Did Adolf Hitler Say ‘Our Movement Is Christian’?

The quote in a viral meme with the Nazi leader's picture read: "We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian."

  • Published
According to a meme Adolf Hitler said the words we tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity and also said our movement is Christian all on October 27 1928 in Passau Germany.
Image via Twitter

Claim

In 1928, Adolf Hitler said: "We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian."

Rating

Correct Attribution
Correct Attribution
About this rating
Context

It's true that Hitler said this in 1928. The original quote was slightly longer than what has appeared in memes. At the same time, history showed that Hitler's National Socialist Movement later sought to destroy Christianity once in power. Citing evidence from the Nuremberg war-crime trials, The New York Times reported that, "the Nazis simply lied and made deals with the churches while planning a 'slow and cautious policy of gradual encroachment' to eliminate Christianity."

Origin

For years, a viral meme has been shared that features a picture of Adolf Hitler with a quote about Christianity. It read: “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian.”

The quote meme with Hitler‘s photograph has shown up in tweets from actor and comedian Ricky Gervais, on Reddit’s r/atheism subreddit, and in viral TikTok videos.

According to a meme Adolf Hitler said the words we tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity and also said our movement is Christian all on October 27 1928 in Passau Germany.
Source: Twitter

This quote about Christianity came from real remarks given in a speech by Hitler in the German city of Passau. The date in the meme, Oct. 27, 1928, is also accurate.

In 2003, author Richard Steigmann-Gall published the book, “The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945.” Hitler’s quote about Christianity appeared on page 60. The citation for the quote read: “BAZ NS 26/55 (27 October 1928: Passau).” “BAZ” stood for Bundesarchiv Berlin-Zehlendorf. This citation led us to a book of speeches titled, “Bundesarchiv Hauptarchiv der NSDAP,” which was digitized to the online portal for the Berlin Document Center.

We looked at the original documents from 1928 and transcribed the theme, introduction, and relevant portion of Hitler‘s speech that was given in Passau.

Theme

The theme for Hitler‘s speech that mentioned Christianity was described as follows, first in English and then in the original German version from the book. Translations to English were made possible with Google Translate:

English

Theme: Our destiny is called Germany

Content: Everywhere you look today you can see the longing for a new idea. The destiny of Germany, not the individual destiny, must be decisive for these. All Marxist errors must be overcome. Successful economic policy requires power politics. To do this, Germany needs a new courageous attitude. Only the thought of the leader personality can save Germany. The question of the form of government is not up for discussion; it is necessary that the principles of the state correspond to moral feeling. This works in the unselfishness of the movement: the individual gets nothing for his sacrifices, but the future gets life!

German

Thema: Unser Schicksal heisst Deutschland

Inhalt: Wohin man heute sieht, zeigt sich die Sehnsucht nach einer neuen Idee. Für diese muss bestümmend sein dad Schicksal Deutschlands’ nicht das einzelne Schicksal. Es müssen alle marxistischen Irrtümer überwunden werden. Eine erfolgreiche Wirtschaftspolitik bedingt Machtpolitik. Dazu braucht Deutschland eine neue mutige Gesinnung. Nur der Gedanke der Führerpersönlichkeit kann Deutschland retten. Die Frage der Staatsform steht garnicht zur Eröterung, notwendig ist, dass die Staatsgrundstätze dem sittlichen Gefühl entsprechen. Das wirkt in der Selbstlosigkeitder Bewegung: Der Einzelne bekommt nichts für sein Opfern, aber die Zukunft bekommt das Leben!

Introduction

The documents with the speech contained details that set the scene of what it was like on that October evening in Passau in 1928. The translation and original German version are both below:

English

From the outset, the large National Socialist mass meeting scheduled for 6:00 p.m. in the Schmeroldkellersaal (Passau) was characterized by an overwhelming rush of people, which the spatial conditions were far from able to cope with. Countless Hitlerites and interested parties had gathered from near and far, especially a large number from our sister country Austria. All Volks-u. Professions could be seen represented here. The well-manned orchestra, consisting exclusively of uniformed Hitlerites, knew how to fill the musical part of the evening in an excellent way. Everyone was finally waiting with great excitement for the eight o’clock strike since Hitler was to appear and take the floor about today’s great battle. Precisely eight o’clock Adolf Hitler entered the crowded hall, shouting “Heil” incessantly. The orchestra let out a dashing march. Subsequently, the local group leader of the N.S.D.A.P. Passau, Herr Eichmeister Fischer, officially the meeting, greeted those who appeared cordially, paying special attention to the Austrians. At 8:12 p.m. Hitler then took the floor…

