Little Bits of History

January 30

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 30, 2017

1933: Machtergreifung begins. On November 9, 1923 the Beer Hall Putsch failed in its attempt to seize power, but was instrumental in teaching Adolf Hitler new tactics. His lawyer and adviser, Hans Frank, developed a legal strategy for the “National Revolution” and the takeover of the government by the Nazi Party. In the 1930 elections, the Nazi Party saw great successes even as Chancellor Heinrich Brüning worked to keep both the constitution and the state itself alive under a minority government supported by the Social Democrats. His efforts served to increase mass unemployment as he brought in austerity measures to attempt to create a balanced budget. In 1932, President Paul von Hindenburg ousted Brüning and replaced him with Franz von Papen, Hindenburg’s confidant.

It was hoped that Papen would sway the growing Nazi Party members to support Hindenburg against up and coming factions. In the next month, another federal election found the Reighstag (Congress) filled with even more Nazis and Papen’s attempt at a coalition government failed. More elections were held in November and while the Nazis lost some seats, they were successful in keeping Papen’s coalition from forming. Papen resigned and twenty representatives of agriculture, finance, and industry intervened with President Hindenburg and requested he replace Papen with their own choice for Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. On this day, the 84-year-old President did just that and with Hitler and the Nazi Party in this leadership position, they began to consolidate their power base, or Machtergreifung.

In under a month, the new regime was working assiduously to control everything. On February 27 the Reighstag was set ablaze by a Dutch council Communist and unemployed brick layer, Marinus van der Lubbe. Hitler requested President Hindenburg to issue the Reichstag Fire Decree (based on emergency powers granted by the Weimar Constitution). This decree suspended most citizen rights and allowed the Nazis to arrest political opponents, mostly Communists. March had another election which had the Nazis with less power. But Communists were not permitted to take any seats won since their party had been banned earlier in the month. The new Reichstag passed the Enabling Act which gave the government, but specifically Hitler, the power make his own laws without the Reichstag. He continued to consolidate his power base.

Within six months, Hitler established the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, aka the Nazi Party, as the only legal political party in Germany. The next phase, Gleichschaltung, was the process of bringing all of Germany under the totalitarian control of the Nazis. They wished to control the economy, all trade associations, the media, the culture, and education. Their relentless pursuit of these goals culminated in the resolutions approved during the Nuremberg Rally of 1935. The symbols of the state and the party fused and the German flag became the Nazi flag. Jews were deprived of citizenship. And the path was set for the Holocaust. World War II would follow.

All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people.

All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach.

By the skillful and sustained use of propaganda, one can make a people see even heaven as hell or an extremely wretched life as paradise.

Hate is more lasting than dislike. – all from Adolf Hitler

Racial Purity

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 12, 2015
A birth house*

A Lebensborn birth house*

December 12, 1935: The Lebensborn e. V. (e.V. stands for eingetragener Verein or registered association), is formed. Lebensborn means “fount of life” in German. Birth rates had been falling in Germany and the Nazi Party needed to increase the numbers for the “racially pure and healthy” portion of their society, that is SS members. Aryan children were sought after. This subrace is part of the larger Caucasian race and includes, ideally, people who descended from the original speakers of the Indo-European languages found in Europe and Western Asia. It was initially a neutral ethno-linguistic distinction which took on overtones in the late 19th century and then was used as a basis for “scientific racism”. It reached its zenith of intense racism and supremacism in Nazi Germany and neo-Nazis today.

Lebensborn began in Munich and was to serve SS leaders with family issues. It was a welfare program for SS wives and their children. They also accepted women who were “racially pure” who were pregnant or had delivered acceptable children. Both parents had to be “racially valuable” in order for the mother/child to be accepted into the program. About 60% of the mothers in the program were unmarried. These women could give birth to their children away from home and the social stigma attached to unwed mothers was avoided. Their children would then be adopted out, but again, only to racially acceptable families. If the people involved were not members of the SS, they had to be examined by an SS physician to see if they passed muster.

Initially, the program operated solely in Germany but as time went on, it moved outside the country. The homes set up were scattered around Europe with Germany having the most sites at ten. Norway had nine outlets while Poland had six, unless differently counted up to 8. Denmark had two, and France, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg each had one. About 8,000 children were born in German houses while Norway had between 8,000 and 12,000. Far fewer children were born in the Lebensborn in other countries. But even this wasn’t enough to increase the Aryan race sufficiently. The Nazis began to kidnap children. But they weren’t selective prior to the capture and so the children taken were then categorized as acceptable for Germany, acceptable, and unwanted. The unwanted children were sent to concentration camps or killed.

