Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for January, 2014

Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest

The best night train in Germany rolled into the Friedrichstrasse Station. At least, it ought to be the best, because it’s the only all­ sleeping­ car train in the Fatherland, and it runs between Berlin and Vienna, the two metropolitan cities of the Third Reich.

It was three days before Christmas. I had been warned that the holiday traffic would be heavy, so I had engaged my berth nearly a fortnight in advance. I had also been positively assured when I bought my ticket that there would be a dining­ car on that de luxe train, so I had eaten nothing since lunch. As meals in Germany don’t stand by you very well these days, I was good and hungry.

The best night train in Germany was half an hour late, though it was made up in the Berlin yards and had stopped at only two stations before reaching mine. Meanwhile I had stood on the darkened platform and watched the crowds storming the outgoing trains. Never before had I realized so fully the shortage of Germany’s rolling­ stock. The railway authorities were quite incapable of handling the holiday traffic. When the day ­coach section to Vienna ahead of mine arrived, it was like an aggravated subway rush. The coaches, already well­ filled from previous stations, were jammed to overflowing. I pitied that close­ packed mass of humanity, condemned to stand up all night, and thanked my lucky stars that my train took only those whose passages were booked.

At length I climbed aboard my sleeper, found my compartment, deposited my hand luggage, and sought the porter to ask my way to the diner. He shook his head sadly.

There isn’t any on tonight, sir,” he answered.

What?” I stormed. “But they assured me!

I’m sorry, sir, but we don’t have a diner aboard.

Well, then,” I said, clinging to a last hope, “haven’t you anything in your buffet?

Nothing to eat, sir; only beer and liquors.

Well, what can I do?” I asked in desperation.

There’s one more stop in Berlin, sir. You may be able to get something on the platform if you’re quick.

The train was just drawing into that station, so I dashed down the steps and made for the dimly lighted little buffet. Only packaged goods to be seen! I bought two small boxes of crackers and made a flying leap for the train which was about to get under way. Those crackers, washed down with two bottles of beer, constituted my dinner.

A traveler must needs be somewhat of a philosopher, so I proceeded to look on the bright side. My car was relatively new, my compartment comfortable and clean, while hunger is a good sauce even for crackers. Midway in my reflections I was disturbed by raucous voices in the corridor. I opened the door and found several angry men and women gesticulating with the conductor. I presently gathered that one of the sleeping cars had broken down when the train was made up and had not been replaced; so some thirty passengers with perfectly good tickets had no place to sleep. This reconciled me to my lost dinner like nothing else.

I turned in early; the bed was excellent and the car well sprung; I slept long and well. There is an old saying that he who sleeps dines, but I disproved it when I awoke from my slumbers next morning hungry as a wolf. The best night train in Germany was over two hours late, so I knew I would miss my connection for Budapest. That, however, was a minor detail beside the question of food. Rather hopelessly, I asked the porter.

Oh, yes, sir,” he answered brightly.

We switched one on early this morning. Last car in the rear.

Electrified, I lightly trod a long series of cars until I reached the diner. Of course, I knew in advance that I would get nothing more than rolls, butter, and imitation coffee. Still, after two months in Germany, that didn’t faze me. Blithely I took out my food ­cards; and, since I was a bit ahead of the game, I recklessly tore off a double allowance of butter. About this time the waiter came up. He looked at my pile of coupons and shook his head.

Sorry, sir,” he announced, “but we have no butter ­ and no rolls either; just sliced bread.

All right,” I sighed, “bring me some honey or a bit of jam.

Sorry, sir,” came the reply, “you’re a bit late, so the honey and jam are also out.

My famous breakfast thus whittled down to three slices of dry bread dipped in the Ersatz mixture which German wits have dubbed West­ Wall Coffee because it is “untakeable“! The best night train in Germany pulled into Vienna nearly three hours late. I had a seven ­hour lay­over before the next train for Budapest, Hungary, left at six o’clock that evening. The day was cold and foggy, and I was cold and hungry. I knew Vienna well of old, and had been there a short time before, so I took a long walk to get a bit of exercise and finally dropped into a little place I remembered to get an early lunch.

An hour before train ­time I ambled over to the station. That was certainly a good hunch, as events were to prove! First of all, I had to deposit my Reichsmarks before leaving Germany; and that took some time because I had to wait in line. The real trouble, however, developed when I turned in my ticket at the gate. In the waiting­ room beyond, I glimpsed a tight­ packed crowd of people.

What’s the matter?” I asked the ticket­ taker.

Passport control,” he answered shortly.

But I thought that was done at the frontier,” I said in dismay.

It’s done this way here,” he barked. “Move on! Don’t block the gate.

With a bag in one hand and my typewriter in the other, I charged the rear of that crowd and wormed my way into the press. Craning my neck, I glimpsed two officials examining passports behind a long table. Just two of them to handle that mob! And how leisurely they were about it! Slowly they scanned each passport thrust into their faces by frenzied hands, making copious notes and asking questions from time to time. Dismayed at this deliberation, I glanced at the station clock and saw it was a quarter before six. Gradually I forged to the front, and one of the officials took my passport, scanned it, and gave it his O.K. With four minutes to spare, I hastened to the train and found a compartment. Leaning out of the window, I hailed the conductor.

How long will the train be delayed for all those folks back there in the control room?” I queried.

He looked at me severely. “We leave at six sharp,” was his crisp reply.

Sure enough, on the hour, he blew his whistle and the train started, with unfortunates running vainly down the platform in its wake. I hate to think of the number left behind, forced to spend a night in a strange town, perhaps with insufficient funds, and very likely with families anxiously wondering what had happened to them, since no private telegrams can be sent across the border.

This train was fast and kept to schedule. It is only about fifty miles from Vienna to the Hungarian frontier, and the interval was occupied by inspections from various officials examining your luggage, checking up on your money, and giving your passport the once­ over a second time.

Until we reached the border, of course, the windows were kept tightly curtained. Then the train stopped, started, stopped once more. Cautiously I peeked past a corner of the curtain. We were in a brilliantly lighted station bearing the big neon sign Hegyeshalom. On the platform stood policemen and railway officials in strange uniforms. Through the uncurtained windows of the station I could see a restaurant with counters laden with foodstuffs. I was in Hungary ­ a land of peace and plenty! Standing up in my compartment, I gave three loud Ellyens! Which is Magyar for Hooray! To enter Hungary from wartime Germany is literally to pass from darkness into light. The sense of this grew upon me with every kilometer the train made toward Budapest, the Hungarian capital.

First and foremost, a meal in the dining car which, accustomed as I had become to German fare, seemed a dinner fit for the gods: a big basket heaped with crisp, all ­wheat bread, butter ad lib., a meat entree with sour­ cream gravy, and so on down to a cup of good strong coffee. Such viands may not sound startling to American readers ­ but just you live a couple of months in wartime Germany, and you’ll understand.

Another wonder was the approach to Budapest ­ a great city twinkling and sparkling with lights. To one fresh from blacked­ out Germany, it seemed like fairyland. Then the taxi drive through brilliantly ­illuminated streets thronged with Christmas shoppers lingering before windows filled with tempting displays ­ it seemed just too good to be true. A sound night’s rest in an excellent hotel, followed by a breakfast memorable for such unheard­ of delicacies as orange ­juice, eggs, and coffee with whipped cream completed my sense of liberation.

At first sight, therefore, neutral Hungary seemed as peaceful and normal as America. But of course I realized that Hungary does not enjoy our blessed isolation, set as it is squarely in the midst of war ­torn Europe. How far had its everyday life been affected by the storm raging just beyond its borders, and what were its prospects for the near future? Those were the two questions I set out to investigate as I sallied forth from my hotel next morning and walked down a majestic promenade beside the broad river Danube to keep my first appointment.

I was glad to be in Hungary, not merely to get a vacation but also for professional reasons. Hungary is the key nation in the whole Central European small ­state constellation, while Budapest is an ideal vantage­ point from which to survey the entire mid­ European situation, including both Germany and Italy. Since Hungary is neutral, you can meet all sorts of foreigners, including both sets of belligerents, and get their respective points of view.

During my ten days’ stay I met and talked with a considerable number of important personalities, Hungarian and foreign, including the Prime Minister, Count Teleky; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Count Csaky; ex­Premier Bethlen; Tibor Eckhard, an important Parliamentary leader; and other men prominent in Hungarian national life. Count Csaky was the only one among those mentioned whom I had not known in former days, and since the Magyars are warmhearted folk who have the knack of easily resuming interrupted friendships, it was pleasant as well as rewarding.

One of the most charming qualities of the Magyars is their informality. This applies to all classes, and is due mainly to the fact that the whole spirit of the country is profoundly aristocratic. The Magyars consider themselves to be a master­ race, innately superior to their Balkan neighbors. This may not be so agreeable for the neighbors, but it does promote good social relations and national solidarity among themselves, and is pleasant for foreign visitors. I never saw a Magyar with an inferiority complex. Nobleman or taxi driver, they respect themselves and one another, with neither condescension nor servility. That is one advantage of an aristocratic society, where each one knows just where he stands in the social scale. Hungary is thus almost exempt from those plagues of other lands ­ the vulgar ostentation of plutocrats and the ostentatious vulgarity of proletarians.

The apex of the Hungarian social pyramid is the aristocracy. It is a real aristocracy, and it effectively runs the country. This ruling class is not confined to the titled nobility; it includes likewise the very numerous gentry. Those two groups have a strong sense of mutual cohesion, best exemplified by the way they habitually address one another in the familiar second­ person singular ­ the Magyar equivalent of the German Du.

Though Hungary was outwardly normal, I found it inwardly nervous, as was natural when one considers its ticklish international situation. All the personalities with whom I conferred chatted freely but asked me not to quote them directly.

One thing they all agreed on ­ the Magyars are thoroughly at peace among themselves. Imminent dangers from abroad have united an instinctively patriotic people. Domestic politics stand adjourned, and the existing Government appears to have not only popular support but also popular confidence in its ability to guide the nation safely and to further its best interests. Although the Hungarian army was on a war­ footing while I was there, there had been no general mobilization. In the capital itself I saw relatively few soldiers. The bulk of the troops were massed to the north and east, along the most immediately­ threatened frontiers. This absence of soldiers from the capital was, in itself, strong evidence of the domestic calm which prevails. Everyone assured me that the local Nazi movement, formerly so strong as to be dangerous, had greatly lessened since the beginning of the war, and that its leaders were discredited.

Hungary is an agricultural country, producing in abundance all the staple foodstuffs with large surpluses for export. Imported foodstuffs, however, were becoming scarce. This was chiefly due to foreign exchange difficulties. The Hungarian currency was still steady, but wartime expenses were a heavy burden on the treasury, and a prudent Government was taking no chances. So imports of all kinds were being curtailed. This hit the average citizen in such matters as coffee and clothing. The Hungarians are great coffee­ drinkers, and any sudden deprivation of this cherished beverage would be keenly felt. The Government was therefore rationing coffee in indirect ways, chiefly by putting on a stiff war ­tax and limiting sales. When I was there, you could get a cup of coffee, but at twice the former price. The Government had likewise forbidden the importation or manufacture of pure wool cloth. This, however, hit only the richer people who could afford all­ wool clothing.

The re­-exportation of imported articles was forbidden, and this ban was strictly enforced. People told me gleefully about one recent instance. It seems that a group of visiting German business men loaded themselves down with all sorts of things forbidden in the Fatherland, from Brazilian coffee to American shaving creams and toothpastes. At the border, the Hungarian customs officials spotted the loot and promptly confiscated it! This little incident brings up one of the burning questions which agitate the Hungarian people ­ their relations with Germany. In normal times, the economic ties between Hungary and the Reich are not only close but mutually beneficial. Germany, especially since the annexation of adjacent Austria, offers the best natural market for Hungarian foodstuffs and other raw materials, while Germany is able to supply Hungary with manufactured articles on unusually favorable terms.

But today, conditions are not normal. German industry has been so disrupted by the war that it can no longer supply Hungary with the quantity and quality of manufactured goods desired along many lines. On the other hand, German needs for Hungarian produce grows by leaps and bounds. This wide gap between demand and supply has caused growing economic tension between the two nations, with important political implications. The Hungarians have no intention of allowing themselves to fall wholly into Germany’s economic sphere. They know that, should this happen, they would soon be sucked dry by wartime Germany’s pressing economic needs, with no commensurate benefit to themselves. That is what has happened to the German protectorate of Bohemia ­Moravia, and what may happen with Slovakia. The canny Magyars do not want to follow suit.

However, Hungary is in no position to take too stiff an attitude towards its giant neighbor. So long as Germany can obtain considerable quantities of food and industrial raw materials from Hungary under existing arrangements, it is to the interest of the Germans to have Hungary remain neutral and peaceful. The more normal Hungarian life is, the better its economic system will function and the more it will produce. But Germany demands a large share of the resultant surplus, even though the Reich cannot momentarily pay for it by a full exchange of goods. The Hungarians know that they must meet the Germans halfway or risk most unpleasant consequences. So they continue to sell largely to the Reich, despite the fact that it means a further increase of German debit balances. They feel that a disguised tribute is worth the price, so long as it is kept within bounds. As one Hungarian statesman remarked to me candidly:

We know it means piling up more blocked Marks; but ­ better get Marks than soldiers!

None of the Hungarians I talked to seemed to me pro­ German. But neither did any of them sound pro­ Ally. England was strongly criticized for the way she was even then holding up goods destined for Hungary on ships stopped by the British naval blockade. They all wanted to keep out of the war if it were humanly possible, and expressed no strong ideological preferences. Mainly, they thought the outcome of the war highly uncertain, with complete victory unlikely for either Germany or the Allies.

One eminent personage ­ remember I am under obligation to give no obvious clues as to identity ­ expressed this viewpoint as follows:

The chances are that the military stalemate in the West indicates that this war will end in a draw. But such a peace may be only a truce, followed by another war in the not­ distant future. It may be twenty or thirty years before our poor old continent can find a genuine settlement. There are so many problems to be solved ­ for instance, the problem of Russia, which has recently become even more complicated. Britain does not seem to realize that eighty million Germans in the heart of Europe must be given some hope of an adequate future. Until they get it, they will make continual trouble, even though the Allies win the war and Germany is carved up.

The greatest ultimate danger in this war, should it be unduly prolonged, is the degradation of the German standard of living to the full Russian level. In that case, we might see those two peoples really get together permanently ­ which would be a frightful danger for Western civilization. But few Englishmen visualize this, and even fewer Frenchmen. The French, in particular, seem to want to ‘finish up Germany’ ­ which is, of course, impossible.

The only prominent person I talked with who thought an Allied victory almost certain was equally pessimistic about the ultimate consequences. The reason for his pessimism was that he thought the Germans would hold out so long that victors and vanquished alike would be ruined and sink into common anarchy.

Another political leader gave me some interesting sidelights on Hitler and his foreign policy. This man had first become acquainted with the future Fuehrer at the very start of his political career. Hitler at that time appeared to my informant to be a fanatically intense, simple­minded man, limited in education and outlook. His chief criticism of Hitler was that, though the Fuehrer has since learned the technique of politics to a marvelous degree, he has not acquired a commensurate understanding of the larger aspects of what he does. According to my informant, Hitler made his great mistake when he got his agreement with Stalin, and then invaded Poland. If he had used the Russian agreement as an instrument of diplomatic pressure, the Poles would soon have had to do everything Hitler wanted, and there need have been no war.

