Having watched Sparty’s especially grim video on Nazi Commandants, I can’t understand the stupidity of the Nazis in creating a lawless torture mini-state. Speaking sociopathically, if you’re going to have camps full of political enemies, to contain opposition, the goal should NEVER be happy fun time for sadists, but maximum profit for the regime.
Why on earth did Himmler and Hitler allow a system that’s literally leaving money on the table via forced labor? And costing the regime money to boot! Was there any discussion on I dunno, modeling the camps on the for-profit prisoner labor system of the postbellum American South? Back then the prison-industrial complex actually made the states money and helped control labor supply and thus wages.
How were there not SS or other Nazi goons saying, “We can make serious Reichsmarks off this!” Or were there.
And I ask because at least with that kind of evil, the people in the camps would have suffered less. A dead slave doesn’t work, a sick slave doesn’t work well, nor a shivering slave nor a starving slave. I mean it’s more humane for all the wrong reasons, but least…at least it wasn’t what happened. Even before the Holocaust.
I mean, inhumane I get, these are totalitarians but this is…wasteful. Inefficient.
Did no one even suggest that there was money to be made, so great was the sadism?
You actually put the finger right on the money: when you look at the Organisation Todt, after Todt’s death run by the so called “good” Nazi (if there even possibly could be such a man or woman) Albert Speer, you will be staggered by the amount of abuse through forced labour done by countless men, women and even children, also many fellow dutchman, as Spartacus will, undoubtedly, show us in his impressive series on War Against Humanity (never forget). Production of V1, V2, ME262, many resources were being realised by brutal slave labour.
It’s hard to fathom how evil these guys were- I wondered back in December how much effort- cost, resources, etc, - were being used to murder people when those same resources could be directed at the war. Someone very astutely pointed out the effect on troop morale, too- it takes a toll killing people.
It’s almost as if they went to war only to eliminate people vs. defeat countries.
Very good points above, it probably wasn’t just ideoligy but stealing as well. I think Timeghost had an earlier video on the mass scamming and looting by the Nazi top and also the Nazi minions and German soldiers who suddenly had massive power over others.
The mindset of those immoral people was key, they were more in it for themselves then for the well-being of the 3rd Reich. The people were not just put into concentration /death camps but ALL their possessions were stolen. House gone/art gone/ glasses (which were expensive back then gone), the women were often raped before being murdered. And hey also the gold teeth were a “source of income or serious Reichsmarks as Charlotte put it excellently in her post”. See below. So the reality was much worse that movies portray them
There are always people who will literally anything for a bit of power or nice uniform with an extra stripe when given the chance. Hitler lived on the system of medals and badges to create his willing executioners. If you were willing there was more of a chance to get promoted. (so in the end your gravestone would look better I guess?)
And by the way this is not ancient history. There is still a lot of “Holocaust/Auschwitz beute” as a German friend of mine calls it. See below, lots of people profited and the stolen art is still in museums and those protect themselves with bureaucracy for may years now hoping the restitutions will go away. (and pretending to care is cheaper)
Chewie, I don’t understand the dental gold thing. Yes, bigger cash upfront, but the true value of a human being isn’t what you can roll off his person, even a nice house, but he future labor. Heartlessly speaking, you take the old and/or disabled people, yank out their fillings and shoot them because they are “useless eaters,” possibly feeding their bodies to pigs as ‘free’ livestock fodder. But everyone under 50 at least can be put to productive labor for glorious Aryan superman-regime. Slaves make more money than corpses.
This I really wonder about: does being evil make you stupid and shortsighted? Like it’s a degenerative condition where someone like Hitler was probably evil by 1921 but he didn’t go “full retard” until the invasion of Poland (wasting fighter plane bullets on refugee columns? Really?!), and I don’t think it’s simply Dr. Morel feeding him more drugs than Keith Richards in his prime. It seems giving into your base nature over time erodes your self-control AND your sensibility.
Cause I’m a decent person imagining being evil in the most pragmatic way…but it’s rare to find actual evil people with that level of long-term pragmatism. Maybe I’m looking at it wrong. I certainly didn’t feel good after typing the first paragraph. I’m still a little physically sickened, like a teeny bit of motion sickness.
Charlotte, there are answers to your questions, but from what little I know, the answers are complicated. It starts with Nazi ideology. First, there was the idea of “Untermenschen”, a Nazi invention–People who were subhuman. In Nazi ideology that boiled down to anyone who wasn’t a German Nazi. That led the Nazis to a bunch of blind alleys. For example, from their antisemitic nonsense they really believed that Jews had vast amounts of “hidden wealth” that the Nazis could use to finance their victory in the war. It must have been a serious disappointment when they discovered that their cherished prejudice was a lie.
Many Nazis did intend to make money off slave labor. Krupp and Mercedes-Benz did very well. If you get a chance to watch “Schindler’s List”, watch the first 20 or 30 minutes–Oskar Schindler started out trying to make a fortune from slave labor. There were many more, and few behaved as well as Schindler did. As best I can recall, the SS rented out concentration camp inmates for 4 or 5 marks a day, each.
I guess I’m reminded of a quote from Origins of Totalitarianism that the reason why the 19th century didn’t see the rise of totalitarianism is that “they simply had the good sense not to take ideology as seriously as we do.” Krupp and Mercedes weren’t run by Nazis, collaborators sure but they were “making the best of it” being (happily) bought off.
