Collaboration on the Memorandum to Hitler, 1936
Asmussen contributed significantly to the memorandum to Hitler, which was adopted by the “Second Provisional Church Government”. It was delivered to the Reich Chancellery in June of 1936. Theologians and jurists had been working intensively on their text since March of 1936, which underwent revisions and new drafts time and again.
The chief difficulty was protecting themselves under constitutional and church law from the charge of political interference. The legal reservations were grave. Yet, as Martin Greschat put it, Hans Asmussen got things back on track in a meeting on May 5, 1936: One could not rely on legal safeguards alone. The state changes the legal standpoint – then we are left stranded. The memorandum therefore had to take God’s commandment and its proclamation by the church as its point of departure. Thus, the church’s mission was made the priority and protest was based on pastors’ duty to demand observance of the commandments publicly.
The draft pictured here was discussed on May 14. Asmussen’s handwriting is clearly discernible in it. The beginning of the fifth section is a vivid example of the intended argumentation based on the commandments: Worship of God in keeping with the First Commandment demands a thorough rejection of Führer worship. Wherever one person’s insight is made the norm [...] and wherever one person is endowed with the religious rank of the people’s priest, indeed mediator, [...] is where man is put in God’s place.
This warning also entered into the final text intended for Hitler Text. All in all, Asmussen’s thrust prevailed. The memorandum systematically argued from a theological standpoint.
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- © Landeskirchliches Archiv Bielefeld, 5.1 88F1 46, 47