Department ofHistory

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Martin Niemoeller and the German Church Struggle: A Second Look

A lecture by Hubert G. Locke

Monday, November 7th
7:00 p.m.
Pacific Lutheran University, Xavier Rm. 201

This lecture will focus on the question of Martin Niemoeller's response to the "Jewish question" in Nazi Germany. Niemoeller was an important leader of the Confessing Church, the group of Protestants who showed resistance to the Nazi ideology. They opposed the so-called "German Christians," a Protestant group that attempted to combine Christian faith with enthusiasm for Hitler, including the full package of Nazi antisemitism. Niemoeller was arrested by the Gestapo in 1937 and spent the rest of the Nazi era in prison. His persecution helped give the Confessing Church a postwar reputation as a resistance organization; however, recent research has shown that many members of the Confessing Church shared the basic antisemitic attitudes of the Nazi regime. This lecture will pursue the question of whether or not Niemoeller was able to break through those racist attitudes so common to his time and place.

HUBERT G. LOCKE: Dean Emeritus of the Daniel J Evans Graduate School of Public Affairs, University of Washington, he also served as the Marguirite Corbally Professor of Public Service at that institution. He served as Executive Director of the Citizens Committee for Equal Opportunity in Detroit (1962-65) and as Administrative Assistant to the Detroit Commissioner of Police (1965-67). He then held academic positions at Wayne State University and University of Nebraska at Omaha, before being named Professor of Public Affairs and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington in 1976. He became Vice Provost for Academic Affairs in 1977 and Dean of the Evans School in 1982. In 1970 Hubert Locke and Franklin Littell hosted the first Scholars Conference on Churches and the Holocaust, the oldest Holocaust conference still meeting annually in the United States. He has also written and edited books on this topic, including The German Church Struggle and the Holocaust (co-edited with Franklin Littell, 1974), The Church confronts the Nazis: Barmen Then and Now (1984), Learning from History: A Black Christian's Perspective on the Holocaust (2000), and Searching for God in God-forsaken Times and Places: Reflections on the Holocaust, Racism, and Death (2003).