Auschwitz, the Nazis & the final solution

Given tomorrows event I am surprised not to find a thread on this excellent programme.
Watching second part of this last night and it made me wonder what the
ordinary squaddies at these places made of what they were being ordered to do.
What sort of thing went on daily part 2 orders? What sort of training, drills etc. did they have to practice? What would they have written home to family,
girlfriends? Did Hoess’ wife know what hubby was up to during the day &
what sort of conversations over the dinner table of an evening.
What about the banter/chat in the equivalent of a NAAFI of an evening?
Laughter & trivia! I sumehow doubt it.
Also in the prog last night - collaberating frog authorities - a charming bunch!
How's about getting horrifically drunk & committing suicide - that was a favorite pastime of the Einsatzgruppen, and one of the many reasons that they moved from shooting to gassing.
have just finished the book that go's with the program.
did hoess wife know yes they had jews working the house and in the garden, guess where they got there naafi staff.
you'd have to be some sort of git to murder thousands of people a day although the mass grave was funny as a thread.
actually filling one with people who did'nt deserve(':(')
sorry drunk and nazi's shooting themselves good.
heard the ones that were caught at belson were forced to move the corpses of the typus victims till they caught typus and died.
though if you did that now you'd be up in front of a court martial for abusing there (':x')


War Hero
I've missed all the programs so far and am gutted, does anyone know if they are to be repeated soon?
Unknown_Quantity said:
I've missed all the programs so far and am gutted, does anyone know if they are to be repeated soon?
I would imagine that the market forces at BBC will do a dvd. Amazon watch?
The series drew me back to something which may seem strange. I was six in 1939 when the war started. I grew up on edge on London docklands with the air raids. We were always being told of parachutists dressed as nuns who would come and do unimagineable things to your mum, aunts and sisters. I had two uncles who got away at Dunkirk. One taken POW at Tobruk. Loads of anti=Germany propaganda. The Belsen, Dachau and Auschwitz reports on film and radio when I was 12'ish. Despite all that background, I have no problems
with Germans - even German police retirement parties of blokes who must have joined about 1933 time. Whereas, noone has ever indoctrinated me about black persons and I do have troubles about them.
Well that's what happens when you get convinced, or convince yourself that the people you're killing are essentially another species. We're not that horrified when people do that and much worse to other species and yet can't seem to get our heads around it when some start doing it to elements of our own. It's only a matter of belief that seperates the two.

And it's not as if mankind has learnt from it either. As some of you will know from firsthand experience.
To conntinue the serious nature of this thread, Just what was the beef with the Jews?
I know the Jews crucified Christ. Jews have always been known for Usury, leanding money at high profit margins.
I will also suggest that Jewish policy in 'Palastine' has sqandered much of the worlds sympathy over the Holocost.
But just what is it about The Jew that provokes this perpetual racial hatered.
would the moderators do the decent thing and delete any post that degenerate this serious thread.
I've alays suspected that it's because Judaism was for a long time a "closed" religion i.e. one could only be born into it and this somehow made people jealous. Their "otherness" with different dietry rules and holy days only reinforces this image of a closed club (which people tewnd to hate even if they have no desire to join).

Another reason might by the bad press that Jews got after the late 1stC AD rebellion against the Romans. The Empire was pretty ruthless in breaking Jewish resistance and so related groups, particularly the Christians, tried to put distance between themselves and the Jews which later congealed into an anti-jewish tradition. Many pre-revolt christian writings are strongly influenced by Jewish tradition while those afterwards are decidedly cooler.

