Nazi Germany - Part 1 History File


Nazi Germany - Part 1

Using evidence from five people who lived through the rise of National Socialism, this programme looks at why Germany fell into the hands of Hitler.


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GERMAN SPEECH ON RADIO

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CRACKLE AND HISS

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It's like a...like a fire, like a blazing fire,

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the news spreading across Germany - Adolf Hitler, Chancellor of the Reich.

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A million hearts burning up with joy.

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We can see banners glowing blood-red,

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and in the centre of each one the symbol of our hope, the crooked cross,

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the swastika - look at that!

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January 30th, 1933.

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Nazi Brown Shirts salute their Fuhrer, their leader, Adolf Hitler.

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His rise seemed the answer to many people's dreams.

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We will have a new Germany!

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We can see thousands of blazing torches streaming up the Wilhelmstrasse,

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long columns of Brown Shirts, victors in a painful struggle.

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The Brown Shirts were the foot soldiers of the Nazi movement.

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Years later, one of them, Fritz Muehlebach, described his memories of that extraordinary night.

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We were - I don't know - just laughing, you know.

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We sang. We shouted "Heil!" till we were hoarse.

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I mean - Adolf Hitler, leader of Germany. We couldn't believe it!

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When the news came through on the radio, we ran to a meeting house.

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They were handing out torches.

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When we marched, the police guarded OUR path. After so many years, the streets were finally ours.

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Yeah! Heil Hitler! Heil Hitler!

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-Sieg!

-Heil!

-Sieg!

-Heil!

-Sieg!

-Heil!

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But not every German joined the Brown Shirts in their celebration that night.

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For they knew that now in power, the Nazis would allow no opposition

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and all those that stood against them, Hitler had promised to destroy.

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Our enemies say,

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we Nazis are intolerant, that we are somehow un-German,

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because we refuse to cooperate with other political parties.

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I want to make one thing quite clear. They're right. We ARE intolerant!

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And I have set myself one task -

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namely, to drive those other parties out of Germany!

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LOUD CHEERING

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LAUGHTER

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Hitler's rise to power would cause death and suffering on a scale rarely seen in history.

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Yet on January 30th, 1933,

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many millions of Germans welcomed Adolf Hitler as their saviour.

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Why?

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CRIES OF "HEIL HITLER!" AND "SIEG HEIL!"

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Three years earlier, 1930.

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Fritz Muehlebach returns to the northern dock town of Hamburg after a spell at sea

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and finds Germany in a terrible state.

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There was no work to be had -

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Germany, the worst-hit country in a worldwide depression.

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In the streets, chaos, and the police unable to keep order.

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From every direction,

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parties promised they had the solution.

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Communist, Social Democrat, Nazi - 35 parties in all.

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But right from the start, it was Hitler's Nazis that caught Fritz Muehlebach's eye.

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They were like, smarter than the other parties. Communists, Social Democrats.

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The Nazis had uniforms and their boots were like jackboots - always shining.

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It was impressive.

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And then, one night I'm down the docks,

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and I sees this fight - well, this fella getting beaten up.

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I goes in to help him, gets meself a torn ear.

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It turns out he's this Brown Shirt. He says, why don't you come along to a meeting?

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That's how I got started.

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Over the next few months, Fritz went to many Nazi party meetings.

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He heard speakers,

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he watched slide shows, he read pamphlets.

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And he shared a room with the Brown Shirt he'd rescued.

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From Werther, he learned why, according to the Nazis, Germany was in such a mess.

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He learned how, according to the Nazis, Germany would recover.

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Hey! I've got something for you. Have you ever read the Bible?

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The Bible? No.

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Well, you should. Here.

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-"My Struggle."

-Yeah. My Struggle.

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By Adolf Hitler. Well, it's my Bible, anyway.

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1924, Landsberg Prison, he wrote that.

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They locked him up for speaking the truth. Can you believe that? And in prison, he writes this.

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And now, I give it to you.

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So - enjoy.

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"My Struggle" - "Mein Kampf".

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It's a mishmash of autobiography, history and racist venom.

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It covers everything from Hitler's blind hatred of the Jews to his love of boxing.

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But like no other source, it explains the roots of Nazism.

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It dates the decline of Germany from 1918,

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the surrender that ended the First World War.

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'The German army will cease fire immediately

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'and then surrender, in good condition, 5,000 field guns, 25,000 machine guns, 3,000 trench mortars,

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'1,700 aeroplanes...'

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I'd never cried since the day I'd stood at my mother's grave,

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but now I couldn't help it.

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Was it all in vain, the deaths of two million heroes?

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I dug my burning head into my pillow and wept.

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Back home in Germany, revolution.

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The Kaiser, Germany's all-powerful ruler, had fled.

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In his place, democracy -

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politicians chosen by popular vote.

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For many soldiers defeated at the front, Hitler amongst them,

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it seemed this revolution back home had cost Germany the war.

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I mean, do you think the army couldn't have won that war?

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They were stabbed in the back.

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Right. Betrayed by cowards, politicians, Jews back home.

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They didn't care for our honour, and all the shame our country's suffered since.

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The criminals of November 1918. It's them who's caused it all.

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In 1919, these same so-called criminals signed the Versailles peace treaty on Germany's behalf.

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They accepted war guilt.

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They agreed to pay out vast sums for war damage,

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despite the desperate state of Germany's war-torn economy.

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When years of suffering followed -

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inflation, food shortages, hunger -

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many Germans were quick to point the finger of blame.

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-The factory owners.

-Right! Fat cats! Bleeding the workers dry!

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We say no-one earns more than 1,000 marks a month. No-one!

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-The Jews.

-Right. The old enemy.

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When they do something, they don't do it for Germany - do you see?

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They're not Germans!

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-Who else?

-The parties.

-The parties!

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Politicians, right. What is this democracy?

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We never used to have democracy. We had strong leaders!

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The Kaiser, eh? We never voted for him!

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And was Germany ever so weak under the Kaiser?

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I spit on freedom.

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It's the patriotic thing to do!

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What was happening was like...

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I don't know - like fog, you know, clearing.

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Suddenly, it all made sense.

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I mean, we never talked about politics when I was a kid.

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But Werther, well, he'd go on for hours.

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And it was all so right!

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You've got all these parties, and no one party's got enough votes to rule.

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So, they do deals. They're always selling out.

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But the Nazis, right from the start, they're saying that's not the German way.

