Synopses & Reviews
When Germany invaded Poland in 1939, it aimed to destroy Polish national consciousness. As the symbol of Polish national identity and the religion of approximately two-thirds of the population, the Roman Catholic church became an obvious target.
Jonathan Huener reveals in The Polish Catholic Church under German Occupation that the treatment of Catholics in the Reichsgau Wartheland region of Germany was more brutal than anywhere else in German-occupied Europe. Here, Catholics witnessed the execution of priests, the incarceration of thousands of clergymen and nuns in prisons and concentration camps, the closure of churches, destruction and confiscation of church property, and countless restrictions on public expression of the Catholic faith. Huener illustrates how the Nazi elite viewed this area as a testing ground for anti-church policies to be launched in the Reich after the successful completion of the war. Bolstered by largely untapped sources from church archives, The Polish Catholic Church under German Occupation exposes both the brutalities and limitations of Nazi church policy as well as the response of the Vatican and Poles to these policies.
In this gripping work, Huener offers insight into the everyday experiences of Polish Catholics, from the highest ranks of the Polish episcopate to the basic struggles of the laity as they navigated the destruction of their nation, culture, and faith.
Paying for Hitler's War: The Consequences of Nazi Hegemony for Europe, Scherner (Cambridge University Press, 2018), 9781107628013