Luther - the Source of Anti-Semitism in Germany

Luther´s Contribution to German History

Luther´s Contribution to German History

The collaboration between the government and the state church is nothing new. German history proves that well-known statesmen put Luther’s hate propaganda into practice. Their quotations agree with Luther’s way of thinking and comments with incredible accuracy.

Here are some examples:

Friedrich II., also known as Friedrich the Great or 'The Old Fritz', said the following:

The Jews are the most dangerous of all sects and one must prevent their number from growing.

Der Spiegel, 45/2011, S. 83.

By that, Friedrich II. established the age-long German tradition of inquisitorial persecution of so-called sects, which lasts even until today. But we will go into that later.

Otto von Bismarck said the following:

I do not allow the Jews to dominate the press, to obtain political key positions or to take an office of authority.

Scheidl, Franz J. (1967): Deutschland und die Juden in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Wien: Dr. Scheidl-Verlag. Siehe auch: (eingesehen am 01.05.2012).

The resigned German Emperor Wilhelm II. of Prussia wrote

from his exile in August 1919 […] to the General of Mackensen, that the Germans had been ensnared and driven by «the tribe of Judah, which they hated … No German shall ever forget that nor rest until those parasites have been eliminated and exterminated from German soil! This poisonous mushroom on the German oak.» He continued writing to the General, «Jews and mosquitos are a plague», of which mankind should free itself «in one way or another». […] He suggested [the method] of [eliminating the Jews]: «I think the best thing would be gas».

William, Collin (1994): "Das beste wäre Gas", wetterte der Kaiser. Berliner Zeitung. Siehe auch:,10810590,8882190.html (eingesehen am 01.05.2012).

Luther’s way of thinking began to slowly penetrate German society and culture.

Martin Luther, Richard Wagner and Adolf Hitler:
Preacher, Artist and Executor – how Right-Wing Extremist is Bayreuth?

Historical occasions are culminating in the city of Bayreuth. It all starts in 1872, when composer Richard Wagner settles in Bayreuth.

In 1850, Richard Wagner publishes his writing "Judaism in Music". To add authority to his words, the writing was published again in 1869.

Richard Wagner says:

I cannot judge whether the downfall of our culture may be halted through the violent ejection of the destructive and foreign element [He means the Jews and everything Jewish], because powers would be needed for that, of which I don’t know if they exist.

Wagner, Richard (1869): Das Judentum in der Musik. Leipzig: J.J. Weber – Verlag. Siehe auch: (eingesehen am: 01.05.2012)

The desire for a political force becomes evident in Richard Wagner’s words. He wants to have an executor who would take action against the Jews. Wagner closes by directly threatening the Jews with a terrible end:

Consider that only one thing can be your salvation from the curse which is upon you: the salvation of Ahasvers, - the extinction!


Richard Wagner´s wish came true.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain, son-in-law of Cosima Wagner, became the pathfinder for the executor that Wagner was longing for. When he settled in the Wagner residence, he significantly helped connecting Luther’s anti-Semitism with Wagners music. Hitler could count on the Wagners’ support because of his personal relationship with the Wagner family.

Goebbels admired Chamberlain as ...

«father of our spirit», […] «pioneer» [and] «pathfinder».

Chamberlain, Houston Steward (1899): Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts. München: F. Bruckmann AG. See also: (eingesehen am 01.05.2012)

The anti-Semite Chamberlain said the following about the Jews:

Not only the Jew, but everything that comes from the Jewish spirit, gnaws away and corrupts the best which is in us.

Houston Stewart Chamberlain: Die Grundlagen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts Kapitel 9B6, Weltanschauung und Religion, page 1023—1128; more: (eingesehen am 01.05.2012)

Hitler names the source of his ideology in 1923:

Luther was a great man, a giant. With force he broke through the dawn; he saw the Jew as we only now begin to see him.

Adolf Hitler, about Martin Luther in: Zwiegespräche zwischen Adolf Hitler und mir, von Dietrich Eckart, München 1924; S. 34; more: (eingesehen am 01.05.2012)

Hitler told the Catholic bishop Wilhelm Berning in 1936:

I only do what the church has already been doing for fifteen hundred years, however more thoroughly.

Adolf Hitler in "Mein Kampf"; see also (eingesehen am 01.05.2012)

Luther and the Crystal Night (Kristallnacht)

In the night of the 9th November of 1938, Luther’s prophesy began to come true. The terror against the Jews reached its first peak in Nazi-Germany. The so-called Kristallnacht was devoted to the honored reformer as a birthday present. Luther’s hatred tirades against the Jews were put into practice:

  • In assaults at least 91 Jews were beaten and killed in the streets
  • Another 30.000 Jews were deported and imprisoned in concentration camps
  • Jewish houses, hospitals and schools were plundered and destroyed with sledge hammers by the Nazis
  • More than 1.000 synagogues were burned
  • More than 7.000 Jewish stores were destroyed or damaged

The Synagogues Burn in Germany on Luther´s Birthday

When the synagogues were burned to the ground, the Protestant-Lutheran church published a new edition of Luther’s inflammatory pamphlet "On the Jews and their lies". The preface was written by the Protestant regional bishop Martin Sasse.

He triumphs with the following words:

On Luther´s birthday on the 10th of November 1938, the synagogues are burning in Germany. [...] In this hour the voice of the man who was a prophet in the 16th century, must be heard. It was ignorance that first made him to be a friend of the Jews, but driven by his conscience, by his experiences, and by the reality, he became the greatest anti-Semite of his time – the one who warned his people of the Jews.Am 10. November 1938, an Luthers Geburtstag, brennen in Deutschland die Synagogen.

23.11.1938 im Vorwort zur Neuauflage; Kirchliches Amtsblatt für Mecklenburg Nr. 17, Jahrgang 1938; Bekanntmachungen. 249 G. Nr. /24/II 5 h Ein Mahnwort zur Judenfrage

In the post-war years, a new image was urgently needed for the reformer. The anti-Semite Luther as church founder was not palatable anymore. The Protestant church altered his biography.

We get back to the questions our society is dealing with:

How could this happen? Why did we not take notice any earlier? Why could we not prevent this from happening?

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Berlin Concert Hall on Feb. 23rd, 2012

And let me add another question:

Why is our society blind in the right eye?

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Luther, the Source of Anti-Semitism in Germany as video

by Andreas and Vivian Fischer

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