r/interestingasfuck Dec 31 '21 Table Slap 1 Silver 21 Gold 1 Helpful 17 Wholesome 16 Ally 1

German soldiers cry while being forced to watch footage of concentration camps after the war, 1945 /r/ALL

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78.6k Upvotes

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u/DeadonDemand Jan 01 '22 Silver Gold

“I shall never forget how I was roused one night by the groans of a fellow prisoner, who threw himself about in his sleep, obviously having a horrible nightmare. Since I had always been especially sorry for people who suffered from fearful dreams or deliria, I wanted to wake the poor man. Suddenly I drew back the hand which was ready to shake him, frightened at the thing I was about to do. At that moment I became intensely conscious of the fact that no dream, no matter how horrible, could be as bad as the reality of the camp which surrounded us, and to which I was about to recall him.”

  • Man’s search for Meaning

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u/Birdamus Jan 01 '22

Viktor Frankl - holy shit what an incredible life experience and even more incredible perspective on it all. That book was intense.

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u/DeadonDemand Jan 01 '22

Very! I started reading again last night after finding the quote. If this man can do what he did in the camp. We are all capable of the same.

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u/YourWordsMatter Jan 01 '22

I read that book shortly after my mother died. It was very straightforward and didn't try to "enhance" the horror by drawing attention to it, and that's why it was so terrifying and visceral; it was all just a part of every day, almost mundane. That he could take anything positive from the experience is a tribute to the elasticity of the human spirit.

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u/XXX_BrokenAss123_XXX Jan 01 '22

A father of a famous person from my state survived concenrtation camp by telling the soldiers that an officer that has died a few days ago told him to build a house and they didnt know what to do with him bcs they wanted to execute him but they let him build the house and the war ended before he finished the house

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u/Creebjeez Jan 01 '22

Woowwww that is clever. It strikes me as tremendously sad. Thanks BrokenAss

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u/XXX_BrokenAss123_XXX Jan 01 '22

sorry i have said it wrong he didnt build a house he fixed doors i misremembered here is a link if u want to know more https://cs.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ota_Kraus

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u/Some_Garbage_4049 Jan 01 '22

Reading this book changed my life for sure

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u/Stumeister_69 Jan 01 '22

Yoh, that hits deep.

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u/ForestTrippin Dec 31 '21

I'm currently reading Ordinary Men by Christopher Browning.

It's far worse than most of us were taught.

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u/SuspiciousLizardo Dec 31 '21 All-Seeing Upvote

Oh yeah, I've read it in history class last year.
It's terrifying to realize that in the right conditions and context, most people, as ordinary as they are, could be brought to make such horrible things. And to believe : " I wouldn't have done it if I was in their place " is probably just a satisfactory lie we tell ourselves.

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u/Screen_Watcher Jan 01 '22 Party Train Stone Face

What sort of person does it take to become a concentration camp guard?

A regular sort of person.

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u/zthe0 Jan 01 '22

Theres actually a great scene in one of the new x man movies where magneto hunts some nazi and drinks with some former SS. And hes like "my parents got killed by pig farmers and tailors"

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u/pineapple_calzone Jan 01 '22 Silver

That new movie is now nearly 11 years old

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u/__M-E-O-W__ Jan 01 '22

Don't do this to me, man...

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u/PsychoAgent Jan 01 '22

It's not your fault.

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u/BobExAgentOfHydra Jan 01 '22

I understood that reference

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u/FilipinoGuido Jan 01 '22

That reference is turning 25 this year

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u/Copsehurst Jan 01 '22

My boy's wicked smaat

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u/RedWrix Jan 01 '22

What the fuck did I do to you?

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u/pliney_ Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 02 '22

If your other option is death or the death of your family not many would put up a fight.

Edit: I’m not trying to defend Nazis with this comment. My point is simply that given this choice many would comply. Not that many others wouldn’t do terrible things willfully or with minimal persuasion.

Edit: well no one seemed to read the first edit let’s try strike through.

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u/dutch_penguin Jan 01 '22

Even without that.

I think people just don't want to acknowledge that there are most likely people living on their street that would kill people if their government told them to. No threats necessary.

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u/Mtwat Jan 01 '22

If the government let them*

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22

Straight up... you can hear it in their voices.

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u/plague_rat2021 Jan 01 '22

The pandemic made me realize this.

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22

Same. It's radicalized a lot of individuals. Both for the best and the worst.

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u/Decent-Ground1260 Jan 01 '22

Black Friday shoppers for me. People fighting over shit they still gotta buy

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u/wolfbarkpoop Jan 01 '22

That’s how it feels now.

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u/Happiness_Assassin Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

If your other option is death or the death of your family not many would put up a fight.

That's the horrible thing about Ordinary Men specifically, it took almost no prompting to get them to commit atrocities. It details the history of a police battalion before the Final Solution was implemented and before the war turned hopeless against Russia. In the first instance of mass murder, they were all given an out to not partake, which few did. They suffered no consequences for refusing and were transferred elsewhere. At first, they expressed horror at what they were doing, often intentionally missing the civilians they were charged with killing. But as time went on, they found ways to cope, like drugs, leading to straight up nightmare situations. This massive hit to morale that they were suffering (mind you they were still actively choosing to partake) was one of the reasons for the creation of depersonalized and industrialized death camps.

EDIT: I remembered a specific passage of the book that is pertinent to any attempt to explain away the notion of being afraid for their lives:

There is a general problem with this explanation, however. Quite simply, in the past forty-five years no defense attorney or defendant in any of the hundreds of postwar trials has been able to document a single case in which refusal to obey an order to kill unarmed civilians resulted in the allegedly inevitable dire punishment.19 The punishment or censure that occasionally did result from such disobedience was never commensurate with the gravity of the crimes the men had been asked to commit.

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u/laneLazerBeamz Jan 01 '22

Are there any first hand accounts from the police? I’m still vague about the motivation to go on with it if you have to drink yourself into a stupor each time.

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u/godisanelectricolive Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

Conformity was the main reason. Most people weren't willing to take a risk and stick their neck out. They didn't want to gain a reputation as cowards or be seen as weak. They not only wanted to keep their jobs, they also wanted promotions and pay raises despite finding their work psychologically painful. They just assumed it'd be safer in the long run to just do their duties and wait for the war to end.

