Adolf Hitler could be called a white supremacist, but the description limits his limitless evil. He was a promoter for an extremely limited slice of humanity. He wanted to exterminate or enslave or starve everyone else, and this list included whites.
The criminals who last week spray-painted swastikas and “white pride” slogans on fences near Vista Ridge High School have little concept of the real Hitler, the brains — if you could call it that — of the German Nazi movement that led to 50 million deaths in World War II.
Hitler believed in racial purity, which means he would have despised nearly every citizen, regardless of color, raised in the United States of America, a melting pot of wonderful variety.
In other words, Hitler would have wanted to exterminate, enslave or starve the crooks who spray painted those vile symbols and words near Vista Ridge. Hitler would have harbored the same feelings toward the (same?) crooks who two years ago on this Aug. 4 spray painted symbols at Temple Beit Torah near Patty Jewett Golf Course.
“It is certain that the first culture of humanity was based less on the tamed animal than on the use of lower human beings,” Hitler wrote in a typically whacked-out passage from “Mein Kampf,” his autobiography/credo. He sought, through bloody conquest, to transform what he considered “lower human beings” into German servants. Those who could not be enslaved would be slaughtered.
“All who are not of good race in this world are chaff,” he wrote. Chaff means trash.
Hitler’s movement was unspeakably vile, yes, but we miss how pathetic he was, too. He’s remembered as a conqueror, but he was mostly a raving, selfish fool.
On a breezy, beautiful fall day, I drove to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp 30 miles north of Berlin. My German companion, Doerte, didn’t believe in euphemisms. She accurately called Sachsenhausen a “death camp.”
Nothing prepared me for the experience. Nothing could have prepared me. We saw the pit where prisoners were beaten to death, a process the Nazis found overly time consuming.
And we saw the second phase of the horror, a gas chamber disguised as shower room. This path to death was rapid and convenient. Experts believe 200,000 Jews, Gypsies, gays, dissidents and Russian war prisoners were housed, usually for a short time, at Sachsenhausen. Only 3,000 remained when Polish troops liberated the camp in 1945.
How could this happen? That thought kept pounding in my brain as I slumped on a bench in the middle of the camp, and it’s never quit pounding and it never will quit pounding.
In Hitler’s final days, Mr. Death Camp lived in a bunker beneath Berlin streets. He spent his days whining, blaming everyone but himself for the collapse of Germany. His generals were fools. He was a genius. Millions had died, but he worried only about Adolf. After he resolved to kill himself, he ordered his German shepherds be killed, too.
But Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s most devoted and delusional follower, traveled deeper into the madness. Goebbels and his wife, Magda, couldn’t bear living without their Fuhrer and resolved to join him in suicide. Here’s where the unthinkable arrives. The Goebbels ordered the same doctor who killed Hitler’s dogs to use cyanide to kill their six children, ages 5 to 13.
The scene at that bunker, littered with corpses, should have ended forever any allure of the Nazi cause, but, somehow, the evil crusade lingers. A few among us even seek to proclaim the wonders of the cause using spray paint.
Swastikas in Colorado Springs? How could this happen?
Hitler and his evil flourished for a decade, fueled by the always-tempting lure of us vs. them.
His followers fell madly in love with themselves, and they were equally mad with hate for those who didn’t look like them or believe like them.
The swastikas painted near Vista Ridge have been removed, but the stain lingers. The temptation to simplify the other always is there, along with the temptation to first hate and then to attack.
Once you start walking the me-and-my-kind-first path, it’s hard to stop. I’m not saying you will become a Nazi.
I am saying you’re moving in that direction.