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Right from the start, the Nazis wanted an end to democracy.

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They wanted all power back in the hands of one man -

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and that one man, they felt, should be Adolf Hitler.

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He'd drifted from the army to politics.

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He'd gathered support in the beer halls of Munich.

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But his time was not yet right.

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When 4,000 Nazi Brown Shirts rose in rebellion in November 1923,

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their weapons arrived without firing pins.

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Hitler was imprisoned, wrote Mein Kampf,

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and the first chapter of Nazi history was over.

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MUSIC: "Mack The Knife"

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Germany in the late 1920s.

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Music, theatre, cinema,

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cabaret...

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Enormous energy, eaten up seeking serious pleasure.

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These were the years Fritz spent at sea.

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Not that the good times were for working-class lads like him.

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Meanwhile, Hitler saw the nightclubs and found them shameful.

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He began to see himself as some hero of old,

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his mission, to slay the monster of democracy.

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Our public life today

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encourages this wallowing in pleasure.

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We must clean away this filth,

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this plague, and we must clean it away ruthlessly and without wavering.

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Hitler's problem was simply persuading Germans they needed some knight in shining armour.

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But then, on October 24th, 1929,

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Wall Street crashed.

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The worldwide depression that followed hit Germany hardest of all.

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With some satisfaction, Hitler realised his day had come.

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Such contentment.

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Never in my life did I feel such contentment,

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to see hard reality open the eyes of so many millions of Germans, deceived for so long.

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In three years, German production halved.

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Thousands of small businesses collapsed.

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Unemployment rose to six and a half million.

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17 million - a third of the population - were supported by the dole.

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I'd just got back from sea. Laid off. It was terrible.

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You looked around at all that misery.

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Men just hanging round on street corners.

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Queues down the labour exchange. You thought, "This is hopeless. I won't get a job."

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'Those in work had had their wages cut. It was just depression.

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-'Everywhere.'

-What is it?

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Horse.

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'Just total depression.

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'And it wasn't just the workers. Those with money and savings -

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'middle-class folk - were frightened they'd lose everything.

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'Prices going up, banks closing their doors...

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'And when they looked at the government to do something...'

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nothing.

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Social Democrats have walked out of Parliament.

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They say they can't agree to cut the dole.

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How can we afford to pay every man the dole? It's nonsense.

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So we have a new government. Every day we have a new government.

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Who would have democracy, when it makes us so weak?

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In the face of depression, and with democracy on the point of collapse,

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the German people looked for new solutions.

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In working-class areas, where the poverty was worst,

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the Communists attracted six million new members.

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They called on workers to rise and take over factories, banks and businesses.

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It had happened in Russia in 1917.

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The Russian middle classes - factory owners, bankers, landowners,

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had been wiped out or forced to flee abroad.

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Not surprisingly, most middle-class Germans saw Communism as the worst threat of all.

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We'll keep it under our pillow.

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If the Communists should come for us at night...

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well...

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Into this confusion,

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the Nazis emerged as something new.

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The years since prison had changed Adolf Hitler.

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No longer the shuffling figure of the early newsreels,

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now he was uniformed, impressive.

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Policy had changed too - no longer to seize power but to win votes legally.

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They'd play their part in the democratic process,

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then destroy it from the inside.

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By now Fritz Muehlebach was himself a Brown Shirt, like Werther.

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Their job was to hand out leaflets, spread the word,

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and, by whatever means available, fight the Communists.

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I remember one Communist rally.

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100 of us Brown Shirts got in, in ordinary clothes.

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For half an hour, we'd just sit there. Then someone slips a stick of cordite on the stove.

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BANG! Smoke everywhere. Windows shattered.

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So, we stand up,

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put on our caps, swastika armlets, and give the salute.

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The Reds starts shouting.

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Running about like a load of rats on heat, making for the door, so...

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we smash the chairs, like we've been told,

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and armed with the chair legs, we go for them.

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Do as much damage as you can before the police arrive.

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SHOUTING

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It was all quite deliberate. The Nazis wanted chaos in the streets.

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Chaos showed the failure of democracy.

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It made their solution more attractive.

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You wear it in public?

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I've got one for you too, if you want it.

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-They've no respect for the law, you know. They're just bullies.

-Yes. At least they're not gutless.

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And if they're not afraid to take on the Communists, we shouldn't be ashamed to say thank you!

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In 1928,

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Hitler polled just 800,000 votes.

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In 1930, he polled six and a half million.

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The Nazis, from nowhere,

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were now the second largest party in the country.

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The grateful middle classes had much to do with it.

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But that doesn't explain Fritz Muehlebach, working class,

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unemployed - he had nothing to fear from the Communists.

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So, why?

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'These boys...'

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They left school. No factory, no workshop gave them a job.

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And now the Nazis promise work and bread.

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For this, they storm into working-class areas,

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because they are without work and without hope.

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SIZZLING

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Fritz lived on eight marks, 40 pfennigs a week unemployment benefit.

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Five marks on rent,

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one mark on sausages bought from a stall outside the labour exchange,

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two on bread and basics,

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ten pfennigs on insurance paid to the party in case he got injured fighting Communists,

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and 30 pfennigs on tobacco.

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And 90 per cent of his troop were unemployed, like him.

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But to say they joined the Nazis out of desperation -

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no work, no hope - that's only half the story.

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Straight up, I can't tell you how wonderful it feels,

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how wonderful it's always felt to wear this uniform,

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being like a soldier of the Nazi movement,

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with this vision, you know - a man, a leader, lifting us out of the gutter.

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And going to meetings - everyone's, like, together,

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all thinking the same.

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It was the most wonderful thing I'd ever experienced.

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All because of Adolf Hitler.

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All because of what he offered us.

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What he could do for us.

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I mean, we just listened, like...

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HITLER SPEAKS IN GERMAN

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I mean,

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that message,

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the German people finding their inner strength once more...

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After all these years,

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Germany spat on by the Allies,

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us feeling bad about the war, the shame of Versailles,

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and now this man says, "Come, Germans,

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"join together,

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"re-find your strength."

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I'd never heard anything so beautiful.

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HITLER SPEAKS

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LOUD CHEERING

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Without Hitler,

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the Nazis had nothing.

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Their vision was of national revival

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through obedience to a strong leader.

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But only Hitler had skill

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and charisma enough to play this role of saviour.

