Apr 7, 2010

Elisabeth of Berlin: When the World is on Fire, do you Follow your Friends, your Fuehrer, or your God? DVD, Vital Visions, 2008.

When Elisabeth Schmitz died in 1977, only seven persons attended her funeral. But this forgotten woman, a student of the greatest theologians and scholars of twentieth century Europe, was one of the only voices of resistance to the Nazis in the church.

This groundbreaking film was created especially for the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi's "Night of Broken Glass," which many mark as the beginning of the Holocaust. After witnessing the violence of this program against Germany's Jews, Elisabeth Schmitz knew that life could no longer continue normally: her Christian faith compelled her to put her own life at risk in order to live on behalf of others.

Her most important writing was a twenty-four page memorandum that described, in detail, hardships endured by Jews across Germany. It was written to church leadership in order to urge them to take action. Because writing something like this was illegal in those days, she wrote it anonymously. Although it was well-known after the war was over, an archivist attributed it's authorship to someone else. Elisabeth Schmitz was forgotten until her handwritten draft was discovered in a dusty church basement in her hometown.

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