Former Nazi camp guard, possible deportation....not sure how I feel about this.....

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Posted 12/3/2012 by candleangie in NSBR Board
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wren*walk
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:53:25 PM

you did mention you "LOVE" this history. I'm having a hard time reconciling what went on with anyone being able to love anything about it.




I know I said I was done, but just had to address this, then I'm done.

I haven't changed my wording that I'm aware of, but I'm having a hard time with this comment. You've never heard someone say they LOVE history/science/art/sport/ whatever? I believe I said I love WW2 history, and I do.

I honestly don't know how that gets twisted into anything other than what it is. You surely don't mean to say you think I love stuff that happened in WW2? Or am I missing your meaning?







lucyg819
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Posted: 12/5/2012 2:52:14 AM

It was a factual correction, i.e, there were no gas chambers, as stated by desertpea, he was not ushering people into. And the word "merely" in quotes was NOT in my post. It was put there by Lucy. Facts matter. This is no different.

Maybe you think it was ok to inject rhetoric and false equivalents because so many people died there anyway, and that was part of Buchenwald's purpose. And maybe you are right.

But please don't try to misrepresent what I am saying and ignore the fact that someone tried to change my meaning by adding an extra word in quotes and all. There is no reason to.

The quotation marks around "merely" weren't meant to indicate a direct quotation ... obviously, since that wasn't what you said. I used them to show that the word merely, which itself I used because that seemed to be what you were implying, was fallacious.

Since that word seems to bother you so much, I do apologize for using it. I just don't think that's the real issue here.


LUCYG
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



lumos
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Posted: 12/5/2012 3:19:05 AM
I visited Buchenwald in August. I saw the ovens, and the carts they used to transport the bodies there. I drove on the Road of Death. I saw the large hooks in the basement under the ovens, all along the top of the walls, that they used to hang prisoners on as if they were fresh meat, and then slit their throats. I saw the measuring stick on the wall that they used to "measure" newcomers while a shooter hid behind a wall with a hole in it and shot the prisoner in the back of the neck. I have photos of all of it.

I saw the "Little Camp" where as many as 2000 people were forced into an airtight little building at a time, where they could not even have room to sit, left there for days without food or water until they went crazy or died from thirst and hunger.

I saw the prison cells where they kept priests and others the night before they were to be excecuted, or worse, experimented on while they were conscious, and then murdered once they were done - limbs cut off while they were alive and often awake, and sewn onto another person, and much worse.

I saw the camps where they experimented on hundreds of people using Typhus - children and adults alike.

I saw the perimeter that the guards walked. Shooting a prisoner was like shooting a dog to them, according to the memories relayed.

I read the testimony of former prisoners, and family members. Buchenwald was not "simply a work camp". It was one of the top facilities for conducting experiments on living human beings. Death and misery were everywhere, and I will never, ever, ever forget those stories and the feelings I and my family felt while walking through the place. And no one walking through it could come away with any sympathy for those 17 year olds forced into it - I would rather have died than do to those prisoners what those guards and officials did to them.

17 years old is not a child, especially not back then. At 17 my mother was looking after 8 younger siblings, working full-time, cooking dinner every night, sewing and knitting her family's clothing - basically a fully functioning adult - this was in Holland.

My father at 17 had been out of school for 3 years and was working full time and earning a living.

17 in Europe back then is not the same as 17 in North America today.

I also visited the Propoganda museum in Amsterdam, and I have to say it is really scary to see the propoganda used back then - but I also saw so many similarities to propoganda used even today - and yet, not everyone bought into the Nazi point of view, and a good many resisted, and Thank God for those free thinkers.

lucyg819
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Posted: 12/5/2012 3:31:22 AM
Crap. Now I'm going to go to bed with those pictures in my head.

Thank you for sharing your experience, Lumos.


LUCYG
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



IleneTell
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Posted: 12/5/2012 6:30:52 AM

I believe I said I love WW2 history, and I do.

I honestly don't know how that gets twisted into anything other than what it is. You surely don't mean to say you think I love stuff that happened in WW2?


No, I don't mean you love what happened at all. I think your comments have made it clear that you don't approve of it, etc.

Let me clarify to you why it sounded like you were minimizing the situation when you used the word "love". While there's nothing wrong with "Loving WW2 history", when used in the context of talking about actual people being killed and tortured, it does come off sounding flippant. The issue was the context.

For example, if there was a thread where someone posted that their grandmother was a slave, and came over on a slave ship, and was raped and tortured and finally murdered by her slavers, and my response was "Yes, yes, that was so horrible....I just LOVE Civil war history"...you can see why my response would be in poor taste at that point. It's not wrong of me to love Civil War history, but right then and there might not be the appropriate timing to be talking about it so dismissively.

Hopefully that clarified what I meant. I think as you said earlier, people are going to be progressively more emotional about it, the closer to home it hits for them. Sometimes it's nicer to try to be sensitive about this, than to try and convince them about your point of view being more "correct" (before you get upset, I'm paraphrasing/summarizing, not quoting).

lumos
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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:52:01 AM
I know, Lucy, awful pictures, huh? And that's just an experience remembered by a tourist.

I can't imagine the memories in the heads of those that lived it. I know my parents tell me some amazing experiences from their childhoods in Holland, about being invaded, and neighbours disappearing, and feeding the wandering and homeless and hiding the Jews.

My paternal grandparents, long deceased, were just written up in their local paper in Holland for helping out so many starving during the war - my grandmother (they were farmers) fed every single person that knocked on her door asking for food - thousands of city people fled to the country, walking miles a day, because the cities were starving and they needed to find food.

She had 12 kids to feed and care for, but she made sure every person who came her way was helped. She gave them places to sleep at night. She gave them extra sandwiches to take with them on their journey. My father still talks about those thickly sliced sandwiches and how amazing they were - with butter and whatever else they could find.

And considering the Nazis kept count of every single animal they had as well as the crop yields of the farm, scrounging up extra food was not as easy as one would think for a farmer. My grandfather risked being shot every time a Nazi came to take inventory.

Hiding their sons in the cabbages until the Nazis left was also frowned upon, to put it mildly.

She kept a guest book with every name that came to her house and it was recently reprinted in her village's newspaper - hundreds of people are in that record book. It fills me with such pride and is an inspiration daily to try to live up to that level of goodness. Unfortunately she died when I was five and I never got to really know her.

What a dishonour to let the memories die.

Elie Wiesel said in his prologue (I think it was there) - "all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing". I literally think of that almost every single day.

Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 12/5/2012 10:48:06 AM

I also visited the Propoganda museum in Amsterdam, and I have to say it is really scary to see the propoganda used back then - but I also saw so many similarities to propoganda used even today - and yet, not everyone bought into the Nazi point of view, and a good many resisted, and Thank God for those free thinkers.



There's also a museum in Nuremberg - the Documentation Center - which chronicles the rise of the Nazi party and the importance of propoganda - I highly recommend it.


