Perhaps the two most unlikely historic figures to appear together in a work of art would be Jesus Christ and Adolf Hitler, but a church painting depicting Christ seemingly standing next to the Nazi leader is causing outrage in Germany.
The painting, which was first unveiled in 1939 in the Christus Church in Hof, northern Bavaria, shows a man to Christ’s left with more than a passing resemblance to the former Fuhrer. However, the Hitler painting, which takes pride of place at the church’s altar, has recently begun to cause something of a stir amongst the church’s flock.
Upon viewing the painting, one can clearly see the trademark toothbrush mustache and the famous Hitler hairdo. With further inspection, one can also get a sense of the savagely hypnotic, maniacal, and psychopathic eyes of the dark Messiah, but can the figure in the painting standing next to Jesus Christ like the loyalest of disciples really considered to be Hitler?
Evangelical pastor Martin Goelkel, who formerly worked at the church many once considered to be the “Nazi Temple,” told the Daily Mail that he believes the likeness to be merely co-incidental, and even if it isn’t, the man of god believes there is a vital message inherent within the artwork.
“Some people have called this a Nazi place over the years but I don’t think this is true. It was designed and inaugurated in a severe time for Germany, no question, but if I interpret the picture correctly it is not about the glorification of the powerful during this time.
“On the contrary; the individual is made aware that his life belongs to Christ no matter how powerful he feels personally – there is another power over him, a stronger power.
“This is no Hitler homage, in my eyes. We find people asking something of Christ, there is someone kneeling before him. God resists the proud, but the humble he gives his grace to.
“Hitler, however, stands imperiously at the side, alone, wearing boots, his robe somehow militaristic. Haughty and arrogant.He looks like a rabbit before slaughter. He is a man on the edge, an outsider.”
When asked if he ever felt uncomfortable about preaching in the vicinity of such a painting, the Pastor replied, “Not at all. Jesus is the winner. This is the message!”
Yet certain parishioners believe otherwise, and have called for the painting of Hitler and Christ to be erased.
“It is not right under any circumstances that the biggest mass killer in history should be featured in a painting in a house of Christian worship,” one of the flock said in a recent interview on Radio Bavaria.
Yet Pastor Goelkel remains firm in his conviction that the painting should stay.
“This image is a central challenge to Nazism: Christ is in the middle. The powerful can stand idle as much as they want.”