A survey, done this month, discovered that two thirds of millennials don’t know what Auschwitz is. When we forget the lessons we have been taught we are bound to repeat mistakes. Hitler and his Nazis were white supremacists. They believed that Anglos were superior to everyone else. They had a particular hatred of Jewish people. The Nazis created a concentration camp called Auschwitz. Auschwitz was actually two different camps. There was the prison camp part that also included slave labor and there was the extermination camp. More people were killed at Auschwitz than at any of the other extermination camps.
The Germans may have built Auschwitz but it was located in occupied Poland. Somewhere between 1.1 and 1.5 million prisoners died at Auschwitz. Auschwitz became an integral part of the Nazi’s Final Solution. That final solution being to just kill off the people they felt were inferior and to them, anyone who wasn’t Anglo-Saxon was inferior. Thinking of them as less than human made it easy for the Nazis to torture and experiment on. The depravity to which people can sink was fully demonstrated by the Nazis.
But how did it get to that point. No society jumps from being normal to all of a sudden turning on each other and hating everyone they deem to be different from them. No, that starts out slow. It starts out by labeling groups of people, by setting up negative stereotypes to dehumanize them. It proceeds by denigrating the free press and the government so people start losing faith in them. It plays to people’s baser beliefs. Their need to feel superior to others. Their need to feel that they have done all they could but others are keeping them down. Then it matches up that victimization of self with the negative stereotypes it created of others.
Sound familiar? If not, listen to what is coming out of the Trump administration and being accepted, even supported, by the Republican party.
Next it takes over the government so nothing can stop it and the press so it can control what information goes out and to push its propaganda. It’s an easy step from there to get people to believe that they are just righting wrongs. The things that are being done to those they have labeled as inferior is only fair. They deserve it for what they did to good citizens. Now is the time to bring in fear. Praise the people who go along with the hatred and punish the ones who actively or passively resist. Send your trusted soldiers in to drag the resister and his family away. Make them disappear to add to the terror. Make people afraid to keep any kind of knowledge to themselves in case it is discovered and they are determined to be against the new system.
That’s how it’s done. It was done in Germany. It’s been done in other places that have a dictator in charge. Almost 6 million Jews were killed by Nazis. That’s not something we should ever forget. As much as we would like to think otherwise, a similar thing can happen again.
Click here for a short article on Auschwitz.