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View Diary: A Promise to My Grandfather: A Follow Up (321 comments)

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  •  This will be the last (4.00)
    atleast for a while.

    It is still painful to write, but it has been good therapy.


    The simple minded and the uninformed can be easily led astray and those that cannot connect the dots, Hey look the other way.

    by amprather on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:15:20 PM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  I respect your wish for silence and a (4.00)
      chance to digest this incredible sequence of events.

      However, on behalf of all of us sitting here with tears in our eyes, I'd like to ask you to post the link when the story runs in SF, so that we can all read it. (of course, I admit I'd love to hear your account of the meeting between you two grandchildren, but I will restrain myself... sort of...)

      Peace and blessings

      "God help the political system in which a thoroughly addled sovereign is faced with a real crisis." Anatole Lieven, Carnegie Endowment for Peace

      by Tulip on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 12:36:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As a European - (4.00)
      one of my great concerns for America has been that we have not learned or remembered history very well.

      Which is why now that you hear and read all this hate from the Republicans/Religious right - it frightens me.  I am afraid that the chasm between then and now is getting narrower and narrower.

      Unfortunately I do not think it will take much for these nut-cases to go off the deep end - and we'll have another Third Reich on our hands.

      This is why letters like yours are of such importance -- it makes people stop and think -- and hopefully take action against the hate on the right against whomever they decide is not worthy.

      SpongeBush SquarePants: SpongeBush lives in a bubble in D.C./absorbent and shallow and porous is he! - - Maureen Dowd

      by sara seattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 04:22:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree and I have an unpopular take (3.88)
        We must never forget.  But at the same time, we must not allow ourselves to treat Hitler as if he is unique.  

        People always get nervous when Hitler is suggested to be a human being.  "He is a monster!" they say.  If you comment that he was an incredible speaker or was charismatic and loved by his followers, you are somehow defending him.  

        I think this is wrong.  Hitler was a man.  When we demonize Hitler, we diminish the value of what his existence can remind us of.  For if he is the devil incarnate, he is a singularity.  He cannot be repeated.  Thus, we need not worry about there being another Hitler.  He is uniquely evil.  An aberration.

        If he is a man, a popular man, (which is the truth) we have more reason to stay ever vigilant.  We cannot assume we will know the devil when we see him.  Hitler was a charismatic, well spoken, leader.

        Already, it has gotten to the point where you can't compare any person to Hitler.  It is considered hate speech.  If this is the case, then we truly have already forgotten.  He was not a monster.  He was an evil man.  Spotting a monster is easy.  Spotting an evil man is not.  It is just too easy to say that the Germans were duped by this monster and that is that.

        Hating Hitler is easy.  Understanding that people loved him is not.  We must not let people remove Hitler from the human race (and this happens on both sides of the aisle but for different reasons).  He is very much a part of the human race.  

        •  perhaps unpopular, but not alone (none)
          I agree.

          I have always been fascinated by Hitler. And whenever I say that, more often than not I have to defend that "fascinated" does not mean "respect or honor".

          He never advanced beyond Corporal in the Army, yet he rose to lead a nation. And gathered such a large and violent and loyal following.

          Scary. And Fascinating.

          •  ah (none)
            Kinda remind you of someone else?  
            •  comparisons (none)
              but to make the absolute comparison is "unpatriotic"
              •  Bush is no Hitler... (none)
                He's not nearly as talented.
                •  Yes, but he has a support network (none)
                  Karl Rove, et al. Folks with a historic sense of themselves versus "evil".  Damn scary to me.

                  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

                  by bewert on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:31:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Karl Rove... (none)
                    Karl Rove's grandfather was a Nazi..Gauleiter of Oldenburg and helped plan and build concentration camps in that area. Small wonder his grandson still has the "family values". And don't forget, Bush's grandfather did business with Hitler, through his bank. He facilitated the buying of raw materials for the Nazis during the war. These people don't only behave like fascists, they have a family background that seems to condone it. I learned alot from my grandmother(a lifelong liberal Democrat) and I carry many of her attitudes and standards through my life. It isn't a big stretch to assume that Rove and Bush have had the attitudes and standards of their grandfathers passed on down to them.  
                    •  asdf (none)
                      that's an urban myth ... please don't repeat, it only discredits us ...

                      vote early - vote often

                      by wystler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:19:57 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  asdf addendum (none)
                        (the part about Rove's grandfather)

                        vote early - vote often

                        by wystler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 09:20:52 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Googled it.. (none)
                        And not all the sources are "urban myth" type sites. Common Dreams, and several others also say the same thing. His name was Karl Heinz Roverer, the Gauleiter of Oldenburg. It's a matter of record, Nazi records. They kept very good ones.
                        •  Yeah (none)
                          That's why I find CommonDreams so damned disappointing. I can only hope that their own editorial decision - to not remove it - is based on a decision to take their lumps, rather than on an assertion that it's true. There's solid historical documentation out there that refutes the claim, and the original source - Al Martin - has time and again demonstrated his proclivity to play the wild-eyed loose cannon. He really is everything that the right attempts to ascribe to Michael Moore. Yes, the Nazis were rigerous in documenting - there was no Gauleiter of Oldenburg.

                          For more facts on KarlHeinz Röver (take it for what it's worth, since it's from a geocities page):

                          "On the night of May 13, 1942, Röver startled the party hierarchy when he announced that he was going to see the Führer on the next day and then proceed to meet Winston Churchill, in order to make peace. Coming virtually on the first anniversary of Rudolf Hess' flight to Scotland, the matter was immediately brought to Martin Bormann's attention. An SS physician diagnosed the last stages of syphilis in Roever, and he was rushed to an isolated area. Two agents [Georg Joel, Ministerpräsident of Oldenburg and the Stabsleiter of the Röver's Gauleitung] were sent by Bormann to examine Röver, and they reported on May 15 that the sick man had succumbed to heart failure. The whole matter was hushed up and soon forgotten in the course of the war."

                          (Excerpted from Charles Hamilton's Leaders and Personalities of the Third Reich, R. James Bender Publishing, 1984; story also found in Karl Höffkes, Hitlers Politische Generale, Grabert-Verlag, 1986/1997)

                          Röver was then given a state funeral in the Mosaic Hall (Mosaiksaal) of the Reichskanzlei in Berlin on 22.05.1942. He was buried in the Neuen Friedhof, Oldenburg on 23.05.1942.

                          This rumor is precisely the kind of crap that discredits the folks who promote it. With all the charges one can level at BushCo that stick, there's absolutely no reason to raise this manure-laden charge.

                          The right has made up shit too. Anybody not get an email "reporting" on the Senate hearings in the 80s, when Ollie North told off Al Gore about OBL, nevermind it was neither Gore, nor bin Laden?

                          Of course, I'll eat my words if you can connect the dots between KarlHeinz and a hospital in Denver in 1950, where Karl Rove was born. It'd be fairly elementary to link a birth record listing a father, Ellis Island records, and either wind up in Bremen or not. You really should ask yourself why this whirlwind of 2003 has not been sustained ...

                          vote early - vote often

                          by wystler on Mon Mar 07, 2005 at 12:28:36 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

            •  the scariest part after World War II (4.00)
              was that (in Europe) it was your neighbors that had killed everyone and everything in sight.

              and it is still happening - I was in Croatia not too long time ago - and the most frightening thing I heard was: - during the war my neighbors came and killed my whole family - AND YOU KNOW THEY ARE STILL LIVING NEXT TO ME!!

              How would you ever be able to go to sleep at night.

              Man's inhumanity to man.

              SpongeBush SquarePants: SpongeBush lives in a bubble in D.C./absorbent and shallow and porous is he! - - Maureen Dowd

              by sara seattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 08:21:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  speaking of neighbors killing neighbors (none)
                Hotel Rwanda is an excellent film, and I recommend it to everyone.  I waited in a 2 hour line to see Paul Rusesabagina (the guy whose heroism inspired the film) and the saddest thing he said, but the thing that stuck in my head, is that 'he has no faith in people anymore.'  (paraphrasing)

                I've wondered whether I would have the courage to see and act in such a situation.  Sometimes it seems to me that seeing is what people don't do.  Paul and Hotel Rwanda are inspirations for me, and make me think I might be strong enough.  But I am very sad that he doesn't assume people are good anymore, after what he has seen.

        •  See "Triumph of the Will" (4.00)
          Yes, some of it is dated, but it is still a fantastic piece of propaganda, not only because Riefenstahl was a great filmmaker, but because her subject knew so much about manipulating people and did it so well.

          Hitler was an extraordinary man, evil through and through, but elected during a bad time in Germany, a country that had been a world leader in science and the arts. Yes, Germany had a lot to answer for, but I'm not convinced that we are so different that we cannot follow that path if we become complacent.

          •  Also "The Dictator and The Tramp" (none)
            It's a documentary about Chaplin's The Great Dictator, and it covers the making of the film, but also Chaplin's morbid fascination with Hitler.

            Hitler stole his moustache! And Chaplin was fascinated with Hitler's speaking ability, calling him a great actor (Hitler did take acting lessons to enhance his oratory).

            In this country, we usually just see Hitler in foaming-at-the-mouth mode, but he would build up to that in highly dramatic fashion.

            I remember reading an interview with John Cusack when Max came out, and he emphasized Hitler's humanity, too. He said something like, "He wasn't some monster, he was a human, of woman born, and we have to remember that."

            •  Pennsylvania (4.00)
              Many years ago I was living in Lancaster PA, a Mennonite town in rural PA.  The KKK organized a demonstration against a gay bookstore and "other" people in general.  I tried to set up a counter demonstration, but nobody wanted to confront the KKK.  So, instead, since I lived on one of the blocks they marched on, I played that wonderful speach by Charlie Chaplin from the The Great Dictator.  The one where the other Hitler speaks out in favor of difference and for tolerance.  I ended up receiving death threats at 3:00 a.m. and shit scrawled in front of my house.  I decided to move the San Francisco and never looked back.

              I have visited Dachau and I am with you...Never, ever, fucking again.

              •  Oh Damn (none)
                What I meant to say was I played the speach out my windows on louspeakers at top volume.  We were actaully told to turn it down by the police and told we were committing a disturbance of the peace.  Argh.
              •  Well, God love ya (none)
                Down here in Tennessee, the people of Pulaski, birthplace of Nathan Bedford Forrest's KKK, all shut down their stores and turned their backs on the KKK.

                But there's this patch of private land that has a statue of Forrest. It's right on the interstate, and it is so hideous, it alone devalues the Southern Whatever for whoever sees it.

                If they don't rip their own eyes out first. Lucky it's on the interstate, so no one really catches its hideousness.

            •  Mustache (none)
              I read somewhere that Hitler grew that mustache because he had a big nose and the mustache deflected the viewer's eyes from the nose to the mustache.  In WWI, he had a more conventional mustache...a bit walrus-like.
          •  See Nacht und Nebel too.. (none)
            It means "Night and Fog" and is a film about a Nazi program for terrorizing the local populace. They would arrest people, and no information would be given, no letters, no nothing about what had happened to them. They just disappeared. It turned out that most of them were shot shortly after being arrested, and the rest were sent to concentration camps or "labor details". Not many of those survived the war, but a few did. The thing about the Night and Fog directive is that it sounds eerily like the current administrations way of dealing with "terrorist suspects" in this country. Fortunately, we are not yet so intimidated that we don't notice and make a fuss when one of our neighbors disappears into the gaping maw of "Homeland Security". Thank God the courts are FINALLY taking notice of this agregious violation of the Constitution. And just as an aside..does anyone besides me wonder if Bush actually read the Constitution before swearing to uphold it??
        •  yeah (4.00)
          I see it as that Hitler met an appetite.

          I don't remember the direct quote, but Jung said something like "that which we deny in ourselves is what becomes most primitive".

          I think that can happen to societies as well, creating appetites.

          And when you're ravenously hungry, you don't care so much what you eat.  You can eat poison if it looks good on the surface.

          At some point I am going to learn more about German culture pre-Hitler, but I think there was a ton of denial there that meant a huge appetite for pseudo-morality and pseudo-populism, a reaction away from stagnation and immorality.  But since they weren't measured about it, it opened them up to the kind of corruption that Hitler represented.

          •  pre-nazi Germany (none)
            Check out "A Chorus of Stones" by Susan Griffin - incredible book, great research and insight into Himmler, his background, etc. Fascinating stuff.
          •  You have to go back to WWI (none)
            Germany was ignominously defeated in WWI, and was forbidden to create arms, which Hitler built upon. It was very poor during the depression of the 30's, which Hitler blamed on the Jews. Plus he was a great orator, in a time where radio was everywhere and TV was nowhere. He built on the problems of post-WW1 Germany to get elected and then declared that his election was the last.

            But he was human, very much so, which is the scary part, since so many people supported him.

            "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

            by bewert on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:43:00 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Great Orator he was not (none)
              I've studied this a lot. In fact, when I was in college, I took a course called "Nazi Germany, Could it Happen Again?" We studied their history, culture and what led up to it. Unfortunately, I walked away with the answer "yes".

              Hitler was not a good public speaker. He even studdered. Many of the tapes that were released were heavily edited. He had a great group of "handlers". A marketing campaign like we've never seen. He did know how to fire up the masses. And he gave a consistent message.  

              THIS is why I am so freaked out now. There are a lot of people who believe W is a great public speaker.

          •  Also, "Hitler's Willing Executioners" (none)
            You can get this book on Amazon.

