The Germans knew what was happening in the concentration camps and extermination

12 Jul

Any German who lived during the Third Reich could possibly know and knew what was going on in Nazi concentration camps. The diary that a German official, Friedrich Kellner, written between 1939 and 1945 shows that the average German citizen knew the Nazi crimes, was conscious of living in a “state of terror”, and said nothing.

During denazification trials and a whole school of literature and film in the second half of the twentieth century has been imposed the image of a German village barely able to glimpse what Hitler was doing and he was not aware of the material made up the ashes scattered from the chimneys of the crematoria.

The discovery and publication of the Journal of the judicial officer who worked in Laubach, Hesse, nevertheless offers a different answer to the question that German historians and philosophers today continue to be made: what could know the anonymous individual and to what extent, for therefore, can be held liable? And the answer is probably not well versed in the technical details, but I understand the guidelines of Nazi policy, its objectives and the means they used.


Notes from a War


Kellner refers random conversations and quotes from publicly available sources such as newspapers and radio and in less than a year of Nazi rule had come to an accurate conclusion. “Clearly, this is the extermination of Jews and Poles” writes horror. Particularly ironic are your comments on news of war and parts where discovered with great ease the regime’s propaganda material, which raised doubts little consistency any mildly critical analysis.

On September 1, 1940 notes: “If we believe what we read every day in newspapers, our airmen go for a walk. Impacts only the enemy open, in addition to cemeteries and hospitals. And when a driver dies, we say it was because of an English pirate airstrike. And repeat that the intention of our flights is not to carry out air strikes. airstrikes If we want, why we’re at war? “asks.

Kellner develops tricks to circumvent what qualifies as “propaganda increasingly aggressive”. In the absence of information on German casualties in the war, in October 1941 has the obituaries of the newspaper “Hamburger Fremdenblatt ‘, 281, and calculated by multiplying this figure by the 250 newspapers that publish obituaries in Germany, an average of 30,000 deaths per month , noting that “the number must be even higher, because many soldiers do not receive the honor of an obituary.”


A different view


The 900 pages of notes Kellner differ from other previously released as of Darl Dürkefälder or Victor Klemperer, in which the author was not an intellectual nor enjoyed a comfortable economic situation.

Born in 1885 in Vaihingen an der Enz, near Stuttgart. His father worked as a baker, his mother as a maid. In 1903 he began his training as a law clerk in Mainz and after serving mandatory military service found employment at the court of Mainz. He worked there until 1932 and rose to the position of interim judicial inspector. His father had sympathized with socialism and Kellner notes in the notes his astonishment at the fact that the Weimar Republic had led to Nazism with so terrible consequences.

The newspaper has remained in possession of the family and has just been published in two volumes under the title ‘When it is cloudy, all brains darkened’ by publisher Wallenstein, Gottingen.


( Article of Rosalía Sánchez . June 2011. “El País” newspaper. ).

More testimonies :

 Robert Gellately, a historian at Oxford University, conducted a widely respected survey of the German media before and during the war, concluding that there was “substantial consent and active participation of large numbers of ordinary Germans” in aspects of the Holocaust, and documenting that the sight of columns of slave laborers were common, and that the basics of the concentration camps, if not the extermination camps, were widely known.[9] The German scholar, Peter Longerich, in a study looking at what Germans knew about the mass murders concluded that: “General information concerning the mass murder of Jews was widespread in the German population.”[10]



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