Funding Evil

hoesch

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

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

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

SCHACHT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

zyklon

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

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

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

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

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Hermine Santruschitz aka Miep Gies

Miep

The name Hermine Santruschitz will mean very little to most, however the name Miep Gies is a well known name, a name which would forever be linked to a teenage diarist called Anne Frank.

Miep Gies born  Hermine Santruschitz would have celebrated her 110th birthday today, she did not get that old but she still reached the age of 100.

She was born in Vienna on February 15,1909.Her parents Mathias and Genofeva (née Jakuschitz) Santruschitz sent her to Leiden in the Netherlands in 1920. Austria was stil suffering the consequences of World War 1, there were a lot of shortages including food.

The Netherlands had remained neutral during WWI and was reasonably affluent. Hermine was sent to The Nieuwenburg family, consisting of 2 parents and 5 children. The The Nieuwenburg family initially agreed to take Hermine in foster care for 6 months, but due to bad health this was extended to one year. In that time Hermine got very attached to the family and the decision was made for Hermine to remain with the family. They called her by the shortened version of her name Miep.

In 1922 Miep moved with her foster family to Amsterdam.Miep was a bright student and after  graduating high school she got a job as an accountant.

In 1933, Otto Frank had been appointed Managing Director of Opekta, a German company which had expanded into the Netherlands.

Jam

In need of a secretary the Dutch branch, headed by Otto Frank hired Miep in 1933.

In 1933 Miep gad also met Jan Gies but due the fact that Jan had to go into the Dutch Social Services, the couple didn’t meet socially again until 1936.

Jan and Miep became close friends yo the Frank family. Shortly after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, Miep was urged to  to join a Nazi women’s group. But she refused to do so, because of this threatened with deportation back to Vienna. Jan and Miep decided to get married, this would secure Miep’s residence in the Netherlands. They got married  in Amsterdam on 16 July 1941, The Frank family was in attendance at the wedding.

Frank

Less than a year later the lives of both the Frank and the Gies family would change forever. All of them faced death , the Frank’s simply because they were Jewish, Miep en Jan Gies for helping the Frank , the Pels family and Fritz Pfeffer , hide.

The fate of all those hiding in that little secret annex in an office in Amsterdam is well documented

Miep died on January 11,2010 aged 100.

An unassuming, immigrant foster child who became an icon for heroism.

Happy Birthday Miep.

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Eva Braun as Al Jolson

Eva Jolson

Eva Braun is a bit of enigma. I do think that she was fully aware of what Hitler and his cronies were up to. She did first meet Hitler when she was still a teenager and would have been in awe of the man, but she did become his partner and later his wife, albeit for less then 40 hours, and there is no way she did not know what was happening as a result of the hatred Hitler had for the Jewish people.

However in 1937 a picture was taken of her imitating Al Jolson, the picture was found in an album by US troops, the text with the photograph said “Me as Al Jolson”. It is known that she had been a fan of the first feature length talkie movie,”the Jazz singer” starring Al Jolson.

Jazz

The creepy picture of Al Jolson is weird enough but taking in consideration that Al Jolson was Jewish and Jazz was seen as degenerate art, it is odd that Eva Braun would choose to imitate Asa Yoelson; aka Al Jolson.

Braun was a great Carnival enthusiast ,which  is the 3 days festival before the start of lent in the Christian calendar. During the festival people dress up in funny costumes. There is often a satirical underline to how the people dress up.

I presume that Eva Braun dressed up as Al Jolson for that reason Either way it is a further indication how weird the relationship was between her and Hitler.

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The Nobel price and the Third Reich.

nobel

Adolf Hitler often displayed toddler like behaviour. If he didn’t get his way or if someone did something he didn’t like, he would throw a tantrum.

In 1935 the Nobel peace prize was awarded to Carl von Ossietzky(pictured above). He was a German pacifist He was awarded the prize for something which happened before Hitler came to power.In 1931 Carl von Ossietzky was arrested because he  published details of Germany’s violation of the Treaty of Versailles by rebuilding an air force, which was the predecessor of the Luftwaffe, and training pilots in the Soviet Union.

