I always take the approach of explaining things so that a child can understand it, not because I am condescending, but I know that if a child understands it, everyone else should.
How would you explain the Nazi ideology to a child though? Especially during the 1933-1945 years..
How would you explain the removal of neighbours from your street, or the removal of classmates from the school, basically the removal of certain groups of people from society.
People who were just like the anyone else. They looked exactly the same, spoke the same language, the same dialect ,had the same habits. The only difference for most, not all, was that they had a different religion. They didn’t go to church on Sunday, but to a synagogue on Saturday.
You could not explain that to a child because there is no logic to it, none whatsoever.
How do you explain that these people were fetched from their houses or apartments, violently. Them they were taken to certain assembly points, and were put in railroad cars, and not the sections for human beings but for cattle. To be transported far away, where they were murdered or put into forced slave labour. As one lady from Ulm described what she witnessed during her stay in the transit camp on the Killesberg in Stuttgart. “About one thousand people of Jewish descent from all of Württemberg and Hohenzollern were brought there on November 27, 1941. They are housed in the so-called »Hall of Honor of the Reichsnährstand«, which was built for the Reichsgartenschau in 1939. They become the first victims of a total of more than 2500 Jewish citizens who are deported via the transit camp on the Killesberg to the assembly and concentration camps in Riga, Iżbica, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, the Theresienstadt ghetto and a camp near Wolfenbüttel. Most of them never return.”
There is no sensible explanation.
How would you explain that babies were murdered, families split up or completely destroyed. All because of a political movement, headed by delusional and evil men. How would you explain that it is so clear to see what is happening, yet so little resistance is given.
How would you explain to a child that suddenly they have to go to another dentist or doctor. That now they have to but bread and other food somewhere else. How do you explain to a university student that their lectures in physics has been removed.
How do they explain the lack of resistance? Is because of some herd mentality? Where everyone is waiting for someone else to make the first move. You do what others do, or rather you do nothing when others do nothing.
How would you explain that it easily could be you next? Did they not realixe that? People were being executed for just making jokes about Hitler. Did people not see this as something fundamentally wrong and rotten to the core?
I am not judging because it is easy for me to question all these things, because I do not risk my life for asking questions. In retrospect is is easy to be critical, The simple fact is that those who did not live in that time would not know how they would react. I know I wouldn’t.
However with retrospect and hindsight comes the option for us to recognize the signs of the past, To take action when we see history repeating itself. Now we don’t have any excuses. Unfortunately another fact is that people don’t learn from history. Mistakes from the past are often repeated and often amplified.
We are not that far away now from the environment that was allowed to flourish in 1930s Germany.
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