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Amruta Potdar
Mrs. Funk
Inquiry Skills
15 April 2014
Innocent Germans during the Holocaust
The Fuhrer. Terror. Concentration camps. Innocent Jews. Terrorizing Germans. These are
all phrases that come to mind when one thinks about the Holocaust. Unfortunately, the fact that
Germans were victims of the Holocaust along with Jews is not given any attention to. Germans
were affected just as much by the Holocaust as Jews were through discrimination, brainwashing,
psychological effects, and post-war stereotypes.
Women discrimination during the Holocaust.
During the Nazi rule, German women were stripped of their rights and freedoms.
According to an online journal titled The Holocaust Explained, written by survivors of the
Holocaust, the ideology involving women and their purpose changed when Hitler came into
power. This journal explains the Nazi Ten Commandments for the choice of a spouse. In these
commandments, women are told how to behave. For example, the second commandment says,
If you are genetically healthy you should not remain unmarried. Another commandment that
takes away rights is, You should want to have as many children as possible. (The Role of
Women in Nazi Germany). Through ways like this, women were unable to pursue what they
wanted in life. Many girls were forced to stop their education past a set age and had to start
managing a household instead of enjoying a career. The Nazi rule changed the way women were
able to live their daily lives.
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It is a common misconception that all Nazis were original anti-Semitics. As Tony Rennell
states, many people are not aware of the mental damage caused by brainwashing. German
women were victims of this during the Holocaust. Rennell published Hitlers Furies in an online
newsroom called U.K. Mail Online. This news article was written to reveal some of the horrific
deeds performed by brainwashed German women to Jews during WWII. A famous female Nazi
is Erna Petri. She grew up believing that Jews were the enemy and married an SS officer at the
age of 23. After this, her life changed from normal nationalism to violent hate crimes. One of the
first incidents occurred when she came across 6 Jewish boys clustered together along the side of
the road. She pieced together that they had escaped by observing their emaciated bodies, lack of
proper clothing, and the fear on their faces. Being her true self instead of her influenced self, she
took the children home and gave them food to eat. She had made them feel safe after a long time.
After they were finished, she methodically took them out into the woods and shot them one by
one. This terrorizing event proves the mental damage caused to Petri. Scientists theorize that
environment affects schizophrenia (National Institute of Mental Health). If Petri was
schizophrenic like this incident shows, it was likely due to Hitlers brainwashing. She was one of
the few women punished by her deeds and spent 30 years in prison. Another victimizing woman
went by the name of Josefine Block. She was not sympathetic to any Jews, let it be man, woman,
or child. Block was a wife of Gestapo policeman and acquired an extremely violent personality
over the years. One of her hobbies was torturing Jews while they were waiting to be deported to
a concentration camp. During one on these days, a little girl ran up to her pleading for help to
escape. Block seemed to be a loving and caring mother and yelled out, I will help you! She
then grabbed the young Jewish girl, flung her to the ground, and stomped on her head until she
was dead (Hitlers Furies). Scenes like this were common during the Holocaust. Many people
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have testified and said that these German were not always like this. It is impossible to think that
people are born being ruthless killers; something must have caused this reaction. The influence
of Hitler and his army changed women completely. They lost their mental state of mind and were
indoctrinated to believe Jews needed to be brutally killed.
Brainwashing Innocent Germans
Similar to how women were influenced by Hitler, all Germans faced the same problems.
According to Saira Hamid, her article explains why Germans felt powerless in front of Hitler.
She tells how Hitler worked his way to the top and manipulated the hearts of many. Before the
Holocaust, Germany was going through an economic crisis and depression. Many young men
had no job, money, or a home. The country was in complete distress and unemployment among
the whole population was increasing. Then, Adolf Hitler came into the picture. He was
considered the savior because he fixed the country with ease. It had been a while since Germany
had a politically powerful leader. Citizens were compelled into thinking that he was an amazing
person and trusted him completely (The Brainwashing of Germany). This led to the blind faith
that allowed Germans to witness the genocide of over 6 million Jews. At the age of 10, boys
were sent off to boarding school. Here, the youth of Germany became the Sons of the Fuhrer.
