Belonging and Genocide: Hitler's Community, 1918-1945 by Thomas Kühne

By Thomas Kühne

Not anyone has ever posed a passable cause of the intense inhumanity of the Holocaust. What enabled thousands of Germans to perpetrate or condone the homicide of the Jews? during this illuminating e-book, Thomas Kühne deals a provocative resolution. as well as the hatred of Jews or coercion that created a genocidal society, he contends, the need for a united “people’s community” made Germans conform and sign up for jointly in mass crime.

Exploring deepest letters, diaries, memoirs, mystery reviews, trial documents, and different records, the writer exhibits how the Nazis used such universal human wishes as group, belonging, and team spirit to forge a country undertaking the worst crime in historical past.

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Additional info for Belonging and Genocide: Hitler's Community, 1918-1945

Sample text

In 1926, only one year after the rightist veterans’ meeting in Constance, the leftists, including the Reichsbanner, held a different—pacifist and pro-republican—veterans’ meeting in the same city. Its speakers denied the nationalist and patriarchal version of the myth of comradeship. At the same time, the principal speaker at this republican assemblage, a leader of the Catholic Center Party, reminded his public of the holy meaning of comradeship. Whoever had observed comradeship, he said, thereafter was always compassionate, never egoistical.

After the war, the legend of the stab in the back further propelled anti-Semitism. 39 In fact, veterans’ meetings often anticipated a racially purified Volksgemeinschaft. Rightist veterans’ associations didn’t welcome Social Democratic bluecollar workers either. Unlike Jews, they were not excluded axiomatically but were pressured to abandon their party affiliations. The Stahlhelm offered benefits through its social security system, and some employers told their socialist employees to join the Stahlhelm if they did not want to lose their jobs.

It was not just about “anti-Semitism in a traditional sense,” he said. It was “not just a fight against Jews as such, but a fight for the German soul. . ”16 Many Germans agreed; they fabricated a widespread sense of national belonging by excluding the Jews. In 1937, the Jewish Victor Klemperer saw a picture in the Stürmer, the radical anti-Semitic Nazi newspaper, which showed “two girls at a seaside resort. ’ ” Klemperer, who strongly identified himself as a German and had long taken pride in being a World War I veteran, understood the “horrible significance” of these words.

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