Thirdly Jews were a relatively thinly spread group with a small population but with no restrictions on usury were percieved as relatively rich and therefore unpopular with the makings of a good scapegoat. Plus if you owe someone stacks of cash which you can't pay back (King John) the simplest solution is to get rid of the people you're in debt to. Charles the Fair of France did the same thing to the Templars.
I don't believe it as anything to do with jews per se. Hitler was a eugenicist. He wanted to wipe out all the none white races. The jews were just a visible easy target. If he had had lots of negroes available he'd have gone for them first. Let us not forget that he also wiped out gypsies, communists, homosexuals, the disabled and pacifists. i.e. anyone who didn't fit into his idea of the pure aryan master race. The true message of the holocaust is that it is still going on today. Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and all the other ethnic cleansings that we sit by and do nothing about.
jonwilly said:
To conntinue the serious nature of this thread, Just what was the beef with the Jews?
I know the Jews crucified Christ. Jews have always been known for Usury, leanding money at high profit margins.
I will also suggest that Jewish policy in 'Palastine' has sqandered much of the worlds sympathy over the Holocost.
But just what is it about The Jew that provokes this perpetual racial hatered.
would the moderators do the decent thing and delete any post that degenerate this serious thread.
Insofar as the Nazi objection, they blamed the Jews for costing them the first World War. I've never really understood the mechanics of this enuf to define here but Google doubtless will. Added to this was the fact that the Jews dress. general appearance and life style made them both highly visible and isolationist. Just as kids bully someone who looks or acts different. Have a look at the film Oliver - the one before last where Fagin was portrayed by (?) Aled Guiness as the archetypical Jew to gauge some idea of this hostility.
As for the Palestine situation. The stated intent of Palestine extremists is to drive the Jews into the sea. Jews have seen what happens when you allow people to march you into the death camps so into the sea they will not go. The muslim-aligned countries who are in a strong position in UN have attained numerous sanctions etc through this automatic majority and Israel refuses to accept these - just as Palestinians refuse to accept earlier decisions to give Jews a homeland.
Historically the Jews were the money lenders (but only because the Church forbade Christians to do so). They were also non Christian.

Anytime the King or other local ruler found he'd maxed out the credit, and couldn't meet the bills the easiest way to make ends meet was to have a quick pogrom and get rid of the people you owed the dosh to.

Likewise anytime the local equivalent of the National Front wanted someone to hate, the jews as non Christians made an easy target.

A lot of Germans after the First War, couldn't or wouldn't believe that they had been defeated in the field and blamed Communists and civilian financiers, and jews and anyone else they could think of for the defeat. It is after all much easier to blame someone else than admit the truth.
The whole anti-Jewish thing is historical in Europe there were massacres of jews in many cities especially in England and Spain - the Inquisition was originally against jews and the Magna Carta even stated that if you owed money to a Jew when you died the debt was not handed on to your family. Although a lot of it was to do with them being seen as the killers of Christ, like most things in history it actually had more to do with money. Jews were (are?) historically very good buisness people so they were heavily involved in money lending (never a popular occupation, just check out the bible). No-one likes to be in debt to a people they view as inferior to themselves. In the specific case of Germany post WW1 the country was poverty stricken after losing the War. German Jews (many of whom fought hard for Germany in the War) had relations in other countries and business interests outside of Germany. They were seen to be doing much better than everyone else which led to the 'Jewish Conspiracy' theory that they had helped the allies financially and were being rewarded.
As previously stated, it's been going on for hundreds (thousands) of years.

My theory has always been that their being part of one of the twelve tribes of Israel meant that locals (Germany, France, England, Spain) never trusted them as having loyalty to the local populace.

In the end this meant that their religion was associated with a foreign state (not always in being) so they were obviously foreigners.

Who made money out of WW1 ? - the industrialists, who relied on support from the banks. Who made money out of the banks ? - well, most would say that the Jewish association with money lending goes back a long way (even Jesus got hacked off with them), and a disproportionate number of the bankers were from Jewish families.

Hopelessly generalised I know, but I think that's how these things came about. Add to this that Hitler said 'who remembers the Armenians' (after their 1915 holocaust, Turks with German support), and you get the 'hate' industry that resulted in Auschwitz and the like.

Nazi B'stards !.
re : Anna Frank , the irony is that her father Otto Frank was a german officer in WW1
‘Just what was it about the Jews that the Nazis hated?’

Variations on this question – usually under the catch-all heading of ‘Why?’ - have, I believe, not been asked seriously enough in the sixty years since the Holocaust. A lot of hand-wringing and empty promises of ‘Never again!’ have been heard, but I do wonder if any serious analysis of just what was the reason for the Holocaust has truly taken place. Well, here’s my fourpence ha’penny worth…

Anti-Semitism has a long history in all European states, particularly those of Central and Eastern Europe. In that respect the Nazis were ‘nothing new’, but merely practitioners of a far more deadly form of an old prejudice.

