The NAZI’s blueprint for extermination camps.

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The concept of the concentration camps was not a Nazi concept. It was in fact the British who created the first concentration camps. The first use of concentration camps was by the British during the Boer war (1899–1902).

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Boers and black Africans were placed in camps so that they would be unable to aid Boer guerrillas. It is reported that more than 27,000 Boers and 14,000 Africans died in the camps from disease and starvation. Most of the dead were children, clearly noncombatants in the conflict.

A little known genocide took place between 1904 and 1907 in Namibia and was carried out by the troops of the Kaiser Wilhelm II

The Herero and Nama genocide was a campaign of racial extermination and collective punishment that the German Empire undertook in German South West Africa (modern-day Namibia) against the Herero and Nama people. It is considered one of the first genocides of the 20th century.

In January 1904, the Herero people, led by Samuel Maharero and Nama(or Namaqua) Captain Hendrik Witbooi, rebelled against German colonial rule.

In August, German General Lothar von Trotha defeated the Herero in the Battle of Waterberg and drove them into the desert of Omaheke, where most of them died of dehydration.

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In October, the Nama people also rebelled against the Germans, only to suffer a similar fate.

Under German colonial rule, natives were routinely used as slave labourers, and their lands were frequently confiscated and given to colonists, who were encouraged to settle on land taken from the natives; that land was stocked with cattle stolen from the Herero and Namas.

General Trotha stated his proposed solution to end the resistance of the Herero people in a letter, before the Battle of Waterberg:

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I believe that the nation as such should be annihilated, or, if this was not possible by tactical measures, have to be expelled from the country … This will be possible if the water-holes from Grootfontein to Gobabis are occupied. The constant movement of our troops will enable us to find the small groups of this nation who have moved backwards and destroy them gradually.

Trotha’s troops defeated 3,000–5,000 Herero combatants at the Battle of Waterberg on 11–12 August 1904 but were unable to encircle and annihilate the retreating survivors.

Survivors of the massacre, the majority of whom were women and children, were eventually put in places like Shark Island Concentration Camp,

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where the German authorities forced them to work as slave labour for German military and settlers. All prisoners were categorised into groups fit and unfit for work, and pre-printed death certificates indicating “death by exhaustion following privation” were issued.The British government published their well-known account of the German genocide of the Nama and Herero peoples in 1918

Food in the camps was extremely scarce, consisting of rice with no additions. As the prisoners lacked pots and the rice they received was uncooked, it was indigestible; horses and oxen that died in the camp were later distributed to the inmates as food. Dysentery and lung diseases were common. Despite those conditions, the Herero were taken outside the camp every day for labour under harsh treatment by the German guards, while the sick were left without any medical assistance or nursing care.[25]:76

Shootings, hangings, beatings, and other harsh treatment of the forced labourers (including use of sjamboks) were common.

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A 28 September 1905 article in the South African newspaper Cape Argus detailed some of the abuse with the heading: “In German S. W. Africa: Further Startling Allegations: Horrible Cruelty”.

Contrary to the German belief, the indigenous Herero and Nama people were not savages. The Herero had a sophisticated culture, having occupied their ancient lands for centuries, while the Nama  –  the mixed-race offspring of early Dutch settlers  –  were ferocious warriors as well as Christians.

Three-and-a-half thousand innocent Africans were liquidated here at the hands of the Germans, decades before the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, with the tacit sanction of the German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and his ministers.792550-hhzwilhelm2The story of the German extermination of the Herero and Namaqua peoples has been expunged from the history books  –  and the tourists and scuba divers on the Shark Bay waterfront will find no mention of it in their guides.

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More chilling still, the book raises another awful prospect. That the Nazi crimes of World War II were not an aberration, as some have claimed, but emerged from a tradition deeply embedded in the heart of German culture, with its warped beliefs about racial superiority, going back into the 19th century.

In 1908 Eugen Fischer(a German professor of medicine, anthropology, and eugenics, and a member of the Nazi Party.  conducted field research in German Southwest Africa (now Namibia).

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He studied the Basters, offspring of German or Boer men who had fathered children by the native women (Hottentots) in that area. His study concluded with a call to prevent a “mixed race” by the prohibition of “mixed marriage” such as those he had studied. It included unethical medical practices on the Herero and Namaqua people.He argued that while the existing Mischling descendants of the mixed marriages might be useful for Germany, he recommended that they should not continue to reproduce.

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His recommendations were followed and by 1912 interracial marriage was prohibited throughout the German colonies. As a precursor to his experiments on Jews in Nazi Germany, he collected bones and skulls for his studies, in part from medical experimentation on African prisoners of war in Namibia during the Herero and Namaqua Genocide.

His ideas expressed in this work, related to maintaining the purity of races, influenced future German legislation on race, including the Nuremberg law

 

 

 

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Was April 20th 1889, the worst day in history?

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The above picture is of a young child, still a baby. This boy was born on 20 April 1889, and although you wouldn’t think so from this picture, but this baby boy later became responsible for the deaths of millions.

You see this little boy is Adolf Hitler.

There is a questions which is often posed in psychology to determine if you are a psychopath. The question is “If you could travel back in time to April 20 1889. would you kill the infant Hitler?

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I don’t think the stars could have predicted what this infant would do in later life.

