And today it’s a long one. Seems fitting with Facebook and Instagram going down.
History has taught us a great many things. Being born in a free country, I have never lived under tyranny, where a dictator could strip away the rights of an individual with the flick of a pen. But history teaches us that if we don’t learn from the horrors of the past and teach our children, a once free nation can suddenly see its rights stripped away, and this isn’t something that happens overnight.
It can take years to direct and maneuver the average person, whose only focus is doing a job, buying a house, getting the kids to school, putting food on the table, and maybe planning for a vacation. The average person does not want to be involved in politics, nor do we follow the harebrained schemes our elected officials are undertaking. Many of us don’t know how our taxes are being used or abused or how our rights and personal freedoms, unbeknownst to us, are freely handed over. We question nothing.
When you elect someone, you do so in the hopes that he or she won’t turn out to be a lying scumbag. But politicians want power. Enough said. Usually, you vote believing the candidates will live up to every promise, yet none ever do. Right now, it seems everyone I know is saying that something not quite right is going on. Another thing I’ve heard is that I haven’t been paying attention, much like the frog in boiling water. Everyone has heard this: If you put a frog in cold water and slowly bring it to a boil, the frog will stay in the water and slowly boil to death, but if you have the water already boiling, not a chance in hell will you get the frog to stay in the rapidly boiling water!
My daughter was doing some history research recently, and one of the things she brought up was that Adolf Hitler has never really been understood. When I was growing up, I knew nothing of war, history, or genocide, because even though my grandfather fought in the war, it was never spoken of. In the early 1970s, when I was in grade school, I watched a TV miniseries on the holocaust. And yes, I watched the entire miniseries as a young kid, and I survived, so all is good. It opened my eyes to another world, a not so friendly world, outside my very white suburbia. I’ll never forget the horror I felt while watching, wondering how the people of Germany could have stood by and allowed this to happen—and, worse, why no one talked about it.
So when my daughter was researching the years before the most horrific Nazi atrocities, I wondered how many people were involved and what the reason was behind the madness. There were so many factors at play before the mass genocide, plans that involved many people before the state-sponsored persecution and murder of six million Jews began. First, the Nazis had to have politicians in power. Adolf Hitler was appointed and turned Germany from a weak new democracy into a one-party dictatorship. At the same time, fear and hatred of Jews had existed in Europe for centuries. The Nazis—or we can call them the German government, cast on the Jews a wide variety of stereotypes, spanning from complaints about their “behavior” to accusations that Jews were the source of disease and social injustice, to name a few. To the Nazis, this made what they were doing and going to do okay.
Many Germans were willing to tolerate Nazi hate speech because they believed the government was restoring the country’s status as an international power. The government also promised to restore Germany economically after years of inflation and economic depression and to end the years of political instability and violence the country had experienced before Hitler was appointed. Hitler was a very strong and popular leader, yet the government economically, politically, and socially marginalized the Jewish community over a period of years with virtually no public protest. All of this was accomplished by millions of individual decisions made by ordinary people who chose to actively participate or stand by and do absolutely nothing as their neighbors were persecuted and murdered.
How many of you now, knowing history, have ever asked yourself whether you would have stood by and done nothing? Would you have spoken up? Many of those neighbors, who may have once been friends, saw a situation where they could personally benefit from the persecution and murder of Jews by taking their property, homes, and businesses. These people denounced their Jewish neighbors. There was an incredible amount of pressure to conform—through, art, music, theater, films, books, radio, school, and the media. Because you need the media to create a fear campaign.
How exactly did Hitler, or rather the government, accomplish this? The plan was in place before the propaganda began. They had to start by promoting hatred of “the Jew” or “those people.”
- Political demonstrations were banned.
- An antisemitic Canadian priest sermonized on the radio that Jews were causing the depression (because someone or a group of someones had to be at fault), and he received 80,000 letters of support a week.
- Hitler won over a group of leading industrialists. Here is a list of the top twenty-four German industrialists and bankers who fully supported this criminal venture: https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2018/03/29/who-are-the-top-24-german-industrialists-and-bankers-who-fully-supported-hitler-in-his-criminal-adventure-and-why/. Just in case the site goes down, which happens a lot as of late, I did take a screenshot.
- Parliament was set on fire and the government was quick to blame the communists.