He was also a very vocal anti Nazi and was openly critical about Hitler and the Nazi regime.On 28 February 1933 he was sent to Spandau  prison for “protective custody” and later on he was transferred to the Esterwegen concentration camp.

esterwegen

When the Nobel foundation awarded the 1935 Nobel Peace Prize to Carl von Ossietzky, (although it was the 1935 Nobel peace prize it actually was awarded in 1936), Hitler was offended. His reaction was to issue a decree on 31 January 1937 which forbade German nationals to accept any Nobel Prize.

This resulted in Gerhard Domagk not getting the 1939 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Richard Kuhn not being able to get the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1938 and Adolf Butenandt not allowed to accept for the the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1939.

In 1939 the Swedish Social Democrat and Anti Fascist Erik Gottfrid Christian Brandt nominated Hitler for the Nobel Peace Prize , in a ironic and sarcastic manner. The nomination was accepted.

Below is the text of his nomination.

“To the Norwegian Nobel Committee

I hereby humbly suggest that the Peace Prize for 1939 is awarded the German Chancellor and Führer Adolf Hitler, a man, who in the opinion of millions of people, is a man who more than anyone in the world has deserved this highly respected reward.

Authentic documents reveal that in September 1938 world peace was in great danger; it was only a matter of hours before a new European war could break out. The man who during this dangerous time saved our part of the world from this terrible catastrophe was without no doubt the great leader of the German people. In the critical moment he voluntarily did not let weapons speak although he had the power to start a world war.

By his glowing love for peace, earlier documented in his famous book Mein Kampf – next to the Bible perhaps the best and most popular piece of literature in the world – together with his peaceful achievement – the annexation of Austria – Adolf Hitler has avoided the use of force by freeing his countrymen in Sudetenland and making his fatherland big and powerful. Probably Hitler will, if unmolested and left in peace by war mongers, pacify Europe and possibly the whole world.

Sadly there still are a great number of people who fail to see the greatness in Adolf Hitler’s struggle for peace. Based on this fact I would not have found the time right to nominate Hitler as a candidate to the Nobel Peace Prize had it not been for a number of Swedish parliamentarians who have nominated another candidate, namely the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. This nomination seems to be poorly thought. Although it is true that Chamberlain through his generous understanding of Hitler’s struggle for pacification has contributed to the saving of world peace, the last decision was Hitler´s and not Chamberlains! Hitler and no one else is first and foremost to be thanked for the peace which still prevails in the greater part of Europe; and this man is also the hope for peace in the future. As Chamberlain obviously can claim his share of the peace making, he could possibly have a smaller part of the Peace Prize. But the most correct thing to do is not to put another name beside the name of Adolf Hitler and thereby throwing a shadow on him. Adolf Hitler is by all means the authentic God-given fighter for peace, and millions of people all over the world put their hopes in him as the Prince of Peace on earth.

Stockholm, January 27 1939”

Brandt withdrew his nomination in February 1939 because he hadn’t expected his nomination to be taken serious.

Imagine if he hadn’t withdrawn the nomination and Hitler had won(stranger things have happened), Then Hitler would have to break his own rule to accept his prize.

peace

Eventually no Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in 1939.

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25-Punkte-Programm-25-Point Program

25 point

Throughout history warning signs have been ignored over and over again. It is very important to keep history alive but it is even more important to learn from it, alas that is the one thing that is often forgotten.

People often think that the warning signs of the Nazi regime were only there since 1933,other think it that the signs were there after Hitler published “Mein Kampf”

The fact Hitler had already been thinking about his plans years before that, even before the NSDAP was formed and even before he joined the DAP(German Workers Party) the predecessor for the NSDAP.

dap

On the day the DAP dissolved and the NSDAP was formed,February 24 1920, Hitler and the then leader of the NSDAP ,Anton Drexler, published the blue print of what they saw as the future for Germany and the great German reich.