            To cut to the chase: ordinary people, just like us, perpetrated the Holocaust. Monsters not needed. Book extremely popular in Germany.

            "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who do not have it." - George Bernard Shaw

            by CarbonFiberBoy on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 10:44:40 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Better yet (none)
              Get it on or  Amazon is a major red donar. B&N and Borders tend to go blue.
            •  also the documentary (none)
              The documentary "The Sorrow and the Pity", the book "Vichy France" by Robert O. Paxton, and the book "Crimes of Obedience" by Herbert Kelman and Lee Hamilton.

              The Sorrow and the Pity was made in 1971 but banned from being shown in French cinemas or on French TV until Francois Mitterand came to power in the early 1980's (Mitterand was the first postwar French leader to have an untainted record during WWII - he'd been an active member of the Resistance and rescued author Marguerite Duras's husband from a concentration camp - Duras and her husband were in his Resistance cell) rather than cooperating in one form or another. It's about how the French government and many ordinary French people went along with their occupiers and actively persecuted Jews and resisters. It's available to buy on Amazon, I believe, but should be hard to rent unless you live near a university library. On the same subject, historian Robert O. Paxton wrote a very compelling book about Vichy France, also published in 1971, also banned from being sold in France until Mitterand's presidency. That should be easier to find in a library than the documentary.

              I realize we were talking about Germany, but  collaboration, even enthusiastic collaboration, happened elsewhere too, even when the collaborators were betraying their own people. My godmother's uncle was in the Dutch Resistance. He was picked up by the Gestapo at the pharmacy in Amsterdam where he worked after a tip-off from one of his neighbours (also Dutch, not German). One of his colleagues at the pharmacy called his house as soon as he'd been arrested and told his wife to take their baby son and leave the house immediately. She went underground and his Resistance cell smuggled her and the baby to England. Why did the colleague call, and why did the cell work so hard to keep her and the baby out of sight? If an interrogation subject wouldnt' cooperate, the Gestapo might pick up their family, in hopes that someone who wouldn't break under torture would break if their loved ones were tortured in front of them.

              There was a huge infrastructure of ordinary people in Germany who helped carry out out Hitler's commands, either by actively participating or by not caring, and a smaller but equally obedient infrastructure in the occupied countries who did the same for the occupiers.  

        •  It could happen anywhere (none)
          Never forget, Hitler was democratically elected.
          •  Not exactly. (none)
            After the Nazi Party scored big (though not a majority, IIRC) in the parliamentary elections the aging von Hindenburg was persuaded by wealthy industrialists to appoint Hitler.  The industrialists were worried about "Bolshevism" and thought they could control Hitler.  Hitler never got a majority of German votes in a free election, as far as I know.

            Put on your jumping shoes, which are intellect and love--Meister Eckhart

            by smusher on Sat Mar 05, 2005 at 10:31:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  To see how Hitler was *made* (ruined) (4.00)
          by his childhood, read Alice Miller's "For Your Own Good".

          Incredible. Shows how the incredible abuse heaped on him as a child -- created an anger which was still not slaked after killing millions. Stalin had similar childhood.

          One of the most incredible books ever written to understand how people are warped beyond belief. And how it plays into politics. Truly pivitol -- a must read.


          Reframing the news and people's views of our world:

          by AllisonInSeattle on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 10:02:07 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Alice Miller (none)
            has a new book due out sometime this year. I would also recommend "The Truth Will Set You Free." In what has been an eye-opener, I went from reading Miller to Wilhelm Reich's "The Mass Psychology of Fascism."  These writers were in touch with the seeds of and the ramifications of repression and wrote to warn us.

            This diary is a stunning reminder that we must remain awake.

        •  Well put (none)
          I agree with your statement. Hitler was just another person, with no magical powers. He was able to move huge numbers of people to do totally horrible things. This is not something unique or unheard of. Which means it can happen again.

          The other point would be, Hitler did not act alone. Millions cooperated in his evil. Millions!

          Which is all the more reason to be vigilent.

        •  Read "Inside The Third Reich" (none)
          By Albert Speer

          Speer's recollections say exactly what you said.

          Hitler was very charasmatic - to the point where Speer and others did evil (without realizing it) because they were patriotic to Hitler and the Reich.  

          I highly recommend this book.  It tells how persuasive the snake-oil can be.

        •  Another Hitler (none)
          There may be no duplicate of Hitler, but there are those leaders who share his ego-manical ways.  Hitler never achieved great success in the military (he was an Austrian, by the way, not a German national), but we have a president who has not won any presidential elections legitimately.

          We need to be dillegent in seeing the similarities of what happened in late 1930's Germany, and what is happening in this country today.

      •  Roll Up Our Sleeves (4.00)
        Bernie Sanders says we "do not have the luxury of being depressed."

        Delay, Rove, Perle, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Luntz, Cheney, and the rest, plus their army of drones are working day-in and day-out every day to create the world they want.

        We won't beat that with arm-chair outrage. We can't defeat them with occasional weekend activism.

        We must roll up our sleeves, get out, get organized, and go to work.

        Hold community discussions. Do fundraisers. Organize protests. Take non-violent activist training. Teach non-violent activist training. Talk with your friends and neighbors. Seek out houses of worship, peace and justice groups, political groups, wherever you think you can connect and make a difference, and get started. If every Kos member reaches 50 unaware people over the next year, we'll create a sea-change.

        Just please, whatever you do, don't do nothing.

        [Note: This is a plea, not a criticism. I know many people reading this are working very hard. It's time for all of us to take it to the next level. We are the proverbial "they" who will make the change happen.]

        Beware the everyday brutality of the averted gaze.

        by mataliandy on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 06:07:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  true (none)
        few people realize how close we were to joining the wrong side on wwii, even though revisionists like hurricane zell would like to deny it.
        •  Europe the pacifier (none)
          England and Europe did nothing to stop Hitler. They only continued to appease him. They did nothing when the Nazi's took the following aggressive actions:

          1936 took over the Rhineland
          1937 Luftwaffe bombed Gurnica, Spain (Picasso's famous painting of the distruction)
          1938 Kristallnacht
          1938 bullied Austria into unifying with Germany
          1938 manufactured a reason to take over the Sudentenland - part of Czechoslovakia

          Only when Poland was invaded in 1939 did they act.

          Finally, finally Europe declared war!

          George W. Bush - Often wrong, but never in doubt!

          by auapplemac on Fri Mar 04, 2005 at 09:25:11 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  that's the half of the story the right wants (none)
            to remember. They'd like to forget how prominent right-wingers were pro-Hitler.

            The most prominent wingnut of the day was Charles Lindburgh. This bio notes that he did eventually join the war effort:

            German medal of honor

            While in Europe, Lindbergh was invited by the governments of France and Germany to tour the aircraft industries of their countries. Lindbergh was especially impressed with the highly advanced aircraft industry of Nazi Germany. In 1938, Hermann Goering, a high Nazi official, presented Lindbergh with a German medal of honor. Lindbergh's acceptance of the medal caused an outcry in the United States among critics of Nazism.

            Opposed voluntary American entry into World War II

            Lindbergh and his family returned to the United States in 1939. In 1941, he joined the America First Committee, an organization that opposed voluntary American entry into World War II. Lindbergh became a leading spokesman for the committee. He criticized President Franklin D. Roosevelt's foreign policies. He also charged that British, Jewish, and pro-Roosevelt groups were leading America into war. Lindbergh resigned his commission in the Army Air Corps after Roosevelt publicly denounced him. Some Americans accused Lindbergh of being a Nazi sympathizer because he refused to return the medal he had accepted.

            After the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, Lindbergh stopped his noninvolvement activity. He tried to reenlist, but his request was refused. He then served as a technical adviser and test pilot for the Ford Motor Company and United Aircraft Corporation (now United Technologies Corporation).

            50 combat missions

            In April 1944, Lindbergh went to the Pacific war area as an adviser to the United States Army and Navy. Although he was a civilian, he flew about 50 combat missions. Lindbergh also developed cruise control techniques that increased the capabilities of American fighter planes.

            Luce's hard right anti-communism faced resistance within his own party. PBS notes:

            Luce's concern for the world began with the Second World War. Like many members of the Eastern Establishment - an informal collection of publishers and political and financial leaders - Luce viewed the early victories of Nazi Germany with alarm. No longer, Luce argued, could America afford her traditional isolation from the world. Even if Britain stopped Hitler, Luce correctly surmised, the war would leave her too exhausted to play the great world power. Americans had to be made to accept the "inevitable": armed intervention to save Europe and a new postwar order dominated by the United States - Luce called it the American Century.

            Luce's vision of America hegemony still faced obstacles. Some powerful conservative elements within the Republican party and some newspapers, most notably the Chicago Tribune, fiercely opposed Luce's new imperialism. Abroad, the Soviet Union began late in the war to assert its own will over Eastern Europe. Even before the disintegration of the U.S.-Soviet alliance. Luce's magazines, in 1944 and 1945, started to question Russia's intentions for the postwar world. Stalin, like Hitler, seemed bent on upsetting a balance of power favorable to the United States.

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