They were brainwashed into thinking that Hitler was correct to want to kill the Jews and
promised their service to him. (Youth under Fascism: The German Case). This proves that Hitler
played off of the innocence of young children. This thought of anti-Semitism planted in each
childs brain was not the childs fault, only Hitlers. Once source states that, The social effects
of the Hitler Youth on Nazi Germany are extremely significant and long lasting. Because those
who participated in the Hitler Youth were trained to idolize Hitler and his will and despise
opposition, when Hitler proclaimed that the Jews were responsible for the hardships of the
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German nation and laws were passed against them, it was these people who enforced them.
Ultimately, without Hitler planning this brainwashing years ahead of time, he would not have
gained enough power to execute the Final Solution.
Aside from the youth, other brainwashing tactics had to be put into place from Hitlers
plan to successfully work. Regardless of the terribly cruel human being he was, people believe
Hitler was one of the most influential speakers in the world. Through his speeches, he captured
the attention and minds of the country. As Joseph Goebbels claims, a former German politician
who played a significant role in the Holocaust, Hitler was a rhetoric genius. In his many
speeches, Hitler never said the same thing twice. He used this tact to prove to the citizens that he
knew what he was talking about and instead stated things in a different way. Hitler
revolutionized Germany by being the first leader to influence completely by his skill of speaking.
Goebbels believes that, (Hitlers) ability to reach the masses is unique and remarkable, fitting
no organizational scheme or dogma. Goebbels was one that was brainwashed through these
schemes. He saw no flaw in Hitler or his flaws because of the perfection in Hitlers speeches.
Mental Problems Faced by Nazi Soldiers during and after the Holocaust
German soldiers were affected negatively towards the end of the war. Hitler had left the
soldiers in a trance- they had grown up believing that Jews were the enemy and were forced to
suddenly see the true monsters they had become. As the trademarked article The History Place-
Hitler Youth suggests, reality hit originally innocent Germans hard. While liberating the
concentration camps, Allied soldiers took nearby German citizens and soldiers to see the truth of
what was going on. After this, the pain began to slowly settle in. Numerous soldiers suffered
from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the realization of their terrors became evident to them.
During the Holocaust, conditions were just as bad. Surprisingly, there were a fair amount of
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soldiers that did not want to fight, but had to to self-preserve. These innocent and mentally stable
soldiers eventually lost their sanity. They could not take the pain and drove themselves to
substance abuse or suicide. After being forced to see the deaths of innocent Jews and fellow
soldiers, men could not handle anymore and drove themselves to insanity (The History Place-
Hitler Youth Aftermath). Hitler was clearly the cause of all of this. These soldiers were not
born thinking that Jews needed to be exterminated. This is proven by the fact that they regretted
their actions after they realized what had occurred. The mental health of most German soldiers
was destroyed after the end of the war.
German Stereotypes Today
Although the Holocaust has been over for almost 60 years, Germans all over the world
face discrimination just for having a German background. Through a document titled German
Immigration in the Library of Congress, it is clear that innocent Germans have faced difficulties
due to their German heritage. After WWI and WWII, Germans were not looked upon as friends
of the United States. School names, street names, and even food names were changed to keep
German influence out of society. German shops, newspapers, and books were burned and
German was no longer taught in schools. Towards the end and after these gruesome world wars,
German Americans were also being refused jobs. This kind of discrimination is not appropriate
and the racists should be punished. When learning about the Holocaust in school, German
children have also been poked fun at and bullied for knowing the German language. (Expanding
German Awareness). It is important for parents to raise their children knowing that each child,
regardless of history, should be treated the same way.
Together, the discrimination of women based on gender, the complete brainwashing
caused by Hitler and his speaking skills, the post-war trauma faced by the soldiers, and the
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stereotypes of Germans today make up for a large portion of information left out by the media. It
is always important to see every perspective of a situation and people have failed to see that
several million Germans were as innocent as the Jews facing extermination. Overall, Germans
have been treated unfairly due to the ignorance of many. It is important to remember and honor
each and every innocent person who was affected by the Holocaust-whether they be Jewish or
German.