Friday, January 30, 2009

A Greater Germany free from Jews?

Why did the Nazis murder the Jews? It is an interesting question that gets attention. The Jews’ presence in the German-occupied parts of Europe was seen as a problem and a great annoyance. At best, they were to disappear from the face of the earth, so that the Nazis could reach their goal: a Greater Germany free from Jews.

Long before the Nazis came into power in Germany there existed a strong anti-Semitic tradition in Europe. This was not a specifically German phenomenon and the widespread hatred of the Jews is claimed to be the self-perception of many Christians.

The Christian religions blamed the death of Christ on the Jews. One can see in the Bible the statement that the Jews demanded the death of Jesus, and said; "Let it be upon our heads and that of our children." It was not until the 1960s that the Catholic Church stated that the Jews were not to be blamed for the death of Jesus.

In Austria anti-Jewish conspiracy theories were spread by extreme right-wing politicians and the Roman Catholic Church. Jews were expelled from England, France, Austria, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Portugal, Bohemia, Moravia and seventy-one other countries.

In much of Europe, it was assumed that Jews were Communists. In many hard-line right wing circles there was talk about a supposed 'Judeo-Bolshevist conspiracy'. Despite his ranting against Jewish businessmen, Hitler saw the Jews as the 'biological root' of Bolshevism.

Many extreme German Nationalists called the new German republic as a 'Jewish republic' though almost none of its leaders were Jews. Jews was equated with subversion, Communism and treason. In many of his speeches Hitler often used the words Jews and Bolshevists almost interchangeably.

He merged rabid anti-communism with equally fanatical anti-Semitism and claimed that Jews were homosexuals, even 'homosexualists', who were allegedly undermining the manliness and fighting spirit of the German people.

It was recorded that a distinctive feature of Hitler's anti-Semitism was formulated as conspiracy theory. For many, especially in Bavaria, this went hand in hand with the 'stab-in-the-back' theory, with the view that Germany had not been defeated on the battlefield but had been brought down by liberal, socialist and Communist subversives on the home front and this link made anti-Semitism explosive.

Hitler blamed the German defeat in WWI on the Jews and hated them. He believed that Germans were a superior race. He was jealous of Jewish people as they had always had great success and arrogant.

Hitler's anti-Semitism can be reflected in a speech given by him in Munich July 1922: "His is no master people; he is an exploiter: the Jews are a people of robbers. He has never founded any civilization, though he has destroyed civilizations by the hundred...everything he has stolen. Foreign people, foreign workmen build him his temples, it is foreigners who create and work for him, and it is foreigners who shed their blood for him."

Undeniably, all of Germany's economic problems perceived by many as it is the international Jewish financiers like the Rothschild etc, plunged the world into a war for their business profit.

The Holocaust is the preferred name for the Nazis’ systematic genocide or mass destruction of the Jews among 6 million Jews during World War II. The Nazis themselves used the euphemism ‘the Final Solution of the Jewish Question’, while ‘Shoah’ is the contemporary Jewish-Hebrew name for the catastrophe.

At the end of the 19th century, racist-biological anti-Semitism was developed, where the Jews were perceived as a ‘deformity on the body politic’. The Jews were also increasingly perceived as a specific problem to society, a problem that needed solving if the nation were to survive.

Different solutions were tried: voluntary immigration, forced immigration, and several different plans for deportation. Plans surfaced to deport all the Jews to the east, first to eastern Poland, then to Siberia. Serious plans were also developed that included deporting all European Jews to the island of Madagascar, of the east coast of Africa.

All these plans had to be dropped because of the war. At the same time, the Nazis had gained experience with systematic mass murder in the form of the Euthanasia Programme, where physically and psychologically disabled were killed by the state. The ‘Final Solution to the Jewish Question’ – all these elements lead to the systematic mass murder of approximately 6 million Jews.

The victims of the Holocaust died under very different circumstances. One of the cruelest methods was gassing. This took place in an industrialized fashion in the six so-called extermination camps, of which Auschwitz-Birkenau is the best known, claimed around 3 million Jewish lives.

Among 1.5 million Jews were shot to death by different Nazi units. The so-called Einsatzgruppen, which operated behind the front against the Soviet Union, the Waffen-SS, the ordinary police, and the army, were responsible for many of these mass murders.

Many locals from the occupied eastern territories too took part on their own initiative. Three other ways of murder were forced labor in working camps, hunger, and disease.

Nazis introduced the concept of ‘working to death’ (Vernichtung durch Arbeit), where Jews and other prisoners worked themselves to death for the German war machine. Thousands died of disease and others died of hunger in the concentration camps or in the Jewish ghettos.

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