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My Favorite Martin

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Luther, Martin, Antisemetic

Ron Newton, Roanoke, Alabama wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Shalom and thank you again for your wonderful site. I have always heard of the wonderful and unselfish life of Martin Luther, but have recently read he was a devout anti-Semite. My question is, was Martin Luther anti-Semitic, and if so to what degree?


Dear Ron Newton,

Martin Luther, the 16th century German theologian (not to be confused with Martin Luther King, the 20th century American Civil Rights leader), is considered the founder of Protestantism.

The list of Martin Luther's anti-Semitic remarks could fill books, and indeed they do! His own work, "The Jews and their Lies" is a harangue against the Jews in which he claims, among other things, that Jews live from the excrement of the Devil! Luther had a five point plan for the solution to the "Jewish problem" in which he proposed that all synagogues be burned and that all Jews be enslaved at hard labor, instead of living off the goodness of others, as he claimed they did.

Hitler read Luther, and Hitler's "Mein Kamf" quotes from this plan of Luther's.

But Luther's stance regarding the Jews is not surprising or out of line with his times, or with the history of Christianity up until his day.

    Sources:

  • Why the Jews, Telushkin & Prager


 
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