The Holocaust was one of the wickedest acts of human history; a deliberate and systematic movement to eliminate the Jewish people. This DVD, organised in five chapters, seeks to explain its causes and spiritual significance. It portrays Hitler as one of the most significant antichrists in history and analyses why the German churches did not oppose the evil the Nazis committed. The mainstream Protestant Church was weakened by liberal theology, the Lutherans and Catholics were divided, and only some of the confessing Church, led by the likes of Barth, Bonhoeffer and Niemöller, opposed Hitler and suffered for it.
The son of a Nazi leader born after the war describes how mental illness and broken relationships affected him and other children of Nazi leaders. The final chapter asks why Germany today is so blessed with national unity and prosperity, and sees it as evidence of God’s grace. Konrad Adenauer is praised for starting to pay reparations to Israel, as are the churches that developed a culture of repentance in the late 1960s after 20 years of guilty silence.
The film poses searching questions about the significance of Hitler’s relationship with some Islamic leaders and asks whether the contemporary hatred of Jihadist fundamentalists towards Israel is motivated by the same evil that drove Hitler. Christians critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Christians may question some of the conclusions. Bible verses are frequently quoted, but scholars might question whether they are sometimes applied without reference to their original context.
This programme is well made but includes some harrowing scenes. Chapter 2, ‘The conflict of the two crosses’ may be of special interest to students of German Church history, but this is not popular entertainment material and will only appeal to mature and discerning viewers.
MARTYN EDEN is Premier’s political editor