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In July '32, Hitler took thirteen and a half million votes,

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a third of the total.

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In January '33, as leader of the largest party in Germany,

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he was made Chancellor.

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Within a month, he'd had the Communist Party banned.

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Freedom of speech, freedom from arrest, he'd sweep away.

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The transformation of Germany into a Nazi one-party dictatorship

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would begin.

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SHOT

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SHOT ECHOES

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And if now we've got to do things that some people don't like,

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it seems to me you've got to take the rough with the smooth.

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Hitler was given us by God - that's what I think.

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Being part of him - following, no questions - that's the only way to get Germany out of the mess.

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No more nonsense. Really do something!

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And that's what we're going to do.

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I'll tell you what my first impressions were.

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Quite charming. Half-timbered houses.

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Window boxes with petunias and geraniums blooming on every sill.

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Little girls with ribbons in their hair.

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Little boys with aprons stitched in bright colours.

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If there was poverty, I confess I didn't see it.

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It was heaven.

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And everywhere... everywhere you went - music.

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Nora Waln, an American, lived in Hitler's Germany from 1934 to 1938.

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For most Germans, these were good years -

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a time of growing prosperity.

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Hitler's Nazis had promised national revival

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and they boasted enormous popular support.

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I was to stay in Bad Godesburg in western Germany.

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The day that I arrived, the Fuhrer himself was in town -

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Adolf Hitler.

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There were swastika flags hanging out of every window,

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crowds, three, four, five thick, lining the roads,

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and this bubbling enthusiasm.

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It was contagious.

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One woman turned to me, a perfect stranger, and said,

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"He is my mother and my father. He keeps me safe from all harm."

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Germany, in these years, was gripped in a cult of the Fuhrer -

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the leader.

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The Nazis urged Germans to put their differences aside, to rally behind Hitler,

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trusting in the glorious future of their country and the fact that Hitler could do no wrong.

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It was terribly exciting, like a festival.

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And the welcome that I got was warm, embracing.

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I don't know what I was expecting, quite, but certainly not such generosity.

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I was to stay in lodgings used by a professor I knew, a professor of music.

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The couple who owned the place were young and enthusiastic. Typical, it seemed to me, of this new Germany.

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-<

-What a lovely house!

-<

-Thank you. Come through.

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The town's full. It's the best tourist season we've had in years.

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It's you foreigners. Curious to see if Germans are as bad as they say?

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-You have got a room for me?

-Yes, we got your letter.

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Hello. I'm Frau Trutz. You must call me Ursula. And you've met my husband, Erich.

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-Professor! Frau Waln is here!

-It's not a big room.

-I don't need much.

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-You can see across the square.

-Hello, Frau Waln!

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Tonight there is a festival for the Fuhrer. Singing and dancing... And you will have a splendid view.

0:26:550:27:03

-You're too kind.

-No, never too kind. We want you to enjoy your stay.

0:27:030:27:08

Nora's description of life in Germany, published in 1939,

0:27:100:27:15

is full of everyday accounts of love for the Fuhrer.

0:27:150:27:20

She found people endlessly keen to explain how grateful they felt.

0:27:200:27:25

It's like Germany is a ship that was broken on the rocks

0:27:260:27:31

and, by gift of God, in Hitler we have a leader who can repair and steer that ship. Eh, Erich?

0:27:310:27:39

Do you...worship him?

0:27:390:27:41

-"Worship" is too much.

-Some people do. I heard, the other day, at Berchtesgaden, near Hitler's house -

0:27:410:27:49

-these old women actually ate the gravel where he'd stood!

-It's like they're under a spell.

-Yes.

0:27:490:27:55

But you don't know what it was like before Hitler.

0:27:550:27:59

We have every reason to be thankful.

0:27:590:28:02

CROWD CHEERING

0:28:020:28:05

Before Hitler, Germany had been deep in economic depression.

0:28:050:28:11

Before Hitler, unemployment had stood at 7 million.

0:28:110:28:16

Before Hitler, Germany was a democracy

0:28:160:28:19

but too many parties had split the vote so governments were weak and unable to solve the crisis.

0:28:190:28:26

Hitler offered dictatorship - all power in the hands of one man,

0:28:280:28:33

and Germany was quick to accept Hitler's terms.

0:28:330:28:38

Unemployment's absurd.

0:28:380:28:41

The people say we are civilised and yet millions are out of work. What is that?

0:28:410:28:47

It's sick. No-one should be denied a right to work. Nor should anyone who CAN work be allowed to be lazy.

0:28:470:28:55

Work and bread. These are the Fuhrer's blessings.

0:28:550:28:59

HITLER SHOUTS IN GERMAN

0:29:050:29:08

Putting Germany back to work was Hitler's first and most pressing problem.

0:29:080:29:14

But because he was all-powerful, he had the clout to carry out large-scale work programs

0:29:140:29:22

like building Autobahns - motorways to link the nation together.

0:29:220:29:27

By 1935, unemployment had fallen to just two million.

0:29:270:29:30

By 1939, it was gone.

0:29:300:29:34

My landlord, Erich, worked for the German Labour Front.

0:29:370:29:42

He had business all round Germany and once I went with him to see what they had achieved.

0:29:420:29:48

And it was remarkable.

0:29:480:29:50

We saw labour camps - not for wage-earners, but for young people, 18-19 years old -

0:29:500:29:57

to teach them the value of work,

0:29:570:30:00

to get their hands hardened.

0:30:000:30:02

You saw them marching with their spades like guns, or singing as they dug ditches, reclaimed land...

0:30:020:30:08

If you spoke to them, sometimes you felt they resented being there. But not often.

0:30:080:30:16

There was, I think, a pleasure involved.

0:30:160:30:19

-'Erich would say...'

-You must understand. Work shouldn't just be earning a wage and going home.

0:30:190:30:26

That's drudgery. We believe there's a beauty in labour. You do a job well and it gives you happiness.

0:30:260:30:33

It was like the Nazis were shaking people into feeling good about what they did. You had to work.

0:30:330:30:39

You had no choice. You were organised. You were there for the state to use.

0:30:390:30:45

And they milked you for your labour, no question. But then, at the end of the day, they said...

0:30:450:30:52

"See what we have achieved." And it WAS! It was pretty impressive.

0:30:520:30:57

The work programme was vast and triumphal.

0:31:020:31:06

Hitler had promised a Germany reborn. He said he was building for a state to last a thousand years.

