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The Orthodox Nationalist: Germany and the Russian Catacombs – TON 100219

Dr Matthew Raphael Johnson looks at the hidden alliance between the Russian Orthodox Church and the German liberators in WW2 and the Soviet response to it.

There's an untold story about the German crusade in the USSR, and that's the relationship between the German forces and the underground Orthodox churches scattered throughout the country, the “Catacomb” churches, or the Russian True Orthodox. In many areas, particularly in the far south and the far north, the Germans were very much dependent on these forces for guidance, translation and police duties. Over time, the goodwill built up between the German Army and Orthodox nationalists created long-standing personal connections that still haven't been spoken of in English.

Unfortunately, Stalin and Beria crated the SMERSh organization, a new police agency specifically meant to infiltrate these groups and neutralize them. By the end of the war, they had almost three million informants. They even fooled the Germans at Kursk, convincing the Abwehr that the Soviet forces were smaller by a factor of almost two million. Using captured Germans, SMERSh engaged in “radio sabotage” that caused the German high command, already struggling with bad intelligence, endless confusion. Worse, their infiltration into Orthodox and Nationalist organizations at the local level eventually tuned many of the SS against the Russians. Dressing in German uniforms and engaging in atrocities was a method used in the civil war to great effect. There were no rules of war for “Uncle Joe.” Still, the connection of the Orthodox church and the German army, both politically and ideologically, remains uncharted territory in the US.

Presented by Matt Johnson

The Orthodox Nationalist: Germany and the Russian Catacombs – TON 100219


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