Ian Stuart Donaldson Skrewdriver

Posts Tagged ‘Nazi’

German cops warn of Nazi violence

Monday, September 10th, 2012

German police are warning that the neo-Nazi movement is under pressure and terror attacks against foreigners and Jewish targets were a growing threat.

Investigators said extremists were coming under increasing pressure by law-enforcement and could lash out “to prove their own ability to act with violence.”

The report, which was obtained by Der Spiegel, was issued in July by the Federal Office of Criminal Investigations about a year after the extremist group National Socialist Underground was found to be responsible for the slayings of a police officer and nine men of Turkish and Greek origin.

The report also warned that extremists were well armed and could target German politicians and police officers, the Local.de said Sunday.

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The Diary of Anne Frank Coming Out as Interactive App

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is being released next month as an interactive app, The London Telegraph reported.

The Anne Frank app, which will be released on October 18, will feature the full text of “The Diary of a Young Girl,” alongside dozens of extra features, including audio extracts, facsimile copies of the original diary pages, exclusive archive materials,footage from the Anne FrankFoundation and an introduction with Buddy Elias, Anne’s first cousin.

The app from Penguin’s Viking imprint and digital developer TradeMobile has been authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation, which was founded by Otto Frank following the death of his daughter Anne in the Nazi death camp of Bergen-Belsen in March 1945.

It will cost approximately eleven dollars.

It has since been published in 60 languages and is seen as a key document of the Holocaust.

“Seventy years since Anne began her diary, it remains one of the most beloved books of all time,” said Viking Publishing Director, Venetia Butterfield. “With the support of theAnne Frank Foundation we are privileged to bring her story to readers in such an inspiring and sympathetic way.”

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‘Hitler’ shop sends India shockwave

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

“Hitler” covers the black store front in large white letters – a red swastika dotting the “i”. The name of the new men’s clothing store has caused a stir in India‘s Ahmedabad city.

Ignorance over Adolf Hitler’s dark history, or a tasteless shock-advertising scheme? That’s the question being asked after Rajesh Shah named his shop after the Nazi dictator, who took over Germany in the 1930s and then tried to conquer Europe.

The small Jewish community in Ahmedabad in western Gujarat state – numbering less than 500 – is up-in-arms and demanding he change the name. But Shah says to do so would bite into his profits.

“If the Jewish community wants the name to be changed, they should pay for it. I have spent too much on the logo … the brand,” Shah told Al Jazeera, refusing to divulge how much it would cost.

Unlike most countries in the world, in India it is not uncommon for the name Hitler to represent businesses, movies, TV programmes, and even people’s names – a strange reality to outside observers, but one that is accepted without much thought by ordinary Indians. The swastika, meanwhile, was used as a Hindu symbol long before the Nazis adopted it.

One academic, however, warns the growing use of the name Hitler and what it represents is a dangerous development.

“With the rise of right-wing parties in India, Hitler has made a huge comeback in India,” says professor AF Mathew who teaches sociology, cultural and cinema studies at the India Institute of Management Kozhikode. “This is a matter of great concern. Fascism is morally wrong and to see some neo-Nazi parties making waves in Europe and India is extremely worrying.”

Orna Sagiv, Israel’s consul general in Mumbai, told Al Jazeera she was “very surprised and shocked” to hear the clothes shop was named Hitler after it opened in August.

“We believe that in this case, the choice of the name ‘Hitler’ does not derive of anti-Semitism, but from pure ignorance. Nevertheless, it still strongly hurts the sentiments of the local Jewish community, as well as the feeling of Jews around the world and in Israel.”

A ‘catchy’ name

Jewish members from the city have approached Shah urging him to rename the store. So far he has refused.

“They call the German leader a monster. [But] no other people have complaints. I have not hurt any sentiments of the majority Hindu community,” Shah says. 

So why did Shah choose the German despot’s moniker? Because that was the name of the co-owner’s grandfather, he says.

“Frankly speaking, I did not know anything about Hitler before approving the name for the shop. My partner’s father gave us a suggestion that the shop be named after his father,” he says. “My partner’s grandfather was nicknamed Hitler after he acted the role in a college play.” 

Later Shah learned of the name’s significance, but decided to use it because it looked “catchy and different”.

“Customers … tell us that they came in seeing the shop name,” says Shah. “So far, business is good.” 

Esther David is a prominent Jewish-Indian writer, artist and sculptor who lives in Ahmedabad. “It comes as a shock that a name like this can be used for marketing purposes,” she told Al Jazeera. “There is a lack of sensitivity and maybe the social structure had rotted in such a way, that people do not realise the implications of using such a name for a shop.”

The clothing store is one of a handful of Indian businesses named after the Nazi dictator. Owners seem to have picked it more for shock value than as an embrace of or admiration for Nazism.

In 2006, a Mumbai restaurant owner called his café “Hitler’s Cross” and used the swastika as a logo. Eventually, he agreed to change it after protests by the Israeli embassy, Germany, and the US Anti-Defamation League.

“Hitler’s Den”, a pool parlour in Nagpur, also ruffled feathers in 2011. Owner Baljit Singh Osan said he was looking for something “different, something that had recall value”. He told Al Jazeera the name has attracted patrons and popularised his business.

Osan refused to change the name when the Jewish community protested. “I did not sympathise with the German dictator or his beliefs,” he says.

Professor Mathew says a sense of history has disappeared, and there’s a need to teach students what the Nazis and Hitler were responsible for, including the carnage of World War II and the extermination of six million Jews.

“There is a wrong notion among people that Hitler was a great leader,” Mathew told Al Jazeera. “The disappearance of history has resulted in such notions and given birth to right-wing ideologies in India.”

Historic and cultural ties to Hitler

Mohandas Gandhi, the father of the Indian nation and a symbol of peace, wrote a letter to Hitler on July 23, 1939 urging him not to wage war. The two men had a common enemy: the British Empire. Bollywood released the drama Gandhi to Hitler in 2011 that depicted India’s move away from British colonial rule.

A Punjabi romantic-comedy film, Hero Hitler in Love, was also released in 2011.  

The small screen has also employed the Führer’s name. A television series on Zee TV about a dictatorial woman was launched in 2011 called “Hitler Didi“, or “Hitler Sister”. It was renamed “General Didi” in the United States after the Anti-Defamation League in New York protested.

Curiously, Mein Kampf – in which Hitler set out his racist theories – continues to be a bestseller in India, where business students view the book as an important guide for management strategies. More than 10,000 copies were sold in six months in New Delhi alone in 2009.

There is even a member of India’s ruling-coalition from northeastern Meghalaya state named “Adolf Hitler”.

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When It’s OK to Be a Racist

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

The New York Times responded to the attack in the Sikh temple by claiming that hate crimes are under-reported:

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. told the Senate in 2009 that “we have a significant hate crimes problem in this country.” The recent murders at the Sikh temple in Wisconsin have raised this issue in the public consciousness.

The Times is worried that a lot of hate crimes are prosecuted as if they were ordinary crimes and don’t show up in the statistics.  The Times ignores the fact that a significant number of hate crimes are fakes.  Theyargue that we need to find more hate crimes to punish, specifically hate crimes committed by white people.

The shooting rampage on Sunday that killed six people and wounded three others at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin exposed the continued dangers of white power extremism in our midst. The shooter, Wade M. Page, was affiliated with a range of neo-Nazi skinhead groups, and during the last decade, he played in several prominent bands in the white power music scene.

The Times would have us believe that thousands of neo-Nazis thrive in the “white power” music scene, downloading Aryan music and chatting online about offenses committed by non-whites.

Law enforcement and anti-racist activists should pay close attention to the scene as a motivating force for hate crime because when extremist ideas endure, so does the potential for extremist actions.

The Times believes that police should pay disproportionate attention to white groups which sing certain Aryan songs because of the “potential for extremist actions.”

What About Black Hate Songs?

Has the Times never heard of rap?  These lyrics are by “artists” who’ve won Grammy awards, the music industry’s highest honor.

“Kill the white people; we gonna make them hurt; kill the white people; but buy my record first; ha, ha, ha”

“Kill d’White People”; Apache, Apache Ain’t Shit, 1993, Tommy Boy Music, Time Warner, USA.

“I kill a devil right now … I say kill whitey all nightey long … I stabbed a fucking Jew with a steeple … I would kill a cracker for nothing, just for the fuck of it … Menace Clan kill a cracker; jack ‘em even quicker … catch that devil slipping; blow his fucking brains out”

“Fuck a Record Deal”; Menace Clan, Da Hood, 1995, Rap-A-Lot Records, Noo Trybe Records, subsidiaries of Thorn EMI; called The EMI Group since 1997, United Kingdom.

It doesn’t take much googling to find a great many “hate songs” urging black people to commit violence against whites.  The Times assumes the tiny handful of  white people who sing songs about murdering non-whites will commit murder and therefore ought to be watched.  The Times’ own statistics say that the average black person is 20 times more likely to commit a violent crime than a white person.  Why not watch black people who sing songs about black people murdering whites, particularly when there are so many more of them and, unlike totally obscure white-power music, violent rap songs are blasted across the public airwaves from coast to coast?

If the Times were serious about monitoring singing groups to forestall violence, they’d look at black groups who sing about murdering whites.

The Black Crime Wave

The Wall Street Journal reports that the black murder rate is increasing even though overall crime rates are dropping.

More than half the nation’s homicide victims are African-American, though blacks make up only 13% of the population.  Of those black murder victims, 85% were men, mostly young men.

An average black is more than 4 times more likely to be murdered than a white.  The article reports that 6% of black murder victims are killed by whites whereas 14% of white murder victims are killed by blacks.  Blacks kill twice the fraction of white murder victims as whites kill black murder victims; if the writers of white-power music are trying to incite whites to violence against blacks, they’re nothing like as successful as rap artists doing the same thing in reverse.

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German court fines far-right parliamentarian

Friday, August 17th, 2012

The administrative court in Schwerin, the capital of Mecklenburg West Pomerania state, ruled that Pastörs was not protected by freedom of speech nor privilege for parliamentarians when he denied Nazi Germany’s murder of six million Jews in what it called his “diatribe” on January 28, 2010 when parliament remembers the victims of Nazi tyranny.

The court ordered him to pay his fine to Schwerin’s city library for children’s books and slapped him with an eight-month suspended jail term.

In the state’s regional assembly in Schwerin, 59-year-old Pastörs leads a minority parliamentary group of the anti-immigrant National Democratic Party (NPD). The party also has a few seats in another eastern German state, Saxony, but no seats at the federal level.

The presiding judge in Schwerin said Pastörs’ use of prepared notes in parliament showed a premeditated use of significant “criminal energy” that could only be interpreted as Holocaust denial. In his speech, Pastörs had described parliament’s ceremony as a “cult of guilt.”

Pastörs already has a conviction for inciting hatred against Jews and Turks in 2010 during a NPD party gathering in the western German state of Saarland. For that, he was fined 6,000 euros and handed a ten-month suspended jail term.

German mainstream considering NPD ban

Groups with explicit neo-Nazi ideology are banned in Germany. Federal and regional state authorities are considering submitting a fresh application to ban the NPD to Germany’s constitutional court in Karlsruhe.

A similar bid failed in 2003 because the top court said the presence of high-place informers had tainted evidence. But public pressure to outlaw the NPD has mounted further since a neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), was exposed in November. The cell is alleged to have killed eight ethnic Turkish shopkeepers, a Greek man and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

Latest figures indicate that the NPD has about 6,600 members.

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Joining the Hitler Youth

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

Finally, my tenth birthday was near. Two events were about to occur; I could join the Hitler Youth organization and start high school.

With the arrival of my tenth birthday, I became eligible to join the Hitler Youth, or better, I should say, join the Young Folks’ (Jungvolk) movement. The Young Folks were a junior extension of the Hitler Youth for boys aged 10 to 14. After I had my parent’s permission to join, nothing could stop me from fulfilling my dreams of joining. I became a proud member of the Hitler Youth Young Folks.

Now, not only did I need a full uniform with all its paraphernalia, but I also needed camping accessories. My wish list included a backpack with a blanket, a pup tent canvas, a mess kit, a compass and more importantly a knife in a sheath with a Young Folks’ symbol.

During our weekly Young Folks’ meetings, older Hitler Youth members organized and conducted our get-together. There was no question that they impressed on us the importance of the Third Reich�s future, highlighting the need for purity and social improvements of an upcoming generation. The indoctrination emphasized love of one’s country, respect of spiritual and ethical values and unquestioning loyalty to our Führer.

Most of our meetings started with the singing of our national anthem which began, “Germany above all�” followed by a National Socialist Party song, “Raise high the flag�” One of us youngsters would stand at attention next to the lectern holding on to a pole displaying the swastika flag. We had to learn at least one new marching song every time we got together. Group singing was highly enjoyable, and once we started marching it never failed for the group leader to call for a song. Besides singing, we received lectures about good sanitation and cleanliness of body and mind. We were enlightened to the fact that our Führer depended on us to strengthen and perpetuate the Third Reich.

In addition to the more or less boring subjects, we planned outdoor adventures like camping trips, playing hide and seek between red and blue teams and finding your way after being lost in the wilderness. We played games and the comradeship was evident and enjoyable.

The words of the songs we learned would not have won today’s Pulitzer Prize, but the message came through loud and clear. Sacrifice yourself, if necessary, for the good of the country and hold honor and courage in high esteem. Every so often, we would go on overnight outings in the countryside. We learned to pitch tents and how to build campfires. Some very subtle political indoctrination was unavoidable, and especially the message concerning Adolf Hitler was clear. Our leader, the supreme commander�s words and actions, were irrefutable.

In recent years, I heard controversy about a particular song we had learned. That song had words stating that only Germany hears us now, but tomorrow the whole world will. The German words of that part in the song were as follows: Denn heute da hört uns Deutschland und morgen die ganze Welt. Not gehört which means belonging. That was the way I learned the song. Some scholars have suggested that we sang: “tomorrow the whole world will belong to Germany” instead of the world will hear us. I am sure that we, the youth, did not communicate suggestions through this song that Germany would own the world.

My sister also belonged to a youth movement, called the Bund Deutscher Mädchen (Organization of German Girls). I heard only scant words from my sister, but it appeared that honor and love for the country appeared to be their central message also. The Führer expected the girls, so they said, to remain pure, pledge in marriage only to Aryan boys, and create many babies for the Fatherland.

Early in 1938, with my primary schooling completed, I looked forward to attending high school. My parents made it perfectly clear that I had to quit fooling around and get down to studying. School homework, customarily handed out for most subjects, now received preferential treatment over any other activity.

Our class size normally consisted of 24 to 30 boys. Within an assigned classroom, we had the freedom to select our seat location. I preferred a seat about in the middle, not liking to sit right in front of the teacher, but close enough to read the blackboard clearly. Most of the time our school started at 8 o�clock and most classes lasted 90 minutes. We had 4 classes per day, 5 days a week, and 3 classes on Saturday. The teachers would come to our room instead of the students going to a teacher’s room. Almost all teachers would hand out homework, and I had no problems keeping up with the assignments except for a couple of subjects.

Luckily, during the first two years, we had no language classes but I had history classes taught by a disagreeable teacher, Mr. Lustig. I found out that I had problems memorizing historical dates, especially Mr. Lustig�s. Looking back, I am sure that his presentation also lacked some continuity or whatever.

Anyway, it appeared boring to me, and soon my history grades sank. Had I not excelled in mathematics and physics, I would have been in significant trouble. I strongly disliked Herr Lustig, my history teacher. He had a half-inch diameter, three foot-long bamboo cane. Standing in front of me, he would ask me what happened in Germany on April 24, 1547. Sure, ask another question. I had not the faintest idea. He would then whack that cane merciless on my upper arm while bombarding me with other dates and events. Even if I had known any of the answers, I surely would have been unable to handle any answers under those circumstances. This teacher’s behavior haunted me for many years, especially when I had to take a test.

