A rumour was enough to be sentenced to death.

Leo

It is strange how you can come across some stories. I was actually doing some research on the fate of the pets of Jews during the Holocaust, when a picture came up of Leo Katzenberger. What drew my attention to the picture was the fact that Leo looked a lot like one of my Uncles who was also called Leo, now my uncle wasn’t a particularly nice man, where Leo Katzenberger by all accounts was a good neighbor and a good man. But why his picture came up in the place I don’t know.perhaps it is because of his last name.

The story of Leo is a disturbing one and although I don’t like drawing parallels with the Holocaust and current state of affairs, I can’t but help seeing some similarities. The holocaust did not happen overnight ,it was a gradual process, Conditions were created without being properly challenged,conditions which eventually resulted in mass destruction of innocent human lives. It only takes a rumour nowadays to get a person convicted, but today the courts are set in social media, People might not realize it but the Holocaust started by slowly picking on people, making false accusation creating the perfect situations to single out scapegoats.

The Katzenberg tral is a chilling example of what can happen.

Leo Katzenberger was a well known  Jewish businessman in Nuremberg he was the owner of a wholesale shoe business and a number of stores throughout the south Germany, he was also  a leading figure in the Nuremberg Jewish community. Early 1932, he rented out  an apartment and a small storefront in his building at 19 Spittlertorgraben to Irene Seiler, a  daughter of a non-Jewish friend. Although Katzenberger’s business was ‘Aryanized’in 1938, he was still fairly comfortable and still kept his own building and rent space to Seiler.

irene

In March 1942, Katzenberger, aged  76 at the time , and Seiler, who was 30, were accused of having a sexual affair and  were  arrested on charges of racial defilement (Rassenschande).

Both Katzenberger and  Seiler,stated that their friendship was platonic and claimed the relationship between them was more that of a father and daughter, and the only “evidence” was the testimony of a single witness who had seen him leaving her apartment.The investigating judge concluded there was too little evidence to proceed with the case.However the case had come to  the attention of Oswald Rothaug, a judge known for his severity and fanatic support of the Nazi party, Rothaug arranged for the case to be brought to him.

Rothaug

Rothaug knew the trial would create massive publicity and there turned out to be great public interest in the proceedings. The courthouse  was full both trial days. In what was a deliberately set up show trial, Rothaug made remarks about Katzenberger  like “syphilitic Jew” and an “agent of world Jewry.”

Given the fact the trial only last 2 days it was clear there was only going to be 1 outcome. Katzenberger was sentenced to death for race defilement .The usual sentence for this ‘ crime’ would have been a term of imprisonment of several years. But, the Volkschädlingsgesetz, a wartime law, which allowed  the death penalty because it was claimed that Katzenberger used the wartime black outs to visit Seiler.

Irene Seiler was found guilty of perjury for denying an affair had taken place and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment

Leo Katzenberger was killed by guillotine at Stadelheim Prison in Munich on 2 June 1942.

But Even among some Nazi officials, the very weak evidence used  and grounds on which Katzenberger had been sentenced to death caused some discomfort.

 

 

 

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Sources

https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/katzenberger-case-march-13-1942

March 18: On Trial for “Racial Defilement”

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The German Jews at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

olympics berlin

The 1936 Berlin were probably the biggest propaganda tool ever to be created by the Nazi regime, but I won’t go into the details of the actual games. I will focus on 3 people of Jewish descent. Two who survived the war and one who did a few days after the games.

In 1935 teh Nazis had introduced the Nuremberg Laws.One of the consequences of these laws was that the Jewish people no longer were allowed to participate in social activities together with ‘Aryan’ people.

Concerned that international opinion would be adversely swayed by the new laws, the Interior Ministry did not actively enforce them until after the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin that August. Also some of the best athletes were Jewish.

Rudi Ball

Rudi Ball

Because he was Jewish, Ball was initially not consideed for selection in the German ice hockey team. Because  of that Ball’s  good friend and teammate, Gustav Jaenecke, refused to play unless Ball was included. Ball also believed a deal could be struck to save his family in Germany if he returned to play in the games.Realizing the team would not be competitive without their stars and attempting to win as many as possible to propagate their political machine, the Nazis and Ball struck a deal. By playing, Rudi’s family would be able to emigrate from Germany.His parents were allowed to leave and emigrated to South Africa.Although not verified it is believed that Ball had met directly with Hitler.

What I find intriguing and truly amazes me, Ball and also his brothers had already been in safety. In 1933 they played Ice hockey in Switzerland.

After the games Ball resumed playing for his old team in Berlin and, (this is something that truly amazes me) continued in the team in several capacities until 1944.

