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The Nazi Party: Reports on the Nazi Terror System

(January 1936)

The Third Reich managed to leave a favorable impression with some observers abroad who regard the darker sides as regrettable but view them as understandable in a time of transition, as normal in a process of such deep changes in the state. It was especially the terror that was conceived by many observers abroad as a passing feature. The wording of the leaders of the regime about the least bloody revolution of all times have had an impact and many tend to regard the terror acts that become known all the time as a part of “imaginary tales of horror”. It was only the incitement against Jews that reached a new peak last summer and lead to the Nuremberg Laws, that shook at least a part of public opinion in the world. However it is not only the terror against the Jews. Terror is not only a result of the racial foundations of the Nazi Party program, it is an important (and essential) part of the totality of the regime in the Third Reich. Next to the “modern” methods of mass propaganda, it is the decisive measure of this extensive and unscrupulous control over the people. Without it the Third Reich would not exist this long and would not be conceivable at all. This is often overlooked abroad. They don't know that aside from the terror against the Jews there is a reign of general terror, encompassing the whole German people, and that is vehemently used against all those who despite the murder, torture and incarceration dare to secretly act according to their convictions.

The terror in its entirety, in its inhuman harshness is not only concealed from people abroad. There are even circles in Germany who are practically unaware of it. It is not uncommon for a citizen who is uninterested in politics, but in no way enthusiastic about the regime, who avoids any Nazi flag he would have to salute, to ask with an undertone of reproach “But do you personally know any people who are still in concentration camp (meaning from the days of the seizure of power in 1933)”.

And when one then names only those Reichstag members such as Dr. Schumacher, Dr. Mierendorff, Heilmann and mentions the tragic end of Husemann who was shot in spring 1935 “while attempting to escape”, these people are shocked by such revelations.

Sources: Yad Vashem; W. Michalka (Hg.), "Deutsche Geschichte 1933-1945," Frankfurt, 1993, p. 96.