They called it “The aims of the National Socialists” aka “the 25 points program”

         25-Point Program

  1. The unity of all German-speaking peoples into one greater Germany.
  2. The destruction of the Treaty of Versailles.
  3. Colonies and land to feed Germany’s population.
  4. Only Germans can be citizens. No Jew can be a German.
  5. People in Germany who are not citizens must obey special laws for foreigners.
  6. Only German citizens can vote, be employed or hold public office.
  7. Citizens are entitled to a job and a decent standard of living.
  8. No immigration of non-German must be allowed. Anyone who has come to Germany since 1914 must be removed.
  9. All citizens have equal rights
  10. The duty of a citizen is find employment
  11. All unemployment benefits should end.
  12. All profits made during the war must be shared.
  13. Nationalisation of public industries including electricity and gas.
  14. Large companies must share their profits with the workers
  15. Pensions must be improved
  16. Help for small shops and businesses; large department stores must be closed down to support this.
  17. Property reform to give small farmers land
  18. Criminals and profiteers must be punished by death.
  19. Reform of the law to make it more German.
  20. Improve education so that all Germans can find employment
  21. Improve people’s health by forcing people to do sport.
  22. Abolition of the Army, and a new People’s Army in its place.
  23. German newspapers must be free of foreign influence.
  24. Freedom of religion.
  25. Strong government with unrestricted authority over Germany.

Extended text

1. We demand the union of all Germans in a Great Germany on the basis of the principle of self-determination of all peoples.

2. We demand that the German people have rights equal to those of other nations; and that the Peace Treaties of Versailles and St. Germain shall be abrogated.

3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the maintenance of our people and the settlement of our surplus population.

4. Only those who are our fellow countrymen can become citizens. Only those who have German blood, regardless of creed, can be our countrymen. Hence no Jew can be a countryman.

5. Those who are not citizens must live in Germany as foreigners and must be subject to the law of aliens.

6. The right to choose the government and determine the laws of the State shall belong only to citizens. We therefore demand that no public office, of whatever nature, whether in the central government, the province, or the municipality, shall be held by anyone who is not a citizen.

We wage war against the corrupt parliamentary administration whereby men are appointed to posts by favor of the party without regard to character and fitness.

7. We demand that the State shall above all undertake to ensure that every citizen shall have the possibility of living decently and earning a livelihood. If it should not be possible to feed the whole population, then aliens (non-citizens) must be expelled from the Reich.

8. Any further immigration of non-Germans must be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans who have entered Germany since August 2, 1914, shall be compelled to leave the Reich immediately.

9. All citizens must possess equal rights and duties.

10. The first duty of every citizen must be to work mentally or physically. No individual shall do any work that offends against the interest of the community to the benefit of all.

Therefore we demand:

11. That all unearned income, and all income that does not arise from work, be abolished.

12. Since every war imposes on the people fearful sacrifices in blood and treasure, all personal profit arising from the war must be regarded as treason to the people. We therefore demand the total confiscation of all war profits.

13. We demand the nationalization of all trusts.

14. We demand profit-sharing in large industries.

15. We demand a generous increase in old-age pensions.

16. We demand the creation and maintenance of a sound middle-class, the immediate communalization of large stores which will be rented cheaply to small tradespeople, and the strongest consideration must be given to ensure that small traders shall deliver the supplies needed by the State, the provinces and municipalities.

17. We demand an agrarian reform in accordance with our national requirements, and the enactment of a law to expropriate the owners without compensation of any land needed for the common purpose. The abolition of ground rents, and the prohibition of all speculation in land.

18. We demand that ruthless war be waged against those who work to the injury of the common welfare. Traitors, usurers, profiteers, etc., are to be punished with death, regardless of creed or race.

19. We demand that Roman law, which serves a materialist ordering of the world, be replaced by German common law.

20. In order to make it possible for every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education, and thus the opportunity to reach into positions of leadership, the State must assume the responsibility of organizing thoroughly the entire cultural system of the people. The curricula of all educational establishments shall be adapted to practical life. The conception of the State Idea (science of citizenship) must be taught in the schools from the very beginning. We demand that specially talented children of poor parents, whatever their station or occupation, be educated at the expense of the State.

21. The State has the duty to help raise the standard of national health by providing maternity welfare centers, by prohibiting juvenile labor, by increasing physical fitness through the introduction of compulsory games and gymnastics, and by the greatest possible encouragement of associations concerned with the physical education of the young.

22. We demand the abolition of the regular army and the creation of a national (folk) army.

23. We demand that there be a legal campaign against those who propagate deliberate political lies and disseminate them through the press. In order to make possible the creation of a German press, we demand:

(a) All editors and their assistants on newspapers published in the German language shall be German citizens.

(b) Non-German newspapers shall only be published with the express permission of the State. They must not be published in the German language.

(c) All financial interests in or in any way affecting German newspapers shall be forbidden to non-Germans by law, and we demand that the punishment for transgressing this law be the immediate suppression of the newspaper and the expulsion of the non-Germans from the Reich.

Newspapers transgressing against the common welfare shall be suppressed. We demand legal action against those tendencies in art and literature that have a disruptive influence upon the life of our folk, and that any organizations that offend against the foregoing demands shall be dissolved.

24. We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state, insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race.

The party as such represents the point of view of a positive Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confession. It fights against the Jewish materialist spirit within and withoutand is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk can only come about from within on the pinciple:

COMMON GOOD BEFORE INDIVIDUAL GOOD

25. In order to carry out this program we demand: the creation of a strong central authority in the State, the unconditional authority by the political central parliament of the whole State and all its organizations.

The formation of professional committees and of committees representing the several estates of the realm, to ensure that the laws promulgated by the central authority shall be carried out by the federal states.

The leaders of the party undertake to promote the execution of the foregoing points at all costs, if necessary at the sacrifice of their own lives.

On April 13 1928 Hitler wrote the following clarification in relation to point 17 of the program.

Regarding the false interpretations of Point 17 of the program of the NSDAP on the part of our opponents, the following definition is necessary:

“Since the NSDAP stands on the platform of private ownership it happens that the passage” gratuitous expropriation concerns only the creation of legal opportunities to expropriate if necessary, land which has been illegally acquired or is not administered from the view-point of the national welfare. This is directed primarily against the Jewish land-speculation companies.

Next time you see a political party publishing a program, read it very carefully and read it again.

 

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Sources

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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

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Indifference becomes hate.

hate

They say that money of the root of all evil. It isn’t. Hate is the root of all evil and indifference is the root of all hate.

Indifference can turn ordinary but ill informed people into hateful individuals and mobs. Ill informed because they believe what their leaders tell them,without questioning them.

I could do this blog about any era in history because throughout history there have been many occasions where indifference became hate, but I will focus on the darkest era , WWII.

The picture above is of Jewish women in Linz, Austria who were exhibited in public with a cardboard sign stating “I have been excluded from the national community”

German students taking part in race education classes, 1943.The 3 groups displayed on the poster are, from top to bottom, “East Baltic race” Alpine race” and “Dinaric race”. All these three groups were considered part of the sub-races of the Caucasian race.

education

Sinti in the courtyard of Hohenasperg Prison prior to their deportation to camps in Poland. May 22, 1940.

sinti

A women accused of racial defilement for having a romantic affair with a Polish man, Altenburg, Thuringia, Germany. 7 February 1942. Again with a cardboard sign stating “I have been excluded from the national community”

mockery

The indifference was partially caused by self interest. Hitler made promises in relation to the prosperity and he created the perception that he kept his promises. Although the economic recovery had already started before he came to power, the dire situation in Germany prior to that was still fresh in the  memories of many citizens.

