Teachers Made To Sign Anti-Religious Statement
From Our German Correspond r ii t While all over Germany the synagogues were burning, the National Socialist Teachers' League (N.S.L.B.), to which every German teacher is bound to belong, issued a statement saying that after the murder of Herr vom Rath by a Jew, German teachers cannot any longer be expected to teach lessons of Christian religion in which a Jewish book, the Bible, has to serve as the
Therefore German teachers would refuse in future to give any lessons
of Christian religion.
COMPLETE ABOLITION The statement was generally considered as the announcement of a complete abolition of religious teaching in German schools.
In some parts of Germany teachers immediately ceased to give
lessons of religion, in others they continued as before and waited for definite and clearer instructions.
But the Ministry of Education reermined silent. One morning all teachers received a circular from the National Socialist Teachers' League. They were asked to estate whether they wished to continue the teaching of religion or not, and they were urged to sign the following declaration :
"CAN NO LONGER GLORIFY JEWS" " After the perfidious Jewish assassination in Paris, I am no longer able to glorify, in my teaching, members of a nation which lives only by hatred against Germany. I declare therefore that I am no longer in a position to teach lessons of religion."
In a communication to the press the Nazi teachers' league pointed out that it was impossible to fight the Jews as a world enemy, and to represent them at the same time, in the teaching of religion, as examples.
" ONLY LOGICAL "
Teachers were free, the press coatsuunique said, to judge for themselves whether they wanted to sign, but-so it added-from the National-Socialist point of view refusal was the only logical thing. Those who would not sign would, however, not have any difficulties.
People in Germany are accustomed to Ruch things, and know what the
voluntary ' character of such a signature means. In Silesia all men teachers signed the pledge, and only some courageous women teachers remained firm and refused to " refuse."
ANOTHER VIOLATION Cardinal Bertram, Archbishop of Breslau, and Chairman of the Episcopal Conferences of Fulda, has sent an energetic protest to the Reich government, describing the new measures against religious teaching in the schools as a grave violation of the Concordat.
He ordered special prayers to be said 4/1, all churches for the teachers, that God may give them strength to remain firm in the very serious conflict of conscience through which they have to go in these days.
In Silesia, e.g. in Beuthen, Hindenburg, Gleiwitz and Oppeln, many teachers have withdrawn their signatures, which they had given under heavy pressure.
GOVERNMENT'S APPROVAL Of course the campaign of the Nazi teachers' league could not have been conducted without the knowledge and consent of the government. Eventually the Reich Minister of Education, Dr. Rust, has admitted openly that he agrees entirely with the new drive against religious instruction in the schools.
WORSE IN AUSTRIA
In Austria, nine months of Nazi rule seem to have done more harm to the Church and to the cause of Christian education of youth than six years have achieved fa the rest of Germany.
Propaganda is conducted among the
parents to keep their children away from the teaching of religion, and in secondary schools boys and girls are told that as soon as they are fourteen years old they have the right to decide themselves, even against the will of their parents, whether they wish to attend religious instruction or not.
The Osservatore Romano made recently an ironical comment about this.
It found it strange that in a country where men, whatever their age and their wisdom may be, have no right to a say in temporal affairs, children may already decide about matters which are of the utmost importance for their eternal destiny,