What the Führer means for Germans today
In Germany, as in the rest of Europe, copyright expires 7 decades after the author`s year of death. That applies even when the author is Adolf Hitler and the work is `Mein Kampf`. Since 1945, the state of Bavaria has owned the book`s German-language rights and has refused to allow its republication. German libraries stock old copies, and they can be bought and sold. But from January 1st no permission will be needed to reprint it. Those living outside Germany may not grasp the significance of the moment. For Germans, the expiry of the copyright has caused hand-wringing and controversy. The question, as they ring in the new year, is not what to do about `Mein Kampf` as it enters the public domain. Rather, it is what Hitler means for Germany today.
Former NSDAP members simply resumed their careers even in the interior ministry after the war
The head of a division once largely responsible for Nazi education policy, others who participated in forced sterilization programs, high-ranking members of the NSDAP, SS and SA: During the post-war period, the German Interior Ministry was full of people who, "today would have to be classified as Nazi perpetrators." That is the conclusion of a study conducted for the interior ministry by independent researchers at the Center for Contemporary History (ZZF) in Potsdam. Over the course of 11 months, historians studied the personnel files of employees at West Germany's Federal Interior Ministry, as well as the Ministry of the Interior of former communist East Germany between 1949-1970. They found a "spectacularly high" number of employees with Nazi pasts in both agencies.
Study: Nazi propaganda left life-long mark on German kids
Nazi propaganda had a life-long effect on German children schooled in the Third Reich, leaving them far more likely to harbor negative views of Jews than those born earlier and later, according to a study published Monday. The researchers found that those born in the 1930s held the most extreme anti-Semitic opinions — even fifty years after the end of Nazi rule. `It`s not just that Nazi schooling worked, that if you subject people to a totalitarian regime during their formative years it will influence the way their mind works,` said Hans-Joachim Voth of the University of Zurich, one of the study`s authors. `The striking thing is that it doesn`t go away afterward.`
Germany's interest in Adolf Hitler at record levels
Germans are more interested in Adolf Hitler that at any time since the end of WWII, a new study has concluded. The German Media Control research group found that documentaries about Hitler are aired twice a day on German TV channels and that books and films about the Nazi leader are being produced in record numbers. 242 programs dealing with Hitler had been shown on TV during the first four months of 2013, while 500 other films and documentaries that had dealt with the Nazi era in general had also been aired. Some 2,000 books on Hitler were published in Germany last year. The documentaries had titles which included Hitler's Wonder Weapons, Hitler and the Holy Lance, Hitler's War and Hitler's Blitzkrieg.
The last surviving stretch of German autobahn built under Hitler is set to disappear
The 4-km stretch of road on the A11, north east of Berlin in the state of Brandenburg, dates from 1936 and was part of Hitler`s massive motorway building programme of the Reichsautobahn. The road survived Nazism and Communism and despite some repair work is still the original stretch from the 1930s. But drivers have had enough of the cracks and potholes on the route which links Berlin to the Polish city of Szczecin. Renovation is planned for 2015 if the money can be found. Five bridges on the A11 also need rebuilding which date from the 1930s. The Nazis built 3,300 kilometres of motorways up until 1939.
Home towns struggle with legacy of Stalin and Hitler
The birth towns of Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler are divided on the issue of how to deal with the legacy of the dictators who slaughtered millions. In some ways it would be hard to imagine two more different places than Gori in Georgia and Braunau am Inn in Austria. Gori, with its crumbling Soviet-era apartment blocks, is set in the foothills of the Caucasus mountains. It is poor. Even in winter, pensioners try to earn a few pennies, helping cars to park. Braunau, by contrast, is a comfortable little Austrian town, with a beautifully preserved medieval centre.
Why a new book about Hitler returning has become a German best seller
He`s back. Adolf Hitler is back, in a book by Timur Vermes – a comedy in which Hitler returns to Berlin in 2011. The book, which has reached the top of the German bestseller list, is causing much controversy in a country that would rather forget it has been 80 years since Hitler rose to power on Jan. 30, 1933. Vermes comments his book: "Often, we tell ourselves that if a new Hitler came along, it would be easy to stop him. I tried to show the opposite – that even today, Hitler might be successful. Just in a different way."
Bismarck, Berlin and Swastika - Town names that had to change during wartime
Six hours north of Toronto, Canada lies a remote community with a most unfortunate name: Swastika. The municipality, which has a population of less than 1,000, was founded in 1908 by prospectors who worked the nearby Swastika Gold Mine. The town was set up a decade and a half before the Nazi party even formed and a full quarter century before nearly anyone outside of Germany had heard the name Hitler. In 1940 provincial authorities ordered the people of Swastika to come up with another appellation for the town, but the townsfolk resisted, arguing that they chose the name Swastika long before there were Nazis and they weren`t about to change it on account of some goose-stepping fascists half a world away.
How Castro recruited members of the Nazi SS to train troops during Cuban Missile Crisis
Fidel Castro recruited members of the Nazi SS to train Cuban troops during the Cold War, newly released German secret service files have revealed. The documents, released by the BND and published online by German newspaper Die Welt, show a series of plans developed in October 1962 - at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. They reveal that two of the four SS officers invited to La Havana had taken up the offer. And regarding the purchase of right-wing linked arms, they show how Castro had dealt with two traffickers - Otto Ernst Remer and Ernst Wilhelm Springer - in buying 4,000 pistols. The conclusion drawn by German secret service officials was that the Cuban regime wanted to lessen its dependence on Soviet-produced arms.
Historian Moritz Pfeiffer urges Germans to quiz dying Nazi generation: Genocide is part of family history
German historian Moritz Pfeiffer asked his granddad what he did in WWII, and then fact-checked the testimony. His findings in a new book ("My Grandfather in the War 1939-1945") shed light on a dying generation that remains outwardly unrepentant, but is increasingly willing to break decades of silence on how, and why, it followed Hitler. At least 20 to 25 million Germans knew about the Holocaust while it was happening, and some 10 million fought on the Eastern Front in a war of annihilation that targeted civilians from the start. That, says Pfeiffer, makes the genocide and the crimes against humanity a part of family history.
45-min documentary film about Werewolves (post-war Nazi Guerrillas) on Youtube
This 45-minute documentary film explores Werewolves, post-war underground Nazi Guerrilla movement which killed collaborators and carried out sabotage raids to prevent the Allied reconstruction of Germany. Available on Youtube.
Biography of Nazi criminal Karl Jäger meets resistance from his small German hometown
Many in Karl Jäger's hometown of Waldkirch would rather forget that the notorious Nazi criminal lived there at all - after all, Jäger has been dead for decades. But historian Wolfram Wette is trying to combat the silence with a new biography. A sophisticated musician who played both the piano and the violin, Jäger went on to become a mass murderer of Lithuanian Jews. "He was a man from the middle class, a respected personality in Waldkirch, who was considered exemplary, brilliant, correct and cultivated. Some Waldkirch women still gush to this day about how handsome he was. On Sundays, he would march through town with a 100-member group of SS troops."
Exorcising Hitler: The Occupation and Denazification of Germany by Frederick Taylor
"Exorcising Hitler" explores Germany's first two years of defeat and occupation, starting with the chaos during the last months of the war. Some, like the Werwolf group, fought back killing allied soldiers and collaborators, some committed suicides rather than witnessed the end of the Third Reich, millions fled, and some, like Helmut Nassen, were both hiding from the Nazis to avoid conscription and firing potshots at the Americans.
The turning point was meant to be the massive Denazification process, which was carried out by Germans themselves. The problem: almost all German lawyers and judges had been in the Nazi party. In addition, with the beginning of Cold War denazification was abandoned - and in some cases reversed.
