Franz + Polina

Franz + Polina is a movie set in WWII in Belarus. The SS has occupied this little village and built a rapport with the local people. They see the SS soldiers as friendly and Related imageprotectors and invite them into their community. This young soldier, Franz is only in his teens and is after Polina, a local girl his age. They flirt with each other, but the language barrier between them holds them back. The mediators between them are Franz’s officer and Polina’s mother, who both know that they are beginning to like each other. Polina’s mother warns her about dallying with the young soldier, but Franz’s officer encourages him to go after her. However, Franz’s officer hints at a more dark and sinister end to Franz’s winning over of Polina. While Franz only has an innocent crush, his superior hints at him doing more than just flirting, saying he’ll “have her soon” and to get the guts to “take her”. It is clearly implied he’s goading Franz to eventually rape her. Franz, through all of this, is naive to his officer’s intentions.  When they start getting friendlier, the truth comes out as to the SS’s true purpose there: to exterminate everyone in the village. SS Soldiers swarmed the village, shot everyone and burned down their houses. In the midst of all this, Franz lets Polina and her mother hide, and shoots his commanding officer, choosing Polina over his military duties and orders to kill.

Both Polina and her mother survive, and they hide and then flee once it was safe. Polina disguises the now deserted soldier in her brother, Pavil’s old clothes. He was off fighting as a partisan in the woods along with her father. Shortly into their journey, Polina’s mother dies from heartbreak and exhaustion due to what happened. Polina and Franz then went alone into the woods, setting up a makeshift shelter and finding their own food. It is there they finally consummate their relationship, only mutually as opposed to Related imageFranz’s officer’s more brutal vision. As they start to settle in though, partisans do find them and capture them. Polina tried to persuade them not to, and told them that Franz was her mute brother. However, they shoot anyways, but both run and Franz got away unhurt, but Polina was badly wounded. Luckily, they ran into a band of civilian refugees from the village and stay with them to help Polina. Franz, starts to get ill himself, but sneaks into town to get medicine for Polina, by speaking German and taking a guard’s uniform. When he gets back though, he is found out to be a German as he speaks German in his delirium. It is also found out that Polina is pregnant by him as well. The movie ends as Franz fetches water for Polina, but a boy from the village that was burned down shoots him in revenge for what happened.

Overall, the movie was a bit slow in places and seemed to drag on. The only thing I liked about the overall film was that it was bilingual with German and Russian, for authenticity. The tone of the entire movie was quite dark, no true happy moments as they were all quickly snuffed out. However, one can’t help sympathizing with both Franz and Polina and their failed love story. The movie focused less on the politics of the situation, about Nazism and their contempt for Russians, but the situation through the eyes of both Polina and Franz.

Franz’s officer was like a father figure to Franz in many ways, guiding him in pursuing Polina albeit in a dark and corrupted manner. Unlike Franz, he was cruel and had no thought of the deeply unethical nature of what he was about to do to Polina’s family Image result for franz plus polina moviewhose trust he gained. He though nothing of raping the young girl, and tried to encourage Franz to do it. Luckily, Franz did not think as he did and was too naive to perceive what he really meant. I felt bad for Franz as he did not have a good role model in his officer and was manipulated too, in addition to the whole village. Polina’s mother was more sensible, and tried to hold Polina back from getting too close to the soldiers. Both parental figures, contrasted with their charges knew the bigger picture.

What stuck out to me the most, and made this more mundane movie more significant to me, was the message about two young people caught up in something horrible, and much bigger than them. Even though Franz was in the SS, the unit that carried out much of the Nazi party’s evils he was not evil and did not think like them. Franz was only a teenager who was really naive as to what was going to happen and was horrified at what did. His naivete showed most prominently when he didn’t pick up on his superior officer basically telling him it’s okay to “take” Polina by force. He was just as fooled as the locals were into thinking they were friends, not foes. I liked how the movie humanized Franz, instead of making him into yet another sadistic SS soldier. It was clear he was their victim too. When I watched Franz and Polina interact, it was easy to see that they were just kids when all was said and done. They really didn’t have much difference between them, only the language barrier. Franz was as much of a victim as Polina was of the devastation. He even killed his officer, a father figure in his life at that point, to spare Polina and her family.

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I believe the message to take away from the movie was how war devastates young people and they are the innocent victims in it. Both Franz and Polina did not carry the hatred that the other grownups around them did or the weight of what was happening. They both were naive and in their own little world. Despite the SS uniform on Franz and Polina being the “enemy”, they were just kids when all was said and done. Two young people tragically caught up in a horrible world and hurt because of it.

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The Weird Side of the Stasi

The Stasi wasn’t fun and games certainly, but they did have an amusing side to their methods! One amusing thing was their disguises. They had informants and spied on everyone, but their disguises were a bit lacking…

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Yeah… No one would believe they were out of place…

With their fake toupees and weird outdated clothes, I’m sure they wouldn’t look out of place at all! My favorite ones are the last one, called “western tourist” and the second one, called “mama’s boy”! It’s amusing to think they had to put in so much effort to disguise themselves. Why not just wear their own street clothes? The photos were found by Simon Menner when he looked in the Stasi files. He released them to show the funny yet eerie side to the photos, since they were part of a creepy secret government force.

“Many of the images reproduced here might appear absurd or even funny to us,” he said. “But it is important not to lose sight of the original intentions behind these pictures. They concern photographic records of the repression exerted by the state to subdue it own citizens. For me, the banality of some of these pictures makes them even more repulsive.”( dailymail.co.uk “Stasi style! How East Germany’s secret police dressed their agents to ensure they could infiltrate the lives of suspects”)

Some more awkwardness!

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In addition to the weird disguises, the Stasi would photograph the insides of rooms they were about to search, so they could put everything back so the owner wouldn’t know they were there! Pretty creepy if you ask me! Some are creepy in that they look so mundane and boring, like an unmade bed or children’s toys. Others are simply “What the heck???”
 

What on Earth? Why? Just Why?…

Other photos found were equally as weird. Some were from a high ranking Stasi official’s birthday where he asked guests to dress up as subversives they were targeting!

Birtday party of a Stasi official Image result for stasi disguises

(“Mr Menner found several photos taken at the birthday party of a senior Stasi official in which guests were told to come disguised as members of demographic groups under Stasi surveillance. They included athletes, peace activists, soccer players and religious figures.”)

Who knew the Stasi could be such weirdos? One more picture for your amusement:

(And the “Biggest Snoop Award” goes to…)

Learn more in detail with this interesting article! Absurd Secret Police Photos Show the Campy Side of Communist Spy Games

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The Lives of Others: The Stasi

In the German made film “The Lives of Others“, the powerful (and creepy!) role of the State Security, the Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, or better known as the Stasi, is highlighted in great detail. They were like the gestapo of the Nazi era, only in communist ruled East Germany. Their job was to know “everything about everyone” to stop potential dissidents and movements they deemed subversive, which included athletes and clergy members to name some odd ones! However, unlike many totalitarian police forces, they did not solely resort to imprisoning and killing people. They did that too, but it was much easier to target far more people by finding ways to intimidate them and ruin their lives. They did that by doing things like bugging their house and listening in on their phone calls to ensure they had zero privacy. They also did things like show up at people’s work to undermine them, spread false rumors that hurt their reputation, and even split up couples by planting evidence of infidelity! The weirdest thing they did in my opinion, however, is hat sometimes, when the person wasn’t home, they’d move furniture around and misplace objects to mess with their mind! They even sent dildos to people’s houses! Often, their victims had no idea the Stasi was behind this, and went insane. Some were even driven to suicide!

Much of this sounds funny and amusing at best, but the Stasi were not a force to be taken lightly. If you were caught, you would often end up in Stasi prison, without any due process. They would brutally interrogate you for hours on end until you cracked due to sleep deprivation and other torture such as being in total isolation from anyone else for your sentence, or even a room filled with water, so you can’t even sit down, much less sleep! One victim of Stasi torture gave this account:

The Stasi’s methods of torture were intricately planned, precisely designed to test the physical and mental weaknesses of each inmate. As an attempted deserter, and worse, someone who was thought to have assisted others in escape, Karl-Heinz Richter was subjected to the full extent of the Stasi’s methods.

There was the physical torture. Five times he was put into a cell three-quarters filled with water for a 72-hour period. Sleeping or sitting would mean drowning. This for a man with two broken legs.

There were the dozens of nights he was kept up by guards beating him for turning over in his sleep, or when they would turn on the lights periodically throughout the night to make sure he was never fully rested.

But even more disturbing was the mental torture. The night he was told he was to be executed in the morning, when he didn’t sleep at all as he heard the guards outside laughing about how they were going to enjoy killing him, only to have a guard come into his cell in the morning with breakfast, laughing that it was all a joke.

Or the endless hours he spent knocking on his cell walls in Morse code to talk to Monika in the cell next to him, pouring out his fears and desires in excruciatingly slow progress for weeks, only to be told later that Monika wasn’t in fact a prisoner or a real person at all, but a series of Stasi agents trying to get information from him.

“They hated me, which meant they used any sign of disobedience or resistance from me as an excuse to send me to the dark room,” says Richter.

“Here they would keep me in complete darkness for week-long stretches, in which the only light I would see was from when they dropped in a plate of gruel or cup of water.”

He explains how once, in an attempt to reach the water, he knocked the cup over onto the floor. He had no other option but to lick up the water off of the filth- covered cement. “I can still taste that floor today.” (Fulcrum “The Human cost of Torture”)

The Stasi called this method “Zersetzung” or “decomposition” in English. The term was originally used in biology, but it was adapted from an older Nazi term meaning subversion of the Nazi war effort. The effect was to “decompose” one’s will to continue their subversive activities, or destroy a person’s life at work and at home. To me, the Stasi sound a lot like the next version of Nazis, only communist. As many point out, while the Nazis did things like genocide, as far as persecuting one’s own people, the Stasi were comparatively worse then the gestapo! There was a ratio of 1 in 63 people, or even 1 in 6 counting in all the Stasi snitches! There were informants in every apartment complex, school, workplace, about anywhere. No one was immune from the Stasi’s scrutiny either, even school children!

No matter where one shared information, the state would put it to use. The East German reporting system kept track of the country’s citizens from kindergarten, throughout their working lives and even into retirement, via the Volkssolidarität (“People’s Solidarity”) organization, which focused on caring for the elderly. It was part of developing a “socialist personality.” Some began practicing denunciations in childhood, as part of the Young Pioneers, and then as teenagers as part of the FDJ. Files were even kept on schoolchildren: “Wears Western clothes,” “exhibits affinity for punk music,” “demonstrates pacifist attitudes.” (Spiegel Online “East German Snitching Went Far Beyond the Stasi”)

When the Stasi finally ended after the fall of the Berlin wall, angry citizens stormed the building and demanded to look for their files. The Stasi destroyed a billion of them, but there was still many more. Today, one can look up their file, but may risk finding out that the people closest to them may have been the snitch. A devastating revelation if you ask me. Overall, the Stasi’s reign of terror over East Germany beats out even the Gestapo and the KGB in Russia! They serve as a lesson in the importance of privacy and dangers of government intrusion gone haywire. As far as I’m concerned, East Germany merely switched one regime for another. The Communists were not better at governing them than the Nazi party was.

The Lives of Others Full Movie (The movie is about a Stasi agent who gets too involved in a couple’s life he has to spy on. He loses his objectivity and his firm Stasi stance in the process. It depicts the Stasi very accurately, according to former East Germans. I found it quite fascinating!)

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“Swing Heil!” How German Teenagers Defied the Nazi Party

A very amusing factoid I just learned of is that in addition to many of the more serious anti-Nazi movements, such as the White Rose, for example, there was one called the “Swingjugend”or Swing Kids. They were mostly made up of highschoolers both boys and girls who enjoyed dancing to swing music. Swing music was looked down upon by the Nazi party as being subversive and counter culture, due to much of it being composed by black artists as well as Jewish ones.

The Swingjugend created sort of a counter culture movement based around swing dancing in clubs and liking many English things, even dressing like British people and speaking English as opposed to German since it was “cooler”. They often mocked the Hitler Youth Groups by calling the Hitler Youth “Homo Youth” and the League of German Girls  “League of Soldiers’ Mattresses”! Ouch!

The German musicologist Guido Fackler described the Swingjugend embrace of American music and the “English style” in clothing as reflecting the fact that:

“The Swingjugend rejected the Nazi state, above all because of its ideology and uniformity, its militarism, the ‘Führer principle’ and the leveling Volksgemeinschaft (people’s community). They experienced a massive restriction of their personal freedom. They rebelled against all this with jazz and swing, which stood for a love of life, self-determination, non-conformism, freedom, independence, liberalism, and internationalism.” (Wikipedia)

The attitude of the Swingjugend was much more relaxed than the very strict and rigid attitude of the Nazi Party. Boys liked to wear English clothes, and girls wore their hair long and flowing and short skirts with makeup. Many of their opponents criticized them for being sexually permissive and immoral in general. However, many of them were described as more apolitical rather than a political opponent, but I believe more as a cultural opponent. To me, they seem to be teenagers rebelling against a rigid society imposed by their elders and a sense of a lack of autonomy. Their movement had many universal desires of youth such as establishing one’s own identity and questioning the status quo of society. There were some serious consequences though. Those who were caught were often sent to reform schools, or even concentration camps! However, this backfired when it only increased their resistance towards that Nazi Party and some even handed out anti-Nazi posters. I could assume if someone was more neutral or on the fence about the Nazi Party, they now would be against them!

What I find the most significant though, is that their movement was one based on having fun, not on violent resistance or somber intellectual arguments. They weren’t defying the Nazis like many others, through underground forces or pamphlets, but simply through having fun. They might have not been too political, but they were an annoying (and amusing I might add) thorn in the side of the Nazi movement. They were part of the counterculture defying the Nazi’s rigid and constricting ways imposed on German youth. On one last note, they made a hilarious pun out of the Nazi’s “Sieg Heil!” saying “Swing Heil!” instead! It’s interesting to think, that even in such dark times, even fun could fight back :)

There was a movie made in 1993 called “Swing Kids” that highlights some of their plight. The story line is okay, not as great as other movies, but it has some really good swing music!

Read more: Swing Kids

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Silent Night (2002)

Silent Night is a movie about another Christmas truce in WWII involving three Germans and three Americans trapped in a woman’s cabin in the Ardennes forest. She and her son Image result for silent night 2002 moviewent to the remote cabin to shelter the little boy from bombings in the city. Three American soldiers stumbled upon her cabin, separated from their unit. One of the three is injured, so they stay in a tense standoff with her since she is German, the enemy. Later, three German soldiers come across the cabin too. The Americans try to make them surrender, one using a fake gun and the other inside shouting, pretending there are more men than there are. The Germans fall for the ruse and surrender and go inside. However, the woman makes all of them leave their guns outside, saying she does not tolerate weapons in her home. Inside, they introduce themselves. One is an American private and Related imagesergeant. The Germans have a lieutenant and two men, one only 15 years old. The woman and her son both speak fluent English, so they agree to speak English to avoid confusion. Only the young German private cannot speak any English. They all agree to a tense truce, until the next morning. Things get edgy between the American and the German lieutenant. The German lieutenant also questions the woman, now known as Elizabeth as to her loyalties. She replies that she felt morally obliged to help the American soldiers too. That evening, she convinces each side to sit down for a Christmas eve meal and they all contribute to the feast. They all soften up a bit towards one another and start to open up.

However, the mood once again switches back to tense when the German lieutenant talks about his family’s military legacy, and the honor of war. Elizabeth angrily confides why she hates war and weapons so much. Her own father, in WWI came back from the war with his face badly disfigured. He turned to drink and later killed himself when she was only 12, her son’s age. She also lost her eldest son at Stalingrad. The American solider tries to Related imagelighten the mood again with dessert, but both Elizabeth and the lieutenant are on edge. Later when they clear the table, the Lieutenant threatens Elizabeth by alluding to the fact that her son is not in the Hitler youth and didn’t have call up papers. She replies that she would not lose yet another son, and her husband is also missing. The American soldier hands out gifts and everyone decorates a small tree for Christmas. While he is handing out the presents, the German lieutenant notices he took an iron cross and is enraged. He shouts that one should only take things like cigarettes from fallen soldiers, but never their medals as it is highly dishonorable. He and the American come to blows over it and the injured American comes out of his room with a gun, not knowing about the truce. The other American shoves him to the ground, but then the German picks it up and aims it at the American. Elizabeth however bravely intervenes and convinces him to honor the truce. He goes off to the corner and tearfully tells the American that his father was a soldier and his body was thrown down and stripped of all his medals. The issue is extremely personal to him. The American, now realizing how hurtful it was, gives him back the medal. All seems to be forgiven and they all go to bed.

The next morning, an American MP discovers the cabin, and believes the Americans captured the Germans. The American explains the truce and the MP is incredulous. In a
Related imagetwist, however, the american MP speaks German and tells the Germans to lower their hands and grab their weapons. He was actually a German infiltrator from the SS! He orders the Americans to be shot, and when Elizabeth intervenes, he knocks her down and is ready to shoot her. The German lieutenant saves her though, but knocking the SS man unconscious. The film ends with all of them leaving, to return to war. The Americans have the SS man as a prisoner, and the German lieutenant tells the young German private to go with the Americans, as both sides feel he’s too young to fight any longer. They try to get the lieutenant to join too, but he feels honor bound to fight for his side. However, they all part friends. Image result for silent night 2002

I loved the film because it showed the human side of all of the soldiers. The Americans were not brutal and cruel to their German hosts, and the Germans were not portrayed so much as “Nazis” than fellow soldiers. I think the historical feel was right, and I like how the situation was handled. Not too much buddy-buddy to be unrealistic, but also each side got to show their humanity. I also liked the back stories on a lot of the characters, to also let you make that human connection, and see the reasons behind their actions. Also, the plot development was good and did not become monotonous, like many other war films I’ve seen, which were mostly fighting, resting and fighting in an endless cycle. I also liked that they toned down the violence a ton compared to other war movies involving blood and guts all the time. No gory scenes. There was some violence, but only for tense moments, but no one gets shot or injured at all. Due to those scenes alone, and some of the sad backstories, I’d say the movie is best for older kids and teens. I wouldn’t say the movie was anti- war, but pro- peace.

I think Elizabeth’s character was profound in that she reminded everyone that they were all human and deserved a peaceful world. Her backstory about her experience with her own father’s war experience I believe was the reason why she was so anti-war. Also, losing Image result for silent night 2002her eldest son and husband only further embittered her to war. I think she felt that the young German private reminded her of her son who she lost. I think she showed a true strength of character by standing up to both sides, when they could have shot or overpowered her. Especially interacting with the German lieutenant, she did not give in to his threats and implications that she was a traitor. She even got directly in his line of fire to defend the Americans, and when he was ordered to shoot the Americans, she spoke up for him, urging him not to do it, getting herself in harm’s way yet again. She is just as brave as the soldiers were, only in her immense moral courage. The German lieutenant Image result for silent night 2002 elizabethacts as a sort of foil for her, clashing with her the most. At first, he seems like he would be the bad guy, all staunch and militant. He rubbed the Americans the wrong way and didn’t settle in like the rest. He threatened Elizabeth and even her son felt uncomfortable around him. This seemed confirmed when he flew into a rage over the medal, but it also produced a change of heart. Of all the characters, he was the only one to cry. I thought it would be Elizabeth or her son, but no, it was him. This is significant because he seems like the last of all of them to get emotional. The incident revealed even he was human, and had deep personal reasons for acting as he did. It showed how deeply he feels about honor in war. His choice to also go back to war instead of taking the easy way out by being the American’s prisoner also showed his sense of true honor. He was not the Nazi criminal, but a soldier concerned with honor and bravery despite his Nazi leanings. He was not the emotionless robot that Nazi bad-guys are portrayed as, but human. This was finally proven when he saved Elizabeth’s life.

Overall, I loved the character development and plot. The movie really drove home the message of shared humanity in war and the yearning for peace. Overarching themes seem to be about honor in war and moral courage too. The German lieutenant always stressed about what was the honorable thing to do. Also, moral courage played a huge roll with Elizabeth as she defied everyone by helping both sides. She was also the first to see their humanity. In the end, they all saw each other as fellow soldiers, albeit being on different sides. Both sides went on to fight with honor, and humanity. It was truly a touching movie about humanity in times of war. I also liked the implied distinction between the Wehrmacht soldiers portrayed in there, and the SS man being the real bad guy. Overall, great movie with poignant messages!

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(Not) Guilty by Association: The Wehrmacht

Unlike World War I, which is now seen as more of a pointless political folly, World War II is often thought of as a war against evil and hatred. Most infamously, the Nazi party is seen as the pinnacle of evil in the western world. Indeed, Hitler’s extermination of 11 million or so people in his genocidal campaigns, war crimes and hateful ideologies has helped earn him and the Nazi party a continuing legacy of hurt to this day. In accordance with that, many think it reasonable that anyone who stood by and turned a blind eye to such evil is just as guilty for not stopping it. Now, many people go so far as to assume everyone in Germany between 1939-1945 collaborated with evil. One of the more easy targets to turn one’s outrage towards: the soldiers.

What could they have done? That is the million dollar question in this whole controversy

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What could these men have done at the front? Just lay down their arms and go home? They wish!

over the German army’s responsibility for the evils that took place under Hitler. Many argue that the German army could have done something to stop the war crimes taking place or save all of the people in the camps, but what? Many soldiers were fighting on different fronts, and were doing the same things their opponents were doing day to day, like fight  and survive. Those people didn’t have much time to go hunting down people Hitler didn’t like. Morally, they were simply being soldiers during a war.  Were there war crimes that many could have not committed? Sure. The German army wasn’t perfectly “clean”. There were war crimes, killings of innocent civilians, treating POWs cruelly,  but it would be an equal lie to say that other nation’s armies including our own did not do all of the above too. That doesn’t justify the wrongs that were committed, but downplaying our own “dirty secrets” yet painting the entire Wehrmacht with that brush is hypocritical.

And the defense of “we were just following orders”, if you look at military culture, it makes sense. These soldiers were brought up to obey any order without question as impressionable young men. The risk of disobeying was too great, and often the cards were stacked against them even if they were right not to obey. The consequences were immediate and swift, no time to bring it before a tribunal after the war ends. Imagine you are a young man, barely out of your teens, and a much older officer tells you to do something wrong, like kill civilians. Now, you might have plenty of qualms and moral objections about doing so, but considering your situation, what do you do? Defy your officer and probably get shot too, or do it and survive yourself? One’s actions in the heat of the moment may surprise them… The responsibility of these war crimes should be on the people giving the orders, not the men under them. Men who were taught never to question an order and do it on pain of severe punishment or death I would argue to be just as responsible as someone who drove away from a crime at gunpoint. Independent thought is not often historically emphasized in the military.

Also, most controversially, in my historical opinion, rescuing all of the concentration camp victims wasn’t feasible in the middle of a major war. The German army wouldn’t have had the time to revolt and overthrow Hitler and the SS and liberate everyone who has been wronged and also keep up the fight in Europe if they had wanted too. Courageously, Staffenburg and his officers tried, but failed. Hitler’s genocidal campaigns sapped many

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Ooh, big scary Nazis! They don’t look disillusioned at all…

resources from Germany’s war, perhaps they would have won otherwise. Even without a Wehrmacht overthrow, Germany still lost the war. Would it be the right thing to stop the suffering going on? Yes, but in war, one must make hard choices. Saving the country altogether, or saving these unfortunate victims. While it seems incredibly harsh and callous, in the midst of an increasingly lost war, their country came first, and yet, even directing resources to the front, they still lost. Still think this is a flimsy excuse morally? Think about all of the groups pleading us to save them, and how many we can support in our country today… How much should we be obligated to stop suffering not directly affecting our country?

Lastly, but an important note too is that even Hitler and the SS did not fully trust the Wehrmacht. Hitler was suspicious of them, especially after several plots on his life by Wehrmacht officers, such as Col. Staffenburg and his men. The Wehrmacht also wanted to keep the traditional Germany army symbols, such as the iron cross, and their own salute, not Hitler’s as their official salute.  Only after Staffenburg’s plot did Hitler enforce it for the German army too in addition to civilians. While some were members of the Nazi party, the army as a whole kept many pre-Nazi traditions as many had military careers before the Nazis came into power. Going even further, at the end of the war, people were involuntarily conscripted into the SS as well.

Overall, it would be nice to think that the German army could have done more to not collaborate with Hitler’s evils, but in the midst of World War II, it just wasn’t feasible. The people who fought for Germany between 1939 and 1945 had the same motives for doing so as any other soldier, and the majority fought the war, the same as all the other soldiers. Yes, lines were blurred and things did happen in the German army, but it also happened in the allied forces too. It would be nice to think that the German army could just “go on strike” until Hitler left, but it’s just not realistic. Is it possible to fight for one’s country, but not necessarily for one’s leader? Could they have fought more for Germany than for Hitler? Perhaps they fought in the midst of evil, surrounded by evil, by an evil dictator, but I believe it unfair to say they fought for evil. In many ways, they were one of Hitler’s many victims too. Underneath the uniform, they were as human as you and I, and if you ever get the chance to meet one today, learn their story before you judge.

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If they’re still alive, they’ll be these guys…

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Art and History Part II: Sculpting The Insane

In addition to drawing illustrations of various scenes, I also was inspired to make figurines of some of the mental patients!

This one is a madwoman being restrained by an attendant. I gave her an angry expression to show she didn’t like being restrained. I named this piece “The Dance of Insanity” since they looked like they were dancing!

This is another mental patient I made. She is lifting up her dress and twirling about. I tried to make it so she looks like she’s moving a lot. Perhaps she’s overstimulated and needs a trip to the quiet room!

Lastly, this one is acting really crazy! I added the white sweater because in pictures I have seen, at one institution, all of the women wore the same white sweater over their dresses! I assume it was the institution uniform.

 

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