European Mennonites and the Holocaust

Edited by Mark Jantzen and John D. Thiesen

© 2020

Mennonites in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine lived in communities with Jews and close to various Nazi camps and Holocaust killing sites. As a result of this proximity, Mennonites were neighbours to and witnessed the destruction of European Jews. In some cases they were beneficiaries or even enablers of the Holocaust. Much of this history was forgotten after the war, as Mennonites sought to rebuild or find new homes as refugees. The result was a myth of Mennonite innocence and ignorance that connected their own suffering during the 1930s and 1940s with earlier centuries of persecution and marginalization.

European Mennonites and the Holocaust identifies a significant number of Mennonite perpetrators, along with a smaller number of Mennonites who helped Jews survive, examining the context in which they acted. In some cases, theology led them to accept or reject Nazi ideals. In others, Mennonites chose a closer embrace of German identity as a strategy to improve their standing with Germans or for material benefit.

A powerful and unflinching examination of a difficult history, European Mennonites and the Holocaust uncovers a more complete picture of Mennonite life in these years, underscoring actions that were not always innocent.

Published by the University of Toronto Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

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Product Details

  • Series: Transnational Mennonite Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 352 pages
  • Illustrations: 7
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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  • AVAILABLE DEC 2020

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    ISBN 9781487525545
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    ISBN 9781487507954
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Quick Overview

European Mennonites and the Holocaust is one of the first books to examine Mennonite involvement in the Holocaust, sometimes as rescuers but more often as killers, accomplices, beneficiaries, and bystanders.

European Mennonites and the Holocaust

Edited by Mark Jantzen and John D. Thiesen

© 2020

Mennonites in the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, and Ukraine lived in communities with Jews and close to various Nazi camps and Holocaust killing sites. As a result of this proximity, Mennonites were neighbours to and witnessed the destruction of European Jews. In some cases they were beneficiaries or even enablers of the Holocaust. Much of this history was forgotten after the war, as Mennonites sought to rebuild or find new homes as refugees. The result was a myth of Mennonite innocence and ignorance that connected their own suffering during the 1930s and 1940s with earlier centuries of persecution and marginalization.

European Mennonites and the Holocaust identifies a significant number of Mennonite perpetrators, along with a smaller number of Mennonites who helped Jews survive, examining the context in which they acted. In some cases, theology led them to accept or reject Nazi ideals. In others, Mennonites chose a closer embrace of German identity as a strategy to improve their standing with Germans or for material benefit.

A powerful and unflinching examination of a difficult history, European Mennonites and the Holocaust uncovers a more complete picture of Mennonite life in these years, underscoring actions that were not always innocent.

Published by the University of Toronto Press in association with the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Transnational Mennonite Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 352 pages
  • Illustrations: 7
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    Mark Jantzen is a professor of History and Chair of the Department of History and Conflict Studies at Bethel College.


    John D. Thiesen is an archivist and co-director of libraries at Bethel College.
  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgments

    Introduction
    Doris L. Bergen, Mark Jantzen, and John D. Thiesen 

    1. Mennonites, War Crimes, and the Holocaust
    Gerhard Rempel

    2. Freedom for “Every Honest Christian”: German Mennonites, Denominationalism, and Nazi Germany
    James Lichti

    3. Anti-Semitism and the Concept of “Volk”: The Mennonite Youth Circular Community at the Beginning of the Nazi Dictatorship
    Imanuel Baumann

    4. German Mennonite Theology in the Era of National Socialism
    Arnold Neufeld-Fast

    5. Dutch Mennonite Theologians and Nazism
    Pieter Post

    6. Mennonite Collaboration with Nazism: A Case Study of the Responses of Mennonites in Deutsch Wymyschle, Poland to the Plight of Local Jews during the early Nazi Occupation Period, 1939–1942
    Colin Neufeldt

    7. Mennonites in Ukraine before, during, and Immediately after the Second World War
    Dmytro Myeshkov

    8. Khortytsya/Zaporizhzhia under Occupation: A Portrait
    Aileen Friesen

    9. Dutch Mennonites and Yad Vashem Recognition
    Alle Hoekema

    10. Identity and Survival: The Post-World War II Immigration of Chortitza Mennonites
    Erika Weidemann

    11. A Usable Past: Soviet Mennonite Memories of the Holocaust
    Hans Werner

    12. Selective Memory: Danziger Mennonite Reflections on the Nazi Era, 1945–1950
    Steve Schroeder

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