Fuente: A Voice Among Many
My grandfather who is turning 101 this year was once one of the elite SS men in Nazi Germany, he emigrated after the war and came to Los Angeles where he and my grandmother settled and had my father. My grandfather was born in Munich in 1909, He came from a good family who were kind and devout, there was never any hate or racism in their family, he attended school with both Christian and Jewish classmates and was friendly with both of them.His family was tolerant of all cultures and was never taught to hate anyone or anything. They were also a family who was highly educated, and valued knowledge and good family values above all else.
As a young man, he like many other Germans at the time were very intrigued by Adolf Hitler, he describes that the whole depression-weary country was swept up in a sort of national hysteria over this man who who gave wild, dramatic speeches about the golden future of Germany.
Unlike most of the population that freely went along with Hitler, my grandfather did his research, he talked to other intellectuals in Berlin where he was living at the time and the result of all this was his joining and initiation into the SS.
He said they were very particular who they choose to become part of their ranks. My grandfather said that at no time was he brainwashed into thinking, believing or doing anything
I will go into more of the stories of his experiences in other blogs, but in this blog I will go into what my grandfather has said about Heinrich Himmler. During his time in the SS, he had a chance to hear Himmler give his famous speech at Posen, Poland and he had a chance to meet with him several times. My grandfather was a very well read man with a huge interest in history, he was intellectual and had a very strong and smart mind, he would probably be the last man in Germany to be brainwashed by anything that was untrue.
Several years ago, my grandfather spoke about the famous speech that was made at Posen. My father who is a historian had a WAV file of the speech which he played back to my grandfather.
My grandfather was utterly shocked.
First off, he said that Heinrich Himmler would never have allowed himself to knowingly been recorded, so he was shocked that any kind of recording existed. He said that everything that Himmler and the SS did was very top secret and information was very highly protected, even the contents of wire messages were scrutinized and examined at at all levels.
Second, and most shocking, was that he said the speech that Himmler gave that day bore no resemblance to anything that was in the recording. He also said that if there were murders going on, Himmler would have have talked so openly about it, he was not that sort of man. He also said he did not even recognize Himmler’s voice on the recording at all.
When my grandfather met Himmler, he said that he was presented with man who was quiet, unassuming and kind. My grandfather said he was almost gentle. Himmler contacted my grandfather to discuss some history with him pertaining to ancient/medieval Germanic culture and myth, so he was able to sit down with him and really get to know this man that many call a mass murderer.
My grandfather said that during any war there are always many deaths, and World War II he said was no exception. He very openly stated there was a lot of corruption and distrust within the Nazi party. he explained everyone was grabbing for power and this often lead to murder or execution within the party.
He said that there were people who abused their power and those were not good people like in any government. He said also there were certainly camps, but they were prisoner of war camps or relocation camps like there was in any country. He explained that people died/were executed in these camps, but mostly due to disease and execution if they were criminals and had done something wrong. He said he never say any mass killings happen unless it was criminals being shot/inmates dying of disease.
He admitted the conditions in these camps were not up today’s standards of cleanliness, but he also said this was a time of war, and Germany very hard up for money. He said that he never in good conscience would ( or known any man that was in the SS with him) who would kill an innocent woman or child in cold blood just because they were Jewish. He told my father ” I would rather kill myself then kill an innocent man, woman or child”. He said that many of the men who worked with him were fathers and husbands and could never kill as it is portrayed in the media.
He said that in the SS, yes, they were taught to kill with out mercy, but this applied to the sort of killing that goes on in war, man against man. None of them were instructed to torture, to murder or to kill innocent people. He said ” Of course, there are always bad men amoung us as in any group on earth ,and perhaps some men in the SS did horrible things, but for everything I knew of myself and my comrades, not once did he shoot, torture, or harm any innocent person even if they were Jewish.”