Christian Martyrdom and Nazi Persecution

The *Time* magazine article, “The German Martyrs,” is the most powerful essay I have ever read in any major magazine. Originally published on December 23, 1940, the article details the life/death struggles of Roman Catholic and Protestant churches under Adolf Hitler. I have read much on the subject of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church. I even wrote a long essay on the subject in Seminary. However, I found this essay, written at the actual time this terrible persecution was taking place, to be as moving and gripping as anything that I had studied previously. Please pray as you read. Pray that the Christian Church in the 21st century will never sacrifice its Biblical and historic convictions over a personality–a very dynamic personality.

Not you, Herr Hitler, but God is my Führer. These defiant words of Pastor Martin Niemoller were echoed by millions of Germans. And Hitler raged: “It is Niemoller or I.”

So this second Christmas of Hitler’s war finds Niemoller and upwards of 200,000 other Christians (some estimates run as high as 800,000) behind the barbed wire of the frozen Nazi concentration camps. Here men bear mute witness that the Christ—whose birth the outside world celebrates unthinkingly at Christmas—can still inspire a living faith for which men and women even now endure imprisonment, torture and death as bravely as in centuries past.

Read the entire essay.

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