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Over half a century ago Hitler perpetrated the greatest act of genocide in human history. For over half a century a mountain of misinformation has been generated in an effort, it is claimed, to elucidate the motive behind Hitler's act. Some would have it that he was a madman; others a racist. A (purportedly) atheist website argues, in essence, that evil has been undertaken by atheists as well as theists on behalf of their "beliefs" and that Hitler's genocide should be analysed outside his religious beliefs. This last argument is bogus.

Every one who has ever fought a war has either believed in some god, or a higher ideal (Nirvana maybe?) or even nothing at all (rare) - but that does not automatically make the religion or philosophy the motivating factor necessary in conducting war. The pursuit of war as an act fulfilling a religious duty arose in Judaism*[footnote"a"], and it is this that has become the heritage of Christianity.

Whether people outside these faiths called on their god/gods in support when fighting wars does not mean that the war itself was conducted in pursuing a religious ideal that had been demanded by the religion. Ancient Greek states worshipped the same pantheon, yet still warred with one-another. Additionally, when people of one religion conquered people of another, for instance in the conquest of the Persian empire by Alexander, it did not result in an attempt to alter the religion of the peoples conquered, or the demolitions of their temples and replacement of their pantheon. Indeed, central to pre-Zoroastrian*[footnote"b"]/Judaic/Christian and Islamic religions was their syncretism which meant that they acknowledged "god" known by whatever name by another people to be one and the same god they themselves worshipped. God, like a colour, is known by different names/words in different languages, but it always remains the same colour.

Although I attribute the introduction of intolerance to Judaism, I am wrong to do so. It was the Assyrians who first introduced the concept of intolerance which is achieved by conquest which had the aim of imposing on the vanquished a specific religion. They conquered to impose Assur-worship. When a province rebelled they considered it an act of sacrilege, and annihilated the people for the "sin" of overthrowing true belief in god (Assur). This is evident in the inscriptions left by the Assyrians. These are translated in Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylon by Daniel David Luckenbill ISBN: 185417049X

In Assyrian inscriptions the god Assur appear as "Assara Mazas". At least French translations retain the epithet "mazas" whereas English translations do not.
Assara Mazas is the god the Persians came to call Ahura Mazda, and is the basis for the Jewish YHWH, hence the many shared aspects of both faiths. The destruction of the temples of other gods by the Assyrians was intended to achieve pure belief in god (Assur) and was the raison d'etre of Assyria. The demands for the demolition of temples and idols to other gods which appears in the Old Testament is derived from Assyrian practise.


In the original incarnation of this essay, I had proffered the Persians as a model of religious tolerance. This, is absolutely not the case. The oft-cited Persian tolerance of foreign religions is solely derived from the Jewish tradition. It was the Persians who permitted the Jews to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem which had been destroyed by the Babylonians. As a consequence, the Persians came to be held in high regard by the Jews liberated from their bondage, and Persian customs permeated the Hebraic mythography:
"In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfil the word of YHWH spoken by Jeremiah, YHWH moved the heart of make a proclamation throughout his realm...: 'This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: 'YHWH, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and has appointed me to build a temple at Jerusalem in Judah. Any one of his people among you - may YHWH his God be with him..." 2 Chronicles 36.22-23
The Persian Mazda came to be conflated with the Jewish YHWH.

The true manifestation of the Persian's attitude to non-Zoroastrian faiths should be seen in the context of their actions in the Greek world. When the Persian forces commenced on their attempted annexation of mainland Greece they set siege to Eretria. Eretria was divided on the question of Persian rule, indeed, there was a pro-Persian lobby. The town fell to the Persians. 

"Instead of trying to reach an understanding with the pro-Persian element, he [the Persian general] burnt the temples, destroyed the town, and sent all its inhabitants as slaves to Susa." p. 151 Iran Girshman. 

