Hitler: Part 4 ~ Act 3: WWII at home — Euthanasia & Eugenics as State Policy

by faithgibson on September 14, 2014

Return to Part 3

Euthanasia & Eugenics ~ strange bedfellows of profit, purification, and political appeasement

My thoughts and conclusion (draft version) on the original question of responsibility by German citizens to have stopped him and victims of Hitler to have more successfully resisted his systematic and industrialized criminality 

Continue from Part 4:

Another of Hitler’s early acts of officially-sanctioned insanity was to personally sign an executive order for a system of legalized euthanasia of physically and mentally handicapped children.

When doctors and nurses questioned or objected to these policies, they were ordered in a directive personally signed by Hitler to administer lethal drugs to these handicapped children, while their parents were to be told their children had unfortunately and unexpectedly died of ‘natural causes’.

Hitler’s euthanasia plan also included the mentally retarded adults, the vast majority whom were already living in state-run institutions. Under Hitler’s tutelage, a sociopathic bureaucrat working at one of these facilities invented a simply system that consisted of phony a ‘shower’ stall that delivered a fatal gas instead of water. This made mass extermination as easy as taking candy from a baby.

The custodial staff just told retarded patients marked for extermination they were going to shower that day. These compliant patients calmly walked themselves into the bathroom, undressed, and and stepped into the shower stall, all of their own volition. All the staff had to do was lock the shower door and switched on the gas. Since most victims didn’t have a family, a trumped-up cover story wasn’t even necessary.

Euthanasia for fun ~ Eugenics for profit

Hitler was already famous for his ideas about making Germans into a ‘master’ race by ridding the republic of what he defined as “undesirables”. At this point, all his political rivals and anyone who publicly objected to his Nazi regime had long ago been carted off to a concentration camp. The only ‘undesirable’ populations still on the horizon were Jews, gypsies, and a smattering of the disabled being cared for at home by their families who had escaped state-organized euthanasia efforts.

Of these groups, the Jews were particularly valuable to Hitler’s political goals. The most obvious reason was the 900-year cultural prejudice against Judaism that started in Europe during the Medieval period (Dark and Middle Ages) and was ramped up by Spanish King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492. But it was so much more was involved than simple malice toward Jews, as an emotionally satisfying cathartic to a personal prejudice, although that was and remains certainly a core aspect of anti-semitism.

From Hitler’s perspective, there were three distinct advantage to him for targeting Jews as the #1 undesirable group. The first key element was the propaganda factor — it was so easily to make a public scapegoat out of them. Nothing distracts (and temporarily satisfies) a discontented population like a common target for hate — something or someone that everyone can agree is the REAL reason they are so miserable. We might think of how easy it was to distract the public in wake of 9-11 by villanizing muslims and the Islamic religion.

Groups of people love to come together to hate a common enemy; they leave believing their hatred was both confirmed as rational and vindicated by the group. Similar to Gordon Greco’s idea that “greed is good” for Wall Street, this group dynamic confirms that “hate is good”. Obviously a dark heart of evil is potentially within each on of us.

The German Jewish population was particularly suited to the roll of state-sanctioned role of scapegoat. As citizens of the great Jewish diaspora, they were already a socially separate, distinctive and ‘peculiar’  group, which predictably aroused the suspicions of neighbors and co-workers. A long-standing, well-rehearsed vocabulary of hatred going as back as the first European Crusade (1096), was waiting in the wings, just begging to be used.

But when you factor in the huge potential for economic exploitation, Jews were a far more useful target than any of the other identified “undesirables”, which mainly were gypsies, gays, and wheelchair-bound elderly. Had Hitler been an American politician, he would have used race — as defined by skin color — as the rallying point instead of religion. The word “Jew” would have been exchanged for “African-American” and all the derogratory language including the “n” word.

But this wouldn’t have actually provided Hitler with what he wanted most — asset forfeiture — since blacks in the US have historically been a socially and economically deprived underclass without much in the way of property or other assets to seize.

This was not the case with the Jewish population in Germany in the 1930s. Compared to the general public, Jews as a demographic group were far more likely to be well-educated, have higher incomes and own property than the average German worker. Literacy in reading and math is central to Judaism, since an observant Jew is required to read and study understand the Torah — the first five books of the Bible (Genesis to Deuteronomy).

