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January 21, 2012


Strahler 70

Has anything changed, today, as we live in democracies with free speech and access to informations of all kinds? What do we know or, at least, could know today? As Hitler explained in Mein Kampf, nazi propaganda was just a copy of anglo-american war propaganda. Not as a coincidence 'Duck and cover' was a well known song in the U.S. in the fifties... Surely many many Germans knew about the holocaust, but how many of them thought it was typical war propaganda?


The USA has a strange relationship Germany and Europe in general. I am not sure I understand it, but I have taken some anger-management and communications classes, and many of the problems and agreements between the USA and Europe seem like bad communication. People make assumptions about feelings and imagine that the other person knows things or should know about things that they dont. I would say that there is a very fantasy-oriented relationship between the USA and Germany. Sometimes maybe some dumb American absolves Europeans like a dog sniffing up to a hand with a treat. Sometimes an American hates Europe. But overall, there is a basic communication gap, and I dont see either Americans or Europeans really communicating in a mature fashion.


I have to take exception to the view put here. De Zayas is a serious scholar whose work on the mass expulsion of Germans is sound and legitimate. Whilst claims that no Germans outside the SS 'knew' about the Holocaust or that the Wehrmacht was spotless are clearly false, so is the notion that basically all Germans knew and were complicit. Whilst there were 'leaks' it was still a mainly secret program carried out mostly outside Germany with no public coverage, and certainly no popular consultation as such. The average German was not in a position to know about the killing, even if some heard rumors, few could verify, let alone act. Certainly in the state apparatus there would have been more awareness but far from universal. The postwar survey proves little, as it was subject to bias due to massive postwar coverage, and there is clearly a distinction between hearing rumors and actually having firm knowledge. Compare to Stalin's USSR, many had some concept of the purges etc (on top of the victims of course) but few outside the concerned organisations had any clear idea that millions were being liquidated, and even those who did risked the same fate if they tried to act.
A statement like this "Of course people knew what was going on" is useless as it makes no due distinctions between individuals, some 'knew', to varying degrees, some didn't. It's simply the mirror of the attitude under criticism, ie that none (apart from the perpetrators) knew. Neither are valid as such.


And in the German wiki article Helmut Schmidt is quoted as saying neither he nor his family knew, even though some gave temporary refuge to Jews, and they lived near two camps, and like many others then, and that the first he knew was after the war. Clearly there were many who did not, and it is not surprising for the reasons enunciated.

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