- Hitler convinced President von Hindenburg to invoke an emergency clause in the constitution. The German parliament then passed the Decree for the Protection of the Nation, which suspended civil rights including the freedoms of speech, assembly, and the press. This formed the basis for the prohibition of judicial proceedings for Nazi opponents, and all one hundred communist party members of the Reichstag were arrested.
- In the last free election, the Nazi party won 288 of 647 seats. In coalition with another rightwing party, Hitler took full control of Germany and individual German states were stripped of power.
- A wave of riots began against German Jews.
- Special Nazi courts were set up to deal with political dissidents.
- The SS, Hitler’s elite guard, established a concentration camp for political opponents of the regime. By 1945, the Nazi government had built more than a thousand camps.
- The Law for Removing the Distress of People and Reich, commonly known as the Enabling Act, gave the government dictatorial powers. Hitler promised that Germany’s artistic growth would be fueled by “blood and race.” This act allowed the government to enact laws, including ones that violated the Weimar Constitution, without the approval of either parliament or Reich President von Hindenburg.
- A boycott of all Jewish shops in Germany was instigated by the Storm Troopers or “brownshirts.” This was also directed at Jewish physicians, lawyers, and merchants. Jewish students were forbidden to attend schools and universities. However, due to international outrage and a lack of interest among many non-Jewish Germans, Hitler limited the boycott to a single day.
- Hitler approved decrees banning Jews and other non-Aryans from the practice of law and jobs in the civil service. Jewish government workers were ordered to retire.
- The German government began employment and economic sanctions against Jews.
- The National Political Educational Institutes were established as training schools for Nazi Party cadets.
- A law preventing overcrowding in German schools and higher education took effect, restricting the enrollment of Jews.
- The Secret State Police (Gestapo) were established by Hermann Göring.
- Hitler met with the Roman Catholic Church in Germany and claimed he was doing to Jews only what the Catholic Church had already done to them for 1,600 years. He reminded the bishop and Monsignor Steinmann that the Church regarded Jews as dangerous and had pushed them into ghettos. Hitler suggested that his anti-Jewish actions were doing Christianity a great service.
- The German government prohibited the Jewish ritual slaughter of animals for meat.
- German trade unions were dissolved.
- Books deemed “un-German,” most of them Jewish, were burned.
- Germany introduced the Law for Reduction of Unemployment, which provided marriage loans and other incentives to “genetically fit” Germans.
- Unknown assailants murdered a Labor Zionist leader.
- The Academy for German Law was founded to rewrite the entire body of German law.
- Hitler advised newspaper publishers of new journalistic regulations (control of the press).
- The German government stated that Hitler still belonged to the Catholic Church and had no intention of leaving it.
- The Nazi Party was made Germany’s only legal political party and opposition was punishable by law.
- Germany enacted the Law for the Prevention of Offspring and Hereditary Diseases, that is, sterilization of “unfit parents” and euthanasia of “the defective.”
- The Nazi government signed the Reich concordat with the Vatican. The Vatican helped legitimize the Third Reich and paved the way for the Nazi totalitarianizing of German society and later attacks on the European state system.
- Approximately 30,000 people were now interned in concentration camps.
- Hitler approved a decree forbidding German Jews from farming.
- A codicil stripped newspaper editors of power over content.
- New anti-Jewish economic measures were enacted.
- Germany withdrew from the League of Nations.
- The government passed a law that justified placing the homeless, the unemployed, and alcoholics in concentration camps.
- Another election took place. However, only the Nazi Party was permitted to nominate candidates.
- The Law against Dangerous and Habitual Criminals allowed for compulsory castration of “hereditary criminals.”
- A legal decree issued by Hitler declared Germany and the Nazi Party one.
- The German News Bureau was created to feed propagandistic news to German newspapers.
Jews were banned from public places, and laws were passed that stripped Jews of their rights. The government controlled them. One day, they were just living their lives, and the next they were hated, then being killed. The Holocaust did not just come out of nowhere. Before Jews were driven out of their homes and schools, before their businesses and shops were destroyed, before their property was stolen from them and they were stuck in ghettos and camps and cattle cars, words from powerful people stoked hate and turned people against each other. Divide and conquer was the plan, and the Nazis had the media to reach the masses.
The following are only some of the major laws enacted by the Nazi government:
July 14, 1933 – Jewish immigrants are stripped of their German citizenship.
September 29, 1933 – Jews can no longer own land.
October 4, 1933 – Jews cannot be newspaper editors.
January 24, 1934 – Jews cannot join trade unions.
May 17, 1934 – Jews cannot have health insurance.
July 22, 1934 – Jews can no longer gain qualifications.
May 21, 1935 – Jews cannot serve in the military.
June 26, 1935 – Women with “hereditary illnesses” can be forced to have an abortion.
September 15, 1935 – The Nuremberg Race Laws stop Jews from marrying anyone “of German blood.”
January 1936 – Jews are not allowed to teach German children or become accountants or dentists. They are denied tax reductions and allowances for children.
April 26, 1938 – Jews have to register all belongings with the Nazi government.
July 6, 1938 – Jews cannot trade anymore.
July 23, 1938 – Jews over fifteen years of age must own an identity card and have it with them at all times. (This is where “Show me your papers” comes from.)
July 25, 1938 – Jews cannot practice medicine.
September 27, 1938 – Jews cannot be involved in any jobs to do with law.
October 5, 1938 – Jewish passports are to be stamped with the letter J.
November 15, 1938 – Jewish children cannot attend school with Germans.
December 3, 1938 – All Jewish businesses are to be “Aryanised,” handed over to Germans without compensation, and all stock is to be sold below value.
February 21, 1939 – Jews cannot own gold or silver.
April 30, 1939 – Jews cannot be tenants and must live in “Jewish homes” (ghettos).
July 4, 1939 – Jews cannot be involved in government.
September 1, 1939 – A Jewish curfew is enforced: inside by eight p.m. in winter and nine p.m. in summer.
September 23, 1939 – Jews cannot own radios.
October 1939 – Use of euthanasia on the sick and disabled is legalized.
October 26, 1939 – Jews aged fourteen to sixty are forced to work.
November 23, 1939 – Yellow stars must be worn by Jews over age ten.
Someone once said to me that if the Jews had known what was coming, they never would have gotten into those cattle cars, been forced into those ghettos, or allowed a tyrant to take from them. But unfortunately, through history, we can look back and see how a tyrannical government so easily played on the fears of the people—by repeating a lie often enough, over and over, until people believed it to be true. The Nazis were so skilled that they knew exactly how to sow distrust toward the Jewish people, seeing them as to blame. The government controlled the press through propaganda. The goal was to gain one hundred percent not of people’s minds but of their emotions, because tapping into people’s emotions with twisted lies forces them to surrender their logic.
We all have critical thinking, and we should always be using this, always questioning the narrative. Yet when our fear has been manipulated, many people park their human decency, instead engaging in racism under the guise of Christian values, and they get caught up in a mob mentality. When you create an emergency, you need a scapegoat to rally the people against, a person or group who can be painted as the root cause of all the problems hardworking people are facing. They are portrayed as dangerous, criminal, even subhuman. After all, who could trust such people? Better to round them all up.
If you’ve read this far, you’ll know many people were involved and millions of steps were taken as Jews and non-Aryans gradually had their freedom erased. Many laws, legislations, lockdowns, and restrictions were put in place, and the narrative was controlled to divide the people and get them to hate each other. Millions of Jews were murdered, and many were subjected to the most horrific, inhumane, and deadly medical experiments in the concentration camps without their consent.
We have a history that, surprisingly, many still don’t know.
So ask yourself this: If you were one of the many German people hearing this narrative of blame, allowing fear to override what you knew was right, would you have stood up and questioned it?
“Absolutely chilling. This book grabbed me by the throat and twisted my heart into knots. A simple misplaced file leads Billie Jo and Mark down the rabbit hole into a terrible, twisted and depraved case…a memorable addition to this series.” ★★★★★ Rebmay, Amazon Canada Reviewer
She picked up the wrong file, and now everything is falling apart.
From New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Lorhainne Eckhart comes a new Billy Jo McCabe mystery set on a small island in the Pacific Northwest. When social worker Billy Jo McCabe accidentally picks up the wrong file, she discovers a shocking, twisted mystery plotted by a high-ranking social worker in the DCFS.
When Billy Jo McCabe accidentally picks up the wrong file, before she realizes her mistake, she discovers a secret no one was supposed to find.
She takes the file to the newly appointed chief of police, Mark Friessen, but he doesn’t believe her—that is, until they discover dozens more files and missing money from vulnerable at-risk children who have aged out of the system and are living on the streets.
As she digs into the files, the system, and the people involved, everything falls apart.
And what Mark and Billy Jo discover is a secret far more shocking than missing money.More info →
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