Simply_Lovely
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Posted: 12/5/2012 10:59:10 AM


And I got more of a dog in this fight that most anyone ON this thread.


Wow. You really do think the world revolves around you.




Meow!

celiasmoot
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:18:26 PM
I don't care if he is 180. Deport and let the Isreali try him for war crimes. I have no sympathy at all. It's like those old dudes who get tried for murders in the south during the civil rights movement. If we have to roll them in the court on a hospital bed I support it. Justice has no time limit.

BTW: anybody read Sarah's Key- book about Vichy government working with the Nazis in France. Every fictional or nonfiction book I read re the Holocaust literally breaks my heart for what people must have endured.

lucyg819
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:20:30 PM
I read and loved Sarah's Key, but it was not very popular with most of the peas.


LUCYG
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



lumos
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:52:42 PM
I own Sarah's Key but have never read it - someone gave it to me without telling me what it was about, so I just put it on the bookshelf and forgot about it. I am going to dig it out and read it over the holidays.

mamashosh
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Posted: 12/5/2012 1:57:20 PM
Lumos, thank you for sharing both the horrible images of what you saw at Buchenwald and the wonderful stories of your grandparents' courage.

And for the record, since we are keeping score of who has 'dogs in the fight', I lost relatives in the camps, and I had relatives with numbers burned into their arms. I have friends who were raised by holocaust survivors and who bear the emotional scars of those camps themselves, even though they were not born then. My father was a WWII veteran, and I was raised with holocaust stories mixed in with fairy tales---it was crucial to my parents that I never forget. I am not a survivor and I am in no way trying to say that my meager experiences are in any way shape or form like those who lived through it, but I have some 'dogs in the fight' too, or at least puppies.



birukitty
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Posted: 12/5/2012 5:10:20 PM
I don't know how to quote (just tried to do it several times) so please bear with me.

I wrote a comment about my German grandmother being a single mother to my Mom (a very small child) in WW2 and how she hated Hitler. I also mentioned a cousin who was also from Germany who participated in one of the Hitler assassination plots (there were many). I began by saying that not every German during that time followed Hitler.

This is freecharlie's response, "This could be turned around just like the others who claim they were forced to join the Nazi's. They all claim to have not supported Hitler or been part of the Resistance when asked..."

What the hell FreeCharlie? Did you just call me a liar or did you mean every German during those times supported Hitler including my family? My cousin was part of the Resistance or he wouldn't have been risking his life being part of one of the plots to assassinate Hitler. I do not lie.

Debbie in MD.

freecharlie
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Posted: 12/5/2012 6:59:08 PM

This is freecharlie's response, "This could be turned around just like the others who claim they were forced to join the Nazi's. They all claim to have not supported Hitler or been part of the Resistance when asked..."

What the hell FreeCharlie? Did you just call me a liar or did you mean every German during those times supported Hitler including my family? My cousin was part of the Resistance or he wouldn't have been risking his life being part of one of the plots to assassinate Hitler. I do not lie
I did not just call you a liar. Earlier in your post you basically stated that everyone who was caught "said" they were forced into service. You have no facts that those who claim they were forced into service are lying, but yet you made the statement. I was merely pointing out that many Germans said they resisted or didn't like Hitler or...and they may or may not be lying just like those who were in the Nazi military.

Not every German supported the Nazi and not every person who was in the military was forced into it, but in both cases some did and some were.


Tribbey: I believe, as long as Justice Dreifort is intolerant toward gays, lesbians, blacks, unions, women, poor people, and the first, fourth, fifth, and ninth amendments, I will remain intolerant toward him! [to Ainsley] Nice meeting you

SuffyAnn

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Posted: 12/5/2012 8:58:30 PM

My step-father's entire family were sent to Hart Mountain simply because they were Japanese. Try telling them that members of their family didn't die simply because there were no gas chambers. They died. Just like in Buchewald.

It is deeply offensive to equate in any way the internment of Japanese Americans with the holocaust. If you think they were in any way equivalent you are very, very wrong. It is a way of diminishing what occurred in the concentration camps of the holocaust to try to say they are in any way the same.

Japanese internment was wrong and should not have happened, but it was in no way the same as the holocaust. Heart Mountain was a resort compared to Buchenwald. I have personally interviewed people who were interned in Manzanar and Gila River, and I have also spoken extensively with survivors of the holocaust. The difference between the stories is night and day.



I didn't intend to equate the too, but I lived with people who were at Hart Mountain and Manzanar too. They did not suffer as the Jewish People suffered, they were not systematically murdered. Their suffering was cruel and unjust, most lost everything and many never trusted our government again. Four of my uncles were allowed to join the service, the younger and older of the seven boys could not, so they were interned. My aunt and grandparents as well as their extended families. I do know their suffering. Regardless, They were not resorts.

I was not attempting to equate the inhumanity of the two. However, people did die very tragic deaths in our "internment" camps, roughly 63 percent were American Born Citizens. We were not innocentand they were innocent Americans included there.

I have a deep heart for both groups, I had ancestors die both in Poland and in Wyoming. The Nazis were pathological and can never be excused, we we simply stupid, and hopefully learned from our past.

However, unless and until you are a descendent of either, you will never truly understand the suffering of families; those murdered by bastards, or those who died here.

Inhumanity is everywhere, there are simply different degrees. The Nazi's and the Holocaust were the worst murderers in hiatory and nothing like that should ever happen again. Let us learn from our mistakes and seek justice for those committing these atrocities, even after 50 years of living like a saint.

birukitty
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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:34:54 PM
Freecharlie "I did not call you a liar. Earlier in your post you basically stated that everyone who was caught "said" they were forced into service.

I never said that! In an earlier post I said "I don't buy for one minute that he was "forced" to join the SS."

In a later post I said "To be in the SS you had to apply and be granted entrance. There was no way this man was forced".

I know there were many Germans who were forced into the Army during the last part of the War. Most of these "men" were boys who were 14 and 15 or even younger. If they did not "do their duty" they were shot on the spot. That is being forced.

To imply that my German ancestors that I mentioned in my post (cousin who was in on one of the assassination attempts of Hitler and was executed for that, and my grandmother, single mother of a small child did what she could while still protecting her child and hated Hitler-that that never happened, just like the Nazi's saying they weren't guilty is a very nasty, hurtful comment. It is a personal attack and I am calling you out for it.

Debbie in MD.

lucyg819
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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:47:02 PM
I'm the one who said they (ETA meaning escaped Nazis, SS officers and guards, etc.) ALWAYS claim they were forced to do it.

I'm sure some of them were, but that doesn't negate the fact that many weren't, and since they all say it, it's become kind of meaningless.

And yes, it's also true that some of the Nazi faithful in Germany denied it after the war. That doesn't mean you should have singled out Debbie's family history and said what you did about it. It's very personal to her and she knows her family better than anyone. I accept her word.

There's a big difference in saying it about some stranger in a news story and saying it about someone's grandma, right to her face.


