Immediately after our visit to Martin Behaim Gymnasium, the Roundtable had an opportunity to visit the Nuremberg Documentation Center, a sobering history of the growth of what historian Hannah Arendt once called the “banality of evil” under the Nazi regime of Adolph Hitler. Despite the recent re-emergence of right wing, neo-Nazi groups in Germany (and elsewhere in Europe), Germany seems to be dealing with this shocking history in a forthright way.
The center abuts the old Nuremberg rally grounds, memorial grounds, memorialized in Leni Riefenstahl’s movie, “Triumph of the Will.” The rallies were designed to solidify the cult of Hitler and make the Fuehrer synonymous with Germany itself.
The documentation center traces the history of the growth of fascism in Germany and describes how Hitler used democratic methods to seize control of the nation during a period of economic stagnation and rampant inflations.
The documentation center highlights:
|Munich “beer hall putsch.” Attempted coup. Hitler jailed. Writes “Mein Kampf” (My Struggle).|
|July 1932||Nazi party gained 37.4% of the vote in the Reichstag elections.|
|Hitler appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Hindenburg|
|The Reichstag Fire. Fire destroys German parliament. Nazis blame on Communists.|
|March 1933||Enabling Act gives Hitler power to make laws for four years|
without consulting Reichstag.
|The Gestapo, Nazi secret police, formed. Nazis take over local government.|
|Trade Unions banned|
|25,000 ‘un-German’ burned, encouraged by Joseph Goebbels, Minister of Propaganda.|
|All political parties except the Nazis were banned|
|Nuremburg Laws defined German citizenship. Relationships between Jews and Aryans banned.|
|Hitler sent German troops to re-occupy the Rhineland, a move that violates Versailles Treaty ending World War I.|
|Hitler seizes Austria, his homeland, claiming to re-united the|
Germans in Austria with those in Germany (Anschluss).
|Munich Agreement – Allies agreed that Germany could have the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia in return for peace|
|Kristallnacht – Jewish shops and synagogues destroyed.|
|Hitler occupies Czechoslovakia, and ignores Munich|
|Nazi-Soviet Pact – Alliance between Hitler and Stalin|
agrees to divide Poland between the two countries.
|Wannsee Conference approved plans for the ‘Final Solution’.|
|1942-1945||Six million Jews and other undesirables murdered in|
|Hitler commits suicide|
|Armistice ends Allies war with Germany, with hostilities to cease|
on May 8.