II. The 3rd Reich & the Holocaust Era, Jan 1933-May 1945
Murderous Racism and Antisemitism - Bureaucracy of Evil. You let us do it!
Perpetrators, Collaborators, Victims, Bystanders, Resisters, Rescuers
A. The prewar period, 1933-39: Nazism - A Monolithic Culture
The 3rd Reich & the racial totalitarian state
EIGHT-c War against Other "Undesirables" - Domestic Policy
Bystanders. Resisters: Jehovahs Witnesses - Conformity vs. Conscience
"First they came for the Communists and the Socialists
but I was not one of them, so I did not speak out.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists but I was not a Trade Unionist, so I kept quiet.
Then they came for the Jews but I did not speak out because I was not Jewish.
And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me." Pastor Niemoeller
Bauer, 228-29; 142-46; http://www.ushmm.org/education/forstudents/resource/
Scope. Another consequence of Hitler's ruthless dictatorship in the 1930s was the arrest of political opponents and trade unionists and others the Nazis labeled "undesirables" and "enemies of the state." While Jews were the primary target, Gypsies, Slavs, homosexuals, the handicapped & political dissidents were also trapped in the deadly grip of Nazi ideology.1 Responses. German public reactions & reactions of the churches to the Nazi persecutions.
Instructional Objectives - Students will learn that:
1. Jews were not the only racially dangerous group targeted by Nazis for exclusion.
2. A program of euthanasia was launched to remove "undesirables."
3. The Nazi policy of euthanasia was a rationalization for mass murder.
1. Describe and explain the persecution of the non-Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. Explain the Nazi attitudes and policies towards the Sinti and Roma. Evaluate the reasons why and the ways in which prostitutes and homosexuals were persecuted by the Nazis. Analyze the T4 program and report the ways in which it reflected the Nazi ideoloty. Why did the Nazis murder over 200,000 physically and mentally handicapped German men, women, and children?
2. Examine and discuss how the Germans and the Catholic and Protestant Churches responded to the plight of the different victims. Describe and explain the response of Jehovahs Witnesses.
3. Write a short essay: After the Nazis consolidated power under Hitler, they introduced legislation and changes that transformed German society. Describe the types of legislation enacted from 1933 to 1939, and their impact on Jews and non-Jews (What was the goal of the New Order? Highlight some Nazi dominant ideologies and the different policies carried out by the Nazi regime toward various groups of people. Deadly philosophy: Racial purity. T4 Euthanasia. Nuremberg Laws ...). How were undesirable German marginalizedt?
Introduction - Perpetrators, victims, collaborators, bystanders, 1933-39
... it was the interaction of these very elements -the implacable cruelty & irrationality of the Nazi perpetrator, the overwhelming passivity & compliance of the Jewish victim, and the inaction and indifference of much of the rest of the world, the bystander- that made possible this unthinkable episode in human history. ...2 Therefore, it is important to follow the interaction Perpetrators - Victims - Bystanders - Collaborators -Resisters - Rescuers, in a chronological order.
*Perpetrators are those who were participating in the persecution of the victims.
*Collaborators did not carry out the persecutions and/or exterminations, but helped the effort.
*Victims are those who were chosen for persecution and or/extermination. Approximately 11.5 million people were killed because of Nazi genocidal policy.
*It was the explicit aim of Hitler's regime to create a European world both dominated and populated by the "Aryan" race. The Nazi machinery was dedicated to eradicating millions of people it deemed undesirable. Some people were undesirable by Nazi standards because of who they were, their genetic or cultural origins or health conditions. These included Jews, Gypsies, Poles & other Slavs, & people with physical or mental disabilities. Others were Nazi victims because of what they did. These victims of the Nazi regime were Jehovah's Witnesses, homosexuals, the dissenting clergy, Communists, Socialists, asocials, & other political enemies.
*Those believed by Hitler and the Nazis to be enemies of the state were banished to the camps. Inside the concentration camps, prisoners were forced to wear various colored triangles, each color denoting a different group. The letters on the triangular badges below designate the prisoners' countries of origin.
*Bystanders are those who were present in the midst of the Nazi terror and the Holocaust, but did not participate in its execution. They did nothing to prevent or stop it either.
*Rescuers are those who helped save the lives of those who were persecuted. They are unique because of the possibility that a member of any one of the other categories
The War against Other "Undesirables" and "Enemies of the State"
Ideology *Hitlers eugenics theory - A rational for genocide
*Germany under Nazi rule emphasized the primacy of racial ideology. ... Nazi racial ideology stressed the descent of the German people from the Aryan race ... 3
At the core of Nazi ideology was a deadly vision of a racially pure society: a vicious form of social, genetic, & population planning that eliminated every individual not fitting its narrow definition of perfection. Systematically, individuals who did not fit the Nazis narrow definition of perfection were dealt with.
#... Hitler spread his beliefs in racial "purity" and in the superiority of the "Germanic race" ... an Aryan "master race." He pronounced that his race must remain pure in order to one day take over the world.
*For Hitler, the ideal "Aryan" was the blond, blue-eyed, healthy, heterosexual, and tall Aryan. ... these beliefs became the government ideology ... #
Under Nazi doctrine, one major obsession of the party was to assure that the blood of the German "master race" remained "pure" of any contamination by people with undesirable features. Additionally, the advancement of German culture, in their view, required that there be a limitation on those who were not "productive" in work or who would otherwise not advance the goals and objectives of the State .
Mosaic of Victims - "Minority as an Enemy"4 (Non-Jewish groups targeted)
The Nazis persecuted groups other than Jews (soon after Hitler became Chancellor in January of 1933). ... the Nazis persecuted other groups they viewed as racially or genetically inferior.5
The Nazis also persecuted authors and artists whose works they considered subversive or who were Jewish.
The remnants of the Communist and Socialist parties and members of the trade unions resisted the Nazi regime. Among the earliest victims of Nazi discrimination in Germany were political opponents--primarily Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, and trade unionists. In 1933, the Nazis established the first concentration camp, Dachau, as a detention center for political prisoners. Especially in the early years of the Third Reich, political prisoners were a significant portion of the concentration camp inmates. At the end of July 1933, about 27,000 political prisoners were being held in concentration camps in "protective custody." During its twelve year existence, Dachau was always a camp for political prisoners.
In 1935, the Nazis intensify the persecution of political dissidents and others considered racially inferior including Gypsies, Jehovahs Witnesses, and homosexuals. Many are sent to concentration camps.