LUCYG
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



lucyg819
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Posted: 12/5/2012 9:54:45 PM

Lucy, I read Sarah's Key and didn't enjoy it much. I found the historic storyline intriguing, though devastating, but hated the modern storyline and the ass-hole husband. It also might be that I had a 4 year old son and a newborn when I read it so the situation of the 4 year old left in the closet made me physically ill at times to read.

Totally understandable. It was a painful book to read. I did like the switching between eras. It was like a relief to come back to her everyday contemporary worries after the war stuff.


LUCYG
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



azredhead34
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Posted: 12/5/2012 10:00:44 PM
I too am very very mixed on this one.
I've been to Germany and seen parts I won't describe here either.
My FIL served at Checkpoint Charlie he had a very difficult time when we were there and he was on the good side. I can't correctly put into words here how I feel about it but I understand the conflict of the man and those who feel he should stay because he changed his life.

Has anyone seen SwingKids? It's an excellent but horribly depressing movie about teens during the war being forced into being part of the Nazi's.




birukitty
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Posted: 12/6/2012 10:03:46 AM
Thanks so much Lucy for having my back. I really appreciate the support!

Debbie in MD.

lucyg819
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Posted: 12/6/2012 10:53:37 AM
Hugs to you, honey.


LUCYG
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



Miss Miss
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Posted: 12/6/2012 11:10:51 AM
Try him for war crimes or not that is up for the courts to decide. You all say he wasn't forcred or could have been forced.

Vietnam : Draft

We had soliders go over there and commit major acts of punishment and crime to innocent people as well. They don't talk about it and if asked would lie in a heartbeat as well. Heck one those those young men could be my Uncle I have no clue. When YOUR life is on the line you will do anything to not die. The mentality is better you than me.

If someone said guard this fence shoot anyone that tries to escape. If you don't shoot them you die. What would you do?

Where you all there to know if he was forced or not?

A majority of you all are saying he is guilty. You have no idea his story or the background where he came from. Could he be lying yep. Could he be telling the truth yep. We will never know.

Miss Miss
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Posted: 12/6/2012 12:04:15 PM
Nightowl I am not disagreeing with you. I totally understand the deportation part of the discussion. It is the comments


I say deport him, send him to trail for his crimes and gas him to death





Thank you. I'm thinking: OFF. WITH. HIS. HEAD.



I'd prefer he get sentenced to carrying a 250 lb anvil for about ten miles every day for the rest of his life.


That I disagree with which is why I said what I did.

If your supervisor were killing innocent people and they said to do the same thing or you get a bullet in the back what would you do? All of us would not know what we would do because we are not in that situation.

If we were and we did it would you put it on an application? I didn't think so. Yes he got caught and something should happen but the guy was a 17 year old perimeter guard. Even if he applied to become a perimeter guard for it you can brainwash young minds so easy. None of us will never know what went on in those soldiers heads. Some may have hated every minute but did it to stay alive. I feel bad for everyone even him. Sucks that he had to go through that and live with that. I do not wish any of situation on anyone.

Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 12/6/2012 12:43:18 PM

Keeping in mind that all of Europe had racism issues in regards to Jews, the anti-Semitic laws that took hold in Germany weren't all that "shocking" to the average person at first.


It wasn't just Europe. One of the surprising things to me in the book above I referenced - "In the Garden of Beasts" was the written correspondence between the US Ambassador in Berlin and FDR's administration in DC which was pretty shocking in it's overt anti-semitism. There were MANY in the United States who sympathized with Germany's "Jewish problem" and "understood" many of the early anti-Jew laws not imagining just how far Hitler would take things.




mumzcuddles
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Posted: 12/6/2012 2:00:07 PM

No perspective needed, at least until every single remaining Nazi is dead or imprisoned.


This makes me really sad.
At least three people have come on the board and explained that it wasn't all black and white. Yet you feel the need for this statement. This is exactly the same thought that SOME had about the Jews.

I wonder how many of your sons, brothers, fathers, husbands would stand up against a government that would merrily drag the women out and rape and kill them. Can you net even comprehend what was going on, why they say hindsight is wonderful.

Black Friday has just been and gone and many were bitching about the craziness of the sales. Imagine that was for food, but then again why should you, none of you can comprehend looking at starvation, persecution or torture and execution.

Those who have walked through the concentration camps. It is an awful heartbreaking place, I dread to imagine how it must have been for those forced to work there, knowing that if they disagreed they would be thrown in the same work camps.

The Holocaust has taught very few people anything. There is still ethnic cleansing going on in the world and there are still people who make appalling comments like that above. If the only reason to keep the Holocaust alive is so that idiots can sit there and spout racist remarks, then I for one think that it's time to put it to rest. Until as human race we learn to show compassion and understanding then NOTHING has come from the slaughter of all those innocent people.
Hatred breeds hatred, if that is your life and motto then so be it.

birukitty
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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:42:45 PM
Hugs right back at ya Lucy

Miss Miss, you said, "If your supervisor were killing innocent people and they said to do the same thing or you got a bullet in the back what would you do?"

I would take the bullet in my back, before I killed innocent people. I wouldn't risk hell for eternity (by following orders to kill) and I couldn't live with myself if I killed innocents. There is no way I could do that no matter what situation I find myself in.

You also said, "Sucks that he had to go through that and live with that", about an SS Nazi guard. Are you kidding me? What about some compassion for the innocent victims who suffered his violence?

Debbie in MD.

lucyg819
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Posted: 12/6/2012 8:54:00 PM

No perspective needed, at least until every single remaining Nazi is dead or imprisoned.

-------------

This makes me really sad.
At least three people have come on the board and explained that it wasn't all black and white. Yet you feel the need for this statement. This is exactly the same thought that SOME had about the Jews.

I wonder how many of your sons, brothers, fathers, husbands would stand up against a government that would merrily drag the women out and rape and kill them. Can you net even comprehend what was going on, why they say hindsight is wonderful.

Black Friday has just been and gone and many were bitching about the craziness of the sales. Imagine that was for food, but then again why should you, none of you can comprehend looking at starvation, persecution or torture and execution.

Those who have walked through the concentration camps. It is an awful heartbreaking place, I dread to imagine how it must have been for those forced to work there, knowing that if they disagreed they would be thrown in the same work camps.

The Holocaust has taught very few people anything. There is still ethnic cleansing going on in the world and there are still people who make appalling comments like that above. If the only reason to keep the Holocaust alive is so that idiots can sit there and spout racist remarks, then I for one think that it's time to put it to rest. Until as human race we learn to show compassion and understanding then NOTHING has come from the slaughter of all those innocent people.
Hatred breeds hatred, if that is your life and motto then so be it.

Are you seriously comparing my hatred of Nazis to Nazi hatred of Jews? And calling it RACISM?? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Epic fail, lady.

P.S. hating Nazis could only be called racism if Nazism = a race ... like, I dunno ... maybe something like an Aryan? I soooo would not want to go there if I were you.


LUCYG
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"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



lucyg819
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Posted: 12/6/2012 9:04:29 PM


mumzcuddles
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Posted: 12/4/2012 10:09:55 AM
I too have very mixed feelings. I think the part that does that to me is the fact that he was forced into Nazi service at 17. That is still a kid. He was probably scared shitless and truly had no choice.

I think a grown man choosing to become part of the Nazis and being sent to a camp is different than a child being forced into it. I think those of us who now live in a time and country where military service is a choice cannot really comprehend what life must have been like for teenaged boys in Nazi Germany who witnessed the execution of entire families because someone wouldn't comply with orders.

------------

My mum was a German Jew. Her and her two brothers were forced to join the SS by my grandfather. Why??? Because two sisters had gone to the concentration camps.

There were many many Germans of all faiths who lived in terror and actual fear for their lives. My mother was taken to witness I think it was something like 'Chandeleir Night' where Jewish families were dragged from their homes and their possessions thrown in the streets and burnt/stolen. It wasn't because they wanted to see it but because of their fear of torture/death/rape if someone even thought that they sympatised with the Jews.

I don't know the full details because it is only in the last 18 months that she has started talking about it. The memories and the fear is still as great now as it was then.

Send him back???? I'm sorry but some of you need to step out of your little world and realise as others have posted here that it is impossible to imagine what was happening at the time, there were victims on both sides. I can not imagine the fear that some of them must have gone through. I don't know if I would be brave enough to stand alone and say 'this isn't right'.
I don't know if it's right for him to stand trial or not, it is not a part of history that should ever be forgotten. There are many who will never be able to forgive for what happened to them and their families. As for me and my siblings....we try and understand and not judge. We weren't there, we don't know what was going on and we sure as hell don't know who was a 'willing' Nazi and who was forced. It's an atrocious time in history and in the here and now there is no clear cut answer. I'm not sure that there ever was. JMHO

Here is your first post. I ignored it before, because I felt bad for you. I'm done with that now.

Do you want to rethink the wording in this post? Jews did not join the SS. Either your mother and her brothers did not join the SS or they weren't Jews. Take your pick.

By Chandelier Night, I think you are probably referring to Kristallnacht, "The Night of Broken Glass."

You need to do some studying up on the history of the Holocaust. I am sorry for your mother's suffering during the war, but I think you need to get your facts straight before you start lecturing the rest of us.


LUCYG
northern california

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell



mamashosh
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Posted: 12/6/2012 9:07:03 PM

The Holocaust has taught very few people anything. There is still ethnic cleansing going on in the world and there are still people who make appalling comments like that above. If the only reason to keep the Holocaust alive is so that idiots can sit there and spout racist remarks, then I for one think that it's time to put it to rest. Until as human race we learn to show compassion and understanding then NOTHING has come from the slaughter of all those innocent people.
Hatred breeds hatred, if that is your life and motto then so be it.

Are you seriously comparing my hatred of Nazis to Nazi hatred of Jews? And calling it RACISM?? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Epic fail, lady.

P.S. hating Nazis could only be called racism if Nazism = a race ... like, I dunno ... maybe something like an Aryan? I soooo would not want to go there if I were you.




OMG. NAZIS ARE NOT A RACE. Hating the vile, disgusting, abhorent, murderous beliefs of the Nazis is not racism. It is not time to "put it to rest". I am speechless. Lucy said it all and I totally agree. You cannot, cannot have said this.



mamashosh
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Posted: 12/6/2012 9:12:08 PM
Yeah Lucy, I also chose to ignore her first post which made no sense--Jews in the SS???? Chandelier night???? --out of sympathy, but I have lost sympathy now. This poster is showing equal sympathy for the Nazis as she is for their victims. Unreal.



mamashosh
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Posted: 12/6/2012 9:19:16 PM


My mum was a German Jew. Her and her two brothers were forced to join the SS by my grandfather. Why??? Because two sisters had gone to the concentration camps.

There were many many Germans of all faiths who lived in terror and actual fear for their lives. My mother was taken to witness I think it was something like 'Chandeleir Night' where Jewish families were dragged from their homes and their possessions thrown in the streets and burnt/stolen. It wasn't because they wanted to see it but because of their fear of torture/death/rape if someone even thought that they sympatised with the Jews.


So were they Jewish? or did they sympathize with the Jews? or were they in the SS? And btw, my understanding is that women weren't in the SS, but only in auxiliaries. No family known to be Jewish (two sisters in the camps?) would have been allowed in the SS. Makes no sense at all.



pudgy_groundhog
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Posted: 12/6/2012 9:26:40 PM

It wasn't just Europe. One of the surprising things to me in the book above I referenced - "In the Garden of Beasts" was the written correspondence between the US Ambassador in Berlin and FDR's administration in DC which was pretty shocking in it's overt anti-semitism. There were MANY in the United States who sympathized with Germany's "Jewish problem" and "understood" many of the early anti-Jew laws not imagining just how far Hitler would take things.
That was a very interesting book and a great look at how events began. I also recently read Winds of War and War and Remembrance, which I thought were excellent (historical fiction, but so much detail and well researched). I again was really struck by the anti-semitism in the US and our reluctance to allow more refugees. But I was also struck by the lengths to which the Nazis went to hide their concentration camp activities. I don't think people in the US (or most of Europe for that matter) knew the extent to which they were persecuting the Jewish population (at the time I think people just couldn't possibly imagine something so horrible happening).



moveablefeast
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Posted: 12/6/2012 9:41:54 PM

Some things NEED to be hated, and history needs to be kept alive. The evil perpetrated against an innocent people deserves hatred. When we stop hating it, and begin to view it through the prism of relativism and the lack of absolutes that are such popular ways of looking at every darned thing today, we are in serious danger.


I don't disagree with this. It is absolutely true - some things need to be hated. Absolutely. This is one of them. Genocide is one of those things that needs to be hated.

I am not a relativist. I know full well that an action such as those undertaken in support of the "Final Solution" has no moral ambiguity. Everything that the Nazis did with the intent to eliminate the Jewish people was morally wrong at every time, on every level, and for every person. Full stop, end of story. Some actions have some moral ambiguity, this one does not.

The thing is... that even if an action has no moral ambiguity, the thing that makes it more difficult is that people do have moral ambiguity. People are not only good or only bad - no, people are a mixture of good and bad. We do good things and bad things, for good reasons and bad reasons. I can tell you that I have never been involved in genocide, but I can also tell you that I have moral ambiguity. I do good, and I do bad. I do not need to have been involved in something so unambiguously heinous as a Nazi camp to have good and bad.

For me, the simple reality is that Mr. Geiser misrepresented himself whilst filing for citizenship. He knew his participation, whether fully voluntary or not, would leave him ineligible. The law, too, lacks ambiguity, and he knew that. He is looking for ambiguity in it now, to preserve a life he has spent many decades cultivating. And I sympathize with that. I understand it. Not because his actions under the Nazi regime were defendable in any sense, not because I think the law is unjust or wrongly applied, but because I identify, in a small parallel way, with what he has tried to do.

I agree that genocide must be hated, that racism and xenophobia are evil, and that we should consider them socially and culturally reprehensible. The actions of the Nazis and any that hold similarities should be unequivocally condemned.

But I understand how it is that a man could do something unambiguously wrong, participate in something unutterably horrible, and then literally place an ocean between that action and himself and build a new life. And although I believe the law in question is just and appropriate, I understand why he did that. But the consequence of that has caught up with him, decades after the fact. To see the humanity in this story does not relativize the unequivocal evil that was done during that time.

mapchic
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Posted: 12/6/2012 10:59:09 PM

Yeah Lucy, I also chose to ignore her first post which made no sense--Jews in the SS???? Chandelier night???? --out of sympathy, but I have lost sympathy now. This poster is showing equal sympathy for the Nazis as she is for their victims. Unreal.
Count me in with the people ignoring the first nonsensical post. I actually tried to reason out what she could have meant and other than translating 'chandelier night' into Kristallnacht I can't make heads or tails of it.

I generally try not to disagree with or correct people when they tell what they know of their family history.Even if what they are saying is something I *know* is historically impossible I figure it is what their family told them and it's not worth it for me to try and correct that.

This time... I am glad that someone has already pointed out the problems with the story. Women were not SS member, if you had Jewish family members in the camp it was highly unlikely - if not impossible that you would be allowed into the SS. I am sure her mother's stories are somewhat muddled by time, but it is possible to try and check them against the historical record.




"When someone asks you 'think about what Jesus would do', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables" -- Unknown

“I am a Roman Catholic - the one true faith, (the Microsoft of Christianity) and I know Roman Catholicism is the one true faith because Roman Catholicism tells me it’s the one true faith... And if you remember from earlier in this sentence Roman Catholicism is the one true faith – so how could it be wrong?” ~ Stephen Colbert ‘The Word’ 11-28-06

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit

Anna*Banana
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Posted: 12/6/2012 11:39:53 PM

I wonder how many of your sons, brothers, fathers, husbands would stand up against a government that would merrily drag the women out and rape and kill them. Can you net even comprehend what was going on, why they say hindsight is wonderful.
As humans we will fail to do the right thing many times, but I think that we also have to be responsible for that failing. Bad $hit happens and we can be put in a horrible, no win, situation. And when it comes to situations of ethnic cleansing, yes, people have to be held accountable and "called out" legally and in society for NOT standing up. Yes, even if it's hard, even if... We have to. We just do.

Some things, as a society, we have to draw a line in the sand. Crimes against humanity are those things.


~ Anna ~

Sue_Pea
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Posted: 12/7/2012 5:54:44 AM

Keeping in mind that all of Europe had racism issues in regards to Jews, the anti-Semitic laws that took hold in Germany weren't all that "shocking" to the average person at first.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



It wasn't just Europe. One of the surprising things to me in the book above I referenced - "In the Garden of Beasts" was the written correspondence between the US Ambassador in Berlin and FDR's administration in DC which was pretty shocking in it's overt anti-semitism. There were MANY in the United States who sympathized with Germany's "Jewish problem" and "understood" many of the early anti-Jew laws not imagining just how far Hitler would take things.




yep. It's shocking to us now, but it was not uncommon for anti-semitism to rear its ugly head here AND in Europe. For those who are interested in this time period, if you haven't read William Manchester's Last Lion series about Winston Churchill, give it a look. The second volume, Alone, which covers 1932-1940 is fantastic. I was gob-smacked when I found out how commonplace it was for wealthy, famous people to visit Germany in the 30's and come back saying how great Hitler was.
And the British govt. under Chamberlain kept trying to make treaties with Hitler. Just incredible.
I know that Hitler's rise was made possible by many things,like the extreme poverty in Germany following WW1, but it is so puzzling and sad that most of the citizens in a large country like Germany could be brain-washed into ignoring all of the terrible things that Hitler did.

On the other hand, the bravery of those in Holland and France who were part of the Resistance is awe-inspiring when you think about just how much they were risking.

Darcy_Collins
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Posted: 12/7/2012 9:30:17 AM
I think we need to be careful in saying women were not SS members - women technically joined the SS-Gefolge a support branch of the SS for women. But my understanding is that was really more about ensuring that no woman obtained a rank higher than any male SS member. If you look at Juana Bormann and some of the other high ranking women in the Nazi regime, they were no different than any other SS member despite their sex. I'm sure there are many, who have more knowledge about this than me, so please chime in. I didn't want people to be left with the impression that women weren't active in the cruelty and atrocities of Nazi Germany - unfortunately that crossed gender lines.


mamashosh
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Posted: 12/7/2012 10:12:09 AM

As humans we will fail to do the right thing many times, but I think that we also have to be responsible for that failing. Bad $hit happens and we can be put in a horrible, no win, situation. And when it comes to situations of ethnic cleansing, yes, people have to be held accountable and "called out" legally and in society for NOT standing up. Yes, even if it's hard, even if... We have to. We just do.

Some things, as a society, we have to draw a line in the sand. Crimes against humanity are those things.


I agree, completely



scrapmaven
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Posted: 12/7/2012 11:04:39 AM
I am a firm believer that just because someone evil gets old doesn't mean they've earned our respect or kindness. It just means they haven't died, yet. Now, I don't know if this guy is evil or not, but I do know that he was a participant, whether through fear or not in a heinous event and he doesn't deserve to be exonerated. At the very least he needs to be treated as a Nazi war criminal and not given special dispensation because he's old. Being a Nazi is imho an indefensible crime.


For God's sake, let it go. In twenty or so years, all of these men will be dead and gone.


That doesn't mean we shouldn't punish the ones we find now. Letting it go is an insult to the millions upon millions of people who were tortured, murdered and violated. Let this be a lesson to people around the world that we punish evil!


_____________________________________________________

I'd like to help you out. Which way did you come in?

smurfie
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Posted: 12/7/2012 11:41:10 AM

Let this be a lesson to people around the world that we punish evil!


what about the allied forcees members who raped/killed/tortured innocent german citizens... people who had done nothing wrong at all or even people who had done their little bit..

my mum still to this day tells me the stories (she was a young child during the war, born in 1932) how her brothers had to run to the local garisson to call the RMPs because soldiers had broken into their hut (not a house, not a shed, a hut) and were about to do unspeakable things to her and my grandmother? This is a child who had lost her father through execution for being a "traitor and abetor to the jews", this a young girl who was barely in her teens..

all those soldiers went free... none of them were brought to justice... to this day merely mentioning the fact that one is german often is met with disgust and i have had "nazi pig" shouted at me from across the road by kids in the neighbourhood no older than 10... my daughter has been called jew killer, kids in her school goosestep and call her hitler, they drew swastikas on her locker... all that even though my grandfather paid the ultimate price for protecting my great aunt and her children.

Not all germans were or are NAZIS, not all NAZIS were or are german (in fact, hitler himself was AUSTRIAN not german).. it is a political affiliation, not a nationality or race, you still get the extreme right wing loons and i believe there are a LOT of right wing loons still in america to this day (the KKK loons come to mind immediately, if killing black people by the millions is not as much genocide as what happened in germany, i fail to see the difference).