Hitler’s father Alois Hitler was the illegitimate child of Maria Anna Schicklgruber. Alois was born in 1837 but the baptismal register did not show his father’s name. So, initially, Alois bore his mother’s surname, Schicklgruber. Johann Georg Hiedler married Maria Anna in 1842.

Maria Anna died in 1847 and Alois changed his baptismal register in 1876 by recording Georg Hitler (Johann Georg Hiedler) as his father. Thus he assumed the surname Hitler which is also spelled as Hiedler, Huettler or Hüttler. Hitler surname is presumably based on ‘one who lives in a hut’.

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Hitler had 7 siblings, 3 of which died when they were still children.

For 36 years he was an Austrian citizen, for  nearly 7 years he was stateless. He only had the German nationality for 13 years.

What if something would have happened to him at birth on that 20th of April 1889? How different would the world have been?

I do think that 20 April 1889 may just have been the worst day in history.

 

 

 

The German American Bund

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Supposedly 22,000 Nazi supporters attended a German American Bund rally at New York’s Madison Square Garden in February 1939, under police guard. Demonstrators protested outside. Aside from its admiration for Adolf Hitler and the achievements of Nazi Germany, the German American Bund program included antisemitism, strong anti-Communist sentiments, and the demand that the United States remain neutral in the approaching European conflict.

In May 1933, Nazi Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess gave German immigrant and German Nazi Party member Heinz Spanknöbel authority to form an American Nazi organization.

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Shortly thereafter, with help from the German consul in New York City, Spanknöbel created the Friends of New Germany by merging two older organizations in the United States, Gau-USA and the Free Society of Teutonia, which were both small groups with only a few hundred members each. The FONG was based in New York but had a strong presence in Chicago. Members wore a uniform, a white shirt and black trousers for men with a black hat festooned with a red symbol. Women members wore a white blouse and a black skirt.

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The organization busied itself with verbal attacks against Jews, Communists and the Versailles Treaty. Until 1935 the organization was openly supported by the Third Reich, although soon Nazi officials realized the organization was doing more harm than good in America and in December 1935 Hess ordered that all German citizens leave the Friends of New Germany; also, all the group’s leaders were recalled to Germany. Not long after the Friends of New Germany fell out of favor with the Nazis and was dismantled, a new organization with similar goals arose in its place. The German American Bund or German American Federation was established in 1936 to succeed Friends of New Germany (FONG), the new name being chosen to emphasize the group’s American credentials after press criticism that the organisation was unpatriotic. The Bund was to consist only of American citizens of German descent. Its main goal was to promote a favorable view of Nazi Germany.

The Bund elected a German-born American citizen Fritz Julius Kuhn as its leader (Bundesführer). Kuhn was a veteran of the Bavarian infantry during World War I and an Alter Kämpfer (old fighter) of the Nazi Party, who in 1934 was granted American citizenship. Kuhn was initially effective as a leader and was able to unite the organization and expand its membership.

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In February 1939 Kuhn and the Bund held their largest rally in Madison Square Garden—ironically, one which marked the beginning of the end for the organization. In front of a crowd of 22,000, flanked by a massive portrait of George Washington, swastikas and Americans flags, Kuhn attacked President Roosevelt for being part of a Bolshevik-Jewish conspiracy, calling him “Frank D. Rosenfeld” and calling his New Deal the “Jew Deal”. Three thousands members of the Ordnungsdienst, the militant arm of the Bund, were on hand and fistfights broke out in the crowd among those who had come to heckle Kuhn.

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After the rally, New York District Attorney Thomas Dewey arrested Kuhn on charges of larceny and forgery. New York tax investigation determined that Kuhn had embezzled $14,000 from the Bund. The Bund did not seek to have Kuhn prosecuted, operating on the principle (Führerprinzip), that the leader had absolute power.

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However, New York City’s district attorney prosecuted him in an attempt to cripple the Bund. On December 5, 1939, Kuhn was sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison for tax evasion and embezzlement. After the war, Kuhn was deported to Germany; he died there unceremoniously in 1951.

Following Kuhn’s arrest, the Bund slowly withered away, until its dissolution on 8 December 1941, after the attack on Pearl Harbor. After Germany  declared war on the USA, federal officials began to arrest Bund officials. Kuhn’s successor Gerhard Kunze was captured in Mexico and sentenced to 15 years of prison for “subversive activities”. Twenty-four other officers were convicted of conspiracy to violate the 1940 Selective Service Act and served prison time. Some other Bund leaders committed suicide before the FBI caught up with them. Although some Bund members had their naturalization revoked and some spent time in prison camps, most members were left alone after the organization was disbanded.

There is a reason George Washington is up there and not Thomas Jefferson or James Madison Jr. Fascism was an ideology that emphasized action and heroism over intellectualism and philosophy.

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This is why Hitler’s ideal Aryan concept was a strong, handsome, and physically fit person rather than someone with a mind for civics. Men of action were the ideal example figures. The other part of fascism was extreme patriotism, which is why each nation/group had its own fascist symbolism and mythology. It wasn’t like communism where concepts were supposed to transcend ethnic boundaries, but an ideology where each nation had its own flavor. Washington, as a military leader, patriotic father, and someone whom a legend of heroism and virtue has grown up around, was the ideal figure for fascist groups looking to pull a symbol out of American history.

1933 German Federal Elections

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Federal elections were held in Germany on 5 March 1933. The 1933 poll was held after the Nazi seizure of power and the Reichstag fire, just six days before the election. Nazi storm troopers had unleashed a campaign of violence against the Communist Party (KPD), left-wingers, trade unionists, the Social Democratic Party of Germany, and the centre-right Catholic Centre Party.

The 1933 election followed the previous year’s two elections (July and November) and Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor. In the months before the 1933 election, brownshirts and SS displayed terror, repression and propaganda across the land, and Nazi organizations monitored the vote process. In Prussia 50,000 members of the SS, SA and Stahlhelm were ordered to monitor the votes by acting Interior Minister Hermann Göring, as auxiliary police.

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The Nazis registered a large increase in votes in 1933. Despite waging a campaign of terror against their opponents, the Nazis only tallied 43.9 percent of the vote, well short of a majority. They needed the votes of their coalition partner, the German National People’s Party (DNVP), for a bare working majority in the Reichstag.

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This would be the last contested election held in Germany before World War II. Two weeks after the election, Hitler was able to pass an Enabling Act on 23 March with the support of all non-socialist parties, which effectively gave Hitler dictatorial powers. Within months, the Nazis banned all other parties, dissolved the Reichstag and replaced it with a rubberstamp legislature comprising only Nazis and pro-Nazi “guests.”

Despite achieving a much better result than in the November 1932 election, the Nazis did not do as well as Hitler had hoped.

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In spite of massive violence and intimidation, the Nazis won only 43.9% of the vote, rather than the majority that he had expected.

Therefore, Hitler was forced to maintain his coalition with the DNVP to control a majority of seats. The Communists (KPD) lost about a fourth of their votes, while the Social Democrats suffered only moderate losses. Although the KPD had not been formally banned, it was a foregone conclusion that the KPD deputies would never be allowed to take their seats. Within a few days, all of the KPD’s representatives were either under arrest or were in hiding.

Although the Nazi-DNVP coalition had enough seats to conduct the basic business of government, Hitler needed a two-thirds majority to pass the Enabling Act, a law which allowed the Cabinet–in effect, the Chancellor–to enact laws without the approval of the Reichstag for a four-year period.

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With certain exceptions, such laws could deviate from the Weimar Constitution. Leaving nothing to chance, the Nazis used the provisions of the Reichstag Fire Decree to arrest all 81 Communist deputies and keep several Social Democrats out of the chamber.

Hitler then obtained the necessary supermajority by persuading the Catholic Centre Party to vote with him with regard to the Reichskonkordat. The bill was passed on 23 March with 444 votes for and 94 against. Only the Social Democrats led by Otto Wels opposed the measure, which came into effect on 27 March.

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As it turned out, the atmosphere of that session was so intimidating that the measure would have still passed even if all Communist and Social Democratic deputies had been present and voting. The provisions of the bill turned the Hitler government into a de facto legal dictatorship.

Within four months, the other parties had been shuttered either by outright banning or Nazi terror, and Germany was firmly a one-party state. Although three more elections were held during the Nazi era, voters were presented with a single list of Nazis and guest candidates, and voting was not secret.

 

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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1936 Winter Olympics-The forgotten Olympics

 

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The 1936 Winter Olympics, officially known as the IV Olympic Winter Games , were a winter multi-sport event which was celebrated in 1936 in the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Bavaria, Germany. Germany also hosted the Summer Olympics the same year in Berlin. 1936 is the last year in which the Summer and Winter Games were both held in the same country (the cancelled 1940 games would have been held in Japan, with that country likewise hosting the Winter and Summer games).

Like the 1936 Summer Games the February Winter Games were highly political.

The 1936 Winter Olympics were organized on behalf of the German League of the Reich for Physical Exercise (DRL) by Karl Ritter von Halt. Von Halt had been named President of the Committee for the organization of the Fourth Winter Olympics in Garmisch-Partenkirchen by Reichssportführer Hans von Tschammer und Osten.

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Nine months before the games were scheduled to begin, discrimination against the Jewish population had become so widespread that the head of the organizing committee, Karl Ritter von Halt, became alarmed and voiced his concerns in a letter to the Interior Ministry in Berlin. Halt emphasized that he didn’t want to be misunderstood — “I am not expressing my concerns in order to help the Jews” — but wrote that “if the propaganda is continued in this form, the population of Garmisch-Partenkirchen will be so inflamed that it will indiscriminately attack and injure anyone who even looks Jewish.”

The Jew-baiting in the Alpine idyll did not go unnoticed abroad. An English reporter who had traveled to the Werdenfelser Land region in advance of the games photographed the Partenkirchen Ski Club’s clubhouse, where a sign reading “No Jews Allowed Here!” was posted on the wall. The image circled the globe.

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A boycott movement had already been formed in the United States. Organizing committee chief Karl Ritter von Halt was worried that the entire German Olympic project could fail. “If the slightest disturbance occurs in Garmisch-Partenkirchen — this is something which we are all well aware of — it will be not be possible to hold the Olympic Games in Berlin, because all other nations will then withdraw from the event.”

When IOC president Henri de Baillet-Latourwas traveling to Garmisch to see the Games, he was astonished to see roadsigns en route declaring )Dogs and Jews not allowed).

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Baillet-Latour requested an audience with Der Führer and demanded that the signs be taken down. Hitler replied that he thought it usual, when a guest entered a person’s home, that the guest followed the wishes of the host. Baillet-Latour responded that when the flag of Olympia flies over the area, he became the host and Hitler was only the invited guest. Hitler acquiesced and had the signs removed.

But the Games were still highly political, though not  as much as the  Berlin Summer games few months later.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/08/03/1936-summer-olympics-berlin-sports-or-politics/

At the opening ceremony, OCOG President ,Karl Ritter von Halt, stated”We Germans want to show the world that, faithful to the order of our Führer and federal Chancellor , we can put on an Olympic Games that will be a true festival of peace and sincere understanding among peoples”. Perhaps, but the German team included only one Jewish athlete.,Rudi Ball, who was a member of the German ice hockey team.

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In 1936, because he was Jewish, Ball (the 25-year-old captain) was initially overlooked for selection in the German ice hockey team. His 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.The German selectors also realized that without Ball and Jaenecke the team would not stand a chance of winning. Another factor was that the Nazi party could not overlook the fact that Ball was without doubt one of the leading athletes in his sport. With much controversy Ball was included in the German team to play at the 1936 Olympic games. One report of the time proposed that Ball was playing against his will.The deal for Ball’s family to leave Germany was also agreed. After Ball was injured, the Germans took 5th place in the Olympic tournament. Ball played four matches and scored two goals.

The 1936 Olympic Winter Games were notable for the introduction of Alpine skiing events.

image-51314-galleryv9-quwu-51314Great Britain upset 1932 gold medalists Canada in ice hockey when Edgar Brenchley scored the winning goal within the last ninety seconds.

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12 January 1893-A dark day in History.

To be honest I was struggling to find a suitable  title for this piece, but effectively in a bizarre way, 12 January 1893 did have consequences for  the lives of millions just before and during World War 2.

There is no science behind this it’s just a historical observation of a bizarre and even eerie coincidence which changed the future for many. The 12th of January 1893 is the birthday of 2 leading architects and executors of the ‘final solution’.

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Herman Göring was born on 12 January 1893 at the Marienbad Sanatorium in Rosenheim, Bavaria. His father, Heinrich Ernst Göring (31 October 1839 – 7 December 1913), a former cavalry officer, had been the first Governor-General of the German protectorate of South-West Africa, (modern-day Namibia)

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/10/05/albert-goring-the-good-goring/

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/07/27/hitlers-prehistoric-zoo/

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On October 18, 1936 Göring became Commissioner for the Four-Year Plan. This appointment, as well as that of Commissar for Raw Materials and Foreign Currency, gives Göring a great deal of influence over the German economy. Between 1937 and 1941, Göring exercises nearly absolute power over the country’s economy.

On 31 July 1941 Hermann Göring gave written authorization to SS-Obergruppenführer (Senior Group Leader) Reinhard Heydrich, Chief of the Reich Main Security Office (RSHA), to prepare and submit a plan for a “total solution of the Jewish question” in territories under German control and to coordinate the participation of all involved government organisations.

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The resulting Generalplan Ost (General Plan for the East) called for deporting the population of occupied Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union to Siberia, for use as slave labour or to be murdered. The minutes of the Wannsee Conference estimated the Jewish population of the Soviet Union to be five million, with another three million in Ukraine.

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Alfred Rosenberg was born on 12 January 1893 in Reval in the Russian Empire (today known as Tallinn, the capital of modern Estonia) to a family of Baltic Germans: his father, Waldemar Wilhelm Rosenberg,was a wealthy merchant from Latvia, his mother, Elfriede (née Siré), was from Estonia.

 

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As the Nazi Party’s chief racial theorist, Rosenberg oversaw the construction of a human racial “ladder” that justified Hitler’s racial and ethnic policies. Rosenberg built on the works of Arthur de Gobineau, Houston Stewart Chamberlain and Madison Grant, as well as on the beliefs of Hitler. He placed Blacks and Jews at the very bottom of the ladder, while at the very top stood the white “Aryan” race. Rosenberg promoted the Nordic theory which regarded Nordics as the “master race”,superior to all others, including to other Aryans (Indo-Europeans).

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/04/24/forgotten-history-alfred-rosenberg/

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And if Göring wouldn’t have committed suicide the day before his execution, both men would have died on 16 October 1946. The day they were sentenced to death, at the Nuremberg Trials.

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https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/09/30/the-nurnbergnuremberg-sentences/

It might sound like a cliché but a day really can make a difference. If these 2 men hadn’t been born who knows what could have happened.

 

Wilhelm Furtwängler- The Orchestra Conductor who insulted Hitler and survived.

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Wilhelm Furtwängler (January 25, 1886 – November 30, 1954) was a German conductor and composer. He is considered to be one of the greatest symphonic and operatic conductors of the 20th century.

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Furtwängler was principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic between 1922 and 1945, and from 1952 until 1954. He was also principal conductor of the Gewandhaus Orchestra (1922–26), and was a guest conductor of other major orchestras including the Vienna Philharmonic.

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I will focus on his work and life during the Nazi Era and especially his relationship with the Nazi leadership.

Furtwängler was very critical of Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor of Germany, and was convinced that Hitler would not stay in power for long.He had said of Hitler in 1932, “This hissing street pedlar will never get anywhere in Germany”.

