Did the Nazis ever cite Martin Luther's "The Jews and their lies" to justify the Holocaust and their generally antisemitic ideas?

I've been looking and thus far haven't found much, just wondering if there are any records of something like this happening or not.

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    Anecdotally, they occasionally made a gift of it to important people. If memory serves, I once read of Heydrich being given a first edition for his 30th birthday. I think that Hitler mentions it once or twice in Mein Kampf, and nazified Lutheran pastors were obviously quite keen on it. Other than that, I don't recall ever seeing it referenced. Bear in mind, while it's quite nasty in sections, it runs very much contrary to Nazi doctrine. Luther's Christianity is one in which Jews can (and should) convert.
    – Shimon bM
    Feb 21, 2017 at 6:01

1 Answer 1


From German wikipedia on Luther's relationship to the Jews and antisemitism, translated/paraphrased by me:

  • The propaganda organ Stürmer claimed Luther as a ruthless antisemite and that protestant pastors should preach this aspect more (note that ruthless antisemite is meant positive here & apparently the actual quote)

  • Julius Streicher (head editor) called, claiming Luther, for the "eradication of the jewish people" and that Luther had warned of the Jews.

  • Schoolbooks like from Volk und Führer (7th grade, 1941) and Deutsche Lesebuch für Volksschulen (1943) quoted Luthers antisemite passages extensivly.

  • Starting at latest in 1933, some protestants argued (citing Luther) that the protestant church should be more antisemite. No major protestant functionaries protested against the november pogroms of 1938, some defended the progroms by quoting Luther. Antifascists like Dietrich Bonhoeffer seemed to be very isolated within protestant churches.

  • While Luther was surely an influential antisemite, he was not uniformly so. Nazi propgagndists like Streicher and theologicians quote mined Luther, explaining why the antisemite texts of Luther should be heeded, while those calling for conversion of jews should not. Propagandist Rosenberg was critical of Luther because Luther's translation of the old testament had 'jewified' christianity, whatever that means.

So Luther was cited in antisemite propagande by the regime and was cited in debates within the protestant churches to justify closer alignment to the Nazi regime.

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    Rosenberg claimed that Jesus was not Jewish and regarded Christianity as having been originally anti-Jewish and corrupted by Jewish influence. He was criticising Luther for being an orthodox Christian, rather than someone who followed Nazi beliefs. Oct 25, 2018 at 21:06

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