The Other Victims: First-Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis
This is an incredible and incredibly upsetting book about the various people who were non-Jews, but who were still singled out for extermination and enslavement by the Nazis. It brings the horror and reality of the Nazi period of Germany's history to full life.
Each chapter covers a separate group. What I will do here is point out only some of the major points of each section.
First, the book points out that some 5 million non-Jews were killed, almost as many as the number of Jews who were killed (6 million).
1. There was only one party allowed-the Nazi party.
2. In the arts, Hitler would decide what was acceptable.
3. Hitler wanted only the physically fit to have children.
4. Blacks and homosexuals were to be eliminated.
Chapter 1: This is about a gypsy. Gypsies were to be exterminated totally, like the Jews were supposed to be.
1. Jews and Romani (Gypsies) were not allowed to join guilds.
2. The policies against Gypsies were pre-Hitler, going back to 1899.
3. In the time of the Nazis, around half-a-million Romani were murdered.
4. In Dachau, a brown triangle meant a person was a Gypsy; a red triangle meant political prisoner; green triangles were for criminals; purple ones were for Jehovah's Witnesses; pink were for homosexuals, and yellow was for Jews.
Chapter 2: Homosexuals. German hatred of homosexuals also pre-dated Hitler and the Nazis. Homosexual became a criminal offense as of 1871.
1. The Nazis started rounding up homosexuals in 1934.
2. Many were used for medical experiments.
3. The number of homosexuals who died in the camps was between 5000 and 15000.
Chapter 3: Christians. The Nazi plan was to do away with the Old Testament, and rewrite the New Testament so it reflected Nazi ideals. Many priests, pastors and nuns were sent to camps.
Chapter 4: Jehovah's Witnesses. They refused to serve in the German army or navy. They encouraged others not to fight, and this was considered treason by the Nazis. By 1939 they were required to wear a purple armband. Over 6,019 were imprisoned out of 25,000 that were there.
Chapter 5: Sterilization. Any group the Nazis did not like were subject to sterilization. Jews were included, of course, but so was anyone who was hereditarily blind, deaf, physically or mentally handicapped, or were alcoholic. Between 1934 and 1939, between 350,000 and 400,000 were sterilized. Also, some 75,000 mentally ill and retarded people were killed. There was a lot of close cooperation between the scientists and the government in this effort.
Chapter 6: Marriages between Jews and non-Jews. This goes into that topic, plus how children were considered half Jews or fell into some other category, and what happened to them when they did.
Chapter 7: Blacks. The Germans hated blacks long before Hitler came to power. Children of German women and blacks were considered “Rhineland Bastards.” Under the Nazis, those children were to be sterilized.
Chapter 8: Censorship: This chapter is about book-burnings, censorship, the arts, and also Jews.
Chapter 9: People with dissenting opinions and what happened to them.
Chapter 10: People of Czechoslovakia and what happened to them.
Chapter 11: The Underground Medical School in Poland. Poles were also gathered up and killed, since they were one of the groups Hitler declared to be subhuman. Polish high schools and colleges were closed.
Chapter 12: Forced labor.
Chapter 13: Related to that chapter, this one is about the people forced to work on the V-2 rockets.
As I said, it's not a nice book to read, but it's essential to read if one wishes to understand how the Nazis hatred of people resulted in millions of deaths, starvation, forced labor, sterilization, and attempts to control how people think, adding, of course, all of this on top of six million Jews who were murdered.
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