In 1934, Furtwängler publicly described Hitler as an “enemy of the human race” and the political situation in Germany as a “Schweinerei” (“pigsty”).

On November 25, 1934, he wrote a letter in the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, “Der Fall Hindemith” (“The Hindemith Case”), in support of the composer Paul Hindemith.

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Hindemith had been labelled a degenerate artist by the Nazis. Furtwängler also conducted a piece by Hindemith, Mathis der Maler although the work had been banned by the Nazis.

The concert received enormous acclaim and unleashed a political storm. The Nazis (especially Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi Party’s chief racial theorist) formed a violent conspiracy against the conductor, who resigned from his official positions, including his titles as vice-president of the Reichsmusikkammer and of Staatsrat of Prussia. His resignation from the latter position was refused by Göring. He was also forced by Goebbels to give up all his artistic positions.

Furtwängler decided to leave Germany,[ but the Nazis prevented him. They seized the opportunity to “aryanize” the orchestra and its administrative staff. Most of the Jewish musicians of the orchestra had already left the country and found positions outside Germany, with Furtwängler’s assistance.

On February 28, 1935, Furtwängler met Goebbels, who wanted to keep Furtwängler in Germany, since he considered him, like Richard Strauss and Hans Pfitzner, a “national treasure”.

Goebbels asked him to pledge allegiance publicly to the new regime. Furtwängler refused. Goebbels then proposed that Furtwängler acknowledge publicly that Hitler was in charge of cultural policy. Furtwängler accepted: Hitler was a dictator and controlled everything in the country. But he added that it must be clear that he wanted nothing to do with the policy and that he would remain as a non-political artist, without any official position.The agreement was reached. Goebbels made an announcement declaring that Furtwängler’s article on Hindemith was not political: Furtwängler had spoken only from an artistic point of view, and it was Hitler who was in charge of the cultural policy in Germany.

The Nazi leaders searched for another conductor to counterbalance Furtwängler. A young, gifted Austrian conductor now appeared in the Third Reich: Herbert von Karajan.

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Karajan had joined the Nazi Party early and was much more willing to participate in the propaganda of the new regime than Furtwängler.Furtwängler had attended several of his concerts, praising his technical gifts but criticizing his conducting style; he did not consider him a serious competitor. However, when Karajan conducted Fidelio and Tristan und Isolde in Berlin in late 1938, Göring decided to take the initiative. The music critic Edwin von der Nüll wrote a review of these concerts with the support of Göring. Its title, “The Karajan Miracle”, was a reference to the famous article “The Furtwängler Miracle” that had made Furtwängler famous as a young conductor in Mannheim. Von der Nüll championed Karajan saying, “A thirty-year-old man creates a performance for which our great fifty-year-olds can justifiably envy him”. Furtwängler’s photo was printed next to the article, making the reference clear.

During the war, Furtwängler tried to avoid conducting in occupied Europe. He said: “I will never play in a country such as France, which I am so much attached to, considering myself a ‘vanquisher’. I will conduct there again only when the country has been liberated”.He refused to go to France during its occupation, although the Nazis tried to force him to conduct there.Since he had said that he would conduct there only at the invitation of the French, Goebbels forced the French conductor Charles Munch to send him a personal invitation.

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But Munch wrote in small characters at the bottom of his letter “in agreement with the German occupation authorities.” Furtwängler declined the invitation.

Furtwängler did conduct in Prague in November 1940 and March 1944. The 1940 program, chosen by Furtwängler, included Smetana’s Moldau. According to Prieberg, “This piece is part of the cycle in which the Czech master celebrated ‘Má vlast (My Country), and […] was intended to support his compatriots’ fight for the independence from Austrian domination […] When Furtwängler began with the ‘Moldau’ it was not a deliberate risk, but a statement of his stance towards the oppressed Czechs”.The 1944 concert marked the fifth anniversary of the German occupation and was the result of a deal between Furtwängler and Goebbels: Furtwängler did not want to perform in April for Hitler’s birthday in Berlin. He said to Goebbels in March (as he had in April 1943) that he was sick. Goebbels asked him to perform in Prague instead, where he conducted the Symphony No. 9 of Antonín Dvořák.

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He conducted in Oslo in 1943, where he helped the Jewish conductor Issay Dobrowen to flee to Sweden.

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In April 1942, Furtwängler conducted a performance of Beethoven’s ninth symphony with the Berlin Philharmonic for Hitler’s birthday.

This concert led to heavy criticism of Furtwängler after the war. In fact, Furtwängler had planned several concerts in Vienna during this period to avoid this celebration.But after the defeat of the German army during the Battle of Moscow, Goebbels had decided to make a long speech on the eve of Hitler’s birthday to galvanize the German nation. The speech would be followed by Beethoven’s ninth symphony. Goebbels wanted Furtwängler to conduct the symphony by whatever means to give a transcendent dimension to the event. He called Furtwängler shortly before to ask him to agree to conduct the symphony but the latter refused arguing that he had no time to rehearse and that he had to perform several concerts in Vienna. But Goebbels forced the organizers in Vienna (by threatening them) to cancel the concerts and ordered Furtwängler to return to Berlin In 1943 and 1944, Furtwängler provided false medical certificates in advance to be sure that such a situation would not happen again.

