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8.13.2010 | Blog.

July 2015:  What an utmost disgrace that former Auschwitz guard Oskar Groening, 94 now and twelve at the time the German people in a democratic election voted for Hitler and his Nazi party, has now been made the ultimate scapegoat for what in reality was a nation’s collective guilt. Not only did most of the top Nazis get away with it, the nation that stood behind soon forgot their own involvement and now a few old men who grew up amidst solid Nazi propaganda where Hitler was seen as close to a god are to be sentenced for participating, however comparably small their parts – when not doing so would have led not only to a certain death but condemnation from family, ‘friends’ and state. This excerpt from my book ‘HITLERS DESERTERS, When Law Merged with Terror’ might give an idea about this rarely mentioned fact regarding the German dictatorship: “In 1934, Reich President Hindenburg’s death was followed by a referendum in which an overwhelming majority of the German people approved of the proposal to combine the posts of president of the republic and chancellor under one hat, Adolf Hitler’s. The turnout of voters was enormous: 95% of the electorate took part and out of them 90% were in favour. As the Nazi administration already had legislative powers according to the recent Enabling Act, this referendum made the former corporal into a dictator – an elected one. It was obvious that the people wanted it that way.”

When Judge Kompisch (one wonder how his ancestors had cast their votes and what involvement they had had…) told the court that ‘Groening could easily have applied to fight at the front later in the war’ he forgot to mention that it was the Wehrmacht, the Nazi conscripted armed forces, that made Auschwitz and all other extermination camps possible. Without the armed defence of the Reich the extermination would have stopped years earlier.

West Germany was to a large degree built up by ex-Nazis. Decades after the fall of the Third Reich, administration, law, politics and the armed forces were dominated by people who happily had served the Nazi regime in senior posts. Some of these men, now in their ‘second career’, reached the highest posts as generals and ministers but for all of them it can be said, they were ‘forgiven’ by the Adenauer government and the Western allies. They were now needed again as ‘we’ had got a new enemy, the Communists. However there was another side to that forgiveness: thirty thousand war deserters and war-refusers (most of them dead but some still alive) were not shown the same mercy. They remained traitors also legally until a few years ago. Their history of a lifetime as outcasts in their own country and now the creation of a scapegoat to carry the blame for the biggest of all war crimes can only be seen as evidence that also today’s Germany has a lot of work to do. They need to come to terms with their own hypocrisy.

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