As a result, Jews in general are three time more likely to be professional trained in law, medicine, finance and higher education. They have also become adept at other types of occupations that frequently create a higher level of personal wealth. This includes the entertainment and film industry, banking, trading in gems and precious metals, small shopkeepers, and responsible position in government bureaucracies such as budgeting or tax-collecting. Historically Jewish communities were close-knit (sometimes even insular), and often pooled economic resource to help adult children or disadvantaged persons start a new business or pursue a higher education.

Envy over the good fortune of Jews, combined with historical prejudice and propaganda against the Jewish religion and the separatism of Jewish communities all spawned resentment.  As an already despised segments of society, the Jewish problem created a ‘perfect storm’ of exploitation for Hitler. All he had to was tap into the irrational feeling of envy, prejudice, and resentment and it would be come an ATM that spewed cash at him to finance his lunacy.

This role as scapegoat was perfectly suited to distract and deflect criticism of government policy. Hitler could pursue his goal of  ‘purifying’ the German race AND, from the standpoint of military expansionism, reap the financial fruits of “asset forfeiture” on a Herculean scale. Anti-Semitic policies of extermination were a both a political AND economic bonanza for Hitler.

While Hitler searched for the technology to achieve his ‘final solution’ to the ‘Jewish problem’, German Jews were already being rounded up and held into ghettos, while he and others figured out just how to ‘pull of the job’. What they wanted was for Jews to line up in the thousands to voluntarily hand over all their cash, gold jewelry, family heirlooms, precious words of art, stocks and bonds and maybe even the gold from their teeth and the thick braids of hair from their head, and then simply and immediately dematerialize on the spot. Pouff!

Over the course of the next year or so, Hitler’s henchmen finally decided on a plan both reprehensible and fiendishly clever. The final solution was a Machiavellian 3-part plan that consisted of building a series of new internment camps that were very different from the huge concentration camps in Germany itself. The original version of ‘concentration’ camp was designed to feed and house German citizens of all kinds (including but not primarily Jews) so these political prisoners could be exploited as a slave labor force. That of course required that they be housed, feed, clothed and given access to bathroom and bathing facilities.

However, the new camps were to exclusively for the purpose of the efficient extermination of Jews and other ‘defectives and fundamentally very different. Their only purpose was to exterminate boxcars full of prisoners as fast as they arrived.

The ‘sweet simplicity’ of extermination camps was that they didn’t have to provide any shelter or human  services — none of the barracks, bunks, bathrooms, kitchens or prison uniforms required by an imprisoned population. Extermination camps were positively tiny by comparison, which meant they could be run by a tiny staff — as few as 30 or so SS officers. These killing camps were purposefully built ONLY in German-occupied areas of Poland (instead of Germany proper) to keep the entire operation secret from the German population and the rest of the world.

While these plans were being implemented, Jewish ghettos in Germany and Poland were functioning as temporary holding cells for as many as 250,000 Jews — men, women and children of all ages. As soon as Triblinka and other extermination camps were operational, a veritable river of human victims was unleashed.

Armed SS troops moved into the ghetto and rounded up hundreds, sometimes thousands, of multi-generational Jewish families. The SS explained that they were being ‘relocated’ to a ‘better place’ with improved living quarters and parks for the children. Since this was a permanent arrangement, every family should take their collective valuable possessions with them — cash, stocks and bonds, rings, watches, wedding rings, other jewelry, family’s silverware and candlesticks, precious books, small works of art, and anything else of value.

Like good soldiers, these political hostages carried and dutifully guarded their precious cargo on the cattle trains during the 6 to 12 hours it took to reach the hell that was Treblinka and its ilk. After they arrived families were separated by gender (children going with their mothers or other women). The precious suitcases and bags that contained all their earthy wealth were unceremoniously snatched from their hands and piled in a heap for the SS guards to pilfer at a later time. Then the hostages of all ages and genders were lined up, told to remove their wedding bands and eye glasses,  had their heads shaved, and then were instructed to undress and put naked into orderly lines to await an unknown fate.

In the early years of Hitler’s dictatorship, the process for mass extinction consisted of forcing the stronger male prisoners at gunpoint to dig long, deep and narrow holes in the ground. Then successive groups of prisoners were made to line up in front of these mass graves as small children of both sexes, teenagers, women holding babies in their arms, and the elderly were mowed down by a volley of bullets from the guns of an execution squad. Victims would often cry out or scream as they tumbled backwards on to the growing pile of the dead and dying.

These ‘euthanasia experiments’ were a key element in Hitler’s demented plan to purify the German population. The problem for him was a general abhorrence among the German public for the extra-judicial killings of its own citizens.

In addition, many of Hitler’s high-ranking officers and military staff had ‘scruples’ or a squeamishness that made them unwilling to herd hundreds of innocent people together for the express purposes of mass extinction. Concentration camp officers and staff were often psychologically unable to directly participate in these grizzly killings, with more than one high-ranking military officer being publicly sick to his stomach and unable to carry on.

Unfortunately for Hitler, this slow and messy process was also a living hell for the soldiers. This created all kinds of push-back, bureaucratic problems and a PR nightmare that Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels couldn’t easily fix. However, the euthanasia ‘experiment’ originally developed to efficiently kill the mentally retarded came up with the clever idea of fake showers outfitted to dispense a lethal gas. In addition efficiently emptying out Germany’s state hospitals, these gas chambers disguised as shower facilities also provided Hitler’s SS with a suitably ‘sanitized’ and industrialized method of mass killing. By adding industrial-sized cremation facilities, these camps could quickly get rid of the telltale evidence. All together, this plan was darn near foolproof.

The extermination camps traded their inefficient firing squads for very large ‘shower’ facilities capable of systematically exterminating up to 6,000 political hostages at at time. This allowed a tiny staff of Hitler’s most fanatical SS officers to easily and quietly kill the 15,000 mostly Jewish men, women, children and infants delivered daily in railroad box cars from the ghettos in Warsaw and other occupied cities.

Three times a day, every day, groups of 5,000 or more political hostages were herded into the fake showers. Within a few hours of getting off the train, the death toll exactly matched the number of hostages brought in each day. As a result, the camp didn’t ever have to feed or house its human cargo, or even provide drinking water or toilet facilities. Industrial-sized crematoriums running 24 hours a day allowed it sociopathic staff to efficiently dispose of the huge daily pile of bodies.

There was a specific political motive behind the decision to build these extermination camps in German-occupied Poland, hundreds of miles away from the German population and in adopting a ‘quick-kill’ euthanasia process that required few personnel to maintain the camps and run its souped-up killing machine. Both decisions eliminated outside witnesses, which allowed the SS to keep their crimes against humanity a secret from the German public.

Regrettably, the combined attributes of efficiency and secrecy also allowed Hitler to implement his evil plan over several years at its most expansive level.

Unfinished CONCLUSION/not spell checked:

{Currently missing as a stand-alone statement, but a lot what is to be said was included in the preface}

Briefly, temporarily and off-the-cuff, I am convinced that it is counterproductive to collectively blame the German population for the crimes perpetrated by Hitler, et al.

Not only was he a madman in regard to the brutal military invasion of other countries, but he first applied that same soul-less and vicious cunning to his own people. This allowed him to metaphorically ‘gut’ them psychologically, which disabled their political ability to be effective agents of change. Hitler survived 47 assassination attempts from within his own military ranks, so  even a minority of highly-placed Germans recognized his profoundly malevolent influence and were willing give their own lives in an effort to eliminate him.

The course of events under Hitler’s watch during the buildup to and the actual years of WWII, both in and out of Germany, had become immutable by the weight of history that starting in 1914 with the industrialization and mechanization of war, as well as the earlier events of Acts Two and Three.

It is more accurate to see Hitler as riding the crest of a huge wave, a veritable tsunami of industrial and technological capacities that permitted his personal pathology to create the destructive force that was in many ways even more deadly than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Hitler could not have done what he did if the human species had not first been so “successful” at industrializing and mechanizing the weapons of mega-death/mass-destruction invented in the 20th century.      

When attempting to provide a rounded account of way a particular war was fought, historians usually include causes from many categories, with the deepest distinction being whether that war was the inevitable and predictable outcome of certain factors or an arbitrary and unfortunate mistake. I’m not so sure it really matters when the sum total of all the particular events itself, logically speaking, represents an inevitable and predictable outcome. Genies can never be put back in the bottle, and in this case the name of the genie was “holocaust”.

From that perspective, the “inevitable and predictable outcome” of this trilogy that played out in the 1940s at concentration camp and death camps like Auschwitz and Treblinka was actually started in 1914 with Act One — the industrialization and mechanization of warfare. The Fields of Flanders and many other forgotten battle grounds and destroyed cities and towns all over Europe were Holocaust_1.0

Act two were the onerous reparations demanded by the winners of WWI, which created a decades-long economic situation similar to a ‘failed state’. This plowed and fertilized the soil that Hitler so cleverly planted himself (and his psychopathic ideas) in, as he first hatched and carried out his plot to destroy the free German Republic and replace it with a 1,000 years of his own insanity.

If ever there was an equal-opportunity vicious kniving monster, it was Hitler and he first used his brutality against his own people in the 1930s before unleashing it on the rest of the world in the 1940s.  Using what the 20th century world of technology provided to him as industrialized methods of mass destruction, he killed his own.

Of course Act Three is WWII was both an external event of war in Europe, alone with the internal events of concentration camps, slave labor, and ‘ethnic cleansing’ of undesirable populations groups. But even among this aggregate of horror, the specific targeting of the Jewish population of Europe stands out. Hitler had a love-hate relationship with Judaism — he love to hate Jews. The reasons a complex and crazy and ultimatly don’t matter any more than the racial prejudice held by many Americans against members of non-white ethnicities and non-protestant religions. 

But Hitler targeted the Jews as an organized groups for two specific and astute political reasons. The first was to provide a PR distraction and someone to blame when ordinary German citizens daily faced the mounting difficulties caused by WWII. Pick-pockets have always used the tricks of distraction while they relieve you of your watch and wallet. Hitler was a consumate criminal.

Then he implemented one of his most devious and devilish plans —  “asset forfeiture” on a Herculean scale (a Ponzi scheme of sorts) to help him finance the war and to live the luxurious life of the landed nobility. Sadly, this worked only too well. While the rest of the world was falling down around his ears, this provided him with a constant torrent of money and valuable from 6 million Jewish hostages. He laughed all the way to the “Bank of Triblinka” as he made is daily deposits of ill-gotten goods. Again, Hitler the consumate criminal.

If one reads the records of WWII carefully, Hitler killed his own soldiers or let them die unnecessary by the millions (the Eastern or Russian front in particular). He let die or ordered the killing of millions of civilians of all genders (gay or straight), ethnicities, religions, economic status all over Europe including Germany and his own city of residence, Berlin. As an equal-opportunity killer, he just killed, and killed and killed. Then he took a nap and when he work up give the orders to start the killing again.

And yes, Holocaust_2.0 was extraordinarily for its viciousness, cruelty and hateful nature, with intergenerational consequences. It was different, it was worse, and it is impossible to totally “forgive” its perpetrators. We can’t help but get crazy when we hear about it, or think about it, visit a Holocaust memorial or as tourists, walk through the historical sites associated with the Holocaust.

We should never, never, never forget, but still, it doesn’t help us to stay crazy.

Personally, I decided that learning from this rich era of history was more fruitful than wondering if the German population was ethically responsible for the crimes against humanity perpetrated by Hitler. Certainly the intergenerational story of the Great War and its 2 sequels (the intra-war period and WWII) provided many valuable lessons about human behavior.

The best way to make sure there is never a Holocaust_3.0 is to exchange our normal propensity for blame for a lively openness and curiosity. For me this is considering that maybe, just maybe, i don’t already know everything there is to know about this topic, and maybe there is something more to know that will be helpful to me or others.

All i can say is: “I hope I’m right”.

In the final frame, learning from history may be the only really effective ‘reparation’ for the victims of Holocausts 1.0 and 2.0. Maybe this is the best way to honor those that suffered and died as a result of Hitler’s insanity-on-steroids, which unfortunately provided industrialized killing machines to a certified psychopath.  

A Great Calamity befell (and will continue to befall) humanity when we used our G*D-given intellect, and creativity and other talents to industrialize war and make these mechanized killing machines possible.

We can’t, and we don’t even want, to put the genie of technology back in the bottle. But it had often worked against us. Now our job is to figure out how to make it work for humanity.

Peace to all

faith ^O^

09-08-2015 @ 3:37 pm

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