‘Positives Christentum’: Christianity in Nazi Germany

Hitler identified himself as Christian and said “the [Nazi] Party represents the standpoint of Positive Christianity”. Introduction Positive Christianity (German: Positives Christentum) was a movement within Nazi Germany which mixed the belief that the racial purity of the German people should be maintained by mixing Nazi ideology with elements of Christianity. Adolf Hitler used the[…]

Fascism: A Brief History of Its Origins and Practice

Fascism is a far-right theory of government that opposes the political philosophies of the Englightenment and the 19th century. Definition and Beliefs Fascism is an ultranationalist, authoritarian political philosophy. It combines elements of nationalism, militarism, economic self-sufficiency, and totalitarianism. It opposes communism, socialism, pluralism, individual rights and equality, and democratic government. Fascism places the importance[…]

German Resistance to the Nazi Regime, 1933-1945

The German Resistance movement consisted of several disparate strands that were ultimately unable to bring Hitler down. Introduction The German Resistance refers to those individuals and groups in Nazi Germany who opposed the regime of Adolf Hitler between 1933 and 1945. Some of these engaged in active plans to remove Hitler from power and overthrow[…]

The SS Officer’s Armchair

The author is led to his ancestral shtetl and the extermination of its inhabitants by Nazi bullets or those of their Ukrainian accomplices. In 2011 an upholsterer in Amsterdam found a bundle of swastika-covered documents inside the cushion of an armchair he was repairing. The papers all belonged to Dr. Robert Griesinger, a lawyer from[…]

Pope Pius XII and Minimization of the Holocaust

The Pope and the president both opted to look away from the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. Researchers combing through recently-opened wartime records of the Vatican have discovered that a senior papal adviser, Angelo Dell’Acqua, told Pius XII in 1942 that reports of the slaughter of European Jews were unreliable because Jews “easily exaggerate.”[…]

Esther Nisenthal Krinitz: A Memory of Survival of the Holocaust in Art

A woman tells the story of her Holocaust survival through her embroidered art. “I am not going to Kraśnik,” Esther Nisenthal told her parents one night in the fall of 1942. The Nisenthals lived in Mniszek, Poland. Like all Jews in this village, they had been ordered to leave their homes and go to the[…]

Shirt Movements in Interwar Europe: A Totalitarian Fashion

Shirt movements embodied the idea of a homogeneous community, based on a racial social or cultural identity. Abstract The article deals with a typical phenomenon of the interwar period: the proliferation of socio-political movements expressing their “mood” and identity via a paramilitary uniform mainly composed of a coloured shirt. The analysis of 34 European shirt[…]

Sturmabteilung: Hitler’s Original Paramilitary Wing, the ‘Brownshirts’

After Adolf Hitler ordered the “blood purge” (Night of the Long Knives) of 1934, he replaced the SA with the SS. Introduction The Sturmabteilung, literally Storm Detachment, was the Nazi Party’s original paramilitary wing. It played a significant role in Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in the 1920s and 1930s. Its primary purposes were providing[…]

How Jewish Women Used Survival and Sabotage Strategies at Auschwitz

The women chose psychological sabotage and developed unique strategies. Introduction Nearly all the 1.3 million people sent to Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp in occupied Poland, were murdered – either sent to the gas chambers or worked to death. Life expectancy in many of these camps was between six weeks and three months. Over a[…]

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact: Soviets and Nazis, 1939-1941

The Nazi invasion of Russia ended the Pact and shifted the Soviet Union from the Axis Powers to the Allied Powers. Introduction The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, named after Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially entitled the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet[…]

Operation Gunnerside: The Norwegian Assault That Deprived Nazis of the First Atomic Bomb

A stealthy group of skiing commandos took out a crucial Nazi facility and stopped Hitler from getting the atomic bomb. Introduction After handing them their suicide capsules, Norwegian Royal Army Colonel Leif Tronstad informed his soldiers, “I cannot tell you why this mission is so important, but if you succeed, it will live in Norway’s[…]

Nazis and the Genocide of Europe’s Roma

Up to 500,000 Roma and Sinti were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. Introduction The murder of around 500,000 of Europe’s Roma and Sinti by the Nazis and their collaborators during the second world war is a little-known aspect of the atrocities committed during this period. In the immediate postwar period, war crimes against[…]

Vital Hasson: The Jew Who Worked for the Nazis Hunting Down Refugees

Vital Hasson was born into the Jewish community of Salonica, Greece. After World War II, he was executed for helping the Nazis destroy that community. By Dr. Sarah Abrevaya SteinProfessor of HistoryMaurice Amado Chair in Sephardic StudiesSady and Ludwig Kahn Director, Alan D. Leve Center for Jewish StudiesUniversity of California, Los Angeles I learned a[…]

Reichskommissariat Ukraine: The Nazi Occupation in 1941

Before the German invasion, Ukraine was a constituent republic of the Soviet Union. Introduction During World War II, Reichskommissariat Ukraine (abbreviated as RKU) was the civilian occupation regime (Reichskommissariat) of much of Nazi German-occupied Ukraine (which included adjacent areas of modern-day Belarus and pre-war Second Polish Republic). Between September 1941 and August 1944, the Reichskommissariat[…]

How Hitler Went from Fringe Politician to Dictator

He went from fringe political to chancellor of Germany within a few years and from chancellor to dictator in a matter of months. From Fringe Politician to Chancellor For most of the 1920s, Hitler was a fringe-party rabble-rouser. In 1923, as the leader of the tiny Nazi party, he incited a violent attempt to overthrow the government and got[…]

Kristallnacht 80 Years On: Some Reading about the Most Notorious State-Sponsored Pogrom

Eight decades on, the thought of the state encouraging people to attack groups of citizens is hard to believe. Here are some books that might help. Introduction On the evening of November 9 1938 a Nazi pogrom raged across German and Austrian cities. Nazis branded the atrocity with a poetic term: Kristallnacht or “Crystal Night”.[…]

The Mass Destruction of Jewish Homes during ‘Kristallnacht’

Most histories highlight the shattered storefronts and synagogues set aflame. But it was the systematic ransacking of Jewish homes that extracted the greatest toll. By Dr. Wolf GrunerShapell-Guerin Chair in Jewish Studies and Professor of HistoryFounding Director, USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide ResearchDornsife College of Letters, Arts and SciencesUniversity of Southern California Introduction[…]

The Nazi Census and a Quiet Hero

René Carmille, director of the National Statistical Service (SNS), stepped in to control and process Nazi census data on Jews. In 1940, Germany invaded and captured France. Step-by-step, the  Nazi occupiers began implementing a new state. There, as in other countries, the Nazis established a census to identify and locate Jews. Once identified, the Nazi occupiers planned to arrest French Jewsand[…]

The Rabbi, the Telegram, and the Holocaust

Seventy-seven years ago, a telegram bearing a horrifying and unforgettable message reached America’s foremost Jewish leader. It revealed the first comprehensive details about the systematic mass murder that would come to be known as the Holocaust. The author of the fateful message was Gerhart Riegner, a 30 year-old attorney serving as the Geneva representative of the World Jewish[…]

The Trial of Hannah Arendt: The Dangerous Act of Thinking in the Nazi Era

She caused a furor when she coined “the banality of evil” to describe mindless acts of Nazi horror. By Kathleen B. JonesWriter, Editor, Publisher “There are no dangerous thoughts; thinking itself is a dangerous activity.” Hannah Arendt Fifty years ago, on October 28, 1964, a televised conversation between the German-Jewish political theorist, Hannah Arendt, and the well-known[…]

“It Can’t Happen Here”: Americans and the Holocaust

Widely held beliefs in eugenic “science” and pervasive fear of foreigners led the US Congress to pass quota laws that had severely restricted immigration to the United States since 1924. Introduction On his first day in office in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt told the American people, “The only thing we have to fear is[…]

Depicting the Devil: How Propaganda Posters Portrayed Nazi Ideology

The poster became a cheap transmitter of these various messages and combined visual arts with psychological methods to incessantly repeat Nazi ideologies to the German public. In 1925, a bellicose Adolf Hitler understood that he needed the power of mass persuasion to push his political ideology on the German people. Citing propaganda as an essential component of statecraft[…]

Grim Relics: Excavating Long-Buried Stories from the Nazi Era

In a discussion with Reinhard Bernbeck, he delves into the origins and ethics of conducting archaeological investigations of the Nazi period. By Christopher DeCou the end of the Cold War, high school students from the German city of Witten visited the Dachau concentration camp to learn about the Holocaust. Walking among the still buildings, they[…]

The Template for the Holocaust – Germany’s African Genocide

Germany, which had only unified in 1870, was a latecomer to the colonial game. By David Carlin “Within the German borders every Herero, with or without a gun, with or without cattle, will be shot.” General Lothar von Trotha, Commander of German Forces in South West Africa, 1905 Hundreds of emaciated prisoners look out helplessly.[…]

Why the U.S. Bombed Auschwitz but Didn’t Save the Jews

Bombing bridges and railway lines over which both deported Jews and German troops were transported could have qualified as necessary for military purposes. By Dr. Rafael MedovFounder and DirectorThe David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies Seventy-five years ago this week—on March 19, 1944—German troops marched into Hungary. The country’s 800,000 Jews, the last major[…]

The Death of Appeasement: The 80th Anniversary of the Invasion of Prague

The appeasement policy pursued by Britain and France was founded on the premise that Germany was maltreated by the victors of World War I. A turning point in the history of international relations refers to an event that alters significantly the present process in international relations, which entails a long-lasting, considerable effect in it. A turning[…]

Andean Atlantis: Race, Science, and the Nazi Occult in Bolivia

The assumption that Andean peoples could not have built Tiwanaku is the greatest myth of all. Bolivia, 1928. As the train steamed around the bend, Lake Titicaca became visible far to the north. The morning sun danced on the water. The majestic Cordillera Real towered beyond. The whistle howled. The engine lurched. After an arduous[…]

The Housing Question and Anti-Semitism: Soviet Authorities in Kyiv after World War II

Kyiv was abandoned by the Nazis in November 1943, allowing the Soviet authorities to return to the city, and the Jewish people continued to be silenced. By the mid-1940s, scholars agree, the Soviet Union’s fundamental problem at home was a paradoxical need to stabilize a regime noticeably strengthened by the Second World War.[1]  One way the[…]