With the emergence of ever more documents about the relations of the Church and the National Socialist Party has come to light the text of an address of Bishop Heinz Zuhldorf of Hanover, on behalf of the German Christians of the Reich, on the occasion of the first anniversary of Hitler’s coming to power. As Ian Kershaw comments in his magisterial Hitler: A Profile of Power few could have imagined in 1934 the tragic denouement of 1945. We publish the text below.
“We thank God that the Holy Spirit guided the process of your election and that the same Holy Spirit guides and supports you day by day. We thank God for the richness of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, which are the hallmarks of your leadership: joy and peace, patience and kindness, faithfulness, wisdom and mercy.
“Dear Fuehrer, we thank you for the steadfast way in which you uphold the principles which govern our nation, presenting them in deed and in word with a freshness and directness, which draws the attention of the world. We pray that God will give you strength and courage to continue this great ministry from which we all draw such encouragement.
“I assure you, dear Fuehrer, of the love, the esteem and the whole-hearted support of us all.’