History hello German population's knowledge of Nazi death camps.

Home Forum Chat Forum History hello German population's knowledge of Nazi death camps.

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 67 total)
  • History hello German population's knowledge of Nazi death camps.
  • beaker
    Member

    STW hive mind I need your help….. Does anyone know of a website where I can find I primary source who did or didn’t know about the gassing of the Jews? I’m trying to answer a history question about wether the German population did or didn’t know about what went on at the camps.

    Thanks all, I’ve done so much googling but to no avail….

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    Read some of Ian Kershaws books. I seem to remember he discusses this and references primary sources…I think the book was called “The Hitler Myth: Image and Reality in the Third Reich”. Could have been one of his other books though – the book is worth getting anyway so I suggest you go and try and hunt it down before your deadline as it will certainly give you some of interesting ideas to talk about in your essay.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    Wiki

    Goldhagen’s book was meant to be an anthropological “thick description” in the manner of Clifford Geertz.[14] Goldhagen argued that there the violent antisemitic “cultural axiom” held by Martin Luther in the 16th century and expressed in his 1543 book On the Jews and Their Lies were the same as those held by Adolf Hitler in the 20th century.[15] Goldhagen argued that such was the ferocity of German “eliminationist antisemitism” that long before 1933 that the situation in Germany had been “pregnant with murder”, that as regarding the Jews things had been “pregnant with murder” since the mid-19th century and that all Hitler did was merely unleash the deeply rooted murderous “elminationist antisemtism” that had brooding within the German people since Luther’s time, if not earlier.[16]

    Hitler’s Willing Executioners marked a revisionist challenge to the prevailing orthodoxy surrounding the question of German public opinion and the “Final Solution”.[17] The British historian Sir Ian Kershaw, a leading expert in the social history of the Third Reich claimed:

    The road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference.[18][19]

    By this, Kershaw meant the progress leading up to Auschwitz was motivated by antisemitism of the most vicious kind held by the Nazi elite, but it took place in a context where the majority of German public opinion was completely indifferent to what was happening.[20] In several articles and books, most notably his 1983 book Popular Opinion and Political Dissent in the Third Reich, Kershaw argued that most Germans were at a minimum at least vaguely aware of the Holocaust, but could have cared less about what their government was doing to the Jews.[21] Though differing in many details about German public opinion from Kershaw, arguing that the term “passive complicity” is a better one than “indifference”, the Israeli historian Otto Dov Kulka, the American historian Aron Rodrigue, and the Israeli historian David Bankier have largely agreed with Kershaw that there was a difference in opinion about the Jews between the Nazi “true believers” and the wider German public, whose views towards Jews seemed to have expressed more of a dislike rather than hatred of Jews.[20] Goldhagen by contrast declared the term “indifference” to be unacceptable, and instead contended that the vast majority of Germans were active antisemitics who wanted to kill Jews in the most “pitiless” and “callous” manner possible.[22]

    Just don’t plagiarise, go and find the books – then find the sources and make up you’re own mind.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hitler’s_Willing_Executioners

    banks
    Member

    Also – the banality of evil & a book called ‘those were the days, the history of the holocaust. As told by the perps & bystanders’.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @beaker, your question is worded quite specifically, ie knowledge of gassing. I am assuming you meant it more generally. There is a lot of evidence that the German population knew that the deported Jews where likely to perish for example from lack of food or inadequate warm clothing, there is less that they where aware of the deliberate extermination (which was most pronounced at Auschwitz). There are for example current campaigns to have the German railway acknowledge their part in knowingly transporting Jews to their deaths. Some countries, like Bulgaria refused to deport their Jewsih populations despite explixit demands from the Germans to do so, they knew what was going on. You can find a lot of information searching for research using the word “Shoah”

    mikey74
    Member

    Having studied this in history, Jam is essentially correct in saying that those who were complicit in ratting out the Jews knew the consequence of their actions i.e. death, and yet continued. However, it is unlikely they knew the details of the extermination and the torture. I think it is safe to say that the actions of Mengele and his ilk were not uncovered until later and the method of mass extermination was probably not common knowledge.

    In other words, as stated so eloquently above: “The road to Auschwitz was built by hate, but paved with indifference” albeit with a dose of malice and jealousy thrown in.

    However, I have just found this:

    “Hitler exterminated the Jews of Europe. But he did not do so alone. The task was so enormous, complex, time-consuming, and mentally and economically demanding that it took the best efforts of millions of Germans… All spheres of life in Germany actively participated: Businessmen, policemen, bankers, doctors, lawyers, soldiers, railroad and factory workers, chemists, pharmacists, foremen, production managers, economists, manufacturers, jewelers, diplomats, civil servants, propagandists, film makers and film stars, professors, teachers, politicians, mayors, party members, construction experts, art dealers, architects, landlords, janitors, truck drivers, clerks, industrialists, scientists, generals, and even shopkeepers—all were essential cogs in the machinery that accomplished the final solution.”[13] – Konnilyn G. Feig

    It would appear that the allies knew about the death camps around 1942/43.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    I seem to remember being swayed by the argument that the general population knew about the camps as well and that the German population whispered about them to each other in private. I guess they might not have know about the exact method in which they were killed.

    Premier Icon easygirl
    Subscriber

    A german exchange student stayed with us 3 years ago, and told my daughter that the extermination of jews by the germams was not true, ans was made up by the allies to discredit the germans.
    Unbelievable

    ctk
    Member

    In Europe by Geert Mak talks about this too. Brilliant book the best overview of the 20th century I have read.

    titusrider
    Member

    The world at war series also talks about this, in detail in some episodes and extras. I thoroughly recommend the box set.

    b r
    Member

    The task was so enormous, complex, time-consuming, and mentally and economically demanding that it took the best efforts of millions of Germans…

    It wasn’t just the Germans, nationalities from all across occupied Europe were involved. Anti-Semitism was rife across most European countries before (and during) WW2.

    And IME, still going on (about 10 years ago I was asked in Vienna if the UK had a ‘Jewish problem?’). I think it is hard for the British to understand as we differentiate more based upon skin-colour, rather than creed. Therefore we see Judism more as a religion.

    More reading for you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alfred_Dreyfus

    beaker
    Member

    Thank you for all your replies!

    hora
    Member

    Easygirl I know a few Germans. They KNOW and were taught it at school. Is a shameful past to them. The boy probably flirts with neo-nazi online forums etc in reality. A bit of a fantasist.

    hora
    Member

    Tbh the Germans were lucky. The Russians were pissed off. It could have been much much worse for the warmongering scum.

    toemul
    Member

    Why was there so much hate towards the Jews? Being the moron that I am may be the non Jews were pissed off about something.

    Suggsey
    Member

    Visited Bergen Belsen couple of years ago……..Simply unbelievable that a whole nation, and more were lead along the path they took! If anyone gets a chance to go to one of these sites I thoroughly recommend it. No films or documentaries on the tv do it justice.

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    Tbh the Germans were lucky. The Russians were pissed off. It could have been much much worse for the scum.

    Well actually it was unlucky for many German civilians. My German auntie was raped by Russian soldiers in Berlin.

    But back to the original post. I think “indifference” is a reasonable summation. I just wrote out a great deal of blurb based on my meagre knowledge of the situation from a mother who lived close to Belsen at the time and a father who was part of the occupying forces in the area after the war. Then I deleted it. It’s my personal knowledge based on what I have been told and things I was taken to see as a child. It isn’t definitive.

    atlaz
    Member

    I think it is safe to say that the actions of Mengele and his ilk were not uncovered until later and the method of mass extermination was probably not common knowledge.

    Given tens or hundreds of thousands of soldiers were either directly involved in, witnessed or saw the aftermath of atrocities on the Eastern front, it’s considered reasonable that although the full extent wasn’t know, the treatment of jews and eastern Europeans was fairly well known.

    To be totally honest, the German military had a history of killing civilians in that era; their excesses in WW1 are well documented. It’s hard to believe that German civilians didn’t have any idea what their troops were up to.

    It would appear that the allies knew about the death camps around 1942/43.

    More realistically, first hand evidence appeared 43/44 with the Auschwitz Protocols written by escaped prisoners. Before then there’s reason to believe intelligence was that this was going on but there was little hard evidence.

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    More realistically, first hand evidence appeared 43/44 with the Auschwitz Protocols written by escaped prisoners. Before then there’s reason to believe intelligence was that this was going on but there was little hard evidence.

    Indeed. The “final solution” as a policy wasn’t announced until late 43. Had the allies known earlier you can bet your life it would have been used as propaganda. If the German public had known, the allies would have known.

    hora
    Member

    No the Germans were lucky. The Germans didnt just rape civilians they starved as they went and murdered.

    Your Aunt? She could have left the country in disgust before that point.

    aP
    Member

    toemul – Member
    Why was there so much hate towards the Jews? Being the moron that I am may be the non Jews were pissed off about something.