If the children were acceptable and between the ages of 2 and 6, they were placed with families in the program in order to be raised as good Aryans in foster families. If between the ages of 6 and 12, they were sent to boarding schools and inculcated with Nazi propaganda after having their names Germanized. The children were forced to “forget” their parents and all records of their prior lives were eradicated. Those who refused to submit were beaten and if they still did not comply, they were sent to concentration camps. As the war was ending, all files for kidnapped children were destroyed. Poland claims that at least 10,000 children were kidnapped from Polish lands and only 15% of them were ever returned to their biological parents. Estimates range up to 200,000 but others say it is more likely about 20,000 were kidnapped from Poland.

The organisation “Lebensborn e.V.” serves the SS leaders in the selection and adoption of qualified children. The organisation “Lebensborn e.V.” is under my personal direction, is part of the Race and Settlement Central Bureau of the SS, and has the following obligations:

Support racially, biologically and hereditarily valuable families with many children.

Place and care for racially, biologically and hereditarily valuable pregnant women, who, after thorough examination of their and the progenitor’s families by the Race and Settlement Central Bureau of the SS, can be expected to produce equally valuable children.

Care for the children.

Care for the children’s mothers. – all from Heinrich Himmler

Also on this day: Katzenjammer Kids – In 1897, the Katzenjammer Kids first saw print.
Dragon Master – In 1408, the Order of the Dragon was established.
Boom! – In 1862, the USS Cairo sunk.
Ice, Ice, Baby – In 1985, Arrow Air flight 1285 crashed shortly after takeoff.
He Ain’t Heavy – In 1917, Boy’s Town was founded.

* “Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1973-010-11, Schwester in einem Lebensbornheim” by Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1973-010-11 / CC-BY-SA 3.0. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1973-010-11,_Schwester_in_einem_Lebensbornheim.jpg#/media/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1973-010-11,_Schwester_in_einem_Lebensbornheim.jpg

Police

Posted in History by patriciahysell on April 26, 2012

Secret State Police of Nazi Germany headquarters

April 26, 1933: The Secret State Police of Nazi Germany is formed. The German name is Genheime Staatspolizei and the name was shortened to Gestapo. When Adolph Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, Hermann Göring was made Interior Minister of Prussia. As such, Göring was in charge of the largest police force in Germany. He separated out the political and intelligence departments and staffed them with loyal Nazis. He merged the newly staffed departments into the Gestapo and wanted to call it Secret Police Office or Geheimes Polizeiamt (GPA), similar to the Soviet GPU.

The first commander was Göring’s protégé, Rudolf Diels who was a loyal Nazi Party official as well as commander of the Luftwaffe. Wilhelm Frick, Reich Interior Minister, wanted to join all the German police forces under one banner in late 1933. Göring ousted him and by 1934 Göring himself was in charge of the Gestapo. Göring wanted Hitler to give him control over the secret police in all of Germany. Heinrich Himmler, police chief in Bavaria (second most powerful state in Germany) was against the plan. Frick allied himself with Himmler and also with Reinhard Heydrich. With other forces conspiring against them, they all agreed to work together.

On April 20, 1934 Göring handed over control of the Gestapo to Himmler and by June  1936 Himmler was chief of all German police. The Gestapo merged with the SIPO or Sicherheilspolizie and with the Kripo or Kriminalpolizel (Criminal Police) with all of them under the SS or Schutzstaffel, Hedrick became the head of the SIPO (Gestapo and Kripo) and the SD or Sicherheitsdienst or Security Service. Heinrich Müller was chief of operations of the Gestapo and answered only to Heydrich, who reported to Himmler, directly under Hitler.

The Gestapo was responsible for investigating cases involving treason, espionage, and sabotage. They looked into attacks on the Nazi Party and Germany. By 1936 laws were passed by the government giving the Gestapo a free hand with no oversight by any judicial bodies. They were specifically exempt from administrative courts where citizens could sue for their breach of legal proceedings. They were responsible for many crimes against humanity and the 46,000 members of the secret police struck fear into even law abiding citizens.

Freedom is when one hears the bell at seven o’clock in the morning and knows it is the milkman and not the Gestapo. – Georges Bidault

To put the point sharply: If an informer in the French underground who sent a friend to the torture chambers of the Gestapo was equally a victim, then there can be no right or wrong in life that I understand. – Albert Maltz

With the opening of the eastern European archives, the role of the police battalions and the Gestapo in the extermination of the Jews in eastern Europe has become much clearer. – Norbert Kampe

It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them.  – Adolf Hitler

Also on this day:

Chernobyl – In 1986 there is a nuclear disaster in the Chernobyl power plant.
John Wilkes Booth – In 1865, the actor was found and killed.
Tanzania – In 1964, Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged.