The Darkness of August 9

During World War II, Aug. 9 came to represent varying barbarities inflicted on innocent civilians, from the gassing of a Jewish Carmelite nun to the beheading of a German Christian war protester to the incineration of a Japanese city with a historic Christian church as Ground Zero, Gary G. Kohls writes.

By Gary G. Kohls

Seventy years ago this week, the Jewish Carmelite nun Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was murdered, killed on Aug. 9, 1942, by fellow German Christians at Auschwitz.

Born Edith Stein on Oct. 12, 1891, she was a contemporary of Adolf Hitler, who was two years older. She was the youngest child of an Orthodox Jewish woman whose husband died suddenly when Edith was a toddler.

A photo of Edith Stein, circa 1920.

Stein was a remarkable German Jewish feminist scholar who titled her PhD thesis “On the Problem of Empathy.” She was a Red Cross nurse during the bloody 1914 – 1918 “war to end all wars” and was inspired to convert to Roman Catholicism shortly after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila in 1921.

She was a popular lecturer for the German Catholic feminist movement during the Weimar years and felt called to become a Carmelite nun after the anti-Semitic Adolf Hitler took power in 1933. When she entered the Carmel at Cologne, Stein became Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

During the 14 years of the Weimar Republic, which began at the end of World War I, Stein became increasingly alarmed at the growing viciousness of German anti-Semitism. She tried unsuccessfully to warn the Vatican about the trend.

Despite her entry into the cloistered community at Cologne, the Nazis – once in power after the Weimar Republic collapsed – never forgot about her Jewish roots and her liberal inclinations. She fled Germany, but was hunted down by the Gestapo in Holland and sent to Auschwitz, along with her sister Rosa who had also become a Carmelite nun.

They were transported across Germany by box car in the heat of summer, arriving on Aug. 9, 1942. The sisters were immediately sent to the gas chambers. Their bodies were dumped in a mass grave, later to be exhumed so that the corpses could be incinerated in industrial-strength ovens that had not yet been installed in 1942.

“Gott Mit Uns” (God with us) was stamped on the belt buckles of the German Christian soldiers who made the trip go cheaply and efficiently all the way to the gas chambers. Those soldiers were simply following their orders to arrest, brutalize, transport and murder Jews and others whom their elite leaders considered subhuman. Gassing undesirables, without benefit of a jury trial, had been made legal by Hitler and his henchmen.

Tragically, most German Christian leaders during the pre-Nazi and Hitler years – with the exception of a very small minority of courageous resisters – had, at least by their silence if not their active support, endorsed the fascist, anti-Christic nationalism, militarism, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, homophobia and the legal right of the ruling elite to kill the enemies of the state.

In 1998, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross was sainted in the Catholic Church.

Franz Jaegerstatter, Another Aug. 9 Victim

On Aug. 9, 1943, Franz Jaegerstatter, a devout Catholic pacifist from Austria, was murdered by German Christians for refusing to comply with Hitler’s conscription order to “serve” in the German army. He was one of a handful of known Catholic conscientious objectors to war known to have exercised their consciences and oppose the draft during the Hitler era.

Because of Jaegerstatter’s explicitly expressed, gospel-based, conscientious objection to war, he had been abandoned by his priest and bishop, as well as by his family and friends, all of whom had tried and failed to get him to understand that it was his patriotic duty to kill for “Volk, Fuhrer und Vaterland.”

His spiritual advisers had tried and failed to convince him that his commitment to gospel nonviolence was futile – and fatal, given the nationalistic militarism operating at the time. Instead, being obedient to Jesus’s ethical teachings about nonviolence and the God of love (rather than to men), he refused to recant of his beliefs.

Consequently, Jaegerstatter was beheaded at Brandenburg Prison on Aug. 9, 1943. Among his executioners were obedient baptized Christian soldiers whose belt buckles also read “Gott Mit Uns.”

The Bombing of Nagasaki

On Aug. 9, 1945, an all-Christian bomber crew, flying a B-29 Super Fortress that had been christened “Bock’s Car,” took off from Tinian Island in the South Pacific, with the blessings of their Catholic and Protestant chaplains.