0:31:060:31:13

He'd rebuild Berlin on a magnificent scale.

0:31:130:31:17

There'd be an assembly hall in every city, a swimming bath in every village,

0:31:170:31:23

a house and garden and car for every worker.

0:31:230:31:28

Much of this was pure fantasy.

0:31:280:31:30

But enough was achieved to pump German pride.

0:31:300:31:35

ROMANTIC MUSIC

0:31:460:31:48

'Confidence. That's what it was.'

0:32:000:32:03

Everywhere. And a great sense of German-ness.

0:32:040:32:09

National costumes, parades, music... And even if you found it all a bit funny...there was so much GOOD.

0:32:090:32:17

'You could leave your door unlocked, or your washing on the line.

0:32:170:32:22

'No-one dropped litter. Young people offered you their tram seat.'

0:32:220:32:27

-And yet...

-FOREBODING MUSIC

0:32:270:32:31

And yet...I didn't believe it. Not one hundred per cent.

0:32:310:32:37

Or at least, I questioned it.

0:32:370:32:39

In America, I had heard so much bad of Nazi Germany - violence, brutality...

0:32:390:32:46

I wondered if I was seeing... if I was being ALLOWED to see... the whole picture.

0:32:460:32:52

'Tens of thousands of books were cast into the flames while Hitler's Nazis stood by with fixed bayonets.'

0:32:520:33:00

Newsreels like this fueled the image many foreigners held of the Nazis' rise to power.

0:33:000:33:06

'No such act of barbaric vandalism has been recorded in modern history.

0:33:060:33:11

'As the bonfires leapt, the crowd danced and hurrahed in an ecstasy of mad emotion,

0:33:110:33:16

'as stories of wanton beatings and bullyings in the darkened streets added to the terror.'

0:33:160:33:23

Such pictures were seen around the world.

0:33:230:33:26

Hardly surprising Nora was suspicious.

0:33:260:33:30

It's you foreigners. Curious to see if we Germans are as bad as they say, eh?

0:33:300:33:36

The truth Nora had to find out for herself.

0:33:360:33:40

Early in my stay,

0:33:400:33:42

I was reading the German papers.

0:33:420:33:45

Problems all over the world - unrest in France, misery in Russia, a shipping strike in California.

0:33:450:33:52

In Germany, all is rosy. A Nazi Party squabble gets a paragraph. Then I picked up the British paper.

0:33:520:33:59

'As an American, I was still allowed foreign news. And lo and behold - Germany is the headline.'

0:33:590:34:05

"Hitler crushes Brown Shirt revolt.

0:34:050:34:08

"No pity for Hitler's friends shot, he says, for treason.

0:34:080:34:13

"Hitler's Chief of Staff executed."

0:34:150:34:17

'It was the Night of the Long Knives. June 30th, 1934.'

0:34:170:34:24

Hitler had butchered 400 top Brown Shirts, the very men who helped him grab power in the first place -

0:34:240:34:31

just a mockery of lawful government.

0:34:310:34:34

And the German papers so carefully censored.

0:34:340:34:38

Feuer!

0:34:380:34:40

I was so shocked. I wanted to speak to someone.

0:34:400:34:44

So I launched into this spiel at Professor Moritz, the musician who kept the lodgings upstairs.

0:34:440:34:50

His reaction I will never forget. This extraordinary phrase - "Still! Sprich durch die Blume!"

0:34:500:34:58

Shh! Speak through a flower!

0:34:580:35:00

'I didn't know what he meant.

0:35:000:35:03

'And then it dawned on me.'

0:35:030:35:06

Speak through a flower. Say only good things.

0:35:060:35:11

'Don't criticise.'

0:35:110:35:14

If you must talk of the Fuhrer, then it must be because you wish to praise him.

0:35:140:35:19

Or else do not speak at all.

0:35:190:35:22

'He blocked the keyhole with putty.'

0:35:220:35:24

He stuffed a pillow round under the door and pulled out the telephone.

0:35:240:35:29

You cannot be too careful.

0:35:290:35:32

And I think it was only then that I realised how terrified some people were.

0:35:320:35:38

Let me tell you a story.

0:35:380:35:41

Maybe you'll learn more what it feels like to live in this Germany now.

0:35:430:35:48

The other week, I go to a shop and say to the shopkeeper, "How's business?"

0:35:480:35:54

Just small talk. Stupid thing to say. His wife goes, "Pah!

0:35:540:35:59

"Business? It's bad! It's nonexistent!"

0:35:590:36:03

We don't notice, but...

0:36:030:36:06

another customer's come in.

0:36:060:36:08

Yesterday, I go back to the shop.

0:36:080:36:11

I say to the shopkeeper, "How's your wife?" He says, "They've taken her away for re-education.

0:36:110:36:18

"Somebody heard her grumbling. She said business was bad, so they turned her in."

0:36:180:36:24

Maybe he thought it was me. In Germany these days, you trust no-one.

0:36:290:36:34

Those that didn't fit in in Hitler's Germany

0:36:340:36:40

had reason to fear.

0:36:400:36:42

The Nazis allowed no opposition.

0:36:420:36:45

Political parties that once had stood against them were banned.

0:36:480:36:53

Their leaders left the country or stayed to face harassment or arrest.

0:36:530:36:58

It was all legal but only because Hitler now was the law.

0:36:590:37:05

TRANSLATION: "We Nazis have conquered Germany.

0:37:050:37:10

"But to restore this country completely we need discipline and we need order.

0:37:100:37:17

"So I will deal ruthlessly with anyone who would stop me.

0:37:170:37:21

"I won't have ignorant, mislead, insignificant people shot,

0:37:210:37:27

"but those really responsible will, in all cases, be crushed to earth!"

0:37:270:37:32

In March 1933, the first concentration camps appeared -

0:37:340:37:39

brutal prisons run by Heinrich Himmler's black-shirted SS.

0:37:390:37:44

Here German citizens were sent for any act of political opposition -

0:37:440:37:49

maybe just writing an anti-Nazi slogan on a wall

0:37:490:37:54

or keeping a banned book

0:37:540:37:56

or telling a joke at the expense of some party official.

0:37:560:38:00

The secret police, the notorious Gestapo, carried out the arrests.

0:38:000:38:05

And working hand-in-hand with them,

0:38:070:38:10

the tens of thousands of ordinary Germans committed or just spiteful enough to tell on their neighbours.

