Nuremberg Trials / Christianity / Holocaust (3 of 4)
(Top Posts - History - 092502)

Background providing a perspective on some of the events at
issue, documenting the transition of Hitler from Catholic to the
pseudo-'God' of Germany, by near-unanimous affirmation by
the non-Jews of predominantly Christian Germany ...



... Hitler's friend from his hometown of Linz, August Kubizek, also
came to Vienna and they roomed together.

... Kubizek also recalled Hitler displayed an increasingly unstable
personality with a terrible temper. At times he was quite reasonable
but he was always prone to sudden outbursts of rage especially
when he was corrected on anything. He had no real interest in
women, preferring to keep away from them and even smugly re-
buffed those who showed any interest in him. He strictly adhered
to his Catholic upbringing regarding sex, believing men and women
should remain celibate until marriage.

... When Kubizek returned to Vienna after two months of military
training in November 1908, he found Hitler had moved out of their
shared apartment and left no forwarding address.

Hitler now had no use for his friend and made no attempt to find
him again. He lived by himself, moving from place to place as his
savings gradually dwindled and his lifestyle spiraled downward.
Despite the need for money, Hitler made no attempt to get regular

He eventually pawned all his possessions and actually wound up
sleeping on park benches and begging for money. He quickly
became a dirty, smelly, unshaven young man wearing tattered
clothes and did not even own an overcoat. In December of 1909,
freezing and half starved, he moved into a homeless shelter. He
ate at a soup kitchen operated by the nuns from a nearby convent.

In February 1910, he moved into a home for poor men where he
would stay for the next few years.

... Hitler took to selling his own paintings to mostly Jewish shop
owners and was also assisted by Josef Neumann, a Jew he be-

Hitler had a passion for reading, grabbing all the daily newspapers
available at the men's home, reading numerous political pamphlets
and borrowing many books from the library on German history and
mythology. He had a curious but academically untrained mind and
examined the complex philosophical works of Nietzsche, Hegel,
Fichte, Treitschke and the Englishman, Houston Stewart Cham-

Hitler picked up bits and pieces of philosophy and ideas from them
and wound up with a hodgepodge of racist, nationalistic, anti-Semitic
attitudes that over time became a die-hard philosophy, later to be
described in his book, Mein Kampf.

The utter misery of his poverty also deeply influenced Hitler. He
adopted a harsh, survivalist mentality, which left little room for con-
sideration of kindness and compassion - an attitude that would stay
with him until the end.

"I owe it to that period that I grew hard and am still capable of being
hard." - Hitler stated in Mein Kampf.

... In Vienna, and later, Hitler suffered bouts of depression. Other
times he experienced extreme highs, only to be followed by a drop
back into the depths. One consistent personality trait was the hys-
teria evident whenever someone displeased him. Hitler's person-
ality has been described as basically hysterical in nature.

Now, at age 21, he was becoming keenly interested in politics,
watching events unfold around him in Vienna.

After witnessing a large protest march by workers, he immersed
himself in an intensive study of the politics of the workers' party,
the Social Democrats. He gained appreciation of their ability to
organize large rallies and use propaganda and fear as political

From the sidelines, he also watched the two other main parties,
the Pan German Nationalists and the Christian Social Party, which
heightened his interest in German nationalism and anti-Semitism.

Vienna, a city of two million, had a Jewish population of just under
two hundred thousand, including many traditionally dressed ethnic
Jews. In Linz, Hitler had only known a few "Germanized" Jews.
The poor men's home Hitler lived in was near a Jewish community.

Among the middle class in Vienna, anti-Semitism was considered
rather fashionable. The mayor, Karl Lueger, a noted anti-Semite,
was a member of the Christian Social Party which included anti-
Semitism in its political platform.

Hitler admired Lueger, a powerful politician, for his speech mak-
ing skills and effective use of propaganda in gaining popular
appeal. He also admired Lueger's skill in manipulating established
institutions such as the Catholic Church. He studied Lueger care-
fully and modeled some of his later behavior on what he learned.

There were also anti-Semitic tabloids and pamphlets available at
the newsstands and at local coffee shops. On first reading them,
Hitler claims in his book Mein Kampf to have been put off.

"...the tone, particularly of the Viennese anti-Semitic press,
seemed to me unworthy of the cultural tradition of a great nation."

But also in Mein Kampf, Hitler describes the transformation in his
thinking regarding the Jews. It began with a chance meeting.

"Once, as I was strolling through the inner city, I suddenly en-
countered an apparition in a black caftan and black hair locks. Is
this a Jew? was my first thought."

"For, to be sure, they had not looked like that in Linz. I observed
the man furtively and cautiously, but the longer I stared at this
foreign face, scrutinizing feature for feature, the more my first
question assumed a new form: is this a German?"

To answer his own question, he immersed himself in anti-Semitic
literature. Then he went out and studied Jews as they passed by.

"...the more I saw, the more sharply they became distinguished
in my eyes from the rest of humanity..."

"For me this was the time of the greatest spiritual upheaval I have
ever had to go through. I had ceased to be a weak-kneed cos-
mopolitan and become an anti-Semite."

But at this point Hitler's anti-Semitism was not apparent in his
personal relationships with Jews. He still did business with Jewish
shop owners in selling his paintings and maintained the friendship
with Josef Neumann. However, the seeds of hate were planted
and would be nurtured by events soon to come, laying the foun-
dation for one of the greatest tragedies in all of human history.

... On August 1, 1914, a huge, enthusiastic crowd including Hitler
gathered in a big public plaza in Munich - the occasion - to cele-
brate the German proclamation of war. Two days later, Hitler vol-
unteered for the German Army, enlisting in a Bavarian regiment.

"For me, as for every German, there now began the greatest and
most unforgettable time of my earthly existence. Compared to the
events of this gigantic struggle, everything past receded to shallow
nothingness." - Hitler said in Mein Kampf.

On first hearing the news of war Hitler had sunk to his knees and
thanked heaven for being alive.

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... In Munich, there were many alienated, maladjusted soldiers
and ex-soldiers with a thirst for adventure and a distaste for the
peace brought on by the Treaty of Versailles and the resulting
democratic republic. They joined the German Workers' Party in
growing numbers.

There were many other political groups looking for members,
but none more successful than the Marxists. Genuine fear
existed there might be a widespread Communist revolution in
Germany like the Russian revolution. Hitler associated Marxism
with the Jews and thus reviled it.

He also understood how a political party directly opposed to a
possible Communist revolution could play on the fears of so
many Germans and gain support.

... In February of 1920, Hitler urged the German Workers' Party
to holds its first mass meeting. ... He proceeded to outline the
Twenty Five Points of the German Workers' Party


Point 24
24. We demand freedom for all religious faiths in the state,
insofar as they do not endanger its existence or offend the
moral and ethical sense of the Germanic race.

The party as such represents the point of view of a positive
Christianity without binding itself to any one particular confes-
sion. It fights against the Jewish materialist spirit within and
without, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our folk
can only come about from within on the principle:


-end insert-

... Hitler realized one thing the movement lacked was a recog-
nizable symbol or flag. In the summer of 1920, Hitler chose the
symbol which to this day remains perhaps the most infamous
in history, the swastika.

It was not something Hitler invented, but is found even in the
ruins of ancient times. Hitler had seen it each day as a boy
when he attended the Benedictine monastery school in Lambach,
Austria. The ancient monastery was decorated with carved stones
and woodwork that included several swastikas. They had also
been seen around Germany among the Freikorps (soldiers for
hire), and appeared before as an emblem used by anti-Semitic
political parties.

But when it was placed inside a white circle on a red background,
it provided a powerful, instantly recognizable symbol that immed-
iately helped Hitler's party gain popularity.

Hitler described the symbolism involved: "In the red we see the
social idea of the movement, in the white the national idea, in the
swastika the mission to struggle for the victory of Aryan man and
at the same time the victory of the idea of creative work, which
is eternally anti-Semitic and will always be anti-Semitic."

The German Workers' Party name was changed by Hitler to in-
clude the term National Socialist. Thus the full name was the
National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nationalsozialistische
Deutsche Arbeiterpartei or NSDAP) called for short, Nazi.

By the end of 1920 it had about three thousand members.

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... About 9 a.m. on August 2, 1934, the much anticipated death
of President Hindenburg finally occurred. Within hours, the Nazi
Reichstag announced the following law, back-dated to August

The Reich Government has enacted the following law which is
hereby promulgated.

Section 1. The office of Reich President will be combined with
that of Reich Chancellor. The existing authority of the Reich
President will consequently be transferred to the Führer and
Reich Chancellor, Adolf Hitler. He will select his deputy.

Section 2. This law is effective as of the time of the death of
Reich President von Hindenburg.

The law was technically illegal since it violated provisions of the
German constitution concerning presidential succession as well
as the Enabling Act of 1933 which forbade Hitler from altering
the presidency. But that didn't matter much anymore. Nobody
raised any objections. Hitler himself was becoming the law.

Immediately following the announcement of the new Führer law,
the German Officer Corps and every individual soldier in the
German Army was made to swear a brand new oath of allegiance:

"I swear by God this sacred oath: I will render unconditional
obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Führer of the German Reich
and people, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces,
and will be ready as a brave soldier to risk my life at any time
for this oath."

The unprecedented oath was to Hitler personally, not the German
state or constitution, as were previous Army oaths. Obedience to
Hitler would now be regarded as a sacred duty by all men in uni-
form, in accordance with their military code of honor, thus making
the German Army the personal instrument of the Führer.

... On August 19, about 95 percent of registered voters in Ger-
many went to the polls and gave Hitler 38 million "Ja" votes (90
percent of the vote). Thus Hitler could now claim he was Führer
of the German nation with the overwhelming approval of the

The next day, August 20, mandatory loyalty oaths for all public
officials in Germany were introduced:

"I swear: I shall be loyal and obedient to Adolf Hitler, the
Führer of the German Reich and people, respect the laws,
and fulfill my official duties conscientiously, so help me

Hitler, at long last, had achieved total power in Germany. ...

--- end excerpts ---

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The Night of Broken Glass


... on the night of November 9, 1938, an event occurred which
revealed the true nature of Hitler's regime to the world and also
marked the beginning of deadly radicalization of Nazi policy
concerning the Jews.

For some months now, moderate anti-Semites within the Nazi
hierarchy had been losing ground to those favoring extreme
measures such as the immediate removal of Jews from Ger-
many. The removal of the first big group of Jews in late Octo-
ber 1938 sparked a chain of events resulting in the Night of
Broken Glass, a massive, coordinated attack on Jews through-
out Greater Germany.

... uniformed Brownshirts and Party activists carrying swastika
banners took to the streets instead of nondescript civilians.

In fact, the popular uprising Hitler and Goebbels hoped to ignite
never materialized. Most civilians either pulled down their window
shades and stayed inside or stood silently on the sidewalk along
with the regular German police and watched as storm troopers,
SS men and Hitler Youth, accompanied by miscellaneous street
punks, broke into Jewish homes, beat up and murdered Jewish
men and terrorized Jewish women and children.

All over Germany and Austria that evening, Jewish shops and
department stores had their windows smashed and contents
wrecked. Synagogues were especially targeted for vandalism,
including desecration of sacred Torah scrolls which were unrav-
eled and tossed into a pile then burned.

Hundreds of synagogues went up in flames while fire fighters
stood by watching or simply hosed down surrounding buildings
to prevent the fire from spreading. Nearly all Jewish cemeteries
near the synagogues were also desecrated.

About 25,000 Jewish men were hauled off to Dachau, Buchen-
wald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps where they were
brutalized by SS guards and in some cases randomly chosen to
be beaten to death. In all, it is estimated that up to 2,500 Jews
perished from beatings on the street, incarceration in the camps,
and from the numerous suicides that occurred, including entire

The many thousands of broken plate glass windows resulted in
the term Kristallnacht or Night of Broken Glass to describe the
events of November 9 lasting into the early morning hours of the
10th. Although the Nazis didn't get the popular uprising they had
hoped for, they did notice that the overall population of some 60
million Germans showed remarkable indifference toward this first
mass persecution of the Jews. Those who were shocked or out-
raged knew enough to keep their thoughts to themselves or risk
being sent to a concentration camp.

Outside of Germany, however, the shock and outrage were not
silenced. Radio commentators and newspaper writers in the U.S.
declared that Germany had descended to a level of barbarism
unseen since the pogroms of the Middle Ages.

... radical anti-Semites within the Nazi hierarchy didn't care what
the world thought. A few days after Kristallnacht, on November
12, a dozen top Nazis including Joseph Goebbels, Reinhard
Heydrich, and Hermann Göring, gathered to discuss what hap-
pened and to decide on further measures.

Heydrich reported 7,500 Jewish businesses destroyed, 267
synagogues burned (with 177 totally destroyed) and 91 Jews
murdered during Kristallnacht. Heydrich then requested new
decrees forbidding Jews from having any social contact with
Germans by excluding them from public transportation, schools,
and hospitals, essentially forcing them into ghettos or out of the
country. Goebbels said the Jews would be made to clean out
the debris from burned-out synagogues which would then be
demolished and turned into parking lots.

At this meeting there was a general agreement to eliminate Jews
entirely from economic life in the Reich by transferring all Jewish
property and enterprises to non-Jews, with minor compensation
to be given to the Jews in the form of German bonds.

Regarding the economic damage from Kristallnacht and the re-
sulting massive insurance claims, Göring declared the Jews
themselves should be billed for the damage and that any insur-
ance money payable to them should be confiscated by the Gov-
ernment. ...

--- end excerpts ---

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(end 3 of 4)
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Reference - Posts in this series:

Nuremberg Trials / Christianity / Holocaust (1 of 4)

Nuremberg Trials / Christianity / Holocaust (2 of 4)

"This series of posts covers the causal factors and
history leading up to the anti-humanism invoked by
the Nazis (and oft-forgotten, many members of the
German military) ... posts 1 and 2 include excerpts
from the Nuremberg trials ..."

Nuremberg Trials / Christianity / Holocaust (3 of 4)
"Background providing a perspective on some of the
events at issue, documenting the transition of Hitler
from Catholic to the pseudo-'God' of Germany, by
near-unanimous affirmation by the non-Jews of pre-
dominantly Christian Germany ... The Night of Broken
Glass ..."

Nuremberg Trials / Christianity / Holocaust (4 of 4)
"Hitler Youth ... Pope Pius XII was pope during the
holocaust, the pope of controversy as regards WW II
... Vatican expresses sorrow over Holocaust, defends
wartime pope ... Vatican's Role in the Rise of Modern
Anti-Semitism ... Further information on the leader of
the German Reich, and the position held by Nazis and
others during the period of time at issue ..."

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