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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Music Matters

music

Music is very important, it evokes emotions and stirs the soul. It can unite and divide in equal ways. It can be a very powerful tool to bring joy, but it also can become a weapons if it is used for propaganda purposes.

I will be looking at 2 songs which both had some part to play in the political situation in 1930s Germany, and to an extend the Holocaust.

Hollaender

Friedrich Hollaender was one of the great film composers in Hollywood and he wrote film songs and soundtracks to many well-known productions.he was nominated for 4 academy awards. Although he was a German Jew, he was born in London on 18 October 1896. When he was 3 his parents and Friedrich moved back to Berlin.

Hollaender was  an outspoken progressive satirist, a jazz musician  Hollaender was seen by the Nazis as  a symbol of Weimar decadence and intellectual subterfuge. In 1931 he opened his own cabaret theatre called , Tingel Tangel, where he  performed anti-Hitler revues like  Spuk in der Villa Stern (Spook in the Stern Villa), the revue included the satirical song ‘An allem sind die Juden schuld’ (It’s all the fault of the Jews), to the tune of the ‘Habanera’ from Bizet’s Carmen.

Hollaender  wrote this song as a political weapon against  the Nazis and all German anti-Semites. He used satire in the lyrics to highlight the ridiculous accusations made against the Jews. Below is the translation of the lyrics.the song premiered in September, 1931.

If it rains, if it hails,
If it snows or if it flashes,
if it dawns, if it thunders,
if it’s freezing or if you sweat,
if it is beautiful weather or it’s cloudy,
if it thaws or if it pours,
if it’s drizzling, if it trickles
if you cough or if you sneeze:
The Jews are to blame for everything!
The Jews are to blame for everything!
Why, why are they to blame?
Child that you don´t understand that, they are to blame for it!
And me too! You are to blame!
The Jews are, they are, they are definitely to blame!
And when you don´t believe it, they are to blame!
In particular, all the Jews are to blame!
Oh!
If the phone is busy,
if the bathtub leaks,
if your income is estimated incorrectly,
if the sausage tastes like soap,
if on Sunday nothing´s baked,
if the Prince of Wales is gay,
if at night the furniture makes noise,
if your hound has hard shit:
The Jews are to blame for everything!

If you´re taxed by Mr. Dietrich,
if Dietrich sings from head to toe,
if Okasa becomes more expensive,
if a virgin says: “I’ll do it”,
if there is a crisis at the Danat,
if there is an old joke on the radio,
if Garbo has a decayed tooth,
if the kiss pops in the sound-film:
The Jews are to blame for everything!
That snow is so terribly white,
and even, how to say, cold,
but that fire is hot.
And that trees stand in the forest,
that a rose has no roots,
that a beef patty is scraped,
that Heine is not bad,
and Einstein is very talented:
The Jews are to blame for everything!

The Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith protested shortly after the premiere of Hollaender’s satirical song: They  called the piece as a “school example of a misunderstanding and distortion that anti-Semitic agitation would not represent otherwise” and branded the song “disgusting and repulsive.

I can understand the objections against the song because undoubtedly there would have been people who would have seen the song as a confirmation towards the bias against the Jews. Howver those same people would have looked for any excuse to further their own twisted philosophy. I believe the best way to fight bigotry  and anti semitism is to show how ridiculous it is .

Hollaender left Nazi Germany in 1933 because and first moved to Paris. He emigrated to the United States the next year, where he wrote the music for over a hundred films, including Destry Rides Again.

wessel

The Nazis  exploited music for propaganda.in the Nazi imagination, music had a unique significance and power to seduce and sway the masses. The Party made widespread use of music in its publicity, and music featured prominently at rallies and other public events. The Horst Wessellied (Horst Wessel song) was popular and widely sung during rallies and other events.

Horst Wessel was fanatic Nazi . He was a Berlin leader of the Nazi Party’s stormtroopers. In early 1929, Wessel wrote the lyrics for a new Nazi Anthem. The song had several incarnations but was eventually known as the Horts Wessel song after the killing of Wessel.On 23 February 1930 he was murdered by members of the KPD, the German communist party.

Goebbels ceased the opportunity to turn the shooting into the possibility of a propaganda bonanza. He eulogized Wessel in his newspaper, Der Angriff, in overtly Christian tones:

A Christian Socialist! A man who calls out through his deeds: ‘Come to me, I shall redeem you!’ … A divine element works in him. making him the man he is and causing him to act in this way and no other. One man must set an example and offer himself up as a sacrifice! Well, then, I am ready.

The Horst Wessel song became  the anthem of the Nazi Party  from 1930 to 1945. From 1933 to 1945 the Nazis made it the co-national anthem of Germany,.

Below is the translated text. I will not post the actual song because firstly I think it is rubbish and I don’t want this blog to be hijacked by Neo Nazis just so they can use the song. The song is banned in Germany, you can actually get a jail sentence for it if you are caught singing it. That doesn’t stop Neo Nazis for using it though.

Raise the flag! The ranks tightly closed!
The SA marches with calm, steady step.
Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries
March in spirit within our ranks.

Clear the streets for the brown battalions,
Clear the streets for the storm division!
Millions are looking upon the swastika full of hope,
The day of freedom and of bread dawns!

For the last time, the call to arms is sounded!
For the fight, we all stand prepared!
Already Hitler’s banners fly over all streets.
The time of bondage will last but a little while now!

Raise the flag! The ranks tightly closed!
The SA march with quiet, steady step.
Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries,
March in spirit within our ranks

The irony in the song is the use of the word Comrade which is more associated with communists.

Music does matter and often in ways you would not have imagined.

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Sources

http://holocaustmusic.ort.org/resistance-and-exile/berlin-cabaret-in-exile/an-allem-sind-die-juden-schuld-words/

https://www.antiwarsongs.org/canzone.php?id=45543&lang=en

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/horst-wessel

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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Creating the conditions for the Holocaust

stab.JPG

Nowadays it is very easy to blame social media for widely distributing fake news on a large scale by means of memes and other ways. However this is nothing new, about 100 years ago this was happening through way of propaganda postcards and cartoons(after all a meme is nothing else then a digital propaganda or satirical postcard or cartoon) spread via post or newspapers.

Long before Hitler came to power, German politicians like Friedrich Ebert already blamed  communists,socialists and especially the Jews for losing WWI, by creating the ‘stab in the back’ myth.

The stab-in-the-back myth was believed despite even though it was entirely false .German Jews had loyally and bravely served in the German army during WWI. In fact their numbers were out of proportion in ratio to their numbers in the population. A fact that was emphasized by the “Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers”

Soldiers

Several myths  were deliberately propagated alongside older prejudices. Myths such as:

  • The Jews had started the war to bring Europe to financial ruin and to bring it under Jewish control.
  • Jews exploited the misery of the war to enrich themselves and prolonged it to lead the Bolshevik Revolution in furthering the aim of world revolution.

These myths were enhanced by propaganda postcards and cartoons.

stab in the back

3

The origin of the term “stab-in-the-back” itself can possibly attributed to General Erich Ludendorff and dated to the autumn of 1919. Ludendorff was having dinere with the head of the British Military Mission in Berlin,  General Sir Neill Malcolm. Malcolm asked Ludendorff why he thought Germany lost the war. Ludendorff replied with his list of excuses, including that the home front failed the army.

Malcolm asked him: “Do you mean, General, that you were stabbed in the back?” Ludendorff’s eyes lit up and he leaped upon the phrase like a dog on a bone. “Stabbed in the back?” he repeated. “Yes, that’s it, exactly, we were stabbed in the back”.

Conservatives, nationalists and ex-military leaders began to speak critically about the peace and Weimar politicians, socialists, communists and especially Jews, It was suggested that they had not been supportive during the war and had played a part in selling out Germany to its enemies.

stab 4

By the time the Nazis came to power the foundations had already been laid.

 

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Sources

Encyclopedia 1914-1918

USHMM