What interests Hungarians most intensely in the field of foreign affairs is their relations with their Central European neighbors. In the peace treaties which followed the Great War, Hungary lost large slices of territory to Czechoslovakia, Jugoslavia, and Rumania; and of the inhabitants of those lost lands at least 3,000,000 were Magyars. To get back the lost blood­ brothers has been the absorbing passion of this supremely patriotic folk. They did so in large part, as far as their claims against Czechoslovakia were concerned, when that country was conquered by the Germans and Hungary was awarded a share. Hungary has, for the time being, soft ­pedaled claims against Jugoslavia, because both countries now want peace in Central Europe for various reasons.  Hungary’s chief goal is to recover the Magyars of mountainous Transylvania, which she lost to Rumania. That remains a burning issue in all Magyar hearts. One of the most powerful organizations in Hungary today is the Revisionist League, staffed entirely by Transylvanian exiles who work continually to bring about the reunion of at least 1,500,000 Magyars with their homeland. I conferred at length on this question with Dr. Andre Fall, the head of the League, and his colleagues.

There can be no doubt that Hungary would go to any lengths in order to recover Transylvania, if the opportunity ever presents itself, and its statesmen watch with lynx eyes each move on the diplomatic chessboard with this in mind. However, for the moment, they feel that this issue must be subordinated to the general situation, especially the danger from Russia which, they believe, menaces not only Hungary but the rest of the small nations of Central Europe, including Rumania itself.

It is the specter of Russia which haunts Hungarian minds. I could seldom talk politics in Budapest without having that grim topic bob up. Most Hungarians believe that Stalin has his eyes on Central Europe and plans to strike for its domination. Some think the attack will come soon. And it is generally agreed that such a Russian onslaught would set all Central Europe in flames.

Fear of Russia is nothing new for the Magyars. Before the Great War, Czarist Russia set itself up as the Big Brother to the Slav peoples of Central Europe and the Balkans, and the ultimate goal of that policy was a great “Pan­ Slav” federation with Russia as its natural head. But that would have spelled the destruction of Hungary. The Magyar race, brave, energetic, but not very numerous, stands midway down the Danube valley, thereby separating the Slavs of the north and east from those to the west and south. Should the Pan ­Slav ideal ever be realized, the Magyars would be practically obliterated.

When Russia went Bolshevik during the Great War, Pan ­Slavism gave place to the Communist policy of World Revolution. That, however, didn’t end the feud between Russians and Magyars. Indeed, war­ torn Hungary was presently overrun by Bolshevik agents who put over a local Communist revolution headed by the notorious Bela Kun. This Communist regime was soon overthrown by Admiral Horthy who formed a conservative government that has ruled Hungary ever since. That was a body­ blow to Soviet Russia which has never been forgotten. Moscow regards conservative Hungary and its aristocratic rulers as a bulwark of reaction, and would like nothing better than to encompass its overthrow.

So long as Russia was shut away from Central Europe by a strong Polish buffer state, Hungary had little to fear from Moscow. But the partition of Poland between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany at the beginning of the present war gave the Soviets a common frontier with Hungary. This was an ominous change for the Magyars. To be sure, the new frontier ran along the crest of the rugged Carpathian Mountains, and was thus easy to defend. But further eastward the Carpathians become Rumanian. There we touch the thorny question which not only embroils Rumania and Hungary, but prevents them from combining effectively against the Russian peril which menaces them both.

Hungarian leaders with whom I talked admitted that this inability of Hungary and Rumania to pursue a common policy against possible Russian aggression might ultimately be fatal to both of them. But such an understanding was impossible without a prior settlement of the Transylvanian question in a sense favorable to Hungarian aspirations. As one eminent personage frankly put it to me:

No Hungarian Government could openly aid Rumania unless Transylvania were first ceded. The people would tear any statesman to pieces who did that. A benevolent neutrality would be the utmost we could risk.

Russia has had a bone to pick with Rumania ever since the latter seized the province of Bessarabia while Russia was in the throes of revolution. Russia has never reconciled herself to Bessarabia’s loss and would undoubtedly like to get it back again. Some of my Magyar informants did not think that Russia would make war on Rumania merely to recover this province. An invasion of Bessarabia would therefore imply the first step toward the larger goal of Balkan domination.

Few Hungarians thought that Rumania could long defend itself against Russia single ­handed. They had a poor opinion of the Rumanian army and considered the internal situation most unstable. As one personage put it:

Just now, everything in Rumania depends on one man ­ King Carol. Should he disappear, anything might happen.

Furthermore, there seemed good reason for believing that, the instant Russia struck from the east, Bulgaria would strike from the south to recover her lost province of Dobrudja, likewise taken by Rumania as a war prize. Should Rumania collapse suddenly, like Poland, Russian armies might rapidly occupy Transylvania, a natural fortress from which they would dominate the Danube valley.

That is the supreme peril which threatens Hungary. And the Magyars assured me that, to avert that danger, they are ready to fight even against the longest odds. If Russia should stop short with Bessarabia, Hungary might not move. But the instant Russian troops went further, the Hungarian army would strike to occupy Transylvania. At the start, at least, this would spell war against Rumania rather than against Russia. But the Magyars would regard this as a preventive occupation to forestall a Russian invasion. If Hungary should sit still, it would soon be at Russia’s mercy, because its present eastern frontier is an arbitrary line drawn across open country which could not be defended against a powerful opponent.

Should Hungary occupy Transylvania under those circumstances,  imagine the diplomatic tangle which would ensue! Britain and France have given Rumania a guarantee treaty similar to the one they gave Poland. They side stepped Stalin’s occupation of eastern Poland because they didn’t then want to fight Russia. But could they ignore a direct Russian attack upon Rumania? And if they did declare war on Russia, what would they do when Hungary committed an act of war against Rumania ­ in order the better to fight Russia ­ against whom Britain and France had at least technically begun hostilities? At first sight it might look as though Hungary would be courting almost certain destruction to fling itself single ­handed at the Russian colossus. The Magyars, however, feel they would not stand alone. They believe Mussolini could not tolerate Russian domination of the Balkans and Central Europe. Therefore Hungary counts upon Italian aid. Indeed, I was informed from what seemed to be a reliable source that, even then, a large number of Italian planes and pilots were discreetly tucked away “somewhere in Hungary,” ready for eventualities.

If Mussolini did what the Magyars expect him to do, we glimpse another amazing diplomatic tangle. Here we would have Hungary, Italy, Britain, and France, all fighting Russia. What would be the relations of this singular quartette amongst themselves? Remember that Hungary would be also fighting Rumania in defiance of an Anglo­ French guarantee, while Italy would be at least nominally on good terms with Germany, her Axis partner but the Anglo ­French arch­enemy.

Such were the diplomatic and military crossword puzzles with which my Magyar informants were busying themselves, those crisp winter days of my sojourn in Budapest. They were keen analysts, yet, somehow or other, I personally didn’t believe that Stalin was going to put on the big show they were expecting ­ at least, not for some time. The main reason for my skepticism was that I had come straight from Germany. And two months of intensive study and observation there had made me certain of one thing ­ Germany didn’t want to see the war spread to Central Europe and the Balkans. Why not? Because that’s where Germany eats.

Most of the food and a large part of the raw materials which Germany can import overland come from precisely those regions. So long as the nations there are at peace, their economic life is fairly normal, and they thus have large surpluses for the German market. But the instant war breaks out there, exports to Germany stop. And it wouldn’t help the Germans much if their armies overran the whole region, because it would be so devastated in the process that even German efficiency would need a year or two to get things running again as well as they run today.

That being the situation, can we imagine Germany standing by and letting Russia start something which, to the Reich, would be an unmitigated disaster? We know that Berlin and Moscow have a pretty definite understanding. It is almost inconceivable that the German Government cannot exert enough pressure upon Stalin to prevent him from carrying out a policy which, for Germany, might prove fatal.

Those, at any rate, were the arguments I put up to Hungarian friends and acquaintances in the closing days of December, 1939. And, as I write these lines the following spring, they seem to be still valid. That, however, does not mean that Hungary can be sure of maintaining her neutrality, set as she is on the mid­ European crossroads, with all its latent dangers. Small wonder that my Budapest friends tended to be nervous. The longer I tarried in that charming capital, the more I got the feeling that its peaceful and extremely congenial existence might be shattered almost any day.

Yet, for the moment, everyday life ran smoothly, and people made the most of it in the pleasure ­loving Magyar way. On New Year’s Eve, when all Budapest turns out for a grand jollification, I foregathered with newspaper colleagues at their favorite eating­ place to celebrate.

It was an unpretentious place on the outside, but it had an inner room, the walls decorated with Magyar rural scenes done by local artists; enlivened by a gypsy orchestra. And how those Tziganes could play! The Old Year’s final hours passed all too swiftly with good food, fine wine, witty talk, and much jollity. When the midnight hour struck, a chimney sweep appeared with his traditional broom made of small twigs, and each of us broke off a piece for good luck. After him came another man bearing in his arms a sucking pig. To assure good fortune in the coming year, everybody tried to touch the little animal, and if possible to pull its curly tail.

My friends and I then left for a promenade along avenues crowded with revelers, equipped with tin horns and rattles, wearing paper caps over their ordinary headgear, bedecked with badges, and waving streamers mostly in the national colors ­ red, white, and green.

There was plenty of inebriation, but it was all good ­natured. Everyone was having a royal good time, and the weather helped ­ crisp, but not too cold, and with a light powdering of snow which gave just the right seasonal touch.

We ended up in an Espresso Bar. These characteristically Budapest institutions are small coffee shops where the delectable drink is made by driving live steam through pulverized coffee, which is then served in small cups. The process extracts every bit of aroma and makes a beverage strong enough to take your head off. However, it goes well after a big evening. One of our party, a young man from the Revisionist League, apparently needed it; for when we entered the place he announced in stentorian tones that he was a Transylvanian. Whereupon all hands, including the waitresses, applauded loudly and laughingly shouted: Ellyen! New Year’s Eve marked the close as well as the climax to my Budapest interlude. Shortly after noon of New Year’s Day found me in a train­ compartment, Vienna ­bound. I own to a regretful pang as I recrossed the frontier; left behind me gay, friendly, neutral Hungary; and entered war’s shadow once more.

Incidentally, I re­entered Germany equipped with sundry eatables ­ sausages, smoked and spiced; a precious kilo of butter; and a bottle of the best baratsk, apricot brandy, which is a Hungarian specialty. Those luxuries were to help out a bit in Berlin. But, for my immediate needs, I took along several large ham sandwiches.  I wasn’t going to go foodless a second time on “the best night train in Germany,” with which I was to connect that same evening at Vienna. However, the laugh was on me. This time, the famous express had a dining­ car!

 
———————————-
 
 
Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

 ———————————-

 

PDF of this post (click to download or view): Into the Darkness – Chap 19
 
 
 
Version History
 
Version 3: Nov 27, 2014 – Added PDF of post.
 
 
 
Version 2: Wed, Feb 5, 2014. Added Chapter links.
Version 1: Published Feb 1, 2014.
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

Chapter 18: Mid-Winter Berlin

As the initial weeks of my stay in Germany grew into months, the damp chill of autumn deepened into the damp cold of winter ­ the first winter of the Second Great War. The shortest days of the year drew nigh, and in North Germany they are short indeed. Even at high noon the sun stood low in the heavens ­ a sun that gave scant light or warmth. Often the sun was hidden by clouds. When the cloud­ veil was thick, it was almost like twilight, fading presently into the long winter night with its inevitable blackout.

Slowly yet inexorably, war’s impoverishing grip drew ever tighter, producing cumulative shortage and scarcity. Its constricting presence could be literally felt. Thanks to the efficient rationing system already described, you didn’t notice it much in the bare necessities of life, but it did hit all comforts and luxuries. Here, uncertainties and disappointments were the order of the day, symbolized by that dread word Ausverkauft ­ “sold out.Ausverkauft; how often you saw that sign! It was a mental hazard that dogged your footsteps at every turn. You found a brand of cigarettes that fairly suited your American taste. Forbidden to buy more than one package at a time, you couldn’t lay in a stock. All at once, that brand was no longer on sale anywhere, and you were told that it was off the market ­ permanently ausverkauft. You hit upon a cigar that suited your fancy.

Impossible to buy a box, while your daily ration of five cigars in October dropped to three in December and to two per day when I left Berlin. Also, the chances were that long before then, that brand could be had no more. Suppose a few friends were scheduled to drop into your room for a chat. You went around the corner to buy a bottle of brandy for the occasion. Temporarily ausverkauft. Same with schnapps. All you could buy that day in the liquor line was an imitation vodka, made in Germany. And I may add that in mid­ January, when the cold was at its worst, hard liquors vanished completely from the market.

One of the most annoying aspects of the situation was the deceptive appearance of the stores. They all kept up a good front. The windows were filled with attractive displays. But go in and try to buy any of it! Like as not, you would be told that those were only Muster ­ display ­samples which were not for sale. The shops had been ordered to keep their windows full of goods even when stocks were almost bare, so as to create a prosperous atmosphere that would bolster morale. It was highly instructive to watch how the big department stores found goods to cover their counters. They did, but when you looked closely, you found that much of the stuff on sale consisted of things seldom wanted or of obviously poor quality. Quick “sellers” were chronically short, especially during the Christmas shopping season. I remember going into AWAG, formerly Wertheim’s, Berlin’s biggest department store, to buy a few toys for the children of a family I knew well in Berlin. It was at least a fortnight before Christmas, yet I found that everything I had in mind had long since been sold out.

Now these occurrences were not real hardships. They were merely annoyances. But multiply them many times a day, in conjunction with such matters as scratched ­out dishes on restaurant or hotel menus, shortages of taxicabs, and the constant dread that you might lose or wear out some article of clothing which could not be replaced, and you found yourself in a chronic state of irritation which wore on the nerves. Most of the foreigners I met, with the exception of a few old hands who were thoroughly “salted,” told me that their dispositions were being slowly but surely ruined. This was especially true of Americans,  who were apt to be cross and jumpy after a few months’ stay in Germany.

All this applies particularly to foreigners. We have already pointed out that the Germans, long toughened and hardened by misfortune, are not affected to anything like the same extent. But they, too, felt the grim undertow which was sucking down their living­ standards. No class was exempt. Indeed, war’s leveling process hit the poor less obviously than it did the rich and well­ to ­do. I would go into homes displaying every evidence of wealth and comfort. At first sight, nothing had changed. But those families could no longer entertain much because they could buy only a few luxuries beyond their food ­rations; they could not bring out their fine linen and napery because they had no extra soap to wash them with when soiled; they had to use the subway or walk because their fine motor­cars had been either commandeered by the government or laid up for lack of gasoline. And didn’t they hate this sort of thing! It was in such homes that I heard the bitterest complaints.

The Christmas season was especially revealing. It showed how slim is the margin the German people now has for good cheer. Yuletide is especially dear to German hearts. Even the very poor strain themselves to make a real celebration, particularly for the children. I have already described how the Government did its bit by allowing men to purchase a Christmas necktie and women a pair of stockings without recourse to their clothing cards. Other official relaxations were a slight raising of the food rations, or the month of December, and a special food bonus or Christmas week. This munificent release worked out, per person, at about one­ eighth of a pound of butter, the same amount of Ersatz honey, one extra egg, and a little chocolate cake and candy! Lastly, there was a temporary increase in the sugar ration and permission to buy certain flavoring extracts and spices. Since the regular bread­ flour ration was already ample, German housewives were able to bake their traditional Christmas cakes and marzipan ­ in moderation. Boughten sweets, however, were scarce. There was a cake and candy shop near my hotel, and I noted the daily queue of persons waiting eagerly to enter for the short period in which that shop was open for business. When the daily stock had been sold out, the shop closed for the day.

I did not witness the actual Christmas celebration in Germany, because I spent the holiday season in Hungary. But I was in Berlin until December 22nd, so I saw all the preparations. They were rather pathetic. In the department stores, crowds of shoppers would mill about the counters, looking for Christmas gifts. Most of the stuff on sale was clearly unsuitable for that purpose. Nevertheless, the most unlikely articles were bought, for want of something better. Everybody seemed to have money enough. The trouble was that their Reichsmarks simply couldn’t connect with what they were after. That typifies what goes on in Germany all the time. It’s a sort of reverse inflation. Money doesn’t increase notably in quantity, but what you can buy with it dwindles away.

