HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » ..."and there were no Naz...

Wed Oct 24, 2018, 10:48 PM

..."and there were no Nazis in Hamburg"

Watching America tear itself apart is painful.

Looking at somewhere between a third and half of my fellow Americans being willfully, obdurately ignorant is painful.

Watching the undisguised racism, xenophobia, and misogyny taking victory lap after victory lap is painful.

Watching the expectations and assumptions of institutionalized norms like deference to factual information, maturity, self-control, and judicious temperance of public demeanor get gleefully tossed under the bus is painful.

Like many others, I've had the dark thoughts... "How can I share a nation with these people? If things ever get back to some kind of functional or normal governance, how can we patch up these divisions and restore a polity that will allow us to build a positive future together? With THEM?!?"

And then I remember the story my stepfather told me, about when he was in the Merchant Marine during and after WWII.

It was not too long after VE-day, and his ship was one of the first Allied merchanters to dock in Hamburg. Allies had been doing bombing raids throughout the war, right up through a couple of weeks before the official end of hostilities. The city was a mess. Nevertheless, the merchant ship crews were given shore leave; they'd been on duty for months without a break.

It wasn't pretty. People swarmed "the Americans" wherever they went, begging for food, cigarettes, items of clothing, anything. And they handed out what they had, appalled by the degradation.

There was one thing my stepfather and his shipmates were absolutely determined about, though: They weren't going to give NOTHIN' to NO NAZIS. So they'd always check, before trying to help, whether the ones asking for help had been members of the Nazi party, or Nazi sympathizers.

They were in port for more than a week, and roamed over quite a bit of the city, and you know what?

They didn't find a single Nazi. Not one!

People they talked to, the ones who spoke English, assured them that there WERE no Nazis in Hamburg, there had never been any Nazis in Hamburg. They hated the Nazis! They just did their jobs and tried to raise their kids and stay out of the way of the military types- THOSE were the Nazis and they were all gone, of course.

None of them had been from Hamburg itself, anyway. The people of Hamburg were horrified by all that Nazi stuff. They were thrilled the Allies had won and glad to see the Americans.

Nope, there wasn't a Nazi left in Hamburg. And there hadn't been many to start with. Except those outsider military types.

Of course, my stepfather and his buddies knew they were being scammed. Hamburg was a Nazi hotbed all along, horrible things were done there and prominent members of the Nazi party were from there and based there.

But apparently, as soon as the Nazis lost the War, they all mysteriously vanished into thin air!

And were replaced by the kind of people who rebuilt West Germany- first with Allied help into a determined liberal democracy, and then as a bastion of NATO and the European Union.

I know it wasn't easy for Germany to overcome its Nazi past, for pro-Nazi and anti-Nazi and fuck-it-leave-me-alone-I-don't-want-to-take-sides Germans to cobble together some kind of polity and redirect their energy into building a modern economy and a democratic state.

But they did, somehow.

So I have to believe that someday we will be able to, as well.

Because, after all, after they lost, there were no Nazis in Hamburg.

reflectively,
Bright

34 replies, 2252 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply ..."and there were no Nazis in Hamburg" (Original post)
TygrBright Oct 24 OP
Pachamama Oct 24 #1
Hermit-The-Prog Oct 25 #5
marylandblue Oct 24 #2
HuskyOffset Oct 25 #8
vlyons Oct 25 #10
geardaddy Oct 25 #18
Hekate Oct 25 #3
moondust Oct 25 #4
colorado_ufo Oct 25 #28
GetRidOfThem Oct 25 #6
ArizonaLib Oct 26 #34
pazzyanne Oct 25 #7
ProudProgressiveNow Oct 25 #9
DFW Oct 25 #11
Pachamama Oct 25 #13
geardaddy Oct 25 #19
DFW Oct 25 #21
geardaddy Oct 25 #22
DFW Oct 25 #24
geardaddy Oct 25 #25
ancianita Oct 26 #29
uponit7771 Oct 25 #12
mac56 Oct 25 #14
joanbarnes Oct 25 #15
bluescribbler Oct 25 #16
Iggo Oct 25 #17
zentrum Oct 25 #20
violetpastille Oct 25 #26
zentrum Oct 25 #27
grantcart Oct 25 #23
NNadir Oct 26 #31
NNadir Oct 26 #30
hurple Oct 26 #32
TygrBright Oct 26 #33

Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2018, 11:16 PM

1. My grandparents who escaped Nazi Germany would warn America and its citizens who are in shock right

...now, the following:

If you are shocked about how somewhere between a 1/3 of your fellow Americans could be following this hateful rhetoric and following Trump and being so ignorant, just wait till you see the other 1/3 of fellow Americans fall into obedience out of necessity of survival. Then when you are the minority that doesn't follow them, you find yourself in the 1/3 that will be targeted as the enemy and even eliminated.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Pachamama (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 12:32 AM

5. there is the incentive to GOTV!

We have a chance to hold it to the first 1/3.

Your warning is even more chilling in that it is not far-fetched at all.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Wed Oct 24, 2018, 11:28 PM

2. I've been studying Moral Foundations Theory developed by Jonathan Haight

And I think his Theory holds the key to our dilemma. He studies how people make moral judgments. His research shows that we have 5 innate foundations for morality. Most of use all five to decide what's moral, but liberal and conservatives differ in which ones they put more emphasis on. Here's his website that explains the theory.
https://www.moralfoundations.org/

And here is his website on reintroducing civility into politics
http://www.civilpolitics.org/

His work has really helped me understand the two sides better and how to bridge the gap. Also changed my thinking on who would be the best candidate for 2020.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marylandblue (Reply #2)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 01:15 AM

8. This looks interesting, thank you (NT)

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marylandblue (Reply #2)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 01:40 AM

10. thanks

As a Buddhist, I'm very interested in ethics. It is the foundation of Buddhism, especially Hinayana Buddhism. You might be interested in the Dalai Lama's book on ethics "Beyond Religion: Ethics for the Whole World."

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to marylandblue (Reply #2)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 02:39 PM

18. Thanks for sharing this.

I've bookmarked it to read later.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 12:17 AM

3. I'd like to KnR both your post and that of Pachamama

Aaaaand I just wrote and erased a couple paragraphs of personal angst.

Hugs to you both.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 12:17 AM

4. Recommended.

Good story, well written.

I was stationed in Berlin for 18 months in the 70s. For a while I lived in a neighborhood where some of the buildings were still pockmarked with bullet holes from the war. Read most of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich while I was there; have always been mystified by how so much evil could take root and spread like it did.

Of course Germans did not have a choice but to face down their demons and somehow "re-humanize" after the war. Much of their country destroyed, they were forced to outlaw Nazi paraphernalia to prevent a recurrence, and for 45 years the country was occupied by Allied and Soviet troops who could have easily enforced the ban and quelled any lingering Nazi activity as necessary. I often wish Confederate paraphernalia had been similarly banned after the Civil War to prevent lingering reminders and antagonisms, but I don't know who would have enforced it across the deep south without an occupying army.

Let's hope that third of the U.S. doesn't require massive brute force and bloodshed to get straightened out and re-humanized. I don't know what it will take.

Thanks for posting, Tygr.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to moondust (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 10:52 PM

28. The 'carpetbaggers" that swarmed into the South after the war

did much to keep the alienation going.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 12:58 AM

6. Don't forget that Germany..

...had to be completely humiliated and destroyed before the reflectiveness settled in that allowed it to again thrive.