The Deadly Philosophy: Racial Purity
A group, also consisting of racial Germans, was already partially excluded by being confined to hospitals & nursing homes: the mentally & physically handicapped, considered dangerous carriers of hereditary diseases. Nazis were firmed believers in eugenics, selective breeding of humans for purpose of improving the race by weeding out the weak & inferior. Starting in 1934 they subjected handicapped to compulsory sterilization, excluding their future progeny from the national community.
Scientists advocated selective breeding (eugenics) to improve the human race.6
Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement. DNA Learning Center
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Eugenics was, quite literally, an effort to breed better human beings by encouraging the reproduction of people with good genes and discouraging those with "bad" genes. Eugenicists effectively lobbied for social legislation to keep racial & ethnic groups separate, to restrict immigration from southern & eastern Europe, and to sterilize people considered genetically unfit. Elements of the American eugenics movement were models for the Nazis, whose radical adaptation of eugenics culminated in the Holocaust.
We now invite you to experience the unfiltered story of American eugenics primarily through materials from the Eugenics Record Office at Cold Spring Harbor, which was the center of American eugenics research from 1910-1940. In the Archive you will see numerous reports, articles, charts, and pedigrees that were considered scientific "facts" in their day. It is important to remind yourself that the vast majority of eugenics work has been completely discredited. In the final analysis, the eugenic description of human life reflected political and social prejudices, rather than scientific facts. ...
Even supposedly "scientific" terms used by eugenicists were often pervaded with prejudice against racial, ethnic, and disabled groups. Some terms have no scientific meaning today. For example, "feeblemindedness" was used as a catch-all for a number of real and supposed mental disabilities, and was a common "diagnosis" used to make members of ethnic and racial minority groups appear inferior. check web site for more details.
The War against the Weak. Hitlers eugenics theory - A rational for genocide
*German scientists & physicians were in the forefront of the eugenics movement, which was popular on both sides of the Atlantic. In the 1920s the Rockefeller Foundation played a major role in establishing and sponsoring major eugenics institutions in Germany.7
Racial Germans: the mentally & physically challenged
Persons with Physical or Mental Disabilities: These people never were assigned a badge because they were rarely sent to concentration camps. Persons with physical or mental disabilities threatened the Nazi plan for human "perfection.8
*The application of genocidal policies did not start with the Jews. From the moment the Nazis took power in 1933, they introduced the racial hygiene programs to weed out those deemed unfit for German society.9 They saw Jews, Roma (Gypsies), and the handicapped as a serious biological threat to the purity of the "German (Aryan) Race,"[footnote #1] what they called the "master race."
*In 1933, the Nazis began to put into practice their racial ideology. Echoing ideas popular in Germany as well as most other western nations well before the 1930s, the Nazis believed that the Germans were "racially superior" and that there was a struggle for survival between them and "inferior races."
Laws passed between 1933 and 1935 aimed to reduce the future number of genetic inferiors through involuntary sterilization programs.10
Jan. 30, 1933. Sterilization (of inferiors) Laws enacted; implemented
*Beginning in 1933, German physicians were allowed to perform forced sterilizations, operations making it impossible for the victims to have children - to assure that persons who were "undesirables" were unable to dilute the Aryan race by reproduction. The first step was the forced sterilization of persons considered "mentally deficient."
*July 14, 1933 Law for the Prevention of Progeny of Hereditary Disease mandates the sterilization of patients with hereditary diseases e.g. feeble-mindedness, epilepsy, schizophrenia - judged too defective to have children; this law empowered the Hereditary Health Courts to enforce this policy.
*Judges approved the sterilization & euthanasia of Germans deemed unfit to live in the world of Aryan excellence.
*Among the targets of this public program were handicapped individuals, including the mentally ill & people born deaf and blind. In 1934, some 300,000 to 400,000 people - judged physically or mentally handicapped- are forcefully sterilized under this law; (mainly those in mental hospitals and other institutions); they were subjected to surgical or radiation procedures so they could not have children. Supporters of sterilization also argued that the handicapped burdened the community with the costs of their care.11 (Propaganda was distributed which helped build public support for these government policies. Persons who were mentally ill or physically disabled were stigmatized, while the costs of care were emphasized in propaganda campaigns)
The churches objected strongly; but the medical procedures continued.
In 1935, Adolf Hitler thanked Leon Whitney of the American Eugenics Society for sending him a copy of his book, The Case for Sterilization (1934).12
Sept. 1935 Hitler expresses intention to eliminate the "incurably ill" at Nuremberg Party rally to Dr. Gerhard Wagner
Oct. 18, 1935 Addendum to the sterilization law forbids marriages between "hereditary ill" and "healthy" people. In addition, forces the abortion of children of the "hereditary ill" up to the sixth month of pregnancy.
*By 1937 some 200,000 people had been sterilized for reasons such as schizophrenia, alcoholism & a range of physical deformities. The objective of racial superiority took a worse turn when it was decided to stop the feeding of useless eater. So-called misfits, were quietly, secretly murdered:
Nazi propaganda -educational curriculum used in the Hitler Youth, schoolbooks, articles, and films- mobilized the population behind its far-reaching racial hygiene policies. ... German youth were subtly indoctrinated to accept the premises behind the genocidal euthanasia program that Germany introduced at the start of World War II.13
*Nazis believed that the "useless mouths" (the chronically ill and the physically and mentally defective) had no right to live. The Nazi phrase, "Life unworthy of life" was used to describe such people, as well as criminals, the insane, and the physically handicapped. This characterization was soon extended to include Jews, Gypsies, Slavs, and homosexuals.
*Once sterilization became accepted, it was only a matter of time until the Nazis went one step further in approving a program of euthanasia, mercy killing. "Euthanasia" - this term is used as a euphemism for the Nazi plan to murder those with physical or mental defects.
*Support for racial hygiene courts and programs of sterilization reached a climax in 1939, when Hitler secretly authorized a euthanasia program for the purpose of eliminating from Germany life unworthy of living: the physically deformed, the mentally retarded, alcoholics, and those labeled as social undesirables.14 - on September 1, 1939, Hitler signed an order "granting" such individuals the right to die. The so-called euthanasia (mercy-killing) program of the Nazis killed hundreds of thousands of individuals by gas or lethal injection.
Unlike the sterilization program, the "euthanasia" program was conducted in secrecy. "Operation T4" was the code term used to designate this killing project.
Intentionally masked by the onset of war, mentally and physically handicapped persons were rounded up and sent to special facilities for "treatment." Most were never heard from again.
*The families of the victims would often receive telegrams informing them that their loved one had died of a heart attack or pneumonia. In this way, the Nazis hoped to eliminate defective genes from the population, which would have the effect of strengthening future generations of the "master race." Early victims of this program were given fatal injections. These facilities were soon equipped with gas chambers.