    Really? You’re not actually serious are you?

    zip
    Member

    My grandmother is German and in her early 80’s now. When I did history at school she described to me what it was like growing up in hamburg. Hitler had won the public over with social unity such as the Hitler youth which started off with only positives. Then the propaganda built up over the years effectively brainwashing the people into believing their friends and neighbours were the enemy. She recalls people being taken away but at the time didn’t know exactly where they were going or their fate.

    b r
    Member

    Why was there so much hate towards the Jews? Being the moron that I am may be the non Jews were pissed off about something.

    Rather than ask the question here, learn to search yourself for an answer – good start here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemitism

    mrmo
    Member

    Why was there so much hate towards the Jews? Being the moron that I am may be the non Jews were pissed off about something.

    being sort of serious, they crucified jesus!

    It goes back a long way.

    There have been regular purges in most European countries for hundreds of years, Ghettos, forced conversions. deportations, etc

    I think there is also an element of jealousy, the jews were rich because they were the bankers. Blame the bible for that one!

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    Err Hora, make no mistake…The Red Army was just as brutal as the Wermacht or the SS.

    To say the Red Army didn’t starve and murder on an industrial is naive.

    The Red Army was just as brutal as the Wermacht or the SS.

    Very true. However, the Germans started it. The initial atrocities were performed by the Nazi’s. Anything that followed could be seen as retaliation. Doesn’t justify it but can certainly explain it.

    I read something from a Soviet soldier, who described his anger and confusion when they saw all that Germany had as they headed west. He could not understand why such a rich industrial nation had invaded his poor land.

    Tom_W1987
    Member

    They started it is a bit simplistic…the Red Army would have plundered and raped their way across Europe even without German interference……the Finnish winter war highlights that.

    They didn’t just carry out atrocities in retribution, they carried out atrocities against a wide range of European people’s. …Poles, Finns, Lithuanians etc

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    easygirl wrote:

    A german exchange student stayed with us 3 years ago, and told my daughter that the extermination of jews by the germams was not true, ans was made up by the allies to discredit the germans.
    Unbelievable

    Personally I’d have told them to pack their bags.

    mrmo wrote:

    being sort of serious, they crucified jesus!

    Jesus the Jew?

    They started it is a bit simplistic…the Red Army would have plundered and raped their way across Europe even without German interference……the Finnish winter war highlights that.

    Yes it is simplistic. All wars have a number of factors, not one single thing starts a war. However, it was the aggression of Nazi Germany that was the single most important factor.

    The Red Army were in no fit state to “plundered and raped their way across Europe.” The Finnish War certainly highlights that. Although totally outnumbered and with virtually no armour, the Finns killed thousands of the invaders

    It was only being faced with absolute destruction that made the USSR get their act together and push the Germans out. This was also achieved at an unbelievable cost in their soldiers lives.

    cranberry
    Member

    They started it is a bit simplistic…the Red Army would have plundered and raped their way across Europe even without German interference……the Finnish winter war highlights that.

    As stated The Winter War was a soviet war of aggression in order to take territory, add in the Katyn Massacre and the fact that the soviets were doing things to their own people every bit as bad as the Nazis did when they invaded – both sides were pretty evenly matched in terms of their atrocious attitudes and behaviour to anyone, foreign or domestic who crossed them.

    However, it was the aggression of Nazi Germany that was the single most important factor.

    Have you forgotten the Ribbentropp Molotov Pact ? The Germans and Russians both agreed to invade Poland and share it amongst themselves.

    mrmo
    Member

    @aracer, i did say sort of serious, Jews seem to have been persecuted by most countries going back thousands of years. I suppose it explains why the Israelis are so paranoid, if history tells you one thing it is, basically, that everyone hates the Jews!

    hora
    Member

    Oh aye Tom their trail of revenge was great.

    atlaz
    Member

    As stated The Winter War was a soviet war of aggression in order to take territory

    Actually no. It was a war of aggression to REtake territory. Finland had been Russian. The Soviets wanted it back. They didn’t get all of it back in the end but they still hang onto the stuff they “won”. If they hadn’t invaded Russia, chances are the Germans would have won in Russia as the winter war was followed by purges of incompetent officers who were there because of politics.

    Premier Icon BigEaredBiker
    Subscriber

    I think anyone who thinks the Soviet’s were not as bad as the Germans during WW2 hasn’t read enough history. As for saying the Germans started it – which bit? The Russians are just as guilty for the 1939 invasion of Poland as the Germans – look up the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

    Perhaps to some Germans think that the real crimes were only committed by hard core Nazi SS units like the Einstatzgruppen? That way they can distance the crimes as something that average Germans and German military units had no part in? I’m not sure what they teach in German schools but I could imagine some people wanting to not believe that their grandparents could have been a party to such evil.

