Friday, 24 June 2016

Reaching the bottom

At the ACW weekend at Scargill House recently, I wrote this as my 300-word writing exercise (it’s a bit longer now).

Bundesarchiv Bild 102-14469 / CC-BY-SA 3.0, Berlin, Boykott-Posten vor jüdischem Warenhaus.jpg
It’s not easy looking back to take in the fact that thousands of kind-hearted, well-motivated Germans, many of them Christians, believed that the Nazi programme was for the good of their country. They didn’t anticipate the ruthlessness and cruelty of the people they gave their support to. When they woke up, it was too late—their liberty was gone, and worse, their faith was drastically compromised. This piece highlights that realization. 
You will probably know by now the outcome of the EU referendum. This piece may or may not be relevant. I rather hope not.

I’ve reached the bottom drawer of Goldberg’s desk now. Seems to be just the one book there…

This week, I’ve catalogued, recorded, and audited the whole of his company accounts. I’ve been through every drawer and file in this office. All his assets are in the hands of the State now.

I love my work as a civil servant of the Reich. I see it as service to the Lord too. ‘Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.’ 

Of course, the Führer isn’t an ideal Caesar, but neither was Claudius in Paul’s day. The thing is—he’s saving our nation from ruin and humiliation. He’s clearing out the alien corruption in our Christian society. That’s how I see it, as a Christian.

Take this Moses Goldberg—‘mountain of gold’, eh! No doubt he did make a mountain of it—but by exporting our wealth, bleeding the Fatherland dry to feed the people who prey on us.

As a Christian, I can share in restoring our society to health and prosperity. I’m proud to do it.

This book in the bottom drawer, now. Looks like a diary. Private stuff? Come on, as an enemy of the state poor old Goldberg has forfeited his right to privacy. Not much of that in the Rehabilitation Camp!

So let’s have a quick look.

In this diary of 1938, I record a remarkable spiritual journey.
As I finish my record, I am informed that my family firm is to be ‘Aryanized’— forfeited to the State…

So what kind of a spiritual journey can a capitalist Jew have, I wonder?

On the 1st of January, I was still an agnostic, secular Jew... 
At Passover, I met the Evangelical pastor, AB (I shall not record his name, for his safety)…
At Pentecost…

What’s this?

Ich habe mein Herz dem Herrn Jesus gegeben—I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus. Now, all men are my brothers. Even the Nazis who are robbing me. ‘If any man will take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also.’

Dear God! This Jew, Goldberg, is now my brother in the Lord! And I am consenting to his destruction!


  1. Thanks, Edmund - scary how easily we can get sucked into a "them-and-us" mentality.

  2. Great piece of writing; very powerful; glad to have the chance to read it again. Like you, I hope that nothing like this, or approaching it, ever happens again.

  3. I have often wondered what decent, moderate, sane Germans felt during this period.
    Now, sadly, I think I know: helpless, marginalised, futile and lost, as well as afraid and ashamed.

  4. How very interesting, Edmund. Like Zen above me, I wonder how decent people would have dealt with being in Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, and it's not so far from living memory. In one of the (many) churches of which I've been a member, there was in the congregation a German lady, a member of an evangelical Christian church, who had been part of the resistance to the Nazis. It was a long time ago that I knew her, but I recall her as a very serious and grim woman, probably damaged by her experiences.