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What Did Most Germans Know About the Nazi Concentration Camp System?

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What Did the German People Really Know?

Shortly after the Allied forces overran the concentration camps and the West became fully aware of the extent of Nazi atrocities, the culpability of the German people began to be questioned. How much, if anything, did the average German know about the concentration camps?

To what degree were the German people involved? Were most Germans completely in the dark or did they have knowledge of conditions inside the camps? Scholarly works have been written to defend German ignorance and innocence and to deny it.

This essay will not argue culpability or degree of culpability of different segments of the German population. However, based on the testimony of American soldiers who served in the European theater of operations during World War II, conclusions will be drawn concerning German knowledge of concentration camps.

A distinction should be made between concentration camps and death camps. It is perhaps legitimate to argue that some German civilians knew little about the death camps as they were not located on German soil and were constructed and operated with a degree of secrecy.

Konnilyn Feig (well-respected Holocaust author) thinks a great deal was known by a great many people. “Hitler exterminated the Jews of Europe. But he did not do so alone. The task was so enormous, complex, time-consuming, and mentally and economically demanding that it took the best efforts of millions of Germans…. All spheres of life in Germany actively participated."

"Businessmen, policemen, bankers, doctors, lawyers, soldiers, railroad and factory workers, chemists, pharmacists, foremen, production managers, economists, manufacturers, jewelers, diplomats, civil servants, propagandists, film makers and film stars, professors, teachers, politicians, mayors, party members, construction experts, art dealers, architects, landlords, janitors, truck drivers, clerks, industrialists, scientists, generals, and even shopkeepers—all were essential cogs in the machinery that accomplished the final solution.”[1]

However, the same argument cannot be made with respect to concentration camps on German soil. Their construction, often close to major population centers, began just months after Hitler’s accession to power in 1933. In fact during the early years of Hitler’s regime, most concentration camp inmates were German or Austrian citizens and many of them served limited sentences before being released.

It begs believability to think that these individuals did not discuss their experience with family and close friends. German authorities knew they would talk. One of the functions of the camp system was to terrorize the local populace and motivate them to obedience. Fairly widespread public knowledge of the camps was necessary in order to produce a fearful, quiescent, more easily subdued population.

The first-hand experiences and reports of American GIs confirm that German civilians must have known about the camps. Of course the extent of a person’s knowledge might depend upon age, experience, profession or job, and proximity to a particular camp.

American GIs believed German civilians knew a great deal and many were indignant and angry at the almost universal German claims of ignorance.[2] Repeatedly, soldiers reported that German civilians denied any knowledge of the camps.[3]

In his memoir, William Warde who served with the 232nd Infantry Regiment, recorded that, “All of the locals were adamant that they were ‘nicht Nazi’ and didn’t have any idea what had taken place at the concentration camp.”[4]

Present at Buchenwald, Arthur L. Johnson recalled a bitter and shocking memory “…all these people who claimed they didn’t know anything about it…and [they were] just 10 or 15 miles from Weimar.”[5] Staff Sergeant Whiteway of the 99th Infantry Division noted that according to them “no [German] ever saw a concentration camp or an atrocity.”[6]

Combat Surgeon Brendan Phibbs heard German after German plead, “nie gemurtet, nie gemurtet, we never suspected.”[7] Staff Sergeant Powell traveled across the German countryside and regularly heard civilians announce that they were, of course, anti-fascists and then disclaim any knowledge of the camps.[8]

Official military histories confirm that the typical German response was to deny knowledge of, and disclaim any responsibility for, the concentration camps.[9]


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Citations

[1] Konnilyn Feig. Hitler’s Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness, (New York: Holmes and Meier Publishers, 1981), (hereafter cited as Hitler’s Death Camps), 13.

[2] John R. Hallowell, Gunter Plaut, oral history interviews, International Liberator’s Conference, October 1981, Washington DC, (hereafter cited as ILC); George Wehmoff, Bert Weston, oral history interview transcripts, Emory University, Robert F. Crawford Witness to the Holocaust Project, (hereafter cited as Emory); Johnson, 2, interview transcript, JCRC-ADL of Minnesota and the Dakotas, (hereafter cited as JCRC); Thomas Hale, The Cauldron, 1943-1945: Recollections and Letters of a Field Service Driver, (Hines Point, Vineyard, New Haven, 1990), (hereafter cited as The Cauldron), 97; David Malachowsky, Days of Remembrance –Victims of the Holocaust, (Department of Defense, Washington DC, 1989), (hereafter cited as Days), 32; Victor Wiegard, interview, ILC; Robert Perelman, 2, Frank Bezares, 6, Joseph B. Kushlis, 10, William Jucksh, 9, Henry Birnbrey , 6, interview transcripts, Emory; John B. MacDonald, 2, Theresa Ast - Holocaust Witness Dissertation Project Questionnaire, (hereafter cited as Ast Project).

[3] Lionel Rothbard, 3 June 1993, letter to Theresa Ast; Sherman V. Hasbrouck, Brigadier General, “Reflections on the 97th Infantry Division,” 18 June 1988, 97th Infantry Division Papers, United States Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, (hereafter cited as MHI); Bert P. Ezell, Albert Duncan, oral history interviews, Dallas Memorial Center for Holocaust Studies at Southern Methodist University, circa 1980, (hereafter cited as DMC); Robert Zimmer, Ernest James, oral history interviews, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Research Institute, Record Group 50.030, 1990-1992, (hereafter cited as USHMM); Manfred Steinfeld, interview, Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois – Oral History Documentation Project, 1982-1984, (hereafter cited as HMFI); Jack R. Blake, 6, Floyd Samuel Gibson, 2 T. J. Lewis, 6, Robert McIsaac, 3, Dee Richard Eberhart, 2, Arthur L. Samuelson, 2, 11, Ast Project; Howard Wiseburg, 2, 3, 10, Bill Allison, 10, W. W. Dunagan, 6, Joseph B. Kushlis, 10, interview transcripts, Emory; Marvin M. Josephs, interview, Oral Documentation Project of the Holocaust Center of Greater Pittsburgh, (hereafter cited as ODP); Ralph Mueller and Jerry Turk, Report After Action: The Story of the 103rd Infantry Division, (Innsbruck: Wagnerische Universitats-Buchdruckerei, 1945) 131; Robert Sharon Allen, Lucky Forward, The History of Patton’s Third U.S. Army, (New York: Vanguard Press, 1947), (hereafter cited as Lucky Forward ), 370; Eric Lieseroff, cited in Yaffa Eliach and Brana Gurewitsch, Liberators: Eyewitness Accounts of the Liberation of the Concentration Camps, (New York: Center for Holocaust Studies, Documentation and Research, 1981), (hereafter cited as Liberators), 2; Frederick Walters, interview, Holocaust Oral History Archive of Gratz College, Pennsylvania, (hereafter cited as Gratz).

[4] William Warde, 27 July 1993, letter to Theresa Ast, (Company A, 232nd Regiment, 42nd Infantry Division).

[5] Arthur L. Johnson, 2, interview transcript, JCRC.

[6] Curtis Whiteway, 99th Infantry Division Papers, MHI, 11.

[7] Brendan Phibbs, The Other Side of Time: A Combat Surgeon in World War II, (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1987), (hereafter cited as Other Side), 334.

[8] Theodore Powell, Winter 1993, interview by Theresa Ast, (232nd Regiment, 42nd Infantry Division).

[9] History, 1st Battalion, 232nd Infantry Regiment, 42nd Infantry Division, to Headquarters, 13 May 1945, 42nd Infantry Division Papers, MHI ; Prisoner of War and Displaced Persons Division, Reconnaissance Report, April 1945, Record Group 332, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC, (hereafter cited as NARA).

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Your Comments Are Welcome and Appreciated 189 comments

WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

Looks like you did a lot of research on this one


Larry Fields profile image

Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

Even for the ordinary German citizens who were only partially in the loop, it's predictable that they would deny all knowledge of concentration camps within Germany itself. Understandably, they would want to avoid getting sucked into the war crimes tribunals. Even if they did not become targets of investigation, their testimonies would have put them at risk of being killed by war criminals who managed to evade the dragnet.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

WannaB- Lots of research. I read books and journals, visited government archives, but I was fortunate in being able to gather a great deal of information from World War II veterans themselves. I put together a letter explaining my research project and a questionnaire and mailed it to a few retired GI's whose addresses I had.

I also was able to find the addresses for the association news-letters of companies, regiments, and divisions that had participated in liberating the camps. They published short pieces about my research and encouraged their members to contact me.

From there it was the proverbial snowball effect. Every veteran that filled out the questionnaire sent me the names and addresses of fellow veterans to contact. They also sent letters, pictures, journals, and articles they had written right after the war. They were incredibly helpful and generous. It was an honor to work with them and tell their story.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Larry- There was actually no chance that the average German citizen would get sucked into the war crimes tribunals. Very early after the end of hostilities the Americans made it known publicly that they were only going after the pretty big and really big fish - the top tier.

They realized early on they did not have the time or manpower to prosecute the entire German population and they understood how unfair it would be to prosecute people for what they knew or heard. They went after the Nazi perpetrators, the engineers of the system, the real butchers.

Unfortunately many of the very top tier Nazi officials and military had seen the end coming and made preparations to escape and were never caught (some ending up in South America, of course). The great majority of Germans who were detained and prosecuted were second tier war criminals.

Thanks for visiting and leaving comments. I appreciate it. If this area of history interests you, I have other Hubs and will keep adding to them in the future.


suzettenaples profile image

suzettenaples 5 years ago from Taos, NM

phdast7: This article is excellent. I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the German people knew what was going on. I've lived in Germany and I know there is a general feeling of guilt, especially of the people of that generation, for the Holocaust. You will never convince me the German people didn't know what was going on at Dachau. True, no one was gassed there or cremated, but the towns around Dachau and the people of Munich knew. I know Germans today that were part of the Hitler Youth program and were instructed to report on their own parents and family members. Hitler knew what he was doing in getting total submission of the German people. Dachau is the only concentration camp I have ever been to as I have never been to Poland. I would like to visit Poland some day and visit Auschwitz were the true horrors, experiments and deaths occurred. We must never forget.


Just History profile image

Just History 5 years ago from England

I too feel that the average German knew something was going on

Trainloads of people heading to camps un noticed?

The smell of the camps

The clearing of the Ghettos, surely they noticed something was wrong?

i think that it was easy to bury your head and not notice. I am certain that the majority of germans if faced with a jewish person could not have physically killed them,but there is a sort of safety a sort of immunity when it is performed by others. Great hub- perhaps a little more detail next time, as you have obviously done an immense amount of reading


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

suzettenaples- Thank you for the fan mail. I appreciate your comments. And you are right, more and more historical evidence confirms the presence of hundreds of tiny, medium, and huge (Dachau) camps spread throughout the German countryside.

I think what we sometimes forget is that Hitler established the concentration camps to control his own people beginning in 1933. The death camps in Poland where millions of Jews, Poles, gypsies, Soviet POW's and others died were built much later, 1941-1942. Twelve short years and so much destruction...hard to believe even when you know it is true.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Just History - Thanks for your comments. I agree that it would have been almost impossible to live in Germany (maybe, even Europe) and not be aware that some pretty terrible things were being orchestrated by the government.

And you are also right the average citizen did not intend to physically harm, much less kill Jews, Gypsies, or any other group. But as you pointed out "groups" will do things that individuals would never do, especially when under tremendous pressure and unrelenting propaganda from their government.

