Martin Luther's "On the Jews and Their Lies" (1543) and the Holocaust

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Martin Luther's "On the Jews and Their Lies" (1543) and the Holocaust

Postby Sannhet » 1 month 1 day ago (Mon Aug 24, 2020 1:41 pm)

The Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith (ADL) was recently tipped off that Walmart was selling several books by Thomas Dalton, who published the acclaimed"Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides" (original edition, 2009) (current edition, 2020). It successfully lobbied to have the "Debating the Holocaust" and other of his titles removed.

I looked into it a few days after this hit the news and found that while the offending books were gone with no trace. (See thread: "ADL orders Walmart to ban sales of Thomas Dalton's "Debating the Holocaust: A New Look at Both Sides," WalMart complies.")

But two of Dalton's books remained for sale. One was his edition of Luther's On the Jews and Their Lies. This is a 1543 tract by Luther, which he wrote following years of study of their Talmud and discussions with Jewish rabbis. Many editions and translations have appeared over the years and are also being sold by Walmart. This one contains Dalton's introduction and notes.

Find more on this book (i.e., the Dalton edition) here: ... their-lies

This particular ADL call for censorship targeted Thomas Dalton specifically by name, but was limited to a few specific Holocaust Revisionist titles. Meanwhile they raise no specific objection to the same store selling On the Jews and Their Lies (including Holocaust-heretic Thomas Dalton's edition), which is an intense theological/cultural/political broadside against the Jews of Germany/Europe, written by one of the titans of all European history, Luther.*


Regarding On the Jews and their Lies (the title in German is Von den Juden und ihren Lügen): I find no thread dedicated to the topic of this book and its relation to the Holocaust in this forum's vast archives. I see three points worth making:

The role of On the Jews and Their Lies in Holocaust historiography and the Holocaust grand narrative

  • On the Jews and Their Lies is often used by Holocaust promoters in our time as an historical example of German/European/Christian anti-Semitism and of the tacit or sometimes explicit argument that "all roads in history lead to the Judenrampe at Auschwitz."
  • On the Jews and Their Lies is also used in Holocaust historiography referring to the 1930s/1940s period specifically by asserting that the Nazi regime republished and widely distributed the tract (which is true), specifically to justify the mass extermination program ongoing (which is not true). Generally this latter part is heavily implied, but sometimes you'll see it overtly made.
  • I can confidently say that one will not be able to find any mainstream discussion of On the Jews and Their Lies in our time which fails to reference to the Holocaust. In fact, in our time it's a fair bet that any mention of Luther at all will often roam into the Holocaust.
A demonstration of my point(s):

A successful play was put on in 2017-18, in line with the 500th anniversary of the Luther Reformation. Much of it was effectively an extended diatribe against Luther for anti-Semitism. The play was called "Martin Luther on Trial." I saw it in 2018.

The cast of characters may give a flavor for what the play was like. Listed by order of appearance: The Devil, Katie von Bora, St. Peter, Hitler, St. Paul, Josel, Freud, Hans Luther, Pope Francis, Martin Luther, Tetzel, Martin Luther King Jr., Melanchthon, the Holy Roman Emperor, Michael the Archangel. "Location: The Afterlife. A crossroad between Heaven and Hell." (Written by Chris Cragin-Day and Max McLean; Executive Producer, Ken Denison; Director: Michael Parba).

I can't remember the specifics now, but in effect most of the play amounted to a Holocaust trial, held on stage for a man who lives four hundred years before the Holocaust.


* (That is, written by a man whose fame, renown, and prestige remains enough that one still need only use his family name alone to refer to him and be understood in most educated company, a category which places him in very select company. A man still looked upon today as a religious-historical hero by hundreds of millions of Protestants worldwide, particularly by those Christians adhering to the Augsburg Confession, which is the closest direct successor to Luther's movement in his own time [most often known in English as "Lutherans," often known by other names in continental Europe today]; a man still looked upon by Germans specifically as an historical-, patriotic-, or quasi-nationalist hero, almost a Romantic hero of the German nation. A man whose statues stand in town squares across Germany still today.)

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