Think like a Nazi, the assignment required students. Argue why Jews are evil.
Students in some Albany High School English classes were asked this week as part of a persuasive writing assignment to make an abhorrent argument: “You must argue that Jews are evil, and use solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich!”
Students were asked to watch and read Nazi propaganda, then pretend their teacher was a Nazi government official who needed to be convinced of their loyalty. In five paragraphs, they were required to prove that Jews were the source of Germany’s problems.
The exercise was intended to challenge students to formulate a persuasive argument and was given to three classes, Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said. She said the assignment should have been worded differently.
“I would apologize to our families,” she said. “I don’t believe there was malice or intent to cause any insensitivities to our families of Jewish faith.”
One-third of the students refused to complete the assignment, she said.
Völklingen, a town in the western German state of Saarland, has had a district named after a Nazi war criminal for the past 56 years. Many residents are fighting passionately to make sure that it stays that way.
People don’t say hello to Christoph Gottschalk on the street anymore, and his wife gets snapped at when she is at the local athletic club. Another resident who shares his opinions is ignored in some bars, and the gardening club refuses to rent him a wood chipper. Gottschalk, 61, and his comrades-in-arms feel like outcasts in their own neighborhood, all because they are fighting to change the name of their district from that of a convicted Nazi war criminal.
In 1956, Völklingen, a town in the western German state of Saarland, decided to dedicate a memorial to Hermann Röchling (1872-1955), an industrialist and a Nazi, and to name a district after him. Today, about 1,300 people live in Hermann Röchling Heights, an idyllic hilltop neighborhood built next to a forest. The neighborhood is well-removed from the town’s trouble spots, and everything there would be just fine — if it weren’t for Gottschalk and his handful of kindred spirits.
They persistently point out that Hermann Röchling was a Nazi convicted of crimes against humanity, who approached Adolf Hitler in 1933 to ask him to prevent the Saar region, which was still being administered by the League of Nations at the time, from becoming a “Jewish conservation area.” As a businessman, he exploited thousands of forced laborers during World War II, and had the insubordinate workers sent to a labor camp near his plant.
An alarming consequence of Greece’s economic meltdown has been the rise of the virulently ultra-nationalist political party, Golden Dawn. In this week’s issue of TIME, we report on the group’s tactics and ideology as well as the political climate that feeds Golden Dawn’s anti-immigrant drive.
The group is led by Nikos Michaloliakos, 54, a small, paunchy mathematician with Brezhnev eyebrows and a perpetual scowl, who founded the movement in 1985. During an interview Wednesday with the private TV channel SKAI, Michaloliakos denied that the party was trying to push the country into the left-right divisions of the civil war that ravaged Greece after the end of World War II, declaring that the Greeks had to be united to face the economic crisis. He got angry when the Greek journalist interviewing him asked about the party’s Nazi links, dismissing it as “old mud” from 20 years ago. “We are nationalists, not Nazis,” he said, adding that the Greeks don’t care to rehash Nazi history and instead want to get rid of political corruption and illegal immigrants so the country can recover from the economic crisis. He claimed that support for his party will grow because Golden Dawn is not corrupt and identifies with common Greeks.
And yet, Golden Dawn’s slogans, salutes, symbols and gatherings distinctly echo images and words from the Third Reich, says Dimitris Psarras, an investigative journalist who spent more than 20 years chronicling the party in his new book Golden Dawn’s Black Bible. “The leaders of this group don’t practice an ideology that is simply the loud ultra-nationalism practiced by other European far-right parties,” he said. “It is very clearly a Nazi group.”
Psarras says Golden Dawn has tapped into anti-immigrant resentment that has been slowly building since the 1990s when the first big wave of foreigners—Albanians—came to Greece en masse. As the economic crisis has stripped Greek institutions of trust, that resentment has metastasized into outright fear that is defining mainstream political and social debate, he said.