Yes, it was horrible what happened, no it should not be forgotten .. but there has to come a time where a country is allowed to move on from past generations mistakes.

At the time, hitler was voted in because we had lost the first world war and had been turned into a democratic republic rather than an empire.. it was the first time a nation got to vote in a government. Now, if you had a candidate who told you "i will give you jobs, i will give you food for your children, i will give you infrastructure and prosperity for your country, i will give you health care and education" would you NOT vote for him? he did not stand there and tell the people of germany "i will kill the jews, i will lead your country to ruin through war, i will give you everything you want but it will cost you the lives of not only millions of foreigners but also the lives of millions of your own" ... once hitler had been voted into power there was little that could be done, people all over germany TRIED to rise against him, people tried to assassinate him... and a great many after a while saw what happened to those people and chose relative safety for their own families and children...


ETA: i just realised that a great many of you will start down the "you cannot liken our american slavery to your german holocaust" so no i am not likening them, i am just trying to say that each country has made its mistakes... the british were the ones who invented the concentration camps during the Boer War... the bosnian/serbian conflict saw genocide on a big scale...




Natascha Dominic Cameron DH and me



Leon (MC 03/05/10): Never in my arms, forever in my heart.

mamashosh
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Posted: 12/7/2012 12:05:41 PM

Let this be a lesson to people around the world that we punish evil!


what about the allied forcees members who raped/killed/tortured innocent german citizens... people who had done nothing wrong at all or even people who had done their little bit..

my mum still to this day tells me the stories (she was a young child during the war, born in 1932) how her brothers had to run to the local garisson to call the RMPs because soldiers had broken into their hut (not a house, not a shed, a hut) and were about to do unspeakable things to her and my grandmother? This is a child who had lost her father through execution for being a "traitor and abetor to the jews", this a young girl who was barely in her teens..

all those soldiers went free... none of them were brought to justice... to this day merely mentioning the fact that one is german often is met with disgust and i have had "nazi pig" shouted at me from across the road by kids in the neighbourhood no older than 10... my daughter has been called jew killer, kids in her school goosestep and call her hitler, they drew swastikas on her locker... all that even though my grandfather paid the ultimate price for protecting my great aunt and her children.

Not all germans were or are NAZIS, not all NAZIS were or are german (in fact, hitler himself was AUSTRIAN not german).. it is a political affiliation, not a nationality or race, you still get the extreme right wing loons and i believe there are a LOT of right wing loons still in america to this day (the KKK loons come to mind immediately, if killing black people by the millions is not as much genocide as what happened in germany, i fail to see the difference).

Yes, it was horrible what happened, no it should not be forgotten .. but there has to come a time where a country is allowed to move on from past generations mistakes.

At the time, hitler was voted in because we had lost the first world war and had been turned into a democratic republic rather than an empire.. it was the first time a nation got to vote in a government. Now, if you had a candidate who told you "i will give you jobs, i will give you food for your children, i will give you infrastructure and prosperity for your country, i will give you health care and education" would you NOT vote for him? he did not stand there and tell the people of germany "i will kill the jews, i will lead your country to ruin through war, i will give you everything you want but it will cost you the lives of not only millions of foreigners but also the lives of millions of your own" ... once hitler had been voted into power there was little that could be done, people all over germany TRIED to rise against him, people tried to assassinate him... and a great many after a while saw what happened to those people and chose relative safety for their own families and children...



What you are describing, soldiers abusing civilians, absolutely should have been punished. Absolutely. I am so sorry that happened to your family. People mistreating your family, calling you and your child names, is inexcusable and should be stopped. I am sorry that happens.

But really, that has very little, if not nothing, to do with what we are discussing here. Your family's mistreatment does not in any way compensate for/even out/dismiss the horror of the Nazis. Because some soldiers (and it was some---it was not the policy of any government to abuse innocent people) behaved really badly does not mean we should ignore or forgive the Nazi soldiers. I agree, not all Germans are or were Nazis, but that is irrelevant to the discussion at hand because this man was, in fact, a Nazi. He was SS.



mapchic
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Posted: 12/7/2012 12:57:22 PM
I must have missed the part where anyone on this thread said that all Germans were or are Nazi's. I know I have gone to great lengths to point out that was most certainly NOT the case.

I wonder, where in Germany was your family located? In Eastern Germany there were serious problems with Russian military raping and pillaging. The famous picture of Russian soldiers raising the Russian flag over Berlin had to be edited to remove the multiple watches one of the soldiers was wearing.

The war between Russia and Germany was terribly, terribly brutal with murder and rape and then reprisals by both sides. I will not defend or try to justify the actions of the Soviet soldiers. While they were Allies it would be wrong to conflate the actions of USSR, USA and UK soldiers.

The Western Allies also committed rapes and pillaging... they were after all soldiers not saints. It was on a much, much smaller scale than that of the Soviets. Also it was against the UCMJ (US military law) and they could (and were) be punished for those actions. I have not read of German (or Soviet) soldiers every being prosecuted for rape during WWII.

It was a war zone. War zones are not good places to be a young girl. I am not surprised that your mother has harrowing stories. However, remember that many French, Polish, Russian, Belgium, Dutch, Luxemberger, Italian, Czech women would have the same stories about the German army when they were invaded. Not to mention all of the Germans who were brutalized by their own people just because of their race or religion.

You seem to want to somehow equate the actions of a foreign army with those of the SS. That just isn't going to work. What was done by Germans to Germans and to the people of the countries that Germany CHOOSE to invade does not compare. Not even close.

That you are trying to explain away the rise of fascism in Germany is a bit disturbing. Particularly as we are in a time of economic uncertainty and we can see in some places how there seems to be a resurgence of fascist political parties in Europe(check out the Golden Dawn party in Greece - creepy).






"When someone asks you 'think about what Jesus would do', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables" -- Unknown

“I am a Roman Catholic - the one true faith, (the Microsoft of Christianity) and I know Roman Catholicism is the one true faith because Roman Catholicism tells me it’s the one true faith... And if you remember from earlier in this sentence Roman Catholicism is the one true faith – so how could it be wrong?” ~ Stephen Colbert ‘The Word’ 11-28-06

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit

smurfie
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Posted: 12/7/2012 1:36:05 PM
i am not going to justify what i said... there is no point... the german people did not CHOOSE to go to war, their elected leader who duped them into believing he was a good man CHOSE to go to war. Rather like Mr Blair sending british troops into iraq, they did not CHOOSE to go there, they were deployed there...

Even soldiers to this day who are told to go to iraq or afghanistan and do not necessarily support the war, have to go because they are soldiers. i am an ex army wife (my ex husband served in the british army and did tours in ireland, iraq desert storm and later on in bosnia) he did not always agree with the wars that were fought, but he was a soldier and went where he was told to go. Same with a lot of german people back in WW2 who already were soldiers and were given their marching orders.Same as allied troops being sent into germany.. they were not asked if they wanted to, they were told where they were going. I realise that in america it was all on a voluntary basis, however in britain and other european countries (including germany) young man had to do national service.

If you look at the whole of europe, more and more right wing parties are being elected into power, a very scary one is the BNP who are gaining more and more support here in the UK... do i find it frightening? yes very, especially as i have seen from my country's past what these lunatics can do... but at the end of the day, if the people of this country elect these lunatics, there is nothing i can do about it. Holland, France, Belgium are all seeing a steep increase in nationalistic parties, germany doesnt because we have seen where it can lead..

as for which part of germany my family (i) am from... my father was born in what used to be prussia, so the eastern part of germany (his story is another one altogether) and my mother was born and raised in the rhineland, heavily occupied by primarily british forces, but also by french and american forces. None of the soldiers were held accountable for what they did, and to brush it off by saying "oh well, they were soldiers" is to me as disturbing as some of my views seem to be to you... The allied commanders gave the soldiers a "get out of jail free card" by turning blind eyes, so yes, in a way the atrocities committed against civilians after the war were condoned and okayed by the allies. If accountability is asked for it should be asked for on ALL sides... and as another pea mentioned what about the accountability of the other nations that did nothing? that knew what was going on, yet didnt take action until there was something in it for them? it could have been stopped much sooner... but it wasnt.

I am trying to figure out what it actually is that im meaning to say.. and i think it is this: not only this man lied about what he did in the war, many many many of the allied soldiers went back home after their tour of duty and did not tell their families about what they did when they were stationed in a country they were supposed to "liberate" (this is how my mother describes she felt about the front "rolling over" they all hoped that life would be better once the allies came in)
So, should all those people who committed war crimes also be prosecuted all these years later? or is there a general consensus that because they were on "the good side" it should be forgiven because since then and before then they had led good lives?

send the guy back to germany... if it makes you all sleep better at night, then start a petition to have him sent back..

ETA: i was not "explaining away the rise to fascism" i was giving you the reasons WHY people were inclined to vote for Hitler... and honestly, this is exactly what is happening now and today, any party that promises more prosperity, more wealth, more security gains the votes. And yes i am sure that if i had been alive back then, i would not have thought to myself "oh wait in x years time this men is going to lead us to commit atrocious crimes, i had better not vote for him" Hindsight is a great thing to have.

ETAA: there are numerous posts peppered throughout these 4 pages where people have said things like "an entire country was in on it". this simply is and was not true... one pea recounted what happened to many germans who lived in dachau after they found out what exactly went on. i guess that is where my radar was a bit too sensitive and picked up on these little bits of generalisations being thrown in without much afterthought.




Natascha Dominic Cameron DH and me



Leon (MC 03/05/10): Never in my arms, forever in my heart.

mapchic
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Posted: 12/7/2012 2:40:15 PM
Again, I don't think you have read my posts on this thread. Yes, there were many non Nazi's who were compelled to serve in the Wehrmacht. Many German soldiers would not have fought if they could avoid it.

However the SS was a special Nazi paramilitary organization that was brought into the German military after Hitler was elected. To be an SS member (as the man who's story started this thread admits he was) you had to volunteer. The SS were the worst of the worst.

Meanwhile, while I want to give the benefit of the doubt to the members of the Wehmacht there were many atrocities they committed as well. However it would be wrong to paint them all with the same brush.


I realise that in america it was all on a voluntary basis, however in britain and other european countries (including germany) young man had to do national service.
You are incorrect. There was a draft in America during WWII (and Korea and Vietnam). In order to get into some specialized units (paratroopers, rangers) you had to volunteer.


None of the soldiers were held accountable for what they did, and to brush it off by saying "oh well, they were soldiers"
I did not brush it off. I just said that it is a reality of all war that soldiers (who are not known to be saints) commit crimes. American GIs were in fact punished for rape. Were all GI rapists punished? No. Is that terrible and a black mark on the history of our country? Yes. However, if rapists were caught they were punished in the American Army. Not so in the German army or the Soviet Army.


if accountability is asked for it should be asked for on ALL sides
I agree. However I still think that the actions of the SS (of which the man in the OP is a member) will stand out as the most cruel and evil int he war. They should not be brushed away with counter accusations to somehow act like 'everyone was doing it'. No, not everyone was doing what the SS did during WWII.

There is something in your posts that seems to want to diminish or discount the bad actions of Germans in WWII. Yes, not all Germans were supporters of the Nazis but at one point most were.

I have never met a German who doesn't have a story of how their family resisted or were anti-Nazis but all of those stories can't be true. They are just the stories that people want to believe about their family history. For example we have it here where someone is claiming their family was both Jewish and in the SS. Does not compute.

I do believe your story because it stands to reason that your family in the Rineland was anti-Nazi. Some of the lowest support of the Nazis was in that region. It was the north and the east where his base of power was located during his rise in politics. Though in 1936 and 1938 it looked like the support for him was nearly universal (not totally universal, but nearly).

No, an entire country wasn't 'in on it'... but most of the country definitely was. That is what makes stories like that of your grandfather all the more impressive.




So, should all those people who committed war crimes also be prosecuted all these years later? or is there a general consensus that because they were on "the good side" it should be forgiven because since then and before then they had led good lives?
If you find Allies who participated in horrors as evil as the SS and then lied in order to conceal their participation. Yes, they should be prosecuted. The problem is, nothing any western allies (not Soviet) did in WWII would ever possibly compare to what the SS did in the holocaust.


many of the allied soldiers went back home after their tour of duty and did not tell their families about what they did when they were stationed in a country they were supposed to "liberate"
Just to make something clear... no allies thought they were there to 'liberate' Germany. They were there to defeat an aggressor nation completely. That is very, very different. You mother might have been disappointed because as a young girl she didn't truly understand that nobody was there to liberate Germany - they were there to press for unconditional surrender.




"When someone asks you 'think about what Jesus would do', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables" -- Unknown

“I am a Roman Catholic - the one true faith, (the Microsoft of Christianity) and I know Roman Catholicism is the one true faith because Roman Catholicism tells me it’s the one true faith... And if you remember from earlier in this sentence Roman Catholicism is the one true faith – so how could it be wrong?” ~ Stephen Colbert ‘The Word’ 11-28-06

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit

smurfie
AlienGreenPea

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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:09:16 PM
mapchic your post has me sitting here with my jaw dropped to the floor and crying... yes, to most germans it was a LIBERATION from an evil that they could not and did not know they had voted into power.... they had voted a government into power with the faith that their new leader would make it all better...

i cannot get past some of the things you just plainly came out with... in fact i am not sure if i should count myself "lucky" that you "believe" my family's history... i guess at the end of the day, it doesnt matter whether you believe me or not... i actually managed to get in contact with the concentration camp memorial curator and he helped me find my grandfather's grave (plus minus a few hundered meters, so that my mother could travel to the far north of germany to finally see her father's last resting place, we did not tell her that the records were all but destroyed and that we could not locate the exact plot where my father is now resting in a mass grave)
I have photographs of my jewish great aunt with her 4 children and family photos of my mother and grandmother with those very children posing as my grandmother's own...

I am not saying it "doesnt" matter because it does matter,not just for all those jewish people but also look at how many millions of germans were ALSO killed in the concentration camps it wasnt a fate solely reserved for those who were jewish... there were others (a lot of them germans) who were also put to death by this evil evil man. yes, he had many many sympathisers, a lot of them amongst foreign nationalities... but there were far more people who wanted it all to end, who were shocked at what they had done and who could not have foreseen what this one man would do.

and with this i give in.. there is no point in trying to explain anything as everything is just turned into a venomous "you cannot explain away" "it is disturbing how you minimize" etc etc... no, i am not but neither do i think that this blame game should be going on and on and on and on there comes a time when history needs to be remembered and taught as such... history, not a way to fuel hatred and animosity.




Natascha Dominic Cameron DH and me



Leon (MC 03/05/10): Never in my arms, forever in my heart.

Simply_Lovely
AncestralPea

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Posted: 12/7/2012 3:27:06 PM
If there are people out there who don't even know what Kristallnacht is, then that's proof enough that we need to keep this alive and keep educating people. So sad.




Meow!

Anna*Banana
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Posted: 12/7/2012 4:49:13 PM
2 things:

all those soldiers went free... none of them were brought to justice...
If someone had brought it to the attention of appropriate people in the chain of command you bet soldiers are charged and tried. The US will not condone or accept that kind of behavior. If it was overlooked by people in command and crimes were perpetrated by soldiers, those in command are held accountable too.

And second, fighting in a war a soldier has a fundamental disagreement with is way different then a governmental policy of ethnic cleansing metered out by soldiers against their own citizens. No US soldier has to follow an unlawful order, of which, acting against civilians is.


~ Anna ~
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mapchic
Top Tier Pea

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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:55:05 PM

yes, to most germans it was a LIBERATION
I am astounded it is 2012 and this is the first time that you heard that the Allied forces in no way thought they were liberating the Germans. I have spoken with many veterans and have read a great deal on the topic... and at no time has the concept of 'liberation' of Germans been expressed. Liberation of the many nations who were victims of German aggression, sure - but not of Germany or Germans.

I would also question if it was 'most' Germans who though of it as a liberation. Some surely did but not all. I would think that most were just happy the war ended and by that point didn't particularly care how. They would have been just as happy with a brokered peace. There were still many Germans who had much to fear from a German loss. People like the man in the OP who had chosen to be a member of the SS... in that position he had much to lose when the Third Reich fell.


I pretty much think *everyone's* family stories are filled with BS. Even my own family only tells the 'good side' of every story. It's human nature to want to present history in a way that makes your people as good as possible.

You don't have to justify your family history to me at all. It doesn't matter if I believe it or not. I was just saying that it makes sense considering the region etc. and it is very admirable that your grandfather did stand up and saved those who he could. Very admirable.


I am not saying it "doesnt" matter because it does matter,not just for all those jewish people but also look at how many millions of germans were ALSO killed in the concentration camps it wasnt a fate solely reserved for those who were jewish... there were others (a lot of them germans) who were also put to death by this evil evil man.
Here is where we have a real problem. It was not just one evil man who created the holocaust. Many Germans want to push it off on Hitler as the designated bad guy. Sure, he was bad but he could not have possibly done that without the direct assistance of many in Germany and the indirect assistance (in the form of averted eyes) of most in Germany.

It would be very, very difficult to come up with a number of "many millions of germans were ALSO killed in the concentration camps". The Germans who were killed in the holocaust were overwhelmingly German Jews. Because of your grandfather's experience you may think there were millions of non Jewish Germans killed in the camps, but that is just not true. For you to present it as fact is a misrepresentation of history which makes Germans look like the victims far more than they were.


With the understanding that the numbers available are not perfect (because the Nazis liked to keep records, but realized that they should destroy them when they were being invaded). Roughly 12 million people were killed in the Holocaust. 6 million of them were Jews. The next largest groups killed were 3 million Poles killed. After that there is a long list of nationalities. Even if we assume that all the disabled, homosexuals, freemasons and Jahovah's Witnesses that were killed were German you are not going to get to one million, let alone 'many millions' of Germans who were killed in concentration camps.

I wonder why you think there were many millions of German non-Jewish victims of the holocaust. Is that what is taught in German schools?


there comes a time when history needs to be remembered and taught as such... history, not a way to fuel hatred and animosity.
I agree. The thing is... you have to teach history as truthfully as possible. Not a version that diminishes the responsibility of some participants by presenting bad things as solely the responsibility of one man. Not a version where those who committed the crimes of history are represented as the victims rather than the victimizers. That kind of mis representation of history *will* lead to animosity between those who know the truth and those who are trying to hide from the truth.

That kind of 'blame only Hitler' thinking also leads to cases like the one in the OP. Where an SS member claims that he isn't responsible for his actions during WWII. It is mid boggling to think that an SS member thinks that he can get away with proclaiming some sort of absolute innocence. This thread shows exactly how that can happen, memories fade, peoples understanding is colored by national pride and personal family stories.




"When someone asks you 'think about what Jesus would do', remember that a valid option is to freak out and turn over tables" -- Unknown

“I am a Roman Catholic - the one true faith, (the Microsoft of Christianity) and I know Roman Catholicism is the one true faith because Roman Catholicism tells me it’s the one true faith... And if you remember from earlier in this sentence Roman Catholicism is the one true faith – so how could it be wrong?” ~ Stephen Colbert ‘The Word’ 11-28-06

Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit

AmeliaBloomer
BucketHead

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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:24:53 PM
Hijack alert: I think it's naive to think that soldier-rapists are always investigated and prosecuted - or that victims who report rape are treated with fairness or respect.

Rape has always been a part of conquest - or occupation or liberation. In the last decades, the American armed services (and academies) have often acted dishonorably when responding (or not) to sexual crimes AMONG the ranks.

Hijack over.


lucyg819
pearl-clutching nitpicker

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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:32:11 PM

Not all germans were or are NAZIS, not all NAZIS were or are german (in fact, hitler himself was AUSTRIAN not german).. it is a political affiliation, not a nationality or race, you still get the extreme right wing loons and i believe there are a LOT of right wing loons still in america to this day (the KKK loons come to mind immediately, if killing black people by the millions is not as much genocide as what happened in germany, i fail to see the difference).

The others have pretty much covered all the bases, but I wanted to clarify another of your misrepresentations ... the KKK is ugly and vicious and not a part of our history that the vast majority of Americans are proud of ... but they have not killed "millions" of black people. Over the past 150 years, they have murdered several thousand people, mostly but not all black.

It's not pretty, but it's also not in the millions.

And it's also against the law, not a legal function of our government, unlike the Holocaust. We punish the people who do it.


LUCYG
northern california

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
--Bertrand Russell


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