Roger Fredinburg – Host

30-Hour Series of Interviews broadcast on the Roger Fredinburg Radio Program


1-28-1998  Twelfth Program in Series


Guest: Dr.  David Gushee


Book:  THE RIGHTEOUS GENTILES OF THE HOLOCAUST: Genocide and Moral Obligation


ISBN-10: 1557788219    and   ISBN-13: 978-1557788214



Roger:   Good evening, once again, it’s a pleasure to be here!  I’m very happy to have the opportunity to continue this series on the Holocaust.  We’re about halfway through now.  Boy, have we learned a lot!  Whew!  Man!  It’s been a wonderful, wonderful series.


Tonight we’re going in a little bit of a different direction than we’ve gone in the past.  We’ve got a very special guest.  He wrote a book, “The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust.”  Ladies and gentlemen, the gentiles, the Christian church, don’t speak out much about what other peoples’ roles were during this turmoiled time in the history of Europe.  Our guest, Dr. David Gushee, is going into some of that with us this evening.  I’d like to welcome him to the program.  David, hello!


Dr. Gushee:  How are you doing, Roger?


Roger:   I’m doing just fine.  It’s a pleasure to have you here, sir!


Dr. Gushee:  It’s good to be with you.  Thanks, for having me.


Roger:  “The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust,”  David, first tell my audience about who you are, where you come from and what you’re about.


Dr. Gushee:  Okay!  Currently I am a professor at Union University which is a Southern Baptist School in Jackson, Tennessee which is in the western part of Tennessee.  My training is in Christian Ethics.  I am a Christian thinker, scholar and actually an ordained minister.  So, that’s kind of a unique avenue of approach to this whole subject of the holocaust.  It’s pretty significant for the perspective that I have on it.


Roger:  Yes.  “The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust,” what does the title infer?


Dr. Gushee:  Well, I actually borrowed the phrase from the Jewish community.  The “righteous gentiles of the holocaust” is the English translation of the Hebrew term of what the State of Israel calls gentiles who rescued Jews during the holocaust.  The term has been used primarily in the Jewish community for a couple of decades at least.  So, I decided to use the term.  It actually carries a lot of implications.  It means there were, in fact, gentiles, non-Jews, Christians, most of them, who acted in heroic ways to rescue Jews during the holocaust.  I think it also, even by implication, means there were a whole lot of “un-righteous gentiles” during the holocaust, too!

Roger:  What I’d like to do, David, is just kind of walk through your book with you a little bit, just to get a feel of what you’re trying to communicate from the Christian perspective on the whole subject of the holocaust.  You talk about Christian Ethics and the Righteous Gentiles.  Maybe you can start there and tell us the story of your book, what you’re trying to communicate.


Dr. Gushee:   Okay.  Maybe I can give a little background on how I got into the subject which is something I talk about in the opening part of the book.  I’m one of those people who, though I don’t have any family connections to Jewish people, I have always been appalled and horrified by the holocaust.  In various points in my pilgrimage as a scholar and a Christian, as a student, I  revisited the subject of the holocaust.  At the doctoral stage, I just zeroed in on this subject of how Christians, primarily Christians, in Europe acted during the holocaust.


I attended a conference where I heard a Jewish scholar who was focused on this area basically say to the Christians who were present, “Where are you in the study of the holocaust?  In particular, where are you in the study of rescuers?  Most of these people were Christians; some were deeply committed Christians.  None of you are paying any attention to these people  who we think can help us understand who these people were, what they did, especially the question of why they did it.  In a sense, they are your brothers and sisters, they are your people.  Help us understand why they did it.”


He also had a challenge in there.  He said, “I suspect that the reason why Christians have not paid any attention to the rescuers is because if you did, you’d have to pay a whole lot of attention to the great majority of their neighbors who were not rescuers.  Maybe you don’t want to look too closely at that.”


So, in the opening chapter of the book I talk about how the discipline of Christian Ethics, which is an academic discipline that studies how Christians behave in this world and how we ought to behave, does not pay attention to the righteous gentiles, not too much attention to the holocaust generally, and how the church needs to attend to this whole subject as well.  That’s basically where the book begins.