Indeed, Golden Dawn holds no monopoly on the idea that all undocumented migrants are menaces to society. Many of Greece’s leading politicians, including Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, 61, have said as much. Though Samaras, a patrician , Harvard-trained economist, has also described Golden Dawn as “neo-Nazi,” he has labeled undocumented migrants “the tyrants of Greek society.” He leads the conservative New Democracy party, the main partner in a fragile three-party coalition government that’s been governing Greece since June.
Later this year, Israel’s Jewish population will hit six million- the number of Jews killed by the Nazis
They look like typical senior citizens at any drop-in centre as they gather around small tables and drink tea, occasionally chuckling at a joke or observation. They are dressed formally, as people of their generation often are, the women in blouses and tasteful makeup and the men in suit jackets.
There is nothing obvious that gives away the fact that they are among the last living witnesses to perhaps the greatest crime in history, the Nazi genocide of European Jews. Survivors such as Freddie Knoller, 91, have dedicated a large part of their lives to testifying against what happened to them during the Holocaust when approximately six million Jews were murdered.
Yet the gas chambers, death camps and mass deportations offered another lesson for Austrian-born Knoller. “What kept me alive was optimism,” he said, sipping a cup of tea in a simply furnished room inside Jewish Care’s Holocaust Survivors Centre in London. “I was an eternal optimist. I knew I would get out.”
Knoller’s parents died in Auschwitz, he survived Nazi-occupied France, and he watched prisoners eat dead bodies to stay alive in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Physical scars also remain. He rolls up his left sleeve to show the faded blue numbers 157103 tattooed on his forearm.
“I will never take it off. It should never be forgotten what they have done.” The Nazi identiﬁcation code is also printed on his business cards.
The last time I saw Jello was at a concert in the People’s Temple in San Francisco, early 80’s.
I wrote that song in 1981, and at the time, it was aimed at people who were really violent on the dance floor; they didn’t call it mosh pits yet. It began to attract people showing up just to see if they could get in fights in the pit or jump off stage and punch people in the back of the head and run away. I noticed some of the really bad thugs were clearly not teenagers, they looked quite a bit older, which makes me wonder if they were really undercover cops.
People started asking me, “Are you down with this? Thing are changing, the audience is younger, hard core is coming up and it’s a more extreme form of punk,” and I liked that kind of music, but I thought if we’re gonna play this music, we need to distance ourselves from that side of the scene. The initial premise of the song was “You violent people at shows are acting like a bunch of Nazis,” and that was as far as it went. Then the real ideological Nazis began coming out of the closet.
They attacked Dead Kennedys shows after that. One time, a more hard-core version of (Britain’s) National Front showed up in tandem with the road crew of a band, and that connection always creeped me out. Punk is such an extreme form of music, the most extreme form of rock and roll ever invented, and it’s always attracted different kinds of extremes. So “Nazi Punks…” evolved in people’s minds into an anti-fascist, anti-Nazi anthem. I’ve noticed that the more that my current band, Jello Biafra & the Guantanamo School of Medicine, plays in countries where people have tangible memories of suffering under dictators — South America, the Balkans, Eastern Europe — the more people want to hear that song because it means something deeper to them than telling people not to start fights at punk shows.
The founder of Maximumrocknroll, who had the guts to take this stuff head-on early, pointed out that there were always idiots in the scene, and now they have an ideology. The punk music sound is one kind of music white supremacists are attracted to, but to blame the murder of a bunch of innocent people in the Milwaukee area on music itself is like blaming Ozzy Osbourne for some troubled kid killing themselves, or blaming the Bible for when a Christian supremacist kills someone.
There were shows and individuals who had been attacked by Nazi skinheads and that still goes on here and there, but the ideological ones haven’t shown up at any event of mine in years. The subculture may to some degree be organzied, but it’s much further underground than some of the people crying wolf at the Southern Poverty Law Center might want people to believe. I support all their work to counter white supremacists, but the biggest danger from white supremacists is in police departments now, racist officers looking for excuses to shoot people of color. That is the worst form of Nazism or organized racism going on in this country today.
The same organization that was keeping track of the shooter at the Wisconsin Sikh temple has identified a dozen active “hate groups” in Minnesota.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed organizations ranging from a group founded by a member of the former American Nazi Party to a parents’ organization that opposed repealing a controversial Anoka-Hennepin School District policy on issues of sexual orientation.
Leaders of those groups and others listed by the center dispute the “hate” label. Some call the Law Center hateful and slanderous.
“The only reason why some people would consider us a hate group is because they’re too ignorant to open their eyes and see what we are really all about,” said a man who identified himself over the phone as Mike Schmidt, public relations director for the National Socialist Movement, which the Law Center lists as “neo-Nazi.” “There’s nothing on our website that promotes hate. … Our organization is about self-preservation of our own people and the promotion and advancement of it.”
He said the group does not promote or instigate violence but defends itself when attacked.
However, the group’s swastika-heavy website, nsm88.org, extols Hitler’s goals and actions, denies the Holocaust, and claims to be championing “the White race” via extensive diatribes against Jews and other ethnic groups. For example, its “frequently asked questions” site claims that during World War II, the SS was battling “the two headed Jewish monster of Communism/Capitalism.”
Marsha Johnson and Mark Moomaw paint together in a second floor room.
Former neo-Nazi leader William A. White once owned the home in the 1600 block of Chapman Avenue Southwest where a diverse group of about 40 volunteers gathered Saturday to begin fixing up the empty house.
White’s prior ownership of the rental property in Roanoke seemed of no significance to the sweating, smiling workers who swarmed the two-story, brick-veneer house built in 1920.
“We’ve been told that’s who owned it but we really don’t want to get into that,” said Ed Murray, executive director of Rebuilding Together Roanoke, which now owns the property.
“It’s our impression that it was certainly not up to standards when he owned it, but that’s history,” Murray said.
The goal is a completely rehabilitated duplex structure that will provide affordable housing for two families.
Wells Fargo Bank donated the foreclosed property to Rebuilding Together Roanoke, a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization whose focus is providing safe living conditions for low-income, elderly or disabled homeowners who cannot afford to maintain their properties.
In mid April of 1945 the final Russian push into the outskirts of Berlin began, the Russians fully intended to repay “in kind” Germany for their betrayal of the “Non-Aggression Pact” and the numerous atrocities committed on Russian soil. Meanwhile the American, British, and French forces worked solely to clear their side of the Elbe river, only 40 kilometers away as had been previously agreed upon by Roosevelt and Stalin (over the strongly stated but politically ineffectual complaints of Churchill) at the Yalta conference.
The German 9th and 12th Armies, both severely understrength due to combat losses, and also suffering from notable loss of combat effectiveness due to the only replacement troops available being untrained old men and young boys were the only defense Berlin had left to offer.
In a last ditch effort to turn the tide of the Russian advance the Germans attempted to withdraw the 12th Army from the lines facing the British and American Armies and ordered them to instead join the defense of Berlin. While this hopefully would have provided desperately needed reinforcements to the defense of Berlin it had a much deeper purpose in the minds of the German High Command. By withdrawing their opposition they hoped to lure the Anglo forces beyond the Elbe river and put them into armed confrontation with the Russian Armies.
No matter, It was too little too late, and the Anglo Armies did not take the bait and advance beyond the Elbe. The German 9th army trapped inside Berlin was virtually annihilated by the Russian forces and the 12th Army was unable to break through the siege surrounding Berlin despite repeated attempts that resulted in combat losses of close to 70% of their manpower.
The Russians finally took Berlin on May 2nd when the few remaining local forces “surrendered”, and they did make the Germans pay, over 300,000 civilian deaths, as many as two million acts of rape, some on girls as young as eight. The Russian soldiers exacted their revenge freely until finally after eight days of intentional utter lawlessness and depredation the officers began to exert order and control once again.
