Israel and Sara

Israel

Today marks the 80th anniversary where the Jews in Germany even lost control of their own names.

On 17 August 1938, the Nazi regime decreed that by January 1, 1939, Jewish men and women bearing first names of “non-Jewish” origin had to add “Israel” and “Sara,” respectively, to their given names (Namensänderungs verordnung). For their children, only a restricted number of “Jewish” first names were allowed.

name change

The law had already been discussed in 1934. The Nazi lawyer Wilhelm Frick had voiced his concern that the Jews could disguise their identity by changing their names.On July 19 1935 he had introduced a design to Hitler, whereby it was easier to identify Jews by adding something specifically Yiddish to their names.

Frick

Less then 2 years later a decree was passed requiring  Jews bearing first names of “non-Jewish” origin to adopt an additional name: “Israel” for men and “Sara” for women.

Sara

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Sources

USHMM

Wikipedia Germany

 

 

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Wilhelm Boger,the tiger of Auschwitz-Auschwitz Political Department

Boger

The Political Department was the representative of the RSHA( Reich Main Security Office)in the camp, and its main objectives  were

  • Identification documentation
  • Keeping files on individual prisoners
  • Investigations
  • Interrogations
  • Intelligence service
  • Surveillance
  • Camp registrar (sometimes in conjunction with supervision of the crematorium)

RECORDS

Wilhelm Friedrich Boger who had the nickname ‘the tiger of Auschwitz’, was an officer of Political Department ,which were a part of the Gestapo. He was notorious for the crimes he committed.

He also invented a torture device called the ‘Boger Swing’

Boger swing

After the war, Boger’s secretary,Frau Braun, gave a vivid description how the Boger Swing was used.

“It was a meter-long iron bar suspended by chains hung from the ceiling(the drawing above is from a different version of the Boger Swing)… A prisoner would be brought in for “questioning,” stripped naked and bent over the bar, wrists manacled to ankles. A guard at one side would shove him—or her—off across the chamber in a long, slow arc, while Boger would ask “questions,” at first quietly, then barking them out, and at the last bellowing. At each return, another guard armed with a crowbar would smash the victim across the buttocks. As the swinging went on and on, and the wailing victim fainted, was revived only to faint howling again, the blows continued—until only a mass of bleeding pulp hung before their eyes. Most perished from the ordeal–some sooner, some later. In the end a sack of bones and flayed flesh and fat was swept along the shambles of that concrete floor to be dragged away”

His evil crimes in the Political Department continued until the evacuation of Auschwitz in January 1945.

After the camp was liberated he went on the run for five months until June 1946.He was eventually caught in Ludwigsburg where his parents lived He was supposed to  have been extradited to Poland for trial but managed to escape later that same year. From 1948 until mid 1949, he managed to get a job as a farm hand in Crailsheim. He then lived with his family under his real name in Hemmingen . He found a job as supervisor of supplies at the Heinkelwerke, an airplane factory in his birthplace Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen, where he was arrested in October 1958 at the age of 51. Untill that time he had lived a ‘normal’ live. His neighbours knew he had worked in Auschwitz and when they asked him about his time he replied”er habe sich nichts vorzuwerfen” he had done nothing to feel guilty about.

arrest

He was released shortly afterwards for he passed denazification. The following assessment of Boger was made:

“.He does not leave the impression of a raw, brutal man, but more one of a rational, well-schooled police commissioner and civil servant.” a the investigation was stopped because it did not warrant any further costs to be borne by the German state.

However in 1959 he was re-arrested and was charged for the war crimes he committed at Auschwitz. On 20 August 1965 he was also tied  at the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials by the Landgericht Frankfurt am Main under Chief Judge Hans Hofmeyer for aiding and abetting the murder of Jews.

trials

After several  eyewitness accounts he was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in at least 5 cases, collective murder in at least 109 cases and aiding  in collective murder.

He died on April 3,1977,aged 70 in prison.

 

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Sources

Der Spiegel

German Wikipedia

When 13,745,680 people voted for the Nazis

31 july

It is easy to forget that the Nazis didn’t take power, they were democratically elected, although they did not shy away from using violence securing the votes.

However despite the bully tactics by the SA, people still had a choice to vote for the NSDAP or for any other party.

SA

The General election of July 31st 1932 resulted in the NSDAP becoming the largest party for the first time in its history in Germany. The total tally was 13,745,680 or 37.27% of the total vote, which was an increase of 19.02% compared to the previous election.

election

The election campaign did take place under  violent circumstances. The SA had been banned by Heinrich Brüning who had been Chancellor from March 1930 to May 30th 1932. President von Hindemburg had dismissed Brüning and replaced him with Franz von Papen from the .German Centre Party.

Von Papen  lifted the ban on the SA(Paramilitary arm of the NSDAP), although it really only had been a token ban to start of with. The  SA clashed with the communist paramilitary.

brown

Although the Nazis did become the largest party, they did not achieve the overall majority they had hoped for,and could not yet form a government.

In November 1932 new election were held and although the NSDAP became the biggest party yet again, they still did not have an overall majority.