Later, when the Persians took Athens it was the temple of the goddess Athena which they burnt down. This action is entirely consistent with the principles of the Zoroastrian religion which has it that it is the duty of every man to fight against heresy and fight for Mazda and his creation. Zoroastrians believe that existence is a battle between a good creation and an evil counter-creation and that creatures such as snakes and scorpions are a manifestation of the counter creation. Thus Zoroastrians actively pursued and killed these creatures. It is important to note that the targeting of the temple of Athena was no mere accident, nor was it, as the Persians later claimed, a desire to see the gods liberated from their imprisonment within temples: 

"The Athenians say that a large snake, the guardian of the Acropolis, lives in the sanctuary [Temple of Athena]. This is not just something they talk about; they also act on it, by serving the snake a monthly quota of food..." Herodotus, The Histories Book 8 .41 Translation by Robin Waterfield, OUP. Isbn: 0192824252 

Not surprisingly, the Zoroastrian duty to fight any and all manifestations of the counter creation culminated in the burning of the temple of Athena as an act of religious piety. Zoroastrian intolerance was most forcibly pursued by the later Persian dynasty, the Sasanids. The best known examples of Zoroastrian intolerance are found in the Sassanid inscriptions of Kardir, and the histories of the Armenian's whose sufferring from Zoroastrian persecution is recorded in the History of Vardan. This pursuit of intolerance has come to be the raison d'être of Islam. 

And, even after the adoption of Christianity by European states, when 2 different european states, both Christian, take up arms against one-another, although they call to the same god for support, that does not make even that war a religious war. Conversely, although professing atheism, Stalin's mass-murders have to be seen in the context of the political structures set up by his predecessors: Russian Orthodox Christians. Stalin was a butcher because he was; the crimes he committed as a "communist" were not much greater and no different from the crimes committed by his Orthodox Christian predecessors. However, this never made these crimes either "Christian" or "atheist". Saddam Hussein, another example of evil had over 300 thousand people executed, however, though he was of Muslim background, his crimes weren't perpetrated on behalf of that religion. Yet it is cases like Stalin's and Saddam Hussein's which are employed to deflect criticism of religion forming the basis of Hitler's genocide.

Hitler exterminated, or attempted to, an entire people of a religious faith because of his religion: Christianity.

During the reign of Constantine in the Fourth century AD the Roman Empire adopted Christianity. Constantine himself converted to Christianity only on his deathbed in 337. But it was during the reign of emperor Theodosius (reigned 378-395) that the dismemberment of classical pre-Christian civilization commenced. In 385 Theodosius closed down the oracle at Delphi. The Serapeum in Egypt was closed down, and in 388 a Christian community burned down a Jewish Synagogue. It is this date, 388 AD, which is important: for although it was initially ordered by Theodosius that the Synagogue be rebuilt (consistent with Roman Imperial policy of not giving privilege to one religion over another)  the Bishop of Milan, Ambrose, opposed its rebuilding. Religious tolerance was over. Since then, an entire, though fantastic, mythology has been woven to explain "Christian Intolerance" as a manifestation that it is claimed erupted ex nihilo , in which it is now claimed is unsupported by the "holy" literature (which, as it is claimed, is written by god who is perfect and therefore good and who cannot have ordered anything evil).

For both Christians and Jews this mythology tends to mean that they both deny the source of the problem: the Bible. The crucial elements of this policy are in the Old Testament, which, contrary to the fantasy of some Christians, was what their religious figure, Jesus, came to fulfil, rather than supersede:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” Matthew 5.17

The denial of the Bible being the source of intolerance has led to some extraordinary hypotheses being posited to explain Hitler's genocide. It has been easier to blame a German character flaw, or the character of Hitler, as the causal agent, rather than admit that this act of evil was perpetrated in executing the commands of the Bible. The old testament however is a call for religious intolerance; a call to maintain racial purity; a call to maintain both religious and racial purity by genocide.  According to the Bible we humans are created in the image of God:

"So God created man in his own image... male and female he created them." Genesis. 1.27;

but one "race" of human is itself a "holy race". This holy race is ordered to maintain its racial purity and exterminate those not of the race in the lands inhabited:

"When YHWH your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess... and has delivered them [the peoples of those lands] over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them and show them no mercy. Do not intermarry with them.... Break down their alters, smash their sacred stones... For you are the people holy to YHWH your God. YHWH your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession." Deuteronomy 7.1-6

“Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth has chosen you to be his treasured possession.”  Deuteronomy 14.2

If, in a town people are proven to have worshipped other gods, " must certainly put to the sword all who live in that town. Destroy them completely, both its people and its livestock." Deuteronomy 13.12-15

“...if you turn away [from god’s directives] and ally yourselves with the survivors of these nations that remain among you and if you intermarry with them and associate with them, then you may be sure that YHWH your God will no longer drive out these nations before you.” Joshua 23.12-13

According to the old testament it is a crime to dilute the holy race by intermarriage or worshipping the god(s) of others, punishable by god.

“The people of Israel , including the priests.... have not kept themselves separate from the neighbouring people... They have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and their sons, and have mingled the holy race with the peoples around them.” Ezra 9.1-2 (and, in Ezra 10.18-44  a list is compiled of all the families who committed the “sin” of diluting the holy race so that they may be shamed for their "crime" for posterity.)

HItler made it explicitly clear that his racial beliefs were based on the idea that man was created in the image of god, and it was this divine image he maintained that was being desecrated contrary to the edicts of the Bible:

"...there is only one holiest human right... the holiest obligation... to see to it that the blood is preserved pure... by raising marriage from the level of a continuous defilement of the race, and give it the consecration of an institution which is called upon to produce images of the Lord and not monstrosities halfway between man and ape..." pp. 365-366 Mein Kampf

"...the admonition to put an end to the constant and continuous original sin of
racial poisoning, and to give the Almighty Creator beings such as He Himself
Created [is the goal]." p. 369 Mein Kampf

Hitler even acknowledged that the basis of his own intolerance was Judaic:

"Christianity ... was absolutely forced to undertake the destruction
of heathen altars. Only from this fanatical intolerance could its apodictic faith take form...
The objection may very well be raised that such phenomena in world
history arise from the most part from specifically Jewish modes of thought, in
fact , that this type of intolerance and fanaticism positively embodies the
Jewish nature... we may deeply regret this fact and establish with justifiable
loathing that its appearance in the history of mankind is something that was
previously alien to history..." Mein Kampf pp. 412-413

What Hitler wrote in this passage is that although Jewish in origin, Christian intolerance is a cause that the Germans must now take up, and that intolerance is a holy duty. What he is referring to is: Ezra 9.1-2; Ezra 10; and the means by which this can be accomplished is slaughter: eg Deuteronomy 20.14-18.

However, it remains to be explained why the Christian Germans came to see themselves as replacing the Jews as the "holy race". The answer can be found in Ecclesiasticus, from the Apocrypha. Ecclesiasticus purports to explain how one people might one day replace another as god's chosen "holy race":

10:8. "A kingdom is translated from one people to another, because of injustices, and wrongs, and injuries, and deceits."
( full text can be found on-line: )

This meant for Christians that they and not the Jews were now the holy people. Hitler's was not a new idea. With Christians believing that they had replaced the Jews as the "holy race" the Old Testament edicts demanding complete intolerance of those who worship other gods could now be enforced against Jews. Persecution of Jews has been a manifestation of Christianity throughout its existence and is based on the belief that Christians were now god's chosen people. Hitler was not an aberration of European Christian sentiment, but a shameful European Christian continuation of past European Christian intolerance. Accordinly Hitler wrote in the Mein Kampf:

"...I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord." Mein Kampf p.60

But why the specific belief that the "northern races", as defined by Hitler, were the "holy race" over and above other Christians? There are 2 main reasons: 