    It’s been a while since I studied this period of history but for a good overview the old World at War series has a good episode on it.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    mrmo wrote:

    @aracer, i did say sort of serious

    Yes I got that, and treated as such, but it’s exactly the sort of thing some serious anti-semites come out with! Rather a strange issue to have given the point I made, and even more so when you consider it was actually the Romans who crucified him (assuming you believe the sources 😉 )

    I think anyone who thinks the Soviet’s were not as bad as the Germans during WW2 hasn’t read enough history. As for saying the Germans started it – which bit?

    I have read loads on this.

    I never said that the USSR weren’t as bad as the Germans.

    However, I did say that the Germans committed atrocities against the Russians first.

    Europe was on the brink of war several times before the invasion of Poland, this was due to the aggression of the Germans. It was only the policy of appeasement by the Brits and the French that stopped a war earlier in the decade. It is very simplistic to say the Germans started it but their aggression was the key factor.

    hora
    Member

    Plus another myth of the Surrender Monkeys aka France. They had almost 40 Governments inbetween WWI and WWII. Alot of pissed off/demoralised citizens.

    The Germans damaged many generations. My family was torn apart/lost alot thanks to Germany. Glad Germany is impotent now though military-wise

    5thElefant
    Member

    Glad Germany is impotent now though.

    😯

    El-bent
    Member

    I suppose it explains why the Israelis are so paranoid, if history tells you one thing it is, basically, that everyone hates the Jews!

    The Israeli government isn’t doing themselves any favours with the wider world these days either.

    Premier Icon aracer
    Subscriber

    @BigEaredBiker it’s a bit like quibbling over whether breast cancer is worse than testicular cancer (and I’m not inviting a comparison of survival rates with that analogy!) but I don’t believe the Russians actually had extermination camps like Auschwitz, so on that basis they come out slightly ahead.

    Of course history isn’t my specialist subject and I just like arguing about it on the internet, so I could be wrong about that too.

    atlaz
    Member

    Plus another myth of the Surrender Monkeys aka France. They had almost 40 Governments inbetween WWI and WWII. Alot of pissed off/demoralised citizens.

    And also as a percentage of population they lost more than almost every other combatant nation in WW1 and were hesitant to throw away another generation. Same reason the British were, in American eyes, slow to attack and not keen to exploit advantages if it risked too many men.

    My folks took in a lodger when I was but a youngster in the late 70’s. The chap in question was a lovely bloke, but drank to excess it has to be said. Why? – well the poor old boy was part of the 113th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, The Royal Artillery – this is what they wrote in Bergen-Belsen..
    10,000 UNBURIED DEAD WERE FOUND HERE.
    ANOTHER 13,000 HAVE SINCE DIED.
    ALL OF THEM VICTIMS OF THE
    GERMAN NEW ORDER IN EUROPE.
    AND AN EXAMPLE OF NAZI KULTUR.”

    Now he never spoke of it, and would walk out of the room if there was a war film on. I never got to grips with it until I saw a dramatised documentary a couple of years ago. I did know how bad things were for the Jews, having read fairly extensively about it, but knowing what the old chap had seen is a different matter – truly horrific.

    Premier Icon BigEaredBiker
    Subscriber

    @Winston_dog, I wasn’t aiming any comments specifically at you. I have had plenty of pub conversations where people are totally unaware how evil the USSR was.

    There used to be a train of thought that Russian war crimes could be excused – or at least explained by the fact that the Germans had committed gross atrocities against Soviet citizens during their march eastwards.

    Antony Beevor says that this simply does not explain the systematic crimes of the Russians as they then swept westwards as they committed them against Soviet citizens, non-Germans and anyone else they encountered. First hand experience of this was witnessed by allied POW’s whose camps were liberated by the Russians first.

    One point I will make is that whilst the majority of Germans acknowledge their war crimes, and most Brits will acknowledge that we went too far bombing Dresden very few Russians today will acknowledge that the Soviet Army committed any war crimes at all. In their eyes the Red Army single handedly defeated Nazism and saved the world.

    alpin
    Member

    i met a little old lady on top of a hill and we sat there talking for an hour or more.

    she had grown up on a farm near Munich. she said that it was common knowledge that people were being killed in Dachau. she even mentioned that school teachers would say “you will be sent to Dachau” if they were misbehaving.

    alot is actually two words.

    Premier Icon BigEaredBiker
    Subscriber

    @aracer – the Soviets didn’t specifically have extermination camps like the Nazi’s but some of the Siberian labour camps were not far off – being sent to one was pretty much a death sentence and many people were sent to them because of their nationality, religiousness or political views.

Viewing 45 posts - 1 through 45 (of 67 total)

The topic ‘History hello German population's knowledge of Nazi death camps.’ is closed to new replies.