Christian Attitudes to Jews During the Holocaust: A Rough Outline (20 December 2015, 8 Tevet, 5776)
Most countries involved in the Holocaust were Christian. The attitudes of the Christian Churches were both reflection of the communities they ministered to and formative influences on them.
In general it seems that the most favorable attitudes were taken by Calvinistic Churches such as the Hugeonots in France and the Calvinists in Northern Netherlands. John Calvin (1509-1564) himself was anti-Jewish but his opponents had accused him of being a Jew of the Tribe of Levi. The Presbyterians of Scotland were also Calvinists. In recent years the Presbyterian Church in the USA has set itself up as a virulent opponent of the State of Israel.
In Scandinavia the more devout Lutherans probably inclined towards sympathy with the Jews. In Germany the Lutherans were mostly identified with the Nationalist Political part who in turn supported the Nazis. It is sometimes claimed that the Nazis never comprised a majority of the German people. Such claims ignore the Nationalists who basically supported Nazi policies and attitudes.
Groups in Germany such as the Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted by the Germans and put in camps. It has been claimed (cf. the writings of Rabbi Avigdor Miller) that even within the camps they served as kapos and as persecutors of the Jews.
Catholics in Germany.
Some of the worst Nazis, including Hitler, were nominal Catholics. Nevertheless within Germany in so far as a distinction may be made the religious Catholic were somewhat more sympathetic towards the Jews than the others were.
Catholics in Poland.
Most of the Poles were anti-Jewish. This includes the clergy. Despite this many monasteries and nunneries harbored Jews and saved them. In some cases Jewish children were forced to become Catholics but others were enabled to keep and observe their religion even while in hiding. On the whole nuns were better than monks.
Catholics in Italy.
The Italian population on the whole was sympathetic to Jews and helped save them. There were exceptions. The Vatican was critical of the Nazis but not as outspoken as they should have been. Serious claims have been made against the Catholic Church concerning its real doctrines at the time but we can only go on what is known for sure. After the war the Vatican ran a network of monasteries out of Italy and into Spain and Latin American enabling Nazi war criminals to escape.
Catholics in France
The French population on the whole was not anti-Semitic BUT religious Catholics tended to be. Collaborators with the Nazis often came from their ranks.
Catholics in Croatia and Slovakia
The rulers of Croatia and Slovakia were rabid supporters of the Nazis as well as being Catholic clerics.
Christians in the Netherlands.
The Dutch people on the whole were sympathetic to the Jews even though most of the Jews ended up dead. After the War there were more than 300 known cases of Jewish children who had been taken in by Christian families and not returned to the Jewish people. The Dutch government gave legal sanction to this abduction of Jewish infants.
Greek Orthodox in Greece and the Ukraine
There were clerics in the Greek Church in both the Ukraine and Greece who went out of their way to try and save Jews even though many of their congregations had other opinions.