Open Letter To Hitler
Fr. Naab fled Germany via Switzerland and died at the monastery in France where he had entered the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin years earlier. Dr. Fritz Gerlich, prominent German journalist, took full responsibility for the article when he was arrested and died from being beaten to death at the Dachau concentration camp in July 1934.
Fr.Ingbert Naab’s Open Letter to Hitler:
“Dear Mr. Hitler:
“It is not my profession to make politics and I do not have political intentions in writing this letter. But your political activities have one side that is deeply intruding into the conscience, into responsibility before God….
“You are surrounded by flattery wherever you go and the frenzy of enthusiasm surrounding you at your gatherings prevents you from having any thought about whether your work will pass muster before God; because you are of the opinion: Germany is on my side.
Your newspapers idolize you to a sickening degree. You are dubbed the ‘Great Redeemer from Want.; You are yourself convinced of this, ascribing to your one and only personality all the attributes necessary to rebuild Germany. In the future you will need nothing at all by which to set your course.
Your will is meant to be the only maxim for Germany and your command the only signpost. Has your conscience at any time reminded you of what a degree of self-assessment this conviction represents? Who among your followers dares to destroy this belief?….Your whole entourage is one conscience-narcotic for you….
“You and your press are stating: ‘The Future Germany,’ ‘The Elite of the Nation.’ There are indeed quite a number of idealists within your ranks who earnestly hope for everything good from you. These idealists do not know the true National Socialism, do not know what you are planning nor what you personally, or your agents, have negotiated.
Could you risk showing your cards?….does the mass of your adherers really know about your true program?…. You have instilled such blind trust in your personality into the idealists that they see you as a God-given prophet to whose mission one has to submit. Seldom has a human being demanded so much servility of spirit as yourself, the ‘Herald of German Freedom.’….
“Who has voted for you?…Mr. Hitler, speaking between ourselves: what do you think of the Catholics who voted for you? Blind herd or voters, what?….
“Who has voted for you? Those economically foundering. They hope for deliverance through you. The farmer facing PublicSale, the businessman seeing no way out. ‘It can’t get any worse,’ they say, ‘for 7 years now Hindenburg has been at the helm and achieved nothing. Now we’ll give Hitler a chance, and if he is no good either we’ll get rid of him.’ The psychology of those facing ruin is like that, Mr. Hitler. Your election is for many the least desperate measure, but not the last! There remains Bolshevism….
“Who has voted for you? Those people who due to suggestion believed in the inevitability of you becoming President….
“Who has voted for you? The cowards who didn’t want to lose their positions. Many people had already accommodated themselves to your rule, especially among those in state employment….
“Who has voted for you? Position hunters and future party-book civil servants….
“Who has voted for you? People trying to escape their financial responsibilities….
There were people who defied their creditors with the message: ‘I don’ pay anymore. Hitler is coming now and then I don’t have to pay anything’….But have you also considered the decline of morals passed on to the masses by these dubious speculations in a ‘Third Reich’?
“Who has voted for you? A mass of unripe young people…now you know nothing more important than to get just these unripe youngsters into harness….“I do not remonstrate on the political aspects…I am appealing solely to your conscience.
What do you say to the fact that your party promises all things to all men, even the most contradictory things. And why? What else but the lust for power….’lying lips are an abomination to the Lord’ [Prov. 12:22] in the service of politics, too. And ‘lies are shortlived.’ even when spoken by eloquent men.
Why don’t you come out into the open? Isn’t your reticence in religious questions one great deception of the masses?….
“Mr. Hitler, the tearing apart of Germany, that is your fault, your conscience has to bear it. You want to unite people….
“A possible civil war: that is your fault, your conscience has to bear it. You know you cannot grasp the helm legally in the near future. But your phalanges have been driven into such delusions that you are no longer able to keep them in a quiet mood….
“Despoilment of the youth: that is your fault, your conscience has to bear it….And how radical will this youth indoctrinated by your ideas become when they find themselves betrayed? You know it yourself: from your ranks to Bolshevism is but a step. For many the mental attitude is already the same….
“The confusion of moral principles: that is your fault, your conscience has to bear it….
“….We are preaching not the gospel of hate but of love, towards you too. Love contains above all our duty to tell you the truth, however bitter. We do not hold with lies, and refute them just as sharply when used against you as when damaging someone else….
“Mr. Hitler, do not forget your conscience!”
Fr. Ingbert Naab, O.F.M. Cap.
(Edited by Michael Walsh)