Professor Mike Zizzi
24 April 2015
Hatred Against Difference
Winston Churchill once said, “Some people like the Jews, and some do not. But no thoughtful man can deny the fact that they are, beyond any question, the most formidable and most remarkable race which has appeared in the world.” The Holocaust, an event that resulted in the loss of millions of lives, is by far one of the most atrocious epidemics in history. Nearly six million people were victims of the most severe form of discrimination purely because of their religion or ethnic background. To put that into perspective, that would be equivalent to massacring every citizen of Denmark (www.cia.gov). The word “Holocaust” is the combination of “holos”, translating to “whole,” and “kaustos” meaning burned, and it derives from the Greek language. Due to the traumatic events that occurred in 1945, this word will now forever be associated with a horrible meaning: the mass murder of some six million European Jews and other targeted minorities, by the German Nazi regime during WWII.
German society between 1918 and 1933 was rich in Jewish culture after the Weimar Republic granted ‘full civil rights’ to the Jewish population. They were part of the first cabinet formed in the new Republic and helped draft the Weimar Constitution (Bajohr, 2006). Jews became part of German life, and by 1927 it is estimated that 54% of all marriages were between Jews and non-Jews. Contrasting this was the rise of proportions in anti-Semitism that was equivalent to the marriage percentage. ‘In 1920, the largest association of German nobility, the Deutsche Adelsgenossenschaft, opted to add the so-called “Aryan clause” to its bylaws’ (Bajohr, 2006), instating that to be a member one must be of Aryan race. Violence toward Jews was becoming more common toward the Jews in politics and the murder of the Jewish Reich Foreign Minister Walther Rathenau in 1922 (Bajohr, 2006). After 1920-1921, no Jew in Munich was able to rule out the possibility that he or she might become the target of street violence (Bajohr, 2006).
In 1919 after World War I the Treaty of Versailles was established and it required that Germany pay reparations for the cost of the war. This occurrence in turn sparked the beginning of The Great Depression. The amount of reparation was exorbitant and in attempts to pay the Government began printing money. Printing all of this money put too much money in the system, which then resulted in a hyperinflation situation. Workers demanded pay twice a day and to be given an hour off after each payment so they could use the money before its value further deteriorated (Remy, 2008). Blame for this hyperinflation was placed on the Jews because they controlled the banks and the German economy. Violence was intended specifically for the Jewish race. ‘One hundred eighty-nine Jewish cemeteries and synagogues in Germany were vandalized between 1923 and 1932’ (Bajohr, 2006, p.186). In twentieth century times, people were eager for leadership and desired a form of authority to make promises and deliver on them.
Adolf Hitler, born on April 20, 1889 in Braunau, Austria to parents: Klara Polzl and father Alois Hitler (Remy, 2008). His father was said to be a "key contributor to the personality of Adolf. Often drunk, Alois repeatedly beat Adolf which called for a rough atmosphere filled with many poor childhood experiences that molded his personality (Stewart, 2005). Hitler ‘had a strong messiah complex, exhibited significant masochistic tendencies and sexual perversions, and was very likely a homosexual’ (Stewart, 2005). As cited by Stewart, Walter Langer, responsible for a WWII psychological analysis, suggested that if the Nazis were losing the war, the most likely scenario would be that Hitler would commit suicide, which he in fact did. According to Langer once again, Hitler expressed personality disorders that explained his atrocious actions. He believed he possessed