That is the reason why Germans tend to spend so much on amusements of all kinds. Despite the blackout and curtailed transportation, moving ­picture houses, theaters, and the opera are filled to capacity. The same is true of cafes, bars, and night­ clubs, where Germans throng to drown their sorrows according to their pocket­books in beer, schnapps, or champagne. The Germans today drink much more than they normally do, so the night­life is stridently hilarious. I saw a good deal of drunkenness; and I may add that when the German sets out to do some serious drinking, he makes a good job of it. Seldom does he acquire a fighting jag. Usually he just gets maudlin until he sinks either to the floor or into the gutter, as chance directs.

One of the drawbacks to a big time in Berlin is that you must quit early unless you are near home. Otherwise you will find no return transportation. The subways and most trams stop at 1.00 A.M., and buses retire even earlier, while there are virtually no taxis. I recall one poignant occasion when I forgot the schedule. I emerged from a night­club in a driving rain, three miles from my hotel and with not the faintest idea how to get there on foot. Of course there were no taxis, since a chauffeur whom the police discovers parking or cruising near any resort of pleasure loses his license. The friend who had brought me thither stuck by me as we roamed the wet streets in search of a conveyance. At last a taxicab hove in sight, and my companion brought it to a halt by yelling:

Here’s a foreigner! An American! He has a legal right to ride!

After a hard day’s work, I did not always feel like spending the evening writing in my room. The same was true of other foreign journalists living in downtown hotels or who had night work in downtown offices. Some months before my arrival in Berlin, the Propaganda Ministry had tried to help the foreign press corps by having special privileges extended to a certain restaurant called the Taverne with the idea of making it the evening rendezvous for newspapermen. One could get certain foods like egg dishes, unobtainable elsewhere, while taxis were allowed to stand outside. Also, the place was furnished with a number of regular “Ladies” whom the journalists nicknamed “Himmler’s Gals,” because they were supposed to be Gestapo (political secret police) agents waiting to vamp the unwary and extract information from them. However, the Taverne prostitutes, the high prices and the noise soon got on the nerves of the North European and American correspondents.

The Propaganda Ministry, heeding our complaints, soon found a new place for us which was eminently satisfactory. This was a private dining ­room in the Auslands Club, a really distinguished organization on Leipziger Platz. Here the food was excellent, the service quick, and prices surprisingly moderate, considering what you got for your money. Accordingly, we Americans, together with the best of the North European correspondents,  made our quarters a real club of our own, dining there frequently and spending the evenings in conversation. On dark, cold winter nights, I cannot describe how grateful I was for that snug haven.

In many ways the life of the foreign press corps in Berlin is a hard one, professionally as well as personally. I cannot praise too highly my American colleagues, who do fine work on the most difficult and also the most thankless assignment in Europe today. I have already described the technical side of our professional existence and the generally good relations existing between foreign journalists and the officials with whom they have regularly to do. The only time those relations threatened to become strained was when the Russo­Finnish War broke out. Red Russia’s invasion of Finland raised stormy echoes in the foreign press corps, and the German Government’s attitude in the matter did not tend to calm us. Since this is a good instance of Nazi propaganda methods, towards both foreigners and its own people, it seems worth describing in some detail.

The Government’s basic standpoint was that it sat on the sidelines watching objectively a matter which was not its concern. At first, it did its best to play down the affair. During the diplomatic crisis which preceded the war, and even after fighting had actually started, the Government spokesmen in our daily press conferences refused to take things seriously and foretold a peaceful settlement. German newspapers either tucked brief items in inconspicuous corners or printed nothing at all. Only when the war was well under way did they make even a partial attempt to present the news.

In its attempt to mold German public opinion, it was revealing to see how the official thesis evolved from day to day. First we were told that Soviet Russia sought merely to safeguard its outlet to the Baltic Sea, and that the Finnish Government was very foolish in refusing to grant Moscow’s moderate demands. We were also told that those demands were fully justified by geography, history, strategy, and what ­have­ you. Next came an assertion that Russia was trying to throw off the shackles imposed upon her after the Great War by unjust treaties that constituted an “Eastern Versailles.” If Finland rashly attempted to perpetuate this intolerable Diktat, she must suffer the logical consequences of her folly. The final link in this chain of reasoning brought England into the picture. The newspapers at first hinted and then openly stated that British diplomacy was chiefly, if not entirely, responsible for Finland’s stubborn resistance to Russian pressure.

Well, if you heard only that side, and if you either forgot or didn’t know what had happened in the past, perhaps the German official thesis might have seemed reasonable. Otherwise it sounded pretty thin. When you mentioned the matter to well­informed Germans who weren’t officials, they would shrug deprecatingly and then make a more understandable explanation.

What do you expect us to do?” they would ask. “What can we do, under the circumstances? Here we are in a life ­and­ death struggle with Britain and France. Do you want us to offend Russia and perhaps find ourselves as we were in the last war ­ nipped between two fronts?

So, most Germans seemed inclined to think that their Government was making the best of a bad business. But, in private conversation, intelligent Germans admitted that it was a bad business. And they displayed no love for Soviet Russia, either. Make no mistake about that.

The foreign residents in Berlin were practically solid in their sympathy for Finland and their condemnation of the Soviets. The Americans, especially, were furious. One of the ways in which we gave vent to our feelings was by raising our glasses to the toast: Skoal Finland! whenever we took a drink. We newspapermen were especially fond of doing this in the Kaiserhof bar. You will remember that the Hotel Kaiserhof is the Nazi social stronghold, and at the cocktail hour its bar, a large room with many tables, is apt to be filled with big guns of the Party. We journalists would often slip in there for a drink and a chat after our afternoon press conference at the Propaganda Ministry just across the Wilhelmsplatz from the hotel. We were thus sure of a distinguished audience when we raised our glasses and gave our defiant toast. We had our answer all ready, in case any Nazi remonstrated, by pointing out that the German Government had officially emphasized entire objectivity to the Russo­ Finnish conflict, and that therefore it was no breach of etiquette on our part to show where our sympathies lay. The Nazis must have realized this; because, aside from a few heavy stares, no objection was ever made. Indeed, I imagine that such demonstrations by the press representatives of many neutral nations may have given some of our Nazi hearers a sense of moral isolation which could not have been agreeable.

The most interesting vantage­point from which to watch both official and foreign attitudes was at the daily press conferences at the Foreign Office, which I have already described. Whenever the Finnish question arose, as it often did, the usually cordial atmosphere would grow a bit tense. Of course, impeccable politeness prevailed on both sides. But the press queries were sharply searching, while official answers frequently had an acid flavor.

I certainly didn’t envy the Government spokesman, those days. Usually, he was Dr. Braun von Stumm, an able man, though with a temper of his own. He needed all his ability, for he had to keep a somewhat tortuous official record straight, and dodge or parry questions shot at him by clever, quick­witted men and women on a highly delicate topic. And he visibly showed the strain he was under. As the questions piled in, he would redden, and I could see him squirm, mentally as well as physically. On more than one occasion, those days, he reminded me of the bull in a Spanish corrida, pricked by the barbed darts flung at him by agile banderilleros. When he thought the matter had gone far enough, he was apt to announce brusquely that the Russo­ Finnish topic had been fully covered for the day, and that we should shift our queries to other matters.

One other outstanding aspect of Berlin life should be included in the picture. This was the great cold. On top of an unusually inclement autumn, it started in about mid ­December. From then on, one cold wave after another rolled over us, fresh from the Russian steppes. Morning after morning, it would be below zero, Fahrenheit. With a rise of only a few degrees during the short winter day, the cold hung steady and tightened its grip. Since it was a damp cold, its penetrating quality was far greater than our winter weather.

Those cold waves covered all Europe. I found even lower temperatures in Hungary, though with a drier air, and I watched the mighty Danube river fill with ice floes during the Christmas season until it was frozen solid by New Year’s Day.

The severest blow which the hard winter dealt Europe was an almost complete stoppage of inland water transportation. We in America make comparatively little use of our rivers. Europe, on the contrary, is covered with an interlocking system of navigable rivers and canals on which much of the slow freight is moved by barges. By the turn of the year, that entire system was frozen up, so water­borne freight movements were paralyzed. That threw a prodigious burden on railway lines already overworked or on motor trucks strictly rationed for gasoline.

Nowhere were winter’s blows harder to parry than in Berlin, one of the world’s great metropolitan centers with a population exceeding four million souls. Even in normal times this implies an elaborate supply system, much of it by water. For instance, I was informed that 40 per cent of Berlin’s coal ordinarily comes by barge. The sudden crisis precipitated when the great cold began in mid ­December was rendered all the more serious by the fact that three months’ strict food and fuel rationing had made it impossible for the thrifty and forehanded to lay up any stocks.

Great credit is due the Government for the way it handled the situation. Truly heroic efforts were made, and disaster was averted. Yet widespread suffering was inevitable. Living as I did in one of Berlin’s leading hotels, I personally experienced little of all this. The Adlon continued to be well heated, and I saw no perceptible difference in the quality of my food. But, when I returned to Berlin immediately after New Year’s, I heard sad tales on every hand of ill ­heated houses or apartments and skimpy domestic menus. Even potatoes and cabbages grew scarce, because they froze on the way to market and were spoiled. Train schedules were cut to the bone. When I left Germany at the end of January by that famous flyer, the Berlin­ Rome Express, my journey was full of unpleasant incidents. I felt I was getting out just in time, and what I learned afterwards amply justified my foreboding.

An amusing aspect of the wintry scene was the enormous overshoes issued to policemen on post before public buildings. I presume they were stuffed with felt, straw, or some other cold­ resistant material. Anyhow, the Schupos waddled along their short beats like mammoth ducks, and seemed somewhat self­ conscious when passers­by glanced at their foot­ gear.

Berliners did not wholly lose their proverbial wit and caustic sense of humor. Curses at the weather were often interlarded with jests. The best joke I heard was uttered by the coatroom man at the Auslands Club. When I came there to dine one bitter December night, I gave him my opinion of the weather in the shape of a loud “Brrrh!” Quick as a flash, he replied, with a sly wink:

Yeah. The first export out of Russia!

To tell the truth, I was a bit fed­ up with this wartime Berlin life. Much of my hardest work was still ahead of me, and I had a long time to go before I could get through. I needed a break, and I could think of no better place than Budapest, Hungary; a city of which I have always been fond, and where I have old friends. So, three days before Christmas, I left Berlin for the holidays in a land where I could escape from blackouts, food ­rations, etcetera, at least for a short time.

 
———————————-
 
 
Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

 ———————————-

 

PDF of this post (click to download or view): Into the Darkness – Chap 18
 
 
 
Version History
 
Version 3: Nov 27, 2014 – Added PDF of post.
 
 
 
Version 2: Wed, Feb 5, 2014. Added Chapter links.
Version 1: Published Jan 31 2014.

Read Full Post »

Read Full Post »

Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

Chapter 17: I See Hitler

To meet and talk with Adolf Hitler, “Der Fuehrer” of the Third Reich, was naturally an outstanding item in my professional program when I went to Germany. I have already recounted how, my very first evening in Berlin, I met Herr Hewel, one of Hitler’s confidential men. I did not fail to discuss the matter with him, but his reaction was not encouraging. For a long time past, he said, the Fuehrer had been seeing very few foreigners except diplomats in his official capacity as Chancellor of the Reich. Since the outbreak of war, no non­official foreigner had been received; nor was such an audience then in contemplation. However, Herr Hewel expressed interest in my plans and promised to see what could be done.

The officials of the Foreign Office and the Propaganda Ministry with whom I had introductory talks during the next few days were equally dubious. They flatly told me that, while an audience was remotely possible, an interview was out of the question. Let me explain that, in journalistic parlance, the two terms have a widely different meaning. An interview is granted with the express understanding that much of what is said will be permitted publication in the press, though certain remarks made during the conversation may be withheld as being “off the record.” In an audience, on the contrary, everything said is “off the record” unless specific permission to publish certain remarks is granted. But there was no chance that such an exception would be made to me, because, when the current war broke out, a rule was adopted that any audience with the Fuehrer which might be given was with the clear proviso that no word spoken by him should be quoted. That logically excluded newspapermen, since for them an unquotable audience would have no professional meaning.

It looked as though I was up against a stone wall, but when I analyzed those conversations, I thought I saw a possible way through. Just one American writer had seen Hitler in the preceding two years. He was Albert Whiting Fox, well known for his magazine and press feature articles. After three months of diligent effort, Fox had seen Hitler shortly before the war. And, from what was told me, I gathered that Fox succeeded mainly because his purpose was to present a picture of Hitler the Man and his surroundings, rather than to get a statement of the Fuehrer’s views on politics or other controversial matters.

The Nazi officials liked that idea, because they favored anything which would present the human side of their Leader to the outer world. More than one of his close associates expressed regret to me that the foreign public knew and thought of him only in his official capacity ­ occasionally declaiming over the radio, but otherwise an aloof, mysterious figure whom his enemies depicted as sinister, even inhuman. Indeed, these informants went on to say that they would have long since accorded reputable foreign writers and journalists permission to make first­hand studies of Hitler and his environment but for the opposition of the Fuehrer himself. It seems that Hitler dislikes having his intimate personality and private life thus publicized. He feels it would be undignified, and prefers being known to the outer world for what he officially says and does.

Realizing how these officials felt, I concentrated along that line. I pointed out that, though I had come to Germany as a journalist, I was there also with the intention of gathering material for a book and for lectures to the American public. In those latter capacities,  the ban on quoting Hitler’s remarks were to me relatively immaterial. An audience would serve almost as well, if I were permitted to describe the circumstances and portray the man himself as I saw him. It is to these arguments that I ascribe chiefly the audience which, after two months, was granted me. Indeed, this audience, the only one granted a non­official foreigner since the beginning of the war, was given me explicitly in my capacity, not as a journalist, but as a writer of books and public speaker.

The memorable day was Tuesday, December 19, 1939. Shortly before one o’clock in the afternoon, a shining limousine drew up in front of the Hotel Adlon and a handsome young officer in dove­gray Foreign Office uniform ushered me to the waiting car. Driving down the Wilhelmstrasse, the car slowed before the Chancery and blew a peculiar note on its horn. Like most public buildings erected under the Third Reich, the new Chancery is severely plain on the outside, with a high doorway flush with the wall and normally always closed. In response to the summons, however, the halves of the entrance opened immediately, and the car drove slowly inside.

What a contrast to the plain exterior! I found myself in a large paved courtyard. Opposite the gate was a broad flight of stone steps flanked by two impressive gray stone figures. The flight led up to an entrance. On the steps stood several lackeys in blue ­and­ silver liveries, while near the entrance doorway was a knot of high officers in regulation gray­green uniforms. Through the entrance I glimpsed a foyer ablaze with electric light from crystal chandeliers.

Emerging from my car, I walked up the steps, to bows and salutes, and entered the foyer, where more lackeys took charge of my hat and overcoat. I was here greeted by a high official with whom I walked through the foyer into a magnificent hall, without windows but electrically lighted from above. This lofty hall, done in light ­red marble inlaid with elaborate patterns, reminded me somehow of an ancient Egyptian temple.

At its further end, more steps led up to an enormously long gallery of mirrors lighted by numerous sconces on the left ­hand wall. Since this gallery was set at a slight angle, the effect upon me was of intense brilliance; much more so than a straight perspective would have afforded.

About half­way down the long gallery I observed a door on the right­hand side, before which stood a pair of lackeys. Through this door I passed, to find myself in a large room which, I was told, was the ante­chamber to the Fuehrer’s study. In it were about a dozen high officers to whom I was introduced and with some of whom I chatted for some moments.

The whole build­up thus far had been so magnificent and the attendant psychic atmosphere so impressive that by this time I really did not know what to expect. I had the feeling that I was being ushered into the presence of a Roman Emperor or even an Oriental Potentate. The absurd thought crossed my mind that I might find Der Fuehrer seated on a throne surrounded by flaming swastikas.