0:38:100:38:17

You don't dare say anything out loud against the Nazis.

0:38:170:38:21

Say, in a street car, you never give your opinion to anyone you don't know.

0:38:210:38:27

You never do anything that's forbidden. If people say, "Heil Hitler", YOU say "Heil Hitler."

0:38:270:38:33

I knew of people who turned in their neighbours.

0:38:330:38:37

I knew of people who turned in their neighbours, convinced they were doing the right thing. It's a system.

0:38:370:38:45

Everyone's stuck in the Nazi web. It's quite devilish because... no-one trusts one another.

0:38:450:38:52

In 1941, in the war, I was in hospital.

0:38:520:38:56

In the bed beside me, there was a mother with a newborn baby.

0:38:560:39:01

And foolishly she said, "More cannon fodder."

0:39:010:39:05

She never even made it home.

0:39:050:39:08

They arrested her in the hospital.

0:39:080:39:11

From Professor Moritz, Nora learned the darker side of recent German history...

0:39:110:39:18

How German Jews were being victimised, how trade unions had been banned,

0:39:210:39:27

how, despite the economic boom, with no-one to argue their case, workers' take-home pay had fallen.

0:39:270:39:34

How the professions were being stripped of non-Nazis:

0:39:340:39:39

civil servants, doctors, teachers, judges...

0:39:390:39:43

losing their jobs unless they toed the Nazi line.

0:39:430:39:47

Many refused. One such was Professor Moritz himself.

0:39:470:39:52

Oh, I thought you knew! He's not allowed to give lectures any more.

0:39:520:39:57

-He has a few private students, that's all.

-He never told me.

-Yes, well...

0:39:570:40:03

And day by day, his private students desert him.

0:40:030:40:07

-He should have retired long ago. He's got money. He can still pay the rent.

-But he was one of the best!

0:40:070:40:16

-Why would they sack him?

-It isn't usual to question acts of government here. It's close to treason.

0:40:160:40:22

But didn't ANYONE protest? His friends at the university?

0:40:220:40:26

They took a petition to the Ministry, who told them that presenting a petition was a serious act.

0:40:260:40:33

-All but two had the sense to leave.

-And the two that stayed?

0:40:330:40:37

They were beaten senseless.

0:40:370:40:40

One was a fine organist at one of our biggest churches. I've heard that his hands are ruined.

0:40:400:40:47

So much for my cheerful, festive Germany.

0:40:490:40:53

It made me so angry. I remember standing there on the stairwell, my hand clutching the banister...

0:40:530:41:01

And I just wanted to SCREAM at her! "Stop it! Stop it! Stop the broadcasts! Halt the parades!

0:41:010:41:08

"Tear down the banners, all red like blood. Stop the chanting!

0:41:080:41:13

"And please, please, treat this insane man who thinks he's Fuhrer in some asylum somewhere!"

0:41:130:41:19

But she just fixed me with this infinitely reasonable smile.

0:41:190:41:24

'And said...'

0:41:240:41:26

You mustn't judge ours as a bad government. We need to be ruled hard until things are sorted out.

0:41:260:41:34

We'd have gone Communist if the Nazis hadn't saved us.

0:41:340:41:38

And the Fuhrer is good and fine to all who willingly obey.

0:41:380:41:43

And he knows that we must be united

0:41:440:41:47

in order to regain our place among the strong nations of the world.

0:41:470:41:53

"To regain our place among the strong nations of the world." Hitler's seductive promise.

0:41:580:42:05

The Versailles Treaty had left Germany weak. If Germany rearmed, the Allies could invade.

0:42:050:42:13

Hitler had called their bluff.

0:42:130:42:16

He pulled out of disarmament talks. He brought back army training for all German men.

0:42:160:42:24

And in 1936, he marched into the Rhineland,

0:42:250:42:29

a buffer with France where no German troops had been allowed since 1919.

0:42:290:42:35

'The first actual pictures to reach this country of the German troop movement

0:42:350:42:41

'which have caused the biggest political sensation of recent times. Where does it all lead?

0:42:410:42:48

'To a new war? Or to a surer peace?'

0:42:480:42:51

Hitler talked of peace often. It wasn't a contradiction.

0:42:540:42:58

He said he was arming Germany not for war, but defence.

0:42:580:43:04

Like the hedgehog, Germany would be secure but threaten no-one.

0:43:040:43:09

Many European leaders found this reasonable. Ambassadors were sent to shake Hitler's hand.

0:43:090:43:16

Meanwhile, Germany stockpiled arms, built submarine bases, and secretly trained bombers in Russia and Spain.

0:43:160:43:24

He wants war. Why can't they see that?

0:43:240:43:28

He thinks 1918 is unfinished business.

0:43:280:43:32

So childish! It would be laughable if it weren't so tragic.

0:43:320:43:37

-And are there many who think like you?

-No.

0:43:370:43:42

I think most would cheer him all the way.

0:43:420:43:46

But I'll tell you something.

0:43:460:43:49

Each time he takes a gamble - announcing National Service, marching into the Rhineland...

0:43:490:43:57

Beforehand, each time, there were arrests.

0:43:570:44:01

Pacifists and so on, taken to the camps.

0:44:010:44:05

Everyone knows someone who knows someone who's disappeared. Just a little terror.

0:44:050:44:12

But would they do this

0:44:120:44:15

if they truly believed we all supported them?

0:44:150:44:19

CHEERING

0:44:190:44:22

But Hitler did have the support of the great majority.

0:44:220:44:27

Maybe not for war, not at first.

0:44:270:44:30

But Hitler convinced the German people war would make Germany strong.

0:44:300:44:36

And after so many humiliations, he fed a deep desire for revenge.

0:44:360:44:41

By 1938, the year Nora Waln left for England,

0:44:430:44:48

Germany was on a war footing.

0:44:480:44:50

They say that their army is the most powerful ever seen. I don't think they're bragging.

0:44:520:45:00

When Germans do something, they do it well.

0:45:000:45:04

They have a million men trained to fight, more in reserve,

0:45:040:45:09

and every resource in Germany at their disposal: arms factories, shipyards working day and night...

0:45:090:45:15

miners on 14-hour shifts.

0:45:150:45:18

They're cutting down the park railings, rationing the butter... whipped cream...white bread...

0:45:180:45:25

Personal freedom sacrificed.