In the plane’s hold was the second of the only nuclear bombs to ever be used against civilian cities containing innocent humans. The primary target – Kokura, Japan – was clouded over, so Bock’s Car headed for the secondary target, Nagasaki.

St. Mary’s Cathedral, located in Nagasaki City’s Urakami River district, was a massive building, one of the few structures in Nagasaki that was visible from 31,000 feet. It was one of the landmarks that the Bock’s Car’s bombardier had been briefed on for weeks before the mission. The cathedral was briefly seen through a break in the clouds, and the drop was ordered. The bomb exploded in a searing fireball as hot as the sun 500 meters above the church.

The Urakami Cathedral was the oldest and largest Christian church in the Orient, and Nagasaki had the oldest, largest and most influential Christian community in Japan, which was founded by the Jesuit missionary, Francis Xavier, in 1549.

The Nagasaki Christian community is legendary in the history of Japanese Christianity because of its secret, catacomb-like survival during two centuries of murderous persecutions by the Imperial Japanese government. Mass crucifixions took place in the early 1600s, with the banning, torturing and killing of devout Christians who refused to give up the faith.

Despite the persecutions and the formal outlawing of the religion (it was a capital crime to be a Christian in Japan for over two centuries), Nagasaki Christianity survived and ultimately flourished – until 11:02 a.m., Aug. 9, 1945.

The Nagasaki Christians who lived in the vicinity of the church did not survive. Six thousand of the church’s members were killed instantly, including all of the parishioners and priests who were attending mass that morning. Of the 12,000 members of the church, 8,500 eventually died because of the bomb. Three orders of nuns and a Catholic girl’s school were wiped out instantly.

Tens of thousands of others, mostly non-Christians, also died the day the bomb hit. Hundreds of thousands were mortally wounded, some in a state of lingering death that lasted for days, weeks, months or years. Radiation-induced disease and deformity among the “surviving” victims and their progeny continues to this day as a gruesome testament to the horrors of nuclear war.

What Imperial Japan could not do to Nagasaki Christianity over a period of 250 years – annihilate it – fellow Christians from America did in nine seconds. The Cathedral was totally destroyed and thousands of Nagasaki Christians were instantly boiled, incinerated, carbonized and vaporized into nothingness.

In my library, I have a picture of an irradiated crucifix that was photographed in the days following the blast, lying helplessly on its back, a deeply profound symbol of a religion gone wrong.

Blessing the Nagasaki Mission

Just before the Nagasaki mission on Aug. 9, 1945, Lutheran Chaplain William B. Downey of Hope Evangelical Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, prayed for the safety of the crew and for world peace.

Downey and his colleague, Father George Zabelka, were the two chaplains attached to the U.S. Army Air Force’s 509th Composite Group, whose major responsibility on Tinian was the delivery of the atomic bombs. Neither chaplain was aware of the terrible destructiveness of the secret “gimmick” weapons.

But they were just two of many millions of people adversely influenced by societal attitudes at the time. Zabelka said later that the whole structure of secular, religious and military society told me clearly that it was all right to ‘let the Japs have it.’ God was on our side.”

The two chaplains considered themselves responsible for the souls of the soldiers under their care. They both knew what the conventional incendiary and high explosive bombs were doing to Japan’s essentially defenseless cities in the spring and summer of 1945 leading up to the “gimmick” bombs, and yet, Zabelka admitted that I said nothing.He regretted that silence for the rest of his life.

Zabelka spent the last two decades of his life atoning for that silence, working tirelessly for world peace, denouncing militarism as being clearly anti-Christian. A contrite and sorrowful Zabelka was in Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1995, asking for forgiveness from the Japanese people for his role in what is now widely regarded as a crime against humanity and an international war crime.

Father Emmanuel Charles McCarthy, the foremost apostle of Christian nonviolence in America today, and the person most responsible for Zabelka’s conversion to gospel nonviolence, has dedicated his life and ministry to raising the consciousness of the church to the truths of Jesus’s nonviolent teachings. McCarthy says:

“Today, as for most of the last 1700 years, most Christians continue to justify as consistent with the spirit of Christ those energies, understandings and emotions which lead inevitably to August 9. Today most Christians still do not unequivocally teach what Jesus unequivocally taught on the subject of violence. Today most Christians still refuse to proclaim that violence is not the Christian way, that violence is not the Holy way, that violence is not the way of Jesus.”