I will work on providing more detail in the next three sections of this topic. As for research, oh my. My university professors were incredibly demanding taskmasters; I could never do enough research or reading to satisfy them. :) I look forward to reading some of your work, but first there is a pile of papers (as always) to grade. :)


must65gt profile image

must65gt 5 years ago

Fantastic work and research. Recently I have heard people in Europe want to remove historical records of the "Death Camps" from all the history books and publications. There are even some that believe it was propaganda. I have some Jewish friends (Though they are dwindling fast today) that still bare the numbers from their imprisonment. Thanks for posting this!


ThoughtSandwiches profile image

ThoughtSandwiches 5 years ago from Reno, Nevada

Theresa...

It always intrigues me the way Hitler operated his camps and Stalin managed his...

Stalin's capricious whims would easily be the reason why someone ended up in the Gulag system. This very randomness inspired the fear every Soviet must have felt as he/she went through those decades...

Hitler, by comparison, codified each and every infraction that would land someone into his camps and did so in a deliberate fashion.

I have to think that, random or deliberate, the citizenry was certainly aware of the possibilities and options.

Wonderful research and presentation!

Thomas


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thomas - It is interesting how two oppressive regimes with leaders with such different approaches could result in such horrifying large civilian incarceration and death rates.

And yes, the Russian and German populations knew, quite deliberate I believe: terror hidden or concealed from the populace is totally ineffective. To be effective terror has to be incredibly public.

Interesting tangent: Despite the precise and organized rules applied to the concentration camps, historians have labeled Hitler a "disorganized charismatic leader."

Charismatic, of course meaning that he was very verbal, put almost noting in writing, and drew people to his cause through conversations and speeches.

Disorganized meaning that he often assigned tasks and projects to more than one group or branch within his government and than through his weight behind which ever group was most successful. Or he would decline to voice an opinion in a meeting until everyone one else had spoken and fought over the options at hand.

There is more to it that this and I feel like I am not explaining it well. Anyway, fascinating way to evaluate the choices he made and even to evaluate modern leadership styles.

Thanks for the encouraging comments. Theresa


Kosmo profile image

Kosmo 5 years ago from California

You've taken on quite a weighty subject. I suppose we'll never know for certain how much the German people knew about war atrocities and/or death camps. Anyway, there's always plenty of subject matter regarding WWII, isn't there? Later!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kosmo- Thank you for reading the Hub and for your comments. It is a weighty subject indeed.

Most Germans outside of the Nazi bureaucracy, the SS, and the railroad crews, knew very little or nothing at all about the Death Camps. Except for one, they were all located in the interior of Poland, quite hidden and secret. No one can or should hold the German people responsible for what transpired in defeated Poland.

However, after 15 years of study, I am convinced that we do know a great deal about what Germans knew about the concentration camp system - over 500 camps, most of them not as large or as famous as Dachau, of course - spread throughout Germany, many of them within a few miles of German towns and cities.

Groups of poorly clad and starving prisoners were frequently marched into and through towns and cities to various work projects and then marched back to camp each evening. Thousands of families and hundreds of neighborhoods were removed from towns and disappeared.

Perhaps even more important is the fact that the Nazis occasionally released people from the concentration camps and sent them home. And of course, they warned their families and friends not to run afoul of any Nazi regulations or restrictions. The Nazis knew they would talk, knew their descriptions of the camps would terrorize the local populations; after all, every oppressive regime exploits the fact that fearful people are obedient people.

I say all this on the basis of academic study, a family that emigrated from Eastern Europe in 1949, and on the basis of my Polish and German ancestry. Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 5 years ago from America

They knew and years after the war made it clear they didn't like Americans. The smart Germans got out as soon as they could knowing Hitler was a problem.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Moonlake- You are absolutely correct on all accounts. Thanks for commenting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

must65gt- Thank you for the encouraging words. Sorry it took me so long to respond. You are right, there are groups in Europe who claim it was all propaganda. Astonishing, when there is so much evidence in so many places and it is not terribly hard to find.

What I have heard about the last couple of years (usually from NPR, but occasionally in articles) are the comments made by various middle eastern leaders who hate Israel.

They make public statements about the fact that the Holocaust was simply a fabrication on the part of the Jews (and their supporters - the United States) intended to enable them to lay claim to more territory. Quite unbelievable claims, quite unrelenting hatred.


Justsilvie 5 years ago

Very Interesting Hub! I have also studied this era with great interest and even did a couple of term papers on it. Also, being the child of an American Soldier and a German Mother born right after that period I asked lots of questions.

To me question should be what "the world" knew not just the Germans, because there were many countries and the Vatican who knew what was going on and did nothing and I wont even go into the international industries involved and the profits made from this.

The scary thing is that this is not just something one country or one culture is capable of it lies in all of us. It just takes the right circumstances to bring it out and the crowd mentality will do the rest. History has shown us enough examples of that.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Justsilvie- You are absolutely correct. I teach European history at the university level and I am always appalled at what my students don't know about this period in history, I spend time every semester making sure they understand what the world knew, how they knew and when they knew.

Of course we discuss the terrible lack of response, or even concern, demonstrated by the western governments and most populations. It is crucial for them to know that there are almost always collaborators who assist the perpetrators either passively or actively.

Trying to address what "everyone knew" would have taken several months of intense research and writing (not something I can do with my current teaching responsibilities), so for the sake of these essays I had to narrow my focus. I am not trying to suggest that the Germans alone were involved.

As you said, the potential is there in all of us and under the right circumstances, unbelievably horrific and inhumane things can occur. Thanks for your comments. I would appreciate any feedback you might have on the other Hubs which focus on the Nazi Concentration camp system.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 5 years ago from California

Well researched and well written article--such a big topic!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

It is a big topic. One I have worked on off and on for fifteen years, ever since grad school. My father was Polish and he and his family immigrated to America shortly after WW II. So the history of that time was very real to me because I had living family who experienced the Nazi invasion as well as the Soviet takeover of Poland. Thank you for the encouraging and positive comments. Theresa


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

This is only partially related, but I'll say it anyway. As you might know, because of my own hub "Enemies of the People?,"my husband's family escaped Communist Yugoslavia and had an inside look at their prisons. My mother-in-law could read the signs and was trying to convince her husband they should get out before the German occupation and the rise of the Partisans, but my husband's father was unconvinced that such terrible things could happen in his country.

Before the last election in this country, there were many signs that presidential candidate Obama might be a Marxist who did not like our Constitution's limits on various branches of government. When I warned various well-meaning friends that some of his tactics were signs of things that could happen if he were elected, they all said the same thing: "This is America. That can't happen here."

That is exactly what my father-in-law thought about Yugoslavia. It's what many Jews in Germany thought and why they didn't leave when they could. It is that mindset that allows future dictators the foothold they need to get the absolute power that enables these atrocities.

My Russian history teacher when I was in graduate school had a profound influence on me as he explained how the Communists use a lot of well-meaning people who truly believe in helping the poor and fighting injustice, to lay the groundwork for a government overthrow. They use anyone they can. They love the protesters as long as they can use them. But if the protesters discover the new people they helped bring to power aren't interested in justice after all and continue to protest, they become the first occupants or the new prisons and reeducation camps -- if they are not eliminated outright.

We Americans think atrocities can't happen here and our government cannot be overthrown from within, but the Communists predicted in the 1960s they would bury us without firing a shot. The sheep will go willingly to the slaughter without having any idea where they are headed until it's too late. The important thing people need to study and remember is not the atrocities themselves (though we mustn't forget them) but how those who committed them were able to take power. Had they stated their real intentions when getting the support of the populace, they would not have been supported. Once they were in power, the populace in most cases were too cowed to speak out.

I am currently reading "The Road to Serfdom" by Friedrich A. Hayek, and it's a real eye-opener. I wish it were required reading in every high school, but it never will be. I'm not a wild-eyed extremist and I hate politics as an activity. I just don't want to wake up in 20 years (if I live that long) and see the America I love looking like the USSR did in 1960.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for telling me, telling us, about your background and influential people/scholars in your life. I think you are right we need to be more alert, more aware, and quicker to protest publicly when we see a destructive tendency in our government or in specific leaders. We cannot afford to be complacent.

Quite a few of the academics (who are mostly just right of center - we are so not a "Berkeley") at the private liberal arts university where I work were horrified at some of the abrogations of legal and judicial process, the expansion of police and surveillance power under President Bush's administration.

Many of those changes were a reaction to 9/11 and the threat of terrorism...still when the rules are changed or expanded in time of crisis, they seldom are returned to their original limits or intent. Quite scary.

I have not read the Hayek book, but it sounds like one I should read. Too bad we cannot get the books that we know would be beneficial for the next generation assigned in High School. And like you, I don't want the next generation facing anything like the Soviet Union of the 60's. Thanks for your insightful comments. Theresa


WannaB Writer profile image

WannaB Writer 5 years ago from Templeton, CA

I was also concerned about those things. Although I personally trusted Bush not to misuse these powers, I realized that once the power is there, the next administration also has access to it, and the next. A certain amount of intelligence is necessary, and some terrorists are being recruited from citizens born here, so we must be concerned about spotting them. But this should not be at the expense of the personal liberty of the average citizens. Part of our problem is political correctness and being afraid to call a spade a spade. We are afraid of profiling, even though it's probably more effective at spotting potential problems than searching everyone and his grandmother at the airport, and they still don't catch those who are potential terrorist who still get on flights. I'm not suggesting that everyone of a certain descent be suspected, and I would not want to see any one ethnic group turned against. But it is true that more of our terrorists tend to be of one ethnic group as opposed to others. It's a tricky problem to allow person liberty for all citizens while being on the alert for some who would use their liberties to destroy our country.

The version of the Hayek book I read was an abridged version that is easily understandable. We also have the full version, which I also intend to read as soon as possible. The abridged version is no longer than the average chapter of a textbook, but I doubt if it would be allowed into today's public schools because it directly contradicts the current curriculum which conditions students to be receptive to socialism.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

You are so right, whatever changes or extensions of power one administration makes is still there for future administrations to misuse.

And the great difficulty is to catch the criminals and the terrorists and yet not jeopardize our liberties and freedoms. It is such a fine line at times. Thanks for all your responses. It is good to know that I am not the only person thinking about these kinds of things.

I will check out the Hayek book.


typeface profile image

typeface 4 years ago

I have been studying this period in history at school this year and am taking an exam on it in the summer so I found this very interesting, especially all of the eyewitness view points. Whenever I think about whether the average German new I am reminded of a very well known... I don't know what you would call it, a poem? An observation?

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --

Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --

Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --

Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me."

-Niemoller

And I feel that it doesn't really matter whether or not they knew exactly what Hitler was doing but they all knew he was doing something and that should have been enough.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Good luck with your summer exams. I hope they go well. I love the quote by Niemoller...it is so appropos, both to what happened during WW II and to any atrocity that people want to turn away from and. Thanks for coming by to read and to comment.

You may have seen by now, that I turned your question and my answer into a short Hub. It was a first for me, I had never done that before. I hope you don't mind. I will be watching for your future Hubs. :)


typeface profile image

typeface 4 years ago

No I hadn't seen! What a good idea! What is it called so that I can read it? :)


Sembj profile image

Sembj 4 years ago

Excellent article. I am sure I've read in more than one source that IBM played an essential part in helping the Germans deal with the logistics involved. The sheer scale of the camps, transportation, etc., required the expertise of IBM. I would be interested in hearing whether you feel that this is an accurate presentation of IBM's role. Sem


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you. There have been quite a few articles and even a couple of books that have been published in the last twenty years or so, and it is quite clear that IBM and other major corporations had no problem working with and helping the Nazis in order to generate profits. Whether IBM was helpful in the area of transportation, I don't know.

There is also a substantial and growing body of work documenting the degree to which German businesses and corporations worked with the Nazis. The Nazis supplied incredibly cheap and compliant labor and industrialists looked the other way, even when they were located inside actual camp complexes, such as Auschwitz.

Thanks for reading and commenting on my work; I realize my Hubs are not everyone's cup of tea and many of them deal with such unpleasant topics, so I really appreciate anyone taking the time to read and comment. Hope you are having a nice Christmas. Theresa


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

PH this is one of the most well put together Hub I've read in a long time.. the work you must have put into it.. a great share my friend :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Frank. I appreciate your comments. There is a part II and III and today, in fact, I was doing a little polishing on Part IV. Hope to post it tonight or tomorrow. Soon I will need to work on course syllabi; spring semester courses begin in just over a week. :)


Sophia Angelique 4 years ago

http://www.amazon.com/Memoirs-Jewish-Journalist-Ge...

My late father was kicked out of the German Law Courts in 1933 for being Jewish. He became one of three accredited Jewish Journalists in prewar Nazi Germany. They knew what was going on. My father says they tried to warn Jews to get out, but they weren't believed. My aunt died because she didn't believe my father.

Stanley Milgram did some experiments in the 60s. Essentially, 96% of people are obedient to authority even when they know it is wrong. They will not go against peer pressure because they fear the consequences.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Sophia- Thanks for commenting. It is good to hear confirming stories (your father who was there) for what I have written. When I was conducting research I had access to the testimony of several hundred GI's who entered the camps and were part of the occupation after May 1945, but I didn't have any confirming evidence from Germans.

That would have required a trip to Germany and as I was in grad school and raising three young children, I had to content myself with archival research in America.

I find Milgram's and subsequent researchers experiments fascinating. I discuss them at length in my German History and Holocaust History classes. Peer pressure is stronger than most of us are willing to admit.


Teresa Coppens profile image

Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Great hub. Both of my parents lived in Europe during the war, mum in England near London and dad in Holland near Hell's Highway. Both have interesting stories to tell about wartime. Your hub was an extremely well written piece. I am looking forward to reading more!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Teresa. I appreciate your comments.


moiragallaga profile image

moiragallaga 4 years ago from Lisbon, Portugal

Excellent work phdast7, a very interesting topic and well-researched product that makes for good reading and stimulates the mind. As you pointed out, the scale of the undertaking was quite grand so it isn't far-fetched that a significant percentage of the German people knew what was happening, especially in the case of the concentration camps. Looking forward to reading the succeeding parts of your article.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you very much Moira. I appreciate your comments. I think it is hard for us to imagine the actual size and complexity of the Nazi regime. They infiltrated everything.


nmoberly profile image

nmoberly 4 years ago

Excellent, well-presented and researched article - thank you!

I am in a unique situation in that I not only grew up with a WW2 veteran who was there the day Dachau was liberated, but I also have family members who lived through Nazi Germany.

I have heard first hand stories from both. In the early to mid 1930s, the *camps* being formed in Germany were certainly known to the local townspeople. My German family members confirm this. Even though the nearest one was some distance away - they knew it existed. However, what they were initially TOLD its purpose was, was something quite different than its ultimate use. By the time they heard rumors and truths from eyewitnesses, it was much too late. (and they had to rely on word of mouth - it certainly wasn't on the German radio or in the newspapers. There was NO other way to get information inside Germany during those years) When BBC radio was first picked up discussing these camps, the family members I've spoken with weren't sure as to how true they were - after all, it was the opposite side telling the story.

But then... they began to hear the same thing from Germans themselves. And they knew. It was true.

They never physically saw one. A great uncle said that, yes, he many times saw train cars full of people moving through the area. When asked, he was told it was a prisoner transport. No one was allowed near the railways most of the time anyway because of fear of wartime espionage and disruptive acts. (whatever that really meant) You could go to the train station, but you knew better than to get too close to a moving or stopped train. If there were soldiers aboard, they would often shoot at you or over your head. I suppose very much in the way you should never get too close to military transports in the US - no matter how innocent you are, when the military has appropriated a road or a building - you don't get too close.

My point in this long comment is that, yes - they knew. But many of the German civilians knew the FULL facts far too late to stop it. By that time, you kept quiet, or you knew it would be you and your family in there as well.

It's hard for many of us to imagine now. It's hard for me to imagine. But I don't have children I'd be worried about protecting, either. Or elderly parents. Those were very real considerations for them.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for your comments. You are in a unique position to have the connection to a veteran and to family members who lived through those terrible times. And I think your assessment is right the German people knew about the camps, but they didn't know what went on inside and by the time they did, Germany was a police state and those who caused troubled, disappeared.

And as you say, the primary concern for anyone was protecting their children and their family. That is why I always make sure my students know that 95% of the people who escaped from the ghettos and camps and joined the partisan fighters in the forests were single , and usually, most if not all of their immediate family was already dead.

They could do dangerous and heroic things, actively resist the Nazis without risking the lives of their family. I also worry when people confuse the entire German population with the Nazi party or the SS, for example. We need to make the correct distinctions. Why in the last few weeks of the war army commanders in the field refused to carry out Hitler's "scorched earth policy."

Thanks again for your helpful and constructive comments. It is very hard for most people to fathom what went on there and most of us have no family members to talk to about it.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

The war is still quite a sore sport with many Germans and Europeans. I like your footnotes, which gives authority to your statements. Voting this Up and Interesting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi alocsin- I am sure that it is, which is why I do try to write very carefully and objectively and make sure I have lots of primary and secondary sources to confirm my statements. I appreciate your comments and votes. Thanks for stopping by.


must65gt profile image

must65gt 4 years ago

Stopped by to read again such an informative and well written article. Thanks again for this posting and your research.


wba108@yahoo.com profile image

wba108@yahoo.com 4 years ago from upstate, NY

The Germans of couse knew about the camps. Many ordinary Germans carried out the mass murders probably because they were afraid if they didn't, they would be targeted next. This is a common thing in totalitarian regimes.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

must65gt - Boy, you are a good friend and great Hubber. Stopping by for a second read. You may just be my favorite person right now! :) Seriously, thank you very much for the comments. I do appreciate them.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

wba - Thanks for coming by and commenting on the Hub. You are right of course, far too often in totalitarian regimes, whether they are fascists on the far right or communists on the far left, the general populace is so intimidated and afraid of the police apparatus that it is hard for them to resist even when they do want to. There is always the fear of reprisals against any action the regime disapproves of.


Budman610 profile image

Budman610 4 years ago from Ohio

I was stationed in Germany and visited Dachau in Munich a few times. One of the tour guides told me people in Munich were afraid to ask questions for fear of being put in the camp. If they asked "What was going on in there?" They were told, "How would you like to find out?"


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Budmaster - You are correct. Hitler and the Nazis ruled German on the basis of fear and terror and people were deathly afraid to speak out. Thanks for stopping by to read and for commenting. Oh, and welcome to HubPages. :)


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

I'm still checking back on this series. There are levels of concepts to be grasped from it all, and the hubs are generating interesting comments. Thanks again for sharing your work on this topic.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for checking back RT. These hubs have generated some interesting comments. I am surprised at the people who have a connection with WW II either through a family member who lived in Europe or a family mewmber who was in the military.

In march I will have a week off for Spring Break and I will try to write one or two more hubs about the liberation of the concentration camps. I appreciate your visite, comments, and encouragement. :)


angie ashbourne profile image

angie ashbourne 4 years ago

Hi! Good hub. Angie


mours sshields 4 years ago from Elwood, Indiana

Interesting hub!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Angie - Thank you for stopping by to read and for your comments.


Freeway Flyer profile image

Freeway Flyer 4 years ago

I will have to read your other hubs on this topic. I've always found it to be a fascinating question, one you clearly know much more about than I.

I imagine that it is difficult to make general statements about what the Germans knew. As individuals with different experiences, their knowledge of what was going on would vary. And in many cases, there were probably many living in denial both during the war and after. Some people probably did not want to know what was happening.

But even if people were unaware of the Polish death camps, I find it hard to believe that the population in general was unaware of atrocities committed against Jewish people and others viewed as inferior by the Nazis. Hitler was not exactly secretive about his racist views, and it would be hard to miss completely the fact that people of certain backgrounds were being locked up for no reason and had a habit of just disappearing entirely. But once again, if people felt powerless and intimidated, the easiest coping mechanism may have been to psychologically shut out the obvious so that they could live with themselves. And others, unfortunately, due to the circumstances of the 1930s, supported the racist program.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Freeway - Thank you for taking the time to read and respond. I think you are right, different people in different locations knew varying things. But everyone knew that people were disappearing and there was a lot of street violence and that ghettos were being established, because those things were happening all over Germany. And I am quite sure that most people lived in fear or denial or both. I would imagine that many many people hunkered down both physically and psychologically hoping to survive the war and Hitler's rule.

And I agree with you that many if not most Germans knew very little or nothing about the Death Camps, but as you pointed out Hitler and the Nazis were hardly secretive about the minorities and groups they despised and considered inferior. Nazi propaganda about the "outsiders" anyone who could not claim "Aryan" descent was a target.

Thanks for all the interesting and pertinent comments. I certainly appreciate them.


prairieprincess profile image

prairieprincess 4 years ago from Canada

Phdast, very interesting hub. You have done so much and then your readers have added even more content with their comments. It is a very good point that Hitler could not have done this all by himself: many other people had to have been involved, or to have had some idea what was happening. How helpless those that knew must have felt, though, to stop such brutality. I am sure it must have been such a sickening feeling to suspect what was going on, but be unable to stop it.

Thanks for bringing your intellect and excellent research to Hubpages. I look forward to reading more of your work.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I think you are right, the Nazis terrorized even their own people and the average citizen was terribly afraid of the regime and did feel helpless.

I am very fortunate to have readers and followerswho can contribute a lot to the discussion. Thank you for your positive and encouraging comments. I look forward to more conversations with you. :)


pongogirl2 profile image

pongogirl2 4 years ago from California, USA

love it!:) its so interesting and informative, you did a really great job on this hub article.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you very much pongogirl2. So glad you stopped by to read. I appreciate your comment. :)


sharewhatuknow profile image

sharewhatuknow 4 years ago from Western Washington

Wow phdast7, what a very well written and informative hub.

It has always amazed me that the vast majority of an entire nation stood by and accepted the fact that their own government rounded up, robbed, imprisoned, tortured, experimented, enslaved and murdered others because of their ethnicity. No riots, no protests, no rebellion of any kind.

Extremely amazing.

Especially when you consider the fact that rioting occurred in a very large city here in the U.S. because two white cops were acquitted for the savage beating of one black man !!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you so much share - Even after all the years I have spent studying this, it is still hard to understand and accept. My students and I talk about it being a combination of (1) a people trained to be passive ans obedient. (2) a time and place that supported racism and anti-semitism, and (3) a leader and political party that were geniuses at propaganda and at controlling the population with fear.

Still, it is hard to believe they let it happen - we live in a very different culture and society, don't we? Thanks for stopping to read and taking the time to comment.


sharewhatuknow profile image

sharewhatuknow 4 years ago from Western Washington

I totally agree with you phdast17 about the factors that led to this atrocity. But at the same time, there has to come a point when people start shaking their heads and saying enough is enough, there is something soooo wrong with this.

To me this seems so like sheep. They will continue to graze a few hundred feet away while another sheep is being devoured by a pack of wolves.

I would like to share something more, if I may. I would like to suggest An extreme lack of empathy and humanity should be added to those combinations that have been mentioned. Could it be that this particular nation of people are more prone to anti-social/sociopathic tendencies than other nations?

Is it nature or nurture? LOL

In closing, I would also like to share that my ethnicity consists of a large percentage of German/Austrian, mixed with Irish/Scottish and French.

Thanks for letting me vent phdast7. And thank you for sharing what you and your students discussed.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

There are a number of scholars and books who have examined and commented on this "sheepish or slavish" tendency. Some of them are referring to the Germans and some of them are referring to the "Jews" who "let" themselves be slaughtered.

This accusation always makes me furious, because it is irrational, crazy, and stupid frankly, to make such an accusation about millions of Jews...as if millions of other nationalities were not also victims of the Nazis. Are we to assume that the millions of Polish Catholics and Soviet citizens and Soviet soldiers!! also "let" themselves be killed? Did they go like "sheep to the slaughter?" One of my rants, as you can see. :)

But to return to your point, some scholars have discussed the incredibly militaristic, paternalistic, obedience-focused society and government of Germany. They make some interesting points, but I am not entirely convinced.

But in thinking about your comment "extreme lack of empathy and humanity" I guess I think we often underestimate the virulence and evil implicit in racism, and especially anti-semitism. And when either of those things is not only supported, but actively encouraged by a strong government, the results are horrifying.

I am thinking of "smaller" holocausts - the Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda, the Turks and the Armenians, the Japanese in China in the 1930s... I think we know less about these massacres and the numbers are "lower" simply because they were committed by governments and people who did not have the modern technology and efficient industrial processes that the Germans made such good use of.

Your background is interesting and not too different from mine. On my mothers's side English and Irish; on my Father's side 80% Polish and 20% German. My last name is German - Ast means branch.

And by all means, you are welcome to vent/rant at any time. They are useful and important vents and rants about important issues. I really appreciate your comments. Theresa


sharewhatuknow profile image

sharewhatuknow 4 years ago from Western Washington

Well said Theresa. And oh yes, I am also horrified of the atrocities committed by the Hutus in Rwanda. I am not so much informed about the Turks and Armenians, will have to research that.

I am aware of the Japanese in China. Horrible. Very Horrible that people can act so terribly upon another race or ethnicity and feel "rational" and "justified" in doing so. I can't comprehend that. Not now, not ever !!

Why is it that there are those who can?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Share - "Why are there people who can comprehend the horrors and atrocities?" That is a very good question and I wish I knew the answer, but I do not. Maybe if we understood them, we could prevent or eliminate this terrible inhumanity that man visit upon his fellow man, believing it is entirely justifiable. But I am not too hopeful, sad to say. Thanks for all your interesting and helpful comments. Theresa


worldwide uni 4 years ago

This e good research,its good for us that haven't lived during that period to learn more on it in order to not repeat the same mistakes (http://www.wwuniversity.eu)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello worldwide - Thank you for your comment. I try very hard to do thorough and complete research on my history Hubs.


Peter Geekie profile image

Peter Geekie 4 years ago from Sittingbourne

Very interesting - The average German knew all about not only the concentration camps but the extermination camps also. Some German friends of mine told me that German mothers scolded their children with not the British or American threat of "If you don't behave the boogy man will get you" but rather the more sinister "If you don't behave you will be the first up the chimney"

Of course they knew, but in fairness when your leaders were homicidal maniacs would you stand up and be counted ?

Kind regards Peter Geekie


Robert Erich profile image

Robert Erich 4 years ago from California

Wow! An entire essay on HubPages. Very fascinating topic as well.

I debate how much people really knew about the issues. Either way, how many atrocities do we allow to go on in our country and around the world every day? Are we much better than the Germans were?

Interesting, voted up, and shared!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Peter- Thank you for your comments. Many historians have felt like the average German probably knew a great deal about what was going on, including "up the chimney." But as a historian in my essays I limit myself to what there is incontrovertible proof for.

And as you said, we can recognize what they knew and also recognize the extreme fear in which most Germans lived. A terrible, terrible time. I look forwatd to reading some of your work and Thanks for sharing. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Robert - Thank you for reading and commenting. I would agree atrocities are unfortunately not far and few between at all. Most nations and peoples have been involved in something cruel and shameful.

I would suggest though that there is a substantive difference in "allowing" atrocities to continue in a distant land and "planning and perpetrating them yourselves," which is what the Nazis did. There is much cruelty in this world that should be addressed, I simply write about what I know and studied in graduate school.

Thanks for the share. Great idea.


am301986 profile image

am301986 4 years ago from New Delhi

Interesting article. Thanks for sharing. Cheers!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

am - Glad you found the article interesting. I appreciate your comments. Have a great weekend. :)


Diane Woodson profile image

Diane Woodson 4 years ago from Evansville, Indiana

I do not think they did for this reason, they were so brainwashed in the NAZI religion that they didn't realize much of anything but to bow to the idol of Hitler. I hate Nazism and all it stood for then now and probably what some people do now with it.


alian346 profile image

alian346 4 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

An incredibly well-researched Hub, phdast7.

I agree with your distinction that the 'concentration' and 'death' camps were separate entities, though towards the end of the war things became incredibly muddled with the advance of the Allies and the subsequent unsuccessful emptying of the death camps and forced death marches and train trips back into the concentration camps within Germany. The populace must have been aware of this.

Also during the 12 years of the Third Reich the concentration camps were a serious deterrant to behaviour directed against the regime as was denunciation. The German people would know what went on there and also they would know that certain segments of the populace were 'disappearing' permanently. They of course could do nothing about this (apart from a few very brave souls) for fear of their own safety.

What an absolutely horrible and vile existence. I wonder how long it took for the 'average' German to realise what they'd done by putting the Nazis into power (albeit they gained it in a somewhat underhand way).

Thanks again, phdast7 - you've got my brain cell working hard here!!

Ian.


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

T: Do you realize this is the third hottest hub on HP right now? Wow - I can say I knew you when!!! Congrats


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Diane - Thanks for your comments. There is a lot of evidence suggesting that they knew about concentration camps, but probably not the death camps. You might want to read the rest of the series. Welcome to HubPages. We are glad you joined. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Ian - Thanks for your terrific and informative comments. You are absolutely correct. Toward the end of the war the distinction between the two systems blurred and broke down.

And except for the very brave who were willing to risk their own and their families lives, there was not much they could do. Glad I could get your "brain cells working." :) Hope you come back to read more and I will be looking at your Hubs soon. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen - It took me a few minutes to figure out what you meant. I never look at that list (took me awhile to find it) because my hubs usually sit in the 60-80 range. I guess there is a first time for everything. :)

Thanks for letting me know. Otherwise I would never have known about my brief moment in the sun. :) I will never understand HP's algorithms and metrics. lol


lioneeladams profile image

lioneeladams 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Wow! Great hub! I have learned a lot! Waiting more hubs from you phdast7.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi lionee - Thanks for stopping by to read this article. I have quite a few hubs that deal with World War II and the Nazis. There isa little bit of everything on Hubpages. Welcome, by the way. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Kathleen - You have turned me into an egotistical maniac. Just checked the list and as of 4:16 am, this hub is sitting in the number one spot. I know it won't last long. :)

Why am I up at four in the morning? Good question. Three incredibly long days at school and about five hours of sleep each night. I am way too old for such nonsense. I crashed at 8pm, woke up at midnight and decided to catch up on HP. Crashing again very soon. :)


thephoenixlives profile image

thephoenixlives 4 years ago

phdast7, Thanks for such a great hub. It is great to learn history, but we also need to learn from history. One of the comments stated that some US companies were directly or indirectly involved with that regime.

Companies do not have a face, and someone said that they trusted G.W. Bush with the power given after 9-11. I do not trust anyone with that much power because of research into the Bush family.

I have read from several sources that G.W.Bush and G.H.W. Bush are direct descendants of Prescott Bush, who had assets seized during and after these events in history for funding and supporting the NAZI regime by the U.S. Government.

I was just wanting to ask if you had run across this and is there any validity to this information.

The reason I ask this is because my grandfather was a WW2 warrior that was there. My business partner's wife is German, and her mother visits them on a regular basis and went through the historical events also and has stated on several occasions while watching the news that "They done this in Germany too".

She has warned us repeatedly that the U.S. is headed down the same road as Germany did in the 30's, leading to the travesty that occurred.

Do you have any knowledge, proof or documentation of the Bush Family supporting Hitler and the Nazi regime?

Thanks in advance, you wrote a wonderful hub.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

phoenix - You are so very welcome. Thank you for your encouraging comments and great response. I was unaware of the connection between the Prescott Bush (and the later Bushes), his business interests, and the Nazis. Amazing.

I have never come across any information like that, but then, hundreds of books are published on World War II and National Socialism every singe year and I maybe read 4 or 5 of them (I stay pretty busy teaching college history classes).

There is no telling what I may have missed along the way. We do know there were a lot of American businesses involved with the Germans, and a lot of money supported the Nazis.

The German lady very possibly picks up on things that most of us don't pay any attention to, and we probably should. I am concerned that as we move to the right politically we are losing freedoms and don't realize the eventual danger we may be heading toward. The political center is always a more balanced and safer place to be.

I can recommend one book, by Naomi Wolf, that examines the governmental and legal changes in America since 9/11. You might want to look at it. I think it is called "Letters to my young..." Can't seem to remember it right now, but you should have no problem finding it.

I really do appreciate your encouraging comments. When you have time, you might want to read the other hubs about this time period. I will check out your home page as well. Have a great weekend.


mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

Interesting. I'm definitely going to check out some of the sources that you have outlined here so that I can learn as much as possible about that. I knew that some of the Germans would disclaim the camps but I wondered how many would actually know that those existed.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for your comments mikey. Its hard to know for sure (and we never will) exactly what each person knew. All we can do is gather as much information as possible, analyze it and then make generalizations about what "most Germans probably knew." History is not an exact science, but we do the best we can. :)


mikeydcarroll67 4 years ago

Yea tell me about it. I have a history degree as well and about 90% of it seemed to be somebody's thoughts or opinions on a subject.


LauraGT profile image

LauraGT 4 years ago from MA

Thanks for writing about this important, and difficult, topic. It seems implausible that the Germans did not know about the camps, even if they did not know the full extent of the horror. The atrocities took place in the streets as well, and there was a clear mission to "eliminate" people. It looks like you are going to write more. I would love your thoughts on the implications of this knowledge. It was, of course, a very complicated time. What does it mean that the German people knew? Could more have been done if people had stepped up, or would they have simply been sacrificing their own lives? Do you think people would do things differently today if something this terrible happened again? Well, things this terrible are happening.... Lots of interesting stuff here!