Berlin, once one the crown jewels of European cities now looked like this…
It is morally repugnant to me to argue that they were only reaping what they had sown, or to otherwise attempt to justify the devastation and starvation that Berlin’s civilian population was made to suffer through afterwards.
But…the fact that their leaders had already visited similar destruction and much worse upon multiple cities within Russia, Poland, and other Eastern European countries does in fact mitigate the Russians actions, at least in my personal opinion.
I really hate to simply say “they deserved it” as a justification, but in this case I think that perhaps the evidence is overwhelming that they did indeed deserve whatever they got as retribution. And that is without even going into the question of the Nazi’s one singular and stunningly abhorrent decision to exterminate the entire population of European Jews.
Since Russell wrote white victim hood articles for the odious “Occidental Quarterly” it’s also my opinion that he’s a white supremacist and a bigot.
The controversy arose over “The Western Contribution to World History,” an essay that James Russell wrote for Occidental Quarterly in 2001.
Russell’s essay criticizes a number of contemporary movies such as “Crazy/Beautiful,” “O,” and “Save the Last Dance” that feature young white women in interracial relationships.
Such films are “deliberately designed to exploit the critical period of sexual imprinting in their target audience of white pre-adolescent girls and adolescent young women,” Russell said.
He also discussed Arthur Jensen’s studies of IQ and race, T.S. Eliot’s preference for a “homogenous society,” and Eliot’s opinion that “reasons of race and culture combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews undesirable.”
Criticism was rampant after news outlets reported on the essay during Russell’s 2010 campaign to represent New York’s 18th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Brian Thomas, a lawyer, called Russell a Nazi on ChicagoNow.com.
“That word actually applies to him,” Thomas wrote.
New York Magazine writer Dan Amira said : “If Jim Russell builds a time machine, goes back to 1950, then moves to Alabama, then he might be a viable candidate for Congress.”
Two months before the election, the Westchester County Republican Party dropped Russell from the ballot.
Russell then sued the journalists and politicians who commented on his essay, claiming defamation.
Thomas and Amira were not named in the lawsuit, which sought $1 million from each of nine defendants, including six journalists and three Republican party officials.
The defendants argued that their statements were opinions and not facts that could be proven false in a defamation case. They also said that Russell could not prove malicious intent.
A Westchester Supreme Court judge dismissed the case, and a Brooklyn-based appellate panel affirmed on July 11.
“In the case, the context of the complained-of statements was such that a reasonable reader would have concluded that he or she was reading and/or listening to opinions, and not facts, about the plaintiff,” Justice Reinaldo Rivera wrote for the Second Department. “Moreover, in all instances, the defendants made the statements with express reference to the essay written by the plaintiff, including quotations from the essay.”
Russian singer Evgeny Nikitin has pulled out of one of the world’s best-known opera events, the Bayreuth Festival in Germany, because he has a Nazi tattoo, organizers said Sunday.
Nikitin was in a heavy metal band as a young man, and got the swastika tattoo then, said festival spokesman Gunther Philipowski.
“That is a problem in Bayreuth,” Philipowski said. “Bayreuth has a bad history with the Nazis. It’s clear that Bayreuth has to be careful about this terrible part of history and has to take a position against it.”
The festival is dedicated to the works of Richard Wagner, one of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s favorite composers.
Hitler attended the Bayreuth Festival regularly, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, which describes Wagner as “an artist long associated with anti-Semitism” and the racist-nationalist volkisch tradition “from which the Nazis drew much of their ideology.”
Nikitin, 38, a bass-baritone, has “painted over” his Nazi tattoo, and it would not have been visible during his performance in “The Flying Dutchman,” Philipowski said.
But there are videos of him online where the tattoo is visible, he said.
“I had the tattoos made when I was young. It was a big mistake in my life and I wish I had never done it,” Nikitin said in a statement released by the festival.