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Heinrich Himmler

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bobwilson
638522.  Thu Nov 19, 2009 8:12 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
Many non-Germans have questioned exactly how they could have not known, but it is feasible that they knew a little and weren't interested in asking any more.


I don't find it surprising that the majority of people at the time knew little of what was going on, or that they were uninterested in finding out. You only have to watch films like "Taking Liberties" to realise how little WE know about our own country - and that's without the secret policemen's balls up.

 
Jenny
638702.  Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:43 am Reply with quote

I read a couple of books written by English women who spent the war in Germany because they had married a German man before the war - The Past Is Myself by Christabel Bielenberg and Living Under Hitler by Sybil Bannister. They both seemed to think that very little information leaked out to people who weren't directly working in the camps - there were rumours, but not confirmed news.

 
Sadurian Mike
638738.  Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:43 pm Reply with quote

The problem I have there is that the pogrom on Jews was widespread. Very few, in any, people in Germany must have failed to realise that Jews were being arrested for their race/faith and shipped out.

Now granted they may have simply thought that the Jews were being deported or imprisoned, but Jewish (and other) slave labour was used extensively throughout German wartime industry, so the average German (in urban areas at least) must have been aware of the exploitation going on.

As for the camps; the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was only a few miles from the town of Bergen and only a mile from the village of Belsen. The camp had no walls, only wire, and so the state of the inmates was clear to anyone passing. I cannot believe that, for 4 years (1941 - 45), no German civilian saw into the camp. The same, or similar, can be said for plenty of the other death camps.

 
Janet H
638740.  Fri Nov 20, 2009 2:49 pm Reply with quote

Dachau is (now) a rather pleasant town very near Munich. It was also a very large 'camp'. I can't imagine how the locals could have failed to wonder why all those people went in and none came out.

 
Sadurian Mike
638746.  Fri Nov 20, 2009 3:26 pm Reply with quote

Also Buchenwald, which was murdering inmates even before the war. Only five miles from Weimar and one of the largest German concentration camps.

Incidentally, the "human-skin lampshade" story might be a myth, but that the SS skinned Buchenwald prisoners and tanned their skin is strongly supported by eye-wtness and photographic evidence. This skin was reportedly used to bind books.

 
AlmondFacialBar
638864.  Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:59 pm Reply with quote

judging by the stories my parents (both born in 1940) tell about their childhoods, people knew some of what was happening, but not the full extent of it. they definitely knew that there were concentration camps (dachau etc.), and they had some idea who was sent there. what they must likely didn't know about were the extermination camps (auschwitz etc.). they were built in the very far east of the reich for a reason, the government didn't want its people to know what was going on there. so - people did know jews, gypsies, gays etc. went to camps, but they didn't know some of these camps existed only as killing facilities.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
Sadurian Mike
638869.  Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:11 pm Reply with quote

That's pretty much what I believe; people knew something sinister was happening but had no real interest in poking their heads above the parapet to ask about it further. The SS and Gestapo did not exactly encourage people to start their own investigations and I'm also sure that, in such a situation, the majority of people would do the same to keep themselves and their families safe.

What I find difficult to believe, however, are those people who have claimed that they knew nothing at all of what was happening.

 
AlmondFacialBar
638880.  Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:29 pm Reply with quote

yeah, i find that hard to believe, too. but then i guess there's also the aspect of being able to live with it. i once had a co-worker whose aunt had been a typist at one of the industrial facilities in auschwitz, and even she claimed not to have known. i guess it was the only way for her to cope.

:-)

AlmondFacialBar

 
bobwilson
638882.  Fri Nov 20, 2009 8:49 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
What I find difficult to believe, however, are those people who have claimed that they knew nothing at all of what was happening.


There's a difference between knowing and having an inkling.
Quote:

Now granted they may have simply thought that the Jews were being deported or imprisoned, but Jewish (and other) slave labour was used extensively throughout German wartime industry, so the average German (in urban areas at least) must have been aware of the exploitation going on.


You mean like the awareness people have in Britain of the abuse faced by cheap imported labour? Yes, the labour was used extensively - it was also kept separate from the other labour used. A bit like the way that it happens in the UK today really.

Quote:
As for the camps; the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was only a few miles from the town of Bergen and only a mile from the village of Belsen. The camp had no walls, only wire, and so the state of the inmates was clear to anyone passing. I cannot believe that, for 4 years (1941 - 45), no German civilian saw into the camp. The same, or similar, can be said for plenty of the other death camps.


It may have been clear to anyone passing - but so what? How many passed? How many would have spoken about what they saw to others given the regime in place? How many would have been believed if they had spoken?

The simple fact is that it's really easy to hide the most horrendous abuses in plain sight - because the majority simply can't bring themselves to believe such things can happen. I see this attitude (on a different scale) every day. The average person believes that nobody would really be that evil - it takes a hell of a lot to convince them otherwise.

And don't forget - an awful lot of holocaust deniers are not evil - they simply look at the temerity and come to the logical conclusion that it MUST be an exaggeration.

 
Vacca
711067.  Wed May 19, 2010 10:57 pm Reply with quote

Taken that Hitler blamed the Jews for WW1, and whatever else, would it have been that difficult for him to have ordered that all jews be deported, rather than creating such an horrendous affront to humanity as the final solution? Heavens, he could have just done what Cuba does with people it doesn't want and shipped them all off to America.

 
Sadurian Mike
711112.  Thu May 20, 2010 5:12 am Reply with quote

He could have, but he decided that his destiny was rather more permanent.

 
bobwilson
711432.  Thu May 20, 2010 11:41 pm Reply with quote

Quote:
rather than creating such an horrendous affront to humanity


Since the ideology stated that Jews were sub-human it wouldn't have been an affront to humanity. These days we don't do it that way - we label them as paedophiles, or terrorists, or immigrants, or sharia muslims, or anarchists, or BNP, or whatever we can get away with to put them into a nice convenient group without actually listening to, and refuting, what they have to say.

I know I'm not among the favoured posters for neotenic or CB27 - but at least I bother to respond to their points rather than to some presumed ideology which I arbitrarily ascribe to them.

 
thedrew
715422.  Wed Jun 02, 2010 3:35 pm Reply with quote

Hitler planned to relocate all Jews to Madagascar. It was a combination of British successes and German failures in battle that led to the plan being abandoned in favor of the Final Solution:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madagascar_Plan

 
Mistress Lilli 406
903049.  Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:52 pm Reply with quote

My great grandfather and mother were in the war. Everyone knew! Everyone with that fear in the pit of their stomach. To live you were whoever Hitler wanted you to be. You did not have to be a Jewish person to be label such if you were in anyone's way. I am whomever Hitler wants me to be is a good thing to remember for survival. One body can smell up a whole house. The smell of the dead would give it away. My family considered good Germans lived in mortal fear. Knowing the stories my family told me sends shivers down my spine just because it was his birthday. Fear is a powerful weapon.

 
Jenny
903181.  Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:10 am Reply with quote

Welcome to the forums, MistressLilli :-)

You might find it interesting to read a recent book called In the Garden of Beasts, which is about Berlin in the 1930s.

 

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