Praying under the swastika The struggle between church and state in Alzey

The struggle between church and state (German: Kirchenkampf) means the conflict between the Protestant Church and the National Socialist government of Germany between 1933 and 1945. There were three main conflicts: The dispute of the so called German Christians and the so called Confessional Church, the revolution within the church against a National Socialist Church regiment that worked closely with Hitler’s Church, and calling the Nazi government into question through church leaders and individuals.

Researchers distinguish between different phases of the church struggle, but in fact it lasted the entire Nazi period and beyond, because many questions were only worked out in the Evangelical Churches years after the end of the Nazi regime. An important ending of the church struggle in particular is the Stuttgart Confession of 1947. The struggle between church and state of Rhenish Hesse began with the election of the parish council in 1933 when the Germans gained a victory and continued in 1934 with the "brown" election synod in the Electoral Palace in Mainz, where a Nazi was elected to regional bishop in just 35 minutes.

Already 1933 the Pastors' Emergency League (German: Pfarrernotbund) was founded to resist the influence of the NSDAP in the church. Afterwards the Confessing Church arose which bundled the resistance.

On March 24, 1935, in the Nikolaikirche, a pulpit proclamation of all three pastors of Alzey Friedrich Engel, Karl Schmidt and Friedrich Metzler was read out with a text of the Confessing Church. The fourth pastor in Alzey was August Klein, he was a convinced German Christian, and provided the Nazi Church leadership and the Gestapo with information about the other pastors and the activities of the Confessing Church in Alzey on a regular basis.

Overall, one must say that the church community of Alzey was completely divided into supporters of the DEK (Deutsche Evangelische Kirche) and the Confessing Church, this applied to both, pastors and the community members. It was reported that during the services of the DEK pastors even a picture of Hitler was standing on the altar and that the Confessing Church supporters were forbidden to attend the services in the Nikolaikirche.