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Nazi Aim: End Christianity

"When people think about the Holocaust, they think about the crimes against Jews, but here's a different perspective," said Julie Seltzer Mandel, editor of the Nuremberg Project for the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion. "They wanted to eliminate the Jews altogether, but they were also looking to eliminate Christianity."

Fragile, typewritten documents from the 1940s lay out the Nazi plan in grim detail: Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail, or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith—in Germany's Third Reich.

Says Mandel, "The best evidence of an anti-church plan is the systematic nature of the persecution itself. Different steps in that persecution, such as the campaign for the suppression of denominational and youth organizations, the campaign against denominational schools, and the defamation campaign against the clergy were supported by the entire regimented press, by Nazi Party meetings, and by traveling party speakers."

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