German Protestants, U.S. Jews Affirm Common Bonds

From Religious News Service

Protestant leaders from both East and West Germany joined with American Jewish leaders here this week in affirming the bonds between their two faiths and expressing concern “that anti-Jewish ideas remain respectable in some circles of German society and even theology.”

The statement was issued at the conclusion of two days of meetings between representatives of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany led by Bishop Martin Kruse of Berlin-Brandenburg and leaders of the American Jewish Committee, American Jewish Congress, Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and Synagogue Council of America.

The group noted that in November, 1988, the German Protestant churches issued a joint statement in which they said, “Even if some of those who were involved have atoned for their actions, and even if others have meanwhile died and a new generation has come to the fore, all of us remain responsible for the guilt-laden past. As we face up to this bitter realization, we become aware that theology and the church have contributed to the long history of estrangement and hostility toward Jews.”

In the interfaith statement issued Monday, the German Protestant and American Jewish leaders said, “This unfortunate history must come to an end. Christian thought, speech and action must never again contribute to fostering hostility toward Jews. In this connection, we note with concern that anti-Jewish ideas remain respectable in some circles of German society and even theology. We consider it essential to resist such tendencies because we are convinced that they constitute a distortion of the Christian message and bear the most bitter fruits.”