What did we learn from the way Jews were treated prior to the holocaust?
It always surprised me that they didn’t fight back. Of course, this is quite naive as the process was like boiling the frog (starting with cold water)…they didn’t see it coming until there were so many nazis they were vastly outnumbered and the fascists were militarised and well armed. Some saw the writing on the wall and got out while the going was good, interestingly these people couldn’t convince the others of the impending disaster. But then what would they have done? Immigrate? Some tried as on the St Louis in 1939 and weren’t allowed to disembark: SS St Louis: The ship of Jewish refugees nobody wanted.
Those of us who had the holocaust rammed down our throats for decades (I was born in 1956) still wished the German Jews had risen up – as they were being corralled at train stations across Germany for shipment to Auschwitz – and smashed the Nazi guards like angry ants protecting their nest. But they didn’t have the numbers. According to the census of June 16, 1933, the Jewish population of Germany, including the Saar region (which at that time was still under the administration of the League of Nations), was approximately 505,000 people out of a total population of 67 million, or somewhat less than 0.75 percent. That number represented a reduction from the estimated 523,000 Jews living in Germany in January 1933; the decrease was due in part to emigration following the Nazi takeover in January. (An estimated 37,000 Jews emigrated from Germany during 1933.)
So less than 1% of the population against 99%…they had no chance, poor people. The vehemence and ugly zeitgeist of Nazi Germany started small and grew to incorporate almost every German who wasn’t Jewish within a very short period (1921-1933 by which time it got 44% of the German vote), and this in an era with no TV or internet to spread their ugly ideology. You have got to wonder how it happened that almost 66 million people became so fanatical so relatively quickly. All around them were anti-semitic countries to which they could not safely flee; Russia, Austria, Poland, France, and Czechoslovakia all historically linked to pogroms and hatred of jews. They didn’t have the ‘luxury’ of relatively safe havens that the Syrian refugees of today have like Greece and ironically Germany.
Of course, I am trying to make a connection to the current anti-Islamic bent by the followers of Pauline Hanson et al whose supporters upon reading this will say it is a pretty tall stretch and I am a leftist agitator (which I guess I am if you want a pigeon hole for me). “It’s ridiculous”, they might say, to believe that we could go down the same path as Germany in the 30s. In 1933 Hitler came to power with 43% of the popular vote, but in 1921 when he first joined the party he was a nutjob with a funny moustache. That’s only 12 years (4 elections for us) and the tide of bigotry grows larger here by the day under the banner of ‘freedom of speech’ and anti PC rhetoric. So is Pauline Hitler, our modern Australian Hitler?