Ball died in September 1975 and was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2004.

Helene Mayer

Helena

Helene Mayer is a bit of an enigma I suppose. Many see her as a traitor and although I can understand why,I don’t necessarily subscribe to that point of view.

She was, by definition of German law at the time of the Olympics, part-Jewish, which had cost her most of her citizenship rights.Although she did not really consider herself to be Jewish, her Father was Jewish and had died from a heart attack in 1931. Her mother was christian and Helene was more or less raised as a Christian, but that did not matter to the Nazis.

Mayer won a gold medal in fencing at the age of 17 at the 1928 Summer Olympics in 1932 at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, having learned, two hours prior to the match, that her boyfriend had died in a military training exercise in Germany.She remained in the USA to study.

In April 1933, she was kicked out of the Offenbach Fencing Club, even though as a private organization it was then under no legal obligation to expunge its Jews. Later on in 1933 the Germans withdrew her scholarship. She managed to get a job teaching German at Mills College in Oakland, California, and later taught at San Francisco City College.She lost her German citizenship in 1935 because of  the Nuremberg Laws, which considered her non-German.Rejected by her home country and unable to fence for the US, Mayer’s Olympic career should have been over.However out of fear for an American boycott to the Olympic games, the Nazis decided to include Helene mayer in the team, Partially because she looked Aryan.Goebbels required of the press that “no comments were to  be made about Helene Mayer’s Jewish ancestry.

Controversially she gave a Nazi salute on the podium, and later said it might have protected her family. After the games she returned to the US.Her brothers stayed in Germany where, they were forced into hiding before eventually being they were captured and were forced into slave labor in a factory. It was only because of the war’s end they survived not because of Helene’s salute or participation in the games. Having that said though I can understand why she did it. It is very easy for us to judge but we were never put in that situation..

Wolfgang Fürstner

wolfgag

Wolfgang Fürstner  was a German Wehrmacht captain initially appointed as commander,  of Berlin’s Olympic village during the 1936 Summer Olympics.

He had been tasked with building and organizing the Olympic village. Howver shortly before the games commenced he was replaced and demoted to vice commander.

His  Grandfather was Jewish but had converted to Christianity but as with Helen Mayer this didn’t matter to the Nazis, nor did  the fact that he was an officer in the Wehrmacht.

Fürstner, found out  that  he was going to be  classified as a Jew and was to be dismissed from the Wehrmacht.On on 19 August 1936, 3 days after the end of the games he shot himself. The Nazis tried to cover up his suicide by claiming he had died in a car accident. But the truth of his suicide soon leaked to the international press. The Sydney Morning Herald an Australian newspaper, reported Fürstner had been found dead with a gun by his side.

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Sources

Rudi Ball, 1936, and a Deal with the Devil

https://web.archive.org/web/20180112100839/http://www.sihss.se/RudiBallbiography.htm

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/jul/28/helene-mayer-nazi-germanys-jewish-champion-fencer

In 1936 Games, a Mills College teacher with Jewish roots won silver for Nazi Germany

https://www.ushmm.org/exhibition/olympics/?content=continuing_persecution&lang=en

Helene Mayer-Caught between a Rock and a hard place.

Helen Mayer

The Olympic Games are the biggest sporting events in the world. But more then a sporting event is is also a political event filled with propaganda. This was never more clear then in 1936 during the Berlin Olympic Games.

1936

On July 26,1935,German sports commissioner Hans von Tschammer und Osten advised that no Jews would represent Germany at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He claimed that Jews had competed in the qualifying events but none made the grade. In November 1935 Germany would make a bit of a u-turn after  mounting international pressure and allow the half-Jewish fencer Helene Mayer onto the team.

In 1936 the Nazi politics which enabled the Holocaust were already in full swing, three years prior the first concentration camp, Dachau, had already gone in operation.

The first Jewish person to die in Dachau was Arthur Kahn, a 21-year-old Jewish German medical student had enrolled in Edinburgh University in Scotland, he had returned to , Germany to pick up his student records at the University of Wurzburg.He was killed on April 12 1933.

In the U.S, there were those who believed that the country should boycott the 1936 Olympics due to Hitler’s stand towards Jewish athletes and his obvious discrimination towards athletes of African-American descent.

Helen Mayer had already  won a gold medal in fencing at the age of 17 at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam, representing Germany, winning 18 bouts and losing only 2. She became a national hero in Germany and was celebrated, with her photo plastered everyone. According to a profile in The Guardian, “She was tall, blonde, elegant and vivacious. The fact that she was tall,blonde and blue eyed were taken in consideration to include her in the Olympic squad.

In 1931, her father died of a heart attack. She finished fifth at the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, having learned, two hours prior to the match, that her boyfriend had died in a military training exercise in Germany.Two years later Helene Mayer lost her German citizenship. Luckily for her, she managed to enroll into Berkley and to compete for the USC Fencing Club.

In 1936, however, it appeared that the same people who stripped her of citizenship and humiliated her to the point of complete ostracization, wanted her to perform once again for Germany.

Reluctantly she decided to accept the invitation although she was caught between a rock and a hard place between her professional career and her dignity and pride.

Goebbels requested of the press that no comments were to  be made regarding Helene Mayer’s non-Aryan ancestry She won a silver medal in individual women’s foil. She gave a Nazi salute on the podium, and later said it might have protected her family that was still in Germany, in labor camps.

Helen

There are some who have called her a traitor. I don’t describe to that point of view, in fact I think what she did was heroic. She was safe in the USA but yet she decided to represent her country at the major sporting tournament, risking being imprisoned after the tournament and especially if she hadn’t won a medal. Although the politics of her country failed her she still felt German, she had no political agenda. And I believe she competed for Germany in the hope of securing better treatment for her family, who were still living in Germany. It is easy to judge when you are not put in that position.

At the end of the day she was used as a pawn of the Nazi regime and the International Olympic Committee.

After the Olympics, she returned to the United States and became a nine-time U.S. champion. She received citizenship in 1941 but returned to Germany in 1952.Where she married an old friend, Erwin Falkner von Sonnenburg, in a quiet May ceremony in Munich. The couple moved to the hills above Stuttgart before setting in Heidelberg where she died of breast cancer in October 1953, two months before her 43rd birthday.

fENCING

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Sources

The Guardian

Irish Times

Vintage News

Mashable

 

 

Metropolis

metropolis

It was on this day 92 years ago  the classic Science Fiction movie was released. I recently watched it again and was amazed by how fresh the movie still looked,

But more then just a Sci-Fi flick it is also a snapshot of the political situation of the time and the years that followed, not so much in the film as such but in the lives of those who were involved in making the movie.

1927 Germany was at the advent of massive  social and political changes. The popularity of the Nazi part was gaining momentum, although they were still a small party they were making significant gains.

nuremberg

UFA GmbH, the distributing studio of Metropolis had been in financial difficulties and was bought in 1927 by politician and media tycoon Alfred Hugenberg. He was also the chairman of the German National People’s Party, a conservative nationalist party.As leader of the German National People’s Party he played a pivotal role  in helping Adolf Hitler become Chancellor of Germany and served in his first cabinet in 1933,

The director of the movie Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, who wrote the novel and the screenplay for Metropolis, had initially also flirted with the Nazi party.

lang and wifr

The couple produced a number of movies together. Aside from Metropolis the also made the classic thriller “M” in 1931. which starred a young Austro-Hungarian Jewish actor László Löwenstein better known as Peter Lorre.

When Hitler came to power Peter Lorre left Germany because of the Antisemitic laws which were introduced.

The actress Brigitte Helm who played Maria and also the Tin Machine in Metropolis ,felt the wrath of the Nazi party  for “race defilement” in marrying her second husband Dr. Hugo Kunheim, an industrialist of Jewish background. The couple left for Switzerland in 1935 and never returned to Germany.

maria

Joseph Goebbels had been impressed by Fritz Lang’s work and although he banned Lang’s 1933 film”The Testament of Dr. Mabuse” because it “showed that an extremely dedicated group of people are perfectly capable of overthrowing any state with violence” He still offered a position as the head of German film studio UFA.

However Lang did not accept the offer and left Berlin on 31 July 1933, He had also been worried about the increasing power of the Nazi party and the Antisemitic laws ,known as the Nuremberg Laws, imposed in Germany, even though Fritz Lang’s mother  had converted from Judaism to Catholic, and Fritz Lang had been raised as a Catholic, according to the Nüremberg Laws his mother and therefor Fritz too were stlll considered Jewish.

And although he had initially sympathized with the Nazi party he had soon changed his mind, But his wife Thea von Harbou remained a Nazi supporter. The couple divorced on April 26, 1933.

Fritz Lang emigrated to the USA and worked on many successful Hollywood movies like “the Return of Frank James” starring Henry Fonda.

Thea von Harbou stayed involved in the German film industry with  some movies with an indisputable National Socialist worldview.

Many people nowadays will probably only know Metropolis from the Queen video “Radio Ga Ga” and are probably blissfully unaware of the historical significance of the movie.

 

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Sources

IMDb

YouTube

 

Law Abiding citizens

Law

It is not always a good thing to be a Law abiding citizen, don’t worry I am not encouraging anarchy but it is a fact that many things which we now know were evil and vile, were once laws. Like slavery once was legal and written into law.

Combine that with a nation whose culture it is to follow rules and laws, it can have devastating effects, especially when there is no critical thinking and things are just accepted. This is one of the reasons the Nazis were so successful in carrying out their atrocities.

Not only were these crimes against humanity committed within a legal framework, the laws for this legal framework were designed and implemented by a legally elected government.

Nuerneberg

The Nuremberg Laws  were antisemitic and racial laws .They were introduced on 15 September 1935 by the Reichstag at a special meeting convened at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the NSDAP.

Rally

They consisted of 3 sets of laws.

  • Law for the Protection of German Blood & German Honor
  • Law for the Protection of Hereditary Health
  • The Reich Citizenship Law

Although the German population weren’t all that comfortable with the laws, they did not really protest against them either,because the changes were not immediate,gradually the rights of mainly  Jews but also,Homosexuals,Disabled,Roma,Sinti and others were chipped away.

Initially the anti Semitic and Jewish propaganda and protests  also declined, due to the fact there was less need for them , because now there were laws in place.

Boycott

The propaganda would soon take other forms often introduced in education via school curricculums or through ‘mainstream’ media.

propganda

Below are the sections of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor.

Section 1
1. Marriages between Jews and citizens of German or kindred blood are forbidden. Marriages concluded in defiance of this law are void, even if, for the purpose of evading this law, they were concluded abroad.

2. Proceedings for annulment may be initiated only by the Public Prosecutor.

Section 2
Sexual relations outside marriage between Jews and nationals of German or kindred blood are forbidden.

Section 3
Jews will not be permitted to employ female citizens of German or kindred blood as domestic servants.

Section 4
1. Jews are forbidden to display the Reich and national flag or the national colors.

2. On the other hand they are permitted to display the Jewish colors. The exercise of this right is protected by the State.

Section 5
1. A person who acts contrary to the prohibition of Section 1 will be punished with hard labour.

2. A person who acts contrary to the prohibition of Section 2 will be punished with imprisonment or with hard labour.

3. A person who acts contrary to the provisions of Sections 3 or

4 will be punished with imprisonment up to a year and with a fine, or with one of these penalties.

Section 6
The Reich Minister of the Interior in agreement with the Deputy Fuhrer and the Reich Minister of Justice will issue the legal and administrative regulations required for the enforcement and supplementing of this law.

Section 7
The law will become effective on the day after its promulgation; Section 3, however, not until 1 January 1936.

RGBL_I_1935_S_1145 (1)

An excuse often used especially by perpetrators was that they were only following the law and orders.

Although I do take in consideration that culturally the Germans followed the rules and the laws of the land, it did not excuse them of the crimes committed by their government. On the other hand though especially later on during the Nazi regime, any one who was critical about the regime could face death themselves.

And although it is easy for us to judge. we should ask ourselves one question: How often do we question our Government’s rules and decisions?

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Sources

Jewish Virtual Library

Yad Vashem

 

 

The Non Aryan Nazi Leadership

220px-Crossed_circle.svg

Basically I could make this blog the shortest ever. None of the Nazis were Aryans.

I could leave it with that because it’d be true. Below is the definition of Aryan.

‘Aryanname originally given to a people who were said to speak an archaic Indo-European language and who were thought to have settled in prehistoric times in ancient Iran and the northern Indian subcontinent. The theory of an “Aryan race” appeared in the mid-19th century and remained prevalent until the mid-20th century. According to the hypothesis, those probably light-skinned Aryans were the group who invaded and conquered ancient India from the north and whose literature, religion, and modes of social organization subsequently shaped the course of Indian culture, particularly the Vedic religion that informed and was eventually superseded by Hinduism.’

Darius_I_the_Great's_inscription

 

However even if we take the Nazi definition of Aryan

The Nazis claimed to observe scientifically a strict hierarchy of the human race. Hitler’s view towards race and people can be found throughout Mein Kampf but more specifically in chapter 11 “Nation and Race”.

maxresdefault

Hitler made references to an “Aryan Race” founding a superior type of humanity. The purest stock of Aryans according to Nazi ideology was the Nordic people of Germany, England, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.The Nazis claimed that Germanic people specifically represented a southern branch of the Aryan-Nordic population.

Their idea of the perfect human being was Germanic, healthy, blonde, blue eyed and athletic. Non Jewish or Slavic, free from any illnesses,especially mental illnesses and heterosexual. Ironically the depiction of their idea of the perfect soldier was of Werner Goldberg, a half Jewish Wehrmacht soldier.

800px-WernerGoldberg

Lets explore the Nazi leadership by their own definition.

Joseph Goebbels

330px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1968-101-20A,_Joseph_Goebbels

During childhood, Goebbels suffered from ill health, which included a long bout of inflammation of the lungs. He had a deformed right foot that turned inwards, due to a congenital deformity. It was thicker and shorter than his left foot. He underwent a failed operation to correct it just prior to starting grammar school.Goebbels wore a metal brace and special shoe because of his shortened leg, and walked with a limp. He was rejected for military service in World War I due to his deformity. Add the fact he wasn’t blonde nor blue eyed. According to the definition he also propagated he should have been subjected to Action14f13 a program devised to euthanize any disabled citizen.

 

Hermann Göring

He was certified by doctors as a a dangerous drug addict and placed in restraints in the violent ward of Långbro asylum in Stockholm.

Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-15607,_Potsdam,_Göring

Goering’s addiction to morphine began two years earlier when he was operated on in Austria for a groin wound he received during the Beer Hall Putsch.

His first wife, Carin, wrote at the time to her mother that “in spite of being dosed with morphine every day, his pain stays just as bad as ever.” This addiction would stay with Goering until his imprisonment in Nuremberg in 1945.

While in the Långbro asylum, Goering is described by a psychiatrist as “very violent and had to be placed in a straitjacket.

Although he wasn’t classified as insane, he was far from the ideal Aryan, an overweight junkie, yes, but not an Aryan.

Rudolf Hess

 

Hess is a bit of an enigma there were many rumours that he was gay

Hess

 

However there was no real proof but he was obsessed with Hitler, he reminds me of the character Gary Walsh in ‘Veep’ the bag man for Selina Meyer, and I don’t mean this to make light of it but he really does remind me of him.

Aside from the fact if he was gay or not he clearly had mental issues.On the 10th of May 1940 he stole a Messerschmitt Bf 110, and flew to Scotland in an attempt to broker peace between Great Britain and Germany. However he never consulted this with anyone else,including Hitler. He was clearly delusional thinking he could achieve this.

Rudolf_Hess_-_Bf_110D_Werk_Nr_3869_-_Wreckage_-_Bonnyton_Moor

After he crashed landed in Scotland he was arrested and imprisoned until the Nuremberg Trials where he was convicted to a life sentence, he eventually committed suicide in 1987 in Spandau prison.

Adolf Hitler

A key factor to the Hitler’s Aryan policies was family history. Given the fact 3 of his older siblings died at birth and his Father died suddenly aged 60, these might have been indications there were ‘defects’ in the family.

ahitler

We all know that this of course is Nonsense, but this was one of the ways how the Nazis determined the purity of the Aryan race.Hitler himself was frail and sickly as a young child. Additionally he had brown hair and brown eyes, not the Aryan ideal.

The death of his Mother had a major impact on him.Dr. Bloch, the Jewish physician who cared for Hitler’s mother, noted that in nearly 50 years of his career as a doctor, he had never seen a young man as broken with grief as Adolf Hitler was at the death of his mother. He had carried her picture with him down to the last days in the bunker.

Historian Robert Waite,who wrote an extensive psychohistory of Hitler, concluded that he suffered from borderline personality disorder, which manifested its symptoms in numerous ways and would imply Hitler was in full control of himself and his actions. Others have proposed Hitler may have been schizophrenic, based on claims that he was hallucinating and delusional during his last year of life. Many people believe that Hitler had a mental disorder and was not schizophrenic nor bipolar, but rather met the criteria for both disorders, and was therefore most likely a schizoaffective. If true, this might be explained by a series of brief reactive psychoses in a narcissistic personality which could not withstand being confronted with reality (in this case, that he was not the “superman” or “savior of Germany” he envisioned himself to be, as his plans and apparent early achievements collapsed about him). In addition, his regular methamphetamine use and possible sleep deprivation in the last period of his life must be factored into any speculation as to the cause of his possible psychotic symptoms, as these two activities are known to trigger psychotic reactions in some individuals. Hitler never visited a psychiatrist, and under current methodology, any such diagnosis is speculation.

The Nazis of course were great at cherry picking and adapting their own policies to suit their own twisted agenda.

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THE GRADUAL DEHUMANIZING BY THE NAZI REGIME-Part 2

Capture

The persecution of the Jews began systematically almost as soon as Hitler came to power. The Nazis established many new anti-Jewish laws. These were introduced slowly at first, so that the civilian population would not realise the extent of the Nazi party’s anti-Semitism. Below is a chart showing a small selection of the 2,000 Nazi anti-Jewish decrees passed between 1933-1945. It is uncertain whether Hitler planned to murder the Jews when he came to power. Originally it seems he intended to force them out of Germany but this eventually led to a plan to exterminate the Jews.

1933

  • Public burning of books by Jews and anti-Nazis

    1933-may-10-berlin-book-burning

  • Random attacks on Jews and Jewish property
  • Police and the courts no longer protect Jews
  • April boycotts of Jewish shops – for one day, Germans are told not to buy from shops and business owned by Jews
  • SA stand by shops to discourage people from going inside

    Berlin, NS-Boykott gegen jüdische Geschäfte

  • ‘Kosher’- ritual slaughter of animals banned
  • Department of Racial Hygiene (‘ethnic cleansing’) established

1934

  • Jewish students excluded from exams in medicine, dentistry, pharmacy and law
  • Jews excluded from military service

1935

  • Nuremberg Laws deny Jews many basic civil rights
  • Law for ‘The Protection of German Blood and German Honour’ forbade mixed marriages

    1024px-Nuremberg_laws

1935-1936

  • Jews no longer allowed to vote and lose German citizenship
  • Benefit payments to large Jewish families stopped
  • Jews banned from parks, restaurants and swimming poolsjvzveId
  • Jews forbidden to use the German greeting ‘Heil Hitler’
  • Jews no longer allowed electrical/optical equipment, bicycles, typewriters or records
  • Passports for Jews to travel abroad restricted
  • Many Jewish students removed from German schools and universities

1938

  • Special identity cards issued to Jews
  • Jews excluded from cinema, theatre, concerts, exhibitions, beaches and holiday resorts
  • Jews forced to add the names Sarah or Israel to their own
  • Kristallnacht (9 November) – a night of terrible violence in Germany. German and Austrian Jews are murdered, synagogues burnt and desecrated and shop windows destroyed. Thousands of Jews are arrestedcom-kristellnacht
  • Jewish children expelled from German schools
  • Jews’ passports stamped with a red letter ‘J’. Some have passports removed to prevent them leaving the country.

1939

  • A central office for Jewish emigration set up
  • Jews evicted from their homes without reason and notice
  • Jews’ radios confiscated
  • Jewish curfew established

1940

  • Jews’ telephones confiscated
  • Jews no longer receive ration cards for clothes

1941

  • Jews over 6 forced to wear a Yellow Star of David with ‘Jew’ written on itParis, Jüdische Frauen mit Stern
  • Jews Forbidden to use public telephones
  • Jews forbidden to keep dogs, cats and birds
  • Jews forbidden to leave the country

1942

  • Jews hand over fur coats and woollen items
  • Jews not allowed to receive eggs or milk
  • Blind or deaf Jews no longer allowed to wear armbands identifying their condition in traffic
  • All schools closed to Jewish children

1943

Continuous Deportations

05

06

With all this happening there were still brave people who defied the Nazi rules, often in subtle but clear ways.

A menorah defies the Nazi flag , 1931

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The Nazi Race doctrine

racial_classes_1

The three groups displayed on the poster are, from top to bottom, “ostbaltische Rasse” (“East Baltic race”), “ostische Rasse” (“Alpine race”), and “dinarische Rasse” (“Dinaric race”). All these three groups were considered part of the sub-races of the Caucasian race, others including the Nordic and Mediterranean.

The Nazis went to great lengths in teaching the German youth to be proud of their race through biology teaching, the National Socialist Teachers League (NSLB) in particular taught in schools that they should be proud of their race and not to mix with other races.

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Race biology was meant to encourage the Germans to maintain their racial purity, the NSLB stressed that as early as primary schools Germans have to work on only the Nordic racial element of the German Volk (people) again and again and have to contrast this with the racial differences that foreign peoples such as the Jews represent.

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Nazi racial policy did not always include in degrading Jews but had to always maintain the importance of German blood and the Aryan race. This was often connected to the blood and soil ideology. Whilst the young Germans were being taught about the importance of one’s blood, at the same time they were being taught about the dangers that the Jews represent in Germany and the necessary living space in the East, in particular Russia. Novels portrayed the Germans as uniquely endowed and possessors of a unique destiny. The segregation of races was said to be natural, just as separate species did not come together in nature.

In 1935 after the induction of the Nuremberg Laws, any sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans became a criminalized offence.

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Aryans that were found guilty under the laws and charged with Rassenschande (“racial shame”) faced the possibility of incarceration in a concentration camp, while non-Aryans could possibly face the death penalty.

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The Axis laws

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The Nuremberg Laws (German: Nürnberger Gesetze) were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany. They were introduced on 15 September 1935 by the Reichstag at a special meeting convened at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party (NSDAP).

Nürnberg, Reichsparteitag, Grundstein Kongreßhalle

The two laws were the Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbade marriages and extramarital intercourse between Jews and Germans and the employment of German females under 45 in Jewish households, and the Reich Citizenship Law, which declared that only those of German or related blood were eligible to be Reich citizens; the remainder were classed as state subjects, without citizenship rights.

However the Nuremberg laws were not the only laws imposed. Most of Germany’s allies had their antisemitic laws.

Italy

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Le Leggi razziali: were a set of laws promulgated by Fascist Italy from 1938 to 1943 to enforce racial discrimination in Italy, directed mainly against the Italian Jews and the native inhabitants of the colonies.

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The first and most important of the leggi razziali was the Regio Decreto 17 Novembre 1938 Nr. 1728. It restricted civil rights of Jews, banned their books and excluded Jews from public office and higher education. Additional laws stripped Jews of their assets, restricted travel and finally provided for their internship in internal exile, as was done for political prisoners.

The promulgation of the racial laws was preceded by a long press campaign and by publication of the “Manifesto of Race” earlier in 1938, a purportedly-scientific report by fascist scientists and supporters that asserted racial principles, including the superiority of Europeans over other races. The final decision about the law was made during the meeting of the Gran Consiglio del Fascismo, which took place on the night between 6 and 7 October 1938 in Rome, Palazzo Venezia.

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Not all Fascists supported discrimination: while the pro-German, anti-Jewish Roberto Farinacci and Giovanni Preziosi strongly pushed for them, Italo Balbo strongly opposed the laws.The Italian Racial Laws were unpopular with most ordinary Italians; the Jews were a small minority in the country and had integrated deeply into Italian society and culture

After the fall of Benito Mussolini on July 25, 1943, the Badoglio government suppressed the laws. They remained in force in the territories ruled by the Italian Social Republic until the end of the war (and were made more severe).

Bulgaria

Law for Protection of the Nation

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The Law for protection of the nation was a Bulgarian law, effective from 23 January 1941 to 27 November 1944, which directed measures against Jews and others. This law was passed along the example of the Nuremberg Laws.

The law ordered measures for:

  • Changes in the names of Jews
  • Rules about their place of residence
  • Confiscation of their possessions
  • Their exclusion from the public service
  • Prohibition of economic and professional activity

Citizens of Jewish origin were also banned from certain public areas, restricted economically, and marriages between Jews and Bulgarians were prohibited. Jews were forced to pay a one-time tax of 20 percent of their net worth The legislation also established quotas that limited the number of Jews in Bulgarian universities.Jewish leaders protested against the law, and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, some professional organizations, and twenty-one writers also opposed it.

This law suppressed all Freemasonry lodges and all other secret organizations.

The Law for protection of the nation, was passed under direct influence from Nazi Germany, but did not lead to the deportation of the Bulgarian Jews to Nazi extermination camps, except for the Jewish people from former Greek and Yugoslavian territories occupied by Bulgaria.

France

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Anti-Jewish laws were enacted by the Vichy France government in 1940 and 1941 affecting metropolitan France and its overseas territories during World War II. These laws were, in fact, decrees of head of state Marshal Philippe Pétain, since Parliament was no longer in office as of 11 July 1940.

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The motivation for the legislation was spontaneous and was not mandated by Germany. These laws were declared null and void on 9 August 1944 after liberation and on the restoration of republican legality.

The statutes were aimed at depriving Jews of the right to hold public office, designating them as a lower class, and depriving them of citizenship. Jews were subsequently rounded up at Drancy internment camp before being deported for extermination in Nazi concentration camps.

The denaturalization law was enacted on 16 July 1940, barely a month after the announcement of the Vichy regime of Petain. On 22 July 1940, the Deputy Secretary of State Raphaël Alibert created a committee to review 500,000 naturalisations given since 1927.

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This resulted in 15,000 people having their French nationality revoked, of whom 40% were Jews. Alibert was the signatory of the Statutes on Jews.

Romania

In August 1940, the Romanian government passed legislation that Jews who converted to Christianity would be regarded as Jews for legal purposes, and barred from marriage with ethnic Christians; by defining Jews not based on religion this was the first step, and a large one at that, to further racial legislation.

Nuncio to Bucharest Andrea Cassulo’s “early efforts on behalf of Jews concerned almost exclusively those who had been baptized Catholic”

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He passed on to the Vatican in 1939, but did not pursue, a project to emigrate the 150,000 converted Jews of Romania to Spain.From 1940 to 1941, his primary diplomatic responsibility was to protest various pieces of legislation insofar as they infringed on the rights of baptized Jews, particularly with respect to intermarriage and attendance of baptized Jews to Catholic schools, which were protected by the Romanian concordat.

Cassulo made three protests to Ion Antonescu: on November 20, 1940, December 2, 1940, and February 14, 1941.

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Five days after the last protest, Antonescu informed the nuncio of his signing a decree allowing students of any ethnic origin to attend their own religious schools.

However, “much more worrisome to the Vatican” was a March 18, 1941, decree forbidding the conversion of Jews to Christianity, with severe penalties for Jews attempting to convert and cooperating priests. Again, Cassulo protested that this violated the concordat, but the Romanian government replied that the decree did not because it would only affect the “civil status” of baptized Jews.Bypassing the “blatant racism” of this reply, Maglione’s “sole interest” was that the rights of the concordat be extended to baptized Jews. The Vatican considered the matter settled after a July 21, 1941, note from the minister of foreign affairs granted the enumerated demands of Maglione: “free profession of the Catholic faith, admission to Catholic schools, religious instruction, and spiritual assistance in various areas of society.

Most of the other Axis countries adopted laws based on the Nuremberg laws.

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August Landmesser- The Defiant Nazi

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Most of us will have seen the picture of the Nazi rally where one ‘Nazi’ refused to salute. This man was August Landmesser and he defied the Nazi regime in one more than one way.

Adopted by the Nazi Party in the 1930s, Hitler’s infamous ‘sieg heil’ (meaning ‘hail victory’) salute was mandatory for all German citizens as a demonstration of loyalty to the Führer, his party, and his nation.

August Landmesser (born 24 May 1910; KIA 17 October 1944; confirmed in 1949) was a worker at the Blohm + Voss shipyard inHamburg, Germany, best known for his appearance in a photograph refusing to perform the Nazi salute at the launch of the naval training vessel Horst Wessel on 13 June 1936.

Segelschulschiff "Horst Wessel"

He had run afoul of the Nazi Party over his unlawful relationship with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman. He was later imprisoned and eventually drafted into military service, where he was killed in action; Eckler was sent to a concentration camp where she was presumably killed.

Landmesser joined the Nazi Party in 1931 and began to work his way up the ranks of what would become the only legal political affiliation in the country.

Two years later, Landmesser fell madly in love with Irma Eckler, a Jewish woman, and proposed marriage to her in 1935.

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After his engagement to the Jewish woman was discovered, Landmesser was expelled from the Nazi Party.Landmesser and Eckler decided to file a marriage application in Hamburg, but the union was denied under the newly enacted Nuremberg Laws.

 

The couple welcomed their first daughter, Ingrid, in October 1935.

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And then on June 13, 1936, Landmesser gave a crossed-arm stance during Hitler’s christening of a new German navy vessel.

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The act of defiance stands out amid the throng of Nazi salutes.

In 1937, fed up, Landmesser attempted to flee Nazi Germany to Denmark with his family. But he was detained at the border and charged with ‘dishonouring the race’ or ‘racial infamy’ under the Nuremberg Laws.

A year later, Landmesser was acquitted for a lack of evidence and was instructed to not have a relationship with Eckler.

Refusing to abandon his wife, Landmesser ignored Nazi wishes and was arrested again in 1938 and sentenced to nearly three years in a concentration camp.

He would never see the woman he loved or his child again.

The secret state police also arrested Eckler, who was several months pregnant with the couple’s second daughter.She gave birth to Irene in prison and was sent to an all-women’s concentration camp soon after her delivery.

Eckler was detained by the Gestapo and held at the prison Fuhlsbüttel, where she gave birth to a second daughter, Irene.

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From there she was sent to the Oranienburg concentration camp, the Lichtenburg concentration camp for women, and then the women’s concentration camp at Ravensbrück.

 

A few letters came from Irma Eckler until January 1942. It is believed that she was taken to the Bernburg Euthanasia Centre in February 1942, where she was among the 14,000 killed; in the course of post-war documentation, in 1949 she was pronounced legally dead, with a date of 28 April 1942.

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Meanwhile, Landmesser was discharged from prison on 19 January 1941.He worked as a foreman for the haulage company Püst. The company had a branch at the Heinkel-Werke (factory) in Warnemünde.In February 1944 he was drafted into a penal battalion, the 999th Fort Infantry Battalion. He was declared missing in action, after being killed during fighting in Croatia on 17 October 1944.Like Eckler, he was legally declared dead in 1949.

Their children were initially taken to the city orphanage. Ingrid was later allowed to live with her maternal grandmother while Irene went to the home of foster parents in 1941. Ingrid was also placed with foster parents after her grandmother’s death in 1953.

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