German people relation with Adolf Hitler

Mar 2019
1,954
Kansas
The German people made a literal pact with the devil through their twisted mentally-ill pact with the devil. Many Germans of normal intelligence probably suspected that “something was rotten in Denmark” and not all was well but went along with it in the hope that they would “win” before the German nation was called to account. They were wrong and Germany was destroyed in the process. Sic transit tyranus
One of their biggest problems was sharing information. Generally talk of any political subject was stamped out even before the war. Once the war started, so much as telling a joke the wrong way could get you imprisoned.

The gestapo and co had such a tight grip on things, there was virtually no hope of any opposition either getting properly organized or getting their message the wider population. Then you have to consider the scale of what was happening. Even when the first reports of the industrialized killing was going on even Jewish resistance groups in Poland would not believe the stories. So how do you expect a patriotic, politically silenced German to believe them even if they had heard.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
I guess it depends on who one reads;


For most of my life I simply accepted the common view of the Third reich.IE that 'ordinary' party members (in their millions) and ordinary German civilians, had no idea of the worst excesses of the Nazis.

These days, I'm not so sure. For example. Himmler's Eninsatzgruppen followed behind the Wermacht killing the untermenchen; Jews, gypsies, communist and anyone else they didn't like the look of. True enough, but it has been recently discovered that the Wehrmacht was also involved in the holocaust, and on a significant scale.

To keep this post from becoming too bloated I refer you to a quite good Wikipedia entry

War crimes of the Wehrmacht - Wikipedia

As for 'ordinary Germans', I've become convinced that the majority of germans actually had a pretty good understanding of what their government was doing in their name. First, it needs to be recognised that the Nazis did not invent antisemitism. In fact in some parts Eastern Europe, especially Lithuania and the Ukraine, the local populace enthusiastically helped murder the Jews.

When we think of Nazi concentration camps, we tend to think of the mega camp of Auschwitz -Birkenau, Bergen-Belsen, Treblinka, Dacau and Sorbibor. In fact the Third Reich established concentration camps IN THE THOUSANDS, inside and outside of Germany:

"Most people are familiar with the names of the major concentration camps- Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, and Treblinka, for example - but few realize that these were not the only places where Jews and other prisoners were held by the Nazis. Each of the 23 main campshad subcamps, nearly 900 of them in total. These included camps with euphemistic names, such as “care facilities for foreign children,” where pregnant prisoners were sent for forced abortions.
The Nazis established about 110 camps starting in 1933to imprison political opponents and other undesirables. The number expanded as the Third Reichexpanded and the Germans began occupying parts of Europe. When the U.S. HolocaustMemorial Museumfirst began to document all of the camps, the belief was that the list would total approximately 7,000. However, researchers found that the Nazis actually established about 42,500 camps and ghettoes between 1933and 1945. This figure includes 30,000 slave labor camps; 1,150 Jewish ghettoes, 980 concentration camps; 1,000 POW camps; 500 brothels filled with sex slaves; and thousands of other camps used for euthanizing the elderly and infirm; Germanizingprisoners or transporting victims to killing centers. Berlinalone had nearly 3,000 camps."

How Many Concentration Camps?

Finally, I came across a very interesting book: 'HITLER'S WILLING EXECUTIONERS ; Ordinary Germans And The Holocaust' (Daniel Jonah Goldhagen Abacus 1996)

Goldhagen argues that the majority of Germans could not not have known, and provides strong evidence for his claims.
Ordinary Germans had certainly heard rumors of the Holocaust and atrocities on the Eastern Front. Maybe some weren't aware of the scale, or others chose not to believe, but none could truthfully claim that they were entirely in the dark.

Take for example this passage from a leaflet published by the White Rose:

"We do not want to discuss here the question of the Jews, nor do we want in this leaflet to compose a defense or apology. No, only by way of example do we want to site the fact that since the conquest of Poland three hundred thousand Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way. Here we see the most frightful crime against human dignity, a crime that is unparalleled in the whole of history. For Jews, too, are human beings - no matter what position we take with respect to the Jewish question - and a crime of this dimension has been perpetrated against human beings. Someone may say that the Jews deserve their fate. This assertion would be a monstrous impertinence; but let us assume that someone said this - what position has he then taken toward the fact that the entire Polish aristocratic youth is being annihilated? (May God grant that this program has not yet fully achieved its aim as yet!) All male offspring of the houses of the nobility between the ages of fifteen and twenty were transported to concentration camps in Germany and sentenced to forced labor, and all the girls of this age group were sent to Norway, into the bordellos of the SS! "