Hartheim Institute, one of six hospitals and nursing facilities where the Nazis carried out their euthanasia program, killing children and adults by gassing, shooting, and lethal injection.
The Catholic Church became aware of these euthanasia killings & warned the Nazis to cease. As word leaked out about the "euthanasia" program, some church leaders, parents of victims, physicians, and judges protested the killings. Hitler ordered the end of Operation T4 in August 1941. However, the murders continued in a decentralized manner. Doctors were encouraged to kill patients with disabilities by starvation, poisoning, or injection.
In effect, the Nazis' euthanasia program was another rationalization for mass murder. The term special treatment (in German, Sonderbehandlung), which was a euphemism for the murder of defective persons, was eventually applied to treatment of Jews in death camps.
*Scores of medical doctors, some of whom were committed Nazis, and others with no political affiliation at all, participated in the sterilization & euthanasia programs. Each had taken up the Hippocratic Oath, pledging to heal the sick, protect life, & refrain from harmful actions to their patients. And each had violated that Oath to the fullest degree possible.
Finally, the availability of thousands of human beings without any legal protection, and a government which encouraged their extermination, made it possible for many of these doctors to carry out outrageous human experimentation. Much more of this experimentation was carried out in the concentration camps on prisoners who were savaged both physically and emotionally. The Nazis kept careful records of these experiments, which a horrified world later discovered.
Roma & Sinti (Gypsies) - For Their Race They Were Executed. Nazi Racism
click on The fate of the Gypsies after clicking on Map at:
The Roma & Sinti, dark-skinned,Caucasian ethnic group (commonly but incorrectly called Gypsies) were a nomadic people believed to have come originally from northwest India; they consisted of several tribes or nations. Traveling mostly in small caravans, they first appeared in western Europe in the 1400s & eventually spread to every country of Europe. Prejudices toward Gypsies were & are widespread. Most of the Roma who had settled in Germany belonged to the Sinti nation. The Sinti and Roma had been persecuted for centuries. .15
The Roma were considered by the Nazis to be social outcasts. Under the Weimar Republic--the German government from 1918 to 1933--anti-Romani laws became widespread. These laws required them to register with officials, prohibited them from traveling freely, and sent them to forced-labor camps. When the Nazis came to power, those laws remained in effect--and were expanded.16
*The Nazi regime continued the persecution, viewing the Roma both as asocial and as racially inferior to Germans. Like the Jews, Gypsies were stereotyped in Nazi propaganda as vagabonds, criminals, & parasites. The Nazi tradition of mixing old prejudices in showed again when laws were passed decreeing Gypsies (30,000 of which resided in Germany) as "criminal and asocial" as a race in general.
*Under the July 1933 sterilization law, many of Germanys 30,000 Roma (Gypsies), were also eventually sterilized, against their will.
In November 1933, the "Law Against Dangerous Habitual Criminals" was passed. Under this law, the police began arresting Romani along with others labeled "asocial." Beggars, vagrants, the homeless, and alcoholics were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
Although the Nuremberg racial laws of September 15, 1935, did not specifically mention Romani, they were included in the implementation of the statutes, fhomosexualsalong with Jews and "Negroes" as "racially distinctive" minorities with "alien blood." As such, their marriage to "Aryans" was prohibited. Like Jews, They were also deprived of their civil rights.17
In June 1936, a Central Office to "Combat the Gypsy Nuisance" opened in Munich.
*By the summer of 1938, large numbers of German and Austrian Romani were rounded up and sent to concentration camps ... they wore black triangular patches (symbol for "asocials") or green patches (the symbol for professional criminals) and sometimes the letter "Z."18 At the end of 1938, the waves of arrests also included several thousand German and Austrian
*The Jews, mentally ill, handicapped, Poles & Slavs, Blacks, and Gypsies were persecuted, because of WHO they were.
This article appeared in the National Socialist publication "Rechtsspiegel":
"The Wandering Race: Combating the Gypsy Plague"
Date: Feb. 21, 193919
The War against the Black. Sterilization for "Rhineland Bastards"
The Black Experience in the Holocaust Review of: "Hitler's Forgotten Victims" by David Okuefuna and Moise Shewa: http://www.ferris.edu/htmls/othersrv/isar
1. ... the horrific experiences of Black people in Nazi Germany are virtually ignored. These experiences are brought to light in a documentary film entitled Hitler's Forgotten Victims (Afro-Wisdom Productions). The film uses interviews with survivors and their families as well as archival material to document the Black German Holocaust experience ...
2. Hitler's Forgotten Victims reveals that sterilization programs for Blacks had been instigated by Germany's most senior Nazi geneticist, Doctor Eugen Fischer, who developed his racial theories in German South-West Africa (now Namibia) long before the First World War. It was in this colonial context that Fischer identified what he considered genetic dangers arising from race-mixing between German colonists and African women. The documentary also provides disturbing photographic evidence of German genocidal tendencies in Africa, which began with the Heroro massacre. In 1904, the Heroro tribe of German South-West Africa revolted against their colonial masters in a quest to keep their land; the rebellion lasted four years, leading to the death of 60,000 Heroro tribespeople (80% of their population). The survivors were imprisoned in concentration camps or used as human guinea pigs for medical experiments, a policy that was a foretaste of things to come for German Blacks and the Jewish community.
3. This film shows that Nazi obsession with racial purity and eugenics was provoked and intensified in 1918, following Germany's defeat in the First World War. Under the terms of the peace treaty signed at Versailles, Germany was stripped of its African colonies and forced to submit to the occupation of the Rhineland. Hitler's Forgotten Victims emphasizes the deliberate deployment of African troops from the French colonies to police the territory incensed many Germans, who saw it as a final humiliation. Germans complained bitterly in the Rostrum newspapers, and these complaints were reflected in propaganda films regarding soldiers from the French colonial army having relationships with German women.
Indeed, the documentary suggests that the intense German anger on this score contributed to 92% of the German electorate casting its vote in support of the Nazi Party.
Prior to World War I, there were very few dark-skinned people of African descent in Germany. But, during World War I, black African soldiers were brought in by the French during the Allied occupation; they were stationed in the 1920s in the Rhineland, a demilitarized zone the Allies established after WW I as a buffer between Germany and western Europe. Most of the Germans, who were very race conscious, despised the dark-skinned "invasion". Some of these black soldiers married white German women that bore children later referred to as "Rhineland Bastards" or the "Black Disgrace".
When the Nazis came to power there were hundreds of African-German children living in the Rhineland. ... In Mein Kampf, Hitler claimed these children were part of a Jewish plot to begin "bastardizing the European continent at its core." (In Mein Kampf, Hitler said he would eliminate all the children born of African-German descent because he considered them an insult to the German nation. The mulatto children came about through rape or the white mother was a whore, Hitler wrote. In both cases, there is not the slightest moral duty regarding these offspring of a foreign race).
4. Hitler's Forgotten Victims shows that as soon as Hitler re-occupied the Rhineland in 1936, he retaliated against the African soldiers' occupation by targeting all Black people living in the Rhineland first. In particular, and in a departure from previous accounts of the Holocaust, this film claims that Germany's 24,000-member Black community was the number one focus for Hitler's sterilization program.
Under the Nazi regime, African-German children were labeled "Rhineland Bastards" and forcibly sterilized: The Nazis set up a secret group, Commission Number 3, to organize the sterilization of these Rhineland Bastards to keep intact the purity of the Aryan race.
Spring 1937 Sterilization of the "Rhineland Bastards" begins: In 1937, all local authorities in Germany were to submit a list of all the mulattos. Then, these children were taken from their homes or schools without parental permission & put before the commission. Once a child was decided to be of black descent, the child was taken immediately to a hospital and sterilized.
*About 400-500 African-German children were medically forcibly sterilized or subjected to sterilizing radiation - many times without their parents' knowledge, by the end of 1937, while 400 others just disappeared into Hitler's concentration camps. Many Blacks & Gypsies, also sterilized, were prevented from intermarrying with Germans.
5. Hans Hauck, a Black Holocaust survivor and a victim of Hitler's sterilization program, reveals on the film that "We were lucky that we weren't victims of euthanasia--we were only sterilized. We had no anesthetic. Once I got my vasectomy certificate, we had to sign an agreement that we were not allowed to have sexual relations whatsoever with Germans."
*Homosexuals, Jehovahs Witnesses, political opponents, members of the clergy, were arrested and persecuted by the Nazi regime, because of WHAT they did.
Racial Germans: The Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals
*Homosexuals blamed for undermining racial community by failure to produce children; sometimes sent to regular concentration camps; few survived.
Many homosexuals, mostly male, were arrested and imprisoned in concentration camps; under the 1935 Nazi-revised criminal code, the mere denunciation of an individual as "homosexual" could result in arrest, trial, and conviction:
One attempt by the Nazis to purify German society was their condemnation of male homosexuals as "socially aberrant." Early in the Nazi regime, male homosexual organizations were banned. A state policy of persecution of homosexuals began in Germany in 1933. Publications by and about homosexuals were prohibited and burned. In 1934, a special Gestapo division on homosexuals was set up. - established to create lists ("pink lists") of homosexuals throughout Germany. A criminal code relating to homosexuality was amended and made harsher. German police raided gay clubs and bars and made arrests. Hitler even searched his own men and found suspected homosexuals that were sent to concentration camps wearing their S.S. uniforms and medals. Due the the newly-revised 1935 Nazi criminal code, simply being called a homosexual could result in arrest, trial, and conviction.
In 1936, Heinrich Himmler created a "Reich Central Office for the Combatting of Homosexuality and Abortion." The prosecution of homosexuals reached its peak in the years 1937-1939. The police conducted raids on meeting places, seized address books from arrested men to identify and locate other homosexuals, and set up networks or informers to compile names leading to more arrests.
Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested, and of these, some 50,000 officially-defined homosexuals were sentenced. Some homosexuals spent time in regular prisons, and an estimated 5,000-15,000 were sent to concentration camps. Even within the confines of the camps, homosexuals were mistreated and tormented by other inmates. The homosexual inmates were forced to wear pink triangles on their clothes so they could be easily recognized and further humiliated inside the camps. The Nazi regime claimed its concern about homosexuality related to keeping the Aryan birthrate high. German and Austrian gays were subject to arrest and imprisonment, but in German-occupied countries, Nazis did not deport homosexuals and send them to camps.
Aim of camps - extermination or reeducation? http://www.mtsu.edu/~baustin/lautmann.html
... In this essay, I would like to consider the aims of the terror and concentrate on the non-Jewish categories of prisoners, using homosexuals as an example.
The concentration camp was one weapon in the campaign to bring state and society into conformity with fascism. ... A range of attempts were made to isolate people and to use fear to inhibit "undesirable" behavior. Whatever the reasons for imprisonment, all incarcerations were the result of Nazi ideology and posed a danger to the prisoner's life. ... Homosexuals, political prisoners, and Jehovah's Witnesses are among the groups who were sent to the concentration camps for reeducation. They were supposed to renounce their particular orientation. The very fact of their incarceration restrained their ideological comrades outside the camps from becoming active in the struggle against Nazism. ...
Two categories were seen among homosexuals: the constitutionally hard-boiled homosexual and the occasional offender. Since in neither case was the Aryan status of the homosexual in doubt, all could remain alive. ...
Since homosexuals were generally regarded as worthless, their fellow prisoners had a lower regard for them. Thus, few accounts of the pink triangles exist, and those that do exist have a spiteful flavor. ... With regard to the homosexuals, there were many reports of how the SS deliberately treated them brutally
-Pink Triangles for Homosexuals
- "Gay Prisoners in Concentration Camps as Compared with Jehovah's Witnesses and Political Prisoners, Ruediger Lautmann: http://www.mtsu.edu/~baustin/lautmann.html
-Homosexuals & the Holocaust, Ben S. Austin: http://www.mtsu.edu/~baustin/homobg.html
Responses - Resisters: Jehovahs Witnesses
In studying about resistance to Nazism, it is important to recognize that resisters were a small minority compared with the overwhelming majority, who were bystanders, collaborators, or perpetrators. Then why consider the role the role of resisters? We need the stories of the heroes and martyrs, explains Dr. Franklin H. Littell, to give us eternal reminders that there were those who were surrounded by darkness far more intense than most of us can comprehend - and still affirmed the dignity and integrity and liberty of the human person. (from: Study Guide - Jehovahs Witnesses stand firm against Nazi assault)
*During the Holocaust era, 1933-45 resistance was any group action consciously taken in opposition to known or surmised laws, actions or intentions directed against the Jews by the Nazis or their supporters. Throughout the course of the Third Reich, there were different groups who opposed the Nazi regime and certain Nazi policies. They engaged in resistance at different times and with various methods, aims, and scope.
In the period between WWI and WWII there were many political parties competing for power in Germany. By 1933, Nazis had established themselves in government. It had become dangerous to be a member of any opposition party. Leftist political groups and a number of disappointed conservatives were in opposition; at a later date, church groups, government officials, students and businessmen also joined. Many were beaten and killed for speaking out against Nazism - As fear and terror became everyday truths for many Europeans during the Holocaust, standards of daily reality shifted dramatically. ...