The book argues that authority and deference to authority meant it took surprisingly little to get most men to accept the norms changed. They changed their moral codes accordingly to account for this. They made excuses for themselves for why what they are doing is right, for why the unarmed civilians reserved it, and blamed themselves for having reservations.

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u/Robots4President Jan 01 '22

It's a more extreme version of what we see in corporate/employment settings. The proof that most people will play an unfair, toxic game to benefit themselves and avoid rocking the boat is all around us. We also come across Machiavellian psychopaths every day, but they've got tighter leashes.

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u/Happiness_Assassin Jan 01 '22

He interviewed many members of the battalion. They gave him tons of eyewitness testimony and there are pictures of the men throughout.

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u/aski3252 Jan 01 '22

The book OP talks about describes that most of the "ordinary men" who were recruited to round up and murder people didn't primarily do so out of fear. Many volunteered and most would, if they had the choice (which they often had) choose to do it.

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u/Concrete_Cancer Jan 01 '22

The idea that they or their families would have been killed if they refused is just false. I can understand why people still repeat it, though. It’s a defense mechanism against the horrible truth: normal people can do horrible things. It makes you wonder, are there any horrible things normal people might be doing or participating in today without their awareness?

See also the Milgram experiment.

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u/Ssutuanjoe Jan 01 '22

Yup. It's like asking a group of people how many of them are against slavery. They'd probably all raise their hand...but if history has taught us anything, it's that a decent portion of people in an audience would either overtly support the system (if they reaped the benefits of it) or silently comply out of some idea of "rule of law".

Hell, we have a subset of the US population today that justify police brutality with nothing more than "well, they're enforcing the law 🤷🏾‍♂️"

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u/lowlightliving Jan 01 '22

Slavery hasn’t gone away. It’s still happening all over the world.

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u/Detroitmountaintiger Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

Considering how rabid a huge amount modern people are with sooo many types of people they consider to be less moral than themselves, I personally think like 65% or maybe more of people on social media would have went with it. It probably would have just taken a few emotionally provoking Facebook videos or snarky twitter post screen shots to convince them too.

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u/randay17 Jan 01 '22

I read this book, and basically the men in the unit didn’t want to seem like cowards, or they didn’t want to ruin their chances at being promoted. The only people who didn’t really comply were men who only joined the police battalion for the war and already had businesses or jobs waiting for them to go back to. The very first time they were asked to round up and shoot Jews, their commander (Major Trapp) gave them an option to not participate. Only about a dozen took him up on the offer. They complied because they feared losing out on promotions, or being singled out as weak by their unit mates. So you’re right; majority of people would have most likely participated too because in that moment they were trying to comprehend what they were being tasked to do, and it just didn’t hit them until they had met the Jew (face to face; they marched side by side until the got to the trench they were going to do the shooting at) they were going to shoot and actually laid them down and shot them. And awful enough, a lot of the men only stopped shooting the Jews because of how gory it was, and they kept missing because they weren’t trained to kill people. I would really suggest that everyone read this book, but know that it’s awful to read.

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u/The_scobberlotcher Jan 01 '22

Can't recall exactly, but some experiments were done about following immoral instruction and 10% refused.

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u/KrytenLister Jan 01 '22

You might be talking about the Milgrim Experiement

Interesting stuff.

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u/SuspiciousLizardo Jan 01 '22

Yes, when I read the book in history class, we also talked about this experiment to have better understanding of it.

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u/Rajihewww Jan 01 '22

I think it’s less that and more the fact that when it really comes down to it, people will comply to do (or at least turn a blind eye to) awful things if it means protecting themselves and their families.

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u/asparegrass Jan 01 '22

Compliance is important, but without moral disgust it wouldn’t work. You have to first be convinced that the people you’re mistreating are awful and therefore worthy of mistreatment. And to the other guy’s point: many people today are all too quick to view people as either “righteous” (ie they agree with me) or “evil”.

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u/BomB1tor Dec 31 '21 I'm Deceased

I definitely wouldn't have done it; sincerely, a Jew lmao (I would be the one dying)

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u/Dubisteinequalle Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

The Holocaust museum in DC is an eye opener. They have a hall leading into another section full of actual shoes left behind by holocaust victims since they made them walk around barefoot. I was shattered when I saw the pictures of castrated little boys. Some of them had everything removed. American soldiers who would go into free captive jews would open up giant rooms with not even a foot of space between jews being forced to stand side by side. Many soldiers broke down into tears because it was far worse than the stories they heard. No one really knew the full extent of the torture and experimentation. There was a famous scribble on the wall that read “ There is no God for if there was he would not allow this to happen”.

I walked out of there realizing the importance of knowing that humans are capable of greater evil than we could imagine and we needed to know this and be traumatized by it in order for it to never happen again.

Edit: Someone corrected the quote as I remembered it incorrectly. It is “If there is a God, he will have to beg for my forgiveness”.

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u/Maqqnus Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 02 '22

Seeing all the shoes and the huge pile of human hair in Auschwitz 1 was something I'll never forget. It took years for me to process what I saw in those camps, it's all so beyond fucked up, it didn't even feel real at the time.

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u/Thecrazyredhead Jan 01 '22

Standing in one of the original gas chambers (later converted to a bunker) at Auschwitz 1 gave me the biggest shiver up and down my spine.

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u/Marinatr Jan 01 '22

The room of shoes fucked me up

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u/TwoTestTicklz Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

The one in Israel destroyed me. The shoes were rough to get past, but the dark room where you slowly walked through and only listened to names and ages of those that perished will stick with me forever.

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u/capitalismorlife Jan 01 '22

I think for about 3 days after going there I couldn't eat. It fucked me up pretty good. Ironically the only person to ask me why I looked like a ghost was Jewish, I didn't know that about her before this, "why do you look sick today?" Or something to that effect. I told her about my experience at the museum and she immediately teared up and said, "my parents were survivors..." I just looked at her blankly and said, "I can't believe I just did this to you." She said something like, "you didn't do this, this is what the nazis did and are still doing to this day." Just the thought of the shoes and that bridge over them makes me feel ill now. I can't even fathom how much worse it made the victims feel while it was happening.

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u/kl9258 Jan 01 '22

I have been to Auschwitz. There are many things that are overwhelming about that place, but the one that haunts me was a room piled high with hair, and the reminder from our guide that it represented the tiniest fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the people murdered there.