It is now known that Furtwängler continued to use his influence to help Jewish musicians and non-musicians escape the Third Reich. He managed to have Max Zweig, a nephew of conductor Fritz Zweig, released from Dachau concentration camp. Others, from an extensive list of Jews he helped, included Carl Flesch, Josef Krips and the composer Arnold Schoenberg.

Furtwängler refused to participate in the propaganda film Philharmoniker. Goebbels wanted Furtwängler to feature in it, but Furtwängler declined to take part. The film was finished in December 1943 showing many conductors connected with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, including Eugen Jochum, Karl Böhm, Hans Knappertsbusch, and Richard Strauss, but not Furtwängler. Goebbels also asked Furtwängler to direct the music in a film about Beethoven, again for propaganda purposes. They quarralled violently about this project. Furtwängler told him “You are wrong, Herr Minister, if you think you can exploit Beethoven in a film.” Goebbels gave up his plans for the film.

Friedelind Wagner (an outspoken opponent of the Third Reich) reported a conversation with her mother Winifred Wagner during the war, to the effect that Hitler did not trust or like Furtwängler, and that Göring and Goebbels were upset with Furtwängler’s continuous support for his “undesirable friends”.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/07/02/hitler-and-wagner/

Yet Hitler, in gratitude for Furtwängler’s refusal to leave Berlin even when it was being bombed, ordered Albert Speer to build a special air raid shelter for the conductor and his family. Furtwängler refused it, but the shelter was nevertheless built in the house against his will. Speer related that in December 1944 Furtwängler asked whether Germany had any chance of winning the war. Speer replied in the negative, and advised him to flee to Switzerland from possible Nazi retribution. In 1944, he was the only prominent German artist who refused to sign the brochure ‘We Stand and Fall with Adolf Hitler’.

Furtwängler’s name was included on the Gottbegnadeten list (“God-gifted List”) of September 1944, but was removed on December 7, 1944 because of his relationships with German resistance.Furtwängler had strong links to the German resistance which organized the 20 July plot.

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He stated during his denazification trial that he knew an attack was being organized against Hitler, although he did not participate in its organization. He knew Claus von Stauffenberg very well and his doctor, Johannes Ludwig Schmitt, who wrote him many false health prescriptions to bypass official requirements, was a member of the Kreisau Circle.

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Furtwängler’s concerts were sometimes chosen by the members of the German resistance as a meeting point. Rudolf Pechel, a member of the resistance group which organized the 20 July plot said to Furtwängler after the war: “In the circle of our resistance movement it was an accepted fact that you were the only one in the whole of our musical world who really resisted, and you were one of us.”Graf Kaunitz, also a member of that circle, stated: “In Furtwängler’s concerts we were one big family of the resistance.”

Furtwängler was “within a few hours of being arrested ” by the Gestapo when he fled to Switzerland, following a concert in Vienna with the Vienna Philharmonic on January 28, 1945. The Nazis had begun to crack down on German liberals. At the concert he conducted Brahms’s Second Symphony, which was recorded and is considered one of his greatest performances.

Once Adolf Hitler threatened to send Furtwängler to the Dachau concentration camp,whereupon he replied”At least I will be in good company”

Furtwängler was required to submit to a process of denazification. He was charged with having conducted two Nazi concerts during the period 1933–1945. The first was for the Hitler Youth on 3 February 1938. It was presented to Furtwängler as a way to acquaint younger generations with classical music. According to Fred Prieberg: “when he looked at the audience he realized that this was more than just a concert for school kids in uniform; a whole collection of prominent political figures were sitting there as well […] and it was the last time he raised his baton for this purpose”.

The second concert was the performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the Vienna Philharmonic on 5 September 1938, on the evening before the Nazi congress in Nüremberg. Furtwängler had agreed to conduct this concert to help preserve the Vienna Philharmonic, and at his insistence the concert was not part of the congress.

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He was charged for his honorary title of Staatsrat of Prussia (he had resigned from this title in 1934, but the Nazis had refused his resignation) and with making an anti-semitic remark against the part-Jewish conductor Victor de Sabata.The chair of the commission, Alex Vogel, started the trial with the following statement:

“The investigations showed that Furtwängler had not been a member of any [Nazi] organization, that he tried to help people persecuted because of their race, and that he also avoided… formalities such as giving the Hitler salute.”

At the end of the trial, musicians certified that Furtwängler helped many people during Nazi era such as Hugo Strelitzer, who declared:

If I am alive today, I owe this to this great man. Furtwängler helped and protected a great number of Jewish musicians and this attitude shows a great deal of courage since he did it under the eyes of the Nazis, in Germany itself. History will be his judge

 

 

Marinus van der Lubbe-the Dutch man who set fire to the Reichstag.

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Marinus van der Lubbe was born in Leiden, on 13th January, 1909. His father, Franciscus Cornelis van der Lubbe, was a heavy drinker who left the family when he was seven years old. His mother died five years later. He was then raised by an older half sister and was brought up in extreme poverty. His school report said he was a ” talented boy of limited application”

After leaving school Lubbe worked as a bricklayer ,He was nicknamed Dempsey after boxer Jack Dempsey, because of his great strength.but after an industrial accident, where both his eyes were damaged and in 1925 he spent five months in hospital. He never fully recovered and was now unable to work and had to live on a small invalidity pension, OF 7.44 Guilders per week.

