Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Thursday, August 17, 2017

There Were Good Nazis

So I get why "there were no good Nazis" sounds right, and might be tempting to believe. And I certainly think it's true that there are no good Nazis today, when the Nazis are no longer a major party but merely a pathetic hate group. But both the National Fascist Party in Italy and the Nazi Party in Germany were real, longstanding political parties (this is truer for the Fascists than for the Nazis—they were founded around the same time, but the Fascists came to power about a decade earlier) and included lots of people who were not particularly bad (though they may have had bad judgment or a poor understanding of the world at the time they joined).

As I tweeted the other day, probably the best candidate for the title "good Nazi" was Georg Duckwitz, who went to great lengths (and incurred considerable personal risk) to save the Jews of Denmark. He was a businessman and diplomat who joined the party in 1932. Again, I think that probably showed poor judgment, even at such an early stage of the party's prominence, but in any case his subsequent behavior indicates that he did not join the party for the execrable reasons that so many others did.

Another decent example was Oskar Schindler, who joined the party in 1939 (too late to be able to plead ignorance as much of a defense, I think, but still well before the Wannsee Conference). He saved thousands of Jews in his factories during the war.

Both of these men are included among the "Righteous Among the Nations," a designation bestowed by the government of Israel on gentiles who went to extraordinary lengths to protect Jews.

If the government of Israel says these were good Nazis, then that's good enough for me.

4 Comments:

Blogger Zed said...

Wasn't party membership something that you had to have to keep functioning in Nazi Germany ca. 1939? I'm sure there were lots of good people who were coerced into being Nazis (regardless of whether that particular decision was morally justifiable -- in many cases I assume it was, as maintaining one's purity under those circumstances would arguably have been mere grandstanding).

6:25 AM  
Blogger Alan said...

12/10 wouldn't condemn

11:24 AM  
Blogger James said...

I don't know how necessary it was to be a Nazi Party member to do business in Nazi Germany. Probably? I think I read in Postwar that you had to join the Fascist Party to get a government job in Mussolini's Italy, which explains why there were a lot of Party members who only joined so they could, like, teach school or whatever. I don't know whether Germany was like that. I do know that a lot of the military leaders were not Party members, which suggests it wasn't as compulsory as you might think.

Anyway my real point is, it was a political party. A reprehensible one, yes, but a mass party that swept up a lot of people who weren't particularly hateful. Today you would only identify as a Nazi if you are hateful.

Come to think of it, I seem to remember... hmmm, I guess I was wrong, the Wikipedia article doesn't say that the Hampels were Party members, although Elise Hampel was a member of the National Socialist Women's League. Another good Nazi.

1:13 PM  
Blogger عبده العمراوى said...

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11:24 AM  

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