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Heidi Hoskin: Who Resisted The Nazi Regime? A lecture at St. Mark's SchoolAdd to Queue

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  • Date posted : Jan 01, 1970

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Skip to Page Content CITIZENSHIP, RESISTANCE & THE YOUNG: Rev. Heidi Hoskin Speaks at 2nd 2011-12 Gray Colloquium Presentation Posted: November 14, 2011 "Who resisted the Nazi Regime? Confusion among the Young and Conflicts within the German Church." This question and its complicated consequences were powerfully presented to the entire St. Mark's community on Monday, November 14, by the Rev. Heidi Hoskin, as part of the Gray Colloquium series. An ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, Rev. Hoskin was born and raised in Nazi Germany. She came to the United States in 1961 on a Fulbright Scholarship. She has served churches in Vermont, New Hampshire and Miami Florida as their pastor. Now retired, she provides regular pulpit supply and is the moderator for 21 churches of the UCC Grafton-Orange Association in Vermont. The Gray Colloquium is designed to engage St. Mark's students in an exploration of one complex global issue annually. It has been made possible by the generosity of former St. Mark's Board President and current School Trustee C. Boyden Gray '60. The theme for this first Gray Colloquium series is "citizenship", in all its varieties and complexities. Born in 1933, Rev. Hoskin shared with her St. Mark's audiences a series of personal experiences. In 1943, she became a member of the girls' wing of the Hitler Youth. She told of her ten year-old's pride in the Nazi-sponsored uniform, until confronted in her church by an adult parishioner who scared her by declaring her outfit "of the Devil". These, she later learned, were resisters of strong conscience, and she spoke of the "Confessing Church" established by pastors like Karl Barth, Martin Niemoller, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in opposition to the Nazi-supported German Christian organization. There was then, she said, a conflict within the German church that manifested itself in a resistance of conscience. Rev. Hoskin also spoke of seeing Jewish neighbors being carried away in trucks and railroad cars, and of Jewish friends bringing their valuables to her mother "because where we are going we won't be needing them." The year of her birth, she said, was called by Germans "the year of salvation" because it was the year that Hitler came to power. The "Confessing Church", however, believed that salvation did not come through Hitler and the Nazi philosophy. She also told her audience of young resisters, like Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans. Not much older than the St. Mark's VI Formers, they established the White Rose, a non-violent resistance group at the University of Munich which spoke out against Hitler and the Nazis through a leaflet campaign. Sophie Scholl and other members of the White Rose were executed in 1943. Turning to her young listeners today, Rev. Hoskin asked her audience: "So what can you do?" They could, she said, join the Occupy the Street movement nationwide, or they could find some other way to express their obligation as citizens. "Above all," she said, "vote, vote, vote." She said to the silent and attentive group of more than three hundred St. Mark's students: "Your place is right here and now. Listen and learn. Learn and discuss. You do and you are." She advised them to consider "what will be your arguments and actions when you want to make a difference. Just do not be silent." She closed her address with a quote from Elie Wiesel. "Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." There was prolonged applause from the appreciative audience, followed by questions from the floor. Several students spoke with Rev. Hoskin after the presentation.

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