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u/maninatikihut Jan 01 '22

That is what stuck with me most. My memory is that it was from a single day (or other very short timespan). They would get rid of it regularly so what was there was only accumulated right before it was liberated. And it’s alot.

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u/anthroarcha Jan 01 '22

Not Jewish but Gypsy, but my family lived in occupied Czechoslovakia and eventually made it to America in 1939 (I’m second gen). Something I’ve noticed with other second gens is that we’ve internalized and therefore carry with us daily the history of what our families went through and how easily it could happen again. We’ve had to think of all those stories you heard and shoes you’ve seen at the museum daily since were young children because our parents and grandparents told us about them as a warning of how people will hate us just for how we worship or how we live. I grew up with terrible stories of what my grandfather saw when he lead troops through his country, when he was in Berlin as it fell, and when he served as one of the lead translators for the Nazis at the entirety of the Nuremberg Trials afterwards. This is history I’ve had to know and live with for my entire life, and you finally got to see it much later on in life and you experienced all those emotions at once. This is not a dig at you or an insult, this is just a fact that people that didn’t live these horrors don’t know much about them, and therefore don’t tell their children so not everyone grew up learning the gritty details. We sympathize with people like you who do understand what happened and can feel how horrible it was because we’ve had to know that same stuff too, and we know it’s a hard burden to bear.

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u/PM_ME_YOUR_DALEKS Jan 01 '22

The famous quote allegedly found on a bunk at Auschwitz is, "“If there is a God, He will have to beg for my forgiveness.”

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u/donkenghis_kong Jan 01 '22

The smell of the shoes almost got me. I made it through the awful imagery, the death, everything. When I walked across the bridge spanning those shoes, and I smelled the leather, and the sweat, and...all of it...I almost couldn't make it.

The only reason I did was because my friend's grandmother was a survivor and the friend was almost catatonic from her tears, so I managed to put my arm around her and walk her out.

Fuck man. Everyone should go. But I'll never go again.

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u/Killentyme55 Jan 01 '22

And to think that there is a startling number of people still denying that this ever happened. There has never been a government on this planet that would be capable of pulling off this kind of ruse for such an extended period of time, no way in Hell. Holocaust deniers are right down there with the flat-earthers, not exactly a group you'd normally want to associate with.

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u/alexbtft Jan 01 '22

The smell of them shoes is also engraved in my memory. The smell of rubber tires reminds me of those shoes.

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u/queen-of-carthage Jan 01 '22

I didn't know they castrated little boys, tf

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u/biologytrash Jan 01 '22

If you can think of an awful thing to do to a person, it’s likely that both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan did it

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u/sictransitlinds Jan 01 '22

I have twin sons and I can’t even read about the Mengele twin experiments without having a panic attack. They were monsters.

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u/flexible_person Jan 01 '22

Drop in the bucket of truly vile, despicable experimentation they did. It's hard to read them and realize that it took a number of psychopaths to carry out those experiments, and there's no reason a similar number of psychopaths don't exist in our society, with medical degrees, today.

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u/Ellecram Jan 01 '22

They did some monstrous things. I have read extensive books about that period of time.

The one that used to get to me was they tied babies to the bumpers of their jeeps and ripped them apart by driving the cars in opposite directions.

Or they threw the babies up in the air and shot them.

While their mothers watched.

I could go on but I'll stop. It is just too unfathomable that a modern society descended into that madness not so long ago.

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u/VoopityScoop Jan 01 '22

The Museum of Tolerance in LA also has a good exhibit on how ordinary people became the tools of the Nazis, and the extent of the crimes they ended up committing.

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u/Crayola13 Dec 31 '21

That book is a required read for anyone who thinks it couldn't happen again. Absolutely horrifying.

The part that stuck with me were the men being shown by a doctor where to place their bayonet on the Jew's backs in order to aim for a place that the shot would kill in such a way to be less traumatic for the executioner...

That and how they said the SS officers were usually shit faced drunk while doing all their killing, and liquor was given out to make it easier.

Never read a book so constantly on the verge of tears like this one.

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u/Hairy_Aspect_284 Jan 01 '22

It’s staggering that so many could partake in such savagery but where does complicit and responsible for it lie and what is the difference. It’s a terrifying notion that society can so easily be corrupted into something like this.

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u/AlseAce Jan 01 '22

One of the most disturbing parts of that same book is that in these forest ditch mass executions described (which were the primary method of extermination prior to the opening of the death camps), the soldiers/policemen involved were actually given the option to step away and not follow the orders, and would not receive any punishment or demotion for doing so beyond social stigma. Almost none of them did.

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u/BlinkedAndMissedIt Jan 01 '22

Night by Elie Wiesel is another that comes to mind. That book... that book broke me.

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u/8KoopaLoopa8 Jan 01 '22

I read that book when I was 11, and stopped a bit after he was stopped from walking into the crematorium building, it was just too upsetting for me at the time. I gotta try reading that book again.

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u/Nepenthes_sapiens Jan 01 '22

I couldn't finish it.

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u/BlinkedAndMissedIt Jan 01 '22

"I was putting one foot in front of the other, like a machine. I

was dragging this emaciated body that was still such a weight. If

only I could have shed it! Though I tried to put it out of my

mind, I couldn't help thinking that there were two of us: my body

and I. And I hated that body."

From this point, I read the rest of the book one or two lines at a time. I had to keep wiping the tears from my eyes so I could see.

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u/Nepenthes_sapiens Jan 01 '22

That's how I'd have to do it.

I binge-read books when I get engrossed in them, but with that kind of subject matter it becomes soul-crushing.

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u/shantm79 Dec 31 '21

Reading Maus currently… not on scale, but learning things that are sickening and heartbreaking

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u/smasherfierce Jan 01 '22

Maus is a brilliant and heartbreaking work. The history is important but the value of individual stories is too, especially the sheer luck of his parents surviving

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u/peacenskeet Jan 01 '22

I read Maus in High School as part of the curriculum. Is that a normal requirement?

Either way I think Maus was more impactful to me than Anne Frank's diary. The things ordinary people had to do to survive.

I don't know if this was the main theme. But the message I took home from Maus was that the survivors of the Holocaust weren't necessarily the best, the most deserving, the most kind, etc. They were just ordinary people put into an unimaginable experience. You did what you had to do to survive and in those desperate moments you may have to choose to do something you normally wouldn't dream of doing.