In post-1918 Germany, as elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe, a number of historical and social factors happened to come together. Call this historical chance or inevitability if you will. The German defeat of 1918 was an enormous shock to the system of the German people, primarily because they had not seen it coming. Bear in mind that Germany was in a position to win the war well into 1918, and that no fighting took place on German soil, and it is easy to see how so many people were able to believe that Germany had not lost so much as been betrayed – the origin of the ‘stab in the back’ theory. Once a nation believes itself to have been betrayed, it is not a great step for that same nation to start looking about for the betrayers.

The successful Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, and the attendant chaos of the Russian Civil War had quite literally frightened the life out of Germans, traditionally a conservative people. That many of the Bolsheviks were Jewish, made it easy to associate Judaism and Bolshevism as being one and the same – Karl Marx was a German Jew. Ironically, many thousands of Jews fled westwards from the former Russian Empire, from the newly-constituted Polish state and elsewhere. A great number of these Sephardic (i.e. Eastern) Jews settled in Germany and Poland. This bolstered the long-established native Jewish population, which had been in Germany for centuries and considered itself German first and Jewish second. Tensions arose partly due to the fact that these Eastern Jewish émigrés and refugees were quite obviously ‘foreign’, in the sense that they were both non-German and Jewish. The majority of European Jews (primarily Askanzi Jews) at that time were not Jewish in the sense that I feel many people today understand the term – i.e. not Hasidic (Orthodox), with the attendant differences in clothing and appearance. However, those stoking the fires of anti-Semitism in the upheaval of post-war Germany and Europe focused on the obvious ‘otherness’ of the influx of Jews from the East. The native German Jewish population had successfully integrated into almost every facet of German life over the centuries. While they were observant as Jews and could be seen as belonging to a particular section of society, it could be said that they no longer ‘stood out’ as obviously as their brethren elsewhere. This did not mean that anti-Semitism did not exist however.

Many Jews occupied positions of importance in the banking and business sectors of Germany (and elsewhere in Europe), as had been the case for many centuries – think of the Rothschild family. However, with the shock of defeat in 1918, followed by the social breakdown of post-Imperial Germany, near-miss Bolshevik revolution and virtual civil war (Sparticists, Frei Korps etc.) and finally the depression from 1929 onwards, it should come as no surprise that the ground was fertile for political opportunists and thugs such as the Nazis to capitalise on peoples’ fears and point to the Jews as the source of all the trouble. The fact that this was nonsense is beside the point – the Nazis were tapping into an old prejudice brought to the surface by a particular set of historical circumstances.

It is difficult today for us to understand the level of upheaval that came with the end of the Great War. Societies which had existed for centuries were destroyed or thrown into turmoil in some cases overnight. For example, from the ashes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire (which had special laws for the protection of Jews) arose many new states, no of who survived the turmoil of the 1930s/40s. When societies are turned upside down and shaken violently, it should come as no surprise that the dross rises to the top – class warriors should bear this in mind (but then, they probably already know this). Indicative of this upheaval is the very fact that so many low-class types gravitated towards the Nazis – they saw the party as an opportunity to advance themselves and it preached a simplistic doctrine that was easy to take in. The traditional leadership of Germany – the aristocracy/junkers and the Imperial bureaucracy – had been swept away in the years after 1918. In these circumstances it is the spiv and the gangster who is on hand to take advantage – chaos suits them.

After they came to power in 1933, the Nazis introduced policies which systematically de-humanised the Jews of Germany (and by extension everywhere else). Bolshevism was the great bogeyman of the 1920s and 30s, and it was widely regarded as somehow being the preserve of the Jews (it also served as an easy explanation for the apparent dominance of Bolshevism). Germany had been at the centre of nationalist thought in the years after 1815, and from this sprang quasi-racial theories on national origins (again, Germany was not unique in this regard).