Resistance against the Third Reich took many forms. Overt opposition was rarely wise because of the danger of reprisals from the Germans to the community and the constant threats of deportation and on-the-spot death.
During the war opposition parties were outlawed and some disintegrated. Others survived and operated clandestinely, transforming themselves into underground resistance organizations. After the tide of the war was reversed, elements within the military played an active role in opposing Hitler. At no point, however, was there a unified resistance movement within Germany20 - besides Jehovahs Witnesses.
Jehovahs Witnesses - Conformity vs. Conscience, 1933-39
*Jehovah's Witnesses endured intense persecution, because of what they did - because they were resisters who opposed the Nazi regime. Actions against the religious group and its individual members spanned the Nazi years 1933 to 1945. Unlike Jews and Sinti and Roma "Gypsies"), persecuted and killed by virtue of their birth, Jehovah's Witnesses had the opportunity to escape persecution and personal harm by renouncing their religious beliefs.
*Jehovahs Witnesses opposed Nazism from the beginning
The text of this web page was originally published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as a pamphlet titled "JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES". It is used here with permission.
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
100 Raoul Walenberg Place SW,
Washington D.C. 20024-2150.
*The Hebrew name of God: Jehovah.Founded in the United States in the 1870s, the Jehovah's Witnesses organization sent missionaries to Germany to seek converts in the 1890s. *By the early 1930s, only 20,000 (of a total population of 65 million) Germans were Jehovah's Witnesses, usually known at the time as "International Bible Students."
One Voice in the Midst of Silence
... The Holocaust, during which several million were systematically murdered, reveals what a monstrous evil Nazism was. But what about then? Who spoke out? Who did not? ...
... even before the death camps were set up, a voice was proclaiming the dangers of Nazism, through Awake! It was first known as The Golden Age and was renamed Consolation in 1937. Beginning in 1929, these magazines, published by Jehovah's Witnesses, boldly warned of the perils of Nazism ...
"How can one remain silent," asked Consolation in 1939, "about the horrors of a land where, as in Germany, 40,000 innocent persons are arrested at one time; where 70 of them were executed in a single night in one prison; . . . where all homes, institutes and hospitals for the aged, the poor, and the helpless, and all orphanages for the children, are destroyed?"
... Jehovah's Witnesses could not keep quiet. They knew firsthand the cruelties of the Nazi regime, and they were not afraid to speak out.
Why Unafraid to Speak Out
In retrospect, it could be said that the clash between Jehovah's Witnesses and Nazism, or National Socialism, was all but inevitable. Why? Because of the Nazis' unyielding demands that conflicted with three of the Witnesses' fundamental Bible-based beliefs. These are: (1) Jehovah God is the Supreme Sovereign. (2) True Christians are politically neutral. (3) God will resurrect those who have proved faithful to him until death.
... they courageously spoke out and exposed Nazism as the evil that it was. Jehovah's Witnesses refused to heil Hitler. ... "Heil Hitler" implied that salvation was by Hitler. ... Many early Christians died because they obeyed God rather than men. Scores perished in Roman arenas because they refused, in effect, to heil Caesar by rendering an act of worship to him. ...
According to psychologist Erwin Staub, Hitlers ideology consisted of 3 main components:
1. Racial purity & the racial superiority of Germans, with strong antisemitism
2. Nationalism, with the goal of extending German power & influence
3. The leadership principle, which required unquestioning obedience to Hitler
Historian Brian Dunn identifies 3 basic reasons why the beliefs of Jehovahs Witnesses were incompatible with Nazism:
1. The Witnessess opposition to racism in any form
2. The international scope of the religion, implying international equality
3. The Witnessess political neutrality & their refusal to swear allegiance to the state
*Christian theology of the Witnesses rejected racism, ultra-nationalism, and the deification of state and Fuhrer
The Evils of Nazism Exposed
In the 1920's, as Germany struggled to recover from its defeat in World War I, Jehovah's Witnesses were busy distributing tremendous amounts of Bible literature ... offer comfort and hope to the German people but it alerted them to the rising power of militarism.
... in the early 1930s, Nazi brownshirted storm troopers, acting outside the law, broke up Bible study meetings and beat up, individual Witnesses. ...
\The Golden Age of January 4, 1933, said: "There looms forth the menacing promontory of the National Socialist movement. It seems incredulous that a political party so insignificant in its origin, so heterodox in its policies, can, in the space of a few years, develop into proportions that overshadow the structure of a national government. Yet Adolf Hitler and his national socialist party (the Nazis) have accomplished this rare feat."
An Appeal for Understanding
January 30, 1933 ... After the Nazis came to power, persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses intensified. Small as the movement was, it offered, in scholar Christine King's words, a "rival ideology" and "rival center of loyalty" to the Nazi movement. Although honest and as law-abiding as their religious beliefs allowed, Jehovah's Witnesses saw themselves as citizens of Jehovah's Kingdom; they refused to swear allegiance to any worldly government. They were not pacifists, but as soldiers in Jehovah's army, they would not bear arms for any nation. ...
*Jehovah's Witnesses were banned as an organization as early as April 1933, since the beliefs of this religious group prohibited them from swearing any oath to the state or serving in the German military. ... Although their religious meetings were outlawed after the Nazi rise to power, many continued to practice their religion.
*There was no other resistance organization: Jehovahs Witnesses took a consistent, organized stand against the Nazi regime; they refused to raise their arms in the "Heil, Hitler!" salute, join the Nazi party, and display the swastika flag; they did not vote in elections; they would not join the army or the German Labor Front '(a Nazi affiliate, which all salaried employees were required to join after 1934).
The Nazis did not intend to tolerate any refusal to support their ideology.
... the Nazis seized the JW branch office at Magdeburg, on June 28, 1933. They broke up Witness meetings and made arrests. Soon Witnesses began to be dismissed from their jobs. They suffered raids on their homes, beatings, and arrests. Their literature was confiscated. Despite these initial attacks, Jehovah's Witnesses stood their ground and publicly denounced the oppression and injustice. The November 1, 1933, issue of The Watchtower featured the article "Fear Them Not." It was prepared especially for the German Witnesses, exhorting them to take courage in the face of mounting pressure.
By early 1934 the Nazis had seized from the Witnesses 65 tons of Bible literature and had burned it outside Magdeburg. ...
Witnesses Expose Nazi Atrocities - As Jehovah's Witnesses had promised, they began exposing the atrocities occurring in Germany. Witnesses around the globe repeatedly registered protests with the Hitler government.