The Perfect Nazi: Uncovering My Grandfather's Secret Past by Martin Davidson (WWII book review)
The interest in genealogy has increased, and few people have avoided stories about their friend's amazing great grandfather, but for Martin Davidson research into his family history revealed disturbing secrets. As a child growing up in Scotland, he believed his grandfather, Bruno Langbehn, was a retired German dentist. But Bruno was not just a member of the Nazi Party and Ernst Röhm's SA (Brownshirts). He wore the Gold Party Badge, given only to those with low party numbers. And as a member of the SS, he was awarded the Death's Head Ring, decorated with carved skulls and runic signs, personally presented by Himmler.
Panzer Divisions, Afrika Korps, Waffen SS, Blitzkrieg: Why Americans idolize the German war machine
I've always been interested in the German military, especially the Wehrmacht. As a boy I built scale models, not just German Panther and Tiger tanks, but also Luftwaffe planes. I also built American tanks and planes (Shermans, Thunderbolts and Mustangs) but the German models seemed cooler. The German military seemed tough and aggressive: hanging on against long odds - against the hordes of communists that we Americans were facing down after the World War II. As I taught military history to cadets at the Air Force Academy I noticed how the "Cult of Clausewitz" reduced American military thinking.
New Iron Cross: Germany awards new medal for bravery, the first granted since WWII
4 German soldiers were granted the country's new medal for bravery, the Cross of Honour for Bravery. It features a golden Maltese cross with an eagle in the centre, held on a black, red and gold ribbon with oak leaves. It is the Bundeswehr's first bravery decoration since the Iron Cross was avoided due to its WWII and Nazi links. Before the creation of the Cross of Honour for Bravery, the Bundeswehr's decorations were given only for "loyal services and in appreciation of exemplary soldierly acquittal of duty". The Iron Cross was created as a Prussian military honour in 1813. The medal was later awarded to German servicemen in WWI and WWII.
Just don't mention Hitler: Young Germans are proud of their country once again
After 60 years of self-loathing and shame because of the Third Reich, increasing numbers of Germans believe they should be proud about their fatherland. A study, by the Identity Foundation in Duesseldorf, revealed that twice as many Germans were 'very proud' to be German as 8 years ago. "The German soul, bruised and discredited by the Nazi era, has to a large degree been healed," said sociology professor Eugen Buss. "I'm not ashamed of being German - maybe my parents or grandparents were because they were closer to the National Socialist era," explained Nina Krause. Nationalism became the dirtiest word of all for Germans in 1945.
Study: Many German schools still named after SS, SA, Nazi Party members
A new study exposes that several German schools are still named after Nazis, like proponents of racial hygiene, rocket scientists and high-ranking Nazi party officials. But local authorities are not keen to change the names. Among the 2,000 schools in the state of Saxony, 8 are named after Nazi party members, 3 after SA members, and 1 after an SS member. These numbers come from a study by historian Geralf Gemser, who has compiled the biographies of all the men and women with Nazi connections who are namesakes for schools in Saxony.
Rehabilitating Nazi-era traitors: "The Last Taboo" by Wolfram Wette and Detlef Vogel
Soldiers found guilty of treason (defending Jews, criticising Hitler) by Nazi Germany's courts have not yet been rehabilitated. Germany's parliament plans to overturn the verdicts, but a proposed bill is hampered by party politics. When Ludwig Baumann sees posters for the WW2 film Valkyrie he gets agitated: "How can we celebrate Stauffenberg as a hero, when Johann is still considered a traitor?" He is talking about Private First Class Johann Lukaschitz, who lay in a Wehrmacht prison in 1944, sentenced to death for "failing to report a planned act of treason." About 30,000 soldiers were sentenced to death - 20,000 were actually executed.
Germans have apologized from everybody, nobody apologizes treatings Germans badly (Article no longer available from the original source)
Germany apologized to the world for the Nazi regime's atrocities, but the world has not apologized properly for the atrocities against the Germans around the world. The German populations were id'ed with German nationalist regimes of Kaiser Wilhelm or Nazis. This was the case in the WWI era; persecution of Germans in the U.S. - and in Europe after WWII. Many victims did not have any link to those regimes. Or Germans had been crucified because they were seen as lacking proper ties to the country in which they lived. This includes the persecution of ethnic German Mennonite, Amish and Hutterite communities in the U.S. and of Tyrolean Germans in South Tyrol.
Tank Driving School - Germans all excited about Soviet-era tanks
Old T-55 Soviet tanks still roll through the eastern German countryside. The tank crews are not soldiers but tourists who have paid 136 euros to be a weekend warrior at the wheel of a 34-tonne vintage armoured vehicle. Every year 10,000 thrill-seekers experience the "Tank Driving School" in Beerfelde, a small town between Berlin and the Polish border. It was founded in 2003 by a former soldier of the East German army, Axel Heyde, who said he has been interested in battle tanks all his life. He says that near indestructible machinery has nothing to do with nostalgia for the communist period.
Germany discusses return of the Iron Cross - Too burdened by Nazi past
Ernst-Reinhard Beck, leader of German military reservists and member of parliament, has called for the reintroduction of the Iron Cross. But some say the medal has too much nazi past. When it was introduced in the 1800s, the Iron Cross was meant to reward soldiers for heroism on the field of battle. It was a medal not much different from the Congressional Medal of Honor granted to US soldiers. But in World War II, the medal came to symbolize the Nazis, and after the war it disappeared. Today there is an "honor cross" for very loyal soldiers, but courage on the battlefield goes unrewarded in the Bundeswehr.
Germany and self-recrimination: 75th anniversary of Hitler's rise to power
Most countries observe the best in their history. Germany promotes its worst - relentlessly. In the future Berlin will have two new monuments: one near the Reichstag to the murdered Gypsies (the Sinti and the Roma); and another not far from the Brandenburg Gate, to killed gays and lesbians. In November Germany broke ground on the Topography of Terror center at the location of the former Gestapo and SS headquarters. And in October an exhibition opened at the Bergen-Belsen. At the Dachau camp, outside Munich, a new visitor center is set to open this summer. The city of Erfurt is planning a museum devoted to the crematoriums.
Germans warm to vilified Prussia: Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1946
Germans are starting to rethink their negative views about Prussia, the state which ruled much of northern Germany for centuries and viewed for decades through the prism of Nazism. "The Rise and Downfall of Prussia 1600-1946" by historian Christopher Clark has stirred a debate about Prussia which Germans have vilified since World War II for representing the militarism and blind obedience that helped Adolf Hitler rise to power. Clark seeks to give a full account of Prussia, including the positive contribution it made to society, without starting from the premise that it was responsible for the rise of Hitler.
Germans bored of being constantly reminded of WWII horrors
The latent anti-Semitism among police trainees was sparked, when budding officers responded to a compulsory class on the Third Reich by saying they were bored of being constantly reminded of the death camps. Classes on Germany's Nazi past are part of the curriculum and trainees are obliged to attend the lectures, which often feature eyewitness accounts. Isaak Behar has been giving talks at the German Armed Forces and the Berlin Police School on his experiences in Auschwitz, earning a Berlin Order of Merit and a Bundeswehr Gold Cross of Honor for his work. He told that the alleged comments his talk elicited were not the first on the lecture circuit.
Volga Germans - World War II and Kansas (Article no longer available from the original source)
Dave Deutschendorf remembers the stories his father would tell about his life in Russia: "It was nothing to be going along the road and find a headless body." 1874-1884, more than 15,000 Volga Germans came to the US from Russia. Of those, more than 5,000 came to Kansas. 1929-1933, those German Russians who stayed in Russia went through horrible atrocities under the dictatorship of Josef Stalin. Many were chased and had their property and stock confiscated. Many were shot dead or shipped off to work in camps. The original "German Russians" were attracted to Russia in the 17th century by Catherine the Great to farm and live peacefully.
40% of germans think Third Reich had some positive aspects
Many germans hold unfavourable views about the Third Reich, according to a poll. 21% think Nazism was completely negative, while 40% think it had some positive aspects. Adolf Hitler became Germany’s chancellor in 1933, as the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP). Hitler established a fascist regime, relied on propaganda, and attempted to expand Germany’s "living space." World War II began in Sept 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland. The conflict killed more than 55 million. Following Hitler’s suicide, field marshall Alfred Jodl surrendered to the Allied forces in May 1945. Page includes stats from 1991 and 2007.
The New German Nazism -- Adolf-Hitler-Strasse
I live in a town outside of Munich on a street that until May of 1945 was named Adolf-Hitler-Strasse. I work in Munich, a city of a little over a million inhabitants whose Bavarian charm tends to obscure the fact that this city was the capital of the Nazi movement. Every day when I go to work I pass by the apartments Adolf Hitler lived in. --- I'm on a bus and a school boy passes around Grandpa's red leather-bound Mein Kampf to his friends who respond "coooool!" He then takes out a VCR tape of "The Great Speeches of Joseph Goebbels." Maybe it's because I have blond hair and my last name is of German origin that the Germans feel that I am "one of them."
Five Germanys I Have Known - History of Germany's past
Book "Five Germanys I Have Known", Part memoir, part history, follows Fritz Stern and Germany: from the world of his forebears in imperial and then Weimar Germany, through Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany, the two postwar Germanys, and finally, united Germany. These days, many works on Deutschland focus on some untold story of the much picked-over Nazi era. Stern instead sweeps through the decades creating a breadth overview. The chapter on the Third Reich is gripping, from details of Stern's math class ("If three Jews robbed a bank, and each got a part of the loot proportionate to their ages ... how much would each get?") to the question of German submission to Nazism.
Germany patriotism fight focuses on national anthem
Germany's patriotism debate has taken a new turn. The latest issue is over the national anthem. A regional teachers' union said that the 19th century verses are tainted by Germany's Nazi past and should be replaced by a new anthem. Most Germans seem to have trouble remembering anthem's words beyond the first two lines: "unity and justice and liberty for the German fatherland." The first verse, which begins with "Deutschland, Deutschland ueber alles" and outlines a rather oversized Germany, was popular under the Nazis. After WWII, West Germany kept the anthem, despite some debate. Communist East Germany produced its own national song, "Risen from the Ruins."
The globe Adolf Hitler gazed highlights new exhibit (Article no longer available from the original source)
The globe Adolf Hitler gazed upon while contemplating world domination is in good condition but for one blemish — the bullet hole directly through Berlin, inflicted by a Soviet soldier after the Nazi dictator's defeat in 1945. The oversized orb is just one highlight of the more than 8,000 artifacts in the German Historical Museum's permanent display on the country's 2,000-year history, which seeks to help Germans rediscover their identity. With World War II still in living memory, many Germans have shunned the study of their own past. The 12 years the Nazis were in power makes up one of the largest sections of the exhibit.
Don't Mention the War: The British and the Germans Since 1890
British officials in occupied Germany found the following problem in a maths textbook: 'If it takes 50,000 members of the Wehrmacht three days to conquer Holland [area given], how many days will it take 80,000 men to conquer England [areas given]?' Even so, Don't Mention the War argues that, throughout the adversarial history of the Anglo-German relationship since 1890, there has often been a countervailing sense that a meeting of minds was within reach. In the 19th century, Britain and Germany had celebrated a shared Anglo-Saxon heritage. Our finest hour was at Waterloo, our national nightmare the Norman yoke of 1066.
Don't Fly the Flag - Germans still have a fear of patriotism
Over six decades after the end of World War II, Germans still have a pathological fear of patriotism. Flying the flag is still a faux pas. It's almost as though Berlin was following a capital city checklist when the city was revived as Germany's political hub in the late 1990s. Dramatic government quarter complete with flashy architecture? Check. Headquarters of major think tanks and foundations? Check. National monuments? Check. Lots of flags? Ummmm. Wait a sec. Flags? Somebody forgot the flags.
Sons of the Fatherland - Landscape and the Making of Germany
In this fascinating study of the making of modern Germany, David Blackbourn takes us back to the projects initiated by Frederick the Great, showing how Germans transformed their landscape. One episode shows that Frederick's programme for the draining and colonisation of marshland in the Oder region contributed almost as much to the evolution of Prussia as his military conquests. Blackbourn identifies startling continuities between Nazi policies and the contemporary Green movement. The Hitler regime had a conservationist streak, passing a Law for the Protection of Nature in 1935, followed a few years later by a Large-Scale Green Plan.
German teens ashamed of Nazi past
The atmosphere in the two-hour history class is more serious than usual. Today's lesson is National Socialism. My German classmates have a lot to share about the subject. We discuss the apathy of many German citizens of the WW II generation and many of my classmates refer to their own grandparents in examples. They speak about the Holocaust with shame, although they personally had nothing to do with it. They discuss the guilt German youth of today feel for simply being born German. Many think they should feel guilty as a means of preventing their nation's dark past from ever repeating itself.
The real German division sees the North pitted against the South (Article no longer available from the original source)
In 1990, all of Germany celebrated the reunification of a country divided since WWII. But the optimism was naively misplaced. The real German division sees the North pitted against the South. What happens when a blonde moves from Berlin to Bavaria? The collective IQs of both places go up -- at least according to a favorite joke told in the German capital. And the Bavarians? They just call everybody not from their easy-going part of Germany Saupreussen, or "pig Prussians."
Swiss party investigated over Nazi diary
Swiss police have vowed to take action against an extreme-right party which has published a diary featuring personalities and sympathizers of the Third Reich. The calendar includes biographies of Nazis such as Hans Ulrich Rudel, famous for being the most highly decorated German during WWII, and Alfred Rosenberg, the main author of key Nazi ideological creeds without mentioning any negative actions.
A Mighty Fortress: A New History Of The German People
Steven Ozment notes: "Even today a tour of German history can be a circular journey around a magnetic Nazi pole, mesmerizing the general public and distracting historians and politicians." Thus the pre-20th-century German past has become "a hunting ground for fascist forerunners and defeated democratic alternatives". Yet Ozment seems, despite himself, to remain in thrall to the mesmerizing power of the Third Reich. The author who insists we should look past the Third Reich refers to it constantly.
Germany's Population Problems No Longer Taboo
The German government wants to combat the falling birth rate with better family policies. Tainted by controversial associations during the Nazi era, the issue was all but taboo until a few years ago. What remains indisputable is that pursuing an active population policy in Germany was frowned upon after WWII and the end of the Nazi regime. Nazi past had loaded the topic with terms like race research, race ideology and that's why there was a great reluctance to even deal with the issue after WWII.
(Deutsche Welle )
My Grandfather, the Nazi - One of the highest Nazis in Lower Silesia
What did grandfather do during the war? Jens Schanze deals with the question in his documentary "Winterkinder" (Winter's Children), a journey into his family's past. He was one of the Nazis highest functionaries in Lower Silesia, which now forms part of Poland. He was a member of the SA, Hitler's private storm troopers and a fervent anti-Semite. And he followed Hitler faithfully to the end.
Hitler's affection gives headaches to Mercedes Benz
Hitler's love affair with his Mercedes is giving headaches to the top brass at Daimler Benz - they don't like to be associated with him even though it's a historical fact that the Fuhrer used a Mercedes. Gary Zimet has come in possession of two contracts Hitler entered with the automobile giant, one recording his purchase of a car in 1930 and the other turning over the car to the Nazi Party. The documents however, does not include footage of the Third Reich, though Nazi leaders including Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, who was captured in a bulletproof Mercedes at the end of World War II by US forces used Benzes.
Talking to Hitler's lost tribe - Interviewing former Nazis
The award-winning film-maker Laurence Rees has spent the past 15 years tracking down and interviewing former Nazis. A remarkable photograph hangs on the wall of his office. It shows a convivial outdoor tea party of Magda Goebbels, her husband Josef, and inconspicuously in a corner, Adolf Hitler himself, taking tea and staring. He has almost certainly interviewed more former Nazis than any other Briton alive. It has been his quest for the past 15 years to track them down and persuade them to talk on camera with extraordinary and sometimes appalling frankness, in an attempt to understand what persuaded them to do what they did.