The argument that the Nazi "Gleichschaltung" of the press and radio prevented the population of Germany from learning the truth about the Holocaust doesn't hold water. Anyone who wanted to see through the "Fake News" could have known - and did know - that the regime was engaged in mass genocide of Jews and other "undesirables". Take the case of Friedrich Kellner, a low-level bureaucrat in the provincial town of Laubach in Hessen. Kellner was was not part of the "elite" - he didn't study at the university, he didn't travel abroad, he didn't have access to the foreign press or radio programs. His only source of information was the Nazi-sanctioned media outlets. Yet, as he documented in his 900-page diary that he began keeping after the 1938 Novemberpogrom, he clearly saw what was going on in the Nazi state:
Kellner's writings offer a glimpse into what everyone could have known about the war of extermination in the East, the crimes against the Jews and the acts of terror committed by the Nazi Party. He wrote about the executions of "vermin" who made "defeatist" remarks, and about "racial hygiene." In July 1941 he wrote: "The mental hospitals have become murder centers." A family that had brought their son home from an institution later inadvertently received a notice that their child had died and that his ashes would soon be delivered. "The office had forgotten to remove the name from the death list. As a result, the deliberate killing was brought to light," he wrote.
Millions of Germans watched and cheered as their Jewish neighbors were herded in to deportation areas and transported east. Did they really believe these people were simply being "resettled"? Jeder konnte es wissen / Everyone could have known
Im September 1942 erfasst der Mordapparat auch Kellners unmittelbare Umgebung. Aus Laubach werden zwei jüdische Familien deportiert. Seinem Entsetzen und Zorn macht Kellner in seinem Tagebuch Luft: »In den letzten Tagen sind die Juden unseres Bezirks abtransportiert worden. Von hier waren es die Familien Strauß u. Heinemann. Von gut unterrichteter Seite hörte ich, daß sämtliche Juden nach Polen gebracht u. dort von SS-Formationen ermordet würden. Diese Grausamkeit ist furchtbar. Solche Schandtaten werden nie aus dem Buche der Menschheit getilgt werden können. Unsere Mörderregierung hat den Namen ›Deutschland‹ für alle Zeiten besudelt. Für einen anständigen Deutschen ist es unfaßbar, daß niemand dem Treiben der Hitler-Banditen Einhalt gebietet.«
("In September 1942 the murder apparatus struck close to home for Kellner. Two Jewish families were deported from Laubach. Kellner gave vent to his horror and anger in his diary:" In the last few days the Jews in our district have been deported. Both the Strauss and Heinmann families. I learned from a well-informed source that all the Jews would be transported to Poland and then murdered by SS-Troops. This atrocity is terrible. Such shameful crimes can never be erased from the book of humanity. Our murderous regime has forever stained the name "Germany". It is inconceivable to decent Germans that no one can put a stop to the actions of the Hitler bandits.")
Historian Peter Longerich has studied what the German population knew about Holocaust and came to this conclusion:
In der deutschen Bevölkerung waren generelle Informationen über den Massenmord an den Juden weit verbreitet.
(General information concerning the mass murder of Jews was widespread in the German population.)
(See my review of Longerich's "Davon haben wir nichts gewusst."