Sympathy, Solidarity, and Silence: Three European Baptist Responses to the Holocaust retells how Baptists in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany responded to Nazism and the ensuing Holocaust. Drawing from historical documents from the Baptist World Alliance, newspaper articles from the Baptist Times and others, and the works of contemporary and historic German theologians, Spitzer weaves a narrative that engages hope and deeply disturbs. How did Baptist theology inspire some to save lives, while the Church was used as a tool to promote the most unthinkable of human behaviors in neighboring countries? How did the Baptist World Alliance respond to this deep conflict? Would the Baptist principles of freedom prevail? If these questions intrigue you, read on to see how European Baptists, along with the BWA, responded to this horrifying conflict.
“Sympathy, Solidarity and Silence is a masterful account of the responses to the Holocaust by Baptists in three European countries. It not only paints a complex picture of past actions, but also invites reflection on the way Christians, especially Baptists, practice their faith today. It is warmly commended.”—Revd. Dr Brian R. Talbot, Minister, Broughty Ferry Baptist Church, Dundee, Scotland and Dept of Theology, North-West University, South Africa
“This is an important book as Spitzer, in his thorough and exhaustive style, collects and presents relevant documents and data. He critically addresses the ever-discomforting question: how did Baptists respond to Nazism and its resolve to persecute and destroy the Jewish people? Spitzer convincingly shows that Baptists in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany responded with ‘sympathy’, with ‘solidarity’, and by ‘silence’ as the title words suggest. If anyone wishes to learn how Baptist churches and denominations throughout the USA and Europe faced up to and backed away from utter Übel (see also Baptist, Jews, and the Holocaust, 2017), Spitzer is the authority to consult.”— Prof. dr. Henk Bakker, VU University Amsterdam
"Now through two books, Lee Spitzer has established himself as one of the world's foremost experts on how the Baptists of the US, Great Britain, France, and, most fatefully, Germany, responded to Nazism, the persecution of the Jews, and the Holocaust. In Sympathy, Solidarity, and Silence, Spitzer clearly shows both the power of historic Baptist principles of religious liberty and the sacred worth of human persons to inspire the resistance to Nazi antisemitism, as well as the seductive pull of Nazism among many German Baptists. Brilliantly researched, compellingly written, and animated by a profound clarity of moral vision, this book is a must-read, reaching far beyond the circle of historians. It is a warning—to all of us—about the power of nationalist and racist idolatry to seduce Christians away from Jesus Christ."—Rev. Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University, Chair in Christian Social Ethics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Senior Research Fellow, International Baptist Theological Study Centre, Past President, American Academy of Religion, Society of Christian Ethics
Lee B. Spitzer is Historian for the Baptist World Alliance and Affiliate Professor of Church History at Northern Seminary in Chicago. He is the retired General Secretary of the American Baptist Churches USA - the first person of Jewish descent to hold that office. He pastored three ABC churches and served as the Executive Minister and Senior Regional Pastor of ABC New Jersey for 14 years. His PhD is from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in association with the International Baptist Theological Study Centre (IBTS). He serves on the Committee on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and as a IBTS Research Fellow. He is the author of several books, including Baptists, Jews, and the Holocaust: The Hand of Sincere Friendship (Judson Press, 2017) and Making Friends, Making Disciples: Growing Your Church Through Authentic Relationships (Judson Press 2010).