1/ Charles Darwin proposed a theory to explain why and how evolution occurred which was then used in other fields. (It is misguided to think that the idea Darwin posited was a theory proposing evolution - his theory was an attempt to explain the mechanics of how evolution occurred). One such field was social Darwinism which proposed that certain human groups were in a position of power and dominance because of their superior civilization and that this had predisposed them to rule over those less adept. And, at that stage of European history, the north of Europe was technologically more advanced that other parts of the world. Hitler and the Nazis then used these ideas to provide a "scientific" backing for the Biblical demands that the race remain pure;

2/ The Aeneid. Virgil wrote his propaganda piece the Aeneid for Augustus. In this faux epic poem Virgil proclaimed that the Romans were a Holy race descended from the "Holy" Trojan Aeneas; that they were destined to rule the world; and that the Greeks had dispossessed them of their heritage. The Aeneid is a book (virtually) unknown in eastern Europe which survived solely in the Latin west. Eventually every western (northern) European was to claim a "Trojan" heritage. In Fredegar's Gesta regum Francorum the theory of the descent from Troy of the German tribe the Franks is presented, for the first time. The empire of the Franks included both the modern states of Germany and France, and by extension, when the Normans took over from the Franks in France they too "became" Trojans. Then Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia Regum Britanniae traced the kings of Britain to a supposed descendant of Aeneas called Brutus. Eventually even the Vikings, once they became incorporated into the fabric of western Latin Christian civilization, became Trojans too. Snorri compiled the Prose Edda which was a collection and explanation of, Viking mythology which was presented by Snorri as part of the fabric of the continuum of the consequences of the Trojan war. According to Snorri, the Norse Tyrkland was the land of Troy, the Aesir (giant/gods) were from Asia, and the Vikings now became part of the Trojan mythology that had first appeared as Roman propaganda on behalf of the family of the Julii by Virgil. This has meant that the Franks and then the Normans were at war with the "deceiving Greeks" (as described in the Aeneid) who now happened to rule at Byzantium. This culminated in 1204 when these backward western Latin Christians believing themselves to be Trojans sacked Byzantium in the Fourth Crusade. Additionally, the Rus, who had been converted to Christianity by the Greeks were considered by the Latinised Germans of the west to be part of that same Trojan tale (unbeknownst to the bewildered Rus) and were associated with the Greeks by the Germans. As a consequence they bore the brunt of the Northern Crusades. For around 300 years the Order of Teutonic Knights fought a perpetual war against Russian Orthodox Christians because they believed that Germans, as Holy Trojans, were fighting those who were continuing the traditions of the  "unholy" Greeks! The idea of the "sacredness" of the northern races is a direct result of Virgil's propaganda and the identification of all German tribes as descendants of "Holy" Aeneas.

Additional arguments that claim Hitler's genocide to have been irreligious posit an antipathy between Hitler and the Catholic Church. Antipathy of the Germany state and Catholicism predated Hitler. It was a reaction by the Germany state to the Vatican's 1870 announcement of Papal infallibility. However this did not ever mean that Hitler was antithetic to Christianity, even if he may not have been too fond of Catholicism. Indeed in the Mein Kampf Hitler makes it plain that he felt that he, as a secularist Christian leader, could probably best fulfil the edicts of Christianity as he considered himself outside denominational differences which he felt stymied a common Christian ideal. He was a Christian before he was a Protestant or Catholic Christian. Hitler's criticisms are actually against the Church ruling the state - his position was that a secular Christian ruler should take up the responsibility.