0:45:250:45:28

-Prosit!

-GRAMOPHONE PLAYS JAUNTY TUNE

0:45:280:45:32

-Oh, go on, then. One more. Why not?

-You've learned how good Germany is!

0:45:320:45:37

-I hope you have a good journey. It's been great having you here.

-You've been really lovely!

-Thank you.

0:45:370:45:45

-To Nora!

-Nora!

-A wonderful guest!

0:45:450:45:48

-To Hitler.

-Heil Hitler!

0:45:500:45:53

'The day I left was the Fuhrer's birthday.'

0:45:530:45:57

April 20th, 1938.

0:45:570:45:59

Parades in every town, just like the day I arrived. Flags, cheering crowds...

0:45:590:46:05

But this time, too, tanks and armoured trucks.

0:46:050:46:10

I was a bit the worse for wear. The night before, they had sent me off - Erich and Ursula -

0:46:100:46:17

toasting me, toasting Germany... toasting Hitler.

0:46:170:46:21

-CLOCK TICKING

-I stayed very quiet.

0:46:210:46:25

'I don't think they noticed.'

0:46:250:46:28

It's as if the working strength of every man, woman and child

0:46:280:46:33

is power concentrated in the Fuhrer's fist! And with that...

0:46:330:46:38

he carves our future!

0:46:380:46:41

HOW our people forces its way upwards is unimportant.

0:46:410:46:46

But the goal...is magnificent!

0:46:460:46:49

And you know...I don't think it was the drink that made their faces glow with such radiance.

0:46:530:47:01

On the night of April 13th, 1944, I escaped from Germany.

0:47:160:47:22

I had been hiding in Freiburg for nearly a year - forged papers, forged ration cards.

0:47:220:47:28

Some people I knew put me in touch with a courier.

0:47:280:47:33

For a fee he would help you to cross the border to Switzerland.

0:47:330:47:38

He took my money, we walked, I don't know how long, I was close to collapse.

0:47:380:47:44

And then he left me.

0:47:440:47:48

He said, "Follow the stream. There's a customs house.

0:47:480:47:53

"There'll be no light, but you'll find it."

0:47:530:47:57

I felt...between two worlds.

0:47:590:48:03

I'd lost all sense of time and place.

0:48:030:48:07

I kept falling, but felt nothing.

0:48:080:48:11

And then, at last, I stumbled

0:48:130:48:16

and there was concrete, and such a pain in my leg.

0:48:160:48:20

-'I was aware of a man coming out of a doorway.'

-Wer ist da?

0:48:210:48:27

I asked him where I was.

0:48:270:48:30

Sagen Sie mir gleich, wo ich bin.

0:48:300:48:33

Seien Sie ruhig. Sie sind in der Schweiz. Warten Sie, ich komme.

0:48:330:48:38

And he said, "You are in Switzerland. You are safe. It's all right, I'm coming."

0:48:380:48:45

And Germany was behind me for ever.

0:48:460:48:49

This is the story of the Nazi persecution of the Jews,

0:48:550:48:59

as told through the autobiography of one woman, Elsbeth Rosenfeld.

0:48:590:49:05

Elsbeth was Christian, but her father and her husband were Jewish.

0:49:070:49:12

Had she been caught escaping, she would have faced arrest, imprisonment, almost certain death,

0:49:120:49:21

a fate shared by the many million victims of Nazi racism.

0:49:210:49:26

Yes, please, as soon as you can.

0:49:290:49:32

She's from Germany, I think.

0:49:320:49:35

'The customs man telephoned for a doctor and gave me some brandy, and then we waited.'

0:49:350:49:42

He's very busy, but he'll be here as soon as he can.

0:49:420:49:46

'I don't know why, he didn't seem to want me to fall asleep,

0:49:460:49:52

'so he kept asking questions.

0:49:520:49:54

'And I found myself telling him everything.'

0:49:540:49:59

The whole story.

0:49:590:50:01

Is it too painful to talk about?

0:50:030:50:05

No, no. Strangely, quite the opposite.

0:50:070:50:11

'Because, you see,

0:50:130:50:16

'to tell my story meant I was alive. It meant I knew how the ending went.'

0:50:160:50:22

And the ending was me, there, talking to this foreigner.

0:50:220:50:27

For so many years I'd been terrified the ending might be...

0:50:270:50:32

quite different.

0:50:320:50:35

CHANTING NAZI SLOGANS

0:50:370:50:41

Elsbeth's story begins in 1933.

0:50:460:50:49

The Nazis had swept to power. Their stormtroopers

0:50:520:50:57

were protected by the government.

0:50:570:50:59

One of their favourite excesses, the persecution of Germany's Jews, was now government policy.

0:50:590:51:07

There were arrests, beatings. Stormtroopers urged people not to shop in Jewish stores.

0:51:090:51:17

It seems so long ago.

0:51:230:51:26

I remember...the shock.

0:51:260:51:29

Yes, but this explosion of hatred. It was so overdramatic. I couldn't take it seriously.

0:51:290:51:37

I remember...

0:51:370:51:39

I was a social worker in the prison services.

0:51:390:51:43

I had my hat on, I was on my way out the door and the director phoned. He said,

0:51:430:51:50

"You shouldn't come to work any more."

0:51:500:51:54

I asked, "Why?" He said, "You wouldn't be safe here any more."

0:51:540:51:59

And I remember thinking that was so funny. Of all places, how could I not be safe in a prison?

0:51:590:52:07

Was he a Nazi?

0:52:070:52:10

I suppose so.

0:52:110:52:14

I think that deep down many Germans disliked the Jews, but they kept their hatred bottled up.

0:52:140:52:21

And then in '33, pop, the lid came off.

0:52:210:52:25

For years the Nazis spread the lie the Jews were to blame for Germany's decline.

0:52:260:52:33

Now their policy was to stamp out that Jewish influence.

0:52:350:52:41

Books by Jewish authors were burned.

0:52:410:52:44

Jewish civil servants, lawyers, doctors lost their jobs and suffered public humiliation.

0:52:440:52:51

For Germany's Jewish community, the basic right just to live and enjoy life was suddenly under threat.

0:52:520:53:00

They were ordinary Germans through and through,

0:53:000:53:04

but now they had been picked out, branded un-German, an enemy within.

0:53:040:53:10

Why?

0:53:140:53:16

Deep down it was jealousy.

0:53:160:53:19

The Jewish community was successful. Many German doctors, lawyers, bankers were Jewish.

0:53:190:53:26

The Nazis twisted this success.

0:53:270:53:30

In their propaganda,

0:53:320:53:35

they said it was based on selfishness,

0:53:350:53:39

that the Jews had got rich at Germany's expense.

0:53:390:53:43

It was all lies, but the propaganda was powerful.

0:53:430:53:48

And it fed old hatreds, all long before the Nazis came to power.

0:53:480:53:53

When my mother married a Jew, her family would have no more to do with her.

0:53:590:54:05

They turned their own daughter away. What a Jew did to them,

0:54:050:54:10

I don't know. They saw with blinkers.

0:54:100:54:14

So they never got to know my father's family. They were wonderful people, so full of life.

0:54:140:54:21

And then when my turn came, just like my mother, I married a Jew.

0:54:210:54:27

They were my community.

0:54:270:54:29

Siegfried. This is his photograph.

0:54:310:54:35

Is he...?

0:54:390:54:42

Dead? No, he is in England.

0:54:450:54:48

I think.

0:54:480:54:50

I have heard nothing for so long.

0:54:520:54:54

Elsbeth married Siegfried in 1930.

0:54:580:55:00

Five years later, such a union would have been impossible.

0:55:000:55:05

TRANSLATION: "Marriages between Jews and German citizens, or those of similar blood, are forbidden."

0:55:070:55:15

The Marriage Law, one of the Nuremberg Decrees of 1935,

0:55:180:55:23

was aimed at protecting the purity of German blood.

0:55:230:55:29

The Nazis divided people into racial types.

0:55:290:55:33

They said Germans were descended from the Aryan race.

0:55:330:55:39

This propaganda film shows Aryans of old -

0:55:390:55:43

the Teutonic knights, supposedly the root of all German culture and nobility.

0:55:430:55:50

Pure Aryan Germans could be recognised from their blond hair and blue eyes.

0:55:510:55:57

It was all a fantasy, but the fantasy was dressed up as science.

0:55:590:56:05

Germans were being taught to think of other races as less than perfect.

0:56:050:56:11

And the German people bought the lie.

0:56:110:56:15

Signs cropped up. "Jews not wanted here."

0:56:150:56:20

With the Nuremberg Decrees, this discrimination was set down in stone.

0:56:200:56:26

German Jews lost their citizenship.

0:56:280:56:31

They lost the right even to call themselves German.

0:56:310:56:35

And yet, you know, the funny thing, how losing your citizenship hurts less

0:56:350:56:42

than those silly, petty details -

0:56:420:56:45

not being able to sit down in a tram,

0:56:450:56:49

public benches painted yellow, set aside for Jews only. I would not have sat there for my soul!

0:56:490:56:57

-In any case, you're not Jewish.

-But I'm not Aryan either.

0:56:570:57:02

Half and half. It was so confusing.

0:57:020:57:06

They call it a science. They like to think it's so clear-cut, but...

0:57:060:57:11

I had a friend. He was Jewish, but tall and blond.

0:57:130:57:18

I went with him past a restaurant. There was a big sign, "Jews keep out!"

0:57:180:57:24

And he said, "Watch this."

0:57:240:57:27

He strolled in, he flirted with a waitress.

0:57:270:57:31

When she brought his food, he said, "Oh, sorry, I didn't see the sign." And he just left,

0:57:310:57:38

leaving her shaking in anger.

0:57:380:57:41

After Kristallnacht, they took him away.

0:57:420:57:46

The Nazis never like to be mocked.

0:57:470:57:50

Kristallnacht, the "night of broken glass",

0:57:530:57:57

was on November 9th, 1938.

0:57:570:57:59

It was a pogrom, an organised attack on German Jews.

0:58:000:58:05

Across Germany, 100 synagogues were burned down, 300 Jews were killed.

0:58:080:58:16

30,000 were rounded up, mostly men, to spend a week in holding camps.

0:58:180:58:24

A taste of worse to come.

0:58:270:58:30

Our house was burned down.

0:58:370:58:39

I remember walking through the streets, glass under our feet, not knowing where we'd sleep.

0:58:390:58:46

It was the morning after. They were still smashing windows.

0:58:460:58:51

We had to dodge into the doorways.

0:58:510:58:54

There were vans of stormtroopers.

0:58:560:58:58

They'd draw up, arrest people and take them to the camp at Dachau.

0:58:580:59:03

It was one of the most terrifying days ever.

0:59:030:59:07

Where did you sleep?

0:59:120:59:15

There was a grocer that we knew.

0:59:190:59:21

At first she said, "There is no room, but come in. Wait for my husband."

0:59:210:59:28

And then her husband didn't return.

0:59:280:59:31

And neither did her son, so there WAS room.

0:59:310:59:35

I think that one of the most terrifying things about Kristallnacht

0:59:370:59:44

was knowing suddenly there was no more hope.

0:59:440:59:48

For so long we said, "It'll be all right."

0:59:480:59:52

But now it was like a war had been declared.

0:59:520:59:56

In the year that followed, a third of the Jews still in Germany left the country

1:00:011:00:08

for America, Palestine, the United Kingdom, anywhere that would take them.

1:00:081:00:15

The Nazis made it as hard to leave as it was to stay.

1:00:191:00:23

They could take nothing with them and what they left behind was taken by the government.

1:00:231:00:31

Other countries put limits on refugees. Queues at foreign embassies stretched round the block.

1:00:311:00:39

One of those lucky enough to get an exit visa was Elsbeth's husband, but Elsbeth's papers never arrived.

1:00:391:00:46

We had promised that we would never be apart.

1:00:471:00:51

We hadn't in all our marriage, not for more than two days.

1:00:511:00:56

My husband said, "I won't go without you."

1:00:561:01:00

Is that too tight?

1:01:001:01:04

No... No.

1:01:041:01:07

But he wasn't strong. He wasn't coping well with the humiliations.

1:01:111:01:16

And so I begged.

1:01:161:01:19

"Go!"

1:01:201:01:22

If I'd known then how long we were to part, I'm not sure that I would have had the strength.

1:01:221:01:29

In the two years that followed Siegfried's departure in 1939, Hitler took Germany to war -

1:01:321:01:40

against the Allies in Europe and Russia in the east.

1:01:401:01:44

For all Germans, the war meant tightening their belts,

1:01:471:01:52

but for Germany's Jews, the suffering was the hardest.