We call the period of total destruction "die Stunde Null", or translated "the hour zero". This is the time period that the often very left-leaning German authors originate out of. Do you think that America, which has not been invaded in any recent memory, will ever learn the humility that Germany had to adopt after losing WWII so catastrophically?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to GetRidOfThem (Reply #6)

Fri Oct 26, 2018, 10:09 AM

34. Same thing with the Republican Great Depression following the '29 crash

The republican deregulation and Hoover policies leading to the depression after the '29 crash preceded the acceptance and embracing of the New Deal. The New Deal and subsequent Democratic decades long hold on the federal government were only possible after complete defeat of the Republicans. When Senator Harry Reid thought or hoped he was curing the 'fever', it was not enough because Republican conservatism enjoys a longer term foothold than a few congressional actions could cure. FDR understood that the only thing those Republicans would understand is sound defeat. He embraced the hatred because he knew beating it would elevate his post election capital.

The same thing with the civil war. The Confederacy basically told the Union that the issue of slavery would change over their dead bodies. Not simply losing a few key battles, where it was apparent that war would not benefit them, but rather the near total destruction of the south.

If we don't defeat the republicans to take back the supreme court for a generation, the backslide will continue. Remember, the civil rights act was renewed several times unanimously. The supreme court said the act was renewed under duress. Not UNANIMOUSLY renewed, just renewed. Then they line item vetoed the existing law the same way they did not allow President Clinton to during the lawmaking process, but years after the fact and after it was proven time after time to accomplish what it set out to. Then they finally said that if congress wanted to revisit it they could.

Unconditional defeat is what will turn this around. Proving these policies and ideas are not politically viable.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 01:02 AM

7. Bookmarked for future study.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 01:21 AM

9. KR NT

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 01:47 AM

11. I heard the stories from my wife's parents and their friends

Last edited Thu Oct 25, 2018, 09:59 AM - Edit history (1)

The indoctrination was pervasive and complete. My wife's grandfather risked the death penalty by listening to British radio even after being discovered by a Nazi neighbor. The neighbor never did denounce him, and he returned the favor by not denouncing the neighbor after the war.

My wife's mom was inducted into the BDM, sort of a Hitler Youth for girls. She received the full indoctrination and had fights with her parents about who was right. Only after three of her five brothers were killed in the war did she begin to realize what had been done to her and her generation.

A good friend of theirs was ten when the war ended. I knew him. He was smart, generous, beloved as the very fair director of one of the biggest bicycle factories in his area of Germany. He told me to beware of indoctrination (I had told him about Fox "News" ), as it was a powerful force to spread evil. Until the war ended, as a ten year old, he had swallowed every lie the Hitler Youth had given him.

My father in law, a few years older (born 1924) was drafted off his farm at age 17, sent as cannon fodder to Stalingrad, and returned at age 18 minus a leg. He was a nice guy, but kept a lot of horror bottled up inside him. He used to grow cold and his jaw would tremble whenever any documentary about the Nazi era was on TV (and that was frequently, part of the West German government's continuing efforts to show how awful the Nazis were). He openly stated his wish that all his grandchildren would be girls so they would never have to serve in the military (compulsory for boys during his lifetime). It was one wish fate was to grant him. Only in his near-death delirium did he finally lose his defenses, and start calling out to comrades in his unit, who were being blown up by Soviet artillery shells, one of which had already torn his leg off. It was 40° below zero, and the city boys who had survived the shelling had already frozen to death. As a farmer in the far northwest of Germany (his native language wasn't even German), he was used to the cold, and was alive when a retreating unit spotted him, and took him along.

Beware the power of indoctrination, and beware the power of shame. Today's Trumpanzees live in households that have Fox "News" on 24/7 and they are indoctrinating a new generation of Trumpanzees to hate and commit violent acts. There is no death penalty (yet) for listening to Rachel Maddow instead of Hannity, but you can't tell me people in some households don't live under a very real similar threat.

