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Journal Articles Harvard Theological Review Year : 2022

Beyond the Underdog Mentality: Philo-Semitism amongst Protestant Rescuers in Wartime Ukraine

Abstract

In Ukraine, as was the case across occupied Europe, while most residents of any given locality divided into bystanders, collaborators, and accomplices during the Holocaust, a minority turned to rescue work. Faith-motivated rescue work by large institutions or individuals representing prominent branches of Christianity is well documented; its prevalence exemplifies the critical role that the altruism of individual members of the clergy, laity, and religious orders played in the survival of many Jews. However, rescuers from less prominent denominations of Christianity, amongst them Baptists, Evangelicals, Seventh-day Adventists, and Sabbatarians, are less spoken about, although these rescuers were often equally as motivated to rescue and more poorly resourced to do so due to disadvantageous political circumstances. Some scholars suggest that it was their “underdog” identity that made such groups empathize with persecuted Jews, but primary testimony offers an even more intriguing perspective: it was the philo-Semitic underpinnings of some members of the minority Protestant denominations in question that provided a broad theological basis for rescuing Jews, transcending the sociopolitical phenomenon of the common underdog mentality and even more widespread ecumenical obligations for being a good Christian.

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hal-04015460 , version 1 (10-07-2024)

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Raisa Ostapenko. Beyond the Underdog Mentality: Philo-Semitism amongst Protestant Rescuers in Wartime Ukraine. Harvard Theological Review, 2022, 115 (4), pp.538-565. ⟨10.1017/S0017816022000311⟩. ⟨hal-04015460⟩
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