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Male ConfessionsIntimate Revelations and the Religious Imagination$
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Bjorn Krondorfer

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804768993

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804768993.001.0001

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A Perpetrator and His Hagiographer

A Perpetrator and His Hagiographer

Oswald Pohl's Confession

(p.100) Chapter 4 A Perpetrator and His Hagiographer
Male Confessions
Stanford University Press

In a Christian confession, the confessant is typically a repentant sinner who is willing to confess his sins and reaffirm the Christian faith by praising God. Faced with his own mortality, the confessant gives testimony to his past transgressions, to his vainglory, and to a power greater than himself. This chapter examines whether perpetrators of genocide are capable of giving public testimony and revealing their innermost self in a mode of repentance and self-purification, in a manner that follows an ideal type of Christian confessiography. To this end, it focuses on Oswald Pohl, a high-ranking German National Socialist who wrote Credo: Mein Weg zu Gott (Credo: My Path to God) in an attempt to offer the public a confession story. Credo is not only a confession but also a conversion story. The chapter analyzes its religious rhetoric within the larger political discourse of postwar Germany.

Keywords:   confession, testimony, Germany, confessiography, Credo, repentance, self-purification, Oswald Pohl, conversion, genocide

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