May 10,1933- Book burning.

Book Burning

A scary thought crossed my mind this week. What some Social Media outlets are doing nowadays, is basically the digital version of book burning. Regardless how valuable a post might be, or even how inoffensive it is when the moderators don’t like it , it will get banned,or digitally burned so to speak.

On May 10,1933 German university students burned upwards of 25,000 volumes of perceived “un-German” books, foreshadowing an era of state censorship and control of culture. On the evening of May 10, in the majority of German university towns, right-wing students marched in torchlight parades “against the un-German spirit.” The scripted rituals called for high Nazi officials, professors, university rectors, and university student leaders to address the participants and spectators.

may 10

The books ranged from Bebel, Bernstein, Preuss, and Rathenau through Einstein, Freud, Brecht, Brod, Döblin, Kaiser, the Mann brothers, Zweig, Plievier, Ossietzky, Remarque, Schnitzler, and Tucholsky, to Barlach, Bergengruen, Broch, Hoffmannsthal, Kästner, Kasack, Kesten, Kraus, Lasker-Schüler, Unruh, Werfel, Zuckmayer, and Hesse. The catalogue went back far enough to include literature from Heine and Marx to Kafka. But also books from H.G Wells,Ernest Hemingway and Virginia Woolf.

What amazes me most about this, these weren’t uneducated people doing this but students and lecturers, and other academics willingly participating in the destruction of scientific research and history.

books collected

These academics had become the moderators of what could or could not be read.

It is true history does repeat itself.

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April 23,1945- Speer and Goering

telegram

In the English language there is a saying ” The chickens are coming home to roost” it basically means bad deeds or words return to discomfort their perpetrator.

Hitler must have felt very much discomforted by the actions of two of his closest allies.

Hermann Göring sent Hitler a telegram wherein he gave Hitler an ultimatum.

“My Führer:

General Koller today gave me a briefing on the basis of communications given him by Colonel General Jodl and General Christian, according to which you had referred certain decisions to me and emphasized that I, in case negotiations would become necessary, would be in an easier position than you in Berlin. These views were so surprising and serious to me that I felt obligated to assume, in case by 2200 o’clock no answer is forthcoming, that you have lost your freedom of action. I shall then view the conditions of your decree as fulfilled and take action for the well being of Nation and Fatherland. You know what I feel for you in these most difficult hours of my life and I cannot express this in words. God protect you and allow you despite everything to come here as soon as possible.

Your faithful Hermann Göring”

The telegram made Hitler furious and as a reaction he stripped his chosen successor of all power and appointed new political successors, Joseph Goebbels and Karl Dönitz.

On that same day Albert Speer visited Hitler for the last time to advise Hitler that he  ignored the Nero Decree for scorched earth.The Nero Decree was issued by Adolf Hitler on March 19, 1945 ordering the destruction of German infrastructure to prevent their use by Allied forces as they penetrated deep within Germany.

speer.JPG

It was basically 2 evil men telling another evil man that the game was up.

The day after on April 24 another close ally of the Führer,Himmler, made a secret offer of surrender to the allied forces.

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915 Euthanasias a month.

Sonnenstein

I do mention  Euthanasias in the title but in reality they were murders. Euthanasia. Sonnenstein Euthanasia Clinic was in of the euthanasia centres of the T4 program.

It operated between June 1940 and September 1941. Most of the victims  were suffering from psychological disorders and intellectual disability, but their number also included inmates from the concentration camps.

It didn’t take much to be branded as somebody with a psychological disorder, even political delinquents were seem as people with mental disabilities.

Between June 1940 and September the centre euthanized on average 915 victims a month, or about 30 victims a day.

One of the victims was Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler.

elfriede

She was was a German painter of the avant-garde movement  whose works were considered “degenerate art” and therefor banned and sometimes destroyed.