Rusti Mccollum profile image

Rusti Mccollum 4 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

Wow! between the hub and comments, this was extremely interesting.My mother is full blooded German and was extremely young during this period of time. She would talk of the American soldiers and how good to them the soldiers were.One day, mom told me her sisters, friends and her self were playing on this big thing (she didn't know what it was,too young to know)When all of a sudden American soldiers came running across the pit and grabbed all the kids. Turns out they were playing on a LIVE missle. These brave men possibly saved their lives! I know my family members ,were glad to see the Americans jump in and stop what they could. Even my older relatives spoke very highly of the Americans showing up.Your hub reminded me of their stories.Great Hub!They always talked about how the soldiers would give them oranges, fruits candy.My relatives went without food sometimes for days.My grandfather deserted my grandma and the kids completely.My mom and siblings would beg for day old bread from the bakers.Gathering food as children from any one they could,just to stay alive.I was always told, to say anything bad about Hitler would get you killed in a heart beat.A lot if not most of the Germans disagreed with his evil but were afraid to say anything.If you said the wrong thing to the wrong person, you had every right to fear for their own lives.Let's just say, It was a horrible time in history, that should have never happened.As far as what they knew about the camps.My family and friends from that era ,knew of the camps and horrible things were going on.Not to the extent they were. You'd have to know something horrid was happening if your commander and chief will kill you, for a single bad word about him.What was he likely to do to others?They may not have known EXACTLY what was going on,but they knew with Hitler it was really bad. They had no idea HOW to stop him, without winding up dead with their entire familys.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Laura - I wrote a response to your wonderful comments and questions last night, but it seems to have disappeared. My apologies. I wanted to let you know that your questions unleashed a torrent inside of me and as I tried to respond my answer got longer and longer. In the wee hours of the morning, I finally accepted the fact that I had written a Hub. I hope you don't mind that I referenced you and your questions in the Hub, "Grappling with...." Thanks again. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Rusti - Thank you for your positive and encouraging comments. Since your mother is German and her family lived in Germany and survived the Nazis and has first-hand knowledge, have any of them ever thought about writing down their experiences?

Has anyone in your family written an essay, a memoir, their personal reflections on living through that time? There might be a library or an archive that would be interested in preserving their stories. Of course, it is possible that it is simply too painful to contemplate. As a historian, my first thought is always too soon that people want to record their past, but of course that is not always true.

I am so glad to hear you say that your family had good experiences with the American GIs. I have read in many places that they basically liked the German people, and tried to treat them well. It is good to know that that is the truth, and that for the most part our soldiers conducted themselves honestly and were generous and kind.

I cannot imagine living with the sort of fear that they endured while the Nazis were in power. Knowing that to speak out against Hitler could mean arrest, torture, and death -- certainly would've made most people willing to be completely over media and compliant, at least in public. You had your own life and your family's life to be concerned about.

And I think you're exactly right, people knew about the camps, they knew or not these were oppressive and abusive, but most people certainly didn't have access to all the details of everything that went on, especially not what occurred in the death camps inside of Poland.

Abuse of power and tyranny is a terrible thing. We should feel grateful and blessed that we have not had to endure that. I really appreciate your comments and the fact that you felt comfortable sharing about your family.


Diane Woodson profile image

Diane Woodson 4 years ago from Evansville, Indiana

I think there are so many people affected by this that we could write about it for a long time. It is so sad that so many horrible things occurred that in turn affected and killed so many people.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Diane - Thank you for your comments. It is sad and tragic that this took place in the 20th century. Even worse, similar, but smaller in number atrocities continue to take place around the world..


Diane Woodson profile image

Diane Woodson 4 years ago from Evansville, Indiana

So true, I often wonder how people get away with being so mean to others, but Nazi Germany was worse than anything we see now, Do you agree.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

This question, which genocide o atrocity was worst comes up again and again and some people get very angry and upset about it. My response is a little different.

1) I recognize that there are some genocides I know very little about and I also did not personally suffer in any of these government persecutions, so someone else may have much stronger feelings than me.

2) Numbers are not everything, but more people died under Stalin's rule than under Hitler's, although with Stalin most deaths are incidental to hard work, physical exposure, and starvation, whereas the Nazis built an industrial system to eradicate people. We don't know all the details yet, but the numbers of foreigners ad Chinese peasants who died at the hands of the communists may be even greater.

3) There there is the Rwandan Genocide, much smaller in numbers but horrifying and gruesome because the murders were so brutal and bloody and done "up close" with machetes and guns.

We have known for a long time that poisoning someone from a distance is much easier emotionally than shooting them with a rifle, which is easier than knifing them in the chest, which is easier than beating them to death with your fists. So I think of these kinds of things when I think about mass murder and torture.

4) I always think about whether unspeakably cruel and barbaric actions happened within a primitive society or within a highly educated and supposedly Christian, modern industrial civilization.

So for me, and this is a personal judgement, not an academic or logical one, the Nazi genocide seems more horrible because (1) it took place in a modern 'civilized" Christian nation. (2) So any people participated or were at the very least collaborators. (3) The Nazi goal was far more than death -- it was humiliation, degradation, cruelty, torture, horrifying experiments, starvation...and then death. Somehow to me that seems worse,but personally I do not encourage my students to think this way and I will not permit them to argue about it.


Diane Woodson profile image

Diane Woodson 4 years ago from Evansville, Indiana

It is horrible.


David Campeau Jr profile image

David Campeau Jr 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

My girlfriend is German and is always bragging about how Germans and Germany are so great. It kind of ticks me off that she says that when just roughly 70 years ago, their entire nation stood by and let this happen! The whole country, except for the resistance enabled such wickedness to occur. She doesn't like it too much when I bring it up.

Neither does she like it when I bring up the fact that she lived in the GDR and had to wait in lines around the block just to get a few bananas (apparently bananas were super special in the GDR).


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi David - I imagine that it is irritating, but keep in mind that all these things happened many decades before she was born, and she didn't choose the country of her birth, or this terrible history. As horrified as I am about what happened in the 1930s and 1940s, I think it must be very hard to be German and have that in your past.

I don't know how they cope...maybe they cope by trying no to think about it. And most everyone loves and admires their country, their town, the people they grew up with (assuming their life was decent and they have good memories). It is probably best if the two of you don't discuss or bring those difficult things up too often.

The only comparison I can give is that many years ago I met a foreigner who constantly talked about American slavery and how corrupt and cruel southerners were, and how could they do such terrible things and pretend they believed in freedom and liberty.

It was like h held me personally responsible for that awful period in American History. And of course I thought what happened during slavery was awful and tragic and a terrible time in American history. But he kept bringing it up and it was like he wanted me to apologize and take the blame

for slavery over and over. I couldn't take it and so we have not been friends for a very long time now. :(

I really do appreciate your stopping by to read and your comments. And welcome to HubPages. I hope you find lots of interesting and enjoyable things to rad and to write about. Have a great weekend.


Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

Pavlo Badovskyy 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

I believe it is not possible to live in a country and have no idea about what happends there unless you are a 5 year old boy. The other question to what extend they might knew? How many russians you think knew about prisons at Stalins time? All. What did they know? They knew that those prisons were for enemies of Stalin! In that case their existence was morally and mentally approved.


vims003 profile image

vims003 4 years ago from india

its looks interesting,informative...so deep and clear ...and excellent....


nancynurse profile image

nancynurse 4 years ago from Southeast USA

MY Husband had distant german ancestors and it really bothers me that may have known what was going on and not spoken out. Of course I know there was fear and it is impossible to know the exact ages but after visiting Dachau I can only wonder how you could miss the smell and not wonder what your government was doing. Any insight on your part is very welcomed.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Pavlo - I completely agree with you. I do not think it is possible to "not know." How much one knows and when they found out might be areas worth researching, and of course many people have. It is useful and good for us who never lived in the Soviet Union, to hear the truth from someone who did. I appreciate your direct comments about what people knew who lived under the Stalinist regime.

Thank you for taking the time to read this essay and for your comments. Take care.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

vims003 - Thank you you for your thoughtful and generous comment. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and read. Hope you have a great weekend.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

nancy - I am sure that it is troubling. You are right of course, they could not miss the smells and sights because they were spread all over Germany. But they did live in terrible, terrible fear ll the time.

The camps were started as soon as Hitler came to power and the only people sent there at first were criminals and political enemies (mostly communists and socialists). So it was easy for most people to think it didn't concern them (although a lot of Germans immigrated (until 38/39 when it was no longer possible) and then when the true horrors became known they were deathly afraid of being arrested themselves.

It was a very difficult time and similar things have happened and still happen all over the world. Thank you so much for your comments.


Kebennett1 profile image

Kebennett1 4 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

Hmmm. A case of the three Monkeys: Hear no evil, See no evil and Speak no evil! Great research and interesting. Voted Up!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Kebennett1 - I never had anyone make reference to the Three Monkeys, but boy is it appropriate. Thanks for the votes and the positive comments.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 4 years ago from Canada

will you have more authors whom you can write about I've never heard much about fieg- except on goodreads, but were there others (such as them?) who did write books? Very interesting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Rebecca -

Thank you for visiting and commenting on the hub. Because this was "original" research for a history dissertation (Emory University), I relied mostly on "primary sources - diaries, letters, veterans surveys, and lots of military reports, documents, etc., that were sent back to Army headquarters in Washington, from 1943-1947 (80% of my source material).

I used books for background material and to situate the individual veteran's stories in a larger historical frame work. Then of course I went on to teach European history, including the Holocaust for 18 years...so I can give you a list of very solid books, some are easy to read and some difficult. I will put ** in front of the books that I think are most accessible for the general reader.

Now that I have responded to your question, I think I will post most of my extended Bibliography of Secondary Sources as a Hub, in case there are others who would like to pursue some aspect of this topic. I won't be posting my list of primary sources (20+ pages) because there is no way to access them without visiting 12 different historical archives. Thank you for giving me the idea to do this. I hope this list is helpful.

Dr. Theresa L. Ast

**Abzug, Robert H. Inside the Vicious Heart: Americans and the Liberation of Nazi Concentration Camps. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

**Bridgman, Jon. The End of the Holocaust: The Liberation of the Camps. Portland, Oregon: Areopagitica Press, 1990.

**Dawidowicz, Lucy S. The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1975. (long, very thorough, pretty easy to read)

Feig, Konnelyn G. Hitler's Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness. New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1981.

Gilbert, Martin. Exile and Return. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1978. (Bergen-Belsen).

Lipstadt, Deborah E. Beyond Belief: The American Press and The Coming of The Holocaust, 1933-1945. New York: Free Press, 1986.

McMahon, Gerald. Farthest East: A History of the 71st Infantry Division. Le Roy, New York: Yaderman Books, 1986.

**Selzer, Michael. Deliverance Day: The Last Hours of Dachau. Philadelphia?New York: J.B. Lippencott, 1978.


cynthtggt profile image

cynthtggt 4 years ago from New York, NY

As one of your references "Hitler's Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness" refers, the silence grows when "collectivism" makes an appearance that normalizes people's prejudicial attitude. As one your commentators noted, "Never again. Never again." And let us not forget how the years following World War I provided the political fodder that allowed one like Hitler to rise up in the first place.


toggy profile image

toggy 4 years ago

All Germans knew what was happening around them. Of course they will deny it but sure thing is that they knew. It is right in their noses that would be impossible unless they were blind or something


Rusti Mccollum profile image

Rusti Mccollum 4 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

My mom does keep journals about growing up during that time. Someday she says because her spelling sucks lol she wants me to write a book about her life and living there.She talks about it to me though,has since I was a kid.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

cynth - Thanks for taking time to read this Hub and for leaving such thoughtful comments. Much appreciated.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

toggy - I think thy knew, the question is how much they knew, when they knew, and the fear and pressure they lived under because of the SS and the Gestapo. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Rusti - Well then you had better get ready to write a book. :) Your mother is a great first person - primary resource. And I think family history can be so meaningful. Right now I am working on editing a volume of my grandmother's poetry. Have a great weekend. :)


Jessie Whitmire profile image

Jessie Whitmire 4 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

I just recently saw a play called "Letter to Sala" and it recounted a young girls journey through work camps which were not as bad as the concentration camps but were still imprisionment where the occupants were forced to work. When she left to go to the first camp she did not seem to know it would be for imprisonment. I wonder how much the Jews knew in the beginning about what was really going on?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Very interesting. I have never heard of the play, but I think the idea that she did not "know" at the beginning is very accurate. Two things come to mind: First, Jews had been off again, on again persecuted (pogroms) for centuries.

