I accept your apology and would only note that I haven’t accused you (or anyone else) of anti-semitism.
On the subject of the German people I have said nothing about complicity or conditions, only that most of the German population had to be aware in broad terms. of what was going on when it came to the policy of slave labour. Hardly a radical statement or “pushing a narrow narrative” or being selective with facts.
If you look back at my post you will see I was responding to and expanding on FIAT’s post. I hadn’t read what had come before, which is bad netiquette, granted.
However, I don’t like unfounded accusations that I am in some way twisting facts to reach my own conclusions and opinion, especially on such an important subject.
As you say life is too short so I am not going to go and search out ‘documentary evidence’. It so happens since our earlier exchange in one of the books I am reading now I came across these statements of fact(?) and informed opinion. I noted a few down.
You form your own opinion. It is only one source, though I have within reach several dozen other books I could use to reinforce the gist if I felt there was any point in doing so.
I have just as many books of personal accounts written by Germans who say they were not aware of atrocities. I have come to the personal conclusion that I no longer believe the majority of these, if any.
“On 13th November 1941 Quatermaster General Edward Wagner told his heads of department that P.O.W.s not working would have to starve. By 1st Feb 1942 almost 2 million Russian P.O.W.s had perished, starved or beaten to death by their guards. 3.3 million dead by 1945” [And that is just Russians - Eadwig].
Only in 1943 did Nazi policy change to bolster their depleted workforce at home using slave labour. Shortly after that Goering boasted that 80% of the work on Ju87s was performed by Russians. [ I think one must accept that Germans working alongside starving prisoners must have known what was going on, especially when many died on the job - Eadwig]
“By Autumn 1944 8 million POWs and foreign labourers were engaged in the German economy.” [How could it be that 8 million workers within Germany can’t be known about by most of the population? Especially as they are dressed in uniforms designed to stand out - Eadwig]
“BMW employed 16.600 prisoners at its Munich plant alone. Though still treated with institutionalised cruelty their rations were increased just enough to sustain life.” [Management asked the guards to conduct punishment beatings away from the plant to avoid upsetting the German workers. How many German workers in how many plants witnessed such beatings, often to death, and how many people did they tell? - Eadwig]
“A vast complex of guarded quarters was established around every major German city, 120 around Munich alone.”
"It was impossible for most German civilians to credibly deny knowledge of the concentration camps or the slave labour system. Little girls around Ravesbruck were seen playing games of ‘camp guards’. "
“To ensure slaves were readily available local satellite camps were established in urban areas. Prisoners drafted into Berlin were called zebras by the civillian population because of their striped clothing.” [Clearly a familiar and well know sight? - Tens of thousands of guards as well as millions of workers had to be aware, surely? - Eadwig ]
“In Osnabruck mothers complained to the SS that children in the school yards were obliged to watch prisoners being beaten by their SS guards. The SS responded, “If the children aren’t tough enough yet, they have to ne hardened”.”
… and on and on and on. That from the book I’m reading right now, a respected source, and not some bloke in the pub, @HuwJarse .
Inferno. Part 7. Victims. The World War 1939-1945. Max Hastings.
I think common sense alone must lead to the conclusion that most of the German population were well aware of the general situation.
Whether or not they agreed with it or could do anything about it if they didn’t is an entirely different question which I have made no comment on whatsoever.
Thanks again for your expansive post & for accepting my apology. Appreciated. Common courtesy sways me to make an exception to my resolve to break-off from this thread & focus on trading matters.
Clearly, I lost balanced perspective. I was bang out of order for all aspects of my personalised slant, which were unfounded & totally uncalled for. No excuses on my part for that.
FWIW, yesterday I was already quietly bristling for other reasons. Later, I hit out due to irrational assumptions that others had read all recent posts & were indirectly siding with elements who accused me of anti-Semitism & (quote) “perverse appeasement” of the insanity that prevailed during Nazi Germany.
By then, I’d already decided a longer break from active engagement from this thread was necessary. Though I bear no lasting malice to those said elements, I had reasons to disengage.
I’d also taken on personalised involvement due to my Dad’s history in WW2 Belarus & the loss of all his family, bar one brother. The psychological damage to him was lifelong, manifesting in various ways. Including visceral hate for all Germans, even modern-day. To the point that, for eg., when as a child I innocently praised a West German goal in football, whoever the opposition, he’d either violently lash out and/or switch off the TV. The degree of his hatred was all-consuming.
Back then only my Mum knew of his Jewish roots. But a lasting lesson for me was to always avoid judging others without absolute proof, especially entire populations, for the terrible crimes of their insane leaders, however despicable.
I don’t disagree with your points about concentration camps. Nor about the likely knowledge that many Germans had about them. I’ve never claimed otherwise. Some of my previous sources included the World Jewish Congress, Primo Levi (one of few who survived Auschwitz), who cast reasonable doubt about the scale of civilian knowledge of the the actual “extermination” camps based outside Germany.
I’m mindful that many Germans were so under the thrall of the Nazi propaganda machine, they even believed (or made out so from fear of being accused of being traitors to the cause) that they were still winning the war long after any victory was impossible. This despite Germans soldiers coming home on leave & some of them confiding truer versions.
But I respect your view on this, as I do in general. I’ll add nothing more on this highly sensitive issue or this thread.
All the best & no doubt I’ll catch you on other threads & BARC+.
I have to say your postings have brought a much needed breath of fresh air and rationality to this board.
It can be highly charged and irrational with firmly entrenched attitudes (and indeed prejudices), that often makes proper discussion difficult - to put it mildly!
I’m only here to ensure the festivities for Brexit Day next week are undertaken with enthusiasm - before similarly taking leave of this thread.
Best of luck to you
Broadmoor has been banned multiple times for abusive behaviour on these message boards. He pops up again with another ID each time he is banned but admin keeps track of him. Hence his permanently greyed-out status.
Rupert Lowe brexitparty_uk
MEP for the West Midlands.
I used my last appearance on the Brexit committee to warn the EU not to try and make an example out of the UK.
Its started… Blame the EU… What happened to easiest deal in History??
Boris Johnson’s hopes of securing a “quick fire” trade deal with Japan before the end of the year have been dented as experts warned it will be dependent on the UK clinching a trade agreement with Brussels first.
I am sad that @jackdawsson has been so bruised by the debate on the holocaust. With his east European Jewish roots it is understandable that this terrible period of European history should be important to him. I was struck by him telling us that his father did not even discuss what had happened to his family for many years after the war. For me, this reply is a very personal and heartfelt matter. My own grandfather, as I have previously said, was taken prisoner during the war when defending Paris with guns and bullets that didn’t match. He was then a slave labourer prisoner until my enterprising grandmother sprung him with false papers which claimed he was a trained nurse. My grandfather never spoke with me about his experience before he died in the late 60s. This silence is a behaviour often exhibited by those who have been through terrible experiences. Again, like Jack’s family, the way that my grandfather was treated by the Germans and their behaviour as an occupying power turned my family hold a visceral hatred of Germans for many years such that I was not allowed to participate in a school trip to Germany. Fortunately for my grandfather he was lucky to survive unlike many of Jack’s family.
I have spent a large part of this morning on further reading on the subject and the best of this was by far this very long wikipedia article:
…a very well researched article which provides a balanced view on what the German public did and didn’t know during the war and it draws on many sources of historical data and academic research. It is quite a read but one I can thoroughly recommend.
As our own discussion has demonstrated:
Debate continues on how much average Germans knew about the Holocaust. Robert Gellately, a historian at Oxford University, conducted a widely respected survey of the German media before and during the war and concluded that there was substantial participation and consent from large numbers of ordinary Germans in various aspects of the Holocaust, that German civilians frequently saw columns of slave laborers, and that the basics of the concentration camps, if not the extermination camps, were widely known. The German scholar, Peter Longerich, in a study looking at what Germans knew about the mass murders concluded that: “General information concerning the mass murder of Jews was widespread in the German population.” Longerich estimates that before the war ended, 32 to 40 percent of the population had knowledge about mass killings (not necessarily the extermination camps).
Although it is purely personal and anecdotal, I can remember from my own adolescent years that the prevailing public perception in the UK was that the guilty were dealt with in the Nuremberg trials and that the average German citizens were generally ignorant about what was done in their names. As a political animal I am clear on why the allied powers would want this because it pinned the blame on a small number of central figures and avoided the castigation of the German people as a whole. This would have been regarded as desirable in order to ease Germany and its peoples back into the community of civilised nations. It also avoiding uncomfortable questions about the allies’ own failures to disrupt the holocaust by bombing the gas chambers and the railway lines used to transport the victims. Let us be in no doubt that anti-jewish feeling was not confined just to Germany and their fellow travellers in the occupied nations. I think that Jack relies on this post-war narrative for his opinions but I rather think that he is not up to date on post-war thinking and analysis.
During the years 1945 through 1949, polls indicated that a majority of Germans felt that Nazism was a “good idea, badly applied”. In a poll conducted in the American German occupation zone, 37% replied that ‘the extermination of the Jews and Poles and other non-Aryans was necessary for the security of Germans’.[h] Sarah Ann Gordon in Hitler, Germans, and the Jewish Question notes that the surveys are very difficult to draw conclusions from as respondents were given only three options from which to choose: (1) Hitler was right in his treatment of the Jews, to which 0% agreed; (2) Hitler went too far in his treatment of the Jews, but something had to be done to keep them in bounds - 19% agreed; and (3) The actions against the Jews were in no way justified - 77% agreed. She also noted that another revealing example emerges from the question whether an Aryan who marries a Jew should be condemned, a question to which 91% of the respondents answered “No”. To the question: “All those who ordered the murder of civilians or participated in the murders should be made to stand trial”, 94% responded “Yes”. Historian Tony Judt highlights how denazification and the subsequent fear of retribution from the Allies likely obscured justice due to some of the perpetrators and camouflaged underlying societal truths.
When reading the above, I was struck by the finding that 37% of Germans surveyed througn 1945 to 47 thought that the persecution of the jews had been justified. And also that only 77% agreed that the actions against the jews were in no way justfied. What struck me was that these figures are so similar to the third to a quarter of the UK population self-identifies in Social Attitudes Surveys as having racist attitudes. How different are we to what the Germans were! Are these third of our populations the core of people who support nationalist projects such as nazism and perhaps even Brexit? It is a good question but I better not get started…
Public recollection from Germans about the atrocities was also “marginalized by postwar reconstruction and diplomacy” according to historian Nicholas Wachsmann; a delay, which obscured the complexities of understanding both the Holocaust and the concentration camps that aided in its facilitation. Wachsmann notes how the German people often claimed that the crimes occurred behind their backs and were perpetrated by Nazi fanatics, or that they frequently dodged responsibility by equating their suffering with that of the prisoners, avowing they too had been victimized by the National Socialist regime. Initially the memory of the Holocaust was repressed and set aside, but eventually the young Federal Republic of Germany commenced its own investigations and trials. Political pressure on the prosecutors and judges tempered any extensive probes and very few systematic investigations in the first decade after the war took place. Later research efforts in Germany revealed that there were a “myriad” of links between the wider population and the SS camps. In Austria—once part of the Greater German Reich of the Nazis—the situation was much different, as they conveniently evaded accountability through the trope of being the Nazis’ first foreign victim.
On the issue of the allies downplaying German peoples’ knowledge of the holocaust, the Wiki article goes on to say:
In an entry in the Friedrich Kellner diary, “My Opposition”, dated 28 October 1941, the German justice inspector recorded a conversation he had in Laubach with a German soldier who had witnessed a massacre in Poland.[i] French officials at the Paris branch of the British Barclays Bank volunteered the names of their Jewish employees to Nazi authorities, and many of them ended up in the death camps. An insightful perspective is provided by Konnilyn G. Feig, who wrote:
“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.”
And those final sentences make exactly the same point that I have been making in this debate which is that there were simply too many people involved at all levels of German society for the generality of the population to have remained in blissful ignorance of the slaughter that was taking place. Even without the fear of nazi authorities which would have stamped on any open discourse about what was happening it is simply unbelievable that gossip and rumour could have been quashed. Human behaviour is simply not like that.
We also need to face the ugly fact that many non-German people were totally complicit in the German crimes. The current RW nationalist Polish government has been trying to prevent any discussion of Polish complicity in the holocaust for instance by trying to prevent extermination camps being described as “Polish”. Yes we know that the camps were established by the German occupying power but the incontrovertible truth is that without Polish and other east European collaborators there would not have been the manpower available to run these factories of death. Perhaps @Eadwig could tell us more?
Likewise, in my own family, I had a step-uncle who as a teenager used to tag along with the Milice collaborators during the war. He subsequently served prison terms for criminality and for his involvement in the OAS. He was a lifelong criminal, sex abuser, fraudster and fascist. About 10 years ago he hit the end of the road and committed suicide by a revolver shot to his head in a decrepit farmhouse in the Auvergne surrounded by his weaponery and with a nazi flag and sword of regalia laid out in the room. This stuff touched so many families in Europe which is why the majority cling so fastly to European ideals and reject Brexitism.
Finally, I am sorry for this very long post. In these days when the spectre of the far right looms so large and has to so great an extent infected our national discourse and led to the infiltration of people like Tommy Robinson, UKIP and the Brexit Party into our once centre-right Conservative Party it is essential that we remain alive to the lessons of history and the risks to our own democracy. I am sorry that Jack has been hurt in the debate and I certainly hope that he does not think that I have attacked him personally or accused him of anti-semitism (I have not!).
Again, I commend a reading of the Wiki article to all who have an interest in this issue as we approach the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. The dead deserve respect for the truth of their tragedy. We deserve it for ourselves to face to truth of what happened to so many innocent victims so that we may learn from their story.
I invite our Brexiter friends @john.a.reeves, @GreyCarpet, @HuwJarse, @Trisco and others to mount a justification for the Tory majority rejecting the Dubs amendment as part of the withdrawal agreement. Will they dare?
Perhaps its simply a manifestation of Tory xenophobia and islamophobia? Just a thought!
No @frog_in_a_tree Parliament voted against putting measures about refugee children into the Brexit legislation. Because it hasn’t got anything to do with the decision to leave the EU. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
Just because it wasn’t in the legislation doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be looked at. It’s a totally separate issue that needs to talked about.