European Mennonites and the Holocaust
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.
- Series: Transnational Mennonite Studies
- World Rights
- Page Count: 352 pages
- Illustrations: 7
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
Author InformationMark 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
Doris L. Bergen, Mark Jantzen, and John D. Thiesen
1. Mennonites, War Crimes, and the Holocaust
2. Freedom for “Every Honest Christian”: German Mennonites, Denominationalism, and Nazi Germany
3. Anti-Semitism and the Concept of “Volk”: The Mennonite Youth Circular Community at the Beginning of the Nazi Dictatorship
4. German Mennonite Theology in the Era of National Socialism
5. Dutch Mennonite Theologians and Nazism
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
7. Mennonites in Ukraine before, during, and Immediately after the Second World War
8. Khortytsya/Zaporizhzhia under Occupation: A Portrait
9. Dutch Mennonites and Yad Vashem Recognition
10. Identity and Survival: The Post-World War II Immigration of Chortitza Mennonites
11. A Usable Past: Soviet Mennonite Memories of the Holocaust
12. Selective Memory: Danziger Mennonite Reflections on the Nazi Era, 1945–1950
Subjects and Courses