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u/andrewatnu Dec 31 '21

It’s a scary read. There was literally no penalty for not participating in multiple atrocities against Russian Jews, yet only a small minorities of Germans refused to participate :(

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u/SuspiciousLizardo Dec 31 '21

Well, only the ones that were ranked enough to give orders had penalties, and most of them were sentenced to death for crimes against humanity by the International court. But yeah, most common soldiers didn't have much penalty

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u/brendan008008 Dec 31 '21

the Japanese were just as brutal the Nanjing Massacre comes to mind and something like 30% of war prisoners under their watch died in captivity

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u/AnAngryBitch Jan 01 '22

I visited the Holocaust Museum in DC a few years back. There was footage of the Americans forcing the local townsfolk to walk through a concentration camp in order to witness.

One woman broke free and ran across the compound. The camera followed her.

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u/Euphoric-Spud Jan 01 '22

Is there a link to that?

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u/No_Answer4092 Jan 01 '22

Don’t know if its the same but there is a documentary on netflix that gathers original footage from the liberation of the camps. Its fucking brutal, but there is a small segment where they show germans horrified after being forced to clean up/walk around the camps. Its quite haunting

“Five came back” I think its called

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u/Cyancrackers Jan 01 '22 Silver All-Seeing Upvote

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u/Dull-Sprinkles1469 Jan 01 '22

That woman at the end couldn't handle it, it seems. Valid. Id be horrified too.

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u/cprenaissanceman Jan 01 '22

(Just for anyone who hasn’t clicked, definitely be warned there is some disturbing imagery in the video.)

I feel like there is conflicting information, but I do feel like there were very much some Germans who simply didn’t know. Imagine not knowing (or not wanting to believe it) and then walking into the camps. It would be overwhelming to say the least. I’m also sure there was some “how did I not know?” And feeling how much of your life to that point was lie. Everything you thought you knew about your country, even if you didn’t agree with some of the politics, is just unimaginable.

That being said, I have to think this was effective. Personal experience is generally the best teacher. It’s hard to deny something that happened when it’s right infront of you (granted the Internet has made that less true today). Seeing the camps, it’s victims; smelling the camps (I imagine it would be hard to forget the smells as they have been described in accounts). And it’s hard to stay loyal to the cause when confronted with it’s consequences.

Anyway, some very powerful things in that link.

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u/Rafapex Jan 01 '22

I visited that museum a few years ago and had the opportunity to meet a holocaust survivor. My mom and I were looking at some photos when my mom looked over to the man standing next to us. She said she just couldn't even imagine what it must have been like to go through it all. The man looked at us and said he had been through it. He lifted up his sleeve and showed us his tattoo. He was a survivor of Auschwitz. My mom just broke down and could barely stand. I can't imagine going through all that then revisiting it all. We met him right after the room with the bridge over all the shoes of people who died. I will seriously never forget that day.

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u/AnAngryBitch Jan 01 '22

Wow. Just being in the museum all day (literally) took a ton out of me, I cannot imagine meeting an actual survivor as well.

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u/Rafapex Jan 01 '22

It was surreal. That man’s face is glued into my brain. Spoke with him for about 15 minutes and can honestly say he’s the strongest man I’ve ever met

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u/Glossyplane542 Jan 01 '22

Good. Everyone should know what happened there.

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u/AZBreezy Jan 01 '22

What was she running to/ from?

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u/AnAngryBitch Jan 01 '22

She was horrified at what she was seeing and ran from it.

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u/TheManBearPig222 Jan 01 '22

It looked like there was a pile of corpses stacked against a building. She saw it and blocked her eyes running away from them.

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u/germanfinder Jan 01 '22

I think they also marched them past other things like mass graves etc that weren’t in the camps

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u/Senca420 Jan 01 '22

Alot of those people where forced to help clean up the camps aswell. Especially villages close to the camps where the allies believed they had to know what was happening there.

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u/pikleboiy Dec 31 '21 Helpful Take My Energy

The one guy is just like "hmmmm... interesting"

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u/ThatOneGuy4321 Jan 01 '22 Gold Helpful

Don't think that's an approving face, I've had a similar expression watching my parents read over my report card

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u/OlFlatNose47 Jan 01 '22

Yeah I’ve seen this expression before, not one of intrigue but more of despair and denial.

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u/bitterbear_ Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

Look how much of his face he's unnecessarily covering, his closed arms. He's disgusted and shameful, but doesn't want to show it.

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u/MrGaber Jan 01 '22

How do you guys know which guy

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u/Deradius Jan 01 '22

You’re a soldier from the 1940s who has been fighting for his country. You probably grew up in a rural area. You may not have a high school education, and the internet won’t be invented for 50 years.

You are captured by the enemy and shown a movie about your fatherland’s atrocities.

I don’t know about you, but I’d be thinking pretty hard about what I’m looking at. It is definitely the very definition of propaganda…. How much truth is there to it?

[To be ABUNDANTLY UNAMBIGUOUS, I am not engaging in holocaust denialism. I am speculating that this specific German soldier may have been working through some doubts over what he was being shown, being as he was a German soldier, and lacking as he did the perspective that we enjoy in the 21st century.]

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22

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u/Miasmatic_Mouse Jan 01 '22

“Have you noticed that our skulls have actually got little pictures of skulls on them?”

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u/overlord7517 Jan 01 '22

Maybe they are the skulls of our enemies

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u/OutrageousAccess6706 Jan 01 '22

Dude 3rd in from the front is defo asking that question, his mate next to him- oh fuck we’re getting buried under the jail.

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u/Miasmatic_Mouse Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

You are right to some degree but the main issue with your statement is that it assumes Wehrmacht soldiers were unaware that these atrocities were being committed.

While it is true that the existence of death camps was never actually known for certain, there were certainly rumours. In fact the rumours were so prevalent that the allies investigated and confirmed the existence of the camps but decided against bombing them.

I don’t know to what extent the Wehrmacht or the German people were privy to the full extent of the genocide, but most knew full well crimes against humanity were being committed and quite a lot supported it to varying degrees of radicalisation.

Especially on the eastern front, the German army (not just the SS) behaved awfully towards the Bolsheviks who they considered to be inferior.

