Lessons from Hitler: Sprouting Pains and Callous Disparities

Posted in Human Rights | 06-Feb-09 | Author: Muhammad Aslam Khan

It was a wintry afternoon a couple of years ago. While sipping a hot cup of tea at the residence of a friend of my elder brother, Muhammad Anwar Khan Niazi, a practicing law graduate, in remote native town, 1Mianwali, discussion erupted about the atrocities that were perpetrated by dictators on their own subjects shamelessly and without remorse. The discussants were vehemently drawing parallel between Pervez Musharraf and Hitler. The former had recently eliminated a thorough patriot and a graceful politician of a very high stature, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti from Baluchistan while the latter had knocked out some six million Jews during WW-II in concentration camps. Quick observation was raised that the 'parallel' was imbalanced. In the meantime, the host drew a book from his collections and presented to me, saying you would find it mind-boggling. Reaching my residence, the book I had scanned earlier, was my first priority to read and sure, I found it more than that.

'The Belsen Trial' is one of the six volumes2 that chronicles the circumstances and entire proceedings of the war crimes trial of Josef Kramer, the Nazi camp commandant at Auschwitz and his forty-four accomplices, wreaking havoc on the inmates, that were Jews. The questions, also raised by the author, that strike any reader without fail need wider soul searching. For instance, man's horrendous inhumanity to man is inexplicable? Is it quite impossible to believe that a nation that boasted not without reason, of its contribution to science and culture could have sunk to such depths of degradation? Right Hon. Lord Jowitt qualifies the queries, "....I think, find the answer in the general acceptance of the Fuhrer principle.....oath that all S.S. members took: I swear to you, Adolf Hitler, as Fuhrer and Chancellor of the Reich, faith and steadfastness. I pledge to you and to those whom you trust your orders, unwavering obedience unto death3." It caused me a sigh of relief and an appreciation for the post war generations of noble, brave and toiling German nation that sprung from the debris of WW-II.

The beauty is that the misery the nation suffered at the hands of Hitler and Allies, when (they say) there was no God in Germany except him, remains deeply embedded in their forlorn corner of throbbing hearts but it seldom finds access to their lips. Such is the character of vibrant nation which never lost poise and dignity by cursing destiny and past grandeur that was after all shared by their parents as well who for reason best heeded to by them at the time were inspired by Hitler like the lightening flash. Hitler charisma drugged his subjects to the degree that human values for a particular target, Jews, were not only choked, they were also reduced to, like their leader, thorough degenerates. There were very few like Dr. Fritz Kraemer who differed with Hitler's doctrine. Despite not having the compulsion of Jews, he escaped Germany in 1938, fought against Nazis in Battle of Bulge and Battles of Ruhr and Rhineland that won him battlefield commission and Bronze Star in US Army's 84th Infantry Division...the 'Rail-splitter4'. Henry Kissinger, widely speculated to have been discovered5 by Dr. Fritz Kraemer wrote, "Kraemer values were absolute. Like the ancient prophets, he made no concession to human frailty or to historic evolution; he treated intermediate solutions as derogation from principle6". Again homage must be paid to the nation that produced a person like Dr. Fritz Kraemer.

Seeing people like Hitler and Dr. Fritz Kraemer, poles apart, one understands, there is enormous sized riddle that pollutes every literate person's mind. Driven by the same urge, in Berlin in year 2000, while walking in a park, I was told Hitler would also stroll there during the war; I felt strange sensation as if he was walking with me. My curiosity mystified me as I picked up Joachim C. Fest's book, 'Hitler' from a Berlin book stall which circulated in several hands with queer facial expressions of immigration officers when I was exiting Germany from Hamburg. I found it a remarkable book that in my view dealt with Hitler in an absolutely just manner above earthly anger, prejudice, bias, or favor, depicting him as the kind of stuff, he was. One also comes across such comments, "He stands like a statue, grown beyond the measure of earthly man7". It does obliquely attempts to explain, why did Hitler hate Jews? But that is not the debate here. Recently a new British editorial project has commenced publishing (Zeitungszeugen) Nazi era news with historical analysis in Berlin. It would help further dragging out truth from the crevices of bias, prejudice and ignorance. "I am not sure what impact the Zeitungszeugen project will have," the respected German Jewish journalist Ralph Giordano told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper on Thursday. "But what is certain is that Hitler might have been militarily defeated, but he hasn't been beaten intellectually even 60 years after his downfall8". The project has claimed to be a necessity to educate the young generation.

This is also true that that Jews holocaust has been rightly and effectively projected to the succeeding generations. Thanks, perhaps, to the clout of the class that takes care of the Jews historic wounds. There are two opinions about the concept of persistent hammering. One may assert that so much of talk about holocaust is likely to draw a backlash, particularly when 'time' is not being allowed to heal the injury inflicted upon the face of humanity. The other opinion is also no less daunting to suggest that future generations must be reminded of the monstrous characters so that they could recognize the devil if it appeared in current times. At the same times as post-Cold War events are unfolding, one is devastated by the rampant ignorance the man is meting to the tragedies of equal or greater consequences than the holocaust. Is there a willful effort by the quarters that be that the holocaust should be used as blanket to put human miseries out of the sight? Mystery gets even deeper that perpetrators of tyranny go scot free because they are the most powerful and influential sabre rattlers. It would be pertinent to question, what treatment Hitler would have received, had the Axis won the war. An Allied leader, while passing by the site of Nuremberg war crimes trial, is reported to have quipped, if we would have lost, we must have been there in the dock instead. In other words, the standards of world powers to gain favorable result in the realm of justice directly hinge on a pivot called 'victory.' On the contrary, justice has to be above any other consideration, whether victor or vanquished.

It remains a big question also when I read that a mass grave of Germans, having 1800 civilian corpses, has been unearthed in Polish city of Malbork that was part of Germany before WW-II and known as Marienburg. "They are the remains of women, men and children," public prosecutor Waldemar Zduniak told the paper. "A portion of the corpses display bullet wounds9". The entire WW-II events till last day by German soldiers testify that they were not shot down as bunch of partridges ever. In all probability, these were the German prisoner or the civilians whose killing soothed the ire of their enemies. Incidentally the mass grave happens to be in the Soviets controlled area. The information is not only enigmatic; it is a riddle to resolve, with a question mark. Why did it take so long to unearth it by the international organizations and the investigators?

Yet another tragedy, possibly linked to above like a sordid tale crystallized after WW-II when 12 million Germans were forced to migrate. It haunts their living posterity. "... two million Germans had been killed during the displacement, hundreds of thousands of women were raped, 400,000 civilians were forced by the USSR into slave working camps in Russia, 650,000 were brutally treated in camps in Poland and the Czech Republic, 12 million lost their homeland and family roots, their entire wealth, one third was unemployed, and a great number resided in primitive camps10". Such a large chunk of German population living in territories of Silesia, East Prussia, Pomerania, and Sudetenland was afflicted with adroit savagery by the forces controlled by Joseph Stalin whose grave is even now always under the heap of floral wreaths. Folks, note the play of victor and vanquished syndrome. Ordinarily and justly though, the whole world should have been clamoring with twice bigger trumpet about such a mega massacre that could be termed 'super holocaust'. Thoroughly bruised and embittered by the vagaries of time, it was justified if the victims would have at least sounded hostile but the Charter, 12 million Germans' representatives (including George Guenther Hoffmann11) drew was remarkably benign and courageous. It read," We, the elected representatives of millions of expelled persons have determined ... to put forth a solemn declaration to the German people and the world public... We, the expelled persons, renounce revenge and retribution... We have become homeless and foreigners upon this earth. God placed people in their homeland. Separating people from their homeland through use of force means to kill their spirit. We have experienced and suffered this destiny. Therefore, we feel called upon to demand that the right to one's homeland, as one of the fundamental rights given by God, be recognized and realized... The nations must realize that the fate of the German expellees, just as that of all refugees, is a world problem....We call upon all cultures and people of good will to participate actively, so that out of guilt, misfortune, suffering, poverty and affliction, the way to a better future for all may be found12". Should it not be assumed that they were and continued to be meted with callous indifference by their parent race as well as the world community that has not acted at all for last six decades? Nothing justifies colossal and willful evasion to bandage a deep wound on the face of humanity and lingering pains of the victims. One salutes the victims for their patience, tolerance and steadfastness. Even though they are grieved and most of them have traveled already to their eternal abode, they renounced 'revenge and retribution' in the opening premise.

It is equally sickening to notice that the international community has written off vast population on the planet as the communities pre-destined to face dripping miseries. The world powers and international organizations, despite having the prowess to address this issue, are inclined to sweeping it under the carpet. "The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that in December 2006 there was a global population of 8.8 million registered refugees and as many as 24.5 million IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in more than 50 countries; the actual global population of refugees is probably closer to 10 million given the estimated 1.5 million Iraqi refugees displaced throughout the Middle East (2007)13". Among the fifty countries, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan/Armenia, Pakistan, Iraq, Sri Lanka and Palestine top the list. The exodus or displacement of the people is always due to the intrastate or inter-states turmoil and several conflict flash points are surviving since WW-II. Some minor exception apart, no headway is in sight for the conflicts resolution. Kashmir, Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Somalia are the prominent few. In fact some world actors, instead of addressing the root causes are acting in a way as if to deliberately turn UN into League of Nations by resorting to employment of their militaries instead of soft power of diplomacy.

Hard message in the new millennium is, own up your people without any reluctance or burden of conscience that may have been engineered that way. Planting the people back to the ancestral roots is the obligation of the parent states/races as well as the world community. The responsibility is great and the issue needs to be addressed straight and square by shunning myopic and selfish interests of geo-politics. From 2009 onward let us not only observe the mourning day for the 12 million Germans and those refugees of the 50 countries but make some visible progress with a hope that the number would drop each year through application of divine values and ethics.

End Notes

1 . 'Mianwali' is district headquarter and the western most district of Punjab though it used to be once part of Bannu district during British days located in what is now called NWFP, Pakistan. The district is inhabited predominantly by 'Pathans' (Niazis).

2 . The other five volumes are: The Peleus Trial, The Gozawa Trial, The Hadamar trial, The Natzweiler Trial and the Trial of Von Falkenhorst.

3 . Raymond Phillips, ed, 'Trial of Josef Kramer and Forty-Four Others(The Belsen Trial), (William

Hodge and Company Ltd, London , Edinburgh, Glasgow, 1949) p. xxi

4 . Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, " Fritz Kraemer on Excellence" (World Security Network Publication, New York, 2004), p. 16

5 . Dr. Fritz Kraemer never claimed he discovered Henry Kissinger. In fact he remarked, "My role was getting Kissinger to discover himself". Ibid, p. 13

6 . Henry Kissinger, 'The Prophet and the Policy Maker' in Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, " Fritz Kraemer on Excellence" (World Security Network Publication, New York, 2004), p. 11

7 . Joachim C. Fest, "Hitler" trans by Richard and Clara Winston, ( Penguin Books, New York, 1974), p.511

8 . Kristen Allen, "New Weekly to Republish Nazi -era News", in, The Local, 08 January 2009, accessed at www.thelocal.de/society

9 . "Possible Mass Grave of German WW-II Civilians Found in Poland" accessed at

www.thelocal.de/society on 11 January 2009.

10 . Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann, "Ethnic Displacement: Suggestions for Containment and Proscription", accessed at worldsecuritynetwork.com on 15 November 2008.

11 . Father of Dr. Hubertus Hoffmann.

12 . Hubertus, ibid.

13 . Central Intelligence Agency, "The World Fact Book: Field Listing, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons", the agency website accessed on 31 December 2008.