Roger:  Why do you conclude that the church needs to pay more attention to this subject?


Dr. Gushee:  Well, my basic conclusion is that the holocaust represents one of the worst moral failures in the history of Christianity.  Now, immediately upon saying that, I have to say what I mean and what I don’t mean.  What I don’t mean is that Hitler was some kind of a Christian zealot who killed Jews because he was a committed Christian or any of that!  We are not dealing with the medieval period here.  So, I am not making that leap because it would be a mistake.


What I am saying is a couple of things: The holocaust is inconceivable apart from hundreds and hundreds of years of Christian hostility towards the Jewish people, much of it theologically rooted in it’s origins.  The holocaust, as it worked out in Europe, is inconceivable apart from the apathy, the complacency, and in many cases the outright hostility of Christians towards Jews when the Nazis were going after them.  For those two reasons, this ought to be a matter of concern to Christians.


I guess, Roger, more broadly, Christian people, like any other community of faith, ought to want to be their best; ought to want to live out what they say they believe.  I would hope that would be true for every religious community.

I find the holocaust to be a case study of how Christian people, at least Christian in name, how Christian people actually behaved during a historical crisis.  It’s a microscope.  The church is under a microscope and you can look and see how people acted.  What you see is actually a dramatic,  in many cases tragic, horrible; but, in some cases wonderfully profound and heroic range of behavior.  I think that’s worth studying!


Roger:   Well, you have so many dynamics there!  I mean, it would be very difficult to consolidate those groups.  Well, maybe you could make individual comparisons.  Give me an example.  The average German at the time was Christian in their basic theology?


Dr. Gushee:  Yes.  Now, this is also complicated.  By mid-century in Europe, the Christian church was eroding in it’s influence.  Of course, fifty years later it has eroded a whole lot more!  So, Christianity is not nearly as strong today in Europe as it was even then!  But, if you look at studies of what people said that they were in their religious orientation, the great majority in one study I cite in the book is that 95% of the people when asked “What is your religious orientation?” 95% say they are Christian.  If you probe a little further and ask how serious they were about this, the numbers begin to drop.  But, this was a Christian culture.  To the extent these people were religious at all, on the whole, Christianity was the religion that they professed, other than the small religious minorities like, for example, the Jews who were the target.


Roger:  Was it the theology of Christianity itself that contributed to the holocaust?


Dr. Gushee:  This is an extremely controversial issue.  I would say, it is impossible to understand the holocaust apart from that background.


Roger:  Fill in the gaps for me.


Dr. Gushee:  There was hostility to the Jews in the ancient world, even before there was Christianity.  We need to be clear about that.  Anti-semitism can come from a number of different sources;    there’s Muslim anti-semitism, there’s anti-semitism that is secular and philosophical and economic and all kinds of other things.  But, I think we have to understand that Christianity merged—-we have Jesus, the Messiah – Christians believe He is the Messiah of the Jewish people; but, the Jewish people of the 1st Century obviously did not agree.  The Church began as a splinter movement within Judaism.  Ultimately there is a kind of schism between the Church and the Jewish people.  The Church becomes a predominately Gentile movement within a century.  From that point forward, even in the midst of that you have what is called a sibling rivalry.  As most of us know, sibling rivalries are often the most intense.  You have the Church, in it’s origin, believing that Jesus was the Messiah, the Promised One of the Jewish people.  Yet, inconceivably, the Jewish people did not agree, on the whole.  The Church has been trying to make sense of that for 2,000 years.  A variety of approaches have been taken.  You have a basic theological conflict in it’s origin.  The conflict is over who Jesus was.   Then you have conflicts over a number of other smaller issues as well.


So, you trace through the history.  In the first three or four centuries of the Christian Era, you’ve got the Church as small embattled minority in the pagan Roman Empire and you’ve got the Jews as a small embattled minority in the pagan Roman Empire.  When Christianity triumphs with the Emperor Constantine, the situation changes.  You’ve still got the Jews as an embattled minority; but, now the Church is in the seat of power.  Over the course of the next 1,200 years, the Church, at various times and various places, legislated or promoted legislation that was harshly discriminatory against Jews.  You also have a whole culture of literature, art and tradition that is strongly anti-Jewish.  Again, it’s not uniform.  There are different nuances here and there.  As you come into the modern period you have over 1,000 years of institutionalized hatred and contempt for the Jewish people.


With the Enlightenment and the Modern Era, many are hoping that this would be a thing of the past; that modern thinking would transcend it. What actually happened was that both religious anti-semitism survived the modern period and the secular forms of anti-semitism took root that kind of twisted it in new directions.   That’s the way I interpret racial Hitler-type anti-semitism.  It takes a phenomenon that is already there, deeply rooted in the culture, and twists it, mainly deals with it in racial categories.  Now the reason to hate the Jewish people is not that they rejected Christ; but, that they are racially inferior.


I think is was Raul Hillberg, the Jewish scholar, who said, “The church provided the target.  The target was already there.”  The Nazis changed the way you talked about why the target was the target; but, the target was already there.


Roger:   So fundamentally, at the core of all this, was this longstanding rivalry between Christianity and Judaism.  So, Hitler didn’t create this, he just capitalized on it.


Dr. Gushee:   That’s right!  This is one reason why this is really important to understand; that was in many ways and international rivalry.  It was an international rivalry!  This is why anti-semitism was strong throughout the territories that the Nazis occupied; but, especially it was strong in eastern Europe; Poland, the Ukraine, the western Soviet Union and the Baltic states.  Their anti-semitism with a religious flavor was extremely strong.  Less so in the west, it was not quite as strong and tended to be a bit more secular in its orientation.  When Hitler and his armies spread all across Europe, they found plenty of latent or even wide-open anti-semitism that was right there ready to draw on.


Roger:   Which might explain Poles standing alongside the road clapping and cheering as Jews were hauled off to be shot!


Dr. Gushee:  Right!  As I talk about in some of the stories in this book, that’s right!  That didn’t come out of nowhere!  Country by country, there are particular reasons for this, historical episodes and rivalries, economic competition and political developments.


Perhaps I’m biased because of the religious orientation, but, I don’t think so.  The religious dimension is documentable and has been documented.


I tell the story in the book about a Polish Catholic who was involved in rescuing some Jews because he believed it was the right thing to do.  But,  he’d go to church on Sunday and he would hear raving anti-semitic sermons from his Catholic priest who said, “Anybody who rescues Jews is violating the will of God.  Don’t do it!”  So, he would come home — this was on the report of the Jewish survivor who was there with him— he would come home and be tormented because his conscience told him to rescue Jews, his church says don’t rescue Jews.  That doesn’t come out of nowhere!  There’s a long history there!

Roger:  Were there a lot of Christians who rescued Jews?  Tell me some of the stories about some of these people you discovered in your research.


Dr. Gushee:   Numerically, there was a surprising number.  The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial and Research Center in Jerusalem has an office that is solely devoted to documenting rescue.  It’s called the Department of the Righteous.  What they do there is collect stories of rescue and seek to document them and honor the rescuers if they can.  The last count I saw, they had managed to document by name around 13,000 people.


When I talked — it’s been five years or more now— when I talked with the director of that department as to how many rescuers he thought there were, he estimated between 100,000 and 250,000.  They define rescue as, basically, knowingly risking your life without doing so on the basis of material reward, you’re not doing it for money; but, because you believe it’s the right thing to do.  They’re very strict with those criteria.  He estimated between 100,000 and 250,000.  That’s a lot of people; but, it is also a very small percentage of the overall population.


There are great stories–marvelous stories– inspiring stories from all over Europe!  We’re familiar with some of the most famous rescuers now; people like Oskar Schindler who had a movie made about him.  Schindler is in many ways one of the most morally ambiguous of the rescuers because he was in occupied Poland trying to make money off of Jewish slave labor; but, somehow in the midst of what he was witnessing, something snapped!  Something changed and he became involved in furious efforts trying to rescue the people who were working for him, and others, ultimately saving 1,100 people.


There are hundreds of stories of the local farmer in France or Poland, dirt poor in a very anti-semitic environment, especially in eastern Europe.  One day a Jewish mother and baby or a Jewish family knocks on the door and pleads for help.  Despite the tremendous risks involved, this farmer takes them in for a night or a week, sometimes for the duration of the war, at tremendous personal risk.


One of my favorite rescuers was a woman, I don’t know if I’m saying her name right; but, she was a Lithuanian woman named Ona  Simaite.  She was a librarian in the City of Vilna, now called Vilnius in Lithuania.  What happened was when the Nazis poured all the Jews of that area into a ghetto where they were crammed in until they were ultimately killed, she convinced the Nazis that it was necessary, that she could help them by going in and collecting overdue library books! ( So classically Nazi-like!)  So she had a license to go into the ghetto and when she got in she did everything she could to help these people; she smuggle food in, she passed messages back and forth, she even smuggled weapons in when they were preparing for a revolt.  The stories about her from a couple different testimonies — she got some kids out of the ghetto, got them safer places to be — she was caught, tortured and ultimately ended up in a concentration camp and survived the war, and never had a moment’s regret that she had done the right thing.  People like that are fascinating to try to catch a glimpse of who they were and why they did what they did!

Roger:  Were people in spiritual conflict when they knew in their heart what was going on was wrong; but, because society accepted it, they had to go along with it?

Dr. Gushee:  There were many that were conflicted, exactly what you’re saying.  This could have a religious base as well.  Your listeners may or may not be familiar with the Biblical passage in the New Testament, in Romans that says, “Be subject to the governing authorities because they are ordained of God.”  More than once I ran across stories of deeply committed Christian people who were deeply troubled, outraged by what they were witnessing; but, they believed it was wrong to attempt to resist what was happening because of this Biblical teaching and others like it.  So, they didn’t do anything for that reason.

I would say others were hesitant to get involved, maybe from a tradition that says, we don’t get involved in politics and this is a political matter, or“we don’t defy the government, or just that this is where society is right now and there’s nothing we can do.

There were any number of things that prevented people from stepping in.

Roger:  David, we’ve got to take a short break here.  We’ll come back and pick this up on the other side.  Ladies and gentlemen, our guest this evening is Dr. David Gushee.  His book is, “The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust,” and he’s talking about the role Christians played in rescue, and maybe ignoring what was going on around them at the time of the holocaust.  We’ll return and discuss this in just a minute!  I will entertain phone calls, if you have any questions for Dr. Gushee, we’ll take them after the break.


Roger:  Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen.  Dr. David Gushee is our guest this evening, talking about his book, The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust.”   This is a continuation of our Holocaust Series.  Ladies and gentlemen, if you do have any questions, you’re certainly welcome to call in and ask them.  We’re talking about the Christian response in Germany and beyond during Hitler’s reign and the holocaust specifically.

David, in the time of the holocaust, with so many Christians being in Germany, what were some of the obstacles that Christians faced that might have kept them from following their heart to helping people who were obviously going to be slaughtered?

Dr. Gushee:   Well, there were a lot of them.  A couple that I try to point out in the book, and I really try to be fair…. I’ll prelude this by saying that it’s really easy 50 years later to say, why didn’t you do better? I really try to avoid that tone in the book.

I think the obstacles to rescue were profound.  It was wartime, I’m thinking especially once war begins in 1939.  It was wartime and war, especially that particular war, is chaos and mayhem.  Everybody’s  afraid for their lives and there’s a lot of population movements, that kind of thing.  So, that is really important to understand.  The Nazis exploited the ethnic tensions that were already there and I think most would understand that in situations in confusion and chaos of war, ethnic tensions and other kinds of social tensions are much easier to exploit.  So, Nazi propaganda was masterful at doing this, as well as their policies.

I think it’s important to name the economic motives.  One of the things that was most sobering to me about this whole study was the Nazis, not only did they kill as many Jews as they could, they first stripped them of their place in society, of their jobs, of their possessions, even down to the gold fillings in their teeth after they were gassed.  We’re talking of millions and millions and millions of dollars of property!  The Nazis tried to use and successfully did use access to some of this stuff as an inducement.  You know, “Work with us and we’ll cut you in on some of this stuff.  Work against us and we’ll make you pay!”


Ultimately, the greatest obstacle, the Nazis made it perfectly clear that if you resisted their policies against the Jews, you would be classified just like a Jew.  In fact, they put up placards, especially in eastern Europe, that said essentially that very thing, “He who helps a Jew will be treated as a Jew”  It was a slogan.

So, fear, was the greatest obstacle!

Roger:  But, if you’re a Christian and you believe in eternal life through Christ, then why would you surrender that belief and take the fleshly…. ?  I mean I’m having a hard time understanding how you could be a Christian and watch these people marched off to their death.  It just fascinates me!

Dr. Gushee:   Yes, it’s fascinating and troubling!

Roger:  What were the Biblical and spiritual obligations these folks clearly didn’t meet… I don’t think the standard?  If this were to happen again in a country where Christians go through something like this, what are we supposed to do?

Dr. Gushee:  Well, again, it’s easy to say in retrospect, from my perspective and more authoritatively from the perspective of Christian rescuers themselves, the obligation was to do what could be done on behalf of a neighbor whose life is at risk.

Roger:  Aren’t we obliged by God’s law to take our own life and put it on the table in order to help these people.

Dr. Gushee:  Yes, I think so.  But, the reality is that when push comes to shove, even for people who know that, fear is a powerful force.  The whole burden of the book is to say that it shouldn’t be.  Look at  the people who overcame it.  But, I want to be realistic about how hard it is at times to live out what you know is the right thing to do when it might cost you your life.  It is not an easy thing to do.  But, yes, that was the obligation.

Roger:  My belief is based on faith and I believe that God will protect me.  If I do God’s work, He will protect me or He won’t and I’ll be gone to heaven, right?

Dr. Gushee:  That was exactly how some of these people were able to bear the pressure.  You have many testimonies from the rescuers who would say either one of those two: “either God’s going to protect me in this” and I’ve got stories in the book about this, “God is protecting me!”  So, some of them were serenely confident, I mean remarkably confident!  They’d walk through the average day dealing with risks that would, you know, drive most people crazy!  But, they’d say “God’s protecting me.  I’m doing His work!)

On the other hand, you had people who thought, “God may or may not protect me here; but, I’m doing what I’m supposed to do AND if I die, He will welcome me on the other side, so I’m not scared.”  That is the way it’s supposed to be!  It’s very impressive!

Roger:  I’m reminded of stories of Christ’s disciples in the Bible and the torment, you know most of them died hideous deaths because of their faith in Christ.  So, I’m compelled to believe that ultimately, if that is God’s plan for me, then so be it!  If I see that going on in my country, I’m not supposed to say, “Gosh, I might lose my house, my car, my reputation, my boss won’t like it and I might get thrown in jail or killed so I just won’t do it!”  You can’t, I don’t think, really and honestly be a Christian and think like that!

Dr. Gushee:   I like the way you think, Roger!  I wish more people not only thought that way; but, lived that way.

Roger:   Well, we’d have a much better country because I think most people today hide from controversy rather than have faith that God will carry them through.  They try to do it themselves!

Dr. Gushee:  One thing I’ll also say on that last note, it’s important to recognize—that kind of courage generally requires a network of support to sustain it.  I document this in the book and I think it’s one of the more original conclusions that I draw.

The honoring of the rescuers has tended to be done individually; this person rescued this many people and, therefore, they are to be honored for their individual courage.  There is truth to that; but, my findings were that many, probably the majority of rescuers, definitely the majority of rescuers, had a network of support.  They had families, they had friends, they had co-workers, they had an underground resistance network.  I think we generally cannot be our best selves without a community of support that will hold us accountable and will also be inspiring to us.  So, I think there’s a lesson there too.

Roger:  But, now you’re talking about co-dependency.  My whole concept of Christ’s message is self-governance.  That you’re an independent, rugged individualist, that you have faith in God and you lead your family if you’re the male of the household, that you’re the spiritual leader of your family and you take those responsibilities based on faith.  Why would you need a co-dependent realm to dwell in if you truly have faith in God?  He should be the only person you need to lean on!

Dr. Gushee:  I don’t know that I read it that way.  I think the rugged individualism …. there are times that we have to totally rise or fall, just me and God.  You know, me before the authority…they’re only asking me the question, “ did you rescue Jews?” and you say YES or NO or whatever.

I think the reason there is the church in the New Testament is not just as a kind of aggregate of rugged individualists; but, a community of mutual support and accountability and strength.  The image of the body of Christ.  I don’t see that as co-dependency there, I see it as strength through mutual commitment to the same God and the same goals.

Roger:  Let’s entertain a call or two here.  Let’s go to Mike in Bozeman, Montana.  Hello, Mike!

Caller-Mike:  Good evening.  Doctor, I’m curious.  In our modern culture, in the US as it is right now, we have a great many Caucasian liberals– some number of whom I know are Jewish— who, as a liberal element in our society, work to create guilt among the Caucasians in our culture about Black slavery. I am curious if there’s any effort on your part, in your book, in addition to creating an awareness among us who are descendents of previous Christians who may not have been as helpful as they could have been to the Jews in Europe, is there any attempt you might be trying to embarrass us or make us ashamed, similar to the others I previously mentioned?

Roger:  In other words (what Mike is asking is), are you trying to lay a guilt trip on the Christians for not helping the Jews, Dr. Gushee?

Dr. Gushee:  No, no!  I reject the premise of the question if it means that,if we look back on our lives, individually or corporately, and we see things that are not right, that it’s somehow wrong to name that and say, “We shouldn’t have done that.  We should have done better!”

Roger:  Alright, we’ve got to take a break!  Dr. David Gushee is our guest, ladies and gentlemen.  His book is, “The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust.”   We’ll be right back.


Roger:  David, how do people order your book if they want a copy of it?

Dr. Gushee:  Well, it’s available on   It’s published by Fortress Press of Minneapolis.  I believe I have memorized the phone number 612-330-3300

Roger:  Let’s go to Henry in Ashland, Oregon!  Henry, how are you tonight?

Caller-Henry:  Hello, Roger and hello, Dr. Gushee!  I’d like to ask you, sir, you commented about the principle in Romans 13; that Christians are supposed to submit to the government.  Today, in too many churches submission to government is taught.  I don’t think that is correct.  Certainly, when a government is committing genocide against a race of people, Christians are to resist that!  Would you not agree?

Dr. Gushee:  I absolutely agree!  I think that unlimited submission is a misreading of Romans 13.

Caller-Henry:  I do too!  It’s refreshing to  hear you say that, sir, because the founder of this country were clearly biblical-believing Christians and at some point they decided to rebel against the tyranny that King George of England was imposing upon the American colonies.

Dr. Gushee:  Yes!  We have a strong political heritage recognizing there is a place for rebellion.  There is also a strong theological heritage; whereas, somebody like Martin Luther was much more for unlimited submission in his approach while someone like John Calvin was….. Basically, the way Calvin interpreted Romans 13 was that when government is doing what it’s God-given mandate is, you submit happily.  When government is fundamentally subverting its God-given mandate, then you have to talk about forms of resistance that are appropriate.

Caller-Henry:  Yes, I believe that William Tyndale who wrote the English Bible, the first one, said that “resistance to tyrants is a glory to God”.

Dr. Gushee:  That’s the man who died for translating the Bible!

Caller-Henry:  Dr. Gushee, one more question, if I may?  There are many groups of people in this country, albeit small; but, very vocal,  that say the holocaust is a hoax — 6 million Jews never perished!  What would you say to these people?

Dr. Gushee:  I think it’s absurd!  I’d like to introduce them to the dozens of Holocaust survivors that I’ve met with the numbers tattooed on the arms, to take them to the gas chambers I visited at Auschwitz-Birkenau, the remains of Birkenau. This is the most well-documented crime in history, as far as I know!  It’s just hard to even know how to conversation with somebody—it’s kind of like denying that the American Revolution happened!  I mean, how do you talk to somebody rationally about that?  I think Holocaust Denial is generally just another form of anti-semitism and needs to be dealt with as such.

Caller-Henry:  Dr. Gushee, God bless you!  Thank you for your wonderful book!  I intend to get it and read it!

Roger:  Henry, thank you very much!  We run into that in talk radio, Dr. Gushee.  There are folks out there that have somehow come into these incredible brainstorms, miraculous new findings of information  that’s all nonsense and say there’s no evidence the ovens existed, the gas chambers….

You know, I had a sonderkommando on this program, Dr. Gushee.  You want to talk about a gut-wrenching discussion?  Listen to someone describe going into the entanglement of thousands of bodies, being forced to disentangle them with staffs, shaving off  the remaining hair and removing gold teeth, and then putting the bodies on the conveyor to send them up to the crematorium.  You know, there were a lot of people who were there who witnessed this!

To have people tell you, out of blatant ignorance, using recreated Nazi propaganda and things of that nature… To have them use that as some source in denouncing the holocaust is really frightening!  It’s frightening that people will not accept credible sources and will take these incredulous sources and raise them to the level of credibility the do!  It’s frightening!

Dr. Gushee:  One of the things that contributes to that is that we’ve got this information overload, especially now with the internet.  We have to teach our young people how to sift information to determine what is credible and what isn’t.  I think it’s getting harder and harder to do.

Roger:  Yes, “reality vs unreality” is quite interesting on the internet! As we look at the incident with TWA Flight 800 and Pierre Salinger taken by a falsified report on the internet, not that he might have other evidence.  I don’t know.  No one yet has committed to knowledge about what happened to that airplane.  But, the point is, you can create any kind of document that you want, make it appear official as you want, and people will believe it!  That should scare the living daylights out of people!  I know there have been attempts to do that with the Bible and God’s word!

You just have to hope that your faith is strong enough that you can survive whatever comes your way.  There aren’t too many books out there, David, on what Christians did during the holocaust.  I guess I’m disappointed they didn’t do more.  I suppose when you’re cast in that environment and you’re faced with life or death situations, there’s not much else you could do.

Dr. Gushee:  There were some people who made a conscious decision, that their moral obligation to their family was of higher significance than their moral obligation to strangers.  I think that’s a defensible decision.  I don’t agree with it! I don’t believe it is in keeping with the teachings of Jesus.

At least I can understand where something like that is coming from.  I have no understanding of people who saw the Jewish plight as an opportunity to pile on and make them suffer more.  There were a lot of folks who acted that way as well.

Roger:  There’s some real meanness in man, isn’t there?

Dr. Gushee:  There sure is!

Roger:  Almost so diabolical you can’t describe it!

Dr. Gushee:  Yes.

Roger:  Dr. Gushee, I appreciate having you here this evening.  Your book, “The Righetous Gentiles of the Holocaust” is available on or a bookstore.  Thank you very, very much!  You’ve made a wonderful contribution to humanity and I hope you’ll continue to do research!

Dr. Gushee:  Thank you so much!

Roger:  Alright, ladies and gentlemen, that’s the conclusion of this week’s presentation in The Holocaust series.  I hope you enjoyed it.  It’s fascinating to come at it from a different angle, looking at how Christians reacted.  Of course, it’s hard to get to all the details in an hour; but, we do the best we can here, folks!


Transcription is from MP3 file converted from original cassette with minimal editing by Chey Simonton.

Errors, if any, may be due to unintelligible sections of original 1997 audio technology.  Unknown/unintelligible words are spelled phonetically.)