Would you murder Hitler?
(Source / Link: http://www.zeitklicks.de/nationalsozialismus/zeitklicks/zeit/verführung/)
When the Nazis brought the Communists in, I was silent, I wasn't a Communist.
When they locked up the Social Democrats, I was silent, because I wasn't a Social Democrat.
When they called the trade unionists, I was silent, I wasn't a trade unionist.
When they came for me, there was no one left to protest.
Quote from Pastor Martin Niemöller
The National Socialists viewed physically and mentally handicapped people as so-called "unworthy life", that is, life that, according to their understanding, was actually not allowed to live. It disturbed them in building up their master race, which should not have any flaws.
Propaganda against disabled people
In order to convince people that the lives of the disabled were unnecessary and too expensive for the general public, there were posters everywhere comparing the "price" of a disabled person with the price of renting an apartment for a family. Propaganda films were also shown - often made by Nazi doctors.
First of all, they began to prevent disabled children from having children. But that was far from enough for Hitler.
Hitler planned the murder of the disabled
Hitler planned to further improve the condition of the Aryan race and from October 1939 there was a program to kill disabled people. It was called the euthanasia or mercy death program. That didn't sound quite so harsh and the expression "mercy death" was supposed to gloss over the murder of people. Babies, toddlers, adolescents and adults who did not fit into the image of the Aryan race due to a mental or physical disability fell victim to these plans.
Doctors and nurses also took part
Hospital staff such as doctors, midwives, nurses and carers were also abused for this terrible plan, because they had to report newborns with a "genetic defect". Blind and deaf people, epileptics, people who were disabled or suffered from an intellectual disability, the National Socialists counted all of these as worthless parasites who only cost the state money.
Action T4 - a name for a terrible program
The euthanasia program was called "Aktion T4". Various companies that were founded especially for this purpose accompanied the program. There were special institutions in which people were murdered: Grafeneck, Brandenburg, Hartheim, Pirna, Bernburg and Hadamar. So that the relatives could not investigate, the murdered people were cremated after their death and usually another cause of death such as heart failure was given.
The killing program should be kept secret
Attempts were made to keep the euthanasia program largely secret. The fear that not everyone would approve of the murder of their relatives also existed among the National Socialists. Residents who lived near the killing sites probably already suspected that the smell from the chimneys must have come from somewhere. But most of them were silent out of fear.
In the end there were protests
When the euthanasia program began to focus on old people in the summer of 1941, there were protests as well as the dismay. A bishop named Clemens von Galen warned people of the importance of these horrific murders. In the end, this resulted in pressure on the National Socialist government. But by the time it got to that point, a great many people had become victims.
Sinti and Roma
Even before 1933 the group of Sinti and Roma was discriminated against and despised. The Nazi state saw in the Sinti and Roma as in the Jews an "inferior and alien race". They were dismissed from the civil service and one refused to issue them the so-called "hiking permits", which they urgently needed for their hikes - as traveling people. But that was just the beginning.
Sinti and Roma were persecuted as so-called "antisocials"
For the National Socialists, Sinti and Roma were "anti-socials" who stood outside society and were persecuted. They were no longer allowed to have children. The Nuremberg Laws passed in 1935 also applied to the so-called "Gypsies". They should not mix with the "good German blood", connections and marriages were forbidden under penalty. Sinti and Roma were no longer allowed to send their children to school and were discharged from the armed forces.
Sinti and Roma remained under the control of the police
Unlike the Jews, who were assigned to new facilities such as the "Judenreferaten", the police were responsible for the Sinti and Roma. In 1938 the "Reich Central Office for Combating the Gypsy Abuse" was created in Berlin. So-called "gypsy camps" were set up and attempts were made systematically to record all Sinti and Roma living in Germany.
Sinti and Roma were also victims of the Holocaust
While they were exposed to systematic persecution and degradation at the beginning, the Sinti and Roma, like the Jews, were also deported eastwards to the extermination camps from 1941 onwards. SS men set up their own "gypsy camp" in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Many people there died of hunger and disease and those who survived this treatment were murdered.
All in all, there are now figures between 220,000 and half a million murdered Sinti and Roma from many European countries. Like the Jews, the Sinti and Roma were victims of the Holocaust.
The fire in the Reichstag was a welcome opportunity to persecute the communists
On February 27, 1933, the Reichstag building in Berlin burned down. It was believed that a man named Marinus von der Lubbe was behind this arson. This young man was a member of the Communist Party and Hitler took this fact as an opportunity to see the fire as the beginning of a communist conspiracy.
As a result, numerous members of the KPD - that is how the Communist Party of Germany was abbreviated - were arrested.
Unsolved criminal history case
Even then, it was likely that the Nazis themselves had started the fire in order to have a pretext for eliminating their political opponents. But who really started the fire, whether van der Lubbe was a lone perpetrator and only gave the National Socialists one reason to take action against the Communists, is controversial in research and there are many different theories. It is ultimately an unsolved incident in criminal history. Von der Lubbe was sentenced to death and executed.
The communists as domestic enemies of Hitler
Hitler wanted to eliminate communism. For him, the communists were an important domestic enemy that had to be eliminated. And for that, every means was right for him. After the Reichstag fire, groups that supported the communists also came under suspicion. Many communists, or even people who were considered to be communists, ended up in prisons and concentration camps. Those were the "political prisoners" or "the political ones". They had to do forced labor and many paid for their political beliefs with their death.
At the time Hitler came to power on January 30, 1933, many writers thought the specter would quickly pass. It was hard to imagine how Hitler would last long.
Many writers were wrong about Hitler
But soon they had to realize that they had been wrong, not just a little, no, badly wrong. As early as February 1933, shortly after the seizure of power, SA men began to search houses where they suspected writers or journalists who disagreed with the National Socialists. This often resulted in theft and senseless destruction.
"Left" writers in particular had to reckon with dire consequences
When the Reichstag burned on February 27, 1933 and as a result all communists or people who were classed as politically left-wing or as communists were persecuted and arrested, writers and journalists in particular, those who were also politically left-wing or the KPD or the KPD, had a hard time Were close to the SPD. They too were hit by the hatred and anger of the Nazis. All "leftists" were practically "outlaws", they could be arrested and locked up or whatever.
At least since the book burnings in May 1933, it was clear what the writers could expect. Initially, their books were burned and they were no longer allowed to publish their works. The books that were burned included works by Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, Sigmund Freud, Erich Kästner, Heinrich Mann, Stefan Zweig and many more.
The writers were often dependent on the German language
Nevertheless, many authors still held out in Germany. Where should they go? Above all, the writers were dependent on their language - the German language. Where should they find work? What should they live on?
Many writers could no longer work
Survival in Germany became very difficult for many writers. If they were not registered in the Reichsschrifttumskammer, then they could no longer work. There was no longer any way of making a living. For example, Erich Kästner, whose books were also burned, stayed in Germany anyway and even published books and wrote scripts for Nazi films under a different name. Officially, however, he was not allowed to work. There were some who fled to France or towards Czechoslovakia. But even there they only found refuge for a short time, as many countries were occupied by the Germans a short time later. Some managed to emigrate to Switzerland or England or the USA. For example Oskar Maria Graf, who, by the way, wasn't even on the black list of banned books.
While many Protestants and Catholics allowed themselves to be taken over by the National Socialists, there was a Christian denomination that refused from the start to participate because of its religious convictions. That was the Jehovah's Witnesses.
Jehovah's Witnesses still exist today
You may know the Jehovah's Witnesses. They often stand somewhere in town with a magazine in hand and tell of their faith. Sometimes they come to the front door, where they send most people away again. The Jehovah's Witnesses were and are staunch Christians, but have completely different ideas from Catholics and Protestants on many points. Today this belief is ridiculed by many and some of what they spread and think must also be seriously questioned. They interpret the Bible in a very specific way.
Jehovah's Witnesses were pacifists
In 1933 there were around 25,000 Jehovah's Witnesses in Germany. The congregation was banned immediately after Hitler came to power, and it was claimed that it was close to the Jewish faith. But the Jehovah's Witnesses refused, for example, to deliver the Hitler salute. Due to their pacifist attitude, they were against Hitler's military plans and also refused to do military service. Nor did they want to become a member of any National Socialist organization. Many Jehovah's Witnesses lost their lives
The Jehovah's Witnesses were persecuted and opposed by the Nazi state because of their attitude. Almost half of their supporters were arrested, and 2000 ended up in a concentration camp. Jehovah's Witnesses also actively resisted the Nazi regime and distributed leaflets explaining the injustice of the Nazis.
Over 1200 Jehovah's Witnesses lost their lives between 1933 and 1945 because they held fast to their beliefs and beliefs.
The homosexuals, i.e. men who love men, and women who love women, did not fit into the National Socialists' worldview at all. For them, the focus was on the family, the birth of children who would later serve as soldiers in their country. And homosexuals cannot have children of their own. A homosexual man did not correspond at all to the hero image that the Nazis liked to put up of men.
Some Nazi men were homosexual
But some leading Nazi giants, such as Ernst Röhm, the leader of the SA, were homosexual, some others probably too, even if they did not make it public. The fear of being expelled from the party or being punished was great and not unjustified.
Homosexuals were severely persecuted during the Nazi era. They were even seen as the "molesters" of German blood. Homosexuality was in contradiction to healthy popular sentiment, just as the Nazis had determined for themselves.
Many homosexuals ended up in concentration camps
From 1933 to 1944, many German men were arrested for their homosexuality alone and imprisoned in concentration camps. There they were exposed to particular harassment from the SS, the guards of the concentration camps. They were specially marked and had to wear the pink triangle, which was a special badge by which the homosexuals in the camps were immediately recognized.
Many inmates were humiliated because of their homosexuality. The exact numbers are still unknown today, they vary between 5,000 and 15,000 people.
Phases of Persecution
The first phase of the persecution of the Jews comprised roughly the period from the takeover of power on January 30, 1933 to the summer of 1933. At first there was loud terror, although very few took it seriously. Many believed that the ghost, which was mainly caused by SA men in brown shirts, would soon end. Most believed that Hitler was only a temporary "apparition" and would disappear as quickly as he came. Many Chancellors before him had also left the political stage very quickly.
The second phase lasted from the summer of 1933 to the spring of 1935. The riot came from individual groups of the NSDAP. But with the passing of the Nuremberg Laws in September 1935, politics took another turn for the worse. By now, at the latest, it should have become clear to many that the National Socialist policy threatened the lives of the Jews.
Third and fourth phases
The third phase up to 1937 was a little quieter again, so many believed that life would eventually become more normal again. But the November pogroms of 1938 had to take this illusion away from most of them, the end of the fourth phase was ushered in and the fifth phase began.
From the turn of the year 1939/39, the living conditions of Jews in Germany continued to deteriorate. If they were harassed, restricted and ostracized since the beginning of the Nazi regime, they are now maliciously persecuted. The state's terror against the Jews had reached its peak.
The last and sixth phase began in 1941, at which point the Jews no longer had any rights. They had to use the Jewish first names Sara and Israel if their names were not recognizable as Jewish. They were forced to wear a yellow star to mark them as Jews. If they did not wear the star and were caught, they faced terrible punishment. From 1941 there was an emigration ban for the Jews, so that they had no chance to escape. Unless they managed to go into hiding. The phase of the extermination of the Jews had begun and no one would have thought that the Jews would expect anything worse. But it got even worse.
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