The Holocaust in Germany: Complicity

Figure 1.-- One of the still unanseed uestions of World War II is the level of knowledge concerning genocide on the part of German civilians and German soldiers. We do not know just how much a young soldier like this knew. We are not talking about persecution , every knew about that any many approved. But knowlefge of the genocide is a very different question. The sleeve patch here indicated that he was in signals, perhaps an enima machine operator. and we know tht during Barbarossa that Einsatzgruppen were sending reports on the number of Jrwish mem. womem, and children being killed.

Knowledge is one thing, complicity is quite another. And of course there are various levels of complicity. Most of the killing was done oer organiozed by the SS. This is true. Killing was also commotted by another important group, the military force of Axis allies, especially the Romanian and Bulgarian Army and the Croatian Ustaše usually with a degree of SS involvement. Some would have us believe that the Holcaust was conducted by the SS and that the Wehrmacht had clean hands. This simply not the case. It is true that most of the actual killing was dome by the SS or Germany's Axis allies, especially the Romanians. But the Wehrmact was also involved in some the killing, especially in the East when the killing was done mostly by bullets. But the more important role of the Wehrmacht was in the logistics of the Hollocaust, rounding up Jews so they could be efficently killed. The SS by itself did not have the capbility of rounding up 6 million Jews so they could be killed. They were able to round up many because they had the assistance of the police and other authorities in France and other countries as well as the Wehrmacht. Some of these groups like the French police did not do the killing, but they actively participated in the rounding up, often with very little encouragement from the Germans. There was just not enough SS men or the logistical infrastructure to round up 6 million victims. This was the indespesible role played by the Wehrmacht. Another level of complicity are individuals who reported on or helped identify Jews. Here we get into civilians both German and foreign. And here because of widespread anti-Semtism in Europe, especially Eastern Europe, there were many people willing to inform on Jews and even participate in old fashioned pograms, incouraged by the Germans who wanted it to seem that the local populations were lashing out at Jews. Many Germans benefitted by taking the jobs of Jews fired and dimissed. And there were large numbers of people who participated in efforts to steal Germany property, which helped to isolate and separate Jews from the general population. Some stole Jewish property. Other took advantage of the situation to purchase Jewish property at rediculously low prices. Others purchased Jewish prooperty that had been seized by NAZI authoruities again at low prices. We see auction of the property of Jews deported to the East. A good example is a neigborhood auction in Hanau in Hesse during 1942. And even those who did not personally act or even benefit, their associations and attitudes toward Jews helped build the climate that led to the Holocaust. Theseincluded meihborts who stooped speaking to Jews, Teacher who brought Jewish childre to the front of the class to point out 'Jewish faial features'. Boys who beat up Jewish classmates. Girls who call Jewish classmates 'dirty'.


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Created: 9:59 PM 10/22/2015
Last updated: 7:46 AM 5/16/2018