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Answered 2009-10-07 23:01:24

Some of the assumptions made in the question are inaccurate. In particular, Christians as such were not 'classified as enemies of the Third Reich'. Some Christians resisted government interference in church life and therefore became unpopular with the regime. A few of these were sent to concentration camps, but very few were killed. SomeChristians also spoke out against various Nazi policies, especially the killing of incurables. Very few Christians spoke out against the persecution and genocide of the Jews, however. Nobody was killed by the Nazis for simply 'being a Christian'. The Nazi treated non-Jewish Poles very badly and oppressively, and the main religion in Poland was (and still is) Roman Catholicism. However, Poles who did not co-operate with the Nazis or who resisted the Nazis were punished and killed for that - not for being Roman Catholic. The Pope at the time, Pius XII, has been severely criticized for failing to denounce Hitler clearly in public. On the other hand two Roman Catholic bishops in Germany spoke out against the Nazi policy of killing off the mentally ill and incurables. At all stages, the Nazi regime was cautious in most of its dealings with churches. In the case of the Jews, and to a lesser extent the gypsies, the Nazis made a point, from about October 1941, of trying to murder all of them - on 'ethnic' ('racial') grounds. The difference is enormous. The Jews were the only group singled out for total systematic annihilation by the Nazis. To escape the death sentence imposed by the Nazis, the Jews could only leave Nazi-controlled Europe. Every single Jew in Europe was to be killed according to the Nazis' plan. In the case of other criminals or enemies of the Third Reich, their families were usually not held accountable. Thus, if a person were executed or sent to a concentration camp, it did not mean that each member of his family would meet the same fate. Moreover, in most situations the Nazis' enemies were classified as such because of their actions or political affiliation (actions and/or opinions which could be revised). In the case of the Jews, it was because of their racial origin, which could never be changed. In the case of the other groups the aim was generally less extreme. Even the genocide of the Roma/Sinti (gypsies) was carried out much less thoroughly.

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