In 1929, she suffered a nervous breakdown due to financial  problems and relationship issues ,she was committed to a psychiatric institution in Hamburg-Friedrichsberg. During the two months she stayed there  stay, she painted the Friedrichsberg heads. A portfolio  of work consisting of about 60 drawings and pastels of mainly portraits of fellow patients. After her recovery  she had a very creative phase. She painted numerous paintings of Hamburg’s harbor, scenes from the life of workers and prostitutes, and pitiless self-portraits. But despite some exhibitions, sales, and smaller grants, she lived in  poverty.

Due to  these financial problems and increasing social isolation, she returned to her parents’ home in Dresden in 1931. When her mental state worsened her father admitted her to the state mental home at Arnsdorf in 1932. Where  she was diagnosed with schizophrenia. From 1932 to 1935 she was still creatively active, drawing portraits and creating arts and crafts. After her husband  divorced her in May 1935 she was incapacitated due to “incurable insanity”.

After refusing to consent to a sterilisation, she was no longer allowed  to leave the hospital . In late 1935, she was subjected to a surgical sterilisation in the Dresden-Friedrichstadt women’s hospital as per the Nazi eugenicist policies. After this trauma  she never painted again. In 1940 she was deported to Sonnenstein where she was killed on July 31,1940.

Centre Sonnenstein

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NS-Frauen-Warte- Nazi propaganda in a glossy women’s magazine.

magazine

The NS-Frauen-Warte was a fortnightly  Nazi magazine for women. At a first glance the magazine looked harmless. It would often have recipes or sewing patterns etc. But most of the articles in the magazine were pure propaganda, aimed to brainwash women and especially young mothers.

Below is an article from the January 1940 edition. The cover of the magazine shows a child making a snowball, the main article is called “Life must win”

“What the man sacrifices in fighting for his people, the woman sacrifices in fighting to maintain this people. The man shows heroism on the battlefield, the woman shows it in eternal patient devotion, in ever patient sorrow and endurance.

Each child that she brings into the world is a battle that she fights for the existence or nonexistence of her people

— Der Führer

In happy times, holidays like Christmas Eve with the family or New Year’s Eve are high lights. In graver times when the fate of an entire people hangs in the balance, they are an occasion contemplating of times past and times to come . Only weak people will fall into lame sentimentality or be tempted by hopeless self-pity. Others find occasion to catch their breath, to find clear, solid knowledge that they can use to give them new courage to go on with their labours. But we should not forget that these holidays even during war bring joy and strength. A war Christmas is not a new thing to the older ones among us . We have experienced it before, those grave but unforgettable Christmases that united the homeland and the front together in unbreakable community. Christmas, that is the feast of family community. During war, it is the festival of community for all who are of the same nature, the same blood. It is the community of Germans; particularly now as we all stand before unprecedented change, a time of renewal, of youth, of the eternity of our people.

A correct comprehension of our time must make us proud and strong, and from such knowledge we may turn our view from outside to the lives of German women. Their high mission as guardians of life is very different from that of the man, and one cannot do enough to emphasize that again and again. The man’s life is filled with struggles and battles, with tools or working the soil. But today more than ever, the outcome depends on the quiet heroism of women. The willingness of the man to die stands against the will of the woman for life. The more we learn about the world and our people, the higher is the role of the woman, and the more we must see the question of life as the most significant. War and victory stand in the service of life, in the service of maintaining and extending the life of our people. That is their meaning.

Our enemies have often stated  openly that they look for victory not in fair fighting on the battlefield, but rather in a war of annihilation against the core of our national being, against our women and children. They may have hunger written on their battle flags, but these methods they used against us before hold no terror for us, for we are ready. What is behind those threats is more serious. The implacability of our enemies in England and above all in France is best understood when one realizes that their populations are declining. They face a Germany whose population is so strong they dare not attack it with arms. They hope that by prolonging the war, by blockades and starvation, they can exert pressure on the German life will. These shrinking peoples use poisoned weapons to fight the new, healthy German growth, a Germany they believed they had dealt with in the Treaty of Versailles by senselessly taking its territory in the hopes of cutting off Germany’s life.

The success or failure of the enemy’s devilish plans depends on German women and mothers, on their will to sacrifice and on their love for their children. It may often be difficult  to be a mother, to continue  the eternal struggle for the life of the German people. That is especially the truth  for women whose husbands are in the military, but each brave deed is its own reward. And let us not forget that life keeps going, and breaks through the barriers that stand in its way. Is not the continuing expansion of German territory new proof for the eternal law that life finds its way?

No one may remove the desire of German women to bear children. Some may try to spread the idea that children born during the war will face hunger and a future wounded in body and soul, as happened during the World War. But today’s government sees in children its greatest wealth, and its highest responsibility  in caring for them. It will ensure that children born during the war will be protected, and can look forward to a happy Germany. They will harvest what today is being sown in these great days. And we may not forget that today the whole people stand behind our children; once again it takes pleasure in children and loves them, seeing its future in its children.

Life is the world of the woman. The fate of her people is determined by her attitude toward life, in her will to happiness and her desire for children. Our soldiers protect Germany and all that we have achieved. But it is our women who are the foundation of the future of  Germany, who build it stone by stone through fine German children. Here are the values , here the right to life of our people. Our children are the river that carries German feeling, German thinking, German accomplishments, and the German will throughout the centuries.

Will the courage of German women to carry on life be less than the willingness of our soldiers to die? That is the question that faces us. The only answer is this:

A military or political victory over our enemies would be only half the battle, and could not guarantee Germany’s future or the Führer’s work. The decisive factor is the victory of life. And that is in the hands of our women and mothers.”

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Source

Heidelberg University

German Wikipedia

German History Docs

 

 

Twelve Theses-When students encouraged the destruction of History.

twelve

One of the most effective weapons to fight antisemitism and racism is critical thinking. What scares me though, is that there seems to be less and less people who have this ability. Or maybe it is just a case that those who think critically are silenced.

This blog will be about a historical event , but I can’t ignore the fact that it has similarities to what is slowly creeping in today’s society. Often critical thinking gets confused with criticizing news reports or studies etc., but that is an incorrect assessment. Critical thinking is merely not accepting everything you hear automatically, but rather analyse the data and ask questions where needed.

One of the key ingredients for critical thinking is knowing history. There is currently a trend in  several countries, to take  history out of the school curriculum. However if you forget your history, you forfeit your future.

Books

In April 1933 German Student Association called for German university students to destroy all “un-German” literature. Basically they wanted to sanitize history to suit their own traditions and philosophies. According to them everything which was not in line with the Germanic ‘values’ ,and especially anything Jewish,was deemed tainted and had to be purged.

They published what they called “Zwölf Thesen wider den undeutschen Geist,-twelve Theses Against the Un-German Spirit”. The document was published in several German media. Below is an English translation of the text.

” Twelve Theses Against the un-German spirit!
1. Language and literature have their roots in the people. It is the German people’s responsibility to assure that its language and literature are the pure and unadulterated expression of its Folk traditions.

2. At present there is a chasm between literature and German tradition. This situation is a disgrace.

3. Purity of language and literature is your responsibility! Your people have entrusted you with the duty of faithfully preserving your language.

4. Our most dangerous enemy is the Jew and those who are his slaves.

5. A Jew can only think Jewish. If he writes in German, he is lying. The German who writes in German, but thinks un-German, is a traitor! The student who speaks and writes un-German is, in addition, thoughtless and has abandoned his duties.

6. We want to eradicate lies, we want to denounce treason, we want institutions of discipline and political education for us the students, not mindlessness.

7. We want to regard the Jew as alien and we want to respect the traditions of the Folk.

Therefore, we demand of the censor:
Jewish writings are to be published in Hebrew.
If they appear in German, they must be identified as translations.
Strongest actions against the abuse of the German script.
German script is only available to Germans.
The un-German spirit is to be eradicated from public libraries.
8. We demand of the German students the desire and capability for independent knowledge and decisions.

9. We demand of German students the desire and capability to maintain the purity of the German language.

10. We demand of German students the desire and capability to overcome Jewish intellectualism and the resulting liberal decay in the German spirit.

11. We demand the selection of students and professors in accordance with their reliability and commitment to the German spirit.

12. We demand that German universities be a stronghold of the German Folk tradition and a battleground reflecting the power of the German mind.

The German Student Association.”

Although these theses did not themselves expressly call for book burning, it is what triggered the book burnings across Germany and Austria in May 1933. This was only a few months after the Nazi party had taken power.

Frankfurt

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Sources

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Library Arizona

 

The Jewish typewriter salesman who recommended Hitler for an Iron cross.

Gutmann.JPG

I have to confess that the the title is somewhat misleading because Hugo Gutmann was not a typewriter salesman as of yet when he recommended Hitler’s award of the Iron Cross First Class.

Hugo Gutmann was one of the 12,000 Jewish military who fought for Germany during WWI.

from 29 January to 31 August, 1918 Lt. Gutmann was Adolf Hitler’s commanding officer.

Hitler on the right

Hitler was awarded the Iron Cross, 1st Class, for his role as a messenger, running important information between units under fire. The decoration was given to Hitler on  August 4th, 1918,  by the regimental commander, Major von Tubeuf The 2 decorations Hitler only wore were his Iron Cross, and his Nazi Party Badge.

On 8 February 1919, Gutmann left  the German Army, but still was registered army rolls as a reserve lieutenant. In 1933, he applied  for and received his military pension – which had been protected,  for all veterans including Jewish veterans ,by President  Paul von Hindenburg. Despite the anti Jewish laws and losing his German citizenship  Gutmann was allowed to keep his pension.

Around the time of the ‘Kristallnacht’ in autumn 1938, he was arrested by the Gestapo, but SS officers who know him  and  his  relationship with Hitler had him released from custody.

But regardless  this relationship, eventually his fate would have been the same as all other Jews in Germany and the occupied territories.

In 1939, Gutmann and his family moved to  Belgium . In 1940  just prior to the invasion of the Low Countries,the Gutmanns immigrated to the United States. They initially settled  in St. Louis where Hugo secured employment  as a typewriter salesman. In the US  he changed his name to Henry George Grant. He died in San Diego, California, on 22 June 1962. He was buried at Home of Peace Cemetery in San Diego.

Hugo

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Heinz Rühmann-Hero or Villain?

Heinz

Heinz Rühmann-Hero or Villain? The honest answer is I don’t know but I expect the answer is somewhere in the middle, he was neither a hero or a villain or he was a bit of both.

For anyone living in an English speaking country or who grew up outside of Europe, the name Heinz Rühmann will mean virtually nothing. But for those who grew up in Europe and especially in Germany,Austria,Switzerland,the Netherlands or other central and eastern European countries the name will be synonymous with German cinema.

He was born on March 7, 1902 in Essen in Germany and  appeared in over a 100 movies between 1926 and 1993.

During the Nazi era he starred in 37 movies and directed 4. Most of the German movies in that era were heavily themed with Nazi propaganda. Although Rühmann was apolitical because of his work he was directly associated to the Nazi regime.

director

The majority of his movies during the Third reich were lighthearted comedies, meant to keep up the morale of the German people.

However he had the ‘honor’ to make a short film on the occasion of Joseph Goebbels’s birthday, in which he portrayed the minister’s children and his wife Magda Goebbels.

Goebbels

In August 1924 he married Maria Bernheim, who was Jewish. In 1938 he divorced. Maria  married the Swedish actor Rolf von Nauckhoff shortly afterwards, as a result she  got by a departure permission to Sweden. She survived World War 2

The divorce caused Rühmann to be accused of w opportunism for wanting to secure his career. However the marriage had already been a bit shaky , and some people say that he wanted to protect his wife by divorcing her.Even after the divorce and despite his ex wife being married again, he still supported Maria financially.

Rühmann remarried on July 1 ,1939, he married the actress Hertha Feiler whose Grandfather was Jewish. Therefore she  considered to be one fourth Jewish  and was only able to work with a special permission, despite that  she and Heinz Rühmann were presented in the press as a model married couple.

Hertha

In 1944, the premiere of “Die Feuerzangenbowle” was banned by the Nazi film censor for “disrespect for authority”. Because of his good relationships with the regime, however, Rühmann was allowed to screen the film in public. He brought the film to the  Wolfsschanze for a private screening for Hermann Göring and others. Göring enjoyed the movie and was able to get the ban on the film lifted by Adolf Hitler.

One of Heinz Rühmann’s  biggest fans was Anne Frank,. She even posted a  picture of him above her bed in the Secret Annex in Amsterdam, where it can still be seen today.

In May 1945 Heinz Rühmann was  forced to witness the rape of his wife Hertha  by Russian soldiers in their Berlin villa.

After the war he had difficulties resuming his work, partially because he was confronted with a working prohibition by the Allies. However  by the mid 50s, the former comedic actor had established himself again as a star, only this time as Germany’s leading character actor. His last movie was Wim Wenders’s “Faraway, So Close!” from 1993.

He died in 1994, aged 92.

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Sources

IMDB

Der Spiegel

ZDF

 

Funding Evil

hoesch

For the NSDAP to become as powerful as it did, it had to receive financial backing, They could not only rely on donations of party members, because in the early 1930s many of them were not that wealthy, one of the reasons they had joined the party was to get themselves in a financial better position.

On November 19, 1932 , twenty representatives of industry, agriculture and the finance sector signed a petition ,urging Paul von Hindenburg to make Adolf Hitler the Chancellor of Germany.

The drafting of the petition was aided especially by Hjalmar Schacht, who had been the President of the Reichsbank until 1930 and resumed that position again after Hitler took power in January 1933.

SCHACHT

A few months after that petition, on February 20 1933, a group of 20 German  industrialists had a secret meeting with Hitler at the residence of Hermann Göring.  Hjalmar Schacht was again one of the participants. The meeting was held to facilitate funding for the Nazis election campaign for the March 5 ,1933 election.

The aim was to  achieve a two-thirds majority in order  to pass the Enabling Act,which would give Hitler total power over the Reichstag,   they wanted to raise three million Reichsmark to fund the campaign.

The Nazis  did not achieve the 3 million they desired during that meeting, but according to records,  over two million Reichsmarks were contributed or pledged at the meeting.

This is where it gets a bit problematic for me although several of the companies present on that day or who contributed monies afterwards, are no longer in existence. Some of them were disbanded after the war, or others like Hoechst who were  bought up r merged into  by other companies, Hoechst for example was partially acquired by the Dutch Hoogovens in the 1970s and the remainder of the company merged with France’s Rhône-Poulenc S.A. in 1999.

But there were companies who are still trading nowadays and are some of the biggest brands in the world. Companies like Siemens,Opel,Allianz insurance,BMW or companies like Osram lighting  who contributed 40,000 Reichsmark and AEG Electronics who gave 60,000 Reichsmark.

These companies are now household names, my dilemma is do we need to boycott them? Which would mean we can no longer sit leave alone drive an Opel or BMW, and lets not forget VW and Ford had also links to the NSDAP.

IG Farben who not only contributed 400,000 Reichsmark but also supplied Zyklon B via its subsidiary Degesch.

zyklon

But a part of IG Farben continued trading after the war as Bayer, which is one of the biggest pharmaceutical and life sciences companies in the world, many patients depend on their medicines,

As for Hjalmar Schacht who so willingly  participated in the meeting and petition, he was one of the non military people involved in the 20 July plot to kill Hitler.