As horrifying as these event were (houses were burned, people were murdered) they were always local, one town or village, and usually very short lived, two days to two weeks. Then things would settle down. Most Jews thought that Nazi behavior and policies were part of that larger pattern - Christian anti-Semitism.

Second, the Nazis were masters of propaganda and misinformation. They had a neutral and deceptive euphemism for everything. One example: "Re-location" Well they were being relocated, but they were told it was to labor on farms - very few knew they were being transported to death camps.

After 1943 a few people knew what was really happening deep inside of Poland. But when they told their neighbors the response was usually, "You are mistaken, that is just craziness, no government would do that...and besides we are the Nazis labor force. They can't afford to get rid us, the German economy is based on our labor." It is complicated and very tragic. Thank you so much for your comments.


Dorina88 4 years ago

Yes, we must remember, and we must be very careful not to repeat it. No more wars!!!

http://www.lajm-shqip.com


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Dorina88 - Thank you for reading the essay and I appreciate that you took time to leave a comment. Have a good day.


Louise Jeffers 4 years ago

Hi, My Dad was a WWII vet Third Armored Division. I found evidence that he may have taken part in your survey but I'm not sure if it was yours or it was another one. He was writing to 'Miss Ast'. His name was Henry Soderberg. If he did, I'd love to have a copy of what he sent you. He died 2/14/2010. Thanks, Louise


PenHitsTheFan profile image

PenHitsTheFan 4 years ago from Home

Great job covering the Germans. But let's not let the world forget what Japan did during the war too. My Grandpa was a paratrooper during WWII rescuing POWS from Los Banos (an island occupied by Japan). The torture those poor people endured was absoluteley repulsive and he was tortured by those memories until he passed away.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Pen - Thanks for yourcomments. I am aware of the terrible atrocities practiced bythe Japanes,but I fweel it is unwise to try to cover every area of the world, every war or every atrocity in a single essay or paper. This Hub is about the Germans because that is whatI have studied and what I know.

There are lots of things I don't write about because I don't know enough and I hope someone else will. With your grandfather's experience and history, you would be an ideal person to do a hub on the Japanese during WW II. Maybe you should do the research and write the Hub. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Louise, I am so sorry for the loss of your father. I know how hard that is, my father an Air Force Veteran passed away December 2010. I had to do a bit of searching to find your father's name (there are over 500 veteran’s names listed in the back of my dissertation.)

Mr. Soderberg, did not fill out a survey questionnaire for me, for the Crawford, Witness to the Holocaust Project at Emory University. However, long before I started working on the liberator projects at Emory, your father and many other veterans completed a survey conducted by the United States Army.

It was called the World War II Survey Questionnaire, and they are located at the United States Army Military History Institute, which is in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania. The purpose of the survey as I'm sure you can imagine, was to gather as much information as possible from the World War II veterans before it was too late. The survey asked all kinds of questions about their military service and experience.

I wish I could remember specifically if your father and I corresponded, but I worked with the questionnaires, surveys, tape recordings, letters, and photographs of over 500 veterans.

What was interesting, and which might explain why your father had my name, was that if I did conduct an Emory University Questionnaire with a veteran, they often either wrote to or talked to other veterans they were in touch with, about me and the project.

In fact, I think one of the veterans mentioned all the questionnaires at Carlisle Barracks. Otherwise, I would never have known about them because I lived in Georgia.

I am privileged and only too glad to say this about all of the many, many veterans whom I have talked to, who wrote wonderful letters to me, who shared their personal war-time pictures, letters, memoirs, and memorabilia with me, were incredibly thoughtful, generous, kind, and helpful. They were everything we think about, when we think about the soldiers of the "Greatest Generation."

I don't have a copy of his questionnaire because they did not allow us to make copies. They allowed me to see them and make handwritten notes in pencil. I no longer have those pencil scribbled notes, which ended up filling eight shoe boxes, as I completed my dissertation 15 years ago.

I don't know where you live, if you are close enough to make a trip to Carlisle Barracks. But if not, I suggest writing the archivist in charge of MHI, explaining who you are, that your father a World War II veteran recently passed away, and ask them to make a copy of his questionnaire and mail it to you.

There might be a small charge for the copying expenses, but I'm not sure. Since he was a veteran and you were his family, they might do it for free. I had to pay for anything that I copied -- letters and reports -- but that is understandable because I was doing a research project.

I wish I could be of more help and I'm very glad you contacted me and I hope that Carlisle Barracks will be able and willing to provide you with your father's information.

My condolences to your family and please convey to them the enormous respect and gratitude, that so many of us feel, for the men (and women) who fought in World War II. Thank you. Theresa

P.S. I often use comments or questions that people write to me, to create new hubs and essays. I would like to do that with your request and my reply. I think we all need to remember our WW II veterans and especially remember that as they pass on, they are leaving beloved families behind. I hope you do not mind. Sincere,y, Theresa Ast

P.P.S. I actually did get your comment yesterday. But I am teaching two days a week this summer and they are eleven hour days and I just didn't have the energy to get much done last might. :) But I am glad you joined HP. There are quite a few people on here who write World War II history. Of course there are all kinds of arttcles, essays, poems and stories on HP. Welcome.


Theresa 4 years ago

I have a letter here that Dad started to write to you, but I am guessing he never sent it. We live outside of Philadelphia so I will check out the Carlisle connection as soon as I can. It's not close by but it's in the state!! I am looking forward to reading more on the site as I loved to hear Dad's stories about the war. He didn't say a lot, but I did videotape him for 8 hours about 3 months before he died. We made a 30 minute video - you can google it under Henry D. Soderberg if you have time. Thanks for the information, Theresa!!


louisejeffers 4 years ago

sorry I posted incorrectly last time; i put theresa's name on the post instead of my own. I'll get the hang of it. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Louise- Its not a problem at all/ :) I knew what you meant. And you will get the hang of it. It takes all of us a while to figure it out. Have a great weekend.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Louise - You might want to read the comments to the Essay I posted about our correspondence. A number of the commenters have said very positive things about our WW II veterans, and one lady, Patriette sent her condolences to you on the loss of your father.

After logging in to HP, search for phdast7, then select "Writing to a Veteran's Daughter." It should be one of the first few articles listed. Theresa


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Louise - I am so glad you live in the state. Wonderful! When you go to MHI ask to search the WW II Survey materials, but also ask them to help you search other materials to see if there are any in your father's name. When I was there I found that some veterans, sometimes their families, had donated WW II letters, army bulletins, reports, personal memoirs, pictures, all sorts of thing. Its possible, a remote chance admittedly, but possible that your father or other soldiers in the 3rd Armored Division might have donated some things. I wish you the best of luck. Theresa


handymanbill profile image

handymanbill 4 years ago from western pennsylvania

Great hub. I was always interested in WW II. My dad told me a lot about his adventures that he had. He served in the Merchant Marines on Gasoline Tankers. He had one that was shot out from underneath him, only a few people survived that. Floated around in the Med. for a couple days waiting to be rescued. He would never get in water over his head after that! He told how a British Destroyer found him and he had his only drink of Alcohol in his whole life, when they plucked him out of the water they gave a medicinal Drink. Oh well again great hub.


Pamela Kinnaird W profile image

Pamela Kinnaird W 4 years ago from Maui and Arizona

This is so well presented and I really enjoyed and appreciated reading your bibliographical sources. I have a question for you which I will email to you.

Several of my husband's lineages came down from the Netherlands into Prussia, Poland, Russia and finally into Germany -- over a period of almost 500 years. During World War II my husband's great-grandparents were sent to Siberia -- to a camp of which we do not know the name -- and they never returned.

Very well done hub! Voting up and away.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi handyman bill - Oh what stories your father must have told... and two days in the water! Amazing. We definitely share a big interest in World War II. Thanks for reading and commenting. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you Pamela. I do try to make sure there are solid foot notes and bibliographic sources on some of my Hubs. Its amazing that you know so much about your distant family and their travels. How terrible that the great grandparents were taken away and never seen again. How awful such a tragedy must be for those who survive. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Hope you are having a good week.


Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

There are many people who deny the holocaust ever happened. Even with all the evidence. There is so much evidence and they still say it did not happen.. The Holocaust Denier. I don't understand them. You show them evidence and they say, the picture could be fake! it is crazy.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Michele - I don't understand the Deniers either, even though have studied the Holocaust for a very long time. It is crazy. I guess I keep writing and teaching to try and reach (not the Deniers) but those people who are on the fence so to speak. Either they aren't sure or don't know or have never thought about it much. I guess to persuade them and to honor the dead...is why I keep writing. Thanks for taking the time to read and cmment.


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 4 years ago from Singapore

The German people certainly knew about the death camps. But they are gone into the dustbin of history. Let us insure that they do not happen again. However not likely as man has a beast in him as well.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello MG. Nice to meet you. The potential baseness of mankind's nature and character is certainly a concern for us all. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Npainte1 4 years ago

Hitler was a horrible guy and it's amazing to me that millones of people just allowed him to do what he did just because they bought into his ideas. It's scary to think that people can be the easily swayed to have an extermination of an entire race.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you for your comments Npainte 1. Hitler was indeed a terrible leader and a terrible human being. And it is very frightening that populations buy into propaganda and can be so easily swayed.


cherylvanhoorn profile image

cherylvanhoorn 4 years ago from Sydney

Great piece, well written. Looking forward to the next one.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you so Cheryl. I appreciate your encouraging comments. I have already posted quite a few essays on Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, but right now I am working on some other topics as well.

Welcome to HP and enjoy reading and writing. :)


Wm. 4 years ago

My oma was born in Kassel in 1922, lived in Bremen, moved to America in the Fifties. She said she knew about what was going on as soon as Hitler came to power. She claimed it was obvious and clear and permeated every bit of the German culture.

Anecdotal evidence sure, but if an 11 year old girl got the gist, what could be holding back others from getting it?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi Wm. Nice to meet you. I would actually say that your Oma's comments are not anecdotal, but a valuable historical first-person eye-witness account. We historians are thrilled when we can find several first-person accounts which confirm each other. Then we know we have "Real History."

Your question is a good one. If an 11 year old girl got it, there is no rational reason for them not to. These people are seeking attention sometimes or like provoking others. It is hard to fully grasp why they say the things they do. Thanks for your comments and for sharing about your Oma. She was there; she knows the truth. Take care.


W.Steffen 4 years ago

countrymen ,and facing horrible punnishment if caught.

I think that people saying these horrible things will never happen again should study human nature more carefully,in thes e times there are again lotts of people blindly following "" leaders"" of some sort ,mostly people incapable of seing things in the right perspective,sadly enough this even happens in the Netherlands .

Will men ever learn ? i don''t think so ,or am i overly pessimestic......?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi W. Steffen - People do need to study history more carefully and be aware of what has happened in the past and is happening around the world right now. Human nature is tricky, many of us could be saints, but we can also be persuaded to cruel and destructive things. I wish I could say you were overly pessimistic, but I feel quite pessimistic myself at times. Thank you so much for your comments. Hope you have a great week.


nickwin profile image

nickwin 4 years ago from Renton, Washington

I'm glad to meet a fellow historian here on HubPages. World War II (the Pacific Theater in particular) is my area of concentration for my Master's Degree. I loved your Hub and I can't wait to read more!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Nice to meet you as well. Oh, good, because I know so little about the Pacific Theater. :) Rushing out the door to teach summer classes, 2 1/2 hours of Western Civilization and War and Society just now. Will look forward to future conversations about out work. :)

PS You have probably already figured this out, but if you will pay attention to who comments on my work - on anyone's work actually, you will find a number of historians and other intelligent and well read people. They are the ones who leave lengthy and interesting comments, as opposed to the "Great hub!" comments. :)


GClark profile image

GClark 4 years ago from United States

Excellent hub about a topic that reminds us of a terrible time in world history. I first visited Munich, Germany in the late 60s (about 20 years after the end of World War II) and had just completed reading the Rise & Fall of the 3rd Reich. Everywhere I went constantly reminded me of the atrocities and lives lost. Meeting people who had grown up at that time and whose parents for sure knew what was going on was especially painful. Talk about revisionist history! Jews and gypsies along with the handicapped and mentally ill obviously weren't considered human.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I appreciate your comments GC. Shirer is a good writer. I cannot imagine traveling across Germany after having just finished the book. I would think meeting people committed a personal revisionist view of their history was extremely difficult. Tragically, they were not considered human. Thank you for reading and commenting.


