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home : opinion : letters to the editor February 6, 2016

3/28/2014 9:58:00 AM
Adult Germans Knew About Nazi Death Camps

Editor, Times-Union:
The well-publicized lie about the German populace being ignorant of the Nazi concentration camps is indeed a bold-faced lie. Children may not have known, but adults knew. During Hitler’s reign, Nazi radio broadcasts throughout Germany regularly warned German citizens that if they were found to be complacent, lazy or unproductive in the job they were given, for turning out German war goods at a feverish pace, they would find themselves in a  forced labor camp, which came to be known as death camps or concentration camps.
Just to get the point across, all factory foremen or plant managers were instructed to single out a worker from time to time, perhaps one who had complained about working conditions or damaged a product or machine. That worker was sent to a forced labor camp in Germany where the living conditions were so severe that if the worker managed to live the three to six months they were incarcerated there, his return to his former factory in nearly skeletal condition served as the motivator for other German workers in the plant to work very productively lest they suffer the same fate. These formerly incarcerated workers told others what they had seen in the forced labor camps. It was no secret.
These facts are well documented in books written by reputable journalists, fluent in the language, who were there in Germany for many years after Hitler came to power, until the outbreak of WW2, such as Howard K. Smith, William Schirer, Henry Taylor and others.
The liquidation of Jews was also well known to grown-ups in Germany. Frequent, brazen articles appeared in Berlin newspapers, such as the one by Nazi Kurt Kraenzlein, in the fall of 1941. It read, “The ghettoing and death penalty do not solve the Jew problem in Russia any more than up to now it has in the Reich, but much can be done as time goes on, when circumstances and the New Order in Europe will contribute much to the final liquidation of Jews on the European continent.”
The most diabolical of all Nazi tactics was the black-bordered death notice that came through the regular mails to hundreds of Jews in Berlin. Printed in staid black type with the crossed palm branches at the bottom, it read, “You are instructed herewith to deliver your useless person at 3 p.m. tomorrow to the ground back of Lichtenberg cemetery, equipped with spade or shovel, to dig the hole in which you will lie with other Jews after liquidation of your carcass free of cost” (from “The Foe We Face” by Pierre Huss, © 1942).
America will be in the same position for a tyrant to take over when its citizenry is disarmed as Germany was, and the news media discredits and disparages any opposition to the party now in power in Washington. A one-party system is not good. And history repeats itself because we don’t learn from history.
Rick Wagner
Pierceton, via e-mail

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