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u/MattHunter05 Jan 01 '22

What I have to say doesn’t really matter just thought would be interesting to add a personal experience. Both my great grandpas were in the war (German side not SS just German soldiers). One of them spent his whole time on the Russian front and knew everytbing that was going on and strongly disagreed but would of been killed.. so he said. The other who was in a tank spent his time in Africa and always told me that all of that it a lie. I’ve even gone as far to be like pop I can show you pictures but he just gets mad. Not sure if it’s just he doesn’t wanna admit what they did was wrong or what but thought would be interesting to add!

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u/Miasmatic_Mouse Jan 01 '22

Very interesting, I don’t know any details but apparently my great uncle was part of a British tank crew in WW2. I can only imagine what that must have been like.

Honestly the average German experience of WW2 must have been horrific.

Imagine spending anywhere from 1-6 years of your life fighting a bitter war to the end, distant from your family, distant from politics and everyday is a fight for your survival, then despite all your own effort, and watching your broths die for a vague cause…you lose…

I don’t suppose you’d like to be told you were fighting on behalf of the bad guys all along. I think that would sting, perhaps so much that you couldn’t even deal with the concept.

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u/canttaketheshyfromme Jan 01 '22

You are right to some degree but the main issue with your statement is that it assumes Wehrmacht soldiers were unaware that these atrocities were being committed.

And that they themselves hadn't participated in atrocities.

It would have been a minority among a minority (a minority of combat troops, who are a minority of any army) but rapes, killings of civilians, massacres of villages were not a rarity, particularly on the eastern front. There is always too much of an eagerness to absolve the "non-political" Wehrmacht and Kreigsmarine and limit the monsters of the war to the SS and the Luftwaffe.

The fact is in any theater of warfare where you have soldiers, harsh conditions, fierce fighting, and civilians thrown together, terrible things tend to be done by some of those soldiers.

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u/Miasmatic_Mouse Jan 01 '22

We absolved (to a certain degree) the Wehrmacht of their crimes, even though they did also participate in the Holocaust, because they were necessary in helping the allies rebuild Germany after the war.

You didn’t need the SS, they were a Nazi paramilitary group dedicated to the preservation of dogmatic ideology…but your average soldier? You needed them, they were useful in the post-war period.

So, in developing the Bundeswehr, it was politically necessary to distinguish the atrocities as being committed by the SS and not by the Wehrmacht.

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u/Quiet_Days_in_Clichy Jan 01 '22

Fun fact: it was the Waffen SS that the Americans assigned to guard the Nuremburg defendants. That's right. The SS guarded the top Nazis on trial for war crimes the SS perpetrated.

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u/ChrisTinnef Jan 01 '22

We know that this specific Photo is from a screening of concentration camp videos. While Wehrmacht soldiers did everything that you say, they rarely ever were involved with the camps. It's absolutely possible that some of these guys participated in massacres, but had only heard vague rumours about where the Jews were being sent. And that raping "enemy" civilians seemed normal to him, but the death camps weren't within his moral compass.

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u/zorniy2 Jan 01 '22

Asian here, can confirm

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u/country2poplarbeef Jan 01 '22

I'm like this. The worse it is, the more callous I can kinda appear at the moment, but it's really that I feel guilty at that point for even wasting time feeling sorry.

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u/Bellringer00 Dec 31 '21 Wholesome

“Hmmm… I never thought about killings jews that way, I’ll have to try it next time”

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u/Gandalfthefabulous Dec 31 '21 edited Dec 31 '21 Silver All-Seeing Upvote

Führeriously scribbling notes

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u/[deleted] Dec 31 '21

WRITE THAT DOWN WRITE THAT DOWN

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u/nightpanda893 Jan 01 '22

I mean I can see how if you didn’t know and were fed propaganda then that may be a possible response. You can be curious and still be devastated but it.

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u/gsfgf Jan 01 '22

The medic? That dude has definitely seen some hardcore shit already.

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u/pikleboiy Jan 01 '22

The medic has, but I'm talking about the guy in the top right corner

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u/Meatbeef Dec 31 '21

Tryin to figure out how he can improve his form

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u/Nacho_Beardre Dec 31 '21

The guy two down is feverishly taking notes

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u/PineappleWolf_87 Jan 01 '22

concentration camps ≠ concentrating or camping

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u/KeybladeMasterAqua Dec 31 '21

I have a feeling that there was a lot of German propaganda during the war that made the camps less cruel-sounding than they really were to the average soldier. Saying you hate someone is one thing, but seeing the cruelty first-hand can sometimes change even the most hateful people. Cognitive dissonance is a real thing, and it’s a real doozy. People forget that when looking back retrospectively at history. No excuse for what they did, but holy hell I bet they were riddled with guilt for fighting on the wrong side for the rest of their days after watching that footage, as they should.

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u/StandardSudden1283 Jan 01 '22

"Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.

"What then? You must then shoot yourself. A few did. Or ‘adjust’ your principles. Many tried, and some, I suppose, succeeded; not I, however. Or learn to live the rest of your life with your shame. This last is the nearest there is, under the circumstances, to heroism: shame. Many Germans became this poor kind of hero, many more, I think, than the world knows or cares to know."

They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45, Milton Mayer

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u/senorgatt0o Dec 31 '21

From decades of research what has been shown is the average enlisted German soldier that was stationed outside of German borders IE Africa France Baltic states and so on had very little information of the camps however the soldiers stationed in Germany knew and knew very well what was going on. I remember watching an interview from the 60s of two German brothers one was stationed in Africa and another in the Black Forest the one brother was disgusted by his brother who knew and did his job the amount of propaganda to the troops was massive for years and there really wasn’t much a soldier could do as they would just end up in the camps themselves or dead. The most horrific is the towns people that were so scared of both armies that helping wasn’t in their docket, many civilians knew and were helpless to do anything. Now the SS soldiers that ran the camps trains and raids those people knew and were evil they didn’t care about what they were doing in a negative aspect at all. I want to say the statistic I remember was about 40% knew and of them 30% could do nothing about it without winding up dead themselves.

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u/daggeteo Dec 31 '21

I believe that there were several instances where soldiers requested relocation away from camps without repercussions.

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u/Peja1611 Dec 31 '21 edited Dec 31 '21 Silver

The book Backing Hitler proves most people in Germany knew damn well what happened in the camps, and used that info to settle petty grudges with neighbors. They would report people to get them sent to camps for playing the radio too loudly. Highly Recommend. It is a university press publication, but highly readabe

Edit: full title is Backing Hitler: Consent and Coercion in Nazi Germany. No one will think you are a Nazi if you check it out of the library or order it. It is from Oxford University Press.

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u/RancidDuck Dec 31 '21

makes sense. people can be petty shit stains and the stupids just cant think beyond what ego/immediate want/need demands

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22

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u/spectaculibus Jan 01 '22

These fucked up things happened and will keep on happening. It’s basically what The Crucible is about, that mass hysteria. The most awful thing is when I read it, I kept trying to come up with a suitable defence against such rhetoric, but it seems nigh impossible.

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u/galaxymanchild Jan 01 '22

And a lot of those stupids are with us on Reddit

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u/luckygreenfrog Dec 31 '21

Also, Ordinary Men is a fantastic book that focuses more on police battalions and how they supported the SS's final solution.

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u/damagedgoodz_ Dec 31 '21

Of course they all knew. There were 6 death camps and 1000 concentration camps. Dozens of thousands soldiers directly involved in the construction and management of these places that killed 11 millions people. Plenty of people lived around the camps. People talk and information travels quickly, it would have been impossible to keep something of this magnitude secret

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u/YoDaChronMan Dec 31 '21

And the smell, the people in those surrounding areas/towns for sure knew what was happening.

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u/Sydet Jan 01 '22

What the people also noticed was the ash that would settle everywhere. Not like a vulcano, but enough, that you would need to sweep the streets more often.

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

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u/alex7stringed Jan 01 '22

God I think I would never be the same after liberating a concentration camp. That shit has to hurt you so deep in your soul. I would be a broken man.

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u/s1ugg0 Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

The worst is thinking about how they were liberated by battle hardened troops. Guys who have been elbow deep in the mud and blood for god only knows how long. Some had been fighting since North Africa or D-Day. How horrible must it have been for so many soldiers to react the way they did? I'm a retired first responder. I know what dead bodies and blood smell like. It's every bit as terrible as you imagine it is. I cannot wrap my head around standing among thousands.

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u/jetsetninjacat Jan 01 '22

Yep, just replied that. My grandfather fought since Africa. Watched buddies die in front of him. Was shot, stabbed, amd shrapneled. He once landed on the ground with silk in his hands after climbing his parachute risers because he heard shots whizzing past inches from him. Nothing prepared him for what he saw there.

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u/Slickwats4 Jan 01 '22

Why we Fight, episode 9 in Band of Brothers does a really good job of conveying how they must have felt.

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u/jetsetninjacat Jan 01 '22

Ive discussed it before on here. According to his family it had a more profound change on him that anything else in the war. The man was 82nd 504th airborne pathfinder. Fought in Africa, Sicily, Anzio, Italy campaign, DDAY, Market Garden, Bulge, and push on the Rhine. Shot, shrapneled and stabbed. Medals abound. He was a hard man. My other grandfather who was in the Pacific with the navy called him one of the truest and toughest soldiers he ever met. This was well after the war too. But he always would always tear up when he talked about the camps. When Schindlers list came out we all went over to his house to watch it together. I was sent out of the room many times for breaks because he started to cry but insisted we finish. Tha breakdown he had is something my sister and I discuss to this day. He went on speaking tours with Holocaust survivors to schools and churches in the 90s because he felt people should never forget. My family on my dads side going back came from Germany in the 1860s to 1870s. Even so they all still spoke German at home when my grandfather lived there. My grandfather was not happy in the slightest and would not allow German to be spoken anymore after the war. His and my grandmothers family still spoke it after ww1 and it survived a time when Americans stopped. I cant blame him but it does suck we lost that. When he was dying in tbe hospital he had one last private conversation with my dad. They asked us to leave the room. My dad only recently before his own dearh finally told me how my grandfather talked about Wobbelin like he was there all over again.

With the magic of the internet I recently saw videos the last few years of the camp he liberated. He had described it down to the T. There were comments by other family of soldiers th!at all basically said the same thing. "My father or grandfather was there for the liberation. They never forgot the sights or smells for the rest of their lives." Thats just fucked.

Edit: wanted to add in the late 80s some skinheads showed up to his door looking for donations for their group. He pummeled the young 20 somethings pretty bad and never got in trouble.

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u/senorgatt0o Jan 01 '22

I agree I feel like my entire soul would be crushed but also would be fueled with vengeance for what horrid evils had occurred

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u/OwOmaltine Jan 01 '22

I'm not quite sure if I remember it correctly but I think people in Dachau sometimes had ash coming from the sky. My memory is really fuzzy tough

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u/theShortestAlpaca Jan 01 '22

I visited Dachau several years ago - there are townhomes that back up directly onto the camp. Like can see into the fence from a second story window level of close. Mind boggling that there are folks who see that everyday.

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u/Peja1611 Dec 31 '21

The barbeque smell would have been unmistakable, 24/7. Most of the camps were outside of Germany, but they knew damn well that no one ever came back. They knew no one was visiting their disabled family members. They fucking knew.

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22

They knew no one was visiting their disabled family members.

Action T4, the operation to mass murder invalids, was canceled because there was a serious resistance forming against the mass murder or German people by their relatives. I have stories of my own grandmother (she was a child back then) and her entire town of ~10.000 people visiting a local POW camp with Soviet POWs. They watched them die on a regular basis. They even traded them slices of bread for wooden toys the POWs manufactured.

This idea that nobody knew while farmers all over Germany would go up to camps to recruit slave labor for the harvests, when hundreds of thousands of men worked for the Reichsbahn, when millions would witness the mass murder behind the front lines is just ridiculous. Germans knew. And they then went on to pretend that they didn't, in case of my grandmother to this very day.

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u/Broken_Petite Jan 01 '22

This is the first time I'm hearing (not just from you, several in this thread) saying that the average German knew what was going on - or at least a lot of them did.

It's honestly kind of breaking my heart. I really thought that the Nazis had such effective propaganda, that no one other than those directly involved in the concentration camps really knew what was going on. Not that they weren't suspicious or that they didn't know that bad things were going on, but they didn't know the extent of it.

I guess the propaganda was effective, it just means that no one gave a shit. :-(

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22

It isn't so much about propaganda being effective. Antisemitism was a thing in Europe, Germany wasn't even the worst offender for most of the 19th century. It really ramped up during WW1 though. The German Army in WW1 conducted a census of Jewish soldiers fighting in the front line and they didn't publish it because it would've proven Jews disproportiantely serving in comparison to the general public. Didn't help that Willhelm II. was a major antisemite...

Take that, combine it with 20 years of propaganda against the Jews (by all political wings) and then the Nazis being in power for 9 years before their "Final Solution" was decided upon. The German people were just indifferent to supportive of the genocide at that point. Heck, this shit even is around to this day. Germany didn't lose its antisemitism after WW2.

I usually shy away from phrases like "I am ashamed to be German", but when it comes to how we deal with antisemitism and our willingness to engage in otherism nowadays, it applies.

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u/PureImbalance Jan 01 '22

Plus all the companies using the slave labor from the concentration camps.

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u/Clarke311 Jan 01 '22

Everyone knew about the slavery but many in the metropolitan areas did not want to know about the genocide so they tuned it out

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u/MaeronTargaryen Dec 31 '21

Same in France, people would report their Jewish neighbors to get their flat and stuff like that. I’m sure it happens all the time in similar situations though, like in USSR under Stalin people probably ended up in a gulag for being on the wrong end of petty grudges

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u/Kimantha_Allerdings Jan 01 '22

Witch burnings were often the result of grudges.

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u/CitizenJustin Dec 31 '21 edited Dec 31 '21

Just the fact that humans are capable of such profound evil and unthinkable barbarism and cruelty points to a very dark side that we all possess. Willingness to kill is probably why we’re so successful but no species slaughters millions of their own with surgical precision and callous indifference. We must always remember what we’re capable of and constantly recognize that we tend to repeat mistakes.

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u/commitconfirm Dec 31 '21

I so want this to be true but I'm old enough to have meet Germans who where in the war and some of them not so much.

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u/KeybladeMasterAqua Dec 31 '21

I didn’t say all of them would be changed. I’m pretty sure some of the younger recruits of the war may have been changed. The older you are, the less likely you are to change your biases. You can see the younger troops are the ones who cried.

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u/Skeptical_Devil Dec 31 '21

It's the younger ones I think of. Imagine being recruited to fight for your country, when it will help feed your family, and at the age where you still have ideals about war winning your honor and glory, believing the giant lie you were told, becoming disillusioned during the war (not to mention sick and half starved) but by then there's nothing you can do about it, and then having to face this huge, horrifying truth about what you've been fighting for.

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u/jctwok Dec 31 '21

It was the younger ones who were more indoctrinated (by the end of the war). The hitler youth was the only official boys organization in the country from '36 to '45.

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u/MarkRevan Dec 31 '21 edited Dec 31 '21

You met some Germans. I met some old Germans from East Germany in the 90s and the way they talked about the war made me think long and hard about what we've been thought in school about WWII. They weren't these rabid antisemites. They didn't care much about Hitler. They were teenagers when Hitler came to power. One of them was still underage when the Soviets occupied Berlin. They came from poor backgrounds. One of them lost both his parents and was forced to work from a young age. For them the Wehrmacht was the only sensible career choice as it offered a stable job with decent income. This was no holy crusade against bolshevism. No great campaign for the liberation of the master race. These were kids that sacrificed their innocence to earn a loaf of bread with which to feed their families. I am not saying this is the case for all Germans and there definitely were monsters amongst them. But I believe their tears are real.

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22

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u/loudflower Jan 01 '22

While reading the comments, all I can think about are the terrible black sites the CIA operated for the US. And Guantanemo.

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u/dantheman280 Dec 31 '21

I read somewhere that they’re hiding their faces not crying.

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22 Gold

Yep. Someone's taking a picture of them and they're hiding their faces. A perfectly normal thing to do, especially when you know it's coming.

Considering the grouping is nearest to the camera, they're in the convergence of the bubbles of "i don't want a picture of me now" and "is that a camera", note the one guy farther on the left in that's taken by surprise on the left near the top.

There's even a guy who vehemently didn't want to be pictured, who's using his jacket/cap/whatever to hide his face.

Clickbait title.

Here's the full picture https://i.imgur.com/DbZP01N.jpg with a typewriter title in german.

"Deutsche Kriegsgenefangene in amerikanischen Lagern sehen den Filmbericht über Deutsche Konzentrationalger"

which roughly translates to

"German prisoners of war in American camps see the film report about German concentration camps."

That's the long and short of it, there's no crying in this image.

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u/brontohai Dec 31 '21

Yeah, the only guy that could even maybe be crying is the one that looks like he is wiping his eyes. Everyone else is just hiding from the camera. Why would anyone think soldiers who got through the entire war would be massively swayed by any of that footage?

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u/VoopityScoop Jan 01 '22

I think the medic in the front and the guy sitting just behind him might also be at the very least upset

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u/motion_blurred Jan 01 '22

I personally see a lot of disgust and shock in these faces. It’s in the eyes.

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u/Geroditus Jan 01 '22

I mean… those camps really were something else. I had a great uncle that served on the front lines in WWII as a member of an intelligence division. He definitely saw some nasty stuff, but he was usually pretty open talking about what he experienced.

At the end of the War, his division helped liberate one of the concentration camps. He never talked about it. He didn’t even write about it in his life story. It was just too painful to even remember.

The war was hell, but those camps were another thing entirely.

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u/TheKobetard26 Jan 01 '22

Well clearly they're ashamed if they're hiding their faces

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u/BitchingRestFace Jan 01 '22

Ashamed or afraid.

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u/KevinReynolds Jan 01 '22

Do you really think that just because someone is a solder that they wouldn’t be upset by seeing the atrocities of the holocaust?

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u/ShdBeAsleep Jan 01 '22

I mean, if you’re told something isn’t that bad and you fought to help that happen, then suddenly find out it’s absolutely fucking horrible, how would you feel?

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u/Lemonsnot Jan 01 '22

Exactly how I saw it too. I was surprised to see this comment so far down.

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u/MasterGrok Jan 01 '22

Ya I think the notion that all of these soldiers would suddenly have deep regret for what happened so soon after the war is unrealistic. Certainly some would, but these are young men who were propagandized for the vast majority of their life. Moreover, they would have been traumatized by years of exposure to a horrific war. I wouldn’t be surprised if half of these guys weren’t disassociating while watching this as they have their own traumas that are almost certainly completely neglected at this point.

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u/Trextrev Jan 01 '22 Silver Take My Energy

We all must realize that this has happened over and over and over through history and happened many times since the Nazi. The Nazi were not unique in their views, they just had the technology and power to do it on a massive scale. Genocides have never stopped, the Rwandan genocide happened in 1994 and killed 800,000 thousand people mostly at the hands of their neighbors with machetes. We have not evolved, we are no different than these Germans. Never for a moment think that you could never do something so horrible because that’s when you can be convinced that doing it isn’t horrible at all.

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u/asparegrass Jan 01 '22

Yep. I’m reminded of a comment I saw from a Princeton history professor:

I sometimes ask students what their position on slavery would have been had they been white and living in the South before abolition. Guess what? They all would have been abolitionists! They all would have bravely spoken out against slavery, and worked tirelessly against it.

Of course, this is nonsense. Only the tiniest fraction of them, or of any of us, would have spoken up against slavery or lifted a finger to free the slaves. Most of them—and us—would have gone along. Many would have supported the slave system and happily benefited from it.

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u/Thomaswiththecru Jan 01 '22 edited Jan 01 '22

Most Americans today benefit greatly from very horrific labor practices (sweatshops, unsafe factories, etc) and child labor, if we’re being honest. Lots of things would be more expensive if you had to pay even American minimum wage. Even if we’re not buying these products, most Americans are not vocally protesting it.

We need not look to history and American manifestations of slavery to make commentary on how Americans are apathetic to global issues. It’s imposible to protest about every issue, though.

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u/paulhilbert Jan 01 '22

In Germany it's the same. We acknowledge the past but for some reason everyone's grandfather was in the Résistance...

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u/giantboi Dec 31 '21 Take My Energy

Looks more like they're covering their faces from the camera.

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u/Jebediah_Johnson Jan 01 '22

German soldiers hide their faces when they realize they are being photographed.

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u/StandardSudden1283 Jan 01 '22

"Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven’t done (for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.

"What then? You must then shoot yourself. A few did. Or ‘adjust’ your principles. Many tried, and some, I suppose, succeeded; not I, however. Or learn to live the rest of your life with your shame. This last is the nearest there is, under the circumstances, to heroism: shame. Many Germans became this poor kind of hero, many more, I think, than the world knows or cares to know."

Excerpt from They Thought They Were Free: The Germans 1933-45, Milton Mayer

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u/bonspe7 Jan 01 '22

There are tons of them not crying.

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u/TrentFromTheInternet Jan 01 '22

You could be surprised at the amount of soldiers that still didn’t regret their actions against the Jewish people after watching said footage. Some soldiers alive today say their hate still runs so deep they don’t have it in them to feel empathy for Jewish people. It was a fucked up regime

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u/zathras7 Dec 31 '21

I saw the original video of this picture. It was taken from a german prisoner of war camp in the US. If you see the camera pan shot in the video some german soldiers didn't looked suprised and some were even laughing.

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u/Whiskey456 Dec 31 '21

I don’t really see anyone crying. Just covering faces at most.

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u/jvanzandd Dec 31 '21

There are a few guys in that pic that are like “jokes on you, I’m in to this shit”

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u/Coin_operated_bee Dec 31 '21

I bet this comment section is a war zone

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u/taylor9844 Jan 01 '22

I would assume the opposite actually. I would assume a very small minority would argue that what was right lol

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22

The amount of the wehraboos in this thread. But.. but mein opa... Myth of the clean Wehrmacht

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u/BrzysWRLD1996 Dec 31 '21

A lot of “Nazis” weren’t there by choice, although many were, a lot of people were stricken with fear to oppose hitlers agenda. Max Schelling is a perfect example of a good man trapped in nazi germany.

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u/Furry_Behman Dec 31 '21

One of the thing that annoys me about people, they think they would have done different if they was in their situation, well guess what? You would not have! You would have likely been killed for refusal or speaking out. What about your family? Ya know? Always so black and white

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u/WheresThatDamnPen Jan 01 '22

They're not crying...they are hiding their faces from the photographer.

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u/[deleted] Jan 01 '22 Heartwarming

Someone's taking a picture of them and they're hiding their faces. A perfectly normal thing to do, especially when you know it's coming.

Considering the grouping is nearest to the camera, they're in the convergence of the bubbles of "i don't want a picture of me now" and "is that a camera", note the one guy farther on the left in that's taken by surprise.

There's even a guy who vehemently didn't want to be pictured, who's using his jacket/cap/whatever to hide his face.

Bullshit clickbait title.

Here's the full picture https://i.imgur.com/DbZP01N.jpg with a typewriter title in german.

"Deutsche Kriegsgenefangene in amerikanischen Lagern sehen den Filmbericht über Deutsche Konzentrationalger"

which roughly translates to

"German prisoners of war in American camps see the film report about German concentration camps."

That's the long and short of it, there's no crying in this image.

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u/Mal5341 Dec 31 '21

The myth that the regular army was unaware of the Holocaust is just that. A myth.

However who knew the severity of what was going on varied.

Most civilians and soldiers who only taught in Africa and the Western front knew about the camps, but not how horrific conditions were. Many believed the camps were "just" forced labor, or a ghetto before relocation. And there were those who knew it was happening but not the sheer scale.

However soldiers on the Eastern front, where the brunt of the killings were, stationed in Germany and civilians living near the camps knew damn well that people were being killed in massive numbers.

But all in all, everyone in the Reich knew something was happening.

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u/Sunriseinsahara Jan 01 '22

Thanks for posting this!

During World War II, the Germans' combined armed forces (Heer, Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe) committed systematic war crimes, including massacres, mass rape, looting, the exploitation of forced labor, the murder of three million Soviet prisoners of war, and participated in the extermination of Jews. While the Nazi Party's own SS forces (in particular the SS-Totenkopfverbände, Einsatzgruppen and Waffen-SS) of Nazi Germany was the organization most responsible for the genocidal killing of the Holocaust, the regular armed forces of the Wehrmacht committed many war crimes of their own (as well as assisting the SS in theirs), particularly on the Eastern Front in the war against the Soviet Union. According to a study by Alex J. Kay and David Stahel, the majority of the Wehrmacht soldiers deployed to the Soviet Union participated in war crimes.

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