German

Die auf heute abends 6 h im Schmeroldkellersaal (Passau) anberaumte grosse nationalsozialistische Massenversammlung stand von vornherein im Zeichen eines überwältigenden Menschenandrangs, dem die räumlichen Verhältnisse bei weitem nicht gerecht zu werden vermochten. Aus nah und fern hatten sich unzählige Hitleraner and Jnteressenten eingefunden, so insbesondere such eine stattliche Anzahl aus unserem Bruderlande Oesterreich. Alle Volks-u. Berufsstände konnte man hier vertreten sehen. Das ausschliesslich aus uniformierten Hitlerleuten bestehende gut besetzte Orchester verstand es wohl, den musikalischen Teil des Abends in vortrefflicher Weise auszufüllen. Allseits harrte man schliesslich mit grösseter Spannung des Achtuhrschlages, da Hitler erscheinen und das Wort zu seiner heutigen grossen Hede ergreifen sollte. Präzize acht Uhr betrat Adolf Hitler unter mächtigen immerwährenden “Heil” Rufen den dichtbesetzten Saal. Das Orchester liess einen schneidigen Marsch vernehmen. Anschlussweise eröffnete der Ortsgruppenführer der N.S.D.A.P. Passau, Herr Eichmeister Fischer, offiziell die Versammlung, begrüsste in herzlichen Erschienenen, wobei er der Oesterreicher besonders gedachte. Acht Uhr 12 ergriff dann Hitler das Wort, wobei er im wesentlichen folgendes ausführte…

Hitler’s Christianity Quote

The part of the speech that appeared in the meme occurred in the second half of the prepared remarks. Before mentioning Christianity, Hitler appeared to have made references to the purported dangers of open borders.

The meme said: “We tolerate no one in our ranks who attacks the ideas of Christianity. Our movement is Christian.” The actual quote, when translated with Google Translate, looked to be a bit longer. We bolded it below:

English

Through the limitless sense of sacrifice that already enthralls millions today, a sense of sacrifice that also reaches beyond the borders of the country. She has already driven a symbol beyond the marked German borders. It is the national color of the coming new generation. The bourgeoisie like it. Parties look beyond the border posts, the new Germany already sees the new form in front of it, which consistently overlooks this junk, a form that will create the prerequisites that are necessary on the outside. For us, Parliament is a fencing ground on which our world view is represented. In particular, we do not believe that Parliament will save Germany, that a German National Assembly could do that, rather that the idea of ​​a leader can one day save Germany! This movement has received an extraordinary degree of freedom of operation, which in the highest sense of the word allows everything to be put aside that could in any way divide the people.

We have different faiths in Germany, but we are one: which faith conquers the other, that is not the question, rather whether Christianity stands or falls, that is the question! Today we see before us the inheritance of the people, touching everything. There is no then into which any piece of his heaven is pointed. We will never allow a religious quarrel to arise in this movement, we say rather: the church may educate the parties to religious service, we educate them to fight and to preserve its world view and its foundations! We are convinced that when Christ descends on earth today, that he will not refuse blessings to those who strive to put Christianity into practice, to remove mutual self-help, class struggle, and status arrogance, we will strive, strive to make it clear to everyone that it’s a shame not wanting to see the need after we’re trying to suppress German culture being dragged down. We do not tolerate anyone in our ranks who offends the ideas of Christianity, who stands up to a dissident, fights him, or provokes himself as a hereditary enemy of Christianity. This movement of ours is actually Christian.

We are filled with the wish that Catholics and Protestants may find one another in the deep need of our own people. We will stop any attempt to bring religious thought up for discussion in any way within our movement. And when we fight the Center [Party], we don’t do it for religious reasons, but because it makes fun of the word “Christianity” and scorns it because it is willing to throw Christianity overboard for the ministerial chair. We are fighting the Center for national political reasons, not because it wants to be a Catholic party. Beware of those who walk in sheep’s clothing! We reserve the right not to degrade Christianity to political service.

German

Durch den grenzenlosen Opfersinn, der Millionen heute bereits beselt, ein Opfersinn, der hinausgreift auch über die Grenzen des Landes. Sie hat ein Symbol bereits hinausgetrieben über die abgesteckten deutschen Grenzen. Es ist die Staatsfarbe des kommenden neuen Geschlechts. Es mögen die bürgerl. Parteien über die Grenzpfähle sehen, das neue Deutschland sieht bereits die neue Form vor sich, das durchgehend hinwegsieht über diesen Plunder, iene Form die voraussetzungen schaffen wird, die nach aussen hin notwendig sind. Für uns ist das Parlament ein Fechtboden, auf dem unsere Weltanschuung vertreten wird. Namentlich glauben wir nicht, dass durch das Parlament Deutschland gerettet wird, dass eine deutsche Nationalversammlung das vermöchte, vielmehr, dass der Gedanke der Führerpersönlichkeit Deutschland eines Tages retten kann! Diese Bewegung hat eine ausserordentliche Operationsfreiheit beokmmen, die im höchsten Sinne des Wortes gestattet, alles zurückzustellen, was irgendwie trennen könnte im Volke.

Wir sind verschieden gläubig in Deutschland, sind aber eins: Welcher Glaube den anderen besiegt, das ist nicht die Frage, vielmehr, ob das Christentum steht oder fällt das ist die Frage! Wir sehen heute vor uns den Erbteil der Menschen, sehen ihn alles antasten. Es gibt kein damals, in das irgend ein Stück von seinem Himmels hineingerichtet wird. Wir werden niemals dulden, dass in dieser Bewegung ein religiöser Streit entsteht, wir sagen vielmehr: die Kirche möge die Parteien erziehen zum religiösen Dienst, wir erziehen sie zum Kampfe und zur Erhaltung seiner Weltanschauung und seiner Grundlagen! Wir sind überzeugt: wenn heute Christus auf Erden herunter kommt, dass er den Segen denen nicht verweigern wird, die sich bemühen, das Christentum praktisch anzuwenden, gegenseitige Selbsthilfe, Klassenkampf und Standesdünkel herauszunehemen, werden wir uns bemühen, bemühen, jedem klar zu machen, dass es eine Schande ist, die Not nicht sehen zu wollen, nachdem wir bemüht sind, zu ünterdrucken, dass deutsche Kultur heruntergezerrt wird. Jn unseren Reihen dulden wir keinen, der die Gedanken des Christentums verletzt, der einem anders Gesinnten Wilderstand entgegenträgt, ihn bekämpft oder sich als Erbfeind des Christentums provoziert.

Diese unsere Bewegung ist tatsächlich christlich. Wir sind erfüllt von dem Wunsche, dass Katholiken und Protestanten sich einander finden mögen in der tiefen Not unseres eigenen Volkes. Wir werden jeden Versuch unterbinden, den religiösen Gedanken in unserer Bewegung irgendwie zur Diskussion zu setzen. Und wenn wir das Zentrum bekämpfen, tun wir es nicht aus religiösen Gründen, sondern, weilesmit dem Wort “Christentum” Spott und Hohn treibt, weil es bereit ist, für den Ministerstuhl das Christentum über Bord zu werfen. Aus nationalpolitischen Gründen bekämpfen wir das Zentrum, nicht, weil es eine katholische Partei sein will. Hütet euch vor denen, die im Schafspelz einhergehen! Wir verwahren uns, das Christentum zu politischen Diensten zu degradieren.

The end of the speech was signed by Max Vogl, who appeared to have recorded the remarks that evening.

‘The Nazis Simply Lied’

Despite these remarks from Hitler in 1928, history showed in the years to follow that his National Socialist Movement sought to destroy Christianity. The New York Times reported that the movement could not “adopt this radical stance officially until it had consolidated power,” so “the Nazis simply lied and made deals with the churches while planning a ‘slow and cautious policy of gradual encroachment’ to eliminate Christianity.” The source for the Times’ information was the Nuremberg Project, which outlined excerpts from evidence taken during the Nuremberg war-crime trials.

CatholicCulture.org also chronicled the Nazi’s violent persecution specificially of members of the Roman Catholic faith, which included mass arrests that sent scores of believers to concentration camps.

In sum, yes, in 1928, Hitler told a crowd to not tolerate anyone who offended or attacked Christianity and also said that his movement was Christian. It was one of many speeches he gave that year.

Sources:

Bundesarchiv Hauptarchiv Der NSDAP. Vol. 26/55, 1928.
 
Google Translate. https://translate.google.com/.
 
Invenio on Bundesarchiv Berlin-Zehlendorf. https://invenio.bundesarchiv.de/invenio/main.xhtml.
 
Library : Nazi Persecution of the Church. https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=2857.
 
Sharkey, Joe. “Word for Word/The Case Against the Nazis; How Hitler’s Forces Planned To Destroy German Christianity.” The New York Times, 13 Jan. 2002. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/13/weekinreview/word-for-word-case-against-nazis-hitler-s-forces-planned-destroy-german.html.
 
Steigmann-Gall, Richard. The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919–1945. Illustrated edition, Cambridge University Press, 2004.