“We felt so proud of it.” (6) Carola Steinhardt was just a young girl. She didn’t really understand what was happening, but the people around her were so focused on their new unified goal that she too, believed in it’s goodness.
Carola even joyfully repeated the slogans to her mother. “Everyone was saying, “Heil Hitler. I was eight, I didn’t know. My mother told me to shush. “You aren’t supposed to say that,” she said. “You’re Jewish.” (6)
“Those huge banners that were all over the city. We tried to just to not see them. To believe that they weren’t there. But they were there. And little by little they took over.” Gerda Haas
State funded advertising campaigns created an atmosphere of hostility and indifference. “In 1971, the British journalist Gitta Sereny asked Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka, about the purpose of humiliating victims: “Why, if they[the Nazis] were going to kill them [the victims] anyway, what was the point of all the humiliation, why the cruelty?” Stangl replied: “To condition those who actually had to carry out the policies. To make it possible for them to do what they did.”” (1)
“The sense of isolation that came upon us, was gradual and increasing. It also effected us psychologically. We knew we were in a hostile world.” Guy Stern, Holocaust Survivor (6)
The Jewish people were forced into social, societal isolation. Interacting with the general population carried an increasingly dangerous risk. The dangers began with restrictions and public humiliation but quickly escalated.
Yet, the escalations were entirely legal. In 1933 The Enabling Act was passed. This allowed a small group of elected officials to create new laws that violated the German Constitution in order to address the eminent public crisis created by the Jewish “vermin”. (12)
Two of the questions that haunt society today are:
1) How did ordinary citizens become murderers?
2) How did friends, neighbors, co-workers and even family stand by and do nothing?
The answers are simple and very similar to current events.
1) Through a repetitive advertising program of blame and shame that enabled people to make excuses for their behavior,
2) “We didn’t want to know.” (6)
Dr. Christopher Browning and Dr. Wendy Lower met with Ralph Blumenthal on stage at the 2017 symposium, The Path to Nazi Genocide, to discuss how ordinary citizens allowed and participated in the atrocities of The Holocaust. (Haunting question #1.)
Dr. Browning explained that men were concerned about peer acceptance and that this is an extremely normal response. Even those who chose not to participate in killing innocent people wanted to be seen as loyal to their unit. They did not want to side with the undesirable population. The scores of state-funded, advertisements belittling people of Jewish decent made it easier for the men to decide that non-Aryans were less valuable than their brothers in arms.
When it came to actually participating in harming others, it was easy to accept the lies that had been fed to them and then use these to give themselves an excuse. There was a problem and it was their job to fix it. They felt sympathy for their commander who, “had been given a bad job” (7) and needed help. Many told themselves they were only helping a good man. Another common excuse they told themselves was that they were simply helping further the goal of improving the world.
Improving the world was a goal that was also readily accepted by women working for the National Socialist party. Dr. Lower’s interviews and research revealed that actions of secretaries, women’s prison guards, and nurses during the Nazi regime were “based on the idea of building this utopia” (7) and of eradicating the a dangerous, unhealthy enemy. Decades of German medical science had already convinced many citizens of the need to address the threat of citizens who did not meet a set of commonly agreed upon standards of behavior. In addition, many women were concerned with their own safety, should they voice their disagreement.
In regards to haunting question #2, “How did friends, neighbors, co-workers and even family stand by and do nothing?”, we’ve all heard the saying, “ignorance is bliss.” Most believe this to be true. There are definitely things we don’t want to know, but should we accept ignorance? Is ignorance better? *If* we want to emulate willful ignorance, I nominate the following group of devote Christians as role models.
“I lived in Germany during the Nazi holocaust. I considered myself a Christian. I attended church since I was a small boy. We had heard the stories of what was happening to the Jews, but like most people today in this country, we tried to distance ourselves from the reality of what was really taking place.”