Van der Lubbe became interested in politics and spent most of his spare time reading and became a familiar figure in the Leyden Public Library. This included books by Karl Marx and in 1926 he joined the Communist Party of the Netherlands.Needless to say, the foundation of his self-taught knowledge was rather shaky, so that his hatred of capitalism was based less on Marxist science than on his youthful enthusiasm and Utopian dreams of heaven and earth.

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After a few conflicts with his sister, Van der Lubbe moved to Leiden in 1927. There he learned to speak some German and founded the Lenin house, where he organized political meetings. While working for the Tielmann factory a strike broke out. Van der Lubbe claimed to the management to be one of the ringleaders and offered to accept any punishment as long as no one else was victimised, even though he was clearly too inexperienced to have been seriously involved. During the trial, he tried to claim sole responsibility and was purportedly hostile to the idea of getting off free.

In 1931 van der Lubbe went travelling. That year he went to Yugoslavia and Rumania. The following year he visited Austria and Poland. In April 1932 he was arrested. He wrote to his friend, Koos Vink: “When you receive this letter, I shall have spent a whole week in a Polish prison. I was given three weeks, for illegal entry, and when my time is up I shall return to the Netherlands.”

On his return he began mixing with different left-wing political groups. He rejected the political ideas of Joseph Stalin and became sympathetic to those of Leon Trotsky. He was also attracted to anarchist theories and eventually joined the Party of International Communists (sometimes known as Rade Communists). This party, which had only a handful of members in the Netherlands, was opposed to the very idea of discipline and leadership, and saw the salvation of the working class in spontaneous, individual action alone.

In the General Election of November 1932, the German Communist Party (KPD) won 100 seats in the Reichstag. The Social Democratic Party (SDP). did slightly better with 121 seats but it was the Nazi Party with 196, that had the greatest success. However, when Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor, in January 1933, the Nazis only had a third of the seats in Parliament.

Marinus van der Lubbe read about these events in the Dutch newspapers. He told his friend, Koos Vink, that he believed that Germany was on the verge of revolution. He decided he wanted to play a role in these events and on 3rd February 1933, he decided to walk to Berlin. He arrived fifteen days later. He was disappointed to discover that the KPD was not actively resisting Hitler’s rule. He decided to take matters into his own hands by setting a number of public buildings on fire.

On the morning of 25th February, van der Lubbe, bought matches and four packets of firelighters. That night he tried to set fire to a public toilet, the town hall and the Imperial Palace. In each case, the fire was discovered soon afterwards and no real damage was done.

Three days later Marinus van der Lubbe successfully set-fire to the Reichstag building.

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Marinus van der Lubbe was arrested in the building. Van der Lubbe was immediately interviewed by the Gestapo.

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Detective-Inspector Walter Zirpins carried out the original investigation.

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At about 9.03 p.m., Hans Flöter, a young theology student, was walking past the south-western corner of the dark and deserted Reichstag when he heard the sound of breaking glass. When he turned round he saw a man with a burning object in his hand. He raced off and found a police officer, Sergeant Karl Buwert. When the two men reached the scene of the crime, they could see a man rushing from window waving a flaming torch.

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Van der Lubbe said that he set the Reichstag building on fire as a cry to rally the German workers against fascist rule. He was brought to trial along with the head of the German Communist Party and three Bulgarian members of the Comintern. At his trial, Van der Lubbe was convicted and sentenced to death for the Reichstag fire. The other four defendants (Ernst Torgler, Georgi Dimitrov, Blagoi Popov, and Vasil Tanev) at the trial were acquitted.

 

 

Buwert was joined by several other policemen and eventually entered the building. It was Constable Helmut Poeschel who arrested van der Lubbe at 9.27. He later reported that he “was a tall, well-built young man, completely out of breath and dishevelled”. Poeschel searched him and all he found was a “pocket knife, a wallet, and a passport”

On 23rd December, 1933, Judge Wilhelm Bürger announced that Marinus van der Lubbe was guilty of “arson and with attempting to overthrow the government”. Bürger concluded that the German Communist Party (KPD) had indeed planned the fire in order to start a revolution, but the evidence against Ernst Torgler, Georgi Dimitrov, Blagoi Popov and Vassili Tanev, was insufficient to justify a conviction.

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On 9th January, 1934, when the Public Prosecutor informed Marinus van der Lubbe that his appeal for clemency had been rejected, and that he was to be beheaded the following morning, he answered: “Thank you for telling me: I shall see you tomorrow.” When he was led out of his cell, he looked calm and peaceful. Judge Wilhelm Bürger attended and saw the executioner, who was dressed in tails, top hat and white gloves, carried out the beheading.

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He was guillotined in a Leipzig prison yard on 10 January 1934, three days before his 25th birthday.

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He was buried in an unmarked grave on the Südfriedhof (South Cemetery) in Leipzig.

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After World War II, moves by Marinus van der Lubbe’s brother, Jan van der Lubbe were made in an attempt to overturn the verdict against his brother. In 1967, his sentence was changed by a judge from death to eight years in prison. In 1980, after more lengthy complaints, a West German court overturned the verdict entirely but this was protested by the state prosecutor. The case was re-examined by the Federal Court of Justice of Germany for three years until, in 1983, the court made a final decision on the matter, overturning the result of the earlier 1980 trial on grounds that there was no basis for it, making it therefore illegal. However, on December 6, 2007, the Attorney General of Germany nullified the entire verdict and post-humously pardoned Van der Lubbe based on a 1998 German law that makes it possible to overturn certain cases of Nazi injustice. The determination of the court was based on the premise that the National Socialist regime was by definition unjust; and, since the death sentence in this case was politically motivated, it was likely to have contained an extension of that injustice. The finding was independent of the factual question of whether or not it was Van der Lubbe who actually set the fire.