In 1935, The Golden Age exposed the Inquisitionlike torture methods of the Nazi regime and its spy system. ... The Nazis stepped-up abuses ... From 1935 onward, Jehovah's Witnesses faced a Nazi campaign of nearly total persecution.
*They lost their jobs as civil servants or employees in private industry and their unemployment, social welfare, and pension benefits.
*The children of Jehovah's Witnesses also suffered. In classrooms, teachers ridiculed children who refused to give the "Heil, Hitler!" salute or sing patriotic songs. Classmates shunned and beat up young Witnesses. Principals expelled them from schools. Families were broken up as authorities took children away from their parents and sent them to reform schools, orphanages, or private homes, to be brought up as Nazis.
On April 1, 1935, the group was banned nationally by law. The same year, Germany reintroduced compulsory military service. For refusing to be drafted or perform war-related work, and continuing to meet, Jehovah's Witnesses were arrested and incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps.
Witnesses Among First in the Camps http://www.Holocaust-trc.org/Jehovah.htm
*For their refusal to conform to Nazi ideals, ... for defying the ban on their activities, thousands of Jehovahs Witnesses were arrested and sent to prisons and concentration camps. In 1935 some 400 Jehovah's Witnesses were imprisoned at Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
In 1936 a special unit of the Gestapo (Secret State Police) began compiling a registry of all persons believed to be Jehovah's Witnesses, and agents infiltrated Bible study meetings. By 1939, an estimated 6,000 Witnesses (including those from incorporated Austria and Czechoslovakia) were detained in prisons or camps.
*Jehovahs Witnesses were the only Christian group designated by a separate uniform symbol. Marked with purple triangular badges, the Witnesses were a relatively small group of prisoners in the concentration camps, numbering several hundred per camp.
*In the Buchenwald camp, Witness inmates never abused or mistreated other prisoners; they shared their bread rations with Jewish prisoners.
* Jehovahs Witnesses were offered a choice. Some Witnesses were tortured by police in attempts to make them sign a declaration/ renouncing their faith, but few capitulated. If Jehovah's Witnesses within the camps signed documents renouncing their religious beliefs, they would be freed. Very few, even in the face of torture, signed the declarations. The courage the vast majority displayed in refusing to do so, in the face of torture, maltreatment in concentration camps, and sometimes execution, won them the respect of many contemporaries.
*Witnesses Exposed Existence of Camps
Although Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Sachsenhausen were names unknown to most people until after World War II, they were well known to readers of The Golden Age and Consolation. The reports of Jehovah's Witnesses, smuggled out of the camps at great risk and publicized in Watch Tower literature, exposed the murderous intent of the Third Reich.
In 1933, The Golden Age carried the first of many reports of the existence of concentration camps in Germany.
In 1937, for example, Consolation told of experiments with poison gas at Dachau.
*August Dickmann: One of Jehovahs Witnesses and the 1st conscientious objector of the war to be executed, dies by firing squad at Sachsenhausen
Publications of Jehovah's Witnesses
In response to Nazi efforts to destroy them, the worldwide Jehovah's Witness organization became a center of spiritual resistance against the Nazis. An international convention of Witnesses, held in Lucerne, Switzerland, in September 1936, issued a resolution condemning the entire Nazi regime. In this text and other literature brought into Germany, writers broadly indicted the Third Reich. Articles strongly denounced the persecution of German Jews, Nazi "savagery" toward Communists, the remilitarization of Germany, the Nazification of schools and universities, Nazi propaganda, and the regime's assault on mainstream churches. ...
"We must tell the truth and give the warning," said the booklet Face the Facts, published in 1938. ... Jehovah's Witnesses were among the first targets of Nazi abuse, but they also loudly decried atrocities against Jews, Poles, the handicapped, and others.
The resolution "Warning!," adopted at a 1938 convention of Jehovah's Witnesses in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A., said: "The Fascists and Nazis, radical political organizations, have wrongfully seized control of many countries of Europe . . . All the people will be regimented, all their liberties taken away, and all will be compelled to yield to the rule of an arbitrary dictator ... ."
J. F. Rutherford, president of the Watch Tower Society, regularly took to the airwaves, delivering powerful lectures on the satanic nature of Nazism. ... On October 2, 1938, he delivered the address "Fascism or Freedom," in which he denounced Hitler in no uncertain terms; ... he denounces Nazi persecution of the Jews ... "
In 1938, Jehovah's Witnesses published the book Crusade Against Christianity, in French, German, and Polish. ...
Nobel prize winner Dr. Thomas Mann wrote: "I have read your book and its terrible documentation with deepest emotion. I cannot describe the mixed feeling of abhorrence and loathing which has filled my heart while perusing these records of human degradation and abominable cruelty. ... To keep quiet would serve only the moral indifference of the world ... You have done your duty in publishing this book and bringing these facts to light." ...
Paul Johnson's History of Christianity said: "Of 17,000 Evangelical pastors, there were never more than fifty serving long terms [for not supporting the Nazi regime] at any one time." Contrasting such pastors with Jehovah's Witnesses, Johnson wrote: "The bravest were the Jehovah's Witnesses, who proclaimed their outright doctrinal opposition from the beginning and suffered accordingly. They refused any cooperation with the Nazi state."
On December 8, 1993, Dr. Franklin Littell of Baylor University spoke at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about a troublesome "concrete truth." What was that?
The truth, Littell said, was that "six million Jews were targeted and systematically murdered in the heart of Christendom, by baptized Roman Catholics, Protestants, and Eastern Orthodox who were never rebuked, let alone excommunicated." One voice, however, did consistently speak out about clergy involvement with Hitler's regime. And the voice, as we have seen, was that of Jehovah's Witnesses.
When Hitler waged war throughout Europe, the Witnesses stood firm in the face of the Nazis' brutal attempts to make them join in the orgy of killing. Professor Christine King well summed up the matter: "Jehovah's Witnesses did speak out. They spoke out from the beginning. They spoke out with one voice. And they spoke out with a tremendous courage, which has a message for all of us."
Christianity & the Nazis. Dissenting Clergy
Y. Bauer: Nazism was an anti-Christian movement (included racism, racial purity; anti-democratic); based on principle of the Fuhrer ... not only the secular authority but messenger of God. Christ was Aryan. ... 30 million Catholics in Germany ...
The War against the Churches/Racial Germans
The Catholic & Protestant churches were also brought under the control of the Nazi totalitarian state, & repressed; Hitler considered Christianity a Jewish invention.:
July 1933: Hitler tried to unify the 29 different Protestant congregations into a single National Reich Church under one bishop Ludwig Muller).21
In July 1933, Hitler secured the cooperation of the Vatican by guaranteeing the liberties of the Catholic Church in Germany: Hitler signed a concordat, or treaty, with the Vatican, Pope Pius XI, that guaranteed Catholics the right to manage their own affairs; in return the Vatican promised to stay out of German politics.
Hitler violated concordat & warred against the Roman Catholics; dismissed Catholic teachers from schools.
More recent evidence indicates that a few other Catholics, as well as some Protestants, stood up against the Nazi State because of religious convictions. Some even paid with their lives, ...
In September 1933, Martin Niemöller, a pastor of a fashionable church in Berlin, set up a Pastors' Emergency League which led to the formation of the anti-Nazi Confessional Church. This church wrote a memorandum to Hitler attacking the government's anti-Christian campaign, policies of antisemitism, and terrorizing tactics.
Hitler responded with a crackdown on members of the Confessional Church.
Gestapo censored church newspapers, & arrested some clerical critics of the regime;
opposition clergy were arrested - 1000s of dissenting clergy/priests & nuns were arrested & deported to concentration camps; and also executed.22 500 imprisoned pastors died.
*In 1937 the Pope issued an encyclical called With Burning Concern. It criticized Hitler for breaking their agreement; no opposition to Nazi antisemitic policy.
*Martin Niemoller, Protestant church leader, pastor of the church at Dahlem, near Berlin, refused to recognize control of secular authorities; in July 1937 was arrested and sent to Dachau, a concentration camp. Later, Niemoeller stated: "And to think that we Christians of today are ashamed of the so-called sect of the serious scholars of the Bible [Jehovah's Witnesses], who by the hundreds and thousands have gone into concentration camps and died because they refused to serve in war and declined to fire on human beings."
Lutheran theologian/philosopher Dietrich Bonhoeffer,his brother-in-law Hans von Dohnanyi, and the small group of anti-Nazi supporters who were committed to saving Jews in WWII Germany. Forbidden to preach from his Berlin pulpit from 1933 on, Bonhoeffer worked to create an action-based Lutheran populace that would refute Hitler and his politics.
During the rule of terror, 4,000 priests from Europe were murdered.
Hitler was a baptized Roman Catholic, as were many of the leaders in his government. Why weren't they excommunicated? Why didn't the Catholic Church condemn the horrors that these men were committing? Why did Protestant churches also keep silent? Did the churches really remain silent?23
Roman Catholic professor of history at Vienna University, Friedrich Heer, admitted: "In the cold facts of German history, the Cross and the swastika came ever closer together, until the swastika proclaimed the message of victory from the towers of German cathedrals, swastika flags appeared round altars and Catholic and Protestant theologians, pastors, churchmen and statesmen welcomed the alliance with Hitler."
Many German church leaders feared that resistance would lead to even more severe measures against their churches.
Susannah Heschel, a professor of Judaic studies, uncovered church documents proving that the Lutheran clergy were willing, yes anxious, to support Hitler. She said they begged for the privilege of displaying the swastika in their churches. The overwhelming majority of clergymen were not coerced collaborators, her research showed, but were enthusiastic supporters of Hitler and his Aryan ideals.
As a lecturer, Heschel is frequently asked by church members, "What could we have done?"
"You could have been like Jehovah's Witnesses," she replies.
Many Protestants have writhed in self-incrimination for remaining silent during Hitler's wars of aggression. For example, 11 leading clergymen met in October 1945 to draw up the so-called Stuttgart admission of guilt. They said: "We accuse ourselves for not having been more courageous in confessing our convictions, more faithful in saying our prayers, more joyful in expressing our faith, and more ardent in showing our love."
"These two very different studies by Griech-Polelle and Stiegmann-Gall (Beth A. Griech-Polelle's _Bishop von Galen: German Catholicism and National Socialism_ (Yale University Press) and Richard Stiegmann-Gall's _The Holy Reich: Nazi Conceptions of Christianity, 1919-1945_ (Cambridge University Press)demonstrate that the categories of 'Christian' and 'Nazi' not only confronted and opposed one another, but also intersected and overlapped in countless complex ways. The common denominator was nationalism, and nationalism of a particular kind, one peculiar to a Germany whose linguistic, cultural and political identity was the legacy of a religious reformer, Martin Luther.
National Socialism did have many of the characteristics of a political religion, though it preferred to incorporate Christianity rather than seek to replace it. In a disenchanted, disillusioned, disaffected society, many paid lip-service to their forefathers' beliefs, but few were ready to abandon belief itself. The Nazis met that need, by clasping mind, body and spirit in an ice-cold embrace. Hitler's many private outbursts against Rome, the Churches and all that Jesus Christ stood for cannot alter the fact that millions of Christian Germans voted, fought and died for him. Their will to believe in a national messiah overcame their faith in the 24 universal one."
The German people
*With few exceptions, most Germans complied with the boycott of all Jewish businesses, on April 1, 1933. The nation remained quiet, & Hitler had his answer.
After aryanization in 1938, July 6 38 -Evian Conference, & Nov. 9/10 38 Kristallnacht, Hitler knew that no one would actually do anything to help the Jew.
On the eve of World War II, Hitler had fulfilled many of his promises to the German people. He had restored the national economy, rearmed Germany, and reversed much of the humiliation associated with the Treaty of Versailles. The success of Hitlers policies enabled him to proceed with his agenda regarding the Jews without opposition (Jews lost their jobs, their citizenship, and all civil rights). In the process of creating a state based on Aryan racial supremacy, Hitler had also become a very popular leader. Whether by compulsion or conviction, the German people accepted the creation of concentration camps, the elimination of political parties, the emergence of a police state, and the brutalization of Jews for the pride and prosperity associated with Hitlers new order. 25
*Racism & oppression had become for many Germans accepted, & acceptable practices of Nazi rule. Generally speaking, the mass of ordinary Germans were hugely indifferent, rather than actively hostile, to the Jews in their midst. This indifference, however, was to contribute decisively to the eventual fate of the Jews.26
Although the world knew the plight of the undesirables and the German Jews, little refuge was offered. The world watched while Nazi Germany became a testing ground for an accelerating persecution that ultimately became the epitaph for six million Jews*
Feb. 22, 1939 - 22,000 American Nazis hold a rally in New York Citys Madison Square Garden, denouncing Americas Jews. Synagogues in the city were defaced with Nazi swastikas
Recapitulation: What do we have so far?
1. A leader, focused and obsessed on certain goals
2. An elite competing among itself for access to the leaders power
3. An uncritical, ungenerous populace, focused on narrow personal goals27
All are welcome to attend the following event. Unless otherwise noted, all
programs are free and held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place, SW, Washington, DC 20024-2126.
Wednesday November 12. 2003, 2-4 p.m.
Compensation for Roma Victims of Forced Labor: The Work of the International Organization for Migration-What Has Been Done, What Has Been Learned
The World Jewish Restitution Organization, Holocaust survivors' lawyers, and Swiss banks---including the Union Bank of Switzerland and Credit Suisse---signed what is commonly known as the Swiss Banks Settlement Agreement on 26 January 1999. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva, Switzerland, was designated one of the organizations responsible for processing the compensation requests of non-Jewish claimants, including Jehovah's Witnesses, Roma, homosexuals, and the disabled, who had been subjected to forced and slave labor by the Nazis and their allies. IOM created the Holocaust Victim Assets Programme (HVAP) to process the thousands of claims filed by Roma and approached the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies for assistance. Panelists will discuss this effort to ensure justice for Roma claimants and what has been learned about the experience of Roma during the Holocaust.
Euthanasia - A program instituted by the Nazis in August 1939 which "made merciful death possible for those suffering from incurable disease."
*Hippocratic Oath - An oath devised by Hippocrates, an ancient Greek physician, which is taken by persons who receive an M.D. degree (Doctor of Medicine) and which sets the standards of medical ethics.
Sterilization - a process, either by surgical or chemical means, to make persons incapable of reproducing.
CHRONOLOGY - Targetting non-Jews
Jan. 30 -Adolf Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany by Hindenburg
Jan 30 Sterilization (of inferiors) Laws enacted; implemented three weeks later
Feb 27 Reichstag fire by Nazis to create crisis atmosphere.
Feb 28 Leading communists arrested. Hindenburg signed emergency Article 48
Constitutional rights "temporarily" suspended (until 1945)
March 22 Dachau concentration camp opens near Munich, , to be followed by
Buchenwald near Weimar in central Germany
March 23 Enabling Act passed by the Reichstag, Hitler dictator
March 31, Hitler initiates the Gleichschaltung, or coordination, process, which forms a
vital part of his consolidation of power.
April 1. 1935 Jehovah's Witnesses are banned from all civil service jobs and arrested
April 1 All religious literature by Jehovah's Witnesses banned from circulation in Germany
April 24 First SA & police raid on the Magdeburg branch office of
Jehovah's Witnesses; literature confiscated
Apr 26, : formation of the Gestapo by Hermann Göring in the German state of Prussia
June Hitler outlaws all political parties other than the Nazi Party
June Hitler secured the cooperation of the Vatican
July 14 Law stripping East European Jewish immigrants of German citizenship
July 14 Law for the Prevention of Progeny of Hereditary Disease mandates the sterilization
of patients with hereditary diseases e.g. feeble-mindedness, epilepsy, schizophrenia.
Some 300,000 to 400,000 people are sterilized under this law
July 20 Concordat signed with the Roman Catholic Church
Nov. 24 Nazis pass a Law against Habitual and Dangerous Criminals, which allows
beggars, the homeless, alcoholics and the unemployed to be sent to concentration camps.
Beginning in 1934 *** Mental hospitals encouraged to neglect patients - funding and inspections either made perfunctory or suspended. 181 Genetic Health Courts and Appellate Health Courts to decide cases concerning sterilization established
June 29-30 - The Night of Long Knives - Himmlers SS purge the rival SA
Aug. 2, 1934 Hitler proclaims himself Fuehrer & Reich Chancellor
March 11 Nazi race hygienists and civil servants plan the sterilization of the "Rhineland Bastards"
Aug. 35 At the opening ceremony for the state medical academy in Munich, Walter Schultze,
Bavarian Commissioner of Health, declares sterilization insufficient & argues for
euthanasia; he adds, This policy has already been initiated in our concentration camps.
Sept. 1935 Hitler expresses intention to eliminate the "incurably ill" at Nuremberg Party rally to Dr. Gerhard Wagner
Oct. 18, 1935 Addendum to the sterilization law forbids marriages between "hereditary ill" and "healthy" people. In addition, forces the abortion of children of the "hereditary ill" up
to the sixth month of pregnancy.
March 7 German army marches into the Rhineland
May 10 Burning of books written by Jews
June 17 Hitler names Himmler chief of all German police
June Central Office to "Combat the Gypsy Nuisance" opened in Munich
Sachsenhausen concentration camp established
July 12 German Roma and Sinti (Gypsies) are arrested and deported to Dachau
Aug. Nazis set up Office for Combating Homosexuality & Abortions (by healthy women).
Aug 28 Mass arrests of Jehovah's Witnesses. Several thousand are sent to concentration
camps and many stay there until 1945
October 25 Hitler and Mussolini form Rome-Berlin Axis
November 25 Military pact signed between Germany and Japan
December 12 Jehovah's Witnesses secretly distribute 200,000 copies of the Lucerne Resolution, a protest of Nazi atrocities
Spring 1937 Sterilization of the "Rhineland Bastards" begins
April 22 Gestapo order directs that all of Jehovah's Witnesses released from prisons are to
be taken directly to concentration camps
June 20 Jehovah's Witnesses secretly distribute an open letter supplying detailed accounts of
July 16 Concentration camp Buchenwald opens
1938 Neuengamme and Mauthausen concentration camps established
Oct. 2, 1938 Watch Tower Society President, J. F. Rutherford, speaking over a network of 60
radio stations, denounces Nazi persecution of the Jews
Late 1938/Early 1939 First German government sanctioned/authorized
"Mercy Killing" of deformed infant named Knauer
1939 Ravensbruck concentration camp established
Copyright Fall 1999, November 2003, January 2004 Edith Shaked
Credit/source: Gary M. Grobman, The Holocaust - A guide for Teachers, 1990
1 http://www.ushmm.org/education/history.html, p. 5
2 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, p. 183
3 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, p. XXX
4 Title of a book by Joanna B. Michlic
5 http://www.ushmm.org/education/history.html, p. 5
6 http://www.ushmm.org/education/history.html, p. 5
7 Fischel, p. XXX
9 Jack Fischel, The Holocaust, p. XXX
10 http://www.ushmm.org/education/history.html, p. 5
11 http://www.ushmm.org/education/history.html, p. 5
12 Fischel, p. XXX
13 Fischel, p. XXX
14 Fischel, p. XX
20 Simon Wiesenthal Center Library & Archives
24 Review by Daniel Johnson, Johnson's concluding paragraph in TLS of November 28, 2003
25 J. Fischel, The Holocaust, p. 29
26 Landau, The Nazi Holocaust, p. 122
27 Prof. Marcuse, The Holocaust in German History, 2001