I genuinely struggle with this because it is not a black and white issue. Do we really boycott all the companies who had ties with the Nazi regime? Because that is basically a great deal of companies who have been around since before WWII.

Coca Cola(via Fanta); Hugo Boss;Mercedes Benz;C&A;IBM;Chanel,Audi;Nestle;Barclays Bank;Kodak;AP;Adidas and Puma. There are literally hundreds of companies.

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The day Roland Freisler received justice.

Freisler

One of the most despicable henchmen of he Nazi regime was Roland Freisler.Te only redeeming factor he had that he also tried high-ranking Nazis . You could be for 90% certain that if you would appear before his court you would be sentenced to death or to life imprisonment.

On 20 August 1942, Hitler appionted  Freisler as president of the People’s Court.This court was instrumental in securing the Nazi stranglehold over Germany

Not only would Freisler sentence defendants.often for no real reason or without any evidence, he would also humiliate them.

One time he yelled at one defendant“You are crying!”  who started to cry in court, “What do you want to tell us with the tears in your eyes?” Freisler  sentenced that man to be hung with a thin rope so that he would, as per Hitler’s orders, suffer a slow death.

However on February 3rd, 1945 Judge Freisler got his comeuppance.USAAF Lt. Colonel Robert Rosenthal led a bombing raid with his B-17 over Berlin.

b 17

Freisler was conducting a Saturday session of the People’s Court at the time and although the air sirens were sounding,Freisler refused to evacuate the building.

He stayed behind to get  files for  the trial of Fabian von Schlabrendorff, one id the  July 20 plot conspirators. Freisler planned to sentence von Schlabrendorff to death that day.

Fabian

However things didn’t turn out the way he planned.A sudden direct hit on the court-building shortly after 11 am caused a partial internal collapse, with Freisler being crushed by a masonry column and killed while still in the courtroom.

Schlabrendorff’s life was spared but ironically Freisler received the swift justice he had been  such a fan of.

court

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I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

USHMM

Allthatisinteresting.com

Bundes archiv

 

 

Alfred Delp-“Vincula amoris” -chains of love.

Alfred Delp

I know the Catholic church has quite a few questions to answer when it comes to WWII, but there were many within the church who stood up against the Nazi regime, knowing that it could cost them their lives and for many it did.

Alfred Delp was a German  Jesuit priest. Witnessing at  first hand his country being turned into something he could not stand, Alfred Delp opposed bitterly the rising tide of Nazism, which eventually cots him his life.

He was a member of the inner Kreisau Circle resistance group(a group of about twenty-five German dissidents led by Helmuth James von Moltke, who met at his estate in the rural town of Kreisau)

estate

He was arrested in Munich on 28 July 1944, with other members of the circle after the attempted assassination of Hitler on July 20 1944. After suffering brutal treatment and torture, Delp was brought to trial. Even though he knew nothing of the attempted assassination.

He was transferred to Tegel Prison in Berlin. Whilst in prison, he secretly began to say Mass and wrote letters, reflections on Advent, on Christmas, and other spiritual subjects,which were smuggled out of the prison before his trial. On 8 December 1944.

On the day of his trial he got  visit from Franz von Tattenbach SJ, sent by Augustin Rösch, Father Delp’s superior in Munich  to receive his final vows to the Jesuit Order. This was forbidden by the Nazis, but the attending policemen did not understand what was going on.Delp wrote on the same day, It was too much, what a fulfillment, I prayed for it so much, I gave my life away. My chains are now without any meaning, because God found me worthy of the “Vincula amoris” (chains of love)

Delp was offered his freedom if he would renounce the Jesuits. He refused and was hanged February 2, 1945. His body was cremated and his ashes spread on an unknown field.

Martyr

 

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Sources

Jesuits in Ireland

Ignatius Insight

Wikipedia

ignatianspirituality.com