 

Kristallnacht-The Night of Broken Glass

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On November 9 to November 10, 1938, in an incident known as “Kristallnacht”, Nazis in Germany torched synagogues, vandalized Jewish homes, schools and businesses and killed close to 100 Jews. In the aftermath of Kristallnacht, also called the “Night of Broken Glass,” some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps.

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On the night of November 9, 1938, violence against Jews broke out across the Reich. It appeared to be unplanned, set off by Germans’ anger over the assassination of a German official in Paris at the hands of a Jewish teenager. In fact, German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels and other Nazis carefully organized the pogroms. In two days, over 250 synagogues were burned, over 7,000 Jewish businesses were trashed and looted, dozens of Jewish people were killed, and Jewish cemeteries, hospitals, schools, and homes were looted while police and fire brigades stood by. The pogroms became known as Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass,” for the shattered glass from the store windows that littered the streets.

The morning after the pogroms 30,000 German Jewish men were arrested for the “crime” of being Jewish and sent to concentration camps, where hundreds of them perished.

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Some Jewish women were also arrested and sent to local jails. Businesses owned by Jews were not allowed to reopen unless they were managed by non-Jews. Curfews were placed on Jews, limiting the hours of the day they could leave their homes.

The violence was instigated primarily by Nazi Party officials and members of the SA (Sturmabteilungen: literally Assault Detachments, but commonly known as Storm Troopers) and Hitler Youth.

In its aftermath, German officials announced that Kristallnacht had erupted as a spontaneous outburst of public sentiment in response to the assassination of Ernst vom Rath.

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Vom Rath was a German embassy official stationed in Paris. Herschel Grynszpan, a 17-year-old Polish Jew, had shot the diplomat on November 7, 1938. A few days earlier, German authorities had expelled thousands of Jews of Polish citizenship living in Germany from the Reich; Grynszpan had received news that his parents, residents in Germany since 1911, were among them.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/11/07/herschel-grynszpan-assassination-of-ernst-vom-rath/

Vom Rath died on November 9, 1938, two days after the shooting. The day happened to coincide with the anniversary of the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, an important date in the National Socialist calendar. The Nazi Party leadership, assembled in Munich for the commemoration, chose to use the occasion as a pretext to launch a night of antisemitic excesses. Propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, a chief instigator of the Kristallnacht pogroms, suggested to the convened Nazi ‘Old Guard’ that ‘World Jewry’ had conspired to commit the assassination. He announced that “the Führer has decided that … demonstrations should not be prepared or organized by the Party, but insofar as they erupt spontaneously, they are not to be hampered.”

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Goebbels’ words appear to have been taken as a command for unleashing the violence. After his speech, the assembled regional Party leaders issued instructions to their local offices. Violence began to erupt in various parts of the Reich throughout the late evening and early morning hours of November 9–10. At 1:20 a.m. on November 10, Reinhard Heydrich, in his capacity as head of the Security Police (Sicherheitspolizei) sent an urgent telegram to headquarters and stations of the State Police and to SA leaders in their various districts, which contained directives regarding the riots. SA and Hitler Youth units throughout Germany and its annexed territories engaged in the destruction of Jewish-owned homes and businesses. Members of many units wore civilian clothes to support the fiction that the disturbances were expressions of ‘outraged public reaction.’

Despite the outward appearance of spontaneous violence, and the local cast which the pogrom took on in various regions throughout the Reich, the central orders Heydrich relayed gave specific instructions: the “spontaneous” rioters were to take no measures endangering non-Jewish German life or property; they were not to subject foreigners (even Jewish foreigners) to violence; and they were to remove all synagogue archives prior to vandalizing synagogues and other properties of the Jewish communities, and to transfer that archival material to the Security Service (Sicherheitsdienst, or SD). The orders also indicated that police officials should arrest as many Jews as local jails could hold, preferably young, healthy men.

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On the 12th of November 1938 The Nazi state imposes a fine of one billion Reichsmarks($400,000,000) on the Jewish community in Germany. Jews are ordered to clean up and make repairs after the pogrom. They are barred from collecting insurance for the damages. Instead, the state confiscates payments owed by insurers to Jewish property holders. In the aftermath of the pogrom, Jews are systematically excluded from all areas of public life in Germany.

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Kristallnacht changed the nature of persecution from economic, political, and social to physical with beatings, incarceration, and murder; the event is often referred to as the beginning of the Holocaust. In the words of historian Max Rein in 1988, “Kristallnacht came…and everything was changed.”

While November 1938 predated overt articulation of “the Final Solution”, it foreshadowed the genocide to come. Around the time of Kristallnacht, the SS newspaper Das Schwarze Korps called for a “destruction by swords and flames.”

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At a conference on the day after the pogrom, Hermann Göring said: “The Jewish problem will reach its solution if, in any time soon, we will be drawn into war beyond our border—then it is obvious that we will have to manage a final account with the Jews.”