On 3 December, 1932 von Papen was replaced by his Defence Minister Kurt von Schleicher who  had been in talks with the left wing of the Nazi Party led by Gregor Strasser  and tried to build up a Third Position strategy. However these plans were unsuccessful after Hitler had taken the power away from  Strasser and approached von Papen for coalition talks.

Von Papen got Hindenburg’s approval to form the Hitler Cabinet on 30 January 1933.He reserved the office of the Vice-Chancellor for himself.

On March 5. 1933 yet another election was held this time the Nazi received 43.91% of the votes, but yet again short of an overall majority. In order to avoid forming yet another coalition Hitler drew up plans for the’enabling act’  an amendment to the Weimar Constitution which gave the German Cabinet — in effect, Chancellor Adolf Hitler — the power to enact laws without the involvement of the parliament.

The law was passed on March 23 ,1933.

act

The disturbing thing about this is that they were able to do this without breaking any laws, they followed a democratic process.

electiom campaign

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Creating the conditions for the Holocaust

stab.JPG

Nowadays it is very easy to blame social media for widely distributing fake news on a large scale by means of memes and other ways. However this is nothing new, about 100 years ago this was happening through way of propaganda postcards and cartoons(after all a meme is nothing else then a digital propaganda or satirical postcard or cartoon) spread via post or newspapers.

Long before Hitler came to power, German politicians like Friedrich Ebert already blamed  communists,socialists and especially the Jews for losing WWI, by creating the ‘stab in the back’ myth.

The stab-in-the-back myth was believed despite even though it was entirely false .German Jews had loyally and bravely served in the German army during WWII. In fact their numbers were out of proportion in ratio to their numbers in the population. A fact that was emphasized by the “Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers”

Soldiers

Several myths  were deliberately propagated alongside older prejudices. Myths such as:

  • The Jews had started the war to bring Europe to financial ruin and to bring it under Jewish control.
  • Jews exploited the misery of the war to enrich themselves and prolonged it to lead the Bolshevik Revolution in furthering the aim of world revolution.

These myths were enhanced by propaganda postcards and cartoons.

stab in the back

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The origin of the term “stab-in-the-back” itself can possibly attributed to General Erich Ludendorff and dated to the autumn of 1919. Ludendorff was having dinere with the head of the British Military Mission in Berlin,  General Sir Neill Malcolm. Malcolm asked Ludendorff why he thought Germany lost the war. Ludendorff replied with his list of excuses, including that the home front failed the army.

Malcolm asked him: “Do you mean, General, that you were stabbed in the back?” Ludendorff’s eyes lit up and he leaped upon the phrase like a dog on a bone. “Stabbed in the back?” he repeated. “Yes, that’s it, exactly, we were stabbed in the back”.

Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders began to speak critically about the peace and Weimar politicians, socialists, communists and especially Jews, It was suggested that they had not been supportive during the war and had played a part in selling out Germany to its enemies.

stab 4

By the time the Nazis came to power the foundations had already been laid.

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Sources

Encyclopedia 1914-1918

USHMM

 

Boycotting Jewish Businesses

boycott

Although tempted to join the debate on the current call to boycott goods from Israel, I am not going to join. I rather stick to what I know best, history. .

On April 1, 1933, the Nazis in Germany began with the boycott of Jewish businesses. They claimed it was a retaliation to the calls of boycott on German goods by foreign critics of the Nazi Party.

German

In reality the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses was part of the early measures for eventual eradication of the Jews.

Below are just a few examples of those boycotts, they were OFTEN accompanIed by the SA or SS.

“Germans protect yourselves, don’y buy Jewish”

1

Outside a Wohlwert shop “The battle against department stores”

2

“Germans don’t but from Jews”

3

Boycott poster , announcing the boycott of all Jewish businesses signed by Adolf Hitler and Paul von Hindenburg on behalf of the German people.

4

 

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When the propaganda of Der Stürmer was even too much for the Nazis

wall

Der Stürmer is probably the most vile newspaper ever published. It was nothing more then Julius Streicher’s Anti-Semitic propaganda tabloid. It was however popular and made Streicher a wealthy man.

It wasn’t the official Nazi newspaper, in fact some leading Nazis did not like it at all. Joseph Goebbels tried to ban the newspaper in 1938. And Hermann Goering banned the newspaper in all of his departments, he had a special hate for the paper for it had published and article claiming that his daughter Edda was conceived via artificial insemination.

Edda.JPG

Other Nazis like Heinrich Himmler and Robert Ley did like the publications of the paper.Hitler himself thought the primitive nature of the publications where very effective in influencing the common Germans.

In his propaganda work, Streicher made use of  medieval stereotypes ,especially Jewish stereotypes, or rather exaggerated stereotypes and caricatures. It’s slogan was Die Juden sind unser Unglück-“The Jews are our misfortune!”,

paper

In  May 1934 ,the paper published an article about Blood libel ,or Blood accusation,which was a myth that dated back to the middle ages. It was said that  that Jews required human blood for the baking of matzos for Passover and therefore  kidnapped and murdered Christian  children and used their blood as part of their religious rituals. The may edition of the paper was eventually  banned by the Nazi authorities, because it went so far as to compare alleged Jewish ritual murder with the Christian rite of communion.