At that moment I was bidden to the Presence. Turning left, I passed through double doors and entered another large room. To my right hand, near the doorway, was an upholstered sofa and several chairs. At the far end of the room was a flat ­topped desk from behind which a figure rose as I entered and came towards me. I saw a man of medium height, clad in a plain officer’s tunic with no decorations save the Iron Cross, black trousers, and regulation military boots. Walking up to where I had halted near the doorway, he gave me a firm handshake and a pleasant smile. It was the Fuehrer.

For an instant I was taken aback by the astounding contrast between this simple, natural greeting and the heavy magnificence through which I had just passed. Pulling myself together, I expressed in my best German my appreciation of the honor that was being shown me, calling him Excellency, as foreigners are supposed to do. Hitler smiled again at my little speech, motioned to the sofa, and said:

Won’t you sit down?“,

himself taking the nearest chair about a yard away from me. My German evidently made a good impression, for he complimented me upon my accent, from which he inferred that I had been to Germany before. I assured him that he was correct, but went on to say that this was my first view of the Third Reich. To which he replied, with a slight shake of the head:

A pity you couldn’t have seen it in peacetime.

The conversation of about twenty minutes which followed these preliminaries naturally cannot be repeated, because I had given my word to that effect. Hitler, however, told me no deep, dark secrets. ­ Heads of States don’t do that sort of thing with foreign visitors. I think it is no breach of my agreement to say that much of his talk dealt neither with the war nor politics but with great rebuilding plans which the war had constrained him temporarily to lay aside. His regretful interest in those matters seemed to show that he still had them very much in mind.

Even more interesting than what Hitler said was his whole manner and appearance. Here I was, in private audience with the Master of Greater Germany, and able to study him at close range. Needless to say, I watched intently his every move and listened with equal intent­ness to his voice. Let me try to depict as clearly as possible what I observed.

There are certain details of Hitler’s appearance which one cannot surmise from photographs. His complexion is medium, with blond ­brown hair of neutral shade which shows no signs of gray. His eyes are very dark­ blue. Incidentally, he no longer wears a cartoonist’s mustache. It is now the usual “tooth­brush” type, in both size and length. As already remarked, his uniform is severely plain and seemingly of stock materials.

In ordinary conversation, Hitler’s voice is clear and well­ modulated. Throughout the audience he spoke somewhat rapidly, yet never hurriedly, and in an even tone. Only occasionally did I detect a trace of his native Austro-­Bavarian accent. The audience was not a monologue. Although naturally he did most of the talking, Hitler gave me plenty of chances to ask questions and put in my say. He did not at any time sharply raise his voice. Only when discussing the war did it become vibrant with emotion; and then he dropped his voice almost to an intense whisper. He made practically no gestures, sitting for the most part quietly, with one hand resting on the arm of his chair and the other lying relaxed in his lap.

Hitler’s whole appearance was that of a man in good health. He certainly did not look a day older than his fifty years. His color was good, his skin clear and un­wrinkled, his body fit and not over­weight. He showed no visible signs of nervous strain, such as pouched eyes, haggard lines, or twitching physical reactions. On the contrary, appearance, voice, and manner combined to give an impression of calmness and poise. I am well aware that this description tallies neither with current ideas nor with reports of other persons who have seen and talked with him. Very likely those reports are just as true as mine, since Hitler is said to be a man of many moods. Perhaps I saw him on one of his good days; perhaps, he intended to make a particular impression upon me. All I can do is to describe accurately what I myself saw and heard.

Three other persons were present during this audience. First of all, there was Herr Schmidt, the official interpreter, present at all meetings of the Fuehrer with foreigners and reputed to be master of many languages. This time his services were not needed, so Herr Schmidt sat quietly beside me on the sofa without uttering a word the entire time. Equally silent were the other two, who sat in chairs some little distance away. They were Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop and Herr Hewel, who had done much to bring the audience about. Hitler terminated the conversation by rising, shaking hands again, and wishing me success in the balance of my stay in Germany. He then turned back to his desk, whither von Ribbentrop had already gone and where two other men were standing. At some point during the interview a photograph had been taken of Hitler and myself in conversation. So unobtrusively was this done that I was not aware of it at the moment. The first thing I knew about it was when a copy was presented to me with the Fuehrer’s compliments as a souvenir of the occasion. Since it was given me with the express understanding that it was not for publication, I cannot reproduce it here, as I should like to have done. I regret this, for it shows an interesting pose and would have helped greatly to visualize what I have attempted to describe.

From this audience emerge two outstanding contrasts. First, as already indicated, that between the magnificently staged approach and the simple, undramatic, almost matter ­of­ fact meeting with the man himself. Very likely this contrast was also deliberate staging. Anyhow, it made a striking effect.

The second notable contrast which occurred to me was that of this audience with Hitler and one I had years ago with his fellow­ dictator, Mussolini. The two audiences were complete opposites. There isn’t much stage­ setting in reaching Mussolini at the Palazzo Venezia. The dramatic build­up really begins when you go through a little ante­chamber door and find yourself in an immense room, darkened by half ­closed blinds, and with no furniture except a desk and a couple of chairs at the far end of the room. From behind that desk rises Mussolini, just like Hitler, but there the resemblance abruptly ends; for, instead of coming to meet you, you have to walk all the way across the room to him.

However, from the very start, you feel that Mussolini is intensely human. You get the fact that he is interested in you as a person. Also you sense that he is trying to sell you, not only his ideas but also himself. He wants to win your interest and admiration, and to attain that he employs the arts of a finished actor ­ uses his big, compelling eyes; thrusts out his chin; aims to semi-­hypnotize you. It’s all very intriguing. Perhaps, to an Anglo­Saxon, it’s a bit too obvious. But it flatters your ego, just the same.

Nothing like that with Hitler. Though always pleasant and courteous, he makes no obvious attempt to impress or win you. When he talks, his eyes get a far­away look, and he sometimes bows his head, speaking abstractedly, almost as though to himself. Whatever he may be to his friends and intimates, I came away feeling that, however interested Hitler may be in people collectively, he is not interested in the average individual, as such. Of course, that is a personal impression. After all, I was just a foreign journalist who meant nothing to him or his scheme of things, and whom he had seen only on the advice of subordinates. But the same was true of Mussolini, who had shown a personal interest.

Another factor: personal charm. Mussolini has it. At least, he turns it on even in casual audiences. I felt his magnetic aura when I was two yards away from him. I didn’t get any such psychic reaction from Hitler neither did I get any emotional “lift” from his conversation. This was perhaps the most surprising thing in my whole audience with him, because all that had been told me pointed to the exact opposite. My very first evening in Berlin, Herr Hewel had descanted to me on the inspirational value of personal contact with the Fuehrer, and all who were closely connected with him spoke in the same way. Dr. Ley, for instance, described at great length the need of continuous personal contact with Hitler, not only for specific advice but even more to drink in and be inspired by the constant creative emanations from the Fuehrer’s constructive genius. For instance, Ley said that Hitler had once said to him:

If you wait until I summon you about something, then it is already too late.

As a matter of fact, the Nazi inner circle foregathers with Hitler almost every day, especially at lunch time. The mid­day pause in Berlin’s official life is admittedly timed to this in time luncheon­ period.

Now I do not attempt to explain this seeming contradiction between my personal impression and that of all privileged Nazis.  At first, I thought their statements on this matter was a sort of “Party Line.” Yet the idea was expressed in so many diverse ways and with such differences in detail that I am inclined to think they really meant what they said. It’s just one of those mysteries that you run into so often in present­day Germany. Like the Third Reich which he has created, what you first see in Hitler by no means indicates all that lies behind.

One last aspect connected with this audience ­ its rigid confidentiality. Long before I saw Hitler, I had had to give my word of honor that everything he might say when I saw him would be kept scrupulously “off the record.” As the time for the audience approached, everybody concerned said to me in substance:

You know, by recommending you, we have in a sense vouched for you. If there should be any misunderstanding on your part, it would be ­ most embarrassing for us.

I was given to understand that the Fuehrer felt strongly on the matter.

The climax to all this came when I returned to the Adlon after my audience and found a message from Herr von Ribbentrop, stating that he would like to see me later that same afternoon. At the hour appointed he received me and wasted no time getting to the point.

You understand, of course, Dr. Stoddard,” said he, “that today’s interview with the Fuehrer must not be quoted in any way.

I was slightly nettled. “Mr. Minister,” I answered, “long before this audience, I informed your subordinates and the officials at the Propaganda Ministry of my journalistic experience and my reliability for keeping a confidence and keeping my given word. I assume your subordinates have informed you favorably.

Of course, of course,” replied von Ribbentrop hurriedly.

But,” even this is not the whole story. Three days after my audience with Hitler I left for a Christmas holiday at Budapest, Hungary. Magyar newspaper colleagues of mine in Berlin had telephoned their editors I was coming, and naturally the audience had made me “news.” So two editors of leading Budapest papers promptly gave me a fine luncheon, after which they proceeded to interview me with the introductory remark:

Now let’s hear all about your interview with Hitler.

Gentlemen,” I had to tell them, “before I say another word, please understand that it was not an interview but an audience, and that everything said was very much ‘off the record.’ You must give me your word that, in whatever I say, you will publish this statement textually. If you agree, I will tell you what the Fuehrer looked like and under what circumstances I saw him.

They agreed, and, like good Magyar gentlemen, they did just what they promised. Their press accounts were, of course, promptly transmitted to Berlin. I knew nothing about it till I got back ten days later. Then I did, because officials met me with unusual cordiality.

What nice statements you made in Budapest,” was the general refrain.

Thenceforth, all doors seemed to be open to me. In my last month in Berlin I got my most important interviews. Which would seem to indicate that, in Germany as elsewhere, keeping faith is a good thing at least for a journalist to do.

 
———————————-
 
 
Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

 ———————————-

 

PDF of this post (click to download or view):  Into the Darkness – Chap 17
 
 
 
Version History
 
Version 3: Nov 27, 2014 – Added PDF of post.
 
 
 
Version 2: Wed, Feb 5, 2014. Added Chapter links.
 
Version 1: Published Jan 30, 2014.

Read Full Post »

Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

 

Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court

Nothing is so distinctive in Nazi Germany as its ideas about race. Its concept of racial matters underlies the whole National Socialist philosophy of life and profoundly influences both its policies and practices. We cannot intelligently evaluate the Third Reich unless we understand this basic attitude of mind. Unfortunately such understanding is not easy, because the whole subject has been so obscured by passion and propaganda.

I have long been interested in the practical applications of biology and eugenics ­ the science of race­betterment ­ and have studied much along those lines. During my recent stay in Germany I supplemented this academic background by first­hand investigation, including discussions with outstanding authorities on the subject. These included both official spokesmen such as Reichsministers Frick and Darre, and leading scientists ­ Eugen Fischer, Fritz Lenz, Hans Guenther, Paul Schultze­Naumburg, and others. Through their recommendations I was able to sit beside the judges during a session of the Eugenic High Court of Appeals.

As is well known, the Nazi viewpoint on race and the resultant policies are set forth by Adolf Hitler himself in the pages of Mein Kampf, the Bible of National Socialism. The future Fuehrer therein wrote:

It will be the duty of the People’s State to consider the race as the basis of the community’s existence. It must make sure that the purity of the racial strain will be preserved. It must proclaim the truth that the child is the most valuable possession a nation can have. It must make sure that only those who are healthy shall beget children and that there is only one infamy: namely, for parents who are ill or show other defects to bring children into the world. But on the other hand it must be branded as reprehensible to refrain from giving healthy children to the nation. Herein the State must come forward as the trustee of a millennial future, in face of which the egotistic desires of individuals count for nothing. Such individuals will have to bow to the State in such matters.

In order to achieve this end the State will have to avail itself of modern advances in medical science. It must proclaim that all those people are unfit for procreation who are afflicted with some visible hereditary disease, or are the carriers of it; and the State must adopt practical means of having such people rendered sterile. On the other hand the State must make sure that the healthy woman will not have her fertility restricted through a financial and economic system of government which looks on the blessing of children as a curse to their parents. The State will have to abolish the cowardly and even criminal indifference with which the problem of social provision for large families is treated, and it will have to be the supreme protector of this greatest blessing that a people can boast of. Its attention and care must be directed towards the child rather than towards the adult.

When we analyze Hitler’s pronunciamento we observe that he is here dealing with two very dissimilar things. The first of these concerns differences between human stocks. Hitler assumes that such differences are vitally important and that “the purity of the racial strain” must be preserved. Therefore, logically, crossings between them are an evil. This is the Nazi doctrine best described as racialism.

The interesting thing is that Hitler does not here stop to labor the point. He takes it for granted as self­evident and passes on to other matters which he treats in detail. These concern improvements within the racial stock, that are recognized everywhere as constituting the modern science of eugenics, or race ­betterment.

The relative emphasis which Hitler gave racialism and eugenics many years ago foreshadows the respective interest toward the two subjects in Germany today. Outside Germany, the reverse is true, due chiefly to Nazi treatment of its Jewish minority. Inside Germany, the Jewish problem is regarded as a passing phenomenon, already settled in principle and soon to be settled in fact by the physical elimination of the Jews themselves from the Third Reich. It is the regeneration of the Germanic stock with which public opinion is most concerned and which it seeks to further in various ways.

There are one or two German ideas about race which, it seems to me, are widely misunderstood abroad. The first concerns the German attitude toward Nordic blood. Although this tall, blond strain and the qualities assumed to go with it constitute an ideal type in Nazi eyes, their scientists do not claim that Germany is today an overwhelmingly Nordic land. They admit that the present German people is a mixture of several European stocks. Their attitude is voiced by Professor Guenther when he writes:

The Nordic ideal becomes for us an ideal of unity. That which is common to all the divisions of the German people is the Nordic strain. The question is not so much whether we men now living are more or less Nordic; the question put to us is whether we have the courage to make ready, for future generations a world cleansing itself racially and eugenically.

Another misconception is that the Nazis regard the Jews as a distinct race. To be sure, that term is often used in popular writings and many ignorant Nazis may believe it, but their scientific men do not thus defy obvious anthropology. They therefore refer to the Jews as a Mischrasse. By this they mean a group which, though self­ consciously distinct, is made up of several widely diverse racial strains. It is because most of those strains are deemed too alien to the Germanic blend that the Nazis passed the so­called Nuremberg Laws prohibiting intermarriage between Jews and Germans.

Without attempting to appraise this highly controversial racial doctrine, it is fair to say that Nazi Germany’s eugenic program is the most ambitious and far ­reaching experiment in eugenics ever attempted by any nation.

When the Nazis came to power, Germany was biologically in a bad way. Much of her best stock had perished on the battlefields of the Great War. But those war losses were surpassed by others during the post­war period, due to the falling birth­rate. Economic depression, mass­unemployment, hopelessness for the future, had combined to produce a state of mind in which Germans were refusing to have children. The birth­rate dropped so fast that the nation was no longer reproducing itself. Furthermore, the lowest birth­rates were among those elements of highest social value. The learned and professional classes were having so few children that, at this rate, they would rapidly die out. At the other end of the scale, the opposite was true. Morons, criminals, and other anti­social elements were reproducing themselves at a rate nine times as great as that of the general population. And those lowest elements were favored in their breeding by the welfare measures of the Weimar regime. Statistics indicate that it cost far more to support Germany’s defectives than it did to run the whole administrative side of Government ­ national, provincial, and local.

As the Nazis saw it, they had a two­fold task: to increase both the size and the quality of the population. Indiscriminate incentives to big families would result largely in more criminals and morons. So they coupled their encouragements to sound citizens with a drastic curb on the defective elements. That curb was the Sterilization Law.

