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German Nazi-Like Conduct Long Before Hitler

jan peczkis|Friday, May 18, 2012

The events described in this work occurred in a German colony in present-day Namibia in the early 1900's. Unlike most indigenous peoples experiencing colonialism, the Nama (Hottentots) and Herero had not retreated into the hinterland or died-off from diseases. (p. 75). Nor were they impoverished in their dealings with the colonists. (p. 116). Despite a severe recent wave of rinderpest and other maladies, most Herrero peoples had bounced back into their pastoralist lifestyle. (p. 101).


As the 20th century began, intermarriages between Germans and locals were increasingly scorned as forms of RASSENSCHANDE (racial shame). (p. 244). Based largely on Social Darwinism, the old idea of "white man's burden" was replaced by a concept of ruthless exploitation. The destruction or enslavement of the lower races was converted into an aim, rather than effect, of colonialism. (p. 113).

General Lothar von Trotha sought to exterminate the Herrero people by surrounding 50,000 of them, in an area 20 miles by 30 miles, with his military forces. (p. 142). No distinction was to be made between civilians and soldiers. Some of the Herrero survived by breaking out of encirclement and then enduring life in the desert. Others agreed to serve the Germans as laborers.

In all the German concentration camps put together, the mortality rate was 40%-60%. (p. 220). For comparison, the death rates in the British concentration camps of the Boer War amounted to about 30% of those incarcerated: 39,000/130,000+ (p. 160)[Other sources indicate 25% or less]. The crucial difference, as the authors call it (p. 194), was that Kitchener's camps functioned to deprive the Boer fighters of support from the civilian population. The German camps were established AFTER the Herrero were already defeated, and had no ability or desire to resume fighting. (pp. 194-195).

Shark Island may be considered the world's first death camp. By early 1907, 70% of the German-incarcerated Nama were dead, and a third of the remainder were reckoned close to death. (p. 217). The deaths were deliberate, and not from simple negligence (p. 219), and the closing of the camp was for political, not ethical, considerations. (p. 226). The prisoners' labor was an objective secondary to their extermination. (p. 220).

Although Goering, during the Nuremberg trials, tried to relativize the Nazi camps by comparing them to the British concentration camps during the Boer war, the comparison was patently ridiculous. All of the colonial camps were dwarfed by the later Nazi concentration camps, which would result in the death of 11 million people and the enslaving of an additional 6 million. (p. 342).

Expanding the context beyond South-West Africa, the authors allude to the HAKATA: "As old antipathies towards the ethnic Polish population of Prussia...became increasingly racialized in the later nineteenth century, schemes to strengthen the `German element' of the population and prevent the `Polonization' of Prussia were proposed." (p. 89). The eventual Hitlerian dream of a de-Polonized German Poland was seriously considered in the late nineteenth century: "...the Pan-Germans also breathed new life into old concepts and began privately to debate the idea that Poland and the Baltic states might be `acquired' by Germany and colonized...Extreme as their policies were, the men of the Pan-Germanic League were not figures of the lunatic fringe. The league was a highly respectable, even intellectual organization. Its leading members held seats in the Reichstag; others were academics at the nation's most respected universities." (p. 90).

In contrast, the WWI and WWII German conduct towards eastern Jews was very different: "The OSTJUDEN, the Eastern Jews who were the main translators for Ludendorff's army, were the same communities who were systematically murdered in their villages and town squares by the Nazi EINSATZGRUPPEN twenty-six years later." (p. 270). [This confirms Polish complaints that the WWI-era local Jews were active agents of the German enemy.]

In 1900, the Kaiser travelled to China to exhort the German troops fighting against the Boxer Rebellion. Thinking that no one in the west would learn about it, he incited the German troops to kill mercilessly, take no prisoners, and make themselves a reputation as fearsome as the Huns of long ago. The Germans, though never even facing serious opposition, massacred thousands of innocent Chinese peasants. Word did get out, and thus the term `Hun' became synonymous for German. (pp. 105-10). In 1914, the German Army systematically murdered 6,000 Belgian civilians in reprisal for sniper fire. (p. 273).

By the time of WWII, the "white man's burden" had become a distant memory: "In the Nazi East, there were to be no missionaries and no schools. The Russians, Poles, Ukrainians and others permitted to remain would be slaves with no hope of manumission or education. The only technological advances made available to them would be abortion and contraception, in an effort to keep their populations down to acceptable levels." (pp. 337-338). [How ironic that Polish liberals today are causing a "self-genocide" among Poles]. Also, "By the summer of 1941 the Nazis, and millions of their followers, had come to regard the Jews, Gypsies and Slavic peoples of the East in ways that were little different from how the SCHUTZTRUPPE and settlers of German South-West Africa had regarded the Herrero and Nama four decades earlier." (p. 328).

Actually, and not considered by the authors, German racism against Slavs exceeded that against the Herrero and Nama. Africans guilty of killing whites were hanged; whites guilty of killing blacks were sentenced to only months in prison. (p. 119). In contrast, a German could kill a Pole with complete impunity. In addition, Hitler said that, if forced to choose between them, he would rather rule over Negroes than Poles. See the Peczkis review of Prelude to the Final Solution: The Nazi Program for Deporting Ethnic Poles, 1939-1941 (Modern War Studies).  Here is my review, recently appearing at Amazon. Though not written for this purpose, it sheds light on matters that Poles are commonly attacked.  
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