'Those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.'
I was reading in the paper recently about the sexagenarian victims of the long muted Lebensborn programme during Hitler’s regime, who met up in the eastern German town of Wernigerode to share their stories ‘in the hope of quelling the taboos and flamboyant myths about the murky Nazi institutions.’
And I was reminded of a favourite ‘chaai-sutta’ confabulation.
‘I admire Hitler.’
This statement always, without fail, evokes only wonder mingled with forgivable traces of disgust. It reflects a vague appreciation of historical fact aggravated by a conscious abatement of a genius’ evil.
It is really an evil’s genius.
The ambitious objective of the Lebensborn programme was to produce pure-blooded offsprings of the Schutzstaffel [SS] officers and blue-eyed, blonde girls, to improve the dwindling population of the ‘great Aryan race’. This was orchestrated under the façade of a welfare home that nurtured and bred ‘racially valuable’ children who, it is rumoured were kidnapped from their homes and brought to these Lebensborn units.
Anyone who could coin ‘racially valuable’ betrays a streak of dangerous bigotry.
Anyone who kidnaps children from the security and warmth of their homes is depraved.
Anyone who wreaks an unprecedented carnage on innocent people to fuel and demonstrate their anti-Semitic theories CANNOT be admired.
The debate usually starts with a sincere appeal made to my sensibilities to acknowledge Hitler’s superior oratory skills and his outstanding leadership qualities that propelled him to a station of power and made him a force to reckon with. [Ajit abridges that by claiming ‘he took what did not belong to him’ ;-)] I acknowledge it. But to capture the attention of a weakened economy and the diluted morale of a country which was suffering from the effects of a humiliating capitulation [The Treaty of Versailles] is not difficult. To insinuate an ‘internal sabotage’ and a ‘lack of patriotism’ is even easier. And to flush out all Jews from the country to create a ‘Greater Germany’ is a crook’s way out.
History will never forget Adolf Hitler, but she might overlook the nameless victims. History will create Hitler, the personality. But she might reduce thousands to a mere number. History will record the anniversaries of Hitler, but the wounded lived and died an era.
And that is why to admire him is to give him more credit than he was ever worth.