The object of the statute is set forth in its official title: An Act for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring. The grounds for sterilization are specifically enumerated. They are: (1) Congenital Mental Deficiency; (2) Schizophrenia, or split personality; (3) Manic­Depressive Insanity; (4) Inherited Epilepsy; (5) Inherited (Huntington’s) Chorea; (6) Inherited Blindness; (7) Inherited Deafness; (8) Any grave physical defect that has been inherited; (9) Chronic alcoholism, when this has been scientifically determined to be symptomatic of psychological abnormality.

It should be understood that all these defects and diseases have been proven to be hereditary by scientists throughout the world. It was estimated that at least 400,000 persons in Germany were known to be subjects for sterilization. But the law specifically forbids sterilization for any non­hereditary cause. Even mentally diseased persons, habitual criminals, and ordinary alcoholics cannot be sterilized. Each case up for sterilization must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt before special district courts, and appeals from their verdict can be taken, first to a regional court of appeals, and ultimately to the High Appellate Court sitting in Berlin.

Such are the provisions of the Sterilization Law. So many charges have been made outside Germany that it is being used to sterilize politically undesirable persons that I particularly welcomed the opportunity to study at first­hand the High Court’s proceedings. Parenthetically it should be noted that the term “sterilization” does not mean castration. The law specifically prescribes methods which involve only a minor operation and result in no diminution of sexual activity other than incapacity to produce offspring.

Germany’s Eugenic Supreme Court sits in an impressive building at Charlottenburg, one of Berlin’s western suburbs. I arrived just as court was opening. On the bench sat a regular judge in cap and gown. At his right was the celebrated psychopathologist, Professor Zutt, a typical savant with mild blue eyes and a Vandyke beard. At the judge’s left was a keen­eyed younger man who was a specialist in criminal psychology and beside whom I sat during the proceedings. All three courteously explained points to me at frequent intervals.

Since this was the court of last resort, all matters came up to it on appeal from lower courts, and thus tended to be “hairline” cases. The thing that struck me most was the meticulous care with which these cases had already been considered by the lower tribunals. The dossier of each case was voluminous, containing a complete life­history of the subject, reports of specialists and clinics, and also exhaustive researches into the subject’s family history. In reaching its decision, the High Court not only consulted the records of the case but also personally examined the living subjects themselves.

The first case I saw looked like an excellent candidate for sterilization. A man in his mid­thirties, he was rather ape-­like in appearance ­ receding forehead, flat nose with flaring nostrils, thick lips, and heavy prognathous jaw. Not vicious ­looking, but gross and rather dull. His life­history was mildly anti­social ­ several convictions for minor thefts and one for a homosexual affair with another boy when a lad. In early manhood he had married a Jewess by whom he had three children, none of whom had showed up too well. That marriage had been dissolved under the Nuremberg Laws. He was now seeking to marry a woman who had already been sterilized as a moron. The law forbids a non­sterilized individual to marry a sterilized person; so he was more than willing to be also sterilized. The lower court recommended sterilization.

All three members of the High Court interrogated the man at length. Questions disclosed the fact that he conducted a newspaper delivery route in the suburbs, that he was able to run this simple business satisfactorily, and that he answered the Court’s queries with a fair degree of intelligence. The Court concluded that sterilization had not been proven mandatory and sent back the case for further investigation.

Case Two was obviously unbalanced mentally, though not an asylum case. Swinging a cane like a fine gentleman, he entered Court with an “air,” which went incongruously with his shabby­ genteel clothes and the battered felt hat tucked under his left arm. There was no doubt that he should be sterilized. The lower courts had decided he was either a schizophrenic or a manic­depressive, and both defects came under the law. But which of the two it was had to be clearly determined before the operation could be legally performed. This man wanted to marry an unsterilized woman, so he was strongly opposed to sterilization. His case­ history showed two prolonged mental breakdowns, irrational violent quarrels, and queer actions. Ten years previously he had evolved a plan for a Utopian State and had been arrested when he tried to lay it personally before President Hindenburg. He answered questions intelligently, revealing education, but he got excited easily; and his eyes, which were never normal, became wild on such occasions. The Court inclined to think him a manic­ depressive, but they also detected schizophrenic symptoms. Since they were not absolutely sure, the case was remanded for further clinical investigation.

Case Three was an eighteen ­year ­old girl. A deaf­mute, she talked through an interpreter. She was obviously not feeble­ minded, but had a poor family record. The parents, who also appeared, were most unprepossessing. Her case had first come before the lower court two years ago. It then decided against sterilization because no hereditary deafness was shown in the family record. Recently it had recommended sterilization because several unfortunate hereditary factors in the family had been disclosed by further investigation. The High Court ordered the girl sent to a clinic for observation. It also ordered more research into the family record.

Case Four was a seventeen­ year ­old girl. The issue was feeble­ mindedness. She certainly looked feebleminded as she sat below the bench, hunched in a chair, with dull features and lackluster eyes. Left an orphan at an early age, she had had a haphazard upbringing. The record showed her to have been always shy, backward, and unable to keep up with normal schooling.

At present she was employed as helper in a cheap restaurant. When her case first came before the lower court, its verdict was: Wait and see. Perhaps this is a case of retarded intelligence due to environmental factors, which will ripen later. But it did not ripen; so there were further hearings, at which two specialists had disagreed.

The members of the High Court examined this poor waif carefully and with kindly patience. She had no knowledge of or interest in even the most elementary current events. For instance,  she barely knew there was a war going on. But the psychologist discovered that she was able to make change for small customers’  bills in her restaurant and that she could perform other duties of her humble job. So the Court finally concluded that, despite her most unprepossessing appearance and her simple, childlike mind, she was not a moron within the meaning of the law and therefore should not be sterilized.

There were other cases that day, all conducted in the same painstaking, methodical fashion. I came away convinced that the law was being administered with strict regard for its provisions and that, if anything, judgments were almost too conservative. On the evidence of that one visit, at least, the Sterilization Law is weeding out the worst strains in the Germanic stock in a scientific and truly humanitarian way.

To turn from negative to positive eugenics, the first active measure for increasing both the quantity and quality of the population was the Law for the Promotion of Marriages. I have already mentioned the young Friesian milker and his wife who were enabled to furnish a home through a 1,000 ­Mark Government loan, 25 per cent of which was canceled on the birth of each child born to them. These loans are made to young couples, not in cash, but in the form of certificates for household goods; before being eligible for the loan, the couple must have passed medical and mental tests proving that they are sound, healthy stock. Since the law went into effect, more than 900,000 such loans have been made.

Another population stimulus was official grants ­in­ aid to large families in poor circumstances. This was later expanded to a regular system of child­ allowances. The taxation laws were likewise revised to lighten the burdens which large families tend to bear. An example of this is the tax on salaries, which is 16 per cent for the unmarried and 10 per cent for a married man without offspring, but which decreases with each child until it vanishes after four children have been born. In all measures requiring official loans or allowances, only sound, healthy persons can benefit. It should be understood that these specific measures dovetail with all those social­welfare and public health activities discussed in previous Chapters. Thus the entire system is permeated with the eugenic point of view.

These stimuli to population growth have produced remarkable results. In 1933, the year when the Nazis came to power, only 957,000 children were born ­ far below the reproductive rate for the nation. The very next year births had shot up to 1,197,000, and they increased steadily until, when the war broke out, they were running about 1,300,000 annually. This is entirely contrary to the general trend in other countries of Western and Northern Europe, where average birth rates are low, with slight changes during the past decade. Even Mussolini was unable to get as good results from his efforts at increasing Italy’s population until he recently copied several measures from the Reich. And we should remember that Fascism seeks quantity production, without the eugenic requirements for quality that are in force in Germany.

Before closing this survey, we should note the psychological aspect of Nazi population policy. The rulers of the Third Reich do not stop with laws and economic regulations. They realize that, for the full attainment of their goal, ideology must be mobilized. So the German people is systematically propagandized for the upbuilding of what may be described as a racial and eugenic consciousness. Here, for instance, are the Ten Commandments for the Choice of a Mate. Couched in the exhortatory form of the German Du, this new racial decalogue is brought so constantly to the attention of every German youth and maiden that they must know it by heart.

Here is the text:

1. Remember that thou art a German! All that thou art, thou owest, not to thine self, but to thy people. Whether thou wiliest it or no, thou belongest thereto; from thy people hast thou come forth. In all thou doest, bethink thee whether it be to thy people’s best advancement.

2. Thou shalt maintain purity of Mind and Spirit! Cherish and foster thy mental and spiritual capacities. Keep far from thy mind and soul whatsoever is instinctively foreign to them, what is contrary to thy true self, what thine inner conscience rejects. Seeking after money and worldly goods, after quick preferment, after material pleasures, may often lead thee to forget higher things. Be true to thine own self, and before aught else be worthy of thy future life­mate.

3. Keep thy body clean! Maintain the good health received from thy parents, in order to serve thy people. Guard against expending it uselessly and foolishly. A moment’s sensual gratification may lastingly wreck thine health and heritable treasure whereon thy children and children’s children have a compelling claim. What thou demandest from thy future life­ partner, that must thou demand of thyself. Remember that thou art destined to be a German Parent.

4. Being of sound stock, thou shalt not remain single! All thy qualities of body and spirit perish if thou diest without heirs. They are a heritage, a donation from thine ancestors. They exist as a chain, of which thou art but a link. Durst thou break that chain, save under stern necessity? Thy life is straitly bound by time; family and folk endure. Thy hereditary estate of body and spirit prospers in thy waxing offspring.

5. Marry only for love! Money is perishable stuff and ensures no lasting happiness. Where the divine spark of love is absent, there can no worthy marriage endure. Wealth of heart and soul is the foundation of a lasting, happy union.

6. As a German, choose a mate only of thine own or kindred blood! Where like meets like, there rules true unison. Where unlike races mix, there is discord. Mixing racial stocks which do not harmonize leads to the degeneracy and downfall of both strains and peoples. The more unlike the mixtures, the faster this takes place. Guard thyself from such ruin! True happiness springs only from harmonious blood.

7. In choosing thy mate, consider the ancestry! Thou weddest not alone thy mate but also thy life­ partner’s forebears. Worthy descendants are to be expected only where worthy ancestors went before. Gifts of mind and spirit are just as much inherited as the color of hair and eyes. Bad traits are bequeathed precisely like lands or goods. Naught in the whole world is so precious as the seeds of a gifted stock; noxious seeds cannot be transformed into good ones. Wherefore, marry not the one worthy member of a bad family.

8. Health is the prerequisite for even outward beauty! Health is the best guarantee for lasting happiness, for it is the basis for both external charm and inward harmony. Demand of thy mate medical assurance of fitness for marriage, as thou thyself must also do.

9. In marriage seek, not a plaything but a help mate! Marriage is not a transient game but a lasting union. The supreme aim of marriage is the raising of healthy offspring. Only by the union of beings who are like in spirit, body and blood can this high goal be attained, to the blessing of themselves and their people. For each race has its own ethos; so like souls can alone endure together.

10. Thou shalt desire many children! Only by engendering at least four children can the continuance of thy people be assured. Only by having an even larger number can the greatest possible proportion of the merits inherited from thine ancestors be surely handed down. No child wholly resembles another. Each child inherits different traits. Many gifted children greatly enhances the worth of a people and are the surest guarantees for its future. Thou wilt soon pass away; what thou givest to thy descendants endures. Thy people liveth forever!

What an amazing mixture of idealisms and propaganda! This Marital Decalogue is a striking instance of the Nazi attitude and methods.

 
———————————-
 
 
Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

 ———————————-

 

PDF of this post (click to download or view):  Into the Darkness – Chap 16
 
 
 
Version History
 
Version 3: Nov 27, 2014 – Added PDF of post.
 
 
 
Version 2: Wed, Feb 5, 2014. Added Chapter links.
 
Version 1: Published Jan 28 2014.

Read Full Post »

One Man’s Journey To

 

Holocaust Denial’ 

 

by Prof. Ray Goodwin

 

Barnes Review Oct, 2007

 

 One Man’s Journey To ‘Holocaust Denial’ 01

 

 

This is the famous entrance to the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, or Auschwitz II (shown from inside the camp), that in the “official Holocaust literature” is known as a death camp where today it is claimed over a million people were gassed. Toward the end of the war trains did enter through this gate. The official story states that at the end of the line there was a ramp where internees went through the “selection process.” For those ordered to go to one side it meant immediate gassing, while those ordered to go to the other side it meant being worked to death. At one time the death figure stood at around 4 million but then was reduced to 1-1.5 million. Even this figure creates problems when considering the logistics of gassing and then burning such a large number of people. Anyone can do a calculation as to how long it would take to cremate that many people. Go to your local crematorium and view a cremation, then note how long it took to cremate one body. — Dr. Fredrick Töben

 

HOW DOES ONE GO FROM BELIEVING the world is flat to accepting that it is really round? How does one cast off decades of what is assumed to be “gospel” and develop an entirely opposite worldview? And how does a layman resist and overcome the calumny associated with the acceptance and espousing of a very different and unpopular viewpoint? After all, many honest academics and others have lost their jobs and had their livelihoods ruined because they dared to openly question the “holocaust of the Jews” story. Unlike all other historical events, this is one that has been deemed “beyond question” and “beyond debate.” Who has deemed it so and why? That is what you need to know, that you might understand just why this subject is so sacred and unapproachable by honest research.

 

The following account is an attempt by one who dared to be like Dorothy of Kansas and decided to stymie the fear of a booming voice of “Oz” and to pull back the curtain—and reveal that the tremendous voice and godlike image that had all the people in fear was not a god at all, but a little old white- haired man with a megaphone.

 

This writer presents this paper, first written in 1991 and just recently updated, in hopes that our laymen will take up the cause for truth and to show that one does not have to be a man of letters or a “scholar” to discover what turns out to be a simple truth. The enemy knows they can pretty much control the scholars and their voices; what they fear is the lay people starting to question their pronouncements, especially in numbers. Hopefully the personal experience cited herein will be a helpful guide and something with which you may “arm yourself” for future questioning of the purveyors of a despicable, costly and cowardly myth.

 

Borrowing an acronym—FEAR—I urge you to apply it to any account of the supposed extermination campaign waged against the Jews by National Socialist Germany. “False Evidence Appearing Real” (FEAR) is the hallmark of all the tales of “eyewitnesses” and “survivors” in the holocaust industry. For too long, these accusations and libel have gone unchallenged and accepted at face value. Come on, folks. This is not an individual, but an entire nation, that has been charged and convicted of mass murder and has never been allowed to defend itself. Put yourself, as an individual, in that position: You know you are innocent. Every piece of forensic, scientific and demographic evidence exonerates you, but you are not allowed to use it. You are already judged as guilty before the trial even starts. That reminds some of us Texans of old Judge Roy Bean, when asked by a captured suspect:

 

Are you gonna give me a fair trial?

Bean replied:

Yeah, we’ll give you a fair trial, then we’re gonna hang you.

 

As you read this article, I hope you will think of and ask the questions of your accuser that would be asked if you were on trial for such a heinous crime. And do not accept anything but a legitimate answer in return—no evasiveness, no emotional outbursts or name-calling. Every one of the people who allege this crime of genocide should be forced to back it up, and I do not mean with mislabeled and phony photographs and statements “from a friend of a friend whose brother-in-law said. …” Those who show a tattooed number as proof of extermination have only shown you a tattoo that proves one thing — that they have a tattoo. In other words, folks, hold these plaintiffs to the same judicial standards as you would any other accuser. The burden of proof is on them, and they have not given one shred of legitimate proof, excepting that expressed in the above acronym — FEAR.

 

————————————–

One Man’s Journey To ‘Holocaust Denial’ 02

Auschwitz Plaque Reflects New Information—But Few Take Notice

 

The plaque shown on the left above is an old plaque from the Auschwitz-Birkenau WWII prison camp. It reads:

Four million people suffered and died at the hands of the Nazi murderers between the years 1940 and 1945.

Realizing that maintaining the 4 million number was becoming untenable, the Auschwitz authorities changed the plaque to the one shown above, on the right. It reads:

Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women and children, mainly Jews.”