Anti-Semitism has always and continues to take a number of forms. There is what I will term the ‘jackboot’ approach – literally physically attacking Jews. Then there is what I term ‘drawing room’ anti-Semitism; which is a form of snobbery taken to extremes. Often it is all implied – a certain awkwardness in company when one of ‘those people’ is mentioned, a desire not to associate with ‘them’….this leads to an unwillingness to have anything to do with Jews, to believe anything bad about them, and ultimately to remove them from your thoughts. All this was true during the Nazi period.

Finally, added to this was Hitler’s personal aversion to the Jews, partly because of his belief that Jews in the various art academies he had unsuccessfully sought entry to in pre-1914 Vienna had ‘conspired’ against him. It should also be borne in mind that Jews in Germany tended to live and work in the larger towns and cities. Therefore, there would have been a good deal of ignorance about Jews and Judaism among large swathes of German society – in such circumstances it is not surprising that many were prepared to believe whatever they were told. A poor farm labourer or working-class fellow on his uppers in Germany at this time would have found it all too easy to point at the Jews and see them as the source of his woes, particularly if rabble rousers such as Hitler or Goebbels was telling him just that. Just because many Jews managed to ride the storm out during the 1920s and 30s, whether by hard work, luck, or being able in their capacity as businessmen and bankers to keep Germany (and elsewhere) afloat meant nothing to the Nazis who needed an ‘other’as a focus for the dissatisfaction of the German people.

In summary, the Nazis’ ‘problem’ with the Jews was as follows: resentment, snobbery, quasi-religious and racial intolerance, extreme nationalism, political opportunism, ignorance, and fear. Unfortunately, an awful lot of this is still around today.
Changing the subject slightly,
While detached to Poland in 2003, most of my crew hired a bus to drive the 4hrs south in order to visit Auschwitz. Few of us knew quite what to expect. The experience was one of the most powerful of my life and affected me deeply. All visits have to be escorted by an official tour guide who give excellent and detailed factual information during the tour which lasts approx 2 hrs and visits both Auschitz 1 and Birkenau; equally, they know when not to speak and to let what you are seeing with your own eyes hit home. The effect of seeing a room full of human hair removed from victims prior to gassing is impossible to describe. Likewise, seeing the clothes, toys and photos of very young children (of similar ages to my own), seperated from their parents and transported to the camps will stay with me forever. If you ever get the chance to visit, or can organise a service funded visit for some of your young squaddies, I can think of no location more powerful.

Whilst there, I purchased a book entitled 'But I Survived' by Tadeusz Sobolewicz, a 17 year old Polish boy imprisoned with his father there in 1941 due to their resistance activities. He subsequently spent much of the rest of the war at Auschwitz, and later at Buchenwald and several forced labour camps. The book is superb, exceptionally moving and one which is almost impossible to put down.

From what I've seen of the TV series so far, it will go down as a BBC classic documentary, in the same vein as 'The World at War'.

On this 60th anniversary of the camps liberation, I will be saying a silent prayer for the victims on the Nazis.

I am 56 years old but I have never understood the Nazi/Hitlers sheer hatred of the Jews.
I have been to both Dachau and Belsen and felt the strange impact of both places. Concentration camps to lock up 'undesirables' I can understand, not say they are right, but understand the mentality behind them.
A mass extermination camp is beyond my understanding. Production like facilities to wipe out an entire race takes some thinking about.
I drink one a week or say three times in a fortnight with an elderly German, 16 in 1945, he is still very uncomfatable with what happened when he was a youth, but feels quite rightly that he should note be blamed for what happened. Just as I am not responsible for what previous generations of my countrymen did, uniting India and giving them a proper judical system, civil service and starting their modern education system.
When I served in Minden we had a German secratery, who had started work in early 1940s at a chemical factory. She worked in the lab and she told me that the company had a conncentration camp to provided workers. I asked how she felt then about the camp and the workers. Her reply was that these where bad people who wanted Germany to lose the war and where rightly being made to work very hard, for the country.
She had heard of the Gestapo never seen them but they where the protectors of what was right in Germany.
Thank you to all contributors to this debate, I am still not to old to learn.

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