Saturday, December 15, 2018

The Kindergarten and the Holocaust

Another excellent post by Ben Goosen in Anabaptist Historians about Mennonites and the Holocaust.
National Socialists murdered 1.2 million Jews in occupied Ukraine, including tens of thousands in the Dnipropetrovsk and Mykolaiv regions. Propagandists avoided reporting explicitly on the Holocaust. Journalists instead portrayed Jews as aggressors who must be stopped. Jews’ alleged victims were Mennonites and other “ethnic Germans.” The very real deprivations and terrors of Soviet rule were thus ascribed to “Jewish-Bolshevik tyranny.”[16] Occupiers seized Jewish property and redistributed it, claiming to redress past wrongs. Jubilant reports of one aid action in Kronau mentioned only that the 32,000 clothing and household items were “for the most part used.”[17] 
The same agencies that liquidated Jews provided aid to Mennonites.[18] Their backdrop was total war. Thousands starved across Ukraine, and the land was pocked with barely-covered mass graves. But Nazi administrators wanted “ethnic Germans” to live happy and whole. “Blossom-white are the dresses and the head coverings of the women and the girls,” remarked one visitor of a Sunday in Chortitza.[19] Another crowed: “The simple church is no longer a movie theater as in Bolshevik times.”[20] Both Chortitza and Halbstadt played host to triumphal delegations of the Third Reich’s leading Nazis, including enormous rallies for Reich Minister Alfred Rosenberg.[21]
[16]: “Der Ruf des Reiches an die Volksdeutschen am Schwarzmeer,” Deutsche Ukraine-Zeitung, June 16, 1943.[17]: “Kleider für 13000 Volksdeutsche,” Deutsche Bug-Zeitung, June 30, 1943, 3; “Kleidungsstücke für 13000 Volksdeutsche,” Deutsche Ukraine-Zeitung, July 6, 1943; “Die Hilfsaktion wird fortgesetzt,” Ukraine Post, July 20, 1943, 8.[18]: Rudolf Rümer, “Volksdeutsche sind unserer Hilfe sicher,” Deutsche Ukraine-Zeitung, August 22, 1942, 3.[19]: “Urlaub nach Chortitza,” Deutsche Ukraine-Zeitung, September 11, 1943, 3.[20]: “Nach deutschem Vorbild,” Deutsche Ukraine-Zeitung, December 2, 1942, 3; “Deutsche Art dringt durch,” Ukraine Post, April 17, 1943, 5. 


  1. check this out:

    This paragraph especially interested me:

    "After the war the idea of “Mennonite ethnicity” blossomed and grew, transitioning from what had been a religious identity. Things progressed to the point where one can be considered “Mennonite” despite not being a member of a Mennonite church."

  2. In March of this year I went to a conference on Mennonites and the Holocaust at Bethel College in Kansas. Ben Goosen spoke there too - I've read his book and other articles on the subject.