Guilt and Resistance

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The Ruhr Newspaper published A Message to the German People by Franz Werfel on May 19, 1945. In it, the in German-Bohemian author who had emigrated to the USA wrote, Will Germany save its soul? The basic conditions for the salvation of its soul are objective acknowledgement of events and subjective acknowledgement of its guilt. It remains a fact, Werfel continued, that, apart from Pastor Niemöller, not a single man who heeded God more than the Gestapo became visible in your midst.

A few days later, Johannes Koch sent a letter to Werfel through the Ruhr Newspaper’s editorial department. Although he also offered exculpatory and relativizing arguments in it, he ultimately clearly admitted the German’s specific guilt. At the same time however, he also pointed out Christian resistance by the Word, which could not to be reduced to Martin Niemöller alone. Whether the letter reached Werfel is uncertain since the author died on August 26, 1945 in Beverly Hills.

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  • © Udo Koch-Mehrin

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