Carefully reflecting on the Shoah, many Jews and Christians see that without the Christian anti-Judaism of the previous centuries, perhaps the Final Solution would not have happened. The unholy matrimony of the anti-Judaism and ‘replacement theology,’ the belief that the Church has replaced the nation of Israel, in many minds is large contributor to the Christian activity in or passivity toward the events of the Holocaust. Theologian Barry Horner asks, “If a Christian’s eschatology leads him [or her] to believe that Israel has been divinely, eternally disenfranchised, then is it possible for such teaching to engender distinctive loving interest in the plight of the Jewish people as they presently exist?” The answer is sadly and inevitably no, and “Gentile Christians have responded with shameful disdain that has included contempt, arrogant aloofness and even militant opposition towards the Jew.” (Again, see his book Future Israel: Why Christian Anti-Judaism Must be Challenged)
The effluvium of replacement theology is largely to blame for the anti-Semitic ideologies that have fueled answers to the so-called Jewish Question, with the answers leading to events such as the Shoah. Christianity, in the spirit of theological understanding, has generated conclusions devastating in their consequences for the Jewish community for the past two thousand years. It is a theology based on a hermeneutic which posits the Jewish Scriptures against the Jewish people and robs the Jewish people of their rightful relationship with God as His people.
Gary G. Porton writes, “The Holocaust forever altered the way in which Jews of the second half of this century would view non-Jews. While Christianity did not cause the Holocaust, many of its myths and images supported European anti‑Judaism and justified the Nazis’ murder of Europe’s Jews. There were many Christians and Church leaders who endangered themselves in order to protect Jews. But many more supported and executed the Nazis’ plans, and many did so in the name of Jesus and Christianity.”
Therefore, we cannot definitively answer the question. It was a Christian event as far as some, if not many of the perpetrators, were baptized practicing Christians. It was a Christian event because anti-Jewish preconceptions and hermeneutics paved the road for active participation or passivity.
It was not a Christian event, as it was not an organized effort by the so-called Christian powers or interests. Those Christians involved never saw the incompatibility of Biblical faith and Nazi ideology. Their ideologies defined their hermeneutic and religious expression of Christianity. In addition, many Christians defended and protected Jewish life at the expense of their own. Many devoted to their belief that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah were driven to help the Jews. Likewise, there were plenty of non-Christians on both sides.
So, is the Holocaust a Christian event? Yes. (And no.)