"...religious life for many had an unpleasant aftertaste, this could be attributed to the abuse of Christianity on the part of a so-called 'Christian' party and the shameless way in which they attempted to identify the Catholic faith with a political party. This false association was a calamity ... The consequence, however, had to be borne by the whole nation since the outcome of the resultant slackening of religious life occurred when everyone ws beginning to waver and vacillate anyway, and the traditional foundations of ethics and morality were threatening to collapse." Mein Kampf p. 244

Hitler's intention was thus to restore religion, morality and ethics that have gone missing(!) His intention was the restoration of what he thought was Christianity's greatest attribute:

"The greatness of Christianity did not lie on attempted negotiations for compromise... but in its inexorable fanaticism in preaching and fighting its own doctrine." Mein Kampf p.318

Thus, according to Hitler, it was the religious duty of all German Christians to preserve the purity of their race, regardless of denomination:

"[each] man... has the sacred duty, each in his own denomination, of making people stop just talking superficially
of God's will and not let God's word be desecrated. For God's will gave men their form, their essence and their
abilities. Anyone who destroys His work is declaring war on the Lord's creation. the divine will."
Mein Kampf p. 512

Not only was Hitler intent on restoring Christian "virtues", he intended on completing the Crusades of the Catholic church, namely those undertaken on behalf of Rome by the Teutonic knights which were ceased 600 years earlier:

"We take up where we broke off six hundred years ago..." Mein Kampf p.598

Hitler's war was a CRUSADE. The claims made that Hitler's actions were "atheistic" are a pure fantasy!

The indefensible Pope? In the earlier incarnation of this essay, before I edited this section on 28/6/2009, I claimed that the Papacy said and did nothing to stop Hitler's genocide and was therefroe complicit. However, that calim is wrong. [NOTE below]:
NOTE: Since I first wrote this, what I had stated with regards to a claim of implied Papal complicity with Hitler's campaign to exterminate Jews, has come to be shown to be wrong.

There are some very compelling reasons which show that the Pope (Pius xii) actually sheltered Italian Jews. This position is summarised in a recent book which is reviewed in the Australian magazine Quadrant, from which to quote:

"the Pope never met Hitler, and when Hitler visited Rome in 1938, Pius very publicly snubbed the Nazis by leaving for Castel Gandolfo.
Rabbi Dalin has collected many eyewitness accounts of how Pope Pius XII and the Vatican were directly responsible for sheltering thousands of Jews in the Vatican and in church properties in and about Rome, as well as 3000 in Castel Gandolfo. As a result about 85 per cent of Rome’s Jews were saved from deportation and murder. This was despite the fact that Rome was first under the Italian Fascist regime, and then Nazi military occupation, making the Pope in the Vatican a virtual prisoner (though some of the German officers appear to have given clandestine help and warnings). In the case of Slovakia alone, the Pope’s moral pressure on the government was, according to the French Jewish scholar Leon Poliakov, directly instrumental in saving about 20,000 Slovakian Jews.
" The article online "The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews from the Nazis, by Rabbi David G. Dalin"
The article is written by Hal G.P. Colebatch LINK TO THE ENTIRE ARTICLE ON QUADRANT .

The western Christian attitude to Jews however had already been established by the 13th century AD. In Catholic Europe, "...Jews were castigated as a 'depraved and perverse race'. It was this later medieval attitude, together with a mass of vindictive sermonizing against the 'damned race', that was bequeathed to later generations. Pope John 23 has only recently, at Easter 1958, ordered the deletion of the old references to the 'perfidious' Jews from the prayers for Good Friday." p. 115, THE MEDIEVAL WORLD Europe from 1100-1350, by Friedrich Heer, ISBN 0 297 82014 1.

 "Secular" western European civilization (of which the United States is a part) propound an idea of "human rights" which are often (if not universally) attributed to their "Judeo-Christian" civilization. This is not so and has never been so. The rights and ethical beliefs of modern European civilization are not part of any Christian tradition. Hitler instead embodied Christian ideals; he says so himslef and the Bible corroborates his claim. To grasp where these ideals of modern European civilization originate, the interested reader should read Plato and Aristotle (Plato's Phaedo[Phaedo@Amazon] and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics).

© demetrios vakras