Political propagandizing from our teachers was not on the curriculum. Even during my first year in the Hitler Youth movement, political indoctrination was relatively benign, with some mentioning of how the Jews were destroying our country.

All that changed on the night of November 9/10, 1938. I was now 11 years old and had one year of lectures from the Hitler Youth movement behind me. I was convinced of my leader’s wisdom, and believed in the goodness of the Nazi doctrine.

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The Wannsee Conference

Monday, August 6th, 2012

On January, 20, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler‘s second in command of the SS, convened the Wannsee Conference in Berlin with 15 top Nazi bureaucrats to coordinate the Final Solution (Endlösung) in which the Nazis would attempt to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe, an estimated 11 million persons.

“Europe would be combed of Jews from east to west,” Heydrich stated.

The minutes of that meeting have been preserved but were edited by Heydrich substituting the coded language Nazis used when referring to lethal actions to be taken against Jews.

“Instead of emigration, there is now a further possible solution to which the Führer has already signified his consent – namely deportation to the east,” Heydrich stated for example when referring to mass deportations of Jews to ghettos in occupied Poland and then on to the soon-opened death camps at Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka.

“…eliminated by natural causes,” refers to death by a combination of hard labor and starvation.

“…treated accordingly,” refers to execution by SS firing squads or death by gassing – also seen in other Nazi correspondence in a variety of connotations such as “special treatment” and “special actions” regarding the Jews.

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Hitler becomes Führer

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

By the summer of 1934, the elderly German President, Paul von Hindenburg, lay close to death at his country estate in East Prussia. He had been in failing health for several months, thus giving Adolf Hitler and the Nazis ample opportunity to make plans to capitalize on his demise.

Reich Chancellor Hitler planned to use President Hindenburg’s death as an opportunity to seize total power in Germany by elevating himself to the position of Führer, or absolute leader, of the German nation and its people.

On August 2, 1934, at 9 a.m., the long awaited death of 87 year old Hindenburg finally occurred. Within hours, Hitler and the Nazis announced the following law, dated as of August 1…

“The Reich Government has enacted the following law which is hereby promulgated.
Section 1. The office of Reich President will be combined with that of Reich Chancellor. The existing authority of the Reich President will consequently be transferred to the Führer and Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. He will select his deputy.
Section 2. This law is effective as of the time of the death of Reich President von Hindenburg.”

Following the announcement of this (technically illegal) law, the German Officers’ Corps and every individual in the German Army swore a personal oath of allegiance to Hitler.

A nationwide vote (plebiscite) was then scheduled to give the German people a chance to express their approval of Hitler’s unprecedented new powers.

Meanwhile, Hindenburg’s last will and testament surfaced. Contrary to Hitler’s intentions, Hindenburg’s last wishes included a desire for a return to a constitutional (Hohenzollern) monarchy. These last wishes were contained in the form of a personal letter from Hindenburg to Hitler.

Hitler simply ignored this and likely destroyed the letter, as it was not published and has never been found.

However, the Nazis did publish Hindenburg’s alleged political testament giving an account of his years of service with complimentary references to Hitler. Although it was likely a forgery, it was used as part of the Nazi campaign to get a large “Yes” vote for Hitler in the coming plebiscite.

On August 19, about 95 percent of registered voters in Germany went to the polls and gave Hitler 38 million votes of approval (90 percent of the vote). Thus Adolf Hitler could claim he was Führer of the German nation by direct will of the people. Hitler now wielded absolute power in Germany, beyond that of any previous traditional head of state. He had become, in effect, the law unto himself.

The next day, August 20, mandatory loyalty oaths were introduced throughout the Reich…Hitler watching festivities at Nuremberg - 1934

Article 1. The public officials and the soldiers of the armed forces must take an oath of loyalty on entering service.
Article 2
1.
 The oath of loyalty of public officials will be:
‘I swear: I shall be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, respect the laws, and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me God.’
2. The oath of loyalty of the soldiers of the armed forces will be:
‘I swear by God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and will be ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time for this oath.’
Article 3. Officials already in service must swear this oath without delay according to Article 2 number 1.”

These oaths were pledged to Hitler personally, not the German state or constitution. And they were taken very seriously by members of the German Officers’ Corps with their traditional minded codes of honor, which now elevated obedience to Hitler as a sacred duty and effectively placed the German armed forces in the position of being the personal instrument of Hitler.

In September, 1934, at the annual Nuremberg Nazi Party rallies, a euphoric Hitler proclaimed, “The German form of life is definitely determined for the next thousand years. The Age of Nerves of the nineteenth century has found its close with us. There will be no revolution in Germany for the next thousand years.”

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Downfall of Adolf Hitler

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

All of his life, Adolf Hitler had been obsessed with the musical works of German composer Richard Wagner. As a teenager living in Austria, Hitler was deeply inspired by Wagner’s operas and their pagan, mythical tales of struggles against hated enemies. One time, back in 1905, after seeing Wagner’s opera Rienzi, young Hitler professed he would someday embark on a great mission, leading his people to freedom, similar to the opera’s story.

Now, some 40 years later, after failing in his mission as Führer of the German People and Reich, another of Wagner’s operas hearkened, and it was Hitler’s favorite – Der Ring des Nibelungen. It concerns a magic Ring granting its possessor the power to rule the world. In the last part of this opera, entitled Götterdämmerung, or ‘Twilight of the gods,” the hero Siegfried, betrayed by those around him, loses the Ring and winds up on a funeral pyre while the fortress of Valhalla burns and the kingdom of the gods is destroyed.

The dream of Germania–capital of Greater Germany as envisioned by Hitler in his scale model of a postwar Berlin. Below: Reality–the muck and mire of bombed out Berlin in the spring of 1945.

This essentially was the ending Hitler inflicted upon himself, his People and his Reich.

Piece by piece, it all came together over the last ten days of his life, beginning on Friday, April 20, 1945. That day Hitler met for the last time with his top Nazis. The occasion was Hitler’s 56th birthday, a dreary celebration inside the Führerbunker in Berlin. Present were Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring, Heinrich Himmler, Joachim Ribbentrop, Albert Speer and Martin Bormann, along with military leaders Wilhelm Keitel, Alfred Jodl, Karl Dönitz, and Hans Krebs, the new Chief of the General Staff.

At first, those present tried to convince the Führer to leave doomed Berlin for the relative safety of Berchtesgaden, the mountain area along the German-Austrian border where he had his villa. From there he could continue the fight, supported by troops positioned throughout the impenetrable Alpine mountains of western Austria and southern Bavaria. Such a move might prolong the war indefinitely and improve the odds of a favorable outcome for Germany, one way or another.

But Hitler brushed aside this suggestion, knowing that any journey outside the bunker brought great risk of capture. And above all, the Führer did not want himself, alive or dead, to wind up prominently displayed by his enemies, particularly the Russians. However, he did give his bunker personnel permission to leave. Most of his staff therefore departed for Berchtesgaden via a convoy of trucks and planes, still hoping the Führer would follow. Only a handful of Hitler’s personal staff remained with him, including his top aide Martin Bormann, a few SS and military aides, two private secretaries, and his longtime companion, Eva Braun.

Hitler’s choice to remain in the Führerbunker to the very end amounted to his final decision of the war. It was made known to the German people via a special radio announcement in the hope that his presence in the Nazi capital would inspire all remaining Wehrmacht, SS, Volkssturm and Hitler Youth units in Berlin to hold out to the end as well.

Although the war was lost, Hitler nevertheless took pride in the knowledge that he had not allowed another repeat of November 1918, when the German Army had meekly asked the Allies for armistice terms to conclude the First World War. This was all Hitler had left. Just a few years earlier, the Führer had been regarded by most German’s as their greatest-ever military leader. Now, all that remained of his military legacy was the fact he had refused to give up no matter what.

The Führer’s stubborn pride insured that thousands of German soldiers, Hitler Youths and civilians would needlessly lose their lives in the streets of Berlin, where advance units of the Red Army were already probing. Inside the bunker, Hitler told General Jodl, “I will fight as long as I have a single soldier. When the last soldier deserts me. I will shoot myself.”

However, the Führer’s fatalism was not shared by his two oldest comrades, Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler, who had both scooted away from Berlin just hours after Hitler’s birthday gathering. Göring made it safely to Berchtesgaden where he had his own villa, bringing along truckloads of artworks looted from museums all over occupied Europe. For his part, Himmler headed in the opposite direction, staying for the moment in a small town northwest of Berlin.

Both men were spurred to act on their own in the aftermath of the Führer’s shocking behavior during the military conference held in the bunker on Sunday, April 22nd. To everyone there that day, it seemed the Führer had suffered a total mental and physical breakdown, completely losing control while letting loose a shrieking denunciation of the Army, then collapsing into a chair. News of the Führer’s appalling condition spread like wildfire among the top Nazis outside Berlin, including Göring and Himmler.

Hermann Göring (center) with Hitler in early April 1945, mingling with German troops during one of their last public appearances together. Below: SS-Reichsführer Heinrich Himmler (left) visits an SS Panzer Corps on the Western Front in 1944.
Below: The United States Army arm-in-arm with the Soviet Red Army at Torgau, Germany.
Below: Russian Shturmoviks in action over Berlin in April 1945 as the Red Army’s main attack commences.

Göring, the Führer’s designated successor, now pondered whether or not to announce he was the new leader of the Reich, since Hitler was presently cut off from the rest of Germany in besieged Berlin, and apparently incapacitated. But the inherent danger of such a move, even at this late stage, gave him pause for concern. And so Göring put off a decision and instead sent Hitler a carefully worded telegram the next day, Monday, April 23rd, trying to feel him out:

“My Führer! In view of your decision to remain in the fortress of Berlin, do you agree that I take over at once the total leadership of the Reich, with full freedom of action at home and abroad as your deputy, in accordance with your decree of June 29, 1941? If no reply is received by 10 o’clock tonight, I shall take it for granted that you have lost your freedom of action, and shall consider the conditions of your decree as fulfilled, and shall act for the best interests of our country and our people…”

Göring didn’t know that Hitler had since rebounded from his meltdown and regained a measure of composure. Therefore, Hitler’s response to Göring’s telegram, prompted by Martin Bormann, was that the Reich Marshal had committed “high treason.” Although this carried the death penalty, Göring would be spared if he immediately resigned all of his titles and offices – which Göring promptly did. Next, Bormann, a longtime behind-the-scenes foe of Göring, transmitted an order to the SS near Berchtesgaden to arrest Göring and his staff. As a result, just before dawn on Tuesday, April 24, Göring was put under house arrest. Thus ended the long career of the man who would be Führer.

In contrast to Göring’s cautiousness, Himmler took a much bolder approach. At the very moment that Hitler was reading Göring’s telegram, Himmler was secretly proposing the surrender all German troops in the West to General Eisenhower.

Himmler had traveled to the city of Lübeck in northern Germany to meet with Count Folke Bernadotte of the Swedish Red Cross. Himmler’s idea was to have Bernadotte contact Eisenhower regarding the surrender in the West, while at the same time Germany would continue fighting the Russians in the East, soon to be joined by the Americans and British. Playing a key role in this new German-American-British alliance would be the leader of post-Hitler Germany, Heinrich Himmler himself.

His proposal got nowhere. By now, Himmler’s name, and that of the SS organization he headed, was already synonymous with mass murder.

Meanwhile, the military situation continued to deteriorate. On Wednesday, April 25th, Russian and American soldiers greeted each other face-to-face at Torgau on the Elbe River, seventy-five miles south of Berlin, effectively severing Nazi Germany in two. The next day, Russian artillery fire made the first direct hits upon the Reich Chancellery buildings in Berlin and the grounds directly above the Führerbunker.

A German tank officer described the scene in his diary: “We retreat again under heavy Russian air attacks. Inscriptions [I see] on house walls [say]: ‘The hour before sunrise is darkest’ and ‘We retreat but we are winning.’…The night is fiery red. Heavy shelling. Otherwise a terrible silence…Women and children huddling in niches and corners and listening for the sounds of battle…Nervous breakdowns.”

By Friday, April 27, Russian bombardment of the Reich Chancellery buildings had reached its peak with numerous direct hits, causing Hitler to send frantic telegrams to Field Marshal Keitel demanding that Berlin be relieved by now non-existent armies.

For Hitler, the worst blow of all came the next day when BBC news radio reports concerning Himmler’s surrender negotiations were broadcast from London and picked up by Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry. According to eyewitnesses in the bunker, Hitler “raged like a madman” with a ferocity never seen before when informed of the betrayal. Himmler had been at his side since the beginning, earning the fond nickname Der Treue Heinrich (Faithful Heinrich) through years of murderous, fanatical service to his Führer. Now, Hitler wanted to have him shot.

Since Himmler was nowhere to be found, Hitler ordered his personal liaison in the bunker, SS-General Hermann Fegelein, shot instead. Fegelein was already under suspicion, having been nabbed the day before trying to sneak out of Berlin in civilian clothing. After some brief questioning, he was taken up to the Chancellery garden above the bunker and summarily executed.

In the meantime, advance units of the Red Army had smashed through the German defenses in Berlin and were only a few miles away from the bunker. Hitler was informed there was perhaps a day or two left before the Russians arrived at his doorstep.

Now, at long last, Hitler reconciled himself to defeat, and began preparations for his own death.

First, he married Eva Braun, as a reward for her ceaseless devotion, during a relationship in which she had spent nearly all of her time at Berchtesgaden waiting for him to show up. They were married in a brief ceremony about an hour past midnight, early Sunday, April 29, with Goebbels and Bormann in attendance. Everyone was then invited into the Führer’s private quarters for a wedding breakfast featuring champagne and fond reminisces by Hitler of better days gone by, followed by a bitter accounting of the recent betrayal by his two oldest comrades. Those who listened were moved to tears. Shortly thereafter, Hitler excused himself, bringing along his staff secretary, Traudl Junge, to whom he dictated his last will along with a two-part political testament.

In his will he left his possessions to the Nazi Party and also revealed his fate: “I myself and my wife – in order to escape the disgrace of deposition or capitulation – choose death. It is our wish to be burnt immediately on the spot where I have carried out the greatest part of my daily work in the course of twelve years’ of service to my people.”

His political testament recited familiar themes first stated in his book Mein Kampf back in 1925. In addition, he blamed the Jews for everything, including the war. He cited the extermination threat he had made on January 30, 1939, followed by a veiled reference to the gas chambers, labeling them a “humane means” of making the Jews atone for the guilt of causing the war.

In the second part of his political testament, he expelled both Göring and Himmler from the Nazi Party and appointed Admiral Karl Dönitz as his successor, not as Führer, but as President of the Reich. Dönitz was to preside over a government with Goebbels as Chancellor and Bormann as Party Minister. After completing his dictations, Hitler went off to bed, having been up all night.

While the Führer slept, the Battle of Berlin raged in the streets above him, with the Germans fighting fanatically to defend every inch, just as Hitler hoped they would. Above all, they tried to knock out the Russian T34 tanks now rolling toward Hitler. A Russian tank driver recalled: “There were a lot of Panzerfausts [anti-tank grenade launchers] in Berlin. They were lying in every basement. Mostly the operators were old men or boys.”

Casualties on both sides were high. But the Russians pressed forward relentlessly, blasting through anything in their way. The Red Army under Marshal Zhukov, after a journey of some 1500 miles that had begun back in Stalingrad, was now close to victory. When the Führer awoke about noontime, he was told that Russian troops were only a mile from the bunker.

The Chancellery garden with entrance to the Führerbunker on left and adjacent ventilation tower as seen in 1947. Below: Portrait from 1942 of Eva Braun and Hitler with his dog Blondi.

