Posts Tagged ‘Nazism’

 

By Marcel Fürstenau

Deutsche Welle, November 11, 2012

How much influence did former Nazis wield in establishing and operating Germany’s postwar democracy? That’s what parliament debated. But tackling the issue was not easy, since many files still remain classified.

It almost seems a bit antiquated. More than six decades after the end of the murderous Hitler regime, members of the German parliament debated to what extent federal ministries and public offices in the country have dealt with their Nazi past. It comes after the opposition Left Party’s parliamentary group submitted a formal request to the government for information about the post-war era.

The parliamentary debate coincided with a separate event – prosecutors bringing formal charges against supporters and the sole surviving member of a neo-Nazi cell suspected of committing ten murders between 2000 and 2007.

The revelations about the neo-Nazi gang, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), are a hugely pressing and current issue. By comparison, the debate about postwar Germany’s Nazi past seems so outdated. But the past is constantly catching up with Germany as it struggles to find out how the neo-Nazi cell could have evaded authorities for more than a decade.

The charges against NSU member Beate Zschäpe mark a decisive phase in long-running efforts to shed light on the group’s suspected racially-motivated killing spree.

By contrast, the question of just how far West German authorities were riddled with former Nazi party members seems nowhere near resolution.

That impression is strengthened by the government’s 85-page response to the Left Party’s request about old Nazis in the halls of power. It’s an interim summary of ongoing research conducted by historians in the archives of many ministries and federal agencies.

Shredding files not new

The debate in the German parliament was marked by constant references to the current neo-Nazi scandal that has rocked the country.

Since the NSU’s discovery, Germany’s national security apparatus has come under intense scrutiny for its failure to connect the dots and apprehend the suspects. Earlier this year, it was discovered that intelligence files on right-wing extremists had been destroyed the same month the NSU was discovered on the orders of an official in the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic intelligence service.

The shredding of important files pertaining to far-right extremism has sparked outrage and shock, raising suspicions that incriminating information was covered up and that the perpetrators may even have been protected.

But it’s not the first time it has happened. In the late 1990s, files on mass murderer Alois Brunner, a high-ranking SS officer, disappeared. The German intelligence service (BND) was said to have destroyed files containing conflicting information as to whether Brunner had worked for the BND at some point.

Adolf Eichmann lived undercover in Argentina for several years.

Brunner was a close aide and confidante of Adolf Eichmann who organized the Holocaust from his desk in Berlin. He was sentenced to death in 1961 in Jerusalem. Though the BND knew Eichmann’s location, he lived undetected in Argentina for several years.

The BND is also believed to have protected war crimes criminal Klaus Barbie who was responsible for sending hundreds of Jews in France to their death. Just like Eichmann, Barbie went underground in South America. He even worked as an agent for the BND in the mid 1960s.

Opposition calls for change

The fact that files on Barbie, Eichmann and others responsible for war crimes still remain classified has sparked anger among several German politicians and led to heated exchanges in parliament.

Wolfgang Thierse, president of the German parliament, has appealed to members of the ruling parties – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) – to stop blocking the opening of the files.

Volker Beck, head of the parliamentary group of the opposition Green Party, said it could not be in the public’s interest to block publishing files with references to the Nazi past in order to “protect the work of our intelligence agencies.” And especially not in light of the current debate about right-wing extremism in Germany, Beck added.

Jan Korte, from the opposition Left Party, spoke of a “second guilt” of Germans, a reference to a book of that name written by Ralph Giordano, a German writer and publicist. It focuses on the denial and suppression of Germany’s Nazi past.

But not everyone sees things that way. Armin Schuster, a member of the CDU, said Korte was too one-sided in his criticism of West Germany’s Nazi past. Former communist East Germany, too, had several ex-Nazis in leading positions, Schuster added.

Foreign ministry investigation a model

The one thing that politicians across party lines agreed on, however, was that an increasing number of ministries and federal agencies have been willing to commission investigations to investigate their Nazi pasts.

One of the most high-profile efforts was undertaken last year by historians Eckart Conze and Norbert Frei who looked into Nazi involvement at the foreign ministry. The no-holds-barred report was commissioned in 2005 by then-Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

The controversial study on Nazi involvement at the foreign ministry was marketed as a bestseller.

Several ministries and agencies have followed the foreign ministry’s example and initiated research projects to dig around in their past. That includes the BND, the Federal Crime Office (BKA), as well as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).

The German government, by its own admission, says it “wholeheartedly” supports such research projects. It is important that “the results of such work lead to a critical discourse in the public sphere,” it said.

But critics, such as the Left Party’s Jan Korte, have raised doubts about the independence of the scientists and researchers commissioned for the investigations.

Korte has pointed to the conditions laid down by the government for investigating the Nazi past at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, including a ban on researchers making any public statements during the project phase. Each statement also must be discussed beforehand with the head of the project at the BfV. “That is censorship and not befitting of what’s at stake here,” Korte maintained.

http://www.dw.de/parliament-holds-heated-debate-on-nazi-past/a-16368238

By Alex Constantine

“The prophet seldom has any honor in his own country.” – Adolf Hitler

“Today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord.” – Adolf Hitler

Point 24 of the Nazi Progamme that circulated in Germany of the 1920s clearly stated the only religion that the party officially denounced was “Jewish”:

We demand liberty for all religious denominations in the State, so far as they are not a danger to it and do not militate against the morality and moral sense of the German race. The Party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, but does not bind itself in the matter of creed to any particular confession. It combats the Jewish-materialist spirit within and without us, and is convinced that our nation can achieve permanent health from within only on the principle: the common interest before self-interest.