People at a crowded dormitory of a lodging house for the homeless in Berlin in 1920.

homeless

German World War I veteran and amputee begs for money on the street.1923.

wwi

For many who had suffered Hitler had become a champion for their cause and they were willing to look away from the things the Nazis did, because they had a roof of their heads and food on the table and they were indifferent to the price that was paid for that new found prosperity.

AH

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The November pogrom-Kristall nacht.

Kristaal nacht

This is not meant to be an accusation because since I didn’t live in those times, I just don’t know how I would have reacted.

It is however something that has intrigued me.How come the majority of the Germans and Austrians did not see how wrong the November pogrom was? I can nearly understand why they turned a blind eye to the boycott of Jewish shops and even the occasional attack on Jews, they probably thought it was just a few extreme right thugs who carried out those attacks. But Kristall nacht was not just some vandalism, it was a direct nationwide assault on religion and an act of war against the Jews.

During the Night 9-10 November, hundreds of synagogues were destroyed in Austria, Germany, and Sudetenland.

pogrom

While the synagogues were burning, firemen were instructed only to stop the  fires if nearby buildings were threatened by the flames.

At least 91 Jewish citizens were killed and about 30,000 Jewish men were arrested.The excuse used for these attacks was the shooting of diplomat Ernst vom Rath by 17 year old Jewish student Herschel Grynszpan, in Paris.

But in the 1930’s in Germany there had been many other assassinations and they never triggered widespread violence as the November pogrom.

Hugh Greene who worked as a reporter for  The Daily Telegraph in Berlin, wrote the following:

“Mob law ruled in Berlin throughout the afternoon and evening and hordes of hooligans indulged in an orgy of destruction. I have seen several anti-Jewish outbreaks in Germany during the last five years, but never anything as nauseating as this. Racial hatred and hysteria seemed to have taken complete hold of otherwise decent people. I saw fashionably dressed women clapping their hands and screaming with glee, while respectable middle-class mothers held up their babies to see the ‘fun'”

damage

To add insult to injury ,after the event the Jewish community was forced to pay for the damage caused to the synagogues and properties, They were  fined 10 billion Reichsmarks.

If Kristallnacht wasn’t an indication of what the Nazis had planned for the Jews, then what was. There was still time to put a halt to it then, but it seems people had just become to indifferent by then.

paper

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The Aryan Jesus.

Church

The Christian churches in the third reich and also outside the third reich had 3 approaches to the Nazis policies.

  1. They rejected the policies and actively resisted it.Churches like Confessing Church. and men like Dietrich Bonnhoefer. Or the catholic priest Hugh O’Flaherty resisted the Nazis and their ideologies and actively resisted the Nazi regime.
  2. They were indifferent and turned a blind eye to what was happening around them, often in plain sight. They just lived their lives as if nothing happened.
  3. They endorsed the Nazi ideology.Movements like “the German Christians” aligned themselves  towards the antisemitic, racist and Führerprinzip( leader principle, the notion that some “gifted individuals” were destined to rule, the term was first coined by philosopher Hermann von Keyserling)  ideological principles of NazismDC

As a Christian myself I am especially ashamed of the last 2 groups, and although the indifference of the 2nd group can partially be explained that the indifference was borne out of fear, it doesn’t make it better. Although it is often misquoted it is appropriate in this context ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’

The 3rd group were plainly as evil as the Nazis themselves, they may not have been involved in actual killings but they created an atmosphere which made it look okay to kill Jews.

In 1939 with the majority of  the German Protestant churches agreeing to it, the Eisenacher “Institute for Research and the Elimination of Jewish influence on German Church Life” was founded, led by Walter Grundmann.It was officially opened in the Wartburg in Eisenach on May 6, 1939.

institute

One of the institutes  main tasks was to compile a “People’s Testament” in the sense of what Alfred Rosenberg called a “Fifth Gospel”, to announce the myth of the “Aryan Jesus”.

The institute produced a “dejewified” New Testament entitled “Die Botschaft Gottes” (God’s Message), in which all references to the Old Testament were deleted in 1941. The catechism “Deutsche mit Gott” (Germans with God), which included a revised version of the Ten Commandments, was published that same year.

Removing all Jewish references from the bible and portraying Jesus as a Nordic Aryan figure of course made it easier for some people to solve an internal conflict they may have had  in mistreating their Jewish neighbors.

Georg Bertram, professor of New Testament at the University of Giessen, who was the head of the Institute from 1943 until the Institute’s dissolution in May 1945, wrote about its goals in March 1944: “‘This war is Jewry’s war against Europe.

Whereas nearly the entire Protestant and Catholic church bore a share of responsibility for the crimes against  the Jews by remaining silent about the Nuremberg Laws and the Kristall Nacht and other pogroms  as well as officially helping issue “certificates of Aryan descent”, the institute in Eisenach was guilty of complicity in the Holocaust.

Even though It is a hard truth for me as a Christian to face , a truth it is nevertheless.

altar

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Hitler’s promise of prosperity.

eco germany

A question people often ask me is “Why did so many Germans believe Hitler and the NSDAP?”

Hitler did not keep his hate for Jews and other groups e deemed unworthy a secret. In fact he wrote about it in Mein Kampf and other political publications.So why did so many Germans endorse him and his policies?

eco hitler

That question is actually not so hard to answer.

There were a few factors and it also came down to timing.One of the reasons te Nazis cited for the woes of the German people was the treaty of Versailles. Te treart had caused undue hardships for Germany after WWI,but by 1924 the allied had realized that. The hyper inflation  in Germany causing simple daily things like bread and milk to cost millions of reich marks, had not gone unnoticed.

versailles

The Dawes Plan (as proposed by the Dawes Committee, chaired by Charles G. Dawes) was an initial plan in 1924 ease the World War I reparations that Germany had to pay.

The years 1924 to 1929 became known as the ‘Golden Years’, Germany had crawled out of poverty, at least for a big part, and by 1928 unemployment had gone down from a 15% to 8%.By this stage the Germans did not see the Nazis policies as viable policies for the country.

The event that brought changes to that was the  Wall Street Crash of October 29, 1929,which started the great depression.

crash

Strapped for cash, the United States began to recall loans from Europe. As one of the consequences unemployment started to rise. The economy of Germany, relied heavily on investment from the US, and suffered more than any other country in Europe.

Germany’s unemployment rate rose to 30% by 1932. Hitler promised to get the nation back to full employment, and he succeeded but it came with a price tag.Although by the 1933 elections the economy had already started to pick up somewhat.

The Nazis introduced policies to increase manual labour and banned the introduction of some labour-saving machinery.If a company wanted to reduce its workforce it needed permission from the government.

Gradually Jews were forcibly removed from the labour force and they were replaced by non Jewish Germans.

Women were encouraged to give up their jobs to become homemakers.

The army and the armament industry was rebuild.

Massive infrastructure projects like the motor ways were built.

autobahn

The mass production of radios was encouraged, this wasn’t only to reduce unemployment but also to ensure everyone had a media for propaganda.

Hitler had a vision for every German family to own a car, he was influenced by Henry Ford.

ford.PNG

The Nazis abolished tax on cars . Ferdinand Porsche, a well-known designer for high-end vehicles and race cars, had been trying for years to get a manufacturer interested in a small car suitable for a family. In 1934 Hitler became involved and ordered the production of the ‘People’s car’ Volkswagen.

ah vw

Especially the Jews and also the disabled were used as scapegoats for the economical hardships of the past.

By 1937 German unemployment had fallen from six million to one million.

It is nor surprising that the Germans fell for Hitler’s promises for he delivered on some of them, and especially the promise on the recovery of the economy

The standard of living though had not improved like it had done in the 1920s. Eventually this new ‘prosperity’ came at a high price,millions were slaughtered and Germany was once again left in ruins during WWII.

An important lesson is to be learned here. If election promises are kept, what is the price tag that comes with it.

 

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