Although this change in information should have been heralded around the world, becoming the impetus for correcting the historical record in regard to the holocaust in textbooks, museums, college classes etc, no one (but Revisionists) seemed to care. In fact, the holocaust lobby, in an act of unbelievable chutzpa, began touting the figure of 9-11 million killed in German-run WWII work camps during their media blitz against those in attendance at the Iran Holocaust Conference, December 2006.

————————————–

 

They show a picture of a knife and say, “This knife killed 24 people.” Remember — all they have shown anyone is a picture of a knife. Their words must be proved to be true — otherwise, all their huffing and puffing is merely loud, empty talk. (Besides, knives don’t kill people. People kill people.)

 

Just about any good lawyer worth his salt could tear them apart in any legitimate courtroom, where witnesses are duly sworn in and are forced to answer truthfully. The problem for those of us trying to right this wrong is finding that legitimate courtroom. One does not have much of a chance when the judge is part of the prosecution and knows his career is over if he dares allow an honest pursuit of justice.

 

Use the information herein to hold their feet to the fire — and that includes the millions of duped “average Joes” who have bought into this exterminationist thesis. This is not merely a debate over history, people—this is a war; and truth has been the big loser so far. The resultant turmoil and suffering do not bode well for the very existence of mankind.

 

 

THE SEARCH BEGINS

 

I began my questioning and search for truth regarding the much-ballyhooed “holocaust” in 1974. Like nearly every American, I accepted at face value the claims of “survivors,” [1] the videos and photos shown on television and the very regular pronouncements from the media, dais and pulpit about the “horrible extermination campaign” conducted against Jews by Hitler’s Germany. What spurred me to question the details of this unspeakable crime? Answer: reading a paper titled Did Six Million Really Die?; my work experience in a chemical plant and the handling of hydrogen cyanide; and reading the accounts of “survivors” from the postwar trials which essentially established the legend of mass extermination that came to be termed the “holocaust.”

 

The first thing I did as a seeker of truth was to get a definition of “holocaust,” which was and is readily available in countless books on the subject. That definition comprises;

the planned and activated extermination of members of the Jewish race, numbering some 6 million, by National Socialist Germany primarily through the use of Zyklon B (a commercial preparation containing hydrogen cyanide) at various camps during World War II.

With this definition forming the guidelines, I began my quest.

 

Those who have challenged the establishment viewpoint are known as “Revisionists,” and their position on the subject is: there was no attempt by National Socialist Germany to exterminate any ethnic group, such as the Jews in this case, nor did 6 million die, nor were any Jews subjected to homicidal gassing.

 

Revisionists agree that many deaths occurred in the camps due to disease, starvation and the horrid conditions of war, but gas chambers (much less “gas ovens,” whatever that means) for homicidal purposes, were non-existent. [2]

 

Those who accept the conventional view as true are designated as “exterminationists” by Revisionists.

 

What jumped out at this researcher immediately upon closer examination of the stories of extermination were the many credible arguments against such a program, as advanced by Revisionists. The technical and physical impossibilities of the claims of alleged gassings and cremations as espoused by “eyewitnesses” at the postwar trials immediately fly in the face of scientific fact. Unfortunately, such claims were not allowed to be questioned by the defense, nor those witnesses allowed to be cross-examined. Before an analysis of such claims, a chronological background on the origins of “denial” is necessary for a proper understanding of Revisionist contentions.

 

In 1961, Prof. Paul Rassinier of France became the first author to refute the accuracy of claims of genocide in print. (Francis P. Yockey’s Imperium, published in 1948, did cast doubt upon the claims, but did not deal directly with the subject.) Rassinier, a socialist and member  of the French resistance, had been captured and interned in the prison work camps of Buchenwald and Dora-Mittelbau. Liberated in 1945, he returned to France as an invalid and was shortly very puzzled, then outraged, at the claims of “genocide” and gas chambers, particularly regarding the two camps where he had been a prisoner.

 

He had seen no evidence of any such activities as an inmate there (and Rassinier certainly had no love for the Germans). His initial work on the extermination of the Jews, The Lie of Ulysses, followed in 1964 by his The Drama of the European Jews, called into question the “holocaust” legend.

 

——————

“This detailed demographic study offers evidence that the vast majority of the “exterminated” Jews did indeed survive, being absorbed primarily into the Soviet Union, Palestine and the U.S.”

——————

 

The year 1976 featured the appearance of a thorough and well-documented Revisionist treatise by Dr. Arthur R. Butz of Northwestern University. The Hoax of the 20th Century dissected the extermination claims from pre-war and post war population statistics; the crucial role played by the Allied trials and their extreme importance in implanting the legend were also addressed by Butz:

 

. . . [I]t is a fact that without the evidence generated at these trials, there would be no significant evidence that the program of killing Jews ever existed at all. . . . If the trials had not been held, a person claiming the existence of an extermination program could not, if challenged, produce any evidence for this save a few books . . . whose claims are just as unsupported as his original claim.

 

Thus the problem that had been involved in deciding whether or not to try mass murder; unlike the usual murder case, there was legitimate and very solid doubt that the deed had been committed at all.

 

This may surprise the reader who regards the tale of Jewish extermination as a near certainty; such is simply not the case. There are many considerations supporting this view and some are so simple that they may surprise the reader even further. The simplest valid reason for being skeptical about the extermination claim is also the simplest conceivable reason; at the end of the war they were still there.” (Butz, page 10)

 

Adding credence to the claims made by Butz is a 1983 publication by Walter N. Sanning entitled The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry. This detailed demographic study offers evidence that the vast majority of the “exterminated” Jews did indeed survive, being absorbed primarily into the Soviet Union, Palestine and the United States. Professor Sanning challenges the exterminationist school of thought:

 

The purpose of this analysis was not to investigate the content of truth in the ‘holocaust’ story, but to outline the extent and the direction of the Jewish population movement before, during and after World War II.”

 

If the developments as traced here are in conflict with the taboos of contemporary historians, it is their (emphasis added) task to reconsider an untenable position.

 

In his booklet, The Holocaust—120 Questions and Answers, Dr. Charles E. Weber does a masterful job of provoking thought while keeping his approach simple and plainspoken. This 1983 publication addresses a myriad of issues related to the holocaust legend and reminds the reader from the outset that the funding available to those who disseminate material from the exterminationist viewpoint far outweighs the minute resources available to the Revisionist (page 8). This is, of course, a major factor in the relative obscurity of Revisionist research and scientific conclusions on the issue.

 

One of the most definitive books on the conduct of “war crime” trials, The Auschwitz Myth, by Dr. Wilhelm Staeglich, gives one insight into the show trial and political nature of Allied courtroom procedures. This 1986 publication stresses the absence of proper judicial standards and the appalling way in which the search for truth was impeded rather than furthered by the court. Not many are aware that “eyewitnesses” were not allowed to be cross-examined by the defense, nor were they ever subjected to enforcement of the perjury oath. Additionally, Staeglich says “witnesses” traveled from court to court making the same unchallenged claims, saying they had been at each camp.

 

By October of 1990, the Revisionist assault on the legend had come full circle with the admission by England’s leading historian and authority on World War II, David Irving, that he was now convinced of the fraudulent nature of the entire extermination thesis (Battleship Auschwitz, 498-9) and would include a statement to this effect in new editions of his previously published books.

 

—————

One Man’s Journey To ‘Holocaust Denial’ 03

PROFESSOR RAY GOODWIN

Truth over political correctness.

—————-

 

 

TECHNICAL ASPECTS

 

According to Revisionist investigation, none of the alleged “gas chambers” had ventilation or exhaust systems capable of handling the gassing of inmates. The square footage in all of the “chambers” would allow for a hypothetical total of 123,976 gassings in all the years of the supposed “genocide” program (The Leuchter Report, 14). In September of 1989, the Russians released the Auschwitz Death Books (the Germans were meticulous record keepers). They showed a death toll of 74,000 at that camp from all causes (Irving, 500).

 

Confessions from Germans, obtained by torture, “eyewitness” testimony and exterminationist historians put the number gassed at Auschwitz alone at 4 million. This massive contradiction deserves further examination in the interest of historical truth. This figure has now been revised downward, to just over a million, thanks to the fear of Revisionist discoveries and publishings. Notably, however, that reduction did nothing regarding the claim of 6 million dead.

 

On August 19, 1960, the director of the prestigious Institute for Contemporary History in Munich, Dr. Martin Broszat, announced to his amazed countrymen that there had never been a “gas chamber” in the entirety of the German Reich, but only a few in other places, namely in occupied Poland (Robert Faurrison, The Problem of the Gas Chambers, 107-108). This announcement flew in the face of those who swore to mass killings in German camps, but that was never brought up, of course.

 

Broszat has never provided an explanation for this contention. Professor Robert Faurrison of France asks:

1. How does Dr. Broszat know that the “gas chambers” in the Old Reich were frauds?

2. Why did he say that the “gas chambers” in Poland are genuine?

3. Why do the proofs and certainties and eyewitness accounts concerning the concentration camps in the west suddenly have no value, while these same criteria still remain true for the camps in Poland (108)?

 

Think about those questions.

 

As the exterminationists themselves have since abandoned the claims of the use of gas chambers in Germany proper, primary attention will now be devoted to the main camps in Poland, which would be Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Pertinent to this, however, is the confession regarding the German camp of Bergen-Belsen. Two of the pillars upon which rest the claims of the exterminationist historians and the “survivors” and “eyewitnesses” are the confessions of Kurt Gerstein and Rudolf Hoess. Gerstein, one-time commandant of Bergen-Belsen, states in his confession that 700 to 800 people went into each of the four chambers each time the gassings took place. The size of each room varies slightly, but worked out in terms of occupant per square meter (approximately a square 3 feet by 3 feet), and according to those “eyewitnesses,” those rooms would have had a minimum of 30 to a maximum of 40 individuals in each square meter (Felderer, 170). I ask you, dear reader, to draw on the ground a square of 3 feet by 3 feet. Then imagine just how many people you could cram into that square. Thirty? Forty? I don’t think so. Revisionist Ditlieb Felderer concludes:

 

In spite of all the absurdities, impossibilities, erroneous and contradictory figures, the ‘Gerstein Statement’ continues to maintain its supremacy in exterminationist lore. Perhaps this is just as well, from a cynical Revisionist viewpoint, for few things could better illustrate the mythical nature of the ‘holocaust’ than this very item.” (Felderer, 172)

 

Rudolf Hoess, one of three successive commanding officers at Auschwitz, was the only one to leave a confession. His description of the actual gassing procedures is remarkably short and vague, just as all other “eyewitness” accounts are vague, brief and full of contradictions on many points. As described by Hoess: one-half hour after having released the gas, the Germans would open the door and turn on the fan and immediately begin to remove the bodies. Hoess added that the crew in charge would remove the 2,000 [!] bodies and begin transporting them to the crematory ovens while eating and smoking. (Quoted in Faurrison, The Mechanics, 24) This confession implies that it is possible to enter an area saturated with hydrogen cyanide (HCN, Zyklon B) while taking no precautions for self-protection and bare-handedly grasp 2,000 cadavers contaminated with a lethal dose of the gas. The air pockets between the bodies heaped on top of one another would have been filled with HCN.

 

This “confession” lacks plausibility and even common sense (many “survivors” and “eyewitnesses” swore to the same impossibility in court), and is in accord with Revisionist claims that it is a fabrication extracted by torture. Yet, testimony by these claimants at Nuremberg and other postwar trials was readily accepted into the record, not allowed to be challenged and believed as “gospel” by Allied judges anxious to do their duty for “humanity.” And countless German military personnel, not guilty of any such crime, were executed on the basis of these claims by “survivors” that were not allowed to be questioned or cross-examined.

 

———–

 

One Man’s Journey To ‘Holocaust Denial’ 04

 

Above, inmates are given the important task of making rifles for the German war effort at the Dachau prison labor camp. One would expect that the prisoners used for this task would have prior job experience with factory work, foundry work or woodworking. As different camps produced different products (Auschwitz producing, for instance, synthetic rubber, medicine and arms), inmates with particular skills would have been put to work where their skills were best suited. Recalcitrant workers, habitual criminals, murderers and other troublemakers would have been dealt with sternly. However, in 1943, Heinrich Himmler himself ordered that no guard could strike a prison labor camp inmate without fear of severe punishment—and this included death.

—————-

 

It was this particular part of my reading that drew me to examine and challenge those claims. I was an employee of E.I. DuPont at that time and worked in a huge chemical plant, having experience working around HCN. Allow me to cite the DuPont Company Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) on hydrogen cyanide (the primary element of Zyklon B), as of January 14, 1991.

HCN is described as unstable with heat and extremely flammable. It is a fast acting poison and could be fatal if inhaled, swallowed, or absorbed through the skin.

(Remember the “eyewitness” accounts of SS men “smoking and eating,” wearing NO protective equipment, while dragging gassed Jews out by the hair).

 

The MSDS adds that in most cases cyanide poisoning causes a deceptively healthy pink to red skin color and that skin permeation can occur in amounts capable of producing systemic toxicity. The user is cautioned to use the gas only in closed systems and with ventilation adequate to keep vapor concentrations below exposure limits. Warnings are given to evacuate the area immediately if HCN fumes are detected and to don protective clothing before re-entry. The minimum personal protective equipment recommended is goggles and rubber gloves, and the user should have at hand rubber suits and boots, a full-body chemical suit and a self-contained breathing air supply. DuPont also warns that with eye or skin contact, one should immediately;

 

flush the eyes with plenty of water, remove contaminated clothing, including shoes, and wash the skin.

 

Skin absorption can occur from cyanide dust, solutions, or HCN vapor (MSDS, 3-10).

 

Therefore, the abundance of technical and physical impossibilities inherent in the confessions becomes apparent upon examination of the sites and the dimensions of the so-called gas chambers. The technical problems inherent in any plan to gas millions of people would have necessitated meetings of experts and the issuance of plans, instructions and safety equipment. no evidence that any of this was ever done by the National Socialist government has ever been found (Faurisson, The Mechanics, 29). Remember too, that passes would not have been granted to Germans in the camps, nor their families allowed to visit; prisoners who had served their sentences would not have been released or allowed to return to their respective countries, or the “extermination program” would have been revealed to the whole world. The fact is, there was nothing sinister to reveal at all.

 

Faurrison concludes his article with what he regards as the criteria of false evidence regarding the gas chambers. He avers that all of the statements, as vague and inconsistent as they may be, agree on one thing: the crew responsible for removing the bodies entered the site either “immediately” or “a few moments” after the deaths of the victims. Calling this a physical impossibility, he states:

 

I contend that this point alone constitutes the cornerstone of the false evidence, because this is a physical impossibility. If you encounter a person who believes in the existence of the ‘gas chambers,’ ask him how, in his opinion, the thousands of cadavers were removed to make room for the next batch (The Mechanics, 30).”

 

Perhaps the most severe blow to the extermination thesis was delivered in 1988 with the publication of The Leuchter Report: The End of a Myth. The author’s treatise is a report on the technical aspects of the alleged execution chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, Poland, using comparisons with American prison gas chamber designs and operations.

 

————-

“Leuchter states that many complicated problems must be considered in the design of an execution gas chamber. A mistake may, and probably will, cause death or injury to anyone outside the chamber.”

————

 

In states that use lethal gas for capital punishment, stringent rules and procedures must be met. All lighting and electrical hardware must be explosion-proof (none of the rooms designated as “gas chambers” had this feature). If you come home in the evening and open your home and smell gas, the one thing you know not to do is flip a light switch. The spark can cause an explosion.

