"Either this nation will kill racism or racism will kill this nation." (S. Jonas, August, 2018)
"Jews for Hitler? You must be kidding." That's a question that I have come across on a number of occasions as I have studied the history of Nazi Germany over a period of many years. And yes, indeed, there were Jews for Hitler. There were not too many of them. And certainly many Jews who were living in Germany when Hitler was appointed as Chancellor by President Paul von Hindenburg on Jan. 30, 1933 and then was given dictatorial powers via the "Enabling Act" by the German Reichstag on March 23, 1933 were from those moments on afraid for their employment, their property, and civil rights they may have had under the predecessor Weimar Republic and eventually their lives. But "Jews for Hitler" there were, and organized too, primarily in an organization called "The Association of German National Jews."
Mein Kampf, by Hitler, which means .My Struggle. in English. Sound familiar?
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As described by the relevant entry in Wikipedia:
"The Association of German National Jews (German: Verband nationaldeutscher Juden) was a German Jewish organization during the Weimar Republic and the early years of Nazi Germany that eventually came out in support of Hitler.
"It was founded in 1921 by Max Naumann who was chairman until 1926 and again from 1933 to 1935 when the association was dissolved. Politically, the association was close to the national conservative and monarchistGerman National People's Party which, however, refused affiliation with the association.
"The goal of the Association was the total assimilation of Jews into the German Volksgemeinschaft, self-eradication of Jewish identity, and the expulsion from Germany of the Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Naumann was especially opposed to Zionists and Eastern European Jews, the former he considered a threat to Jewish integration and to be carriers of a "racist" ideology serving British imperial purposes, while he saw the latter as racially and spiritually inferior. . . .
"[Among other things, the Association] issued a manifesto that stated that the Jews were being fairly treated. [This was at a time, in the summer of 1933, that Jews were already being subject to various types of repression which was being reported abroad by various Jewish organizations and denied as the equivalent of "Fake News" by the Nazi government.]
"In 1934 the group made the following statement:
" 'We have always held the well-being of the German people and the fatherland, to which we feel inextricably linked, above our own well-being. Thus we greeted the results of January, 1933 [positively], even though it has brought hardship for us personally.' "
"A possible reason why some German Jews supported Hitler may have been that they thought that his antisemitism only was for the purpose of 'stirring up the masses'. . . .
"Despite their extreme patriotism, the German government did not accept their goal of assimilation. The Association of German National Jews was declared illegal and dissolved on 18 November 1935. Max Naumann was arrested by the Gestapo the same day and imprisoned at the Columbia concentration camp. He was released after a few weeks, and died of cancer in May 1939."
But why might certain German Jews have been supporters of the Nazis and Hitler, especially since anti-Semitism, very loud anti-Semitism, had been central to Nazi doctrine since the predecessor to the Party had been formally organized in 1919? Well, there is the motivation noted in the Wikipedia excerpt just above. The Prussian Empire had been among the first nations in Europe to grant Jews full civil rights. There had been Jewish generals in the Prussian army in World War I.
So, it has been reported, there was an increasing feeling among the upper levels of German Jewry along the lines of "We are Germans; nothing will happen to us. As for those Jews in the Communist and Socialist Parties, let him go after them. They are our enemies too." Furthermore, while Jews were generally not among the major elements of the German ruling class in heavy industry and so forth, they were major factors in real estate, banking, retail, and publishing. Those Jews did not like the trade unions and other anti-Nazi organizations any more than the Nazis did. Of course, what happened to those German Jews who did not manage to emigrate in the early days of the Nazi regime is well-known.
And so, if you have read this far, you know where I am going with this. While, as far as I know, there is certainly no organization in the U.S. equivalent to the Association of German National Jews, there are, without naming names, as the New York Times' Paul Krugman has pointed out numbers of Jews who are prominent financial supporters of our very own fascist President. And there are Jews who are important policy-makers and implementers for Trump as well as prominent propagandists for him.
The International Jew by Henry Ford. .Dual Loyalty. writ large, by one of the leading U.S. anti-Semites in the 1930. Ford published columns in the leading Nazi newspapers, and Hitler published columns in Ford's.
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But, some ask, is Trump anti-Semite? Well, without going into the current litany of his anti-Semitic tropes/concepts (like the concept of Jewish "dual loyalty," see The Protocols of the Elders of Zion), the thought first popped into my head when a couple of years ago, Trump was straight-out asked "are you an Anti-Semite?" "How could I be," he responded, "some of my best children are Jews." Just like the "some of my best friends are Jews" trope that I heard when I was much younger, when anti-Semitism was much more open in this country that it is now. And do you really need much more than an indicator of his now-classic "good people on both sides" to the Charlottesville marchers chanting "Jews will not replace us."
As Professor Krugman pointed out in the column cited above: "anyone Jewish has to be completely ignorant of history not to know that when bigotry runs free, we're always next in line for persecution." Anti-Semitism has been the fallback doctrine-of-hatred since St. Augustine codified it for use by the Catholic Church back in the 5th century. But the German Jews who supported Hitler thought that they were "different." But, of course, anti-Semitism was at the center of Nazi doctrine. And so they were lumped in with all the other Jews, and pretty quickly too (the Nuremberg Laws depriving Jews of German citizenship being invoked in 1935).
Right now, the Jewish supporters of Trump obviously like at least some of what he is doing, if they are not, as at least one is, actually defining and developing the cruelest of his policies, which include the development of, by definition, concentration camps for various categories of immigrants and potential immigrants. (How ironic is this.) Knowing what happened to the Jewish supporters of Hitler in Nazi Germany will not have one whit of effect upon the beliefs and actions of the Jewish supporters of Trump and implementers of Trumpite 21st-century fascism. But among the Jewish opponents of Trump, it is very important to be aware of those developments in Germany, almost a century ago, so that, for our side, comparisons can be drawn.
(Article changed on August 29, 2019 at 23:45)
(Article changed on August 30, 2019 at 11:59)