” over the state. A public statement was therefore out of the question for Wurm since it would appear disloyal to the authorities instituted by God and could even be used by the Allies against Germany during the course of the war.

Some of Wurm’s petitions to government authorities were publicized abroad, nonetheless. In part, they were printed in newspapers, in part – just like the aforementioned letter to Hitler– they were broadcast by Radio London. Nazi leaders did not reply to Wurm’s letters.

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  • © Landeskirchliches Archiv Stuttgart, D1/109

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