1:01:521:01:57

This footage is logged as Film Number 28 in the Stuttgart Archives. It was shot

1:02:071:02:14

on October 30th, 1941,

1:02:141:02:17

as part of a war diary the city had commissioned.

1:02:171:02:21

And it shows "Delivery Day" at the Jew Shop.

1:02:211:02:26

After the war,

1:02:271:02:29

a Stuttgart Jew called Frederick Marks viewed this snatch of film.

1:02:291:02:35

He pinpointed the secret policemen caught idling on camera.

1:02:351:02:40

But more than that, he questioned their staging of events.

1:02:401:02:45

"Any claim that Jews received the same rations

1:02:451:02:50

"as the rest was propaganda. We had meat till '42, then that was stopped.

1:02:501:02:55

"There were no eggs. If the film shows crates being unloaded, they must have been ordered

1:02:551:03:02

"for the camera. And there wasn't any oil, but the film shows plenty.

1:03:021:03:07

"Lying is such hard work."

1:03:101:03:13

Since 1939, new laws had increasingly hemmed in the Jews.

1:03:161:03:21

Shops like these were now the only places where the Jewish community could buy food.

1:03:211:03:27

For some, it meant a six-mile walk every day from the outer suburbs.

1:03:271:03:32

They weren't allowed on the trams. They weren't allowed radios, pets, typewriters...

1:03:331:03:40

They had special identity cards stamped "J" for Jew.

1:03:401:03:45

And most humiliating, a law decreed two months before this film was shot

1:03:471:03:54

all Jews in public had to wear a yellow Star of David.

1:03:541:03:59

I would walk through the streets of Munich with a star on my coat like a leper,

1:04:001:04:07

ringing his bell,

1:04:071:04:10

unclean.

1:04:101:04:13

Once a woman spat in my face.

1:04:131:04:15

You have to look straight through people like that without seeing them

1:04:191:04:25

or how could you bear it?

1:04:251:04:28

During these months, Elsbeth Rosenfeld was in a ghetto in Munich.

1:04:301:04:36

Ghettos were special areas where Jews were kept apart from Aryan Germans.

1:04:361:04:42

Elsbeth's was crowded, but comfortable enough - a converted convent, six women to a room.

1:04:421:04:49

In the east, in the countries Germany had invaded,

1:04:501:04:55

Jews had also been gathered in ghettos.

1:04:551:04:59

Here the conditions were terrible.

1:05:011:05:04

600,000 ghettoed Jews died

1:05:081:05:11

of disease and starvation.

1:05:111:05:14

By conquering the east,

1:05:191:05:21

the Nazis increased the number of people from "inferior races"

1:05:211:05:27

under their control, all to be made to suffer by the German master race.

1:05:271:05:32

The gypsies of Hungary and Rumania,

1:05:321:05:35

the Slavs...

1:05:351:05:37

..and the Jews of eastern Europe.

1:05:411:05:44

Three million in Poland,

1:05:441:05:47

four and a half million in Russia.

1:05:471:05:49

Ghettos were one solution,

1:05:501:05:53

but by the end of 1941, another final solution had begun -

1:05:531:05:59

the mass murder of the Jews of Europe.

1:05:591:06:03

Thousands of German Jews from Stettin were taken to Lublin in Poland.

1:06:071:06:13

We used to send food parcels and in return we got letters.

1:06:131:06:19

And then the letters stopped and the rumours started.

1:06:191:06:24

And then in the spring of '42 it was our turn.

1:06:241:06:28

We were taken to a barrack at the railway...

1:06:291:06:33

and then two nights waiting.

1:06:341:06:37

And then from the barracks to a railway embankment.

1:06:381:06:42

There were Nazis there. I think they had gathered to see some sort of show -

1:06:421:06:49

Jews wailing and begging to stay,

1:06:491:06:52

but we had a dignity which made my heart overflow with respect.

1:06:521:06:57

And then a whistle.

1:06:571:07:00

WHISTLE BLOWS

1:07:001:07:02

And then a voice calling my name.

1:07:021:07:05

'Rosenfeld! Rosenfeld!

1:07:051:07:09

'Gestapoausweis!'

1:07:091:07:11

And they told me,

1:07:131:07:15

"You don't go.

1:07:151:07:17

"You stay."

1:07:171:07:19

And I didn't know what to say.

1:07:191:07:23

I wanted to go with my friends, whatever they were to face.

1:07:231:07:27

But the Nazis wanted me in a ghetto helping.

1:07:271:07:32

It was unbearable.

1:07:341:07:36

So I went back to my friends and they said, "What did they want?"

1:07:381:07:43

And...

1:07:441:07:46

I think when they saw the tears streaming down my face, something broke in them too.

1:07:461:07:53

All the sorrow they'd held back

1:07:541:07:57

and the anger.

1:07:571:07:59

They hugged me.

1:08:031:08:05

I murmured blessings.

1:08:051:08:08

Some swore.

1:08:091:08:11

But then again a whistle...

1:08:131:08:17

Did you ever hear from them?

1:08:241:08:27

A letter?

1:08:271:08:28

None of the Jews taken from Munich in Easter 1942 survived.

1:08:431:08:48

Some were shot, others were killed by poison gas.

1:08:481:08:52

Elsbeth would have died too.

1:08:571:08:59

Instead she went back to the ghetto, stuck it for two weeks and then escaped.

1:09:051:09:12

She took off her star, burned her papers.

1:09:121:09:16

For two years she stayed indoors hidden, hardly daring to exist.

1:09:161:09:21

Then the Jewish Underground helped her to Freiburg and over the Swiss border.

1:09:211:09:27

Another two years later, in the chaos of post-war Europe, she was at last reunited with her husband.

1:09:271:09:35

In all, six million Jews were killed by the Nazis.

1:09:361:09:41

4,000 murders every day

1:09:411:09:44

for four years.

1:09:441:09:46

Fear is the worst thing we have

1:09:521:09:55

and you fight fear, not with hate, but with love.

1:09:551:09:59

Nothing good can come of hatred and bitterness, even hatred of the Nazis.

1:09:591:10:06

But with so many people I could never make them see it like that.

1:10:061:10:11

Using evidence from five people who lived through the rise of National Socialism, this takes a look at why Germany fell into the hands of Hitler and put the Holocaust and atomic bombs into a wider context.


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