This is the week of the the 70th anniversary that Auschwitz was liberated. Several documentary pieces will be featured on German state-run TV....trying to explain again (probably the 300th time for most Germans over the age of forty). For Americans, it's a historical thing.....concentration camps really lay out a pretty negative piece of German history.
I've sat and read more than most people....trying to analyze how one gets to the point of this being 'normal and acceptable'. I look around German society today, and there's simply no explanation that fits right.
So, I've come to some history items which start to make sense and lay out how you get from point A to point B.
In the early part of this last century.....there's a science that developed. We might argue over this and say it was NEVER a science, or that it was a bogus science.....but it was regarded as an actual science by intellectuals and political figures at the time. Various terms might be used, but the best I think.....is Eugenics.
Eugenics is where you identify that society has gone off the scale....allowed marginally intelligent people to be part of society....dimwits....incompetent fools....along with sleezy women who get pregnant when they aren't married, and you think society ought to clean itself up.
The idea was with Eugenics....they had the authority and the ability to finally clean up society. It was their duty as scientists and intellectuals to do this. So they believed it.
The general peak of Eugenics in Germany...came after WW I. However, the growth period was from the 1860s to 1890s....where people openly advocated the idea of sterilization and castration. Francis Galton was the chief proponent who pushed the idea on various forums, and medical establishments saw some wisdom in the deal. The fact that we had medical abilities now to accomplish this...simply added more fuel to the fire.
By the 1930s in Germany....science had probably pushed it back as a legit thing....but along came Ernst Rudin. Rudin pressed the concept of Eugenics as a necessary part of life in Germany. The Nazi Party studied the concept and agreed. Pure Germans would be retained and continue society's progression....unpure Germans would be sterilized.
Here in the region where I live.....there was a facility which quietly became a sterilization point in the mid-1930s. Men and women would be sent there, and it was commonly accepted in the region that this was all good and acceptable. Buses would have schedules and local town mayors would ensure the 'right' people were put on the bus and taken to the Hadamar facility.
As time went by....the same intellectual crowd pressed that just sterilizing was not enough, and that elimination was the next step. This included simply providing a solution to a doctor....administrating the shot....and letting the patient quietly die on the table. Their body would be burned later to dispose of it.
Acceptance came as you went from step to step. No one challenged the thought process.
So, once you got over that step....bringing the Jews into the mix was simple. You already accepted the dimwits, and socially unacceptable people being eliminated....the Jews were simply the next step. As you notice in time....gays also were brought in. Had World War II not occurred.....society would have stepped through various groups....noting each violated some view of Eugenics.
This is how society evolved....changed....and just plain accepted the deaths of thousands. They didn't start with the Jews....they were simply the next step (same as the gays).
Few talk today about Eugenics. It's not a science. It's really difficult to bring this up and explain the logic and how so many individuals......not just Germans, but British, French, and even Americans....bought into the idea. The Germans just incorporated it into the massive program....added full-up camps....and decided that the Jews were part of the demise of society.