“A railroad track ran behind our small church, and each Sunday morning we would hear the whistle from a distance and then the clacking of the wheels moving over the track. We became disturbed when one Sunday we noticed cries coming from the train as it passed by. We grimly realized that the train was carrying Jews.”
“Week after week that train whistle would blow. We would dread to hear the sound of those old wheels because we knew that the Jews would begin to cry out to us as they passed our church. It was so terribly disturbing!” “We knew exactly at what time that whistle would blow, and we decided the only way to keep from being so disturbed by the cries was to start singing our hymns. By the time that train came rumbling past the church yard, we were singing at the top of our voices. If some of the screams reached our ears, we’d just sing a little louder until we could hear them no more.” (2)
We in America have generally been ignoring the screams for a long time. It’s not as if babies are being aborted in our living rooms, so it’s easy to ignore. We’ve gotten so good at ignoring things that we can watch the water vapor travel through the mask on our own face and not ask ourselves, “Is this thing actually working?” And while we don’t literally sing louder, we do distance ourselves. Just like the German citizens, we look the other way. We Netflix and chill. We shop till we drop. We put on our masks, sit down and shut up. We call anyone who doesn’t ignore the signs of repeating history crazy, stupid or all manner of horrible things. Even though most know that the Abortion Holocaust far outweighs the Jewish Holocaust in the number of people killed, it is incredibly rare to find anyone who will pray outside an abortion clinic or even write a few lines to their legislators about the need to end the murder of children, or much of anything at all. We just can’t seem to find the time.
We can’t even find the time to read more than 7 words. (13) (14) Yes, that’s right 7 words is the new average attention span of an adult American. (So, if you’ve made it this far in my blog post, you’re very special!). Our general lack of attention is one reason why we are being so easily deceived by things like this:
Trust is actually the opposite of science. Science is a discipline of continuous question asking. The Germans once “trusted the science” too. During the 1920’s German science and medicine was internationally recognized as the cream of the crop the best of the best. Germans were proud of their standing and their achievements. It was with pride that the “focus of medicine shifted from private practice to public health and from treating disease to preventable health care.” (8) Through the work of highly regarded scientists and physicians, Germany developed a “new scientific understanding of human biology.” (8) Specifically, that humanity could be improved through science. The way to achieve this was through government approved and funded, medical, public policy. For example:
Again, we all know where this lead. In the interests of public health, laws were cancelled, inalienable rights were denied due to the need to “address the emergency”. People were forced to accept unwanted medical procedures. People were forced to follow dictates of public health policy, like moving one group of people away from everyone else, to protect the most vulnerable. Even mass vaccinations were conducted with new, emergency use, formulas. (9)
Yet, those of us who see history repeating itself are crazy. According to political experts (10), the best course of action when faced with “crazy conspiracy theorists” is to stop having a relationship with anyone who disagrees with you. So dear world, go ahead. Put on your mask and embrace the new normal. Do your part. Get vaccinated for COVID-19 even though it’s side effects are some of the most visible in history. (17) (Seriously, it’s so easy to find this information. It’s in Forbes for goodness sake.)
But please, while you are singing louder, know that your behavior is strikingly similar to that of the members of the National Socialist party in Germany in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
To anyone who is not happy with the repetition of history, to anyone who objects to having their 80 year old mom threatened with arrest for having her grown children visit, and the grown children actually arrested (15), to anyone who understands that masks do not stop viruses and are instead a method of control, please stop living in fear. Please stop quietly obeying.
Attempt to educate your friends and family. Don’t wear a mask. Don’t support businesses that force people to wear masks. Do find others who agree with you. Have meetings. Pool your resources, and I don’t mean money, I mean brain power. What are we going to do? According to psychological researchers, “conspiracy theorists” want to feel special but they never actually do anything. (16) So prove ‘em wrong, do something.
Citations and sources not directly quoted:
(6) Guy Stern quote as seen in https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=92UfAJr7790
“Aryanization was essentially a gigantic, trans-European trafficking operation in stolen goods,”