Remember also, that not only were there no Nazis in Hamburg, a whole pseudo-nation of Germans was instantly cleansed by their new socialist masters, telling them that there were no Nazis at all in the Soviet-created "German Democratic Republic (East Germany)," and therefore, no de-Nazification programs were needed in their "real existierender Sozialismus." None of their new, enthusiastic Gestapo-style secret police had learned their craft under the Nazis, oh, no, not a ONE of them. It is no accident that the East German army marched with the very goose-step that the Nazis did, and that their uniforms were identical except for the helmets.

It was the same in France after the war. EVERYONE had been a member of the resistance. NO ONE had been a collaborator. Those people had vanished in a puff of smoke, too.

One thing that does encourage me is that the (still-) frequent documentaries on German TV today always refer to the "liberation" of Germany by the Allies. Today's Germany realizes that it had been "occupied" -- not by an evil foreign power, but by a mass psychosis so pervasive that they were unable to free themselves from it on their own. Let us fervently hope that we still have the internal strength to rid us of ours. Some day, Fox "News" will either be gone, or it will lead us where Göbbels led Germany, and the rest of the world will unite against us. It is no accident that anti Nazi laws still on the books here prevented a German-language Fox channel from ever starting up (they apparently had made inquiries).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #11)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 10:33 AM

13. +100000000

Beware the power of indoctrination, and beware the power of shame

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #11)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 02:42 PM

19. Thanks for relating the experience of your relatives.

I've spoken to some younger Germans about what is happening with the rise of the right-wingers again in the parliament and they're worried.

I'd be really interested in hearing your take on that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to geardaddy (Reply #19)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 04:16 PM

21. Everyone is worried about that

My take is this: like in so many other countries here (NL, F, B, A, etc). the rise of the far right is a direct result of stupidity of the left.

In Belgium, for a while, it was forbidden for the press to say that the perpetrator of a violent crime was a Moroccan immigrant. In the name of "tolerance," the minority French-speaking left, holding a disproportionate amount of sway in what passed for a Belgian government, invited them in by the hundreds of thousands, and granted them huge welfare programs and de facto immunity from prosecution. So, of course, with Belgian girls getting molested, street car conductors getting beaten up while asking for fares, theft in effect decriminalized, who got the best of the deal? The radical right of course. They licked their chops at every headline, including the ones between the lines. My Belgian friends started referring to crimes committed by "the Swedes," as it was forbidden to say Arabs or Moroccans.

In Germany, Merkel was correct to let huge waves of Syrian refugees in, as they were going to come anyway. Better to know than not, right? However, her government was unprepared for the culture shock on both ends.

Instead of spending whatever it took for thousands of Arabic-speaking social workers to drill into the heads of the newcomers that the rules were different here (i.e. Germany), they paid attention to the physical needs (got them housing, food, cell phones, manual labor training, etc.) but not their intellectual needs (FAR too little langauge training, e.g).

So, the sensationalists had a field day when unemployed Arab teenagers started congregating at train stations. German girls (who just happen to have voting parents) got nervous, occasionally (and always with big headlines) with tragic justification, and petty theft soared as well.

Theft is also effectively de-criminalized in Germany, and bands of organized thieves--only a few Arabs, notably the Lebanese mafia in Duisburg, but also Gypsies and others from Eastern Europe (our new visa-free friendly neighbors of the EU) roam not only cities, but also trade fairs, especially ones with precious metals or jewelry. The cops don't chase them, and if they are caught red-handed, they are hauled before a judge that immediately sets them free. I once helped catch a known band of organized thieves from Croatia. Their capo at first said he didn't speak German, but his only ID was a German passport (fake, of course) saying he was Herr Becker born in Essen, Germany. The cops hauled him off, and he came before a judge 3 days later. The judge said, "but there is no proof of theft, and it was only a trivial (!!!) passport violation," so he set the bastard free.

All this "tolerance" came at a price. Western Europe became the promised land to many people who feared for their lives if they stayed home, but it also became the promised land to a lot of the wrong people. If local law (lenient already in Germany) concerning crime is one standard for the people who live here, and a far more lenient one for people who come to abuse it, sooner or later, politicians yelling for law and order and anti-immigration stances will not only be listened to, but gain national acceptance, where they should never have risen above the fringe group status they normally had. It was the responsibility of the government in place to get a grip on all this before the radical right had a chance to exploit it.

I understand that German governments are sensitive about being labeled Nazis all over again, but no one will accuse Angela Merkel of being a Nazi if German law is equally applied to all who are in Germany. It is NOT OK to beat your daughter to death for going on a date with a German guy while not wearing a head scarf. Not here, anyway.

Call it timidity, tolerance, whatever, but if fertilizer is provided for the far right, it will grow, just like the Tsar's unwillingness to open his own eyes to the effects of his repression gave rise to the far left in 1917 (and the 15 years prior, really--it's not like 1917 should have come as a total surprise to him). The far right has no business in any European parliament, but the European left and center had no business rolling out a red carpet for them, either. It can be reversed, but radical rightism is like a fungus. It won't go away unless it has nothing left to feed on.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #21)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 04:19 PM

22. Thank you for you take.

I appreciate the detail of your information!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to geardaddy (Reply #22)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 04:22 PM

24. I've been here a while

Married to a German, speak 9 European languages, have friends and colleagues in almost every country from Portugal to Russia, and am in a different country every day for my work. You gain some perspective after a while.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #24)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 04:31 PM

25. Well, I've followed your posts on the situation in Europe and am always glad

to get a first-person account.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DFW (Reply #11)

Fri Oct 26, 2018, 03:01 AM

29. +1000

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 03:52 AM

12. K&R, There will be no MAGATS in Alabama either

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 10:42 AM

14. K & R x1000

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 12:29 PM

15. My Dad was a Liberator in Eastern Europe, including some detention camps....

He also told of having found NO NAZIS anywhere!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 02:29 PM

16. Don't forget

It took a world war and being bombed into oblivion for them to realize the error of their ways. I pray the USA won't need that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 02:38 PM

17. I am Swiss. I alvays haff been, UND I alvays vill be.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 02:46 PM

20. To get a good lesson in what Germany

....did to deal with its Nazi past, go see Michael Moore's "Where To Invade Next."

He talks a lot about how to this day, Germany admits and atones for its Nazi history. He compares it to our national refusal to atone for slavery, Jim Crow, and lack fo raparations.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to zentrum (Reply #20)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 04:43 PM

26. Another perspective is offered by Ta Nehisi Coate's Atlantic Essay "The Case for Reparations".

The tldr;

If the German government hadn't made reparations, the German people would have not taken responsibility.
They didn't think they had done anything wrong. (as in the OP's, "No Nazi's here" )



Reparations first, atonement later.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to violetpastille (Reply #26)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 08:32 PM

27. Yes. Absolutely.

Must happen.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Thu Oct 25, 2018, 04:21 PM

23. Worked with a Dane who would make the joke that after the war it turned out


all of the Danes were in fact in the underground.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to grantcart (Reply #23)

Fri Oct 26, 2018, 05:26 AM

31. Denmark is the only country occupied by the Nazis, that saved most of its Jews.

When the Danes found out about the planned deportation, they arranged to surreptitiously transport all Jews they could identify to Sweden by boat. If I recall, there weren't many Jews in Denmark, and the operation took place in a few nights.

When the Jews returned to their homes after the war, they found their houses scrupulously maintained, flowers on their Kitchen tables, and a check from the Government as an apology for having failed to protect them.

Special conditions made this possible, but still the Danes did accomplish this.

This is very different than what happened in other Nazi occupied countries, Poland, France, the Baltic countries and other parts of the former Soviet Union.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2018, 05:20 AM

30. The time may come when there will have been no Republicans in Mississippi. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Fri Oct 26, 2018, 09:42 AM

32. Wonderful!

Permission to use elsewhere?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to hurple (Reply #32)

Fri Oct 26, 2018, 10:04 AM

33. Wherever you like! n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread