Not a day goes by that I don’t think about the WWII era (from the 20s to the 40s). Well, that’s a bit exaggerated, but I do think about it a lot. And for some reason the year 1933 always jumps out in my mind. So here I was reading about it today. And 80 years ago today (well, 81 to be precise), it was time for:
(wiki:) Gleichschaltung (German pronunciation: [ˈɡlaɪçʃaltʊŋ]), meaning “coordination”, “making the same”, “bringing into line”), is a Nazi term for the process by which the Nazi regime successively established a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of society. The historian Richard J. Evans translated the term as “forcible-coordination” in his most recent work on Nazi Germany.
Among the goals of this policy were to bring about adherence to a specific doctrine and way of thinking and to control as many aspects of life as possible.
“coordination”, “making the same”, “bringing into line”: what liberals are doing in a nutshell. Because “diversity and openness,” as the Mozilla witch hunt shows. “Among the goals of this policy were to bring about adherence to a specific doctrine ” – ring a bell?
OK, so in Germany, actions involving all sorts of physical violence, terror, and murder of opponents started to happen basically from the beginning.
Sure, that’s different and the degree of violence and terror is enormously different.
But what is similar is the push for control and to disenfranchize the fundamental rights of social conservatives and to ghettoize us.
End of comparison with liberals and back to Germany. One of the things that I can’t get my head around is the speed with which so many major changes occurred at that time. The totalitarian takeover happened extremely fast, with just dizzying speed.
(wiki:) The period from 1933 to 1937 was characterized by the systematic elimination of non-Nazi organizations that could potentially influence people, such as trade unions and political parties. Those critical of Hitler’s agenda, especially his close ties with industry, were suppressed, intimidated or murdered. The regime also assailed the influence of the churches, for example by instituting the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs under Hanns Kerrl. Organizations that the administration could not eliminate, such as the education system, came under its direct control.
Some key dates and events:
February 4, 1933 (Saturday)
- With the approval of Germany’s President Hindenburg, Adolf Hitler decreed the “Ordinance for the Protection of the German People”, which allowed the police to ban any publications which were a threat to public order. Violators could be arrested and detained without a warrant for as long as three months.
February 19 and 26, 1933: Father Charles Coughlin, a Jew-hating priest–Canadian but working in the Detroit, Michigan, diocese–sermonizes on the radio that “Shylocks” (Jews) are causing the Depression. He receives 80,000 letters of support a week, about 70 percent from Protestants. His editorials often parallel those of the Nazi press. He is friendly with several U.S. senators and representatives.
February 20, 1933: Hitler wins over a group of leading German industrialists at a meeting designed for that purpose.
February 21, 1933 (Tuesday)
- Hermann Göring, the new Nazi leader of Germany‘s largest state, Prussia, published a decree in the Party newspaper, the Völkischer Beobachter, ordering the Prussian police to shoot any “enemies of the state”, and providing for disciplinary action against any policeman who was “inappropriately considerate”.
February 22, 1933 (Wednesday)
- Adolf Hitler authorized the formation of the first Nazi concentration camps (Konzentrationslager), where opponents of the regime would be kept in “protective custody” (Schutzhaft) until they could reform.
- Hermann Göring appointed 55,000 members of the Nazi Party’s stormtroopers as auxiliary policemen, elevating former thugs to official status.
February 23, 1933 (Thursday)
- The Nazi regime issued a decree banning homosexuality and pornography throughout Germany.
February 27, 1933: The German Reichstag building is set ablaze. The Nazis are quick to blame the fire on Communists. February 28, 1933: A presidential decree gives Chancellor Hitler emergency powers. All 100 Communist Party members of the Reichstag are arrested. One Berlin man is given 50 lashes for being a Communist and 50 more for being a Jew.
I was stunned to read that this Jewish communist was whipped. Was he whipped in public or in some dungeon?
I didn’t know the Nazis had used whipping. We’ve all heard about beatings and assassinations, but I don’t remember whipping. Which goes to show how much reading I’ve done!
I also couldn’t find a detailed reference to this case.
But in reading about the camps, I discovered that there was plenty of such violence (whipping) in the concentration camps. You can read more (horrible) details in the link below. Be forewarned: it’s heavy reading and very graphic:
On the first camp:
The first concentration camps in Germany was set up on March 22, 1933 in Dachau near Munich in Bavaria by order of Heinrich Himmler. It was a model camp for all subsequent German concentration camps. The SS-men were trained there to work in the camps set up in Germany and then also in the German-occupied countries of Europe (among them were Adolf Eichmann and Rudolf Höss). The Nazis intentionally built this camp on swampy terrain with an unhealthy wet mountain climate, especially troublesome in fall and winter, when the prisoners had to stand for hours on the roll-call square.
OK, so this is yahoo, but there’s some interesting stuff, although the numbers mentioned… ooh lahlah they seem all over the place (and there’s no source).
Who was the leader of the Dachau concentration camp?Best Answer~The “main guy” was Adolph Hitler. He borrowed the idea from US President Marin Van Buren, whose “emigration depots” for the Cherokee and other “undesirables and heathens” were the world’s first concentration camps and he borrowed the name from the British, who coined the term for their political prisons and internment centers in South Africa during the Boer Wars of the 1890’s.
The man most responsible for developing the rules by which the camps would be run was Theodor Eiche although Heinrich Himmler had much input. He and Reinhard Heydrich were also instrumental in devising the idea of the camps generally (probably more so than Hitler, and probably with no small input from Hermann Goering). Eiche developed the blueprint at Dachau, which was the first camp when it opened in March, 1933, and all others (some 15,000 or so, including auxiliary camps, sub-camps and Kommandos) were modeled on his Dachau example.
Do not confuse the Concentration camps with the Death camps or Extermination Centers. The KZ’s started as political prisons and the early inmates were mostly communists and political dissidents. After the Red Army repelled Barbarossa and determined the outcome of the war at Stalingrad, Kursk and Smolensk, they became warehouses for the “inferior races” of Eastern Europe (like the Slavs and the Poles, the Romani and Sinti, the Serbs and, of course, the Jews) and they became slave labor operations. Of the 12 to 18 million inmates who died in the KZ camps, about 3.5 million were Jews. By far, the largest group of victims was the communists, followed by the ethnic Poles. The victims did not die from organized mass murder but from disease, starvation, exhaustion and overwork and the generally deplorable and horrendous conditions there extant.
The Extermination Camps were established as killing factories. Depending on which ones you count (the ones set up expressly for non-Jews often are neglected), there were about a dozen of them. Dachau was not a Death Camp. Chelmno, the first Extermination Camp, began operations in December 1941. They were largely the brain child of Heydrich, Himmler and, probably, Goering. Himmler himself ordered the killing centers to terminate operations in the spring of 1943. He did so because he realized that the murders were wasting a valuable and necessary source of slave labor. He also did so because of his sense of honor. Konrad Morgen, a Nazi and SS prosecutor and judge, was investigating corruption and abuse at the camps and he was successfully prosecuting camp Kommandants and officers. Partly because he was forced to understand how widespread the corruption had become, Himmler closed the camps. Morgen’s efforts probably saved more lives in the camps than any dozen other factors combined. By the time the Death camps were closed, about 6 million people had been murdered, including about 2.5 million Jews. Of course, had the Red Army not won the war, another 30 million ethnic Poles, 30 million Slavs, and at least 30 million Russians and Soviet Communists had been targeted for extinction.
Short answer: Adolph Hitler, as the Fuhrer, was ultimately responsible. Heinrich Himmler, as head of the SS (who ran the camps) would be next in line. Theodor Eiche, as the first Kommandant of Dachau and as the architect of the camp model and later as Inspector General of all camps, would be next. Other Kommandants of Dachau were Hilmar Wackerle, Heinrich Deubel, Alex Piorkowski, Wilhelm Weiter, Hans Loritz and Martin Weiss.Here is the ist of the SS Dachau commanders with dates
* SS-Standartenführer Hilmar Wäckerle (22 March 1933 – 26 June 1933)
* SS-Gruppenführer Theodor Eicke (26 June 1933 – 4 July 1934)
* SS-Oberführer Alexander Reiner (4 July 1934 – 22 October 1934)
* SS-Brigadeführer Berthold Maack (22 October 1934 – 12 January 1935)
* SS-Oberführer Heinrich Deubel (12 January 1935 – 31 March 1936)
* SS-Oberführer Hans Loritz (31 March 1936 – 7 January 1939)
* SS-Hauptsturmführer Alex Piorkowski (7 January 1939 – 2 January 1942)
* SS-Obersturmbannführer Martin Weiß (3 January 1942 – 30 September 1943)
* SS-Hauptsturmführer Wilhelm Weiter (30 September 1943 – 26 April 1945)
* SS-Obersturmbannführer Martin Weiß (26 April 1945 – 28 April 1945)
* SS-Untersturmführer Johannes Otto (28 April 1945)
* SS-Sturmscharführer Heinrich Wicker (28 April 1945 – 29 April 1945)
All concentration and extermination camps were adminsterd by the SS-Totenkopfverbände which was a branch of the Schutzstaffel (SS)
The SS-Totenkopfverbände was an independent unit within the SS with its own ranks and command structure. It ran the camps throughout Germany, and in Nazi-occupied Europe, It was responsible for facilitating the Holocaust in collaboration with the Reich Main Security Office.
The executives of the SS-Totenkopfverbände and the concentration camps were
SS-Obergruppenführer Theodor Eicke (1934-1940), Commander, SS-TV
SS-Gruppenführer Richard Glücks (1940-1945), Commander, SS-TV
The minister responsible was Heinrich Himmler1934-1945, Reichsführer-SS the Reichsführer-SS was a special SS rank that existed between the years of 1925 and 1945. Reichsführer-SS was a title from 1925 to 1933 and, after 1934, became the highest rank of the German Schutzstaffel (SS). Heinrich Himmler was also the Reich Minister of the Interior from1943 – 1945
Heinrich Himmler was directly below Adolf Hitler along with others like Joseph Goebbels, Hermann Göring and Joachim von Ribbentrop. Hermann Göring was the designated successor of Adolf Hitler.
The Reich Main Security Office duty was to fight all “enemies of the Reich” inside and outside the borders of Nazi Germany.This included the Gestapo, Sicherheitsdienst, Sicherheitspolizei, Kriminalpolizei
The Minister responsible was again Heinrich Himmler1934-1945, Reichsführer-SS and the executives were
SS-Obergruppenführer Reinhard Heydrich 1939-1942, Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD
SS-Obergruppenführer Dr. Ernst Kaltenbrunner 1942-1945, Chef der Sicherheitspolizei und des SD
“Revisionists have attempted to define homosexuals as a class of people who were ‘targeted for extermination’ by the Nazis. One homosexual group went so far as to stage a high-profile ‘pilgrimage’ to Yad Vashem… in May of 1994. They were met by a delegation of Jewish Holocaust survivors who were so overcome with outrage that some had to be restrained from physically assaulting the contingent of (mostly American) political activists. One man cried, ‘My grandfather was killed for refusing to have sexual relations with the camp commandant. You are desecrating this place…’ [Jerusalem Post, 5-30-94]
“Yet… many homosexuals did in fact die in Nazi concentration camps. We do not diminish the tragedy of any life lost under the Nazi reign of terror; however we must reject the implication that homosexuals as a class should be given moral equivalence to the Jewish people and other victims of genocide. There are five reasons why we must reject this claim of the revisionists.
“First, regardless of Himmler’s anti-homosexual rhetoric, homosexuals as a class were never targeted for extermination, as their continued role in the Third Reich [even after the Night of the Long Knives] demonstrates.
“Second, those homosexuals who died did so as the result of mistreatment and disease in slave-labor camps — not in the gas chambers.
“Third, though we cannot condone the form of punishment meted out by the Nazis, homosexuality was legitimately regarded as a crime of long-standing, for which individuals were being jailed both before and after the Nazi Regime. This is in contrast to the internment of the Jewish people, whose ethnicity is morally (and in pre-Nazi Germany, legally) neutral.
“Fourth, the actual number of homosexuals in the camps was a tiny fraction of both the estimated number of homosexuals in Germany and the estimate of the camp population. The camp homosexual population, estimated at 5000-15,000 by Joan Ringelheim of the US Holocaust Museum, contained an undetermined percentage of non-homosexuals falsely labeled as homosexuals. [Rick Rose, ‘Museum of Pain,’ The Advocate, 10-19-93, p. 40]
“Compared to more than 85 percent of European Jewry… [h]omosexuals who died were ‘a small fraction of less than 1 [one] percent’ of homosexuals in Nazi-occupied Europe.
[Steven Katz, ‘Quantity and interpretation: Issues in the Comparative Historical Analysis of the Holocaust’; in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, vol. 4, no. 2, 1989, NY, Pergamon Press, 1989, p. 146]
“Fifth and last, many of the guards and administrators responsible for the infamous concentration camp atrocities were homosexuals themselves, which negates the idea that homosexuals in general were being persecuted and interned …
“As terrible as life could be in the work camps [where homosexuals were typically sent], it offerred better chances than being herded into gas chambers or shot in front of mass graves.
“An additional point that deserves mention here is that the uniform pattern of brutality for which the camps are known was established as a deliberate and calculated policy by the S.A. under [the notorious Nazi homosexual] Ernst Roehm in 1933. Heiden writes that ‘the S.A. had learned… that the will of an imprisoned mass must be broken by the most loathsome cruelty.’ [Konrad Heiden, Der Fuehrer: Hitler’s Rise to Power (Boston, Houghton Mifflin, 1944), p. 565] He later adds that ‘frightening reports also trickled through from the concentration camps, and the public began to realize that the Fuehrer’s picked troops had organized artificial hells in Dachau… Rohm admitted publicly that these things seemed unbearable to many people, but said he saw no reason for stopping them’ [Ibid., p. 732f]
“Though Roehm was soon killed, his system of mass torture and degradation endured.”
People with a history!
And… after all his (Eicke’s) monstrosities:
In the war against the Soviet Union, the Totenkopf Division advanced through the Baltic States, liberating them from Russian occupation and proceeding to Lake Ilmen.
On 26 February 1943, Eicke was on an inspection flight in a Fiesler Storch when his plane was shot down by the Soviets near Orelka, Russia, and the plane crashed behind Soviet lines.
Several attempts were made by reinforced assault squads to recover the remains of their commander, they finally succeeded. after losing several men. Eicke was given an elaborate funeral at one of the cemeteries of the Division near Orelka.
Good grief. The odious craziness of people. This “beyond everything you can imagine horrible.”
And all of this happened only 80 years ago. It’s nothing in terms of time. Nothing. And yet, for most people, it’s like it all happened as far back as ancient Rome or some equally bygone era. I find this so odd, this tremendous disconnection with the past.
Also of note: wouldn’t it be correct to say that the majority of the people targeted for extermination by the Nazis or killed by other means were religious people?
And, you know it is estimated that one million young kids die of hunger in India alone per year! Do the math: 6 years makes how many kids?
But obviously given that they are in a concentration camp with no barbed wire, it’s OK. The world isn’t monstrous like those Nazis, we all just let them and so many others starve to death, because we must go shopping or go to the movies or play a new computer game. Look at how good we are.