Box Cars, Bock’s Cars and Ground Zeros

Every July 1, to call the Christian community to repent and return to the ethical truths of the original form of Christianity,  (i.e., the nonviolent love of friends and enemies as the way of Jesus), Father McCarthy leads a 40- day fast from solid foods, solemnly breaking it on August 9 at the site of the first atomic bomb detonation test site at Alamogordo, New Mexico. That secret test, on July 16, 1945, was blasphemously code-named “Trinity.”

McCarthy suggests that all ethically-minded people, especially Christians who practice their faith as if the Sermon on the Mount mattered, ponder the un-Christ-like horrors suffered by the hundreds of millions of war dead over the last century, the hundreds of millions of spiritually dead and dying veterans of foreign wars and the crippled civilian survivors of war and gun violence.

And he advises considering also the secondarily traumatized families of those soldiers who went off to the killing fields thinking that they were only doing their patriotic duty to some kind of god (and some kind of country) when they were actually mostly cannon fodder doing the bidding of war-profiteering corporations and the wealthy elite.

Of course, it goes without saying that we need to mourn for, repent of and try to reverse our nation’s militaristic nationalism and the ever-lasting U.S.-led wars that create more wealth for the weapons manufacturers and financiers and more suffering for their victims who are riding in figurative “box cars” heading toward torture chambers at detention camps like Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, CIA prisons around the world and maximum security prisons around the nation.

And, of course, we cannot ignore the substantial risk of spiritual death for the obedient active-duty soldiers who are aboard the “Bock’s Cars” over Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and who knows where else in the world upon which the American empire is rapidly encroaching.

And we need to apologize to and compensate for the many innocent, un-tried and un-convicted victims of extra-judicial killings who are at the various Ground Zeros of the CIA and Pentagon-launched killer drones.

Gary G. Kohls, MD, is a founding member of Every Church A Peace Church (www.ecapc.org) and is a member of a local non-denominational affiliate of ECAPC, the Community of the Third Way.

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8 comments on “The Darkness of August 9

  1. Amen.

  2. “the gassing of a Jewish Carmelite nun???” The story of Sister Teresa Benedicta me of another Frankist Jew, Adolf Eichmann, senior adviser to Hitler on the so-called ‘Jewish Solution’. He along with his wife visited British occupied Palestine as World Zionist Congress guest.

    Zionist historian, Lenni Brenner, in his book 51 Documents: Zionists Collaboration With the Nazis has reported that Adolf Eichmann was himself a Zionist and supported the creation of a ‘Jewish Homeland’ in Palestine. Hennecke Kardel in his book Adolf Hitler: Begruender Israels, says that Eichmann was a full-blooded Jew. According to Eichmann himself, he was a radical Zionist.

    Alas, the Zionist-regime executed Eichmann in 1961 for ‘war crimes’ to hide Nazis collaboration with Zionist Jews.

    http://rehmat1.com/2011/03/16/hannah-arendt-and-eichmanns-show-trail/

  3. F. G. Sanford on said:

    Heavenly Father,

    We Consortium News disciples now join our hands and raise our hearts in prayer to you, and beseech you that in your exalted grace and infinite power you will reveal to us the path upon which we may become more Christiany. When that bomb tragically fell on Your Church, it was because we were lax and insincere in our Christianism. Had we been truly Christiany, we would have heeded Your teachings, and these tragedies, the bitter fruit of our human wickedness, would never have occurred. We would never have been fed to the lions in ancient Rome. We would never have conducted The Inquisition, or burned witches at the stake. We would never have dispossessed the yellow man, or the red man, or the brown man. We never would have enslaved the black man. We would, instead, have proclaimed universal Christianocracy, in the full and complete knowledge that lack of Christianity anywhere is a threat to Christianity everywhere. Only Your unconditional love would end our wars, cure our diseases, lighten the burden of our toils, free us from poverty and want, and bring us the true joy of the knowledge of our resurrection in Your divine paradise, Christianopolis! And so, with our heads bowed in shame, we supplicate Your mercy and Divine Intervention on behalf of our miserable souls. We, as witless fools and the feeble-minded progeny of Your Father, incapable of rational thought and bereft of faith in our knowledge and our science consign ourselves to the Almighty wisdom of Christianism! Had we been sufficiently Christiany during the past two thousand years, surely our prayers would have found occasion for an answer. But 100,000 prayers from Dresden or Hamburg were not enough. Neither were 120,000 from Hiroshima or 180,000 from Nagasaki. 6,000,000 from Poland, neither were they enough. It will take all of us. Cursed are those among us who would invoke Your name falsely in order to promote personal status or pious pride. Cursed are those among us who would hold out false hope in the name of the healing arts, when we know that no miracle has ever occurred on their behalf. Their potions and procedures are utterly useless, and only the Christiany remedies have ever shown true efficacy! Lastly, Jesus, we pray that you will find it in your all knowing, all loving heart to see to it that those among us with a few bucks to spare will donate to Consortium News. In this way our self righteous Christiany brethren will continue to have a platform to lament the inhumanity of man, while at the same time proposing that the same barbaric mythology which perpetuates these atrocities will continue to infect the rational discourse of those less Christiany among us. This lack of humble superstition stands as a test of our faith, an obstacle to vacuous moral sentiments and a fortress of evil whose walls surround those poor, miserable souls who refuse to surrender to you, to Zeus or to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. We pray that you will have mercy on them, and illuminate the Christiany path which will lead them from darkness to Your wisdom. We ask this in Your name,

    Amen.

  4. Terry Washington on said:

    WHY do we keep paying attention(by printing) Rehmat’s anti-semitic garbage???

    • Very good question. However, Rehmat probably has more Semite blood than all the Zionist Jews occupying Palestine.

      Niv Elis is a Breaking News Editor and blogger for the Israeli daily Jerusalem Post. Niv’s grandfather, Feivel Eliash (born 1921), a Polish Jew, was among the group of Jewish terrorists who blew-up Jerusalem’s King David Hotel on July 22, 1946. The terrorist-bombing killed 92 Arab, British, Greek, Armenian and Jewish civilians and wounded 58. Feivel Eliash was a member of European Jewish militant group, Irgun Tzvai Leumi, headed by Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin.

      http://rehmat1.com/2012/07/24/niv-elis-my-grandfather-is-a-jewish-terrorist/

  5. hogorina on said:

    NON DARE CALL IT TREASON

    STRANGER THAN FICTION, WE OPEN UP ( ANSWERS.COM ), TO DISCOVER MANY INTERPRETATIONS OF THE WORD ( GRAVITATION ). NOT TOO SURPRISINGLY, ONE DOES NOT DISCOVER TERMS AS ( PERSONALITY SUPPRESSION COMPLEX SYNDROME), AND THE
    ( PERSONALITY SUPPRESSION GRAVITATIONAL COMPLEX SYNDROME ). NOT ONCE WAS THE WORD PHRASE ( GLANDULAR MURDER ) MENTIONED. WHY? ONLY A ONE PHRASE SLIP IN THE ANNALS OF DR. SIGMUND FRAUD’S WORKS, IN ONE UNIVERSITY, DOES THIS PHRASE STAND OUT. IT IS A MATTER OF OPINION THAT GLANDULAR MURDER WAS ACCIDENTALLY INTRODUCED INTO ONE OF THE LATE WORKS OF THIS MASTER OF PSYCHIC INSIGHT. ONE MIGHT COIN THIS AS A PRINTER’S SLIP, OF AN UNINTENDED MIND PROCESS. AT TIMES EVEN WIT COMES FORTH REVEALING A MIND SET IMBUED WITH HARBORED-UP REPRESSIONS. OR MAYBE, THE PRINTER TIRED OF BEING A MERE PAWN WITHIN CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS, FEARED GLANDULAR MURDER.

