Before 1933, the Catholic workers’ associations of western Germany consituted a mainstay of the Center Party and one of the most important Catholic organizations overall. It boasted an
organizational leadership that was politically and ecclesiastically influential and a membership approximating 200,000 members. The Catholic Worker’s Movement (Katholische Arbeiterbewegung or KAB)
adopted a consistently oppositional posture vis-à-vis Nazism at a considerably earlier time than most other democratic forces. Inevitably, once Hitler had seized power, the Nazi state attacked this most
important confessional workers’ organization.
Jürgen Aretz bases his study on sources used essentially for the first time. Beginning with the KAB’s early pronouncements on Nazism from as early as 1923, Aretz estends
his analysis until the end of the Third Reich. Aretz examines the conclusion of the 1933 Reich Concordat, especially the protracted (and little-known) negotiations over those Concordat articles that
protected associational life. The effects of the Nazi German Labor Front’s prohibition on concurring memberships, anti-KAB injunctions at the regional level, the destruction of the
association’s press, as well as the active resistance of its leadership and many members also constitute major themes of the study.