After 1933, the existence of Germany’s sizeable Catholic minority meant the Nazi regime had to make certain concessions to the Roman Catholic Church’s authority. The signing of the Concordat between Hitler’s government and Pope Pius XII in 1936, for example, allowed the Catholic Church to maintain its autonomy over education in Catholic schools while formally dissolving the Center Party. But the tensions between the state and Roman Catholic Church still remained in the years to come. In this document, an SS report on the “mood” of the public [Stimmungsbericht] in Munich, illustrates some of the tension in the relationship. Here, the SS expresses concern about a Catholic mass delivered on December 27, 1936, by Chaplain Eberlein. The Catholic prelate had railed against the continued censorship of the Catholic Church’s press materials. Although Eberlein was willing to speak out against the regime’s infringements on the press, his critique unveiled the antisemitism that was still common in the Catholic Church. To his displeasure, the Nazi-affiliated press regularly depicted Jesus as a Jew.

SS Report on a Catholic Sermon (December 30, 1936)


December 30, 1936
Report on the Sermon by Chaplain Eberlein

Chaplain Kurt Eberlein of Oberammergau, born on September 8, [19]08 in Munich, gave a sermon in the parish church in Oberammergau on December 27, [19]36 in which he was again very abusive. [] Eberlein spoke about the struggle of religion in the world and in Germany and criticized the restriction of the Catholic freedom of the press. To this he shouted with his loudest organ to the church-goers: “The pastoral letters are subjected to the strictest censorship and Christ may be called a crooked-nosed and flat-footed Jew in the other press.”

Source: Otto Dov Kulka and Eberhard Jäckel, eds., Die Juden in den geheimen NS-Stimmungsberichten 1933–1945 (Schriften der Bundesarchivs 62). Düsseldorf, 2004, p. 213; reprinted in Bernd Sösemann (with Marius Lange), Propaganda: Medien und Öffentlichkeit in der NS-Diktatur: eine Dokumentation und Edition von Gesetzen, Führerbefehlen und sonstigen Anordnungen sowie propagandistischen Bild- und Textüberlieferungen im kommunikationshistorischen Kontext und in der Wahrnehmung des Publikums, vol. 1. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag, 2011, p. 447.

Translation: Insa Kummer