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 4 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

Very interesting stuff here! Thanks for writing. I will let this info settle before moving on to subsequent articles. Voted up.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you so much mythbuster. I appreciate your comments, It ih heavy and somber material, but I feel it is wirth writing about and because this was my area of specialization in graduate school, it is also well documented. It took me awhile to learn to write for HP "without footnotes." :) Hope you have a good weekend.


vibesites profile image

vibesites 4 years ago from United States

Excellent hub, very well written. :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you vibesites. I appreciate the visit and the comments. The Holocaust is the focus for a lot of my essays, since it is what I teach,but I do write on other topics as well.

Welcome to HubPages. :)


oceansider 4 years ago

I have read your hub and found it extremely interesting. Personally, I believe there must have been some Germans who did know about the death camps, because they would have smelled the horrible stench coming from those places.

I do agree, that the German people had to have been living in constant fear for their lives and therefore, this had to be why no one spoke out while it was all going on, because they knew they also might have been put to death in these camps if they were against what Hitler was doing to the Jews. The Holocaust has to be the most horrible thing that has ever happened, and yet there are some people who actually deny it happened....they must be "out of it" if they say it did not happen!


Top Rated Recipes profile image

Top Rated Recipes 4 years ago

Interesting!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Oceansider - Thanks for reading and commenting. It is good to hear from people who understand what really happened, how much the Germans knew - a lot, and how difficult it was for them to oppose the Nazis. A terrible time for everyone except the national Socialist leadership. Just like you, I find the deniers and revisionists unfathomable. I appreciate your visit. Have a good week.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Top Rated - Thanks for reading and commenting. Many thanks.


Astheart 4 years ago

Being a child I met and talked to several people who were lucky and came back from Buchenwald and Oswiecim-Treblinka. Wish all young people had such an opportunity. Several years ago I visited Oswiecim together with two friends of mine, one English and the other Danish. The guys went into the place a saw all the evidence and cried, yes, really cried fro the whole day then.....


justgrace1776 profile image

justgrace1776 4 years ago

I really can't believe that people still claim the Holocaust didn't happen, even after all the documentaries and facts, including the Holocaust museum. To this day, and I know I shouldn't be, I'm amazed by ignorance of this level.

Kudos to you, I think the piece is great, and an education for some of us. My stepmother is from Germany, and when she was a small girl, she and her friends made a pact not to have children because the world is so cruel. She never had children.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

I too wish everyone, especially young people, had the opportunity to talk with survivors...they make the incomprehensible real. But there are few left and son there won't be any and all we will have is their testimony. I am not surprised that your two friends cried; it is overwhelming to think about and see evidence of such cruelty, such brutality. I appreciate your comments.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

justgrace - It is hard to believe that there are still people who claim the holocaust is a myth or a hoax, but there are...I have had the misfortune to even meet some of them in person. Wow! What a testimony to the horrors and cruelties of that time that your stepmother and her girl friends felt the need to make and keep such a pact. Terribly sad..

Thank you for sharing some family history with us and for your encouraging comments. I appreciate them. :)


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

phdast7, I recently wrote some fiction in which one of the main characters idolized Adolf Hitler. In my very minuscule amount of research, I read about mind control, called mass hypnosis by some. What part might this have played in the lives of those German civilians and in their denial of any knowledge of the concentration camps? Very interesting material. Thank you.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hi cam - I have actually never come across any scholarly materials that referenced mind control or mass hypnosis. That doesn't mean those materials do not exist, but I am not familiar with them. What I have read a great deal about is the "combination of a national depression and sense of inferiority that many Germans felt after being defeated in WW I and Hitler's incredibly powerful and persuasive speeches.

I have seen old newsreels and to me he sounds and looks like a lunatic...but, I know what he did, I see the whole terrible history and my tastes were shaped by the final half of the 20th century. The Germans did not know what was to come and their tastes were shaped by the end of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century. And they wanted change, a strong leader, an energetic man who would promise to take them back to their golden glory days and Hitler told them over and over that they had been cheated at Versailles and he would restore their greatness. Powerful words for a struggling nation. There is more, but I have to go grade papers. :)


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

I hope the paper grading is going well. I think the sources that I read were talking about Hitlers persuasiveness and use of repetition in speeches when they wrote of mass hypnosis and mind control. anyway, this is very interesting. Your writing is so easy to follow and understand. Thanks for writing so much. I will enjoy it all I am sure.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

The paper grading is going...and going. :) Its like washing dishes or making beds...no matter how many times you do it, there is no end to it. A lot of life is like that. :)

Set in context, I understand what your sources were referring to. He was a very compelling and exciting speaker to the people of his day. They liked that he was one of them, a lowly corporal, an average guy, not an aristocrat; he spent a great deal of time in front of mirrors practicing his gestures and timing them to the content of his speech. And apparently he was brilliant at adjusting his speeches to suit the audience...workers, unemployed, industrialists, etc. I look forward to reading some of your work when the grading avalanche slows a little. :)


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

My wife was an eighth grade science teacher. I always tried to help with grading the objective parts of tests. I agree....endless. She liked to give essay questions though, so she graded those. The writing I did that involved Hitler is a novella which I pulled from HP. If you ever want to look at it, I have it on my blog. That is a lot of reading though as it is 26,000 words.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

cam - My father did the same thing for my mother many, many years ago. She was an elementary English teacher and the grading never seemed to end. But like your wife I use essay questions 90% of the time. :) You wrote a 26000word Novella about Hitler. I am impressed! Actually, I would be impressed if you wrote 26000 words about anything! :) Maybe this summer when my teaching load is cut in half, I can find time to read it. Thanks for offering. :)


cam8510 profile image

cam8510 4 years ago from Columbus, Georgia until the end of November 2016.

phdast7, the novella is not actually about Hitler. It is about a very disturbed man who, in our day, idolizes Hitler to the point that he takes up the mantle of Hitlers cause. The problem for him is that he chooses to try to carry this out in a small town in the desert southwest. Enough said. I bring Hitler into it at several points and learned a bit that I never knew. It was fun to write and if nothing else it has prepared me to do a more serious work in the future. Thanks for your interest.


web watcher 3 years ago

Very wonderful post. I really liked reading it. Do you mind if I share this on mywebsite? Thank you so much. Reg Zooka


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thanks for the encouraging comments web watcher. Yes you may share it on your website and thanks for asking.

Hope you are having a good week.


Marie1Anne 3 years ago

I would really like Germans living in the Third Reich to talk about it openly. I'm not sure they are to blame for what has happened. The Jews were quite clearly pointed out as enemies long before WW2, as the ones responsible for Germany losing the WWI and its economical situation, as the ones inferior to the Aryan race. He was talking about getting rid of them, but first it was executed rather as an restriction of an economical and social activity, I'm not sure people realised he ment systematical physical liquidation, Hitler himself ordered the "final solution" in 1941. Even some Jews themselves did not believe they were in any real danger. As someone else said in the comment, before it all started, it was already too late. You could not notice your neighbours and family friends disappearing, people living near the camps just had to know those people coming in the trains were diying there. But what were they supposed to do ? Due to the Third Reich law if you helped the Jew, you were simply shot. I would applaud those who risked their life (like Irena Sendler) to help, but can you really blame those who did not have the courage ?


mercuryservices profile image

mercuryservices 3 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

Awesome research and great to have a fresh perspective on a real topic.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Marie - Thank you for your comments. My responses are below.

I would really like Germans living in the Third Reich to talk about it openly. ---- Most of the Germans who were alive during the Third Reich have now died and most of them have not been eager to talk about it, not unlike the fact that slavery is not most American’s favorite topic ----

I'm not sure people realised he ment systematical physical liquidation, Hitler himself ordered the "final solution" in 1941. ---- Of course many people did not know at first, but eventually almost everyone knew that something was terribly wrong, even if they did not know about the Death camps in Poland. There were thousands of concentration camps and prisons built all over Germany. ----

Even some Jews themselves did not believe they were in any real danger. ---- I am not sure the historical facts support your statement. By 1938 / 1939, most Jews knew they were in serious trouble, but Hitler closed the borders and would not allow them to leave. ----

You could not notice your neighbours and family friends disappearing, people living near the camps just had to know those people coming in the trains were dying there. But what were they supposed to do ? ---- I do not know what I would have done; I might have been paralyzed with fear. BUT, there were Germans who helped, who protected Jews, who resisted the Nazis, who opposed Hitler. Some of them died, but it could be done. They have my great admiration for their courage and moral fortitude. -----

Due to the Third Reich law if you helped the Jew, you were simply shot. I would applaud those who risked their life (like Irena Sendler) to help, but can you really blame those who did not have the courage ? ---- I am not sure what the point of your question is. I did not “blame” the German people. I do hold the Nazi officials responsible for what they did to the Jews, Gypsies, Poles and to their own people, their fellow Germans. -----

---- Most people join HP in order to do research and write Hubs. Are you only here to comment on other people’s work or will you be writing soon? When you write them, what subjects will your hubs focus on? -----


Marie1Anne 3 years ago

phdast7: In my comment I was giving my thoughts on the fact that the Germans after the war were blamed collectively for what happened during the war, the horrors of the camps,

I think it is not right to judge the whole nation, as I agree with you that the government is responsible for the war, not the whole nation, which included both the haters and those who risked their lives to help, both those who supported Nazi regime or disagreed with it. As to the realisation or underestimating of Hitler's and Nazi's intensions - I have already heard and read this in several documents and memoirs and I think it is an important factor in the mentality of people who were facing the 2WW. F.e. in the document Rise and Fall of the Third Reich there is a sequence quoting a Jewish university professor who thought educated Jews were not in any danger. And this is not just a case of the 2WW, even when IWW started people thought it would be soon over. Before all the horrors of holocaust began, they were all trapped - ones were told lies about being reresided to the East or resettled to ghettos because of the diseases they might spread, and those who realised (even if not to the full extent) something's wrong were too scared to act. And just to mention - even the leaders of the Warszaw ghetto's uprising were trying to get help from the outside, but they were not believed. I think this form of psychological denial (on both sides) plays an important role in those events.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Thank you mercury. There are a few of us who occasionally do extensive research. I certainly don't do it all the time - I would have to quit my day job in order to have time. I know some people are tired of what they think of as "ancient history," but to me it is still an important topic on many levels, politically, sociologically, historically, and of course, morally. Thanks for reading and commenting.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

Fascinating how we can turn the other way, pleading that ignorance is innocence. A very interesting and well-researched read! Voted up and shared.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Flourish - It is fascinating and simultaneously horrifying that humanity can s often turn away and plead ignorance. And certainly the Holocaust is not the only time it has happened, but it is perhaps the most egregious example of the twentieth century that took place in the supposedly civilized heart of Europe! Thank you for your generous comments. I am not a fanatical researcher about everything, but when it comes to this historical rupture, I am. Take care.


me277 3 years ago

wow! am going to be nicer to some Jews. thank you


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Tank you for reading and commenting me 277. Take care.


Eloise Sims 3 years ago

Hi pdhdast. I'm a history student in New Zealand researching the extent of German citizens knowledge of the "Final Solution". Could I ask- what sources did you use to write this article? I attempt to click on the footnotes but it merely redirects me to the hubpages homepage. I would be so grateful if you could shed any light on this, it would be immensely helpful to my research :)


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Eloise -

My apologies for taking so long to respond. I just turned in final semester grades for all my college course yesterday. Almost a hundred students -- I thought I would never be through grading. The article is taken from a chapter in my dissertation (about what Germans did and did not know and what they claimed to know), completed 16 years ago. I recently published the dissertation in book form which has pages and pages of primary and secondary bibliographic citations. The book, Confronting the Holocaust: American Soldiers Enter Concentration Camps," is available through Amazon under Theresa Ast.

It is soft cover and fairly inexpensive. I published it this year because researchers wanting a copy, would contact me from time to time and the only copies available were from a University Microfilm Companies and were terribly expensive. The book available through Amazon will have all the sources I used and it is thoroughly footnoted. Perhaps that will be of help to you. Good luck with your research and studies. Theresa Ast


ed 2 years ago

Is the nazi policies during WW2 taught in German schools?


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

ed - I have no expertise in terms of the current German educational system. However, West Germany made sure that there were many memorials to the victims of the Holocaust and my guess is that they cover Hitler and Nazi Period adequately in their textbooks, but do not dwell on it to the exclusion of the rest of German history, which seems about right. Interesting question.


2 years ago

Jews are


MvdG 20 months ago

I just like to add my "two cents", if you will. I was born in Germany, and I was a young child living in the Ruhr Valley, far away from Dachau. My father, who, by the way, was NOT a Nazi, was drafted into the army to fight for Hitler, as did every other young man, Nazi or not. Needless to say he got killed when I was six months old (also needless to say that no one could hate Hitler more than I). Sometimes I heard my mom or grand dad, or neighbors sort of whisper about things they had heard that were going on. Mind you, at that time, no one had TV to spread the word. Dachau was far away from where we lived. The world must not forget that Hitler and his cohorts conducted a lot of their operations in secrecy. If some townsfolk around Dachau suspected anything -and perhaps they did, hence the stench from the ovens and other ominous signs- will anyone please tell me what an individual or even a group could have done? Hitler held absolute power, and it took the combined power of the allies to destroy him. Some brave individuals had tried to assassinate Hitler, notably Hohenstaufen. There was Georg Elsner, there was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but most famously the student group "The White Rose". If you ever care to read about them, you will find out about their fate too. I am in no way trying to whitewash what Hitler and his cohorts did, but the German populace as a whole should not be held responsible for what one deranged individual did (who wasn't even German, to remind you). You, as Americans, look at your own recent history, when a certain president invaded an innocent country and bombed the h... out of it, killing thousands. Are you all taking the blame for it? Think about it!!


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 19 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Hello Mvd- Thank you for writing. I am very slow in responding, I fell and injured my knee two weeks ago and have spent the last two weeks in a wheelchair or trying to hobble around with a walker. X-rays, MRIs and so forth, but I am on the road to recovery now.

Mvd -Sometimes I heard my mom or grand dad, or neighbors sort of whisper about things they had heard that were going on. Mind you, at that time, no one had TV to spread the word. Dachau was far away from where we lived. The world must not forget that Hitler and his cohorts conducted a lot of their operations in secrecy.

TLA – I always emphasize to my students that Europe was a different world then, no internet, no TV, radio and newspapers largely controlled by the Nazis. And much was done in secret, which explains why six Death Camps were established in Poland.

Mvd - If some townsfolk around Dachau suspected anything -and perhaps they did, hence the stench from the ovens and other ominous signs- will anyone please tell me what an individual or even a group could have done? Hitler held absolute power, and it took the combined power of the allies to destroy him.

TLA - I think it was very difficult to do very much. But we should not believe or pretend that it was impossible. That would be a great injustice to the many people who did oppose Hitler and the Nazis, who created undergrounds, made crude weapons, and did try to rescue and help others escape. They did exist and many of them paid with their lives.

Mvd - Some brave individuals had tried to assassinate Hitler, notably Hohenstaufen. There was Georg Elsner, there was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, but most famously the student group "The White Rose". If you ever care to read about them, you will find out about their fate too.

TLA - I teach my students about Hohenstaufen and the courageous university students of The White Rose and many others as well. To put my work in perspective, what youread was a short excerpt form a 340 page dissertation I wrote 15 years ago. Since then I have been teaching Western Civilization, and the Holocaust at a small university.

Mvd - The German populace as a whole should not be held responsible for what one deranged individual did (who wasn't even German, to remind you). You, as Americans, look at your own recent history, when a certain president invaded an innocent country and bombed the h... out of it, killing thousands. Are you all taking the blame for it? Think about it!!

TLA - Interesting comparison. And yes, in newspapers, magazines, world opinion and the international press --- we have had to take the blame for it. Even though so many of us never voted for that president and did not support his actions. Yes, we have been blamed and we probably should be. We should have done more, protested, spoken up, created a huge political outcry. Both of our countries have things for which we should be ashamed (not personally) in a general sense. We can only hope that we will get better at resisting wrong headed government intentions before it is too late.

Thank you for your comments. Theresa Ast (German and Polish ancestry)


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 13 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Hello Theresa, my first mother-in-law came from Berlin (her second husband, my father-in-law was with the British Army). She'd been made to go to the nearest camp to where she lived in Germany, and told me that the Allies had put the camps together to make the Germans look bad. That went down like a stone balloon, you can believe.

Many Germans who lived near the camps were willing to put their knowledge of them out of their thoughts from fear of being put there themselves.

However, even with an active Underground, by May 1945 most were complicit in what went on. One Jewish survivor said that when he was on a (cattle) train bound for Poland he begged for water from a passer-by when they stopped inside Germany. He was told, 'Jew, how come you are not dead yet?'

I rest my case.


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 2 months ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

Alan -

Your case is well stated. I agree with you. Thank you so much for commenting and I am sorry for not responding a long,long time ago. Blessings!


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 2 months ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Another snippet, Theresa: Through reading German Lorenz (Wehrmacht) signals Bletchley Park had made No. 10 (Winston Churchill) aware of what happened within German occupied territory. The British public was not made aware of what the Nazis were doing until later in WWII, precisely to avoid Goebbels using this knowledge to tell the world that the Allies only went to war on the Jews' behalf. Churchill's aim - made public - was to 'smash Hitler and erase all traces of his very existence'.

The British public was generally aware that the Nazis had demonised the Jews. My Dad enlisted in the Army before his call-up papers came in 1941 because as he put it (not verbatim), 'the local newsagent was Jewish, and he sold cigarettes cheaper because of the poor financial state of most of his customers in the pre-war depression'.

He was 18 at the time, and saw action in Iraq*, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Sicily and Italy before he was 22.

*A pro-Nazi rising against the British took place in Iraq in 1942


phdast7 profile image

phdast7 8 weeks ago from Atlanta, Georgia Author

What a varied war experience your father had and before he was even 22. Hard to even imagine. What you say about Churchill and the British public makes sense. There are plenty of documents that make it clear that FDR and the State Department new the nature of the catastrophe in Europe quite sometime before information began to filter out to the general public.


alancaster149 profile image

alancaster149 8 weeks ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

Germans weren't just aware of what had been done to the Jews, they also had guilty feelings about the Poles and Russians. From 1939-40 there was a Polish Brigade attached to the British Army, with their own officers and NCOs, and they took part in the invasion of Italy as well as of France from 1944.

Shortly after D-Day, a British 'squaddie' [soldier] remembered, a wounded SS soldier - ex-Hitler Youth - was taken prisoner by the British [information gleaned from a TV programme about D-Day survivors]. Stretcher bearers were sent for, to take him to the nearest first aid post or military hospital. When they arrived they bent down to lift him onto the stretcher. When he saw the regimental flashes on one man's shoulder, red and white for the Polish Brigade, he backed away, scared they might finish him off. Anyway they took him back to the first aid post, but what happened after that the soldier didn't know and is anyone's guess.

Russians who captured SS soldiers hanged them straight away. The French offered an alternative. Either they could enlist in the Foreign Legion or die there and then. Many ex-SS were killed in the French war in the Far East with the Viet Minh [that snippet of information comes from a book I read that followed the fortunes of one after he was captured in Alsace].


MaxxMurxx 7 weeks ago

We live in a time of mass communication. Read my comment below and tell me, what YOU knew about it. Then call again:

My German parents were born in 1919 and 1920. Around them many children were still dying from malnutrition caused by the British Hunger Blockade. That blockade, already a war crime during the war, became a crime against humanity after on Nov. 11, 1918., the date of the armistice, when all belligerents were supposed to lay down weapons and cease hostilities. Not so the British, who carried out what was published in the British Medical Journal of 1902: the protein/Carbohydrate quotients at which: all people die on starvation/ all people survive but pregnancies are terminated by infant death/ all people survive. Those experiences were gathered by British Physicians during the Bengal famines, where the British Empire deliberately had starved "some Millons" of Indians. As a consequence the British Navy shot even on German fish trawlers in German coastal waters. That destroyed the last protein resources of the German empire, where already 3000 civilians were starving PER DAY. Under the pressure of that Genocide the new German government in June 1919 signed the "Versailles Paper", obliging them to pay "reparations" equaling the value of 60% of all gold ever mined, as laid down in 1922 by the "League of Nations Reparation Commission" under Lord Balfour. That Lord Balfour also was vice chief of the British "Versailles Treaty Reparations Commission" and together with Chaim Weiman and Woodrow Wilson in November 1917 had published the "Balfour Declarartion", the reward for the Zionists for dragging the USA into WWI. The Balfour declaration offered Palestine to the Zionists for settlements. The German Foreign secretary and financial deputy of the German Zionist Association, Arthur Zimmermann, priorly had sent his bogus Zimmermann telegram, which enabled Woodrow Wilson in May 1917 to declare war against Germany. (The notoriouis sinking of the LUSITANIA had been in April 1915). Later, for having learned that millions of Germans had died for Palestine to be a new homeland for the Zionsts, Adolf Htitler signed the HAAVARA- or Transfer-Agreement with Zionsist,which enabled German Jews to emigrate to Palestine taking with them all of their assets. The German population however was held as hostage for the immense reparation payments, as only 100 000 soldiers, half the size of the Army of Switzerland, Switzerland being smaller than the City of New York, had been allowed to protect them, even civilian air shelters were not allowed to be built. That pillage and plundering of the German nation, based on a cotract, being enforced by genocide and the hostage situation enforced on the German people made the next generation elect the one who stood up against that crime without precedent and when they lost their fight, psychological warfare made them accepting to be guilty of all crimes committed against themselves. Concerning their "knowledge" of atrocities in the East it must be kept in mind that concentration camps frequently had been closed for quarantine, due to typhus. Typhus, in German "Fleckfieber" is a general disease with a mortality of more than 60%. Those surviving typhs have a short phase of horror trip like hallucinations, which contrary to all other psychotic or schizophrenic memories are stored in the memory of reality. That means: nearly 100% of survivor memories are polluted by horror trip like hallucinations being memorized as having occured in reality. As long as historians do not comment which of those have been real and which have been hallucination, forgive me not discussing that subject. As long as Germans pay for those it also shouldn‘t be necessary for the parties on the receiving end.

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