Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

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Admiral Bloonbeard
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Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by Admiral Bloonbeard » 17 Jul 2021 07:53

Did any Nazis oppose the final solution? If so, who were they?

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wm
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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by wm » 19 Jul 2021 00:47

The Germans didn't know about the final solution, it was a state secret known only to few, so they couldn't oppose it. They heard about this or that atrocity but atrocities were a staple of war. It wasn't like the ww1 lacked them.
This mass extermination, with all its attendant circumstances, did not, as I know, fail to affect those who took a part in it. With very few exceptions, nearly all of those detailed to do this monstrous work - this - service and who, like myself have given sufficient thought to the matter, have bear deeply marked by these events.
Many of the men involved approached me as I went my rounds through the extermination buildings and poured out their anxieties and - impressions to me, in the hope that I could allay them.
Again and again, during these confidential conversations, I was asked: is it necessary that we do all this? Is it necessary that hundreds of thousands of women and children be destroyed?
And I, who in my innermost being had on countless occasions asked myself exactly this question, could only fob them off and attempt to console them by repeating that it was done on Hitler's order. I had to tell them that this extermination of Jewry had to be so that Germany and our posterity might be freed forever from their relentless adversaries.
There was no doubt in the mind of any of us that Hitler's order had to be obeyed regardless, and that it was the duty of the SS to carry it out. Nevertheless, we were all tormented by secret doubts.
Rudolf Höss in KL Auschwitz Seen by the SS

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hucks216
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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by hucks216 » 19 Jul 2021 11:17

wm wrote:
19 Jul 2021 00:47
The Germans didn't know about the final solution, it was a state secret known only to few, so they couldn't oppose it. They heard about this or that atrocity but atrocities were a staple of war. It wasn't like the ww1 lacked them.
Don't be daft, of course many knew about it. They might not have openly talked about it and they might not of known about the exact details but they would have known. Thousands of Polizei murdering millions in the east, writing home and at the very least dropping hints about what was happening or even telling their closest when home on leave. Train crews driving the trains through countries to the camps, camp staff and their visitors and NAZI dignitaries, including Generals, visiting production lines manned by camp prisoners, Jews included, being worked to death. People talk, whether in whispers, to boast, to relieve their burden or when drunk. It was an impossible secret to keep.

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wm
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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by wm » 19 Jul 2021 13:22

And what that murderous SS-man was going to say to his family? That he killed a few thousand innocent people last week? It was not going to happen.
Anyway, was he going to alarm the local TV station or put it on the Internet? There was nowhere to go with such information.
On the grapevine, it was just one of numerous circulating rumors, one of those people in bombed-out cities, with their family members fighting in Russia, didn't want to hear.

And what did the SS-man know? He knew his team killed thousands of Jews and Russians but he didn't know what happened elsewhere, he didn't have a bird view of entire Eastern Europe.
March 1943
At least nine-tenths of the population do not know that we have killed hundreds of thousands of Jews.
We have been informed that in Upper-Silesia a big KZ [concentration camp] is being built, which is expected to be able to accommodate 40 to 50,000 men, of whom 3 to 4000 are to be killed each month.
But all this information comes to me, even to me, who is seeking facts of this nature, in a rather vague and indistinct and inexact form.
Helmuth von Moltke
And he was a high-ranking member of the Abwehr.

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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Jul 2021 14:05

Hi wm,

You quote, "At least nine-tenths of the population do not know that we have killed hundreds of thousands of Jews".

That could be up to 8 million who did know.

Interestingly, Nazi Party membership peaked at about 8 million!

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 Jul 2021 14:06

Hi wm,

You quote, "At least nine-tenths of the population do not know that we have killed hundreds of thousands of Jews".

That could be up to 8 million who did know.

Interestingly, Nazi party membership peaked at about 8 million!

Cheers,

Sid.

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wm
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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by wm » 19 Jul 2021 15:51

Well, you forgot your darling, Karl Walser:
In May 1944, around 100 men from our security team received orders to pick up a transport of 2,000 Jews from the Auschwitz concentration camp. Since the transport was not yet ready, we had to wait 8 days. Our stay was in the outlying quarters of the camp in barracks.
It was here that I first discovered what was going on in these camps. Until now I hadn't known much about it and nobody in the German public knew about it either.

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hucks216
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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by hucks216 » 19 Jul 2021 16:23

Viktor Klemperer, a Jewish pre-war lecturer, in his diaries:

13th January 1942:
"Paul Kreidl tells us — a rumor, but it is very credible and comes from various sources — evacuated Jews were shot in Riga, in groups, as they left the train."

Another entry:
"...people have been long been saying that many of the evacuees don’t even arrive in Poland alive. They were being gassed in cattle trucks during the journey, and the truck then stopped on the line by an already-dug mass grave,"

20th August 1944:
"I learned: A little while ago many elderly Jews (Three hundred? Three thousand?) had been transported from Theresienstadt, and afterward an English broadcast had announced that this transport had been gassed. Truth?"

Another entry:
"On the way home Werner Lang also told me: A soldier had addressed him on the platform of the tram: "You're still here, why is that?" (without any aggression in his voice.) - "Because I am in a mixed marriage." - "Well, that's decent; but I've seen such awful things in Poland, such awful things! It will have to be paid for."

If someone like him, who had been ostracised by the regime, was hearing such rumours from various sources at various times then the knowledge of such things must have been rife. They might not have known of the actual names of the camps or execution locations but they knew, or had inklings, what was happening.

Additionally, Adolf Galland had inklings about some aspects of the genocide from March 1942 which he revealed to Gitta Sereny for her book on Speer.
And in the same book, Sereny reveals that SS-Obersturmführer Kurt Gerstein revealed news of the gassings to Goran von Otter (a Swedish diplomat) while travelling on the Warsaw-Berlin overnight train on 21st August 1942. It wasn't the only time he revealed such details to 'outsiders':
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Gerstein

Like I said, people talked, people overheard, people witnessed, people compiled, read and filed reports. Those at the Wannsee Conference went back to their offices and no doubt spoke to others so that actions could be taken and organised. Did those other people then go home and tell their wives what they were doing because they were proud (or disgusted) to be involved?

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hucks216
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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by hucks216 » 19 Jul 2021 17:01

In a letter home to his wife, dated 27th September 1942, SS-Obersturmführer Karl Kretschmer of Sonderkommando 4a wrote:

"I think you understand me. As the war is in our opinion a Jewish war, the Jews are the first to feel it. Here in Russia, wherever the German soldier is, no Jew remains...Please do not talk to Frau Kern about this.
...We happen to be in possession of old clothes, which are very much sought after. We can get everything here. The clothes belonged to people who are no longer alive."

In another letter dated 19th October 1942 to his wife and children:

If it wasn't for the stupid thoughts about what we are doing in this country, the Einsatz here would be wonderful, since it has put me in a position where I can support you all very well.
...I consider the latest Einsatz to be justified and indeed approve of the consequences it had, the phrase: 'stupid thoughts' is not strictly accurate. Rather it is a weakness not to be able to stand the sight of dead people; the best way of overcoming it is to do it more often."

Source: 'The Good Old Days' - The Holocaust as Seen by Its Perpetrators and Bystanders.

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wm
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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by wm » 19 Jul 2021 23:04

He confessed in writing that he had stolen from the Reich, even if it was old clothes.

So what that Kretschmer wrote that to his wife, it wasn't like she was going to tell that to all the Germans in Germany, considering that even her best friend could have snitched on her to the Gestapo.

Klemperer maybe was ostracised by the regime but not by the Germans, actually, it would be easier for a German to talk to him about the atrocities knowing as a fact he wasn't a snitch.
And all the rumors (except the last one) collected by Klemperer, although resembling somewhat the truth, were actually factually wrong.

And what do you want a German who heard something to do? Arise alone with bare hands against the Reich?
Or a Russian who heard something about the Soviet atrocities?
There was nothing to do, life must have gone on.

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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by Sid Guttridge » 20 Jul 2021 11:29

Hi wm,

"Until now I hadn't known much about it....." implies that he did know something about it, which presumably means that others had talked about it with him.

".....and nobody in the German public knew about it either" implies he was qualified to talk on behalf of the German public, which he was not. Indeed, it might be interpreted that the German public also knew as much as he did, which by his account was something but not much. (This seems a plausible possibility to me).

Karl Walser was one man qualified to talk about his own experience, which implicates at least one other informant before he saw Auschwitz personally in May 1944.

Personally I think that the mass killing of Jews in their name by fellow Germans was not likely to be a popular (or safe) topic of conversation among the German public and so knowledge of it was not likely to be completely universal. On the other hand, so many Germans were involved in it that it is unlikely that the knowledge was not fairly widespread, even if often disbelieved.

Cheers,

Sid.

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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by steve248 » 27 Jul 2021 18:46

The British captured German soldiers of every rank in Italy and interrogated them, 1944-1945. In a 1944 (!) appreciation of "Atrocities as seen through German eyes" the interrogators came to these conclusions:
1. The wholesale slaughter of Russians and Jews which appears to have been fairly widely known.
2. The details of what went on in concentration camps appears to have been less widely known, but the fact of the existence of of the camps and of the fact that treatment there was brutal, was undoubtedly common knowledge.
3. The comparatively large proportion of statements to the effect that the German's mistake was not in committing the atrocities, but in committing them openly or before final victory was assured.
4. The manner in which even those who disapproved of the atrocities they describe, take it as axiomatic that they themselves could not be expected to interfere or protest to the extent of seriously endangering their own positions.
5. The fairly common expectation of similar treatment of Germans in revenge or of acceptance of such treatment as being just.
6. The lack of appreciation of personal responsibility.

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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by heathcotegeo » 13 Jul 2023 05:55

The fact that there was at least one other informant before Karl Walser visited Auschwitz in May 1944 demonstrates his credibility as a witness.

The mass murder of Jews by Germans in their own name is not something I see becoming a popular (or safe) topic of discourse among the German population, thus I doubt widespread familiarity with it exists. It's doubtful that the knowledge isn't common, even if it's typically not believed, because so many Germans took part.

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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by steve248 » 13 Jul 2023 12:19

I have no idea who Kurt Walser was, and 13 google pages ditto.

I always like the speculation that "so many Germans took part". How many is "so many" in relation to the population of Germany at the time? What percentage might that be?

Perceptions of the % of the population who are one thing or another is usually enormously exaggerated.

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Re: Did any Nazis oppose the final solution?

Post by MLW » 13 Jul 2023 14:33

In 2019 I visited the Topf & Söhne Museum in Erfurt Germany. Topf & Söhne was the firm that built the ovens for Auschwitz. One of the themes of the museum was that many Germans knew of the labor and death camps. In the case of Topf & Söhne, their work on designing, building, and maintaining Auschwitz's ovens was in no way done in secret. Furthermore, inmates from the Buchenwald Concentration Cam were housed on site at the Topf & Söhne factory; a practice that was very common across Germany for many of the companies that provided material and services to the SS. The same story is told at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp with plenty of documentation evidence. I have attached photos of two sign boards from the Topf & Söhne Museum.
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