In 2005, leaders of the Adventist Church in Germany and Austria issued a formal apology for “participation in or support of Nazi activities during the war”.
“We deeply regret that the character of National Socialist dictatorship had not been realized in time and distinctly enough, and the ungodly nature of [Nazi] ideology had not clearly been identified,” the statement, as translated from German, reads. The church says it also regrets “that in some of our publications ... there were found articles glorifying Adolf Hitler and agreeing with the ideology of anti-Semitism in a way that is unbelievable from today’s [perspective].”
German, Austrian Churches Apologize for Holocaust Actions
It is with sadness that I read this history. I have no doubt that many of our Adventist brothers and sisters in the German church were appalled at what was happening to their country and to their Jewish neighbors. As the iron grip of Nazi rule tightened, I am sure there was fear among all of them. It would have taken extreme courage to speak out at that time. However, there was a time when it would have been possible to stand up and be counted— to oppose the evil that was growing in their midst. This is a lesson from history that we all can learn from. Would history have been different if a courageous few had stood up and condemned the hate speech— before it became hate deeds? Would the moral courage of a few have inspired more to speak out?