And that I think is the key, I don’t understand ideological fixation. For me there is the truth beyond out petty understanding and we must relentlessly conform ourselves to IT, not try and make reality conform to our vision. You could call that conservatism, you could attribute that to my autism. But for me, anything I beleive I will pursue in the most pragmatic way possible, horrified by both goody goods who fret over people being crushed and the horrors of war per se and the nasty…nasts? who don’t give a damn other than their will be done.
This is a problem because I don’t understand the dynamics of emotional policymaking. It’s why I can’t understand why the US didn’t hold Japanese American property in escow. The answer literary seems to be “Fuck 'em” and I’m like a Star Trek computer shorting out going ‘does not compute, does not compute!’
Thanks for quoting this as it is the key to why a substantial part of the population became willing executioners. I don’t want to equate the Shoah but in companies you see people do literally anything for a bonus e.g. Enron (is 20 years back in time enough) were the management ran the company willingly of a cliff and tried to bail out just before the bankruptcy. There was a lot of infighting in that company as well.
Back to WW2, the holocaust museum in Florida has a letter from a salesman who was angry that “the ovens” produced more than agreed. Not because of the masses of people:skull_and_crossbones: but he wanted more bonus..
The Nazis were very skilled in buying off people with promotions (putting them higher in literally the food chain, wealth and authority against the untermenschen). Oh an the murderers also got a nice uniform and insignia to show off, while their victims where dehumanized as much as possible.
Too many National Socialists (or willing helpers) used their wealth to flee to South America like Eichmann who got a visit from the Mossad later.
His lying through his teeth that he was just a pencil pusher following orders was very convenient for the Nazi apologists. The Shoah was his wealth building career!
After the war the “Loyalty is their honor” lie kicked in as well as the idea that every German who engaged in the mass murders had no option but to do it. Meanwhile there was a hate fo the non-followers. Many Germans saw Stauffenberg as a traitor, as if sending young children barely able to carry a panzerfaust into battle is honorable !
Probably a Faustian soul selling.
After war the people who resisted but were hardly recognized. E.g in 2009 German deserters were reinstated and there was a lot of controversy about that.
However stepping away or resisting that regime requires a lot more character than maximizing the bribes, and the Nazi’s knew how to play that.
PS I know this a 2009 event but I think it is vital for the postwar “nie wieder” wreath laying speeches but F those of us who actually disobeyed mentality.
Obviously the camps for the Americans of Japanese decent did not have Shoah ovens. But I do wonder that apart for the accepted racism the dumping of cheap farmland/property don’ also was mmm…convenient. ( I don’t know enough about this subject. Any info is welcome.
One small disagreement–Ages ago I worked briefly as a clerk for Judge William Wilkins, who was on the three-judge panel that tried Alfried Krupp, who had actually run the company during the war while his aged uncle Alfred acted as a figurehead. Alfried was a committed Nazi, who happened to make a lot of money from the regime as his weapons making family had for a few centuries.
Well Lawyer Charlie, let me ask the opposite question:
What could the Krupp family have done OTHER than take the money and make the arms at that point? Because the Allies were not strictly at war with the Nazi Regime, they were at war with GERMANY, ergo they could not work against Hitler without also betraying young men desperately fighting for their lives and to keep their country from being ravaged upon conquest.
I’m putting together an AH about a successful German resistence and my MC is nearly as much at a breakdown with Schindler as with Hitler. Schindler worked to save as many lives of slave labor as possible in his factories, something my MC is deeply thankful for but he deeply wants to kill him on the spot for making faulty shells because it got young men under his command killed, and both are in the end legitimate emotions to feel.
And in any case look at Fritz Thyssen
I would mark him as a good man, because what he did after Kristallnacht took EXTREME moral courage. And what happened? Hitler instantly turned on him, he was expelled and his company was nationalized.
Now in retrospect you can say you lay with snakes you WILL get bitten, and the lesson is something we need to learn after the fact but so much of what the Hitler regime did was novel. I refuse to blame a lot of the collaborators because they were collaborators with guns in their backs.
I make no claims of Alfried himself but the family as a whole? I dunno? Between them and God.
All I know is that I could easily see all the chaos and confusion and recrimination of the late Weimar period and find myself in a spiffy uniform finding out way too late the devil owned my ass if not my soul. I would want mercy then, and so I will, as much as my opinion and my heart matters, show mercy now.
Well, you can start with party membership. Alfred never joined; Alfried was a member. Note that my earlier comment pertained only to Alfried. Among other things, Alfried arranged to have the slave laborers who worked in Essen murdered as Allied troops approached. By neglect a boxcar with about 25 women in it was captured before it reached the extermination camp, and the surviving women were a major part of Alfried’s trial.
Alfried was sentenced to life, but was released after four or five years. He went back to running the company, ran it into the ground, and, as I am sure you know, was bought out by Thyssen.
I don’t actually know that at all. I tried looking that up and the wiki does NOT say that. It does say he went out of his way to be brutal as hell to his consentration camp workers, insisted on using them instead of free German labor DESPITE the military saying he should do otherwise.
I found out Kaiser Bill had his grandmother thrown in a godamn INSANE ASYLUM to cover up her husband’s poofery, just to avoid a scandal with an important part of the military industrial complex, which says nothing good about a lot of sectors of German high society.