 

The chamber is operated under a vacuum so that any leak would be inward. An eminent authority on capital executions, Leuchter states that many complicated problems must be considered in the design of an execution gas chamber. A mistake may, and probably will, cause death or injury to anyone outside the chamber (Leuchter, 6). This expert says that an area of nine square feet is the minimum required for gas circulation around the occupant of any gas chamber. As the floor area for the Auschwitz Krema 1gas chamber” is 844 square feet, allowance for gas circulation means that a maximum of 94 people could fit into this room at one time for execution. “Eyewitness testimony” places 600 people at a time in this room (Leuchter, 11). Remember—no questioning or cross examination was allowed in the courts. How would you, as the accused, feel about your defense attorneys being so handicapped with YOUR life on the line?

 

The tourist attractions shown to the public as “gas chambers” in all the camps examined by Leuchter have no gasketed doors or windows, and very few have vents; the inside walls of the structures are not sealed to prevent leakage or absorption of the gas, so that the exposed, porous brick and mortar would accumulate HCN and be dangerous to humans for several years. The fact that these rooms identified as “gas chambers” are located right next to the crematories also would make them a prime source for explosion and fire. Very poor planning by those super-efficient German killers, indeed. Leuchter found that Krema 1 has floor drains connected to the main sewer of the camp. This would allow the heavier-than-air deadly HCN to get into every building at the facility, resulting in the deaths of the guards and commandant. The “gas chambers” here, as in all the camps, are too small to contain the numbers claimed. The doors to these rooms all open inward (another poor design consideration by those supposedly so efficient in mass slaughter; it would be quite difficult to push such a door open against the piles of bodies after a gassing). Also, enough leakage of the deadly gas would have occurred in all of the gas chambers to have killed the administering technicians (Leuchter, 9).

 

Leuchter’s strongest forensic evidence is the samples of brick, mortar, concrete and sediment taken by his team from the three Polish camps. HCN and its compounds are very residual— they hang around for decades. Leuchter took 31 samples at the alleged gas chambers, and a control sample was taken from delousing facility No. 1 at Birkenau. The control sample, from the delousing chamber where clothing was treated to rid it of disease-causing lice, showed a very heavy cyanide content of 1,050 milligrams per kilogram of brick. This is consistent with the use of Zyklon B as a delousing agent in that chamber.

 

However, of the other 31 samples, from the supposed gas chambers, 17 had no measurable trace of HCN, and the other 14 were all under 8 milligrams—consistent with those locations having been deloused at some time. This scientific analysis supports the evidence that these facilities could not have been execution gas chambers. Of course, “eyewitness testimony” by those deemed incapable of lying was responsible for the death sentences given German camp personnel there as well as the camps in Germany proper, where the non-existence of homicidal gas chambers has been admitted even by the exterminationists. No charges of perjury, or suggestions of redress to the survivors of the wrongly and vindictively executed Germans, have ever been proffered by the moralistic proponents of the extermination thesis.

 

Investigation of the cremations of the alleged gassing victims evinces the same degree of impossibility and contradiction. I took a tour of a modern crematory near my home city, interviewed the experienced technician and learned what it takes to dispose of one body. I asked not only how much time, how much fuel, what temperature and how much residue is left, but the possibility of multiple cremations in one oven. Rarely considered is the fact that the oven must undergo a cooling down period before the ashes and bits of bone remaining may be removed. Those remnants fill a normal size shoebox. What I learned from this personal research was that none of the descriptions in the accusations made by “survivors” of the holocaust was even remotely possible—except, perhaps, in their own minds.

 

Four million shoeboxes of ashes would have made quite a mound at Auschwitz. Where is it? The 60 pounds of coal/coke used by the Germans to cremate one body also leaves residue—and if one multiplies that 60 pounds by the supposed 4 million bodies—where did Germany get the 240 million pounds of coal, and how did they get it to Auschwitz?

 

————–

 

The Infamous ‘Ovens

One Man’s Journey To ‘Holocaust Denial’ 05

Above are pictured crematory ovens from three of the most well-known German-run WWII prison labor camps. The top oven is from Dacahau, the middle from Buchenwald and the bottom from Majdanek. They appear to be standard-sized one-cadaver-at- a-time funeral home cremation ovens. How in the world the Nazis could have incinerated so many millions of corpses in these small ovens is still unknown. Auschwitz had the most ovens, a large bank of them completed in 1943 (see below). Still they appear incapable of holding more than one or two cadavers at a time. Again, the unattainable logistics of the “holocaust” myth stand as proof that it is a fraud.

 

One Man’s Journey To ‘Holocaust Denial’ 06

—————–

 

As to the time required to cremate all those bodies (four hours for each)—Leuchter says (p. 10) that the capability of all the ovens at the entirety of Auschwitz could realistically cremate 207 bodies in 24 hours. If there were 4 million, and the 69 crematoria there worked around the clock with no shutdown time for cleaning (an impossibility), the Germans would have still been cremating bodies until something like June of 1972.

 

Please, Mr. “Survivor,” Mr. “Eyewitness,” explain this. Oh— you say that the bodies were mass-cremated, in that well-cited 50-foot long, 10-foot deep pit the awful Germans dug. Facts: Auschwitz was built on swamp-like land; the water table there is four feet deep. That’s right—once you reach that depth, water begins to seep into the hole you are digging. Ten-foot deep trench? Sure.

 

Additionally—what fuel did they use in that pit? It doesn’t matter—a high-enough temperature to cremate a human body cannot be reached in an open pit. Once again—you accusers—explain this: Where are the tons of incompletely burnt “cremains”?

 

I distinctly remember watching another of the myriad of “specials” on the “holocaust” made in 1985, titled A Painful Reminder. This was aired on the Discovery Channel out of Houston, and included the standard claims of “gassings” made by the interviewed “survivors.” It was clearly stated on the program that 279,000 bodies per month (over 9,000 per day) were being cremated [at Auschwitz] in a continuous, round-the-clock operation. These phony witnesses were trying to make the numbers fit the story.

 

Remember—German military and concentration camp personnel were executed on the basis of such unquestioned and unchallenged testimony. Leuchter’s own conclusion about his forensic examination there:

After reviewing all of the material and inspecting all the sites at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, your author finds the evidence overwhelming:

There were no execution gas chambers at any of these locations. It is the best engineering opinion of this author that the alleged gas chambers at the inspected sites could not have been, or now be, utilized or seriously considered to function as execution gas chambers.”

 

Imagine what such testimony, had it been allowed at the show trials after the war, would have done to these witnesses for hire who traveled from court to court to spout the same lies. They knew, of course, that challenging their lies would not be allowed, nor would any cross-examination by the defense. They know this today, as well, and still make those claims before Americans in schoolrooms and elsewhere. Consideration must be given to the numbers game played by the exterminationists and Jews as well. In brief—according to the study by Prof. Sanning as well as information from the Encyclopedia Britannica, the total number of Jews that were ever under the control of the German military was 4 million. Today, you have at least 3.7 million drawing reparations as “survivors” and “victims.” Please, I may not be a math major, but somehow I just cannot get 6 million dead Jews out of that, nor even a half a million.

 

 

THE HOLOCAUST INDUSTRY

 

Why the paradoxical reaction of Jews to Revisionist contentions that Jews were not the victims of extermination, but survived the war? One would think that debunking of the myths would elicit a joyful response, especially from those who have believed for decades that their people were the victims of genocide. Consider these three probable reasons:

 

(1) the holocaust is a huge financial business with obscene profits and enormous amounts of gullible sympathy;

 

(2) the Palestinian issue; and

 

(3) the immense power and influence exercised by Zionists and other Jews upon the governments and media of the world, especially upon American foreign and domestic policy.

 

Most Americans are unaware of the billions paid to individual Jews as well as to Israel, a nation that did not even exist at the time of the alleged genocide. The amount paid yearly to all these “victims” is based upon the now legendary “6 million” figure and, as these reparations are still ongoing, any reduction in that number would be intolerable to the recipients of such largess.

 

In essence, should Revisionist findings be accurate and accepted as such, the goose that lays these golden eggs for Jewish coffers would disappear. And those folks who have been forced to bear the guilt and pay this extortion for all these decades just might be a little upset over what has been done to them.

 

Israel was established in 1948 due in large part to the overwhelming sympathy generated by these ridiculous accusations of genocide. The Zionists were given the land of the Palestinians by the British as a homeland for the Jewish state. The Palestinians thus became as victimized as the Germans by this massive lie, as they have been a homeless, tortured people since then. They are indeed the real victims of not just the repressive Zionists, but an uninformed and misinformed world that does not want to hear of their grief and suffering— a world with little sympathy toward righting a decades-old injustice.

 

As the U.S. government and all facets of the media played the key role in establishing the legend of genocide, this is why both institutions turn their backs upon Revisionist findings. And it is also why they ignore attacks upon Revisionists and Palestinians alike. Both also continue an ever-increasing effort to propagate the extermination thesis. Several states have made “holocaust education” mandatory in their schools; U.S. taxpayer funds are used to fund “holocaust” museums and other tributes. No political lobby in the United States plays a more influential role in electing or defeating political candidates as do Jewish political action committees. These are all factors in maintaining the “holocaust” legend and explaining the silence of politicians on the subject. Jewish organizations are constantly pressuring all levels of government to adopt legislation that makes questioning or doubting the holocaust a crime punishable by heavy fine and imprisonment. Their efforts have been successful in many foreign countries and are making headway here in the United States, despite our sacred Constitution and the absolute protection of free speech and free thought it should provide us.

 

“If Revisionists are indeed “flat-Earth” fools, and exterminationists and the Jews are holding all the aces—of what then are they afraid?”

 

Why would key members of the U.S. government have participated for so many years in perpetuating and supporting the legend? Besides self-aggrandizement, of course, obliteration by contrast is the likely reason. Without the genocide claim to use against Germany, several aspects of the initiation and conduct of the war by the Roosevelt administration would have come under scrutiny and could have caused widespread popular unrest in this country. The dubious story of the “surprise” attack on Pearl Harbor, the cover up of the Soviet massacre of the Polish officer corps at Katyn (and the blaming of it on the Germans), Operation Keelhaul, [3] the barbaric saturation bombings of non-military targets, and the orgy of rape and pillage engaged in by the Soviets, the Allies and resistance forces, could most justifiably be labeled “war crimes.

 

——————–

 

A Financial Holocaust Burns U.S. Taxpayers

 

Is “holocaust guilt” the reason American taxpayers get burned for $5 billion every year in aid to Israel without complaining?

According to the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, from 1949 to 2001 the generous American taxpayer gave Israel a total of $94,966,300,000. That would be over $100 billion during 1949-2002, or about $2 billion per year; but by now it is up to about $5 billion a year, for a total of at least $130 billion so far. Not widely known is that most of this aid violates the law. For example, the Arms Export Control Act stipulates that U.S.-supplied weapons be used only for “legitimate self-defense,” not for bombing helpless Palestinian or Lebanese civilians and not to destabilize the entire region and the world. Also, taxpayer aid to Israel is different from that to any other country in three ways.

 

First, since 1982, U.S. aid to Israel has been transferred in one huge lump sum at the beginning of each fiscal year, which immediately begins to collect interest in U.S. banks. Aid to other lands is disbursed in quarterly installments.

 

Second, Israel is not required to account for the money. Most countries receive aid for very specific purposes and must account for how it is spent. Israel is allowed to place U.S. aid into its general fund, effectively eliminating any distinctions between types of aid. Therefore, U.S. taxpayers are helping to fund an illegal occupation, the expansion of colonial-settlement projects, and gross human rights violations against the Palestinian civilian population.

 

A third difference is the sheer amount of aid the U.S. gives away to Israel, unparalleled in the history of U.S. foreign policy. Israel usually rakes in roughly one third of the entire foreign aid budget, despite the fact that Israel comprises less than 0.1% of the world’s population and already has one of the world’s higher per capita incomes. If U.S. taxpayers knew this and became aware that the holocaust was the most lucrative lie in history, would they so willingly hand over their hard earned cash to Israel?

 

—————————

 

But with the genocide claim against the Germans, all of these actions, as well as the decision by FDR, Churchill and Stalin before the end of the war to carve Germany and Europe up for the Soviets, are “justified.” After all, any nation that would conduct genocide, especially against Jews, deserves every form of destruction and punishment it got.

 

The veracity of Revisionist claims may only be properly evaluated if they receive a hearing. But such a hearing is vociferously opposed by Jews and their lackeys in government and media. Their only answer to our research is personal attacks, including brutal beatings (Faurrison), destroying livelihoods (Leuchter and others) and imprisonment (Rudolf, Zuendel and others). One has to wonder — if Revisionists are indeed “flat-Earth” fools, and the Jews and exterminationists are holding all the aces—of what then are they afraid?

 

 

PERSONAL CONCLUSIONS

 

If this author comes across as angry about this issue, that is because I am certainly angry. After examining the issue from more than one side, seeing the forensic and scientific evidence offered by the Revisionists, and in essence giving them a hearing that was not allowed at the shameful postwar courts, I easily came to the conclusion that this whole “holocaust” is nothing more than a “holo-hoax,” and deserves to be exposed for what it has been all along—an extortion crime of the worst degree. I even learned in my search that this same claim of genocide and of millions dead was floated by the Zionists after World War I, but it was immediately recognized for the lie that it was, and given short shrift.

 

I am also angry about the personal attacks upon legitimate scholars who question this historical non-event, the beatings, destruction of property, and the impunity with which such thugs operate in my country. The kowtowing by politicians, media people, clergy and academia to these arrogant frauds is a disgrace. I, for one, have put my foot down. No more unchallenged fairy tales by “survivors,” as long as I am able to speak out.

 

If your community is like mine, it is visited on occasion by one or another of the millions of “holocaust survivors,” who speak in our churches and our schools about the suffering they endured at the hands of those evil Germans, while the world stood by and did nothing. I do not know about you, but I am way past being tired of their totally baseless whining, lies and extortion.

 

Certainly, a number of Jews did suffer the depredations of war—but no more so than various other peoples. Those responsible for the executions and extortion payments in the form of reparations should be made to face the music of perjury trials, at the very minimum. When they cry that they lost their entire family—well, many people lost their entire families in that war, and Jews deserve no more (and no less) sympathy than anyone else, if they are telling the truth. I will admit, however, that it is quite difficult to feel sympathy for the legions of lying vampires who rake in tons of extortion money off the labor of falsely accused people every year. The German nation should be exonerated of this despicably assigned “guilt,” and the historical record must be set straight. It is past time to get in the faces of these liars, and put them to the test with honest questioning. They will not engage in debate, unless they can turn the debate away from the intellectual and logical to the emotional—which they will do every time.

 

They know that in any debate between logic and emotion, logic loses every time. Thus their personal attacks upon those who question them, and the inevitable name-calling — “Nazi,” “anti-Semite” and worse.

 

 

ENDNOTES:

 

1. When heard by the average American, the words “survivor” and “holocaust” are almost completely associated with the German extermination camp myth.

 

2. Were “gas ovens” supposed to both gas the Jews to death and then cremate their bodies? That would be an interesting example of German efficiency, but probably would be impossible.

 

3. Operation Keelhaul was the plan to ship a million nationalist Russians back to the Soviet Union after they had been given sanctuary in the West. (Many helped in the war effort.) Stalin executed those he deemed enemies and shipped hundreds of thousands off to the gulags, never to return. The East Came West by Peter Huxley-Blythe is the best book on the story. Softcover, 225 pages, $20 minus 10% for TBR subscribers. Add $3 S&H inside the U.S. Available from TBR BOOK CLUB, P.O. Box 15877, Washington, D.C. 20003. Call toll free 1-877-773-9077 to charge.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

 

Butz, Arthur R., The Hoax of the 20th Century, Richmond, Surrey, England, Historical Review Press, 1976.

DuPont Material Safety Data Sheet (Hydrogen Cyanide): Hazardous Materials Manual, 1991 Ed.

Faurrison, Robert, “The Mechanics of Gassing, Journal of Historical Review, 1.1 (1980), 23-30.

Faurrison, Robert, “The Problem of the ‘Gas Chambers’.Journal of Historical Review, 1.2 (1980), p. 1.

Felderer, Ditlieb, “Auschwitz Notebook.Journal of Historical Review, 1.2 (1980), 169-172.

Irving, David, “Battleship Auschwitz.” Journal of Historical Review, 10.4 (1990), pp. 491-508.

Leuchter, Fred A., The Leuchter Report: The End of a Myth, Toronto, Samisdat Publishers, Ltd., 1988.

Sanning, Walter N., The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry, Torrance, Ca., Institute for Historical Review, 1983.

Staeglich, Dr. Wilhelm, The Auschwitz Myth, English translation from the German original, Der Auschwitz Mythos. Torrance, Ca., Institute for Historical Review, 1986.

Weber, Dr. Charles E., The Holocaust—120 Questions and Answers, Torrance, Ca., Institute for Historical Review, 1983.

 

—————-

 

About the Author

 

A native-born Texan, Revisionist RAY GOODWIN is a retired instructor of American history on the college level in Victoria, Texas. He has given multiple addresses to the Sons of Confederate Veterans organizations in San Antonio, Austin, Corpus Christi and Victoria. He has done research on various historical subjects, and has had book reviews and articles published on them. Prof. Goodwin crafted the lead article for the July/August 2007 issue of TBR, focusing on bias in academia and the case of Nat Turner.

—————

 

Recommended Books on the Holocaust

 

Auschwitz: The Final Count. Edited by Vivian Bird. The diminished numbers of inmates who died at Auschwitz from all causes can no longer be disputed. Monographs on Zyklon B, Auschwitz from a man who was stationed there and the killing ability of the Auschwitz gas chambers. Plus more experts. #67, softcover, 120 pages, $13.

 

The Myth of the Six Million. Edited by Willis A. Carto. By Dr. David L. Hoggan. The most concise book on the holocaust and one that almost never came to be printed. All you need to know about the holocaust to realize it’s a hoax. #446, softcover, 160 pages, $13.

 

The Holocaust Industry. By Norman Finkelstein—The author, who is Jewish, is one of the Anti-Defamation League’s “Top 10 Most Dangerous Men.” A professor, this brave Jew was denied tenure for speaking up about the use of the holocaust a a guilt-driven moneymaking machine. #220S, softcover, 150 pages, $13.

 

The Giant With Feet of Clay. Juergen Graf, an intrepid Swiss scholar, makes a devastating case against Raul Hilberg’s standard work on the holocaust, The Destruction of the European Jews. Scholarly, dispassionately written, it is a devastating account of purposeful historical misinformation and outright falsehoods in regard to the internment of Jews and others by the Nazis. #252, softcover, 128 pages, $11.

 

The Hoax of the 20th Century. Arthur Butz’s seminal Revisionist work is the epitomé of holocaust study and the most widely read book on the subject. In 502 pages of penetrating study and lucid commentary, Butz gives the reader a graduate course on the subject. This is a book you must have if you want a clear picture of the biggest cover-up of our age. #385, softcover, 502 pages, $25.

 

The Rudolf Report by Germar Rudolf. A follow-up to the Leuchter Report about alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz plus additional updates and clarifications. The author, a scientist and publisher is now rotting in a German prison for his “politically incorrect” conclusions about the holocaust. #378, 455 pages, softcover, $30.

 

Concentration Camp Stutthof by Juergen Graf and Carlo Mattogno. New, important discoveries. The authors, Revisionist historians, lay to rest the allegations concerning this camp. Meticulously researched. #379, 122 pages, softcover, $15.

 

Concentration Camp Majdanek by Juergen Graf and Carlo Mattogno. Blockbuster. Historical-technical study with on-site physical research in addition to primary sources disprove allegations that the camp was used as an extermination center. #380, 326 pages, softcover, $25.

 

The First Holocaust: Jewish Fundraising Campaigns With Holocaust Claims During and After WWI. By Don Heddesheimer. The author shows that the 6 million figure dates back to Jewish fundraising campaigns that started during the FIRST World War and reached their peak in the mid-1920s. Although this exaggerated Zionist propaganda of “mass extermination” began to slow down in the 1930s, it never completely ceased and received powerful new momentum in the 1940s, resulting in the entry of the 6 million figure

 

———————————————

 

PDF of original Barnes Review article: One Man’s Journey To ‘Holocaust Denial’

 

 

Version History

 

Version 3: Oct 30, 2017 — Improved formatting.

Version 2: Jul 4, 2015 — Improved formatting. Added PDF of original Barnes Review article.

 

Version 1: Published Jan 24, 2014 – Text and some pics added.

Read Full Post »

Into the Darkness : An Uncensored Report from Inside the Third Reich at War 

by Lothrop Stoddard

Stoddard

1940

Chapter 15: Socialized Health

The treatment given a tuberculous patient is partly determined by his social worth. If he is a valuable citizen and his case is curable, no expense is spared. If he is adjudged incurable, he is kept comfortable, of course, but no special effort is made to prolong slightly an existence which will benefit neither the community nor himself. Germany can nourish only a certain amount of human life at a given time. We National Socialists are in duty bound to foster individuals of social and biological value.

It was the official in charge of the Tuberculosis Section of the Public Health Service headquarters who spoke. He was an earnest young man with reflective eyes and a precise manner of speech. His was only one of many departments devoted to the combating of every notable Germanic ill, from cancer to flat feet. Here the myriad strands of a nationwide organization head up in a big building near Nollendorfplatz.

I had become accustomed to elaborate publicity methods in all the national headquarters of Governmental or Party institutions, but I think this one deserves the prize. The whole building was one series of exhibits, while the detailed educational literature was all­inclusive. As usual, I was given a liberal sampling, sent next day to my hotel. They went to swell a collection of data which filled a hand­trunk by the time I left Germany.

I have that public health literature spread out before me as I write. There are some twenty pamphlets, dealing with general or special topics, including a detailed bibliography of the best books available in the entire field. Some of the pamphlets are illustrated with cuts and diagrams. I note especially the one dealing with foot troubles, which contains a whole series of exercises. Then there are several single­sheet “dodgers.” Here is one entitled: Advice to Pregnant Women. This consists of a series of wood­ cuts. First, the things she should do: Sponge­bath on arising; take a quiet walk; wear proper clothes ­ as indicated; brush her teeth before retiring; take a good sleep in a comfortable bed. Now the don’ts: heavy lifting; high reaching; bending long over the washtub; bending low to get into that bottom drawer; standing too long a time; drinking and smoking; wearing high­heeled shoes; getting shaken up ­ as on a motorcycle; finally, losing one’s temper. At the bottom of the sheet, proper articles of diet are visualized. Others in this pictorial series cover matters like Preparation for Motherhood, and Care of the Baby.

The pamphlets deal with all sorts of things. Here are several on specific diseases ­ tuberculosis, cancer, foot troubles, infantile paralysis, venereal diseases, and so forth. There are several more on sex ­ the best ages for begetting children; advice to parents on handling children during adolescence; advice to youths and maidens ­ these last preaching strict morality, though from a patriotic rather than a religious basis. Lastly, there are a few miscellaneous topics, including diet, exercise, and avoidance of liquor and tobacco. All these are inexpensively gotten up for mass distribution.

Before I started on my tour of investigation, the general director, Dr. Eckhard, had given me a general background discussion, as Germans always do. He stated that the general theory and structure of the German public health system goes back to Bismarck’s day. The outstanding development under the Third Reich is thoroughgoing co­ordination of various departments and organizations. Structurally, therefore, no great changes have taken place except the establishment since 1933 of a complete system of cancer centers throughout Germany. It is in the spirit and tempo of the Public Health Service that we discover the vital difference between the present and former times. The Nazi attitude, subordinating the individual to the collective good, is well expressed in the remarks of Dr. Eckhard’s subordinate with which this chapter began.

Dr. Schramm, the eminent surgeon whom I met at my first dinner­party in Berlin, undertook to continue my education in Public Health. One of the points he stressed was the good general level of health, due largely to the health ­insurance law by which even the poorest are assured full medical treatment. People are urged to seek medical advice periodically or for any worrisome symptom, and since it costs them nothing personally, they do it gladly. All medical men are legally bound to give a certain portion of their time to insured patients; patients have the right to choose the doctor or surgeon they wish to consult, and they even have the right to be sent to the private hospitals of such medical men, if he customarily sends his patients to those institutions. Dr. Schramm took me to the hospital of which he was chief surgeon. It was a fairly large private institution, with about 150 beds. Some wards were for insured patients. I spoke with several of them. They were all workingmen. Their health insurance allowed them up to one year’s hospitalization, with pocket money. After that, if not cured, I was told they were taken care of out of the public health funds indefinitely. Incidentally, Dr. Schramm informed me that cotton is so short in wartime Germany that absorbent cotton has become scarce. It is now saved for vital uses. Ordinary dressings are made of paper, and appear to serve quite well.

Another interesting point I learned was the progress made in the fight against venereal diseases. Anyone infected must at once consult a doctor, under heavy legal penalties. Since he or she can get free treatment and choose the doctor, they are glad to comply. Privacy for the case is assured by having the doctor send in a report to the health authorities bearing a number, the name and address of the patient remaining in his files. But if the patient does not come regularly or fails to comply with directions, the doctor discloses the patient’s identity and coercive measures are taken. Anyone spreading infection is punished by a sentence of at least six months in jail. This sentence is mandatory. Wealth and social position are of no avail. The result of all this is a sharp drop in social disease rates. Fresh syphilitic infections have become rare. There is still considerable gonorrhea, but much is hoped from the new treatment with sulfanilamide. The war has thus far not notably affected the situation. Soldiers are so well trained in prophylaxis and are subject to such heavy punishment for carelessness that there has been scant spread of venereal disease by them.

I spent an instructive morning visiting an accident and out­ patient clinic, to see how that aspect of public health was handled. This clinic was maintained for workingmen; all of them, of course, insured. The approach was not prepossessing. It was on the fourth floor of a dingy warehouse­like building, and was reached by a freight elevator. Once inside, however, I was astonished at the completeness and modernity of the equipment. X­Ray and Roentgen­ Ray machines, sun ­ and violet­ray lamps, mechanical and hand massage, up­to­date operating­room ­ everything seemed to be there. An American woman, the wife of a bone specialist, who accompanied me, was frankly astounded at what we saw. She knew about such matters, and she told me that she had never seen anything professionally finer at home. Perhaps the most significant point was the cheapness with which the clinic was conducted. I was shown the cost­sheets, and found that the average charge made for patients to their associations was less than one dollar per day.

Another important aspect of public health is housing. The officials concerned with this phase showed me several new developments, from inexpensive workingmen’s apartments, through single and double­house settlements, to upper­middle­ class “model villages,” all on the outskirts of Berlin. However, I wasn’t satisfied with what was officially shown me, surmising that everything would be the best of its kind. So I got a foreign journalist who knew about such matters to steer me around the poorest quarters. I was on the hunt for slums.

My colleague told me I wouldn’t find anything very bad, because Berlin had no real slums, as most countries reckon them. But he promised to show me the worst there were, and we spent the greater part of a day poking about. Our starting point was Alexanderplatz, formerly a very tough district and a Communist stronghold. Today, it is a humdrum traffic and shopping center. The worst section nearby has been almost entirely rebuilt with municipal apartment houses for working­men. They are plainly and simply built, and the rents are very cheap. The heart of this extensive development is Horst Wessel Platz, named after the famous Nazi hero and martyr who was murdered by Communists in an old tenement (now torn down) which faced the present square.

After that we radiated in easterly segments; some of the oldest tenement sections drab and dreary, especially in the gray light of a cloudy autumn day. But none of them were run­down, and no dirt or rubbish was to be seen. My colleague informed me that the Nazi Government has forced landowners to clean up and repair even the oldest tenements. This was originally started as part of a compulsory “make­work” program during the early years of the Nazi regime. In some tenement courtyards I saw small, shed like buildings (somewhat like the “alley dwellings” of Washington, D. C.) which once had evidently been lived in. However, such structures have all been condemned as living quarters. So are all cellar tenements. The general impression I got from these workingmen’s quarters was that of a rather low average standard of living, yet above the squalor line.

The nearest to slumlike conditions I discovered was in and about the Grenadierstrasse. There the very poorest class lives, including many foreigners and a considerable number of Jews. The tenements look sordid, with few clean curtains or flowers in the windows, as was the case nearly everywhere else. Many of the passers­by looked as sordid as their abodes. The Jews, understandably, had a fear ­ridden, sullen air. I tried to find out whether ghetto conditions existed, in the sense that Jews were concentrated in certain tenements. Apparently this is not the case. In one tenement, where I saw nothing but Jews about, I asked a postwoman just going in to deliver mail if this were a purely Jewish place. With the frank callousness one so often encounters, she answered disdainfully:

Ach, nein. Jews, Gypsies, all sorts of trash live here!

Germany’s coldly efficient system of public health is strikingly shown by the scientifically notable sanitary job it has done in Poland. Although none of us foreign journalists were allowed to visit the Polish zone, I was fortunate in having a long conversation with almost the only foreigner who was permitted to go there. This man was Dr. Junod, a Swiss and a high official of the International Red Cross. Dr. Junod is an expert judge of sanitary conditions, with many years of service in the Red Cross and long experience in the Ethiopian and Spanish Civil wars. He visited Warsaw, Poland’s shattered capital city, about mid ­November.

He told me that what the German health authorities had done to Warsaw since its capture in late September was a miracle of scientific efficiency. Though the houses were still largely in ruins, the streets were immaculate ­ he did not see even bits of waste paper blowing about. The water and lighting systems had been restored and the population generally inoculated against typhoid. The prostitutes had been listed and were carefully examined at frequent intervals. Most striking of all, the urban masses, habitually filthy and verminous, had been deloused wholesale. The delousing stations parted a man from his clothes,  both going through different cleansing processes. These were so nicely synchronized that the naked individual usually met his garments at the other end ­ both clean and freed from local inhabitants. The clothes were dry, since they had been subjected to a blast of hot air which desiccated them almost immediately.

About the more important aspects of the lives of the people through whose city those unlittered streets ran, I was able to gather little.

Nevertheless, the result of this intensive health campaign was an utter transformation of public hygiene in the short space of two months. Thereby a great peril had been averted. Sanitary conditions immediately following the German conquest were so bad that, unless heroic measures had been speedily taken, mass epidemics would have been inevitable. This would have endangered not only German ­occupied Poland but Germany itself. If such epidemics had spread into the Reich, the consequences might have been catastrophic, for the habitually cleanly Germans have no such partial immunity to filth diseases such as typhus as the Poles have acquired through having been chronically exposed to them. It was clearly not for the Poles,  therefore, but for the benefit of the invaders that this miracle of sanitary science had been invoked.

 
———————————-
 
 
Chapter 2: Berlin Blackout
Chapter 3: Getting on with the Job
Chapter 4: Junketing Through Germany
Chapter 5: This Detested War
Chapter 6: Vienna and Bratislava
Chapter 7: Iron Rations
Chapter 8: A Berlin Lady Goes to Market
Chapter 9: The Battle of the Land
Chapter 10: The Labor Front
Chapter 11: The Army of the Spade
Chapter 12: Hitler Youth
Chapter 13: Women of the Third Reich
Chapter 14: Behind the Winter­Help
Chapter 15: Socialized Health
Chapter 16: In a Eugenics Court
Chapter 17: I See Hitler
Chapter 18: Mid­Winter Berlin
Chapter 19: Berlin to Budapest
Chapter 20: The Party
Chapter 21: The Totalitarian State
Chapter 22: Closed Doors
Chapter 23: Out of the Shadow
 

 ———————————-

PDF of this post (click to download or view):  Into the Darkness – Chap 15
 
 
 
Version History
 
Version 3: Nov 27, 2014 – Added PDF of post.
 
 
 
Version 2: Wed, Feb 5, 2014. Added Chapter links.
Version 1: Published Jan 24, 2014 – Text added.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »