From a review of a book about the mental state of the Nuremberg defendants:
Dimsdale cherry-picks his examples to cater to our idea that human evil must have something to do with psychopathology. But the verdict goes in the other direction: The overwhelming majority of the Nuremberg defendants did not possess the traits of the mentally diseased. Their Rorschach tests were normal. Yet one of their examiners, the psychologist Gustave Gilbert, still labeled them insane. Gilbert, the Jewish son of emigrés from Austria, described the Nazi defendants as “narcissistic psychopaths whose lives were deformed by a diseased German culture.” This made them more rather than less culpable in Gilbert’s view: “to him [they were] the devil incarnate,” Dimsdale writes.
The other examiner, Douglas Kelley, disagreed with Gilbert. He thought that the Nazis displayed “profound moral failing” rather than mental illness. In spite of his disapproval, Kelley seems to have bonded with Göring and a few of the others. Bizarrely, the emotionally troubled Kelley, who was a professional magician as well as a psychiatrist, committed suicide 12 years after Nuremberg. In his living room, in front of his wife, parents, and children, he swallowed a cyanide pill, the same method that Göring had used.
A Syrian refugee in Bingen, Germany set fire to the migrant shelter where he lived, and spray-painted a few swastikas to mislead the police:
You call that a swastika? Pathetic.
Take it from me: The secret to spray-painting swastikas is to spray the central cross first. If you're aiming for authenticity, tilt it 45 degrees to make an 'X' -- that's now the Nazis did it. Then you simply add some hooks at 90-degree angles. Bingo! It's not called a 'hook-cross' (Hakenkreuz) in German for nothing.
I'll be expecting much better work from now on, Kameraden.
Ask any German who's lived in the Arab world for a while and interacted with normal people, and you will almost always hear of Arabs who admire, even love Adolf Hitler. Some of the ones I know even stopped identifying themselves as Germans in conversation, to avoid that blood-chilling moment when their conversation partner would say: 'Adolf Hitler very good man! Hero!' It has happened to me -- and not just in Arab countries -- when I identified myself as German to avoid getting into long conversations about American foreign policy.
But of course it's not just an Arab problem by any stretch. It happened to me most recently on a park bench in downtown Sofia, Bulgaria, where a man who borrowed a cigarette from me started chatting and revealed that he had once lived and worked in Germany but his work permit had been revoked because 'the Jews up there' didn't want more 'Christian Bulgarians' in the country. I was tempted to try to enlighten him, but really, where do you even begin with a comment like that?
Remember, we are not talking about the 15-20% of the educated elite of these societies, who either understand the evil of Hitler or know enough not to discuss the issue with foreigners. We are talking about ignorant or illiterate people. Their views are shaped by attitudes passed down through generations (and either tolerated or encouraged by their governments) and never challenged by an educated person.
But that doesn't mean we have to let these backward prejudices into Germany. Commenter KS brings a report from the front lines of migrant education in Germany right now which I thought worthy of hoisting to the main page:
When I finished school in 2005, I travelled around some time in Egypt and Jordan and I was astonished by the fact, that the old-fashioned anti-semitism, that I only knew from history books, creepy internet-pages and grandma's honest moments, was pretty much political mainstream in these countries. Including the admiration of Hitler. (I mean, I expected some hatred towards Israel - but the arguments about filthy, conspiring jews were an exact copy of European anti-semitism.) Today I work as a teacher in a class in which pupils, who just came to Germany, learn the German language, before they can attend the regular classes.
Last week I taught about German history. Now my pupils were astonished by the fact, that Germany doesn't admire Hitler anymore. "Aber alle lieben Hitler!" ("But everyone loves Hitler!") was one of the reactions, by a Macedonian boy with a christian-orthodox background by the way. Two boys from Syria applauded him. So I asked politely (to get an honest reaction): "Wer von euch liebt Hitler?" ("Who of you loves Hitler?") Five out of eleven children raised their hands: the two guys from Syria (Kurdish Muslims), two Macedonians (Christian-Orthodox) and one guy from Somalia (Muslim). The children who didn't raise their hands were Roma and two boys from Portugal.
It's hard to imagine anything more depressing than young children taught to admire Hitler, isn't it? Now you could look at this as a glass-half-full optimist: at least these kids will be able to escape the miasma of ignorance and prejudice that poisons their countries of origin (and helps explain why their countries of origin have so many problems). At least they'll escape it while they're in school. Certain schools, that is. At home is a different story.
And I would agree with you, to a point. But an intensive re-education program requires significant resources. It might well work with 10,000, 20,000 or even 50,000 fresh migrants. But with 800,000+? And the millions who will follow thanks to family reunification? Not a chance. If policies don't change quickly, Germany may end up importing millions of new residents -- 3-4% of its entire population -- who despise Jews and admire Hitler.
I think that's a serious public-policy issue that should be openly and frankly debated right now, don't you?
Last year, during the latest military flare-up of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, hundreds of people took to the streets in German cities chanting pro-Hamas slogans and calling for Jews to be gassed. Here's a video taken during one of these demos:
If you were expecting white German skinheads, you were disappointed. This was a demonstration from the far-left 'Solid' group, and as you can see, the majority of the demonstrators were not ethnically German. At about the 1:30 point, a man speaks into the camera in German, with a strong foreign accent. The anti-Israel demonstration is running toward a pro-Israel demonstration looking for confrontation. The man notes this 'isn't good', but has to happen since 'the Jews are insulting us'. 49 people were charged with inciting racial hatred for chanting anti-Semitic slogans during this demonstration, but charges were later dropped (g) against 45 of them.
There is, of course, anti-Semitism among native Germans. But I can tell you from first-hand experience, there is a whole lot more, and more virulent, anti-Semitism among residents of Germany who immigrated from Muslim countries. I have had dozens of conversations with recent immigrants from Muslim countries (often during German as a foreign language courses) that made my hair stand on end. Of course anti-Semitic attitudes are not confined to Muslim nations, but they are particularly common there. This should come as no surprise, since high-ranking leaders of the Arab world, especially, are notorious for embracing the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as truth:
The exception to [the universal consensus that the Protocols are an anti-Semitic hoax] is the Middle East, where a large number of Arab and Muslim regimes and leaders have endorsed them as authentic. Past endorsements of The Protocols from Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat of Egypt, one of the President Arifs of Iraq, King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi of Libya, among other political and intellectual leaders of the Arab world, are echoed by 21st century endorsements from the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sa'id Sabri, and Hamas, to the education ministry of Saudi Arabia.
[A]bout 40 Muslim weekend clubs and schools in the UK [are] using Saudi textbooks that, among other niceties, describe Jews as descended from "monkeys" and "pigs", denigrate nonbelievers, advocate killing homosexuals and refer to the "reprehensible qualities of Jews".
And Syria is one of the very worst offenders. Syria's current leader, Bashar al-Assad, has said:
'We must therefore speak about the street and not get bogged down in analyzing people. We say the [Israeli] Prime Minister is racist, the government is racist and the army is racist, but when we come to Israeli society, we are speechless. What is the sense of this? Everything that has already transpired is a result of Israeli society. It is a society more racist than the Nazis. Everyone says this in closed meetings. Every Arab citizen says these things. We represent the Arab world and it is therefore natural that we say what they want us to say and in a manner that will express the conscience of the Arab citizen'.
During the Pope's  visit to Syria, the President delivered a speech in which he referred to Israel thus: 'We hear them destroy the principle of equality while they speak of Allah who singled out their nation from other nations and we see them damaging the holy places to Islam and Christianity in Palestine … They are trying to destroy all the religions' monotheistic principles, according to the same mentality with which they betrayed Jesus and tortured him, and according to the same mentality with which they tried to kill the prophet Muhammad'. (emphasis added)
In mid-2014, a UN school for Palestinian refugee children in a refugee camp outside Damascus posted these cartoons to Facebook, celebrating a recent trend of Palestinians killing Israelis by running them over with automobiles.
There are thousands of examples of anti-Semitic indoctrination like this from all over the Muslim world (although not only the Muslim world, of course), and Syria is always near the top of the list.
It should come as no surprise, then, that Syria's once-thriving Jewish community has scattered, and that there are only 22 Jews left in Syria. So, as we welcome hundreds of thousands of random Syrians who happened to make it to German soil, we should keep in mind almost all of them were raised in a virulently anti-Semitic and anti-Israel political climate and educational system. And, as we saw in 2014, the mere fact of relocation to Germany does not automatically render every immigrant into a benevolent, tolerant person. I wonder if anyone is giving any thought to this?
One of the advantages of controlled immigration is that you have a better chance of weeding out people who are going to cause trouble in your country, for instance by chanting openly for your fellow citizens to be gassed to death. First thing we need is a border fence to stop the spectacle of masses of humans hiking across Southeastern Europe. Refugees should be screened where they now are, and if accepted, flown humanely direct to the country that has accepted them. There should be refugee-relocation centers in Syrian camps right now to screen potential refugees for relocation in Germany. They should have fluent Arabic speakers on staff. Preferably fellow Arabs, to increase the likelihood of honest answers. I would ask prospective Syrian refugees the following questions:
1. Are you aware that Germany has a large and growing Jewish population?
2. Are you aware that the Government of Germany has a close relationship with the State of Israel?
3. Do you believe that the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews during the Holocaust?
4. What is your personal opinion of the Jewish faith?
5. What is your opinion of the State of Israel?
6. Do you believe that Jews drink the blood of Christian children?
7. Do you believe that Jews have a secret plan for world domination?
8. How would you react if a neighbor moved in next door who was Jewish?
If the prospective Syrian refugee gives the 'wrong' answer to 2 or 3 of these questions, their application will be denied. They can apply to another country for asylum, one that is more in tune with their ideas. Germany is not obliged to take in all of the world's refugees, and doesn't need to import any more anti-Semites than it already has.
It’s interesting to explore the contours of political correctness in Germany. Case-in-point: Exactly who is leaving Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania to come to Germany and file asylum claims? Are we talking about degreed professionals looking for better jobs? Unemployed construction workers? The very poor, or the middle-class?
Or are we talking about Roma? People who want to liberalize German immigration policy say that some of those applying for asylum are Roma who face discrimination and therefore have valid asylum claims. But they rarely attach numbers to this claim. I went looking for such numbers, with little success. When you have a hard time finding out a fact from the mainstream German media, you can usually assume that the Platonic Guardians have decided that the readers of their publications cannot be trusted to handle it. It must therefore be concealed or obfuscated.
But one reporter in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung bucked the trend (g), and reported that 90% of Serbian migrants from January to March 2015 were Roma, and 60% or over of the ones from Bosnia and Macedonia. The majority of German journalists wants to conceal the fact that most asylum seekers from the Balkans are Roma because, presumably, this would reduce support for them.
A few, however, emphasize this fact to argue for granting them asylum. In fact, the rest of the article advocates granting them asylum owing to the discrimination and persecution they face at home. It quoted a research report by Norman Paech, a German international-law professor hired by a German Roma organization who concluded that although ethnic discrimination alone usually does not amount to the ‘persecution’ required to qualify for asylum under international law, the persistent and severe exclusion from society which he claims exists in countries such as Kosovo and Albania could fit that definition. Therefore, he’s against classifying these countries as ‘secure countries of origin’, which would make it easier to repatriate people back to them.
I think there's a good case Germany should agree to take on board all of Europe’s Roma who wish to resettle there.
Reason #1: Historical Responsibility
Germany murdered up to 400,000 Roma during the Holocaust. Every German politician recognizes a special responsibility to those who were persecuted and murdered during the Third Reich.
Reason #2: European Solidarity
If you ask Bulgarians, Romanians, Albanians, and Serbians about the Roma, you will hear one argument over and over: France and Germany and the do-gooders in Brussels should shut the fuck up about how we treat the Roma. They point out that the absolute numbers of Roma in their country and the proportion of Roma as part of the population are much, much higher where they live than in Germany:
They will point out that their countries are dramatically poorer than Germany, France, or Sweden. They will point out that they barely have enough money to support their own retirees, much less administer expensive and often marginally successful 'integration' programs for the Roma. And finally, they point out that whenever large numbers of Roma turn up in Western Europe, there's almost always a huge public backlash. France has a stringent anti-Roma policies and routinely destroys gypsy camps.
Hundreds of thousands of Roma - mostly from Romania and Bulgaria - have moved to Western Europe since the 1990s. Widely perceived as scroungers and thieves, they are rarely made welcome.
But they come under a particular kind of pressure in France. Their illegal camps - such as the one Alex occupied in Champs-sur-Marne, east of Paris - are systematically destroyed by authorities.
According to the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), 19,300 Roma people were evicted across France last year - more than double the 2012 figure.
There are now so many Roma beggars on the sidewalks of Stockholm that half of Swedes favor outlawing begging altogether.
I violated the first rule of the Internet and read the comments to the video I linked to above. There is the usual amount of racist garbage, but there are also a lot of comments from Bulgarians who deeply resent being called to task for the problems of Roma. Here's Valya Marinova:
They can go wherever they like within Bulgaria and the European Union. And a lot of them do it quite often because traditionally they are nomads and easy to move. France doesn't want them, destroys their camps there and sends them back to Bulgaria, in Britain there is a political party that is stongly against them, German people murmur a lot against the Bulgarian gypsies, but officially the country still plays the tolerant guy. Hurray for Germany, all the rest European countries should follow their positive example!
In 2005, George Soros' Open Society Institute published a large study of attitudes about the Roma in 8 Eastern European countries. The study relied on focus groups made up both of Roma and non-Roma. I've put some excerpts below the jump for the curious. But the overall themes are unmistakable. Non-Roma in these countries believe: (1) Roma themselves are responsible for their place at the margins of society; (2) the negative attitudes toward Roma are based on personal experience, not on baseless stereotypes; (3) their countries are already doing enough, with their limited resources, to help the Roma; (4) life is hard for everybody in my country, so I am not going to support a government program that helps only one sub-group; and (5) Western Europe should stop the condescending bullying and lecturing, since they don't have to deal with the far, far larger number of Roma we have. If they think they can do a better job integrating the Roma, they should step right up and try it. Then they'll see how hard it is.
Reason #3: If Germany Can't Integrate Roma, Nobody Can
The third, related reason is that there is no country more likely to succeed in integrating Roma than Germany. Even though Germans share the basic European hostility to Roma, it's much less pronounced than in other European countries, for obvious historical reasons (see #1, above). Compared to, say, Albania, Germany is a rich country. It has hordes of trained social workers who have experience in integrating foreigners from remote cultures. It has a functioning educational system that already hosts students from dozens of countries. It is large enough to absorb, say, 4 million Roma immigrants (out of the 10 million in Europe) without the risk of social collapse.
Of course, this plan would require a vast investment of resources. Many of the Roma in places like Albania, Bulgaria and Serbia are illiterate, and many don't even speak the language of the country they currently live in fluently. Many will never be able to learn fluent German. Learning a second language to fluency as an adult requires significant cognitive abilities that most adults do not possess. The best predictor of your ability to master a second language is your level of ability in your first. Also, since their level of education is so low, most will never integrate into the mainstream job market. Many will likely live from social welfare benefits, odd jobs, begging, and petty crime -- just as they do today in their home countries. They will certainly cluster together in clan-groups.
In other words, they will present the same formidable challenges to integration in Germany as they do now in their home countries. Further, this project will enjoy very little support from the German population. Yet it's quite possible for European political elites to push through ambitious, expensive projects (such as the Euro) against the will of the majority of citizens. Similarly, Germany's decision to build a large Holocaust memorial or in the middle of Berlin or transfer billions to the former East may or may not have been supported by a majority of Germans, but that fact was irrelevant. It was pitched as an important national objective necessitated by History, and that was enough. Taking in all of Europe's unwanted Roma could be portrayed the same way.
What do you say, Germans?
Another argument that open-borders types sometimes invoke is that Germany has in some way caused the problems from which migrants are fleeing and therefore has an ethical obligation to grant all of them permanent residency in Germany.
My experience is when this feel-good argument is exposed to the slightest pressure, it crumbles like gossamer. If proponents try to back it up, they fall into two errors: (1) vastly exaggerating Germany's actual influence in the world; and (2) conveniently erasing huge tracts of recent world history which point to factors other than German policy to be the genuine causes of the problems they cite.
Let's take a look at the countries which make up the top 10 in current asylum applications. It fluctuates from month to month, but is generally: Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and 5 or 6 West Balkan countries.
Now, the first thing to note is that all of these countries receive development assistance from Germany to the extent safety conditions permit. Germany gives away .37% of its GDP in development assistancein 2013. That amounts to €14.06 billion, making Germany the world's third-largest state donor of development aid. Germany has a sprawling foreign-aid bureaucracy employing thousands of people. I know dozens of them personally: engineers, architects, lawyers. Working for German government aid organizations is a prestigious, well-paid job. There is much competition for these spots, and those who get the jobs tend to be very intelligent and hard-working.
Here the casual cynic will observe: 'Yeah, but don't most of the products they provide come from Germany?' The short answer is yes. The longer answer is: Leave the womb-like comfort of the graduate seminar room, André-Maximilian. Remove your nose ring. Put down the Adorno. Put on your big-boy pants and emerge into the real world. Every aid donor country mandates a preference for its own products. Standard practice. And as long as they're fit for purpose, so what? If Germany is going to give Zenobia a € 1 million hydroelectric turbine generator, it might as well be a €1 million Siemens hydroelectric turbine generator. German machines are renowned all over the world, so nobody's getting ripped off. And I guarantee you the Zenobians care more about the extra 5 hours of electricity they get every day than who made the generator.
Now there's plenty of legitimate debate about the effectiveness of foreign aid and its recipients, etc. But at a very basic level, it's significant that a country decides to basically give away € 14 billion a year to strangers across the globe. German aid programs are generally highly regarded in the international community and often used as best-practices benchmarks. Is one of the reasons for giving the aid to burnish Germany's reputation? Yes, André-Maximilian, it is. Welcome again to the real world, where individuals and nations always have multiple motives for their actions, some of which are self-interested. In any case, if Germany's trying to build its reputation, it's working, since Germany is the most-admired nation in the world right now.
But even if Germany gave no development aid, the argument that Germany's actions are causing the current migration waves does not hold water. Let's look at it country-by-country:
Iraq. Iraq's current problems are the result of the 2003 invasion. Germany loudly opposed this invasion and did not send troops. Although Germany provided tiny amounts of logistical cooperation owing to previous commitments, the invasion of Iraq was a US and UK show, full stop.
Syria. Syria descended into civil war in 2011. Wars in that part of the region can last a while, the Lebanese civil war lasted 15 years. Germany did not encourage or condone, and could not prevent, this occurrence.
Afghanistan. Germany participated in the occupation of Afghanistan for a few years. That participation was minimal. It's an open secret that German troops are not combat-ready, so they were sent to the largely-peaceful north to do routine patrols. In any event, Afghans who are leaving their country are, I guarantee you, not fleeing oppression by Western troops. They are leaving active conflict zones or Taliban rule.
Eritrea. Eritrea is currently a repressive dictatorship. Germany did not encourage or condone, and could not prevent, this turn of affairs.
The West Balkans. There are generally 2 arguments here. First, that Germany devastated the former Yugoslavia during its occupation in World War II. Actually, what was once Yugoslavia was occupied by all the Axis powers, not just Germany and often ruled by native Fascist movements.
In any case, as nasty as that military policy was, it ended 70 years ago. 70 years is a long time. The current status of the states of the former Yugoslavia has almost nothing to do with World War II. Take Slovenia, for example. Most historians would agree that Slovenia got the worst of it:
The Province of Ljubljana (Italian: Provincia di Lubiana, Slovene: Ljubljanska pokrajina, German: Provinz Laibach) was the central-southern area of Slovenia, the only present-day European nation and the only part of Yugoslavia that was trisected and completely annexed into neighboring Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and Hungary during World War II.
97,000 Slovenes were killed during these brutal occupations. The capital of Slovenia, Laibach in German, was surrounded by barbed wire, turned into a massive camp and cut off from the world. Tens of thousands died of starvation and disease. And now? Slovenia, renowned as the 'Switzerland of Yugoslavia', is by far the richest and most stable state of the former Yugoslavia, not only an EU member but also a Eurozone member. The recovery from the depredations of World War II has much more to do with the history, culture, and talents of the people in the occupied country than with events 70 years ago. Modern Slovenes are interested in doing business with and studying in Germany, not rehashing events from last century. It also helped that Yugoslavia was government by one of the 20th century's most ingenious statesmen, Tito.
The current relatively backward condition of many states in the former Yugoslavia is due overwhelmingly to the 10-year civil war during the 1990s. A baffling kaleidoscope of different armies, militias, and paramilitaries swept back and forth, destroying billions in infrastructure and causing massive human suffering. Germany did not encourage or condone, and could not prevent this occurrence. In fact, by its rapid and decisive recognition of Slovenia and Croatia, it is quite likely that German policy helped prevent war and destruction in these countries. That is certainly how most modern Slovenes and Croatians see it, and many historians agree.
Now, what about the bombing campaign in Kosovo in 1999? Germany certainly participated in that. That campaign involved 78 days of bombing targets in Serbia and Kosovo, and killed somewhere around 500 people. A legitimate debate still flourishes over the legitimacy of that action. However, proper perspective requires acknowledging several incontrovertible facts. First of all, the amount of damage caused by the bombing campaign is a drop in the bucket compared to the damage caused by the decade-long civil war that preceded it. Second, German participation in the bombing campaign was barely above the symbolic level. Blaming Germany for the after-effects of wholesale chaos in the Balkans in the 1990s is like blaming a seagull crapping on a wave for the 2011 Japanese tsunami.
Third, the bombing campaign successfully ended hostilities in Kosovo. In 1999, Serbian forces and the KLA were preparing for a bloody, epic battle to the last over Kosovo. Both sides were well-armed, battle-tested, and hated each other's fucking guts with a glowing, incandescent, white-hot rage. Both sides were prepared to engage in terrorism, atrocities and ethnic cleansing. A full-scale war over Kosovo would certainly have done infinitely more damage than the NATO bombing campaign.
So, the argument that Germany has played any significant role in creating the conditions in countries from which current migrants are arriving is simply unfounded. This doesn't mean that Germany should or should not accept migrants from these countries -- that is a separate question. It simply means that the argument that Germany (1) has a moral obligation to do so because (2) Germany caused the problems from which the refugees are fleeing is unconvincing.
How some of Eva Braun's underwear allegedly reached Ohio:
He had traveled with the 506th Infantry from Africa to Europe. He got to Berchtesgaden in time for the liberation of the Nazi headquarters. Underneath Hitler’s home, he and a friend found a series of tunnels leading to a nearby hotel called Platterhof. There, they discovered boxes of Hitler and Braun’s belongings that had been stored for safekeeping. The pair loaded seven steamer trunks with the treasures and shipped them back to America.
Snyder, accustomed to seeing one or two pieces at a time, was impressed. Over the next three years, he said, he paid $3 million in installments for the entire contents of these trunks, which had been held in “a warehouse-like place” outside Charlotte. Included in this trove were 100 pieces of Braun’s lingerie, including perhaps 20 to 30 pairs of underwear.
Norm MacDonald channels the stone-cold average American on Germany: