All this supports in a specific case, the evidence that Catholics were the fiercest anti-Nazis in Germany.
Towns which were immediate neighbors in the Palatinate, but still in separate worlds: the Protestant Darstein all voted in 1930 for Hitler. But the Catholic Hauenstein had itself in March 1933, the lowest number NSDAP voters.
Darstein was by 1933 itself an Honorary member of the Nazi party, because the town was the first to vote 100 percent for the party. It was even reported in the "Hamburger Illustrated News."
He had long recognized it. Again and again, and since his schooldays, it had come to the ears of the 24-year-old in the area. "I belonged somewhere else, not in our village," says Dominic Stoffel from Darstein in the southern Palatinate, "for us it is more of a taboo subject." Now, from a recently published book, he has learnt the whole story of the situation back then in his village at the end of the Weimar Republic, with the upcoming fascism.
Darstein was in any case Adolf Hitler's pride, shortly after his assumption to power, the whole village even being an honorary member of the NSDAP, a feature even in the "1000 Year Reich." And the civil administration of Hitler's imperial capital Berlin also named a street after the town.
The dubious recognition of Darstein remained in place also in the GDR times and up to the present day. Although the background was no longer known: for the election to the Reichstag on 14 September 1930, all 106 voters of the 156 local inhabitants voted for the Nazis. Two and a half years before the takeover, when the free vote did not block the way to power. One hundred percent for the NSDAP. The first purely Nazi town in the Reich.
A village in the deeply God fearing Palatinate, which is known to Hitler. Is this because it is a further confirmation of popular images? Finally preached by Rolf Hochhuth decades ago, that the churches, especially the Catholic Church , are the true pioneers of fascism. And does this not fit with the overbearing Catholic Church built in Hauenstein in the 1930s, the larger neighboring village of Darstein with 4100 inhabitants. Gaudly built in the neo-Romanesque style, made of red sandstone, just as Hitler's architect appreciated? Inaugurated a good half a year after the beginning of the Nazi reign. But the truth lies elsewhere, it is the opposite.
The Award: Helmut Kohl
Around 450 people crowded last Friday evening into the Parish Centre next to the proud church of Hauenstein. They wanted to be there, as the historian Theodore Schwarzmüller presented his new book, in which he tells how the times were just before and shortly after the seizure of power in 1933, in Hauenstein and Darstein. Many came from Hauenstein, but only a few only from Darstein.
Helmut Kohl, old Federal Chancellor, historian and from the Palatinate, giving the Laudatio, said in the auditorium, that the citizens of Hauenstein should be confident, given their history, and the children growing up there should have pride in their hometown.
Two villages, which can hardly be more different
But nevertheless, it was conciliatory that the new-Berlin resident Helmut Kohl reported that in the Capital which has Protestant majority, the church going is sparse. And religious instruction has been abolished in Berlin as a compulsory subject.
The Catholic workers and citizens as a bulwark against the Nazis
There is this tendency throughout the land of the secularization of the value system and the daily life of our time, the absence of church and faith. Theo Wieder, Mayor of Frankenthal, said on that evening, that the unanswered question was: "How would the structures of today support us if such temptations as the Nazis were in the neighbourhood. "
Anyone who reads the book from Schwarzmüller, recognizes the sensitivity of the matter. Meticulously the author details the many ways, almost exclusively, the strict Catholic workers and citizenship were the last bulwark against the Nazi fanaticism. And how, on the other hand, the Protestant neighbours provde to be so vulnerable to the radicalism . Historians have long recognized this as a continuous trend for the whole of Germany. Nothing however makes it so palpable, as Schwarzmüller’s approach, breaking down the details of the difference in two neighboring communities.
Little prosperity radiates the two valley villages of the Palatinate Forest. The squat solid houses with small windows, truss or natural stone, they tell us that only from hard work and thrift could they have been built It was a time when no one thought that a half-century later as the tourist trade came up that today some euros would flow into the valleys. The shoe factories emerged at the end of the 19th century in Hauenstein in dozens that the "shoe village of Germany" attracted the small farmers from their low wages in the labour market
Bismarck's struggle against the Pope
This was about the time when the Catholic cohesion on the confession of faith, but also in the Palatinate his first Stählungen learned. The Catholic Workers Associations, in addition to many other religious groups, such as the scouts firmly routed in the base excited, like everything Catholic, the suspicion of the authorities and socialists alike.
Bismarck started the cultural struggle against the Papal influence in the kingdom. Pope Leo XIII, later responded with his encyclical, in which he called for just order in the economy and the freedom of association of the workers. Leo XIII., "The worker Pope"
When 1907 workers in the shoe factories wanted with a strike to obtain a ten hour day enforce, the Catholic Workers Associations received pressure from two directions: the factory management reacted with lockouts, and the few Protestant workers from the left - and unions from villages like Darstein-joined the bosses as strikebreakers. The rivalry, better said, enmity between the Catholic and protestant millieus was omnipresent. "The Cross Heads," warred against "the Luther Nuts," from village to village. In inns, it was now out of the way or confrontations, beatings here and there.
A Priest, 42 years in office
In the cinema, the Parish Priest put his Calabrian hat in front of the projector when it came to kisses. Boys with long hair were no longer tolerated in the village. Not only did denominational mixed marriages fell under his gaze but also childhood friendships.
The current mayor, Bernhard Röding, remembers the day Fr Summer knocked at his parents door, to prohibit him meeting with a Protestant boy. Röding, the first mayor from the German Liberals, thinks Sommer downright evil that he "forced many young people away from the village where their development was inhibited." And the author Schwarzmüller clearly sees a certain symbolism in Summer’s death in the historic year of 1968.
When the Nazis came - ringing the bells
And whenever the Nazis marched into the hostile Catholic village, the Church bells were rung , and then his congregation gathered in the church, shielded from the Nazi theatrics through the thick sandstone walls. Schwarzmüller cites many similar examples where Father Sommer took a position against the henchmen.
Taking an axe to the Willy Brandt image
Today, long-serving conservative politicians in Christian Democratic Hauenstein quickly come to speak about their memories, as they are in the post-war period when there were regular political punch ups with red Darstein at election time, for instance in the protection of their own or the elimination of opposition election posters. Or how the image of Willy Brandt in 1966 in Darstein was backed with an axe -political skirmishes with a confessional background.
And then came the NPD
Unpolitical says one. Pastor Sommer would perhaps have rather the highlighted the unchristian, in a community with no church left in the village, but only a very secular community hall. Perhaps both are true.