Bllod Libel

 

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Train journeys for Jews

Train

The terror the Jews ,in Nazi Germany, had to undergo was not only physical. Probably the most sickest aspect was the psychological terror.

The Nazis took over every element in the lives of the Jews, they decided who lived and died. And none of the victims knew when their time would come, because the criteria in relation who would live or die changed constantly, depending on what need the Nazis had for Jews at any give time. The ultimate aim though was the total eradication of the Jews, but sometimes they needed them.

Even a simple train journey out of town was controlled by the Nazis.

The Reichsbahn (state railway), was one of many state agencies that endorsed the the German Reich’s anti-Semitic policies and immediately adhered to and implemented the policies, as soon as the Nazis were in power.

ad

On September 1st, 1941, Reinhard Heydrich orderer that Jews   would only be allowed to
leave their town of residence with a police permit. This paved the way for mass deportation.

Permit

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Source

Deutsches Technik Museum

 

Hoffmann,photographing the freak Hitler.

Heinrich_Hoffmann_cropped

Heinrich Hoffmann was a Nazi politician but also was Adolf Hitler’s official photographer.He was also part of the Nazi propaganda machine.

The one thing that always intrigued me is why did a man who was so close to Hitler mot see what freak he was dealing with. He must have seen that the man was clearly delusional. When he was developing the photographs in his dark room did he not see the bizarre behaviour, or was he so filled with hate and brainwashed by the Nazi ideology that he didn’t want to see.

Below are just some examples. If I wouldn’t know better and if I didn’t know who Hitler was I would have thought that these were pictures of a lunatic, a freak.

1

2

3

Even his fashion sense should have rung alarm bells

4.JPG

Really wearing a swim hat in a car!

5

Of course we shouldn’t make light of the evil that was Adolf Hitler, but sometimes it is good to show what a freak the man really was.

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Coming face to face with the Holocaust

72-3304

In April 1945 the allied troops forced the citizens of Neunburg,Germany to face up to some of the atrocities ordered and  committed by their elected government. They were made to look at bodies of Jewish  and other slave laborers in woods outside Neunberg, where they were marched from a Nazi Gestapo camp and where thy had been killed by firing squads.

bodies

Civilians of Neunburg  were ordered to disinter and rebury victims in the city cemetery.Chaplains of U. S. Third Army held short services for the victims.

72-3308

cpffins

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Source

Truman Library

Your job in Germany and Our Job in Japan.

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Cat in the hat;How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and It’s a Wonderful Life are not stories you would associate with WWII or propaganda, and yet they have a distinct ,albeit indirect link to WWII propaganda movies.

The name Theodor Seuss Geisel will mean little to many people,although there is a hint in his name which gives away the name he is known by to most. He is better known as Dr. Seuss.

Seuss

In 1943, he joined the Army as a Captain and was commander of the Animation Department of the First Motion Picture Unit of the United States Army Air Forces. Where he got to work with Frank Capra, the director of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.

Initially they worked together on a series of black-and-white American instructional,  cartoons, of a character created by Capra called ‘Private Snafu’,that were produced between 1943 and 1945

Private_SNAFU

The cartoons were humorous very much like the Looney toons. The short movies were directed by famous  directors like Chuck Jones and Fritz Freleng.

In one episode of the series ‘Three Brothers’ released on December 4, 1944 a certain Bugs Bunny made an appearance.

Frank Capra and Dr Seuss worked on 2 hard hitting propaganda films ,shortly after WWII in 1945.

Your Job in Germany

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The film would probably be called racist and non political correct nowadays but in the context of the time it was accepted and also understandable.This training film was made for U.S. Army occupation forces in Germany following World War II.

It  tells how Germany has always been evil and when given a the chance again they would start another war with another leader like Hitler.

In the films the troops are urged not to become friends with the Germans, for the Nazi mentality is still prevalent in the German psyche, and probably always will be.

intro

Jack Warner, of Warner Brothers,  secured the rights to ‘Your Job in Germany’ and turned it into a short documentary entitled Hitler Lives?, directed by Don Siegel. It was released commercially on December 29, 1945 and won the 1946 Academy Award  for Documentary Short Subject.

Our Job in Japan

2018-05-15

Our Job in Japan was a United States military training film made in 1945. Equally to ‘Your Job in Germany’ this movie would now be perceived as racist and totally not political correct.But similarly in the context of the aftermath of WWII and the brutality the Japanese army had displayed during the war it was understandable and probably warranted to portray the Japanese people in the way they did.

The film was aimed at American troops heading to Japan to occupy the country in 1945  It presented the problem of turning the militarist state into a peaceful democracy.

It starts off showing Japan surrendering  , followed by the depiction of bad things that they did during the war, and also how the Japanese always followed a backward quasi religious philosophy. The  narrator explains that although the war is over the Japanese brains still need to adapt to a more modern society based on common sense and not by worshiping the old ways.

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Our Job in Japan was also used as a  basis for a longer, commercially released film, with the title ‘Design for Death’  in 1947 directed by Richard Fleischer. It won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

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Sources

National Archives

IMDB