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Chosen NationMennonites and Germany in a Global Era$
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Benjamin W. Goossen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780691174280

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691174280.001.0001

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The Racial Church

The Racial Church

Nazis, Anti-Semitism, and the Science Of Blood

(p.121) Chapter 5 The Racial Church
Chosen Nation

Benjamin W. Goossen

Princeton University Press

This chapter demonstrates how, although historians emphasizing popular consent for the Third Reich have accurately identified the fluidity of racial nationalism, they problematically assume a distinction between Nazism as ideology and Germans as people. Such approaches imply a relatively self-contained German national community, whose continuity was fundamentally interrupted by fascism's arrival. Yet, as demonstrated by some Mennonites' production of racial knowledge, it would be inaccurate to think of “ordinary Germans” as merely accommodating themselves to racial nationalism. Studies of Mennonite language, nomenclature, genealogy, and disease, for instance, popularized the notion of a racial church while also providing new means of articulating members' relationships to other confessions. As quintessential Aryans, Mennonites simultaneously became understood as “anti-Jews”—an idea denoting their confession as an Aryan version of Judaism as well as an antidote to Jewish degeneracy.

Keywords:   Third Reich, racial nationalism, Nazism, Germans, fascism, Mennonites, racial church, anti-Jews, Aryans

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