Realizing their Führer intended to self-destruct, four of his remaining military adjutants asked for permission to leave the bunker, on the excuse that they wanted to check on the status of a relief column supposedly being led by General Wenck. Hitler granted their requests. He also took this opportunity to give his Luftwaffe adjutant, Colonel Below, one last Führer message to be hand delivered to the Army High Command:

“The people and the armed forces have given their all in this long and hard struggle. The sacrifice has been enormous. But my trust has been misused by many people. Disloyalty and betrayal have undermined resistance throughout the war. It was therefore not granted to me to lead the people to victory. The Army General Staff cannot be compared with the General Staff in the First World War. Its achievements were far behind those of the fighting front. The efforts and sacrifices of the German people in this war have been so great that I cannot believe that they have been in vain. The aim must still be to win territory in the East for the German people.”

Thus the last official words of the Führer contained both a final insult of the Army leadership along with a repetition of the Lebensraum theme for the East.

Shortly thereafter, the final bit of news from the outside world ever to reach Hitler told of the death of his oldest political ally, Benito Mussolini. The one-time dictator of Italy had tried to flee along with his mistress, but had been captured by Italian partisans, executed, hung upside down and then thrown into the gutter. Hitler’s only reaction was an expressed determination not to suffer a similar fate.

Hitler never heard the other news that day from Italy. SS-General Karl Wolff, formerly Himmler’s chief aide, had successfully negotiated the unconditional surrender of all German forces in Italy to the Western Allies.

Hitler’s sole concern right now was to ready himself for the moment of death. He had in his possession several small glass capsules containing liquid cyanide poison. All one had to do was bite down on the glass and painless death would follow in seconds. But since the capsules had been supplied by the now-traitorous Himmler, the Führer worried they might not be the real thing. Hitler therefore ordered one tested on his favorite dog, Blondi, which killed the animal instantly. After this, he handed out the cyanide capsules to his female secretaries, apologizing that he did not have better parting gifts for them. The capsules, he told them, were theirs to use when the Russians stormed the bunker.

As Sunday evening wore on, Hitler asked everyone to stay up. They waited for hours, for what they sensed would be a final goodbye. It came about 2:30 a.m., early in the morning of Monday, April 30th, when Hitler came out of his private quarters into the dining area. The remaining members of his staff lined up to receive him. With glazed eyes, Hitler shook each hand, muttering a few inaudible words quietly, then retired back into his quarters. His secretary, Traudl Junge, recalled the moment: “He looked like a shadow. He looked emotionless, and very gray and pale, like a broken old man…his movements were very slow. He was not the dictator anymore, and the impressive, fascinating man he was earlier.”

Following the Führer’s departure, his staff mulled over the significance of what they had just experienced. Strangely, the tremendous tension of preceding days seemed to suddenly evaporate upon their realization that the end was near. A lighthearted mood surfaced, followed by spontaneous displays of merry-making even including dancing. At one point, they had to be told to keep the noise down.

At noontime on April 30th, Hitler attended his last-ever military conference and was told the Russians were a block away. Two hours later, Hitler sat down for his final meal, a vegetarian lunch. His wife had no appetite. In the meantime, his chauffeur was ordered to deliver 200 liters of gasoline to the Chancellery garden.

Hitler, accompanied by his wife Eva, now bid a last farewell to Bormann, Goebbels, Generals Krebs and Burgdorf. Hitler and his wife went back into their private quarters while Bormann and Goebbels stood quietly nearby. A few moments later, about 3:30 p.m., a gunshot was heard. Bormann and Goebbels hesitated at first, then entered the room. They saw the body of Hitler sprawled on the sofa, dripping with blood from a gunshot to his right temple. He had killed himself with the same small revolver he once used to fire a warning shot into the ceiling back during the Beer Hall Putsch in November 1923 – a gun he had kept ever since. His wife, Eva, had died from biting into one of the cyanide capsules.

Russian soldiers in Berlin gaze upon a Nazi eagle fallen from the Reich Chancellery building. Below: Germans POWs from Berlin are escorted by Russians.
Below: Hitler’s successor, Karl Dönitz, now a prisoner of the British along with Albert Speer and General Alfred Jodl.

As Russian artillery shells exploded nearby, the bodies were carried up the stairs to the Reich Chancellery garden, placed in a shell crater, doused heavily with gasoline and burned while Bormann and Goebbels stood by silently, with arms extended in a final Nazi salute. Over the next three hours, the bodies were repeatedly doused until there were only charred remains, which were swept into a canvas, laid in a different shell crater and buried anonymously.

Back inside the bunker, with the Führer now gone, people lit cigarettes, a practice Hitler had forbidden in his presence. Next, they began to organize themselves into groups to flee the bunker and hopefully escape the Russians.

For Joseph Goebbels, life without Hitler was not worth living for himself, his wife and their six young children. On Tuesday, May 1st, Goebbels and his wife therefore poisoned their six children, aged 12 and younger, whom they had brought into the bunker. Next they went up into the Chancellery garden and each bit into a cyanide capsule. After collapsing and dying, they were shot in the head by an SS man as Goebbels had requested. Their bodies were then burned, but only partially, and were not buried. The macabre remains were discovered by the Russians the next day and filmed, with the grotesquely charred body of Goebbels becoming an enduring symbol of the legacy of Hitler’s twelve-year Reich.

At 10 p.m. on May 1st, a special radio announcement told the German people their Führer had died “fighting with his last breath for Germany against Bolshevism,” and also announced Dönitz as his designated successor. By now, the Russians were already combing through the wreckage of the Reich Chancellery looking for any sign of Hitler’s body.

With the Führer dead and the German nation in ruins, Dönitz and surviving leaders of the Wehrmacht had just one thing in mind – stall for time to allow as many troops and civilians as possible to flee from the Russians and make it into western zones occupied by the Americans and British.

Thus it wasn’t until Saturday, May 5th, when a military representative, Admiral Hans von Friedeburg, was sent by Dönitz to General Eisenhower’s headquarters at Reims, France. He was then joined by General Jodl. Even now, the Germans tried to stall the proceedings by suggesting a piecemeal surrender limited to the West, thereby allowing even more troops to flee the Russians. But Eisenhower saw through this ploy and demanded the Germans quit stalling and sign an unconditional surrender for all fronts.

And so, in the early morning hours of Monday, May 7th, with authorization from Dönitz, General Jodl signed the unconditional surrender document. The signing was, as Winston Churchill put it, “the signal for the greatest outburst of joy in the history of mankind.” Huge crowds gathered to rejoice in London, Paris, New York and Moscow.

The guns across Europe were silent. Nazi Germany was finished.

The German people, who had once cheered mightily for Hitler and enthusiastically embraced Nazism, now faced a stark and uncertain future. A German woman summed up the dilemma: “There won’t be any more dying, any more raids. It’s over. But then the fear set in of what would happen afterwards. We were spiritually and emotionally drained. Hitler’s doctrines were discredited. And then the desperation set in of realizing that it had all been for nothing, and that was a terrible feeling. Surviving, finding something to eat and drink, was less difficult for me than the psychological emptiness. It was incomprehensible that all this was supposed to be over, and that it had all been for nothing.”

For Jews and others, who had been targeted by Nazis, a great sense of relief was felt at outlasting Hitler. One woman who survived the Final Solution reflected: “During the five terrible war years, we could not indulge in simple pleasures that life offers to normal people. All our efforts were directed towards fighting the enemy and surviving. Now, for the first time since September 1, 1939, we could unwind and be normal again – to walk the streets without the fear of hearing the hated “Halt!” without the fear of being rounded up by the Germans and pushed into military trucks. No more “Achtung, Achtung!” coming down from the street loud-speakers. No more ghettos, no more starvation, typhus, gas chambers, Einsatzgruppen [killing squads]. The intense fear and persecution were over.”

The Germans themselves had paid dearly for Hitler’s war, suffering four million civilian and three million military deaths. Hitler’s nemesis, Soviet Russia, had suffered staggering losses including seven million soldiers and an estimated 16 million civilian deaths. Throughout Europe and Russia, six million Jews had been systematically murdered by Nazis.

For the victorious Allies, with images of recently liberated concentration camps still fresh in their minds, the question of justice now arose. Fortunately for the Allies, the rapid demise of Nazi Germany had resulted in the wholesale capture of gigantic document archives from all branches of Hitler’s government along with secret papers, conference reports and private diaries.

The Nazis had kept meticulous written records of their activities, from mass murder of the Jews, to Hitler’s private talks. In addition, captured Nazi officials and high ranking military officers underwent lengthy interrogations. With all of the evidence at hand, the Allies decided to prosecute. The place chosen for the trial was Nuremberg, the now-ruined city that had once hosted annual rallies glorifying Hitler and Nazism

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Mass Murder in the East

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The quest for Lebensraum in the East was a carefully contemplated, step-by-step, process. First, the land was forcibly seized by Hitler’s armies from its rightful inhabitants. Secondly, Heinrich Himmler‘s SS, with the knowledge and cooperation of the Wehrmacht, moved in to conduct special actions in accordance with the racial policies of the Führer. After this, Nazi political authorities moved in to administer and exploit the conquered lands in cooperation with the SS and Wehrmacht.

Poland was the first such conquest. Hitler loathed the neighboring country which had been set up by the victorious Allies at the end of the First World War. He ordered every facet of Polish culture and national identity obliterated and the people reduced to slave laborers.

Upon its conquest in September 1939, Himmler and his second-in-command, Reinhard Heydrich, quickly set up SS execution squads known as Einsatzgruppen to rid the population of all educated and prominent Poles. Trailing behind the Wehrmacht, the SS squads combed through cities and villages, shooting whomever they pleased, including Polish political leaders, land-owners, gentry, ex-army officers, business owners, professors, artists and intellectuals. Simply wearing eyeglasses was enough to get one shot, since it implied a person was educated.

Next, all higher education was abolished so the Poles would degenerate into a population of ignorant, obedient laborers. A memorandum Himmler wrote in May 1940 provided the details: “The non-German population of the eastern territories must not receive any education higher than that of an elementary school with four grades. The objective of this elementary school must simply be to teach simple arithmetic up to 500 at the most, how to write one’s name, and to teach that it is God’s commandment to be obedient to the Germans and to be honest, hard working, and well-behaved. I consider it unnecessary to teach reading.”

Polish nationals are expelled from their homes to make room for incoming Germans. The Germanic-looking youngster would likely attract the attention of the SS. Below: Nazi police escort Polish Jews during their deportation from Włocławek, southward toward Lodz.

The model for Lebensraum, as outlined by Hitler, included large-scale resettlement of conquered territories by pure-blooded Germans at the expense of the people already living there. Over a million Poles were therefore forced out of their homes and farms which were confiscated along with shops, businesses, gold, artwork, raw materials, food and anything else of value – including children.

SS men were instructed by Himmler to keep an eye out for any blond-haired, blue-eyed children. When spotted, such children were kidnapped on the spot by the SS and sent off to Germany to be raised as Nazis. Parts of Poland had been settled by Germans in the past, and so Himmler wanted all 6 to 10-year-old Poles physically examined by Nazi racial specialists “to sort out those with valuable blood and those with worthless blood.” Those considered worthless were condemned to a life of slave labor under their German masters, or worse, if they happened to be Jewish.

Poland was also home to about three million Jews, the largest population of any country in Europe. Following its conquest, Hitler appointed an old comrade, Hans Frank, his longtime Nazi lawyer, to oversee the large southeastern portion of occupied Poland that was not annexed into the Reich. Much to the annoyance of Frank, Himmler used this area, known as the General Government, as the dumping ground for all of the unwanted Jews and Poles. As the number of Jews in the General Government continued to swell, Frank repeatedly expressed his dismay to Hitler and began advocating for some kind of alternative.

At this point, both Hitler and Himmler were still pondering a future “solution of the Jewish problem.” In the meantime, as a temporary measure, Heydrich proposed rounding all up the Polish Jews in the General Government and placing them in SS-run ghettos at places such as Lodz, Cracow and Warsaw. Inside these walled-in ghettos, Heydrich explained, the Jews would be cut off from the outside world and squeezed into overcrowded areas where malnutrition and disease would naturally diminish their numbers. 

Millions more Jews came under Nazi control as Hitler’s armies swept across Russia beginning in June 1941. For Hitler and Himmler, the existence of so many of these unwanted people in the vast tracts of newly acquired Lebensraum was a pressing dilemma, requiring some thought.

Meanwhile, in compliance with Hitler’s Commissar Order to liquidate all Russian political officials, Himmler unleashed his SS in Russia, creating four new Einsatz groups, totaling 3,000 men, which followed behind the German Army. At first, they only targeted Russian political officials, shooting them on sight. But SS field commanders soon enlarged the definition of a political official to include all Jewish men, in accordance with Hitler’s belief that the Russian political system was the embodiment of Jewish-Bolshevism and therefore all Jews were implicated. The next step occurred in August 1941, when Himmler further expanded the task of the Einsatz units to include the shooting of Jewish families as well. This marked the beginning of a systematic, coordinated effort by the Nazis to murder all of the Jews in the East.

For the SS in Russia, the task ahead was huge. Throughout the vast countryside, there were hundreds of isolated little villages called shtetlspopulated exclusively by Jews. Into each village, truckloads of SS troops would arrive unannounced. The commanding SS officer would promptly summon the town’s leading citizens and inform them the entire population was to be immediately resettled. With no time to think, the men from the village were rushed into the trucks and taken off to a secluded site, followed a short time later by the women and children.

Portrait of SS-Brigadeführer Otto Ohlendorf–a well educated, cultured German who resorted to mass murder of the Jews without hesitation. Below: Close-up of an SS-Einsatz report listing the precise tally of Jewish men, women and children (Judenkinder) killed at each locale.

Otto Ohlendorf, an Einsatz group commander, explained what happened at the execution site: “They were ordered to hand over their valuables to the leader of the unit, and shortly before their execution to surrender their outer clothing. The men, women and children were led to a place of execution which in most cases was located next to a deeply excavated anti-tank ditch. Then they were shot, kneeling or standing, and the corpses thrown into the ditch.”

Einsatz leaders such as Ohlendorf kept a precise tally of executed Jews so the number could be reported back to Himmler. Soon a competition arose among the four Einsatz groups to see who could report the highest tally, and so they dashed from place to place in search of ever-more Jews.

As Hitler’s armies plunged deeper into Russia, the massacres grew in size, culminating in late September 1941, when 33,771 Jews in the Ukraine were rounded up and killed over two days in the Babi Yar ravine outside Kiev.

One of the few survivors, Dina Pronicheva, recalled: “It was dark already…They lined us up on a ledge which was so small that we couldn’t get much of a footing on it. They began shooting us. I shut my eyes, clenched my fists, tensed all my muscles and took a plunge down before the bullets hit me. It seemed I was flying forever. But I landed safely on the bodies. After a while, when the shooting stopped, I heard the Germans climbing into the ravine. They started finishing off all those who were not dead yet, those who were moaning, hiccupping, tossing, writhing in agony…They started covering the corpses over with earth. They must have put quite a lot over me because I felt I was beginning to suffocate…Then I decided it was better to be shot than buried alive. Using my left arm I managed to move a little way up. Then I took a deep breath, summoned up my waning strength and crawled out from under the cover of earth. It was dark…I was lucky enough to crawl up one of the high walls of the ravine, and straining every nerve and muscle, got out of it.”

Curious about the whole process, Himmler ventured into Russia and watched an Einsatz squad execute a hundred Jews at Minsk. As the squad fired upon the first set of lined-up people, Himmler appeared on the verge of fainting. When a second set of Jews went before the same firing squad, the shots failed to kill two women, greatly upsetting Himmler, who cried out for the women to be put out of their misery. After this emotional experience, Himmler settled on the idea of trying gas as an alternative to firing squads, believing it would spare his SS men the ordeal of shooting women and children.

Newly developed gas trucks were then introduced for experimental usage. Each of these mobile vans contained an airtight rear compartment into which the engine’s exhaust fumes were fed to asphyxiate the 15 to 25 people inside while it was driven toward a mass grave. The vans, however, presented their own problems. The amount of time it took for people to perish from the carbon monoxide in the fumes varied widely causing some to arrive at the grave site still alive. Removal of the bodies from the rear of the van also became a gruesome sight for the SS men involved.

