When we forget our History, we forfeit our Future.

The Holocaust is by far the worst era of mankind. It has shown us on how a supposedly cultured and sophisticated society, murdered millions because they were deemed not to have a place in that society.

But this didn’t come as a lighting from the blue. It was brewing for decades. Two political movements were at the heart of it.

It was the far right extreme Nazis who did the killing, but the far left played a crucial part too. The so called Weimar culture wanted Germany to become a place of great liberal values, but for some these values were too liberal. Many saw it as a new Sodom and Gomorrah. The fact that not everyone felt comfortable living in a society where everything was possible, was sometimes ignored and their concerns weren’t always listened to.

This gave opportunities to the far right movement to recruit members.

Combine that with a growth of antisemitism ,and a political party who used hate to build their policies, especially hate for Jews and you had the perfect storm. All they had to do was to gradually turn the Jews, Homosexuals, Communists and others into scapegoats, the foundation of the Holocaust was laid.

I could go back to WWI but for the purpose of this blog I will start at January 1,1920, which was the date that Adolf Hitler entered German politics by joining the Deutsche Arbeiter Partei or the German workers party.(see membership card at the start of the blog).

1921 Germany for the Germans

1922 worthless money- 50,000 Mark

1923 A disabled war veteran in Berlin.

1923 Beerhall Putsch

1924 Communist Party of Germany propaganda vehicle crossing Alexanderplatz. Berlin.

1925-Demonstration of the communist youth Germany on May 1.

1926 Bamber Conference The Bamberg leadership conference was a meeting of the leadership of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party ( NSDAP) on 14 February.

1927 January 10, release of Metropolis.

1928 The Threepenny Opera opens in Berlin in August

1929 Propaganda, the invasion of foreign eggs.

1930 23 January – The Nazi Party gains its first minister as Wilhelm Frick becomes Minister of the Interior and Education in Thuringia as part of a right-wing coalition administration.

1931 A bank in Berlin damaged during violent clashes between police and demonstrators in June .

1932 German Federal election

1933 30 January — Nazi leader Adolf Hitler is appointed Chancellor of Germany by President of Germany Paul von Hindenburg.

1933 1 April Boycott of Jewish Businesses

1933 10 May: the Nazis stage massive public book burnings.

1933 May 27 SS Guards arriving at the Dachau “Protective Custody” Camp.

1934 German referendum gives Adolf Hitler absolute power

1938 November 10 SS guards force Jews, arrested during Kristallnacht (the “Night of Broken Glass”), to march through the town of Baden-Baden. Onlookers watch from along the street and walls. Baden-Baden, Germany. November 10, 1938.

1939 September 1, Germany invades Poland, September 3 Great Britain and France declare war to Germany . WWII is a fact.

1940 The first 30 prisoners arrived on 20 May in Auschwitz

1941 September 3 – The Holocaust: SS-Hauptsturmführer Karl Fritzsch first uses the pesticide Zyklon B, to execute Soviet prisoners of war en masse at Auschwitz concentration camp

1942 January 20 Wannsee conference Nazis decide that the “Final Solution (Endlösung) to the Jewish problem” is deportations to extermination camps.

1943 May 30 Dr. Josef Mengele begins his position as a medical officer in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

1944 August 4 Anne Frank and her family are arrested.

1945 April 15 Bergen Belsen is liberated. The allied troops witness the horrors of the Holocaust.

We now all have a duty to make sure this History does not repeat itself. We cannot use the excuse that we didn’t know because we do have the benefit of hindsight.

We should listen and learn from each other and acknowledge concerns. If we dismiss people#s worries and opinions we open it up to a repeat of this dark era, and potentially cause an even bigger Holocaust.

sources

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/12/the-horrors-i-saw-still-wake-me-at-night-the-liberation-of-belsen-75-years-on#img-1

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Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.

diary

“Three shots! Three lives lost! All I can hear are shots, shots.” This line is the final entry of Renia Spiegel’s diary. It is the final entry but it was not written by her but by her boyfriend.

Renia had left her diary with her boyfriend ,Zygmunt Schwarzer,  for safekeeping. You see Renia could not write that line because one of those three shots was for her.

Zygmunt Schwarzer had helped Renia and his own parents  to hide in the attic of his Uncle’s house but an informant betrayed her whereabouts to the Nazis;s and Renia and Schwarzer’s parents  were shot in the street on July 30, 1942.

Her last name Spiegel means mirror in both the German and Dutch language. Renia’s story as so many others is a mirror we should look at. If we truly look into that mirror we can only come to one conclusion. So little has been learned form the horrors of the past, so little that we are bound to repeat them.

Ending this blog with some of Renia’s own words from July 15,1942 just over 2 weeks before she was killed . May her words  be a mirror to our souls.

“Remember this day; remember it well, You will tell generations to come. Since 8 o’clock today we have been shut away in the ghetto. I live here now. The world is separated from me and I’m separated from the world. Leaving the ghetto without a pass,  is punishable by death.

Inside, there are only our people, close ones, dear ones. Outside, there are strangers. My soul is so very sad. My heart is seized with terror,”

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Sources

The Smithsonian

The Guardian

Irish Times

 

The Holocaust

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The Holocaust a word that everyone knows the meaning off but yet no one understands.

No one understands why it happened, at least not really. People will say it is because the political ideology of a few, who wanted eradicate all of those who they deemed    undesirable.

But it is not that easy, Throughout history there have been many different political ideologies and dictatorship and even though many of these were brutal and evil, it hardly ever entailed the wholesale slaughter of millions. And I do apologize for the word ‘wholesale’ but that’s really what it was, a ‘business’ transaction.

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Millions killed as if it was another day in the office and that’s how it was sold to mainly the Germans and Austrians but also other European nations.

The Jews,Gays,Roma. Sinti,Disabled and other were not human, they were a blight on humanity and a costly one. They needed to be removed, they were a burden on the regular tax paying working man and woman. Even education was suffering because of them. They were not pure and tainted a pure race. For mankind to survive these impurities needed to be destroyed.

Berlin, Boykott-Posten vor jüdischem Warenhaus

People trusted their government because they had brought them prosperity so the ordinary citizen looked away, because they knew it was for the ‘best’.

Nowadays we know better, but we don’t. Not really. New research has shown that  many adults lack basic knowledge of what happened — and this lack of knowledge is more pronounced among millennials, whom the survey defined as people ages 18 to 34. “Never Forget” means little to them. And it is easy for the older generation, and I include myself in this. to judge and be disgusted by this lack of this knowledge, but here is the thing. These millenials are our children,nieces our nephews. It is us who failed to instill this knowledge,unwittingly so. We relied on the various education systems to do that job for us, not realizing late 20th and early 21st century education was different then our education. The focus was now more on absorbing data there was no need for critical thinking. But it’s not too late we can still educate. The Holocaust must never ever happen again.

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Next time we say or write “Never Again” lets not say it as a slogan but as a commitment, if not for us then for the millions who died. Or for those who still wake up every night and see the faces of their loved ones,it’s the least we can do.

children

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Persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany.

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Upon the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party in Germany, gay men and, to a lesser extent, lesbians, were two of the numerous groups targeted by the Nazis and were ultimately among Holocaust victims. Beginning in 1933, gay organizations were banned, scholarly books about homosexuality, and sexuality in general, (such as those from the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, run by Jewish gay rights campaigner Magnus Hirschfeld) were burned, and homosexuals within the Nazi Party itself were murdered. The Gestapo compiled lists of homosexuals, who were compelled to sexually conform to the “German norm.”

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While male homosexuality remained illegal in Weimar Germany under Paragraph 175 of the criminal code, German homosexual-rights activists became worldwide leaders in efforts to reform societal attitudes that condemned homosexuality. Many in Germany regarded the Weimar Republic’s toleration of homosexuals as a sign of Germany’s decadence. The Nazis posed as moral crusaders who wanted to stamp out the “vice” of homosexuality from Germany in order to help win the racial struggle. Once they took power in 1933, the Nazis intensified persecution of German male homosexuals. Persecution ranged from the dissolution of homosexual organizations to internment in concentration camps.

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The Nazis believed that male homosexuals were weak, effeminate men who could not fight for the German nation. They saw homosexuals as unlikely to produce children and increase the German birthrate. The Nazis held that inferior races produced more children than “Aryans,” so anything that diminished Germany’s reproductive potential was considered a racial danger.

1389.5 Holocaust D

In late February 1933, as the moderating influence of Ernst Röhm-Röhm’s sexual orientation was no secret after the mid-1920s. Hitler either ignored it or said it was immaterial-weakened, the Nazi Party launched its purge of homosexual (gay, lesbian, and bisexual; then known as homophile) clubs in Berlin, outlawed sex publications, and banned organized gay groups. As a consequence, many fled Germany

1389.5 Holocaust D

In March 1933, Kurt Hiller, the main organizer of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute of Sex Research, was sent to a concentration camp.

Kurt_Hiller

On May 6, 1933, Nazi Youth of the Deutsche Studentenschaft made an organized attack on the Institute of Sex Research. A few days later on May 10, the Institute’s library and archives were publicly hauled out and burned in the streets of the opernplatz. Around 20,000 books and journals, and 5,000 images, were destroyed. Also seized were the Institute’s extensive lists of names and addresses of homosexuals.[4] In the midst of the burning, Joseph Goebbels gave a political speech to a crowd of around 40,000 people.

Hitler initially protected Röhm from other elements of the Nazi Party which held his homosexuality to be a violation of the party’s strong anti-gay policy. However, Hitler later changed course when he perceived Röhm to be a potential threat to his power. During the Night of the Long Knives in 1934, a purge of those whom Hitler deemed threats to his power took place, he had Röhm murdered and used Röhm’s homosexuality as a justification to suppress outrage within the ranks of the SA.

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After solidifying his power, Hitler would include gay men among those sent to concentration camps during the Holocaust.

On June 28, 1935, the Ministry of Justice revised Paragraph 175. The revisions provided a legal basis for extending Nazi persecution of homosexuals. Ministry officials expanded the category of “criminally indecent activities between men” to include any act that could be construed as homosexual.

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The courts later decided that even intent or thought sufficed. On October 26, 1936, Himmler formed within the Security Police the Reich Central Office for Combating Abortion and Homosexuality. Josef Meisinger, executed in 1947 for his brutality in occupied Poland, led the new office.

Joseph-meisinger

The police had powers to hold in protective custody or preventive arrest those deemed dangerous to Germany’s moral fiber, jailing indefinitely—without trial—anyone they chose. In addition, homosexual prisoners just released from jail were immediately re-arrested and sent to concentration camps if the police thought it likely that they would continue to engage in homosexual acts.

 

From 1937 to 1939, the peak years of the Nazi persecution of homosexuals, the police increasingly raided homosexual meeting places, seized address books, and created networks of informers and undercover agents to identify and arrest suspected homosexuals.

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On April 4, 1938, the Gestapo issued a directive indicating that men convicted of homosexuality could be incarcerated in concentration camps. Between 1933 and 1945 the police arrested an estimated 100,000 men as homosexuals. Most of the 50,000 men sentenced by the courts spent time in regular prisons, and between 5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps.

The Nazis interned some homosexuals in concentration camps immediately after the seizure of power in January 1933. Those interned came from all areas of German society, and often had only the cause of their imprisonment in common. Some homosexuals were interned under other categories by mistake, and the Nazis purposefully miscategorized some political prisoners as homosexuals. Prisoners marked by pink triangles to signify homosexuality were treated harshly in the camps. According to many survivor accounts, homosexuals were among the most abused groups in the camps.

Because some Nazis believed homosexuality was a sickness that could be cured, they designed policies to “cure” homosexuals of their “disease” through humiliation and hard work. Guards ridiculed and beat homosexual prisoners upon arrival, often separating them from other inmates. Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, wrote in his memoirs that homosexuals were segregated in order to prevent homosexuality from spreading to other inmates and guards. Personnel in charge of work details in the Dora-Mittelbau underground rocket factory or in the stone quarries at Flossenbürg and Buchenwald often gave deadly assignments to homosexuals.

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Survival in camps took on many forms. Some homosexual inmates secured administrative and clerical jobs. For other prisoners, sexuality became a means of survival. In exchange for sexual favors, some Kapos protected a chosen prisoner, usually of young age, giving him extra food and shielding him from the abuses of other prisoners.

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Homosexuals themselves very rarely became Kapos due to the lack of a support network. Kapo guardianship was no protection against the guards’ brutality, of course. In any case, the Kapo often tired of an individual, sometimes killing him and finding another on the next transport. Though individual homosexual inmates could secure a measure of protection in some ways, as a group homosexual prisoners lacked the support network common to other groups. Without this help in mitigating brutality, homosexual prisoners were unlikely to survive long.

One avenue of survival available to some homosexuals was castration, which some criminal justice officials advocated as a way of “curing” sexual deviance. Homosexual defendants in criminal cases or concentration camps could agree to castration in exchange for lower sentences. Later, judges and SS camp officials could order castration without the consent of a homosexual prisoner.

Nazis interested in finding a “cure” for homosexuality expanded this program to include medical experimentation on homosexual inmates of concentration camps. These experiments caused illness, mutilation, and even death, and yielded no scientific knowledge.

At Buchenwald, Danish doctor Carl Værnetconducted hormonal experiments on twelve gay men. He made incisions in their groin and implanted a metal tube that released testosterone over a prolonged period, as he believed that a lack of testosterone was the cause of homosexuality.

CARL PETER VÆRNET

There are no known statistics for the number of homosexuals who died in the camps.

Memorial “Stolperstein” for Arnold Bastian, a homosexual victim of the Nazis. It is located at Große Straße 54 in Flensburg. The text reads: “Here lived Arnold Bastian, born 1908. Arrested 15 January 1944. Penitentiary at Celle. Dead on 17 February 1945 at the penitentiary in Hameln.

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