Many historians of WW II have downplayed the role of religion in Hitler’s Germany, most notably Richard Overy, author of The Dictators, cited by Christian researchers everywhere to reprimand those who suggest that the Nazi leader used religion as a vehicle of mass persuasion. Despite prestige appointments and numerous awards for scholarship, Overy, as a historian of Hitler’s Germany, is a complete incompetent if not deliberately dishonest. His contention that Hitler was hostile to capitalism, for instance, is blatantly false. Pay no heed to slippery conservative Christians who cite Overy and his equally dubious contention that Christianity was “in decline,” and played no role in the rise of the Third Reich.

Overy’s sourcing alone is a red flag – he relies heavily on the writing of Hermann Rauschning (a friend of Hitler who “defected” and sat out the war in the United States); other questionable citations and deliberate misinterpretations of Nazi Party rhetoric are common.

One widely-repeated citation is made by Bruce Walker in an article posted on the Net, “The Nazis and Christianity,” published by American Thinker, a Christian site. According to Walker, the “decline of Christianity in Germany led directly to the rise of Nazism. Professor Henri Lichtenberger in his 1937 book, The Third Reich, describes the religious life of the Weimar Republic as a place in which the large cities were ‘spiritual cemeteries’ with almost no believers at all, except for those who were members of the clergy.”

Seems to be a legitimate history until one considers that Henri Lichtenberger, the French historian, was a fascist propagandist who idolized Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner. He was a mercenary with a pen, drawn from ranks favoring a Franco-German intersect in the early ’20s. He was PRO-NAZI. Lichtenberger’s word on anything was determined by who paid him.

This is the caliber of “experts” that right-wing evangelical propagandists cite when making the claim that Nazi Germany was “secular.” The bottom line is that, in private, Hitler found National Socialism and Christianity fundamentally incompatible because he believed that the latter – “an invention of the Jews” – had given rise to Bolshevism.  Ironic, then, that before Hitler, Lenin became Christ … in a true athiest state … as reported by Vision, a quarterly academic print and online journal of news and analysis:

 …  As chairman of the Council of People’s Commissars, Lenin soon became a dictator ….  The use of traditional religion played a part in securing popular support. Following an attempt to assassinate Lenin in 1918, his public persona was infused with religious verbal and visual imagery. Sociologist Victoria Bonnell notes that now the leader “was characterized as having the qualities of a saint, an apostle, a prophet, a martyr, a man with Christ-like qualities, and a ‘leader by the grace of God.’” Posters showed Lenin like a saint in Russian iconic art. …

“Aspects of the political, social and religious fabric of the Russian Motherland provided many of the necessary conditions for Lenin’s cult. .… While Hitler and Stalin were deranged and profoundly evil, they were aided and abetted by masses of people who moved toward them as the leaders they desired. As we have noted before in this series, the symbiosis of leader and led cannot be ignored as we try to explain the bloodlust that characterizes the rule of many, if not all, false messiahs. Nor is exploitation of religious fervor ever far from the surface as leaders seek and maintain followers. Mussolini appealed to elements of traditional Catholic religion to create his fascist cult, and Hitler was well aware of religion’s power to induce loyalty to a cause. It was no different in the atheistic Soviet Union for most of the last century.

http://www.vision.org/visionmedia/page.aspx?id=2966

Hitler’s religious beliefs and fanaticism (quotes from Mein Kampf)

Hitler wrote: “I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord..”

As a boy, Hitler attended Catholic Church and was exposed to the anti-Semitism of the prevailing religious culture. In Mein Kampf and in his speeches, Hitler appeared to be a fanatical believer in God.  In one speech, he declared:

The world will not help, the people must help itself. Its own strength is the source of life. That strength the Almighty has given us to use; that in it and through it we may wage the battle of our life…. The others in the past years have not had the blessing of the Almighty – of Him Who in the last resort, whatever man may do, holds in His hands the final decision. Lord God, let us never hesitate or play the coward, let us never forget the duty which we have taken upon us…. We are all proud that through God’s powerful aid we have become once more true Germans.

On marriage: “A folkish state must therefore begin by raising marriage from the level of a continuous defilement of the race, and give it the consecration of an institution which is called upon to produce images of the Lord and not monstrosities halfway between man and ape.” (Mein Kampf)

On race war: “But if out of smugness, or even cowardice, this battle is not fought to its end, then take a look at the peoples five hundred years from now. I think you will find but few images of God, unless you want to profane the Almighty.” (Mein Kampf)

Hitler’s Biblical beliefs show clearly where he based his notion for offensive action:

On liberty: “God does not make cowardly nations free.” (Mein Kampf)

On Judaism: “Their whole existence is an embodied protest against the aesthetics of the Lord’s image.” (Mein Kampf)

A prophecy: “Their sword will become our plow, and from the tears of war the daily bread of future generations will grow.” (Mein Kampf)

In a speech delivered on April 23, 1922, Hitler stated:

My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them. … In boundless love as a Christian and as a man, I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison.

On himself: “I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so.” (Hitler speech, 1941)

“Anyone who dares to lay hands on the highest image of the Lord commits sacrilege against the benevolent creator of this miracle and contributes to the expulsion from paradise.” (Mein Kampf)

“We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” (Hitler speech, Berlin, October 31, 1933)