Although the vans were troublesome, the idea of gassing took hold. SS officials began experiments using air-tight chambers in concentration camps with exhaust fumes piped in from a diesel engine mounted just outside the chamber. Additional experiments involved the usage of a commercial pesticide called Zyklon-B, which gave off deadly cyanide fumes when exposed to air. While the gassing experiments were underway, mass shootings of Jews continued all over occupied Russia with a tally that soon surpassed 630,000 persons.

By November 1941, Hitler’s armies had conquered most of western Russia and stood on the outskirts of Moscow. By this time, Soviet leader Josef Stalin had issued a decree for all-out guerrilla warfare behind the lines. Hitler reacted to this new development with glee, privately telling his Nazi overseers for the East: “The Russians have now given out the order for a partisan war behind our Front. This partisan war again has its advantage: it gives us the possibility of exterminating anything that opposes us.”

Russian civilians mourn the loss of a man who has just been hanged by Nazis, accused as a partisan.

Thus began a spiral of death in occupied Russia in which all semblances of civilized behavior and traditional military protocol vanished and human life itself had no value. For Germans behind the lines, revenge became the order of the day. Wherever anti-Nazi partisans attacked, the Wehrmacht and SS responded with astounding brutality, killing a hundred hostages for every dead German – sometimes picking a village at random and killing all of the inhabitants.

But over time, this only deepened the resolve and hatred of the entire population. In Russia, everywhere the Germans went they made instant enemies. All opportunities to win people over were squandered, despite the fact that some ethnic regions, such as the Ukraine longed for independence from Stalin and his oppressive Soviet regime. Although the German invaders were initially welcomed upon their arrival in the Ukraine and other independence-minded communities, they treated everyone in Russia as Slavic sub-humans. Erich Koch, Nazi administrator for the Ukraine, summed it up: “We are a master race, which must remember that the lowliest German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times more valuable than the population here.”

Koch and fellow overseers in Russia also viewed the population as a limitless pool of slave labor. Regular roundups soon began in which civilians of all ages were packed into railroad box cars and shipped off to Germany to toil in mines, fields and factories.

Those left behind focused their wrath on all things German, requiring whole divisions to be pulled from the Eastern Front to restore order behind the lines at a time when every available soldier was needed elsewhere. Too late, an observant Nazi official in the East would note: “The Russian fights today with exceptional bravery and self-sacrifice for nothing more or less than recognition of his human dignity.”

Nazi contempt for Russian civilians also applied to the millions of now-helpless prisoners of war. Although the Eastern Front had become static by the end of 1941, till then each day saw thousands more Russians added to the tally of prisoners. On the long marches to the rear, they were denied all food and water and were subsequently penned up in giant outdoor stockades, left to starve or perish from the winter weather. Ultimately, half of all Russian POWs, some three million men, would die in German captivity.

On the surface, Hitler remained confident about the war in Russia, anticipating victory sometime in 1942. But his failure to achieve victory by the autumn of 1941, as originally planned, had unforeseen consequences. A quick victory over the Russians would have allowed Hitler to confront the lonely British with a fate-accomplished in Europe, forcing them to humbly negotiate for peace, or so he had believed.

But by now, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had squarely allied himself with Stalin and the Russians. Additionally, both the Russians and British were bolstered by their alliance with Hitler’s newest enemy, the United States of America.

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Hitler Becomes Dictator

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

After the elections of March 5, 1933, the Nazis began a systematic takeover of the state governments throughout Germany, ending a centuries-old tradition of local political independence. Armed SA and SS thugs barged into local government offices using the state of emergency decree as a pretext to throw out legitimate office holders and replace them with Nazi Reich commissioners.

Political enemies were arrested by the thousands and put in hastily constructed holding pens. Old army barracks and abandoned factories were used as prisons. Once inside, prisoners were subjected to military style drills and harsh discipline. They were often beaten and sometimes even tortured to death. This was the very beginning of the Nazi concentration camp system.

At this time, these early concentration camps were loosely organized under the control of the SA and the rival SS. Many were little more than barbed-wire stockades know as ‘wild’ concentration camps, set up by local Gauleiters and SA leaders.

For Adolf Hitler, the goal of a legally established dictatorship was now within reach. On March 15, 1933, a cabinet meeting was held during which Hitler and Göring discussed how to obstruct what was left of the democratic process to get an Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag. This law would hand over the constitutional functions of the Reichstag to Hitler, including the power to make laws, control the budget and approve treaties with foreign governments.

The emergency decree signed by Hindenburg on February 28th, after the Reichstag fire, made it easy for them to interfere with non-Nazi elected representatives of the people by simply arresting them.

March 21, 1933 – With the eyes of Germany and the whole world on him – a respectful stroll by Hitler toward the Garrison Church in Potsdam for ceremonies opening the new Reichstag session. Below: Reassuring to all – Hitler greets President Hindenburg in the manner of the age-old German custom – hand outstretched and head bowed.
Below: Inside the Garrison Church – Hitler speaks as President Hindenburg (lower right) and Germany’s old guard listen.
Below: Outside the church, a bemused Chancellor Hitler chats with the Kaiser’s son and heir, Crown Prince Wilhelm.
Below: Two days later – March 23rd – Hitler appears before the Reichstag in Berlin to reassure them that – if granted – his new powers under the Enabling Act will be used sparingly.

As Hitler plotted to bring democracy to an end in Germany, Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels put together a brilliant public relations display at the official opening of the newly elected Reichstag.

On March 21st, in the Garrison Church at Potsdam, the burial place of Frederick the Great, an elaborate ceremony took place designed to ease public concern over Hitler and his gangster-like new regime.

It was attended by President Hindenburg, foreign diplomats, the General Staff and all the old guard going back to the days of the Kaiser. Dressed in their handsome uniforms sprinkled with medals, they watched a most reverent Adolf Hitler give a speech paying respect to Hindenburg and celebrating the union of old Prussian military traditions and the new Nazi Reich. As a symbol of this, the old Imperial flags would soon add swastikas.

Finishing his speech, Hitler walked over to Hindenburg and respectfully bowed before him while taking hold of the old man’s hand. The scene was recorded on film and by press photographers from around the world. This was precisely the impression Hitler and Goebbels wanted to give to the world, all the while plotting to toss aside Hindenburg and the elected Reichstag.

Later that same day, Hindenburg signed two decrees put before him by Hitler. The first offered full pardons to all Nazis currently in prison. The prison doors sprang open and out came an assortment of Nazi thugs and murderers.

The second decree signed by the befuddled old man allowed for the arrest of anyone suspected of maliciously criticizing the government and the Nazi Party.

A third decree signed only by Hitler and Papen allowed for the establishment of special courts to try political offenders. These courts were conducted in the military style of a court-martial without a jury and usually with no counsel for the defense.

On March 23rd, the newly elected Reichstag met in the Kroll Opera House in Berlin to consider passing Hitler’s Enabling Act. It was officially called the “Law for Removing the Distress of the People and the Reich.” If passed, it would in effect vote democracy out of existence in Germany and establish the legal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler.

Brown-shirted Nazi storm troopers swarmed over the fancy old building in a show of force and as a visible threat. They stood outside, in the hallways and even lined the aisles inside, glaring ominously at anyone who might oppose Hitler’s will.

Before the vote, Hitler made a speech in which he pledged to use restraint.

“The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential for carrying out vitally necessary measures…The number of cases in which an internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a limited one,” Hitler told the Reichstag.

He also promised an end to unemployment and pledged to promote peace with France, Great Britain and Soviet Russia. But in order to do all this, Hitler said, he first needed the Enabling Act. A two-thirds majority was needed, since the law would actually alter the constitution. Hitler needed 31 non-Nazi votes to pass it. He got those votes from the Catholic Center Party after making a false promise to restore some basic rights already taken away by decree.

Meanwhile, Nazi storm troopers chanted outside: “Full powers – or else! We want the bill – or fire and murder!!”

But one man arose amid the overwhelming might. Otto Wells, leader of the Social Democrats stood up and spoke quietly to Hitler.

“We German Social Democrats pledge ourselves solemnly in this historic hour to the principles of humanity and justice, of freedom and socialism. No enabling act can give you power to destroy ideas which are eternal and indestructible.”

Hitler was enraged and jumped up to respond.

“You are no longer needed! The star of Germany will rise and yours will sink! Your death knell has sounded!”

The vote was taken – 441 for, and only 84, the Social Democrats, against. The Nazis leapt to their feet clapping, stamping and shouting, then broke into the Nazi anthem, the Hörst Wessel song.

Democracy was ended. They had brought down the German Democratic Republic legally. From this day onward, the Reichstag would be just a sounding board, a cheering section for Hitler’s pronouncements.

Interestingly, the Nazi Party was now flooded with applications for membership. These latecomers were cynically labeled by old time Nazis as ‘March Violets.’ In May, the Nazi Party froze membership. Many of those kept out applied to the SA and the SS which were still accepting. However, in early 1934, Heinrich Himmler would throw out 50,000 of those ‘March Violets’ from the SS.

The Nazi Gleichschaltung now began, a massive coordination of all aspects of life under the swastika and the absolute leadership of Adolf Hitler.

Under Hitler, the State, not the individual, was supreme.

From the moment of birth one existed to serve the State and obey the dictates of the Führer. Those who disagreed were disposed of.

Many agreed. Bureaucrats, industrialists, even intellectual and literary figures, including Gerhart Hauptmann, world renowned dramatist, were coming out in open support of Hitler.

Many disagreed and left the country. A flood of the finest minds, including over two thousand writers, scientists, and people in the arts poured out of Germany and enriched other lands, mostly the United States. Among them – writer Thomas Mann, director Fritz Lang, actress Marlene Dietrich, architect Walter Gropius, musicians Otto Klemperer, Kurt Weill, Richard Tauber, psychologist Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein, who was visiting California when Hitler came to power and never returned to Germany.

In Germany, there were now constant Nazi rallies, parades, marches and meetings amid the relentless propaganda of Goebbels and the omnipresent swastika. For those who remained there was an odd mixture of fear and optimism in the air.

Now, for the first time as dictator, Adolf Hitler turned his attention to the driving force which had propelled him into politics in the first place, his hatred of the Jews. It began with a simple boycott on April 1st, 1933, and would end years later in the greatest tragedy in all of human history.

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The Reichstag Burns

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Adolf Hitler, the new Chancellor of Germany, had no intention of abiding by the rules of democracy. He intended only to use those rules to legally establish himself as dictator as quickly as possible then begin the Nazi revolution.

Even before he was sworn in, he was at work to accomplish that goal by demanding new elections. While Hindenburg waited impatiently in another room, Hitler argued with conservative leader Hugenberg, who vehemently opposed the idea. Hitler’s plan was to establish a majority of elected Nazis in the Reichstag which would become a rubber stamp, passing whatever laws he desired while making it all perfectly legal.

On his first day as chancellor, Hitler manipulated Hindenburg into dissolving the Reichstag and calling for the new elections he had wanted – to be held on March 5th, 1933.

That evening, Hitler attended a dinner with the German General Staff and told them Germany would re-arm as a first step toward regaining its former position in the world. He also gave them a strong hint of things to come by telling them there would be conquest of the lands to the east and ruthless Germanization of conquered territories.

Hitler also reassured the generals there would be no attempt to replace the regular army with an army of SA storm troopers. For years this had been a big concern of the generals who wanted to preserve their own positions of power and keep the traditional military intact.

Hitler’s storm troopers were about to reach new heights of power of their own and begin a reign of terror that would last as long as the Third Reich.

President Hindenburg had fallen under Hitler’s spell and was signing just about anything put in front of him. He signed an emergency decree that put the German state of Prussia into the hands of Hitler confidant, Vice Chancellor Papen. Göring as Minister of the Interior for Prussia took control of the police. Prussia was Germany’s biggest and most important state and included the capital of Berlin.

Göring immediately replaced hundreds of police officials loyal to the republic with Nazi officials loyal to Hitler. He also ordered the police not to interfere with the SA and SS under any circumstances. This meant that anybody being harassed, beaten, or even murdered by Nazis, had nobody to turn to for help.

Roll-call and weapons inspection for Nazi storm troopers now functioning as Hilfspolizei (Auxiliary Police). Below: Berliners gaze toward the Reichstag building following the overnight fire.
Below: Police stand guard inside the charred building in a former VIP area used by the Reichstag leadership.
Below: A regular policeman (left) and his dog on street patrol side-by-side with a Nazi auxiliary.
Below: A storm trooper with accused Communists.
Below: Political prisoners are lined up inside the new SA-run concentration camp at Oranienburg.

Göring then ordered the police to show no mercy to those deemed hostile to the State, meaning those hostile to Hitler, especially Communists.

“Police officers who use weapons in carrying out their duties will be covered by me. Whoever misguidedly fails in this duty can expect disciplinary action,” stated the order of Hermann Göring to the Prussian Police.

On February 22nd, Göring set up an auxiliary police force of 50,000 men, composed mostly of members of the SA and SS. The vulgar, brawling, murderous Nazi storm troopers now had the power of police.

Two days later, they raided Communist headquarters in Berlin. Göring falsely claimed he had uncovered plans for a Communist uprising in the raid. But he actually uncovered the membership list of the Communist Party and intended to arrest every one of the four thousand members.

Göring and Goebbels, with Hitler’s approval, then hatched a plan to cause panic by burning the Reichstag building and blaming the Communists. The Reichstag was the building in Berlin where the elected members of the republic met to conduct the daily business of government.

By a weird coincidence, there was also in Berlin a deranged Communist conducting a one-man uprising. An arsonist named Marinus van der Lubbe, 24, from Holland, had been wandering around Berlin for a week attempting to burn government buildings to protest capitalism and start a revolt. On February 27, he decided to burn the Reichstag building.

Carrying incendiary devices, he spent all day lurking around the building, before breaking in around 9 p.m. He took off his shirt, lit it on fire, then went to work using it as his torch.

The exact sequence of events will never be known, but Nazi storm troopers under the direction of Göring were also involved in torching the place. They had befriended the arsonist and may have known or even encouraged him to burn the Reichstag that night. The storm troopers, led by SA leader Karl Ernst, used the underground tunnel that connected Göring’s residence with the cellar in the Reichstag. They entered the building, scattered gasoline and incendiaries, then hurried back through the tunnel.

The deep red glow of the burning Reichstag caught the eye of President Hindenburg and Vice-Chancellor Papen who were dining at a club facing the building. Papen put the elderly Hindenburg in his own car and took him to the scene.

Hitler was at Goebbels’ apartment having dinner. They rushed to the scene where they met Göring who was already screaming false charges and making threats against the Communists.

At first glance, Hitler described the fire as a beacon from heaven.

“You are now witnessing the beginning of a great epoch in German history…This fire is the beginning,” Hitler told a news reporter at the scene.

After viewing the damage, an emergency meeting of government leaders was held. When told of the arrest of the Communist arsonist, Van der Lubbe, Hitler became deliberately enraged.

“The German people have been soft too long. Every Communist official must be shot. All Communist deputies must be hanged this very night. All friends of the Communists must be locked up. And that goes for the Social Democrats and the Reichsbanner as well!”

Hitler left the fire scene and went straight to the offices of his newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, to oversee its coverage of the fire. He stayed up all night with Goebbels putting together a paper full of tales of a Communist plot to violently seize power in Berlin.

At a cabinet meeting held later in the morning, February 28th, Chancellor Hitler demanded an emergency decree to overcome the crisis. He met little resistance from his largely non-Nazi cabinet. That evening, Hitler and Papen went to Hindenburg and the befuddled old man signed the decree “for the Protection of the people and the State.”

The Emergency Decree stated: “Restrictions on personal liberty, on the right of free expression of opinion, including freedom of the press; on the rights of assembly and association; and violations of the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.”