    DISCONTENTS! ABSOLUTELY! GLANDULAR MURDER IS EXACTLY WHAT IT IMPLIES. IN ESSENCE, COLD-BLOODED PRECALCULATED MURDER BY WAY OF BRINGING ILLNESS UPON ANY VICTIM THAT GOES ASTRAY FROM SET BOUNDRIES, OF HIGHER EDUCATION, THAT DWELVES INTO THE ANCIENT MYSTERY OF INIQUITY, THAT REACHES THOUSANDS OF YEARS BACK INTO SOULS OF ANCIENT EGYPTIAN LIFE. BASICALLY, OUR MODERN MEDICAL INDUSTRY DOES NOT COMPREHEND THIS, NOR CARE TO EXPLORE, FOR THEY ARE TRYING TO MAINTAIN THE GOOD LIFE, FROM THE WOMB, TO THE TOMB. TO BE CASHIERED BY THE MASS MEDIA AND ITS SUBTLE-MIND GOPHERS OF INTELLECTUAL WHOREDOM THROUGH MIND BENDING, WITHOUT A LET UP, BODY CHEMISTRY COMES INTO PLAY. GLANDULAR MURDER IS NOTHING MORE THAN SEVERAL GLANDS OVER REACTING TO AN INDIVIDUAL’S PERSONAL REACTION, AS A RESULT OF PUBLIC AND MEDIA BASHING. INDIVIDUALS CAUGHT IN THIS MYSTERIOUS NET WILL LAY DOWN AND APOLIGISE, OR LITERALLY DIE, NO ONE IN THE NATIONAL MEDICAL INDUSTRY WILL COMPREHEND GLANDULAR MURDER. ACTUALLY, THIS IS A MASTER SECRET AND MYSTERY AND WEAPON OF A RELIGIOUS ORDER, THAT BASES ITS PRIME EXISTENCE IN USING MASOCHISM, AS A DRIVING FORCE IN KEEPING INTELLECTUAL BASTARDNESS IN LINE WITH THOUGHT CONTROL.

    CLEARLY, WHEN INDIVIDUALS, ESPECIALLY MOBS, ORGANIZATIONS, FRATERNITIES, ETC; HAVE BECOME TOTALLY LOBOTOMISED AS DEMONRATS, OR REPUBLIRATS, WHATEVER, THIS, A CLASSICAL HERD INTELLIGENCE FOLLOWING BLIND ILIGENCE TO EVERY PROMISING DRUMMER, BUT THEIR OWN. HERE, THESE MINDLESS DRIFTERS ARE AT A LOSS TO TRUST UNTO THEM SELVES, AND BEGIN TO ROTATE UNTO THE CLASSICAL
    RABBLE THAT THE FRENCH REVOLUTION HAD TO DEAL WITH. WE DO NOT NEED A JEAN PAUL MARAT, NOR A MARQUIS D. SADIE, BUT DO NEED TO CALCULATE HOW TO HANDLE A NATIONAL MOB’S INCLINATION TO REVOLT UNDER ESTABLISHED LAW.

    AND NOW, THESE VARIOUS MOBS WITH MEDIA INDUCED PRENEUROLOGICAL LOBOTOMY FALLS INTO THE GRAVITATIONAL SYNDROME. THIS IS THE LAST STRAW, WE NOW HAVE A NATIONAL MOB WEIGHTED DOWN WITH DIGRESSIVE INFATUATIONS, INCLINATIONS AS A RESULT OF POLITICAL OPPRESSIONS BEING FATHERED AWAY, INTO SUBCONSCIOUS HUMANOIDS, THAT ARE AWAITING THE MOMENT TO RELEAVE STORED UP REPRESSIONS, THAT CHEAP TABLOIDS AND MASOCHISTIC BAITING, IN SUBLIMATING STORED UP SEXUAL DRIVES, HAVE FAILED BY BRINGING THESE TANDRUNS TO THE PUBLIC FEEDING TROUGH AS ONE-ON-ONES.

    THE DRIVING QUESTION. HOW WILL OUR NATIONAL REPUBLIC SURVIVE THESE EVER ENLARGING MOBS, THAT REQUIRE BREAD RATHER THAN CAKE. DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION OF 1892 QUEEN ANTONNETTE {?} WAS BEHEADED FOR SUCH CARELESNESS OF OPEN EXPRESSION. WE LEAVE THIS DISCUSSION AS A WORD TO THE WISE. iN OTHER WORDS. IT WOULD BE WISE FOR OUR NATIONAL POLITICIANS TO TAKE THE BULL
    BY THE HORNS AND LOOK THE SITUATION SQUARE IN THE FACE.IN OTHER WORDS, CONGRESS SHOULD RECALL SOCRATES’ PERCEPTION, ( KNOW THY SELF )