Immediately, there followed the first big Nazi roundup as truckloads of SA and SS roared through the streets bursting in on known Communist hangouts and barging into private homes. Thousands of Communists as well as Social Democrats and liberals were taken away into ‘protective custody’ to SA barracks where they were beaten and tortured.

“I don’t have to worry about justice; my mission is only to destroy and exterminate, nothing more!” Hermann Göring declared on March 3rd, 1933.

Fifty-one anti-Nazis were murdered. The Nazis suppressed all political activity, meetings and publications of non-Nazi parties. The very act of campaigning against the Nazis was in effect made illegal.

“Every bullet which leaves the barrel of a police pistol now is my bullet. If one calls this murder, then I have murdered. I ordered this. I back it up. I assume the responsibility, and I am not afraid to do so,” declared Hermann Göring.

Nazi newspapers continued to print false evidence of Communist conspiracies, claiming that only Hitler and the Nazis could prevent a Communist takeover. Joseph Goebbels now had control of the State-run radio and broadcast Nazi propaganda and Hitler’s speeches all across the nation.

The Nazis now turned their attention to election day, March 5th.

All of the resources of the government necessary for a big win were placed at the disposal of Joseph Goebbels. The big industrialists who had helped Hitler into power gladly coughed up three million marks. Representatives from Krupp munitions and I. G. Farben were among those reaching into their pockets at Göring’s insistence.

“The sacrifice we ask is easier to bear if you realize that the elections will certainly be the last for the next ten years, probably for the next hundred years,” Göring told them.

With no money problems and the power of the State behind them, the Nazis campaigned furiously to get Hitler the majority he wanted.

On March 5th, the last free elections were held. But the people denied Hitler his majority, giving the Nazis only 44 percent of the total vote, 17, 277,180. Despite massive propaganda and the brutal crackdown, the other parties held their own. The Center Party got over four million and the Social Democrats over seven million. The Communists lost votes but still got over four million.

The goal of a legally established dictatorship was now within reach. But the lack of the necessary two-thirds majority in the Reichstag was an obstacle. For Hitler and his ruthless inner circle, it was obstacle that was soon to be overcome.

As for Van der Lubbe, the Communist arsonist, he was tried and convicted, then beheaded.

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Singer with Nazi tattoo cancels Germany appearance

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Russian singer Evgeny Nikitin has pulled out of one of the world’s best-known opera events, the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, because he has a Nazi tattoo, organizers said Sunday.

Nikitin was in a heavy metal band as a young man, and got the swastika tattoo then, said festival spokesman Gunther Philipowski.

“That is a problem in Bayreuth,” Philipowski said. “Bayreuth has a bad history with the Nazis. It’s clear that Bayreuth has to be careful about this terrible part of history and has to take a position against it.”

The festival is dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner, one of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s favorite composers.

Hitler attended the Bayreuth Festival regularly, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, which describes Wagner as “an artist long associated with anti-Semitism” and the racist-nationalist volkisch tradition “from which the Nazis drew much of their ideology.”

Nikitin, 38, a bass-baritone, has “painted over” his Nazi tattoo, and it would not have been visible during his performance in “The Flying Dutchman,” Philipowski said.

But there are videos of him online where the tattoo is visible, he said.

“I had the tattoos made when I was young. It was a big mistake in my life and I wish I had never done it,” Nikitin said in a statement released by the festival.

Nikitin canceled his appearance after discussions with Bayreuth management, the spokesman said.

He had already been in Germany rehearsing for his premiere on Wednesday, Philipowski said.

Nikitin’s agent did not immediately respond to CNN questions about the cancellation.

His website still lists him as appearing in “The Flying Dutchman” at the festival this summer. The festival website does not list him in the cast.

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Europe urges Greece to probe legality of neo-Nazi party

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

In an Interview with Greek newspaper, To Vima, Muiznieks labeled the Golden Dawn as the “most overtly extremist and Nazi party in Europe“.

The party, which won 18 seats in the 300-member parliament in last month’s election, has been accused of involvement in attacks on migrants and Greeks of foreign appearance.

The attacks on foreigners and refugees “are directly linked to the racist speeches spread” by the party, Muiznieks said.

Muiznieks added that the Council of Europe will also send a mission to Greece to assess if racism and xenophobia are on the rise in the country.

Human Rights Watch has also urged Athens to take urgent action to stem an alarming rise in attacks on Asian and African immigrants in the country, in a report called “Hate on the Streets”.

The lack of an official state system for recording incidents of racist violence in Greece has long been observed and criticized by organizations like Amnesty International and the Greek

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Show on neo-Nazi John Ditullio is pulled after company admits errors

Friday, July 13th, 2012

An episode of I (Almost) Got Away With It featuring one of Pasco County‘s most infamous murderers, neo-Nazi John Ditullio, has been snatched from DVD production and is being revised.

“Regrettably, Indigo Films’ review confirmed that certain inaccuracies were presented in this episode,” the production company said in a written statement, after the Tampa Bay Timesand its coverage partner, Bay News 9, reported last weekend on errors in the show.

In the episode, which aired in June on the Investigation Discovery cable channel, Ditullio confessed to crimes he’s never been charged with — crimes that authorities doubt ever happened. Among other things, Ditullio boasted of murdering a transient and cutting off the pinky finger of a man who disrespected the American Nazi Party, along with threatening and battering what appears to be a legion of others, in the name of biker gangs, Nazi loyalty and just because violence pleases him.

“I’ve rendered a lot of people ineffective for life,” Ditullio said in his televised interview from prison, where he’s serving a life sentence for stabbing a teenager to death.

Members of the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office were infuriated by the episode. The show said the agency launched an investigation after the homeless man’s body was found, when in fact there was no body, no investigation, no indication such an attack ever happened. Quotes from an interview with Capt. John Corbin were edited to make it sound like he was speaking about the alleged murder, when in fact he’d never been asked about it.

The agency said it would never work again with the TV company.

This week the Sheriff’s Office was contacted by executives with Indigo Films and Investigation Discovery. “They apologized,” said sheriff’s spokesman Doug Tobin.

They said they were pulling the episode from online rentals and DVD sales so they can revise it, Tobin said. The changed episode might include new interviews with Corbin and other Sheriff’s Office members.

“They are going above and beyond to make this right and we do appreciate that as an agency,” Tobin said. “We will work with them, if there is anything we can do to assist them.”

In a statement released Thursday, Indigo Films said it is working with the Sheriff’s Office to revise the script, specifically on Ditullio’s confession of murdering the homeless man.

“Indigo Films acknowledges errors were made regarding the alleged murder being reported to police and the ensuing investigation, as well as Captain Corbin’s commentary being taken out of context in regards to this unsubstantiated claim by Ditullio,” the statement reads.

Indigo Films, which says it has produced five seasons of I (Almost) Got Away With It, said it has taken steps within its research department to ensure these errors won’t happen again.

“Investigation Discovery and Indigo Films hold their relationships with the police across this country as paramount in presenting accurate programming and showcasing the commendable efforts of the authorities to keep our cities safe and bring offenders to justice,” the release states.

Though Ditullio confessed to the alleged transient killing, he denied the murder he’s sitting in prison for committing. In 2006, Ditullio lived with a neo-Nazi group in a mobile home on Teak Street. Prosecutors said Ditullio wore a gas mask and broke into the neighboring home and stabbed Kristofer King, 17, who died, and Patricia Wells, then 45, who was injured but survived. Authorities said the neo-Nazi group hated Wells because she had a black friend and her son was gay. On the night of the attack, King, a friend of Wells’ son, was at the house, but her son was not there. Prosecutors believed the attacker thought King was Wells’ son.

Ditullio is appealing his conviction.

Pasco Sheriff’s Lt. Eric Seltzer, who investigated the stabbings, said he appreciated that the production company pulled the show. But, he said, the damage is done. He said the show was “disrespectful” to Ditullio’s victims.

“They should be embarrassed they allowed him to manipulate them and run the show,” Seltzer said.

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German spy chief quits in neo-Nazi files scandal

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

The head of Germany‘s domestic intelligence service resigned on Monday after admitting that his agency had shredded files on a neo-Nazi cell whose killing spree targeting immigrants rocked the country late last year.

Heinz Fromm‘s resignation is the latest in a series of embarrassing setbacks for Germany’s security services over their handling of the “National Socialist Underground” (NSU), which went undetected for more than a decade despite its murder of 10 people, mostly ethnic Turkish immigrants.

An interior ministry spokesman confirmed that Fromm would quit his post, which he has held since 2000, at the end of July.

German lawmakers said there was no suggestion that Fromm had ordered the destruction of the files but that he was taking responsibility for others’ failures.

“Fromm was no firebrand but a solid custodian in the defense of the constitution.. He was no James Bond,” Wolfgang Bosbach, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s ruling Christian Democrats, told Die Welt newspaper.

He and other lawmakers called for a swift and thorough investigation into the matter.

German media have said an official working in the intelligence agency is suspected of having destroyed files on an operation to recruit far-right informants just one day after the involvement of the NSU in the murders became public.

Fromm told the Spiegel weekly that the shredding of files in the case had done “grave damage to the reputation” of his agency, known in Germany as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Despite his resignation, Fromm is expected to appear as a witness in the NSU case before a parliamentary committee later this week, lawmaker Sebastian Edathy said.

Germans, burdened by their Nazi past, were mortified by last year’s news that three neo-Nazis had been behind the killings of eight ethnic Turks, an ethnic Greek and a police officer in a period running from 2000 to 2007.

The NSU cell’s culpability only came to light after two of the neo-Nazis committed suicide following a botched bank robbery last autumn. A third member was later arrested.

Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly apologized to the families of the murder victims for the catalogue of neglect and errors that allowed the NSU cell to operate with impunity for so long.

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In Ukraine, football helps us tackle Nazis

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

Pavel Klymenko is a man of convictions. He used to express them on the streets of Kiev, in hand-to-hand combat with neo-Nazis. Today, he fights racism and antisemitism in another way: with words and watchfulness.

From 2004-2006, Mr Klymenko and other teenagers tried to take the streets back from neo-Nazi groups who walked around “wearing Nazi symbols and beating up people they did not like”, said Mr Klymenko, who today is co-founder and chair of Football Against Prejudices, a group which monitors stadiums for hate crimes.

Back then, “we were like the punk fans against the Nazi invaders”. With no weapons, he and his friends took on the neo-Nazis, who sometimes used paving stones and screwdrivers.

Eventually, the young anti-fascists took another tack. “We had fulfilled our self-described role,” since the neo-Nazis stopped dominating the streets.

“It was a containment strategy. And we realised that this is not the way you can fight problems in society at large.”

Now, Mr Klymenko — who describes himself as an atheist — is working to raise awareness of right-wing extremism among football fans. During the current European Championship games in Poland and Ukraine, local volunteers have been watching the stands and reporting anything untoward.

A football fan himself, Mr Klymenko notes that neo-Nazis find the sport attractive because “there is a crowd mentality. It is a very fruitful field for neo-Nazis because you can say that bad things are the fault of foreigners or Jews, and everyone will say, ‘Yay!’”

But football may be bringing positive change. Rafal Pankowski, co-ordinator of the ‘Respect Diversity — Football Unites’ project, which operates under the umbrella of the London-based Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) said: “For people in Poland and Ukraine to walk around and see this big, multi-national crowd, it is a positive confrontation with multi-culturalism. And we do our bit to encourage this good atmosphere.”
Some 2,500 spots in Poland and Ukraine have been turned into “inclusive zones”, with posters condemning racism, said Mr Pankowski’s colleague, Jacek Purski. A hotline encourages witnesses to report incidents.

In addition, to combat antisemitism among fans, a travelling exhibition on the history of football in Poland includes a section on the involvement of Jewish athletes, club owners and fans in the early days of the game.
All these efforts appear to be helping, said Mr Pankowski. In the current international games, “people want to show they are normal Europeans and not eastern barbarians”, he said.

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Far-right and leftists clash in Hamburg

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in the German city of Hamburg as a neo-Nazi demonstration drew a larger counter-demonstration, with clashes breaking out between left-wing protesters and police in one part of the city.

Around 10,000 people gathered at the central rally on City Hall Square, under the slogan “Hamburg shows its true colours,” according to a police estimate.

The Neo-Nazi parade, called “The day of the German Future”, was held at the same time, with police expecting an estimated 1,000 participants.

In the eastern suburb of Wandsbek, where left and right-wing protesters had gathered, clashes broke out with police.

Several police were injured during the melee, which saw the leftists set fire to barricades and use pyrotechnics, bottles and stones to attack police and the far-right demonstrators.

Sandra Levgruen, a police spokeswoman, said the leftists tried to stop the far-right rally by erecting barricades and setting them ablaze.

Police stepped in and surrounded about 700 counter-protesters who had set up barricades to prevent a neo-Nazi march from passing.

Water cannons were used by police after some of the protesters threw stones and fireworks at them and set rubbish bins and barricades on fire, police officials said.

One participant tweeted: “At Eilbeker road 500-700 anti-fascists are making the streets unpassable 4 big barricades.”

Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz told the main rally, to overwhelming applause: “We stand together. We are proud to be a cosmopolitan city.”

The demonstration, organised by a broad coalition of politicians from all political parties, trade unions, social organisations and churches, was aimed to send a strong signal to the extreme right that Hamburg is a tolerant city.

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Former neo-Nazi leader White sought on federal probation violation

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Former neo-Nazi leader William A. White is being sought by federal authorities on a probation violation.

White, who is on supervised release following a 2½-year prison sentence for making threats, left his home in Rockbridge County without the permission of his probation officer, said Ron Donelson, a senior inspector with the U.S. Marshals Service.

“We’re actively looking for him,” Donelson said.

White had been scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Roanoke on May 14 for a resentencing after an appeals court ruled that the judge in his case did not properly follow sentencing guidelines.

The hearing was canceled with no explanation listed in court records. Later in the week, a probation officer stopped by White’s home and found that he had left.

White is required to keep in regular contact with supervising officials and notify them when he leaves town, Donelson said.

White, who once was the self-proclaimed commander of the American National Socialist Workers Party, was convicted in Roanoke of making racially charged threats, usually by email or on a website he maintained at the time.

U.S. District Judge James Turk sentenced White in 2010 to 30 months in prison. White was released about a year ago and has been living in Rockbridge County

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14 Days in a Gau Propaganda Office by August Sill

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

An organization has value not only when it is intelligently and effectively organized, but also when it remains lively. What good are newsletters and lists, card files and statistics, when the organization itself calcifies and becomes paralyzed, when each branch fails to remain in contact with the whole? Only from such liveliness and mutual cooperation comes independent and responsible action. Only a living organization guarantees success!

The Gau Propaganda Office [Gaupropagandaleitung] in Württemberg is an excellent example of this truth. Clear guidelines organize each propaganda action. Each Kreis receives the speakers it needs, timely posters and leaflets reach the most distant village. In turn, the political leaders of the Kreis, local groups and neighborhood groups inform the central office of their activities and plans. Close relations between the central offices and the subordinate units are thus maintained. And the GPL has found yet another way to maintain close contact. Kreis propaganda leaders spend ten to fourteen day periods working at the Gau propaganda office, giving them direct experience with its day-to-day work. This also establishes personal relationships between the Gau and Kreis, which can be extraordinarily valuable in that those at the political front lines come to know the Gau propaganda leader and his staff. They learn the working practices of the Gau office and can take what they learn back and apply it to their Kreis as it is appropriate.

In this article, I will present my own impressions of the Gau propaganda office. I was pleasantly surprised, as I began my work, to see how small the office is. The Gau propaganda office has only three rooms, and these rooms are simply and practically furnished.

In the reception room, which is also the workroom for the secretarial help, the visitor sees a large glass showcase. It includes awards and posters, but also displays in an eloquent way every manner of nationalKitsch. One can hardly believe what money-hungry fantasies have brought to the market. Thank God, such “citizens” are called to account by the watchful eyes of National Socialist propagandists. The display provides an educational display of which decorations and goods are worthy of the German people, and which are not.

The second room is occupied by the Department of Active Propaganda. It handles the meeting system, the assignment of speakers and the distribution of posters and pamphlets. It also receives plans and activity reports from the Kreis offices. In several suitable cabinets, one finds election statistics, election plans, and reports. Election posters and pamphlets from all national, provincial, and town elections from 1919 to 1933 are preserved. Other cabinets contain propaganda writings, brochures, and newspapers of the NSDAP and the Marxist parties from the period of struggle for power. There is a particularly interesting archive of pictures of each meeting and mass meeting of the years of struggle, as well as those since the seizure of power. To ease the organizational work of the department leader, carefully maintained files of the Gau and Kreisspeakers guarantee that he can at any time send the right man to the right place.

The critical decisions, the campaign plans for meeting actions and the documents for all significant propaganda activities are kept in the office of the Gau propaganda leader. He and his closest collaborators here direct the National Socialist press, film, and radio.

It is astonishing, indeed hardly credible to an outsider, that the huge, all encompassing propaganda activity for the entire Gau and its 64 Kreise are directed by this office with its staff of five.

Through happy accident, I was there at a time of intense activity. It was the week before the referendum of 19 August 1934, the day on which each German was to decide if he was willing to give his full confidence to the Führer. This referendum, of vast importance both domestically and internationally, demanded the full energy of the entire propaganda apparatus. That meant: the full efforts of everyone! Each Gau and Kreis speaker had to be in constant readiness, even if it meant giving up a longed for vacation on the Island of Sylt or a well-deserved visit to the Bavarian Alps. They all heeded the telephone call. As proclaimers and preachers of the National Socialist idea, they spoke day after day in mass meetings from place to place, from city to city.

The walls of the office for active propaganda were covered with two large tables showing the operating plan of a modern political battle, which were color-coded to show the 64 Kreis and 80 Gau speakers. At a glance one could tell when and where a particular Gau speaker had spoken. This clever plan of meetings and speakers, along with the news service of the propaganda office, worked flawlessly, even when a speaker was hindered by illness or other reasons.

Together with speaker assignments, the necessary posters, leaflets and other material had to be distributed. The entire enormous task was accomplished with the help of only a single additional worker.

The effort was crowned by success. Once again, the “ancient and magical force of the spoken word” had led to victory.

After days of intense effort, the final reports came into the Gau office. Some Kreis leaders could not resist bringing in their reports personally. With pride and satisfaction, the Gau propaganda leader was able to announce on the morning of 20 August: “Gau Württemberg was among the best in the Reich. Once again, the hard-headed Schwabians have done their duty.”

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Reggie Bush backpedals after Nazi tweet during Champions League final

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Miami Dolphins running back Reggie Bush found himself in hot water with his Twitter followers for posting remarks about Nazis after German club Bayern Munich lost to England’s Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League final Saturday.

 

Bush seemed to get a carried away watching Chelsea’s comeback in a thrilling final, tweeting repeatedly during the penalty shootout, which the English Premier League club won 4-3.

 

With just two minutes left on the clock in regulation play, Chelsea striker Didier Drogba forced the game into extra-time with a bullet-like header that tied the score at 1-1. He then coolly slotted home the winning spot kick in the penalty shootout.

 

Given his scoring prowess on the field in Munich, Bush obviously thought Drogba might have the same luck with German women after the game. Unfortunately, he chose to bring up Germany’s Nazi past as well.

 

“Shoot Drogba might even hit a Nazi chick tonight in Germany! LOL!” Bush tweeted.

 

His followers didn’t find it funny, bombarding him with complaints via Twitter.

 

“Oh goodness bunch of sensitive cry babies on twitter! It’s just jokes people send me your address and I’ll personally FedEx you some tissue,” Bush responded.

 

He then removed the offending tweet a short time later, writing, “There you go I deleted just for you guys! Big kiss.”

 

Bush won the Super Bowl in 2010 with the New Orleans Saints. He became well known outside sporting circles when he was involved a personal relationship with reality TV star Kim Kardashian from 2007 until they broke up in early 2010.

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Margaret Burke’s ‘Nazi Past’ Should Not Bar Her From Office, Say Labour

Friday, May 18th, 2012

The Labour Party have been accused of “cheating” Milton Keynes residents after it emerged that one of their councillors was formerly second in command of a local neo-Nazi group.

Councillor Margaret Burke, was a far-right extremist who ran the Milton Keynes November 9th Society with her then husband Terry Flynn in the early 1980s.

They both wore Nazi-style uniforms and recruited gangs of local youths to hand out racist leaflets and daub buildings with swastikas, as reported by the Milton Keynes Citizen.

Mark LancasterMP for Milton Keynes North, told HuffPost UK:

“It’s clear why so many people are now questioning what exactly the Labour Party’s values are in Milton Keynes when they knowingly select someone with such a track record of activism in extremist and thoroughly unpleasant organisations to represent them.

“What is clear is that many residents feel cheated as they never would have voted Labour had they been in full knowledge of the facts before the election.”

LibDem councillor Stuart Burke (no relation to Margaret) said he found it “surprising” that she would be chosen as a candidate.

“I am troubled. One hopes one’s views have changed radically from what they once were,” he said.

HuffPost UK tried to call Margaret Burke but she was unavailable for comment. However, local Labour party organiser Kevin Wilson told us that the councillor “has spent the last twenty years both regretting and trying to make amends for her actions”.

“In the late 1970s and 80s, in her youth, she was involved in some pretty awful organisations and held some pretty atrocious views.

“This was a time when she was married to Terry Flynn from whom she has long since separated. She was in those early young days somewhat brainwashed. She is a stable, sensible, rational and level headed member of the community now”.

terry flyn

He told HuffPost UK that her Nazi past was known to the party when they came to select candidates, and that it was known by her Tory opponent Barbara Wright “who chose quite rightly not to make an issue out of it”.

“If we can’t regret what we did 30 years ago, then a lot of us would be some trouble and some difficulty” he added.

As testament to her good character, Wilson said she had been a parish councillor, chairs the residents’ association and has been running an animal rescue charity. “It’s a wonderful charity”, he said, “she looks after hedgehogs and birds and anything else that comes her way”.

Wilson poured scorn on complaints made by local Tories, headed by leader Andrew Geary, that Labour were guilty of “hypocrisy”. He condemned it as “attempted party point scoring”, claiming that Geary himself had admitted he had been told to weigh in by the national Conservative Party “to try and inflict some embarrassment”. “He said so to one of our people”, said Wilson.

Cllr Geary denied this to HuffPost UK, adding “Of course I haven’t been speaking to Kevin or any of “his people””.

Tory cllr Ruth Jury said that Labour were being “duplicitous”. “How could you say you’re not embarassed by it, but not tell the public?” she said.

When asked if Geary was told by the national Conservative Party to use the situation for political capital, Cllr Jury burst out laughing.

“I would be quite surprised by the notion. He’s very much his own man. I do find that idea amusing”.

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Communists!

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Background: This is a two-sided Nazi election flyer from 1932, directed to communists. It was for the Prussian state elections of that year, and is a strong appeal for communists to leave their party and join Hitler. “List 8” refers to the Nazi position on the ballot. There were as many as 30 parties listed on the ballot. Each had a list number.

1932 Election Flyer
Communists!
We are hungry and on the dole, we lack food and jobs. We have bitter wives at home, and children whose every wish we must deny, or discontented parents, brothers and sisters.

It has been this way for months, years; how long can it go! One week follows another. Everything stays the same, conditions get worse, never better.

Things are the same for us as they are for you.Does it have to stay that way? No!

It really is not necessary. A condition that people have caused can be changed by them too.

You trust Russia. You have been fighting for your idea for years. What has happened? You have 3/4 of a million fewer votes than in September 1930. Despite the need, despite the misery! Do you really believe that your cause can lead us to better times, that your wavering, aimless leadership that has been wrong so often in the past can actually win? Do you believe that Russia will help?

Would it not be better to help ourselves!? For the German proletariat to help itself?

We Nazis help each other.He who has something to eat shares it with him who has nothing. He who has a spare bed gives it to him who has none. That is why we have become so strong. The election shows what we can do. Everyone helps! Everyone sacrifices! The unemployed give up their wedding rings. Everyone gives, even if it is but a penny. Many small gifts become a large one. Ten million 10 pfennig coins are a million marks. We don’t need any capitalists, the lie that you are always told. We do it ourselves, and are proud of it.

We all help and sacrifice, because we believe in our idea and our Führer.Without our party program, we would not have become so large and strong. We believe in our program because it says that our leaders have pledged to carry it out, even if it requires the sacrifice of their own lives.

Nazi Election Flyer Adolf Hitlerwrote the program, and we know that he will hold to it.Help build the people’s state! It doesn’t matter where you came from, we are interested only in what you can do, and in your character.

We want to fight. We oppose current conditions!

We want to escape this misery!

That is why we fight today’s system!

That is why we want to rule Prussia!

Help us! We can do it!

Enough! Things have to change!

Vote
National Socialist
(The Hitler Movement)
List 8!

 

 

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Nuremberg 1927: Torchlight Procession, Dedication of Banners, Mass March

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

1. The Torchlight Procession

As darkness fell on Nuremberg’s rooftops and walls on Saturday evening, the Brown Shirts vanished from the city’s streets. Huge masses of German citizens and party members from Nuremberg and from all parts of the German-speaking world filled the streets in expectation of the appearance of every last German freedom fighter who had come to Nuremberg. Above all they gathered before the Hotel Deutscher Hof, where Adolf Hitler awaited his fighters.

In the distance, march music and unceasing shouts of Heil announced the approach of the procession. Soon its head appeared at the corner. Within a few minutes, the Frauentor moat resembled a sea of fire. In astonishing order, the Brown Shirts marched past their Führer and greeted him with their eyes shining, the hand with the burning torch raised as in an oath. The enthusiasm of both the onlookers and the marchers hardly knew any limits.

First came the Bavarians, with their glorious banner from 1923, then the Brandenburgers, the Hanoverians, the Thuringians, and the Rhinelanders, the Saxons, the Hamburgers, the Holsteiners, the Hessians, the fighters from the Ruhr, the Austrians and Pommeranians, the Mecklenburgers, and those from Baden, our comrades from the Saar and Silesia, Württemburg and Franconia. The new Germany marched. With mine lamps that otherwise lit their way in the pits, National Socialist miners greeted their Führer Adolf Hitler.

It was a moving picture as those from Vienna, Kärnten, Tyrolia, Salzburg, and Lower Austria saw Adolf Hitler for the first time. A so-called Greater German Christian Socialist government had refused to allow them to come to Germany. They came in spite of great sacrifices to gain new strength, to hear their Führer speak, to see him in person.

The endless column of 15,000 to 20,000 men marched past, with ever new banners, new S.A. bands. And that was not all. A large number arrived only in the late evening of Saturday or Sunday morning. About 1,000 Hitler Youths followed the S.A., and the S.S. ended the one-and-a-half hour march of the fighters for the coming Third Reich.

2. The Dedication of Banners on the Luitpoldhain

A clear fall morning broke on Sunday, 21 August. Processions of S.A. men streamed toward the Luitpoldhain from every part of the city, some marching, some in trucks. The broad terraced field, surrounded by greenery, was the ideal place to hold the huge crowds. Special trains alone brought more than 40,000 people to Nuremberg. At least as many arrived on regular trains, trucks and busses. A group of Berlin S.A. from the “banned NSDAP” [The Berlin police had banned the party] even came to Nuremberg on foot. Their sacrifical deed was announced by a red banner with white lettering, here and also during the torchlight procession and the mass march.

The march of tens of thousands onto the Luitpoldhain was guided by markers right and left of the terraced steps and by blazing fires on fir-decked pylons. It was an organized military accomplishment of the first order. It was under the direction of the calm, sure leadership of the Supreme S.A. leader, Captain von Pfeffer and his staff. Its confidence and discipline proved that the National Socialist S.A. is even today a strong group that is far superior, casting all other such groups in Germany, whether to the left or the right, into the shadows, both in its unified political will and in its military values. Many hundreds of Swastika banners waved above the heads of the Brown Shirts who filled the broad expanse of the field, a remarkably striking picture that increased in intensity as in response to fanfares and drumbeats the storm columns of the new Germany raised their right arms and thundered out their Heils to greet their Führer, who appeared with his staff shortly after 9 a.m. The swastika banners had been brought to the Green Terrace, where now a forest of flags filled three levels in a half circle that surrounded the mighty ranks. To the fore stood the musicians and trumpeters, whose shining instruments bore a white-green cloth on one side, a Swastika on a red background on the other. An enormous crowd surrounded the field, watching this imposing and unforgettable ceremony. It was the dedication of twelve new standards for theGaue Bayreuth, Frankfurt a. M., Chemnitz, Ruhr (Hattingen), Potsdam, Zwickau, Essen, Bochum, Nordmark, Vienna, Hanover, Rhine. The standard bearers stood in a row before Adolf Hitler, whose booming voice went across the total silence of the enormous gathering. After the trumpet sounded, he made the following moving remarks:

In November 1918 the old flags of a thousand victorious battles were taken down, and with them, too, sank the honor of the Reich.

In 1919 this Republic gained its own symbol. Hundreds of thousands and millions of Germans fought this symbol, which was forced upon us. But also in 1919 a movement was founded in holy protest against the destruction of the nation’s honor, against the squandering of our national inheritance, and this movement created its own symbol in 1920. The first German flag was given in 1920 to a small group of people, and today you can see them here. In 1923 the first banner with the eagle was consecrated, in the wish and hope that it would become the victory symbol of Germany’s liberation. In 1924 the movement was dead. In 1926 we received new banners; today we have come together once again, the brown army of the swastika, and again we consecrate twelve banners that obligate us to hold them with the honor they deserve, for they are the flags that will fly over Germany’s future.

We ask the Lord who gives us strength to carry this symbol so that each German may look with pride at these banners and that they may fly over all of Germany; not the Germany of Versailles, but the Germany of our German language and tongue. We ask the Almighty to make us strong in the coming years in faith, in the will for freedom, and in the confidence that one may ban an organization, but never a movement. It will rise again, just as we believe that our people and Fatherland will rise again, stronger than ever before. We hope to God that it happens under the sign of these flags and banners!

Unending shouts of “Heil” joined with the music and the sounds of the fanfares and the beating of the drums. The sun then broke through the clouds, and no one present could take the brightening of the sky as anything but a happy symbol of burning enthusiasm for the great goal of freeing Germany. Adolf Hitler now stepped up to each standard-bearer, looked him in the eye, shook his hand firmly, and then in a strong soldierly voice gave the motto for each standard.

First he said:

Today as well we want to mark the first two standards of 1923, which experienced the bloody days, so that we can always distinguish them from those that came later in the history of the movement.

With these words he fastened symbols to the standards from Munich and Landshut. They he stopped at the banner from Bayreuth and said:

Hold your banner with the same honor as the flag of 9 November 1923, which became the first blood witness.

Hanover: Accept this banner, which I expect you to carry as you have carried the banners in the past.

Rhine: Carry your banner until the day which the German Rhine is one more German.

Vienna: Carry this banner as a symbol of the unity of our movement until the shameful treaties of Versailles and St. Germain are destroyed.

Bochum: Carry this banner as you have carried out the battle against the French assault.

Zwickau: You are receiving the second Saxon banner. Carry it as the first from Plauen has been carried.

Essen: I give you this banner as a symbol of the old weapon city of the German Reich.

Potsdam: Carry this banner until the day that the banned movement in Berlin exists once more.

Ruhr: The best local group in the Ruhr has the honor of carrying the banner of the Ruhr. As of today, GauRuhr has received three banners. Carry the third in a manner worthy of the other two.

Accompanied by the sounds of the fighting song of the unforgettable Dietrich Eckart, the newly consecrated banners returned to their units, and with fanfares and thundering shouts of “Heil,” the march of the brown columns concluded.

3. The March of the 30,000

When the consecration of the banners finished, waves of people streamed back into the center of the city. Huge throngs of onlookers lined the path of the coming S. A. march: the Wilhelm-Späth Street, Schwieger Street, Wölkern and Pillenreutcher Streets, the Celtis Tunnel, the Frauentor moat, the Pfärrer Joseph Square, Leder Alley, Kaiser Street, up to the platform at the Main Market. Baskets full of flowers were ready. Swastika banners hung from the buildings, along with the white-blue and black-white-red flags.

There was lively and colorful activity before the platform. Soon it was completely filled to the last row with party leaders and their staff, and supporters and friends of the movement. The old and distinguished buildings on the large square were also packed, every floor and every window, with onlookers. The police, polite and correct, did an exemplary job of keeping traffic and trams under control.

The cloudy, gloomy morning of a late summer day had been replaced by brilliant sunshine. The air was clear and warm, the sun even grew hot. The medical team had its work to do.

Meanwhile the leading men of the movement had gathered at the foot of the platform. There were the Reichstag representatives Frick and Feder, provincial parliament deputies von Mücke, Dr. Buttmann, Wagner, the Sudeten German delegates Jung and Krebs, the head of the party publishing firm Amann, the editor of the Völkischer Beobachter, and many city leaders.

The excitement rose as two bands in S.A. uniforms along with the dashing Postdam drum corps appeared to lively applause. Shortly after 11 a.m., the imposing march of the entire S.A. began at the Main Market.Loud music, thundering shouts of “Heil,” masses of flowers greeted the brown columns as they marched past in companies, battalions and regiments. Local group followed local group, Gaufollowed Gau. All raised their right hand in greeting, marching literally on a carpet of flowers. Each S.A. man, each banner carrier, was covered with flowers. The colorful splendor of late summer did not end; from windows and balconies whole buckets of asters turned the Führer’s car into a literal bed of flowers.

Unit after unit marched past. The storm battalions of an awakening, coming Germany, from Upper Silesia and the Nordmark, from the Pfalz, from occupied regions and old Bavaria, from Berlin and the mines of the Ruhr/ Austrians representing the Ostmark. and the proud sons of Franconia. Altogether, on foot, bikes, and trucks there were 26,000-30,000 men. Pride and enthusiasm beamed from each individual. Hardly a breath of wind moved the old banners and flags that had witnessed much blood, or the newly consecrated ones of that day.

The representatives of border areas were greeted with particular enthusiasm. The signs and slogans they had brought with always earned loud applause. There were frenetic outbursts and declarations of brotherhood between the huge crowds and the columns that marched past for two hours, culminating as the SS in their black caps marched past the platform. The German Anthem [Deutschland, Deutschland über Alles] rose powerfully to the heavens. Those who had seen the march in Weimar at the 1926 party rally knew that National Socialism’s march to victory could not be halted, but the march in Nuremberg surprised even the greatest optimists. The former spirit had returned in even stronger, more confident form, celebrating its resurrection. This 21st of August reestablished a connection with the famed “German Rally” of 1923 [A major right-wing gathering], without forgetting what had happened in between.

The last groups of S.A. disappeared as the mighty procession wound its way through Rathaus Square, the Lauser Alley and the Lauser Gate to the Marien Tunnel and then back to Wodan’s Square. Thousands of party members thronged forward toward the Führer stretching out their hands in an oath to the future. The jubilation and enthusiasm were indescribable.

The huge square emptied slowly, and the Führer’s car had to move slowly through the thick crowds. In the distance one could hear the marching of the columns, and the thundering, untiring, shining “Heils” of the S.A. regiments, joined by the voices of the many thousands who lined the streets.

4. The Conclusion of the Party Rally

As the delegates’ conference closed around 8 p.m., the hustle and bustle in the squares and on the streets signaled that the party rally was nearing its end. The Postdam drummer corps had entertained thousands at the Main Market all afternoon with its dashing music, putting them in a cheerful, excited, elevated mood. The Führer of the movement spoke for the last time at the mass meetings that evening with powerful, breath-taking words about our great cause to the enthusiastic members of the movement, both old and new. While the columns marched to the railroad station to return home on special trains, hundreds of other National Socialists gathered at the Castle, or the old Noris, looking over the rooftops of the city to the broad land of Franconia and into the growing evening, into the soul of the Reich, to that which they longed for, a free National Socialist Germany.

5. Participation in the Party Rally

Some had seen mass demonstrations, or had experienced the German Rally [of 1923], that exceeded in number the march of the National Socialist S.A. past their Führer. But that was not the important thing. More important is that a young movement daily said to be dead displayed an united, uniformed, and strictly disciplined organization of impressive strength. No other political movement in Germany today is anywhere near as able to bring forth such a large military group, a group showing such perfect political and military unity as the National Socialist S.A. There is no comparison to the somewhat similar Stahlhelm [a right-wing paramilitary organization mostly of combat veterans]. The Stahlhelm does not have a politically unified spirit. Even the Reichsbanner [affiliated with the Socialist Party] claims to be above party, and recruits its members from three or four parties.

Nuremberg proved that only the National Socialist movement has its own protective organization that is dedicated to nothing but the National Socialist idea and its supreme Führer. The great success of the Nuremberg rally is its proof that this organization even today can bring out 30,000 men any day.

By the way, the march of the S.A. at the party rally did not begin to include all National Socialists who attended the rally. To get a reasonably objective idea of the attendance at Nuremberg, coming form north and south, we can best use the official figures from the Nuremberg office of the railroad.

The Nuremberg railway office states:

“47 special trains arrived in or departed from Nuremberg on Saturday the 20th of August and Sunday the 21st. Regular trains also had much greater traffic. A total of 223,600 people arrived or departed.”

The usual Saturday and Sunday traffic at the main Nuremberg railway station seldom exceeds 60,000 people, so 160,000 is a reasonable estimate of the number of National Socialists. But this does not include the thousands who arrived in Nuremberg on Thursday and Friday and who only left on Monday or Tuesday. And there were many thousands who came on foot, on bicycle, and in countless trucks. If we add these people, we have a total of around 200,000 people who arrived or departed. The number of party rally participants can therefore be estimated at around 100,000.

Those who were in Nuremberg on these two days, by the way, will likely find this number too low rather than too high.

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And You Really Want to Vote for Me? by Joseph Goebbels

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

A citizen second class, with four convictions and eight pending cases? What a dreamer!

In an essay I wrote that each National Socialist should obey the states attorney “when there isn’t any way around it,” regardless of whether it was right or wrong. For that a court in Elberfeld fined me a hundred marks for inciting resistance against the states attorney.

When Hans Hustert, in jail for trying to kill Scheidemann [Chancellor in 1922], had his teeth ruined by lousy prison food, I started a collection so that this fiend could get his teeth fixed. A court in Munich fined me 50 marks for an illegal collection.

As one of my wounded comrades was going to be trephined by the Jewish doctor Levi, I organized a collection to bring this poor worker to a German doctor. A court in Munich fined me 150 marks, once again for an illegal collection.

At a mass meeting of the NSDAP, I suggested keeping an editor of Der Tag under close watch, since he had called a Hitler meeting a monkey house. The filthy fink Carlotto Graetz, who slandered the front soldier Adolf Hitler in the worst ways and tried to connect him with pimps and prostitutes, I called a Jewish pig, in order to force him to bring suit. He didn’t sue, but I got six weeks in prison anyway because of “incitement to violence without result.”

A case is pending against me because I am supposed to have called police chief Dr. Weiss “Isidor,” though his name is Bernhard.

A second case is pending because I caricatured the above named Bernhard Weiss as Nero in Der Angriff, with the caption “Bernhard only plays thankless roles.”

Then there is a third case, because the Angriff printed a cartoon of Bernhard Weiss behind the mask of a donkey, “clearly recognizable,” with the text that “In the state of emergency, any ass can govern.”

A fourth case is pending to force me to say who Orje is [Orje was the star of an Angriff satirical column].

A fifth pending case alleges that I drove over the leg of a poor worker. Now that was a year ago. I’ve never driven a car in my life, and on the day in question wasn’t even in Berlin. But the state’s attorney thinks that the car had the number I A 2637, and I’m just the type to do something like that. My reply that I don’t know how to drive and have never had a license only made the charge more serious.

I informed a red bigwig, who by irrelevant heckling was trying to break up a meeting, that he was at a NSDAP meeting, and that if he didn’t shut up we would forgive the S.A. if, under the law, they threw him out. That led to a sixth pending case, for “incitement to violence.”

Then I am supposed to have said that the [Weimar] Republic is only a junk shop, in which the bidders, auctioneers, and politicians bitched. That led to the seventh case, for “endangering the Republic.”

The eighth case resulted because I said the day would come when the goal-conscious, decisive minority would march against this state of cowardly majorities, to put an end by force to usury and exploitation. This one was for “attempted treason.” (! !)

As I learn from reliable sources, four new cases are in the works. What they concern I don’t yet know. But that doesn’t make much difference. I only need to open my mouth or use my pen to give a state’s attorney of the Republic a month’s work.

I have never gotten a golden toothpick from Barmat [a Jew involved in a major financial scandal].

I don’t wear a silk bathrobe from him.

During the great inflation I didn’t get any guilders or dollars from him.

I have never trampled on the German people or their honor. But I have always fought those cowards who left our common fatherland in need.

The subway system will not give me a villa costing 120,000 marks in the foreseeable future.

No one has my signed photograph on his desk.

Under the conditions existing since 1918, I therefore have no chance of getting anything done.

And you really want to vote for me?

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German Police raid neo-Nazis linked to Freies Netz Süd, which collaborates with the DSSS

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

German Police in Bavaria have raided the Jagdstaffel D.S.T., a neo-Nazi group that regularly travels to the Czech Republic to train its members in the use of firearms. During the extensive police action, officers confiscated 5 800 items, including weapons. Czech extremists from the Workers’ Social Justice Party (Dělnická strana sociální spravedlnosti – DSSS) and the Workers’ Youth (Dělnická mládež – DM) collaborate with the German neo-Nazi organization Freies Netz Süd, which is connected to the Jagdstaffel D.S.T.

News server Welt.de reports that the items confiscated from the German neo-Nazis included a revolver, so-called decorative weapons, knives, brass knuckles, munitions, Nazi-themed items, and Nazi propaganda. Charges are now being filed against 19 members of the Jagdstaffel D.S.T. group, who range in age from 20 to 33 and who police say are in contact with the neo-Nazi organization Freies Netz Süd. All of the defendants were released after being deposed.

The raid on 31 different sites in Munich and its environs involved 300 officers. Police say the revolver that was discovered, as well as a flare gun, were being held in violation of laws on weapons possession, and the confiscated munitions probably violate the law on the control of military materiel. Several so-called decorative weapons – real weapons that have been disarmed – also ended up in police evidence. Police are now determining whether the extremists were repairing them to be used for sharpshooting once more. The weapons included a double-barreled gun from WWII.

Detectives are now taking an interest in the extensive collection held by the father of one of the members of the organization. The man, who is a sport shooter, owns more than 50 weapons. Nevertheless, police said he had the required permits for all of them and that they were properly secured at the time his home was searched.

The spokesperson for the Green Party faction in the Bavarian state assembly, Susanna Tausendfreund, considers the Jagdstaffel organization dangerous and says their shooting trips to the Czech Republic are proof of that. Tausendfreund has information that members of the organization have practiced targeting shooting in the Czech Republic on targets representing human figures. Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann also warned last week of the organization’s firearms-training “trips to Czechia”.

The organization Jagdstaffel D.S.T. was established in 2009 in Geretsried near Munich; it was originally called the Jagdstaffel Süd. The group is comprised of a “hard core” of about 10 people and an outer circle of other members. The letters in its name stand for the words “Deutsch” (German) “Stolz” (Proud) and Treu (“Authentic”). According to official estimates, as many as 200 violent neo-Nazis live in Munich.

Czech extremists from the DM and DSSS collaborate with the Freies Netz Süd, as they do with the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD). For example, anti-Romani demonstrations in Ostrava and Rotava (October 2011) and the 1 May demonstration on 2001 in Brno were attended by neo-Nazis from Freies Netz Süd and the NPD.

As the Antifa.cz website has reported, the demonstration in Ostrava was attended by a “prominent” neo-Nazi, Katrin Köhler, an NPD member who is currently a town council member in Chemnitz. Bavarian politician and active neo-Nazi Robin Siener (NPD, Freies Netz Süd) was there as well. Siener spoke at last year’s 1 May demonstration in Brno. His speech there included anti-Semitic and racist statements, as well as insults of Polish guest-workers; he is currently being prosecuted for his statements.

Siener said the following in Brno: “Look at the big European cities, where women are being raped right in the middle of the square…, where this human garbage can commit crime without the local population intervening… When will the nation finally get its rights? … We are sending our blood to Afghanistan, Iraq, or Lebanon, and in return we just get human garbage that no one wants… I ask each of you, how far will it go in our countries before we take up staffs and and torches and run those who are oppressing us and sending us their human garbage here out of the European fortress and send them back to where they came from? We would do best to send them immediately back to Israel or the USA with one-way tickets… We are divided by only two things, the border and language, nothing else…” (See Romea.cz’s reporting on the 1 May demonstration at http://www.romea.cz/english/index.php?id=detail&detail=2007_23d97).

Two busloads of neo-Nazis, most of them from Bavaria and linked to the organizations Freie Netz Süd and the NPD, attended the Rotava demonstration to support it. Several carloads of cohorts from Saxony also made it to the demonstration, which was also attended by the top leadership circle of the DSSS (Vandas, Štěpánek, Kotáb), reinforced by activists from local organizations and representatives of the DM.

Among the most important of the Czech attendees was the chair of the Karlovy Vary regional DSSS, Jiří Froněk. From the neo-Nazis living in Karlovy Vary, there was the stalwart of the neo-Nazi scene, DSSS candidate Pavel “Kevin” Petrů, who is a member of the racist white power band “Hlas krve” (Voice of Blood). The main person besides Froněk who was behind the actual inviting of the German extremists to Rotava was Lukáš Stoupa, who has been a neo-Nazi for many years. He has long been in contact with significant German neo-Nazis. The organization of the two buses from Bavaria for the Rotava demonstration was handled by the neo-Nazi Freies Netz Süd (FNS), whose leading members are in contact with Stoupa.

The FNS was created in 2008 in Bavaria. It is a very active organization in which several local-level cells are associated. Their activities include monitoring their political opponents and physically assaulting them. Many racist attacks have been ascribed to members of the FNS. The core of this organization is comprised of members of the banned neo-Nazi organization “Fränkischen Aktionsfront” (FAF), who also attended the demonstration in Rotava.

One of the top neo-Nazis active in Germany is Matthias Fischer, a founder of the FNS and FAF. Fischer has been active since the 1990s; currently he is active within the Anti-Antifa movement and has been convicted of neo-Nazi activities in the past. He is also the founder of the group “Aryan Hope”, the logo of which is tattooed on his head. Through that organization, he has established contacts around the world, most closely with the Hungarian neo-Nazi scene.

Stoupa was seen in Rotava conversing with Daniel Weigl, a member of the NPD who is also a leading member of the FNS. Weigl is currently on parole for attacking fans of the FC Bayern football club and for giving the Nazi salute. Another important FHS member who was spotted in Rotava was Kai Zimmerman. He is currently working primarily as a convener and organizer of neo-Nazi demonstrations. One of his activities is to follow and videotape the group’s political opponents, and he brought his camera with him to Rotava. In the past, Zimmerman has been convicted of committing grievous bodily harm and disseminating neo-Nazi materials. You can find more details about the collaboration between Czech and German neo-Nazis in our piece from January at http://www.romea.cz/english/index.php?id=detail&detail=2007_3122 .

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Greek media accuse far-right party of bullying

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Greek journalists on Tuesday accused the ultra-nationalist Golden Dawn party of intimidation after they became the first far-right group to enter parliament since military dictatorship ended.

At a news conference after securing 7 percent of the vote on Sunday, Golden Dawn members ordered journalists to stand to attention for party leader Nikolaos Mihaloliakos. Many journalists left the room in protest.

Mihaloliakos also marched down the street on Sunday flanked by muscular men with shaved heads and tight t-shirts, and yelling “liars!” at the foreign journalists following him.

“The Greek Federation of Journalists (POESY) warns Hitler nostalgics and especially the ‘brave boys in black t-shirts’ that no journalist will be coerced, threatened and above all terrorized,” the union said in a statement.

The Athens Union of Journalists (ESIEA) said: “Acting like bouncers, they showed their true colors. We are not afraid of you. We will reveal your role. You will not have your way.”

Promising to rid Greece of immigrants and with a swastika-like logo, Golden Dawn is the first far-right party to enter parliament since the fall of the military dictatorship in 1974.

The party, which denies that it is neo-Nazi, rose from obscurity in just over a year by appealing to Greeks who feel that a rise in crime driven by five years of recession has made the streets unsafe.

Many Greeks were shocked by its success, also fuelled in part by anger with the two parties that have been in power for decades and led Greece into its debt crisis: the conservative New Democracy and the socialist PASOK.

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RÖHM (ROEHM), ERNST

Monday, May 7th, 2012

(1887-1934) One of Hitler‘s earliest supporters. As an army captain in the early Twenties, Roehm funneled money and arms from the army to the Nazis and in 1923 participated in the Munich putsch, after which he was bruptly dismissed from the army. Served as a military advisor in Bolivia, 1928-1930. Recalled by Hitler in 1931 and made head of the SA. In June 1934, he was arrested on Hitler’s orders during what has become known as “The Night of the Long Knives.” Executed on Hitler’s orders in Munich‘s Stadellheim prison after being accused of planning a coup d’etat against the Hitler government.

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HAUSHOFER, KARL

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

(1869-1946) Bavarian general and geopolitician who became closely associated with Rudolf Hess and, through him, Hitler. Haushofer had a lifelong interest in magic and mysticism. His doctrine of Liebensraum (Germany‘s right to living space in the East) became a cornerstone of Nazi ideology. Throughout the 1920s and 30s, he served as one of Hitler’s most trusted political advisors. Haushofer’s influence declined sharply during the war and he committed suicide in 1946 in the traditional Japanese manner.

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GRAF, ULRICH

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

(1878-19??) Charter member of the DAP and the NSDAP. Hitler‘s personal bodyguard 1920-1923. Member of the Reichsatag, 1936. Honorary S.S. brigadier general. Date of death unknown.

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AXMANN, ARTUR

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

(born 1913) Reich Youth Leader who in 1928 founded the first Hitler Youth group in Westphalia. After serving on the western front, he was appointed to succeed Baldur von Schirach as Reich Youth Leader of the Nazi Party in August 1940. In 1941, he was severely wounded on the eastern front and lost an arm. Axmann was among those present in the Fuehrerbunkerand later testified that he had heard the shot with which Hitler committed suicide. He also claimed to have seen the body of Martin Bormann lying on a bridge in Berlin while making his escape in April 1945. He was arrested in December 1945 when a Nazi underground he had been organizing was uncovered. A Nuremberg de-Nazification court sentenced him to a prison sentence of three years and three months as a “Major Offender.” In August 1958, a West Berlin de-Nazification court fined him 35,000 marks and found him guilty of indoctrinating German youth with National Socialism. He was found not guilty of having committed any crimes during the Nazi era; the court concluded that he had been a Nazi from “inner conviction rather than base motives.”

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Positive Christianity

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Positive Christianity was a religious philosophy supported by Alfred Rosenberg, the man seen as being the intellectual heavyweight of the Nazi Party. Positive Christianity had existed prior to the rise of the Nazi Party but Rosenberg believed that the party should adopt it as the religious way ahead. The party did adopt it in 1920 in its ‘25 Point Programme’. However, Rosenberg never clearly explained what he meant by Positive Christianity as his ‘version’ differed from the accepted historic version. One ofAdolf Hitler’s main criticisms of Rosenberg was that he was never particularly clear as to what he believed, or that he was unable to put his ideas into terms that the less intellectual could understand.

 

However, it seems that in his version Rosenberg wanted the complete rejection of Catholicism and Protestantism.

 

Rosenberg saw Positive Christianity as a way of purifying the German Nordic race and to harmonise the belief in Christ with “the laws of blood and soil”.

 

Combined with this, Rosenberg saw the way ahead as restoring the old pagan Nordic values and “substitute the spirit of the hero for that of the Crucifixion”.

 

Positive Christianity also rejected what it called “Jewish materialism”, which gave an obvious anti-Semite slant to it. Rosenberg believed that Christ had actively fought against the “institutionalised Judaism” of the day and that this alone was enough to support why Positive Christianity should be anti-Semite. Rosenberg believed that Christ was an Aryan hero.

 

Rosenberg saw Positive Christianity as Norse paganism being at one with Christianity. Rather than have the cross as the symbol of Positive Christianity, Rosenberg wanted the sun in the form of a sun cross.

 

Hitler never gave his public approval to Positive Christianity but he was sympathetic towards it and gave Rosenberg his private support. While the concept had been accepted into the Nazi Party’s official party doctrine in 1920, Rosenberg spent a number of years developing what he felt was an appropriate version for Nazi Germany which he explained in his book “The Myth of the Twentieth Century”.

 

After Hitler became Chancellor in January 1933, Rosenberg could put into practice what he believed in. In 1934 the German Faith Movement started led by Jakob Hauer, which emphasised the beliefs of Positive Christianity. Hauer wanted to ban prayers being said in schools along with nativity plays.

 

To what extent Positive Christianity was important inNazi Germany is difficult to know. It is known that Rosenberg was not the most influential of the senior Nazis within the regime. It is also known that Hitler wanted the whole nation to follow a path of coordination (Gleichschaltung) and within the sphere of religion this was within the Reich Church or German Evangelical Church initially led by Reich Bishop Ludwig Műller. However, the extent of the influence of the Reich Church is open to question as many pastors objected to it. Hitler never pushed hard for the Reich Church to succeed and he viewed rebel pastors such as Martin Niemőller primarily as ‘enemies of the state’ as opposed to a religious threat.


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National Political Training Institutes

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

National Political Training Institutes were one of three new types of school/college introduced into Nazi Germany. National Political Training Institutes, along with Adolf Hitler Schools and Order Castles, were introduced to teach the next generation of elite leaders in Germany – be they political or military. The National Political Training Institutes looked to educate the next Nazi Party leaders that would take on the work started by Adolf Hitler.

 

National Political Training Institutes (Nationalpolitische Erziehungsanstalten) attempted to recreate the type of education that the old Prussian academies had done in bygone years; it was a recognition by Hitler that while he believed that the heart of ideological Nazism lay in the south of Germany, the real powerhouse of pre-World War One Germany had been Prussia that as a state had set itself apart from the rest of Germany. Hitler believed that what underpinned such state power was the education system that deliberately targeted the creation of an elite who would operate at the peak of government administration and military leadership. The National Political Training Institutes were meant to recreate such an approach with, Hitler assumed, the same success.

 

The institutes operated outside of the normal educational structure that existed in Nazi Germany. The first one opened in May 1933 in the city of Pöln under the direction of August Heissmeyer. The boys who went to such schools usually came from three backgrounds: the families of loyal Nazi Party members, the families of army officers or were boys who were recognised as doing very well in the Hitler Youth movement.

 

As time progressed the institutes came more and more under the control of the SS. In time only a SS-Obergruppenfuehrer could nominate candidates for entry. Boys who attended National Political Training Institutes had an education that created a “soldierly spirit, with attributes of courage, sense of duty, and simplicity.”

 

By the end of 1938, there were twenty three institutes; eighteen were in Germany, four were in Austria and one in the Sudetenland. While the basis behind their education was that those who graduated went on to become senior party leaders, the reality was that World War Two was declared and the military needed their services. Many graduates from the National Political Training Institutes went straight into the military.


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Adolf Hitler Schools

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Adolf Hitler Schools were seen as being at the very pinnacle of the Nazi education system. Adolf Hitlergained power in January 1933 and quickly started to redesign the whole educational structure of Nazi Germany. Adolf Hitler Schools – Adolf Hitler-Schule – was one of three new types of educational facilities introduced by Hitler to create a Nazi elite. It took a few years for the changes to take firm roots and when it was clear that such changes were fully in place, in January 1937 Hitler allowed his name to be attached to such schools. National Political Training Institutes catered for the same age group as Adolf Hitler Schools while Order Castles catered for university aged students.

 

Initially there were ten Adolf Hitler Schools but another two were built. Each one served a specific district (gau) and initially children selected to go to such a school could only come from that gau. This practice ended in 1941 when it was decided that children from anywhere in Germany could attend any Adolf Hitler School. Competition for a place at Adolf Hitler Schools was intense and the selection process was such that it was designed to cultivate a sense of pride and loyalty to the state that had introduced such a system.

 

Children who attended the Adolf Hitler Schools were preselected from the Hitler Youth movement (Hitler Jugend). The selection process started at the junior end of the Hitler Youth Movement – the so-called Young Folk (Jungfolk). Children in their second year of the Jungvolk were deemed old enough to be considered for selection. They were checked for their racial purity and once they passed this they were sent to a camp for two weeks to prove that they were worthy of being part of the Adolf Hitler Schools system.

 

Physical appearance was important and a good candidate was considered to be a child who had blond hair and blue eyes as such characteristics fitted in with Hitler’s Aryan ideals.

 

Those who started at an Adolf Hitler School were subjected to an education that was militaristic. Pupils were divided into squads and they trained not only in military and academic studies but in deportment, bed-making and personal hygiene. Squads were put up against one another and no one individual passed or failed – the whole squad either passed or not. In this way instructors/teachers could ensure that each squad member would keep an eye on others in his squad and ensured that everyone did their best for the benefit of the whole squad. Peer group pressure was used to ensure that each squad pushed for the highest standards.

                                           

The majority of the time spent in an Adolf Hitler School was based around physical training. It usually outweighed academic classroom work by a proportion of 5 to 1. Each child had to ‘prove himself’ – ‘Bewährung’ – if they wanted to pass their so-called ‘Final Review’. Those who completed their time at these schools, usually five years, left at the age of 18 and were eligible to go to university. Many joined the officer corps of the military and were viewed as the future military leaders of the 1000-year Third Reich. Regardless of which direction they chose, graduates of an Adolf Hitler School were considered to be the future elite of Nazi Germany and their education was considered a passport and guarantee for future progress within the system.  

 

The teachers in Adolf Hitler Schools were also selected. They were known as “school leaders” as opposed to teachers. Each one had a rank in the Hitler Youth movement, which also set them apart from teachers in normal schools, the gymnasiums. The overall control of as Adolf Hitler School was given to a “commander”. 

 

However, while on the surface these schools seemed to typify the Nazi ideal, they probably were not a good as the government wanted the public to believe. Not all of the “school leaders” were trained teachers and the syllabus in each school was very narrow. In fact, a syllabus directed to the “commanders” of the twelve schools was not published until 1944. Up to that time it seems that each of the schools could develop their own syllabus based around an “educational and curricular plan”. One subject that had to be taught was ‘folklore’. But up until 1944 it was up to each school to decide what ‘folklore’ should be taught until the directive specified what constituted ‘folklore’. “Schooling in worldview” and “religion lore” were also taught. Again, these were so varied in terms of what could be taught that the 1944 syllabus directive had to specify what had to be taught.


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Heinrich Himmler

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Heinrich Himmler was born in 1900 and died in 1945. Heinrich Himmler was to become one of the most feared men in Nazi Germany and Europe once World War Twobroke out. As head of the SS, he had ultimate responsibility of internal security in Nazi Germany (as was seen in the Night of the Long Knives) and was associated with helping to organise the Final Solution though Reinhard Heydrich had a major input into the organisation of the Holocaust.

Himmler was born in Munich, the son of a Roman Catholic teacher. He was old enough to serve in the German Army in 1918 and saw out the last days of World War One. After the war, he became a salesman for a fertiliser company. He joined the Nazi Party in 1923 and quickly developed a reputation for thoroughness and efficiency. He was a standard bearer at the Beer Hall Putsch in 1923 and marched at the side of Ernst Röhm before the march was broken up. From 1925 to 1930, he was propaganda leader for the Nazis in Bavaria, Swabia and the Palatinate. Himmler still needed an income as the Nazis were far from a wealthy party during the “Golden Era” ofWeimar. Between 1925 and 1929, he was an unsuccessful chicken farmer.

In 1929, Hitler selected Himmler to build up a unit that was to be Hitler’s personal bodyguard – the SS. Himmler’s instructions were simple – only the best would be good enough. In 1929, this unit only numbered 200 men. From 1929 to January 1933, the violence and chaos on the streets most associated with Weimar Germany came from the SA. The SS was rarely involved in this. It’s task was to protect Hitler.

In 1930, Himmler was elected to the Reichstag as Nazi deputy for Weser-Ems. He also spent his time expanding the SS so that by 1933, it had 52,000 men in it. Himmler also ensured that the SS remained free from interference by Röhm and the SA. Himmler created the Security Service lead by Heydrich whose original function was to be the ideological intelligence service to the Nazi Party. 

Himmler became convinced that Germany’s future rested in the stars and he was a keen astrologist and cosmologist. He also believed that the SS were the Twentieth Century’s Teutonic Knight. Many SS ceremonies were held at night in castles lit only by flaming torches. He recommended that SS officers had only leeks and mineral water for breakfast and he would only have 12 people at a time sitting around his table – as King Arthur had done. Himmler became very interested in the occult. He saw the SS as being a new type of people – soldiers, administrators, academics and leaders all rolled into one. The SS, in the mind of Himmler, were to be the new aristocracy of Germany.

He was very keen on the creation of a master race and racial purity. The more power he got after 1933, the more Himmler saw the opportunity to fulfill this belief. It was Himmler who supported the idea of unmarried women partnering SS men at Lebensborns – he saw nothing wrong with single women having children as long as both mother and father were racially pure. In October 1939 he told the SS that women, single or married, should, out of patriotic duty, get themselves pregnant by soldiers who were about to go to war. The idea of racial purity and racial excellence came to dominate Himmler’s mind  – as did hunting out traitors in Germany. 

After January 1933, the SS was given more tasks. Its primary function was to assist in the rounding up of threats to the Nazi Party. In April 1934, Himmler was appointed head of the Gestapo. This was to become the most feared unit in Nazi Germany and occupied Europe inWorld War Two. Himmler proved a master at organising such a force.

In June 1934, it was the SS that carried out the Night of the Long Knives with cold efficiency.

In 1936, Himmler was appointed commander of the unified police forces in Germany. This gave him all but unlimited power to know who was a threat to Hitler and the party. There were rumours that Himmler even kept a diary on Hitler’s habits – though his loyalty to Hitler was never questioned at the time. To many he was untouchable. In 1943, Himmler was put in charge of the Ministry of the Interior. 

Himmler was in charge of Germany’s concentration camps (he had set up the first at Dachau in 1933) and eastern Europe’s death camps. His brilliance at organisation had terrible consequences for the Jews. It was Himmler who made sure that the ‘cattle’ trains ran on time and that each camp was run on business lines so that they paid for themselves and made profits where possible. Ironically, for a man associated with the spilling of so much blood, Himmler himself would nearly faint at the sight of blood.

Himmler and Heydrich

The extent of the Gestapo’s work can be seen duringWorld War Two when the White Rose movement in Germany was infiltrated. The White Rose movement wanted peace to come and the war ended. Such declarations were punishable by death in war-torn Germany. The movement put up posters in Berlin stating what they believed in. Though the movement contained very few members – most of whom were related – the Gestapo found out who they were and arrested them. All were found guilty of treason and executed. Himmler’s efficiency could have terrible results for those opposed to the Nazis.


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