His efforts were crowned with success as late as in , when the group was finally officially recognized by the German government as resistance fighters. Refusing to join the Wehrmacht meant a death sentence for anyone who dared it. August Dickmann was one of those inmates of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp who was publicly executed for his objection. They had to wear the purple triangle and called themselves "Bible Researchers" before they became known to the world as Jehova's Witnesses; one of the most courageous and kind-hearted group in the Nazi KZ system, who were well-known of their readiness to help their fellow i Perhaps because of their unshakable moral stance irritated their captures to a great extent, they were subjected to extremely harsh conditions and to the viscious brutality of the guards.
August Dickmann was arrested in for his religious activities and he was 29 years old when his young life has come to an end in front of the Camp-SS firing squad on the 29 September His brother, who was also present as an inmate, described his execution:. The SS were equipped with helmets and machine guns.
Then my brother, with his hands bound, was brought out and stood in front of the bullet-catcher. Then the camp commandant announced over the loudspeakers: "The inmate August Dickmann refuses to do military service because he is the citizen of the Kingdom of God. He says 'Whoever sheds human blood, his blood shall likewise be shed. Turning to my brother he shouted: "Turn around, you swine! When he collapsed, the Camp Officer, a senior SS officer, went to him and fired another bullet through his head. August Dickmann was not the first and far from the last person in the Third Reich being executed for refusing to join the army.
In a militay dictatorship it is not the question of whether but the question of when a man will have to enlist. Let us take a moment to remember those - not surprisingly very few - who confronted with this impossible choice, had the astoudning courage to face certain death instead. The bunker complex - camouflaged as private houses - was built between and with the very specific aim to serve as the command center of the Wehrmacht during Word War II. It was from here that all ground troops movements and field operations have been planned and co-ordinated.
The bunker called Zeppelin was the center of communications, from Next to the Bendlerblock in Berlin, the Zossen HQs were also the working place of many conspirators and thus the cradle of secret plans and anti-Nazi activities. It is recorded in the memoires of Erich Kordt that Hitler intended to take drastic action against what he called the "decadent spirit of Zossen". Following the resignation of General Ludwig Beck in , the conspirators turned to his successor, Franz Halder, to lead a revolt.
Canaris asked Halder to authorise the creation of an Abwehr presence at Zossen for the purpose of easier liaison between the Abwehr and the army in preparation for future coup attempts. One of the men placed here as the agent of the Abwehr was one of the earliest conspirators, Werner Schrader, who committed suicide in his Zossen bunker after 20 July , leaving a note on his table: "I will not go to prison, I will not let them torture me.
Every building tells a story: General Eduard Wagner - the man who secured the airplane for Stauffenberg to fly to the Wolf's Liar to kill Hitler - has shot himself in 'Bunker A4' after the failure of the coup attempt. A6 was the building of the General Staff, occupied by Franz Halder who carried a loaded pistol for weeks in when he attended meetings with Hitler but could not bring himself to pull the trigger.
Field Marshal Walter von Brauchitsch, who - even if hesitantly -was supposed to arrest Hitler at the Reich Chancellery during the coup, worked in bunker A5 until his resignation. Field Marshal Erwin von Witzleben was waiting here at Zossen for the news during the day on 20 July , and the list goes on.
The bunker complex had been destroyed by the Soviet army in accordance with the demilitarization agreement made at the Potsdam conference. Neverthless, the structures of the buildings remined recognizable and the enormous underground system is mostly still intact. I hope my photos will be able to give you a brief impression of the site.
It was in Zossen, in the bunkers of the High Command of the Wehrmacht, where the anti-Nazi conspirators hid their secret documents in a safe. After Stauffenberg's attempt to assassinate Hitler failed, the Gestapo went after the opponents of the regime with renewed determination. A special commission was set up to investigate the events of 20 July and to crack down on any remining resistance. During hundreds of - often tortuous - interrogation sessions, they got closer and closer to the core of the German military opposition.
It was one of the chauffeurs who eventually broke down and gave the Gestapo the location of the safe that implicated so many of the major figures of the resistance and eventually led to their execution. The discovered files showed the Gestapo that the plans to overthrow the Nazi regime dated back a lot earlier than they previously suspected - all the way to The documents also made the connection between the early conspirators and the members of the plot in very clear.
Hans von Dohnanyi was keenly aware that the evidence in the safe was a death sentence to all conspirators and kept asking General Beck and Hans Oster to destroy them. Beck refused; even at the cost of their own lives he wanted to leave evidence to coming generations that there were officers in the German military who not only resisted when Germany began losing the war, but they did so even before the war broke out.
The pictures are from a recent visit to the bunkers of Zossen. At the entrance of the complex there is a reminder on the wall of the civil courage of the German anti-Nazi resistance fighters and in front of it a monument with the discovered metal safe and some scattered "files" around it made of stone.
The day was the opening of the Second World War, the biggest military conflict of human history. Though widely believed, not every Wehrmacht commander stood by idly or offered their unconditional services to Hitler. Organized military opposition was well under way as early as led by Ludwig Beck, the unbending German general who went to every conc By it became obvious that the Nazi leadership will not shy away from aggression to expand the borders of the Third Reich.
When all his efforts ended in vain, as a final protest and as a result of his keenly felt historical responsibility, Ludwig Beck resigned from his post as Chief of Staff in The seeds for his future role as leader of the military anti-Nazi resistance have been sown. Later that night, after the failure of the conspiracy, General Beck was allowed to commit suicide instead of being executed. The room in which he died is open to visitors today in the Bendlerblock in Berlin, where a plaque on the wall marks the place where this extraordinary man has ended his life for opposing the National Socialists and their unjust assault on humanity with everything he had.
On 22 February , exactly 76 years ago, three students of the White Rose resistance group had been condemned to death and beheaded for high treason in the Stadelheim Prison in Munich by the Nazi authorities.
The History of the German Resistance, - iqojekorabyg.tk
In later years, the names of Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst became a symbol of civil courage against tyranny. The White Rose is widely honored in Germany today, many streets, squares and schools named after these brave young men and women, six of whom For the list to be complete, we must add the names of Alexander Schmorell, Willi Graf and Kurt Huber; they were murdered later in the same year. The members of the White Rose movement weren't politicians, diplomats or high ranking military officers, they were ordinary people like most of us.
Their acts of resistance did not - could not - aim directly for the removal of the Nazi regime, but rather to encourage their fellow countrymen to reach out, speak up, and no longer tolerate the intolerable.
In the light of the limitations of their possible impact in the scale of things, their sacrifice and legacy is all the more important. In recent years, Sophie Scholl's bust was chosen to represent all German resistance fighters in the German 'Hall of Fame', the Walhlalla; a place Hitler and the Nazi leadership was obsessed with. What an incredible twist of fate that a young girl who stood against them made it there, in the atrium of the immortal. The White Rose carries a message to all of us that will never be less relevant or less important, no matter how much time passes.
Their legacy will always be a reminder to stand up for what we know deep down to be right, for our fellow human beings, for justice and tolerance. An initial supporter of Hitler in the 's, the German lawyer Calmeyer arrived to the Netherlands with the occupying forces as a member o A few months later an acquaintance has offered him to join the administration where he soon was appointed Director of the department that was in charge of 'Jewish affairs' and responsible for clarifying racial background in disputable cases.
Calmeyer realized that his office provided him with a great - although very risky - opportunity to save lives and he got down to work without delay.
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His first move to shield his department from hostile interference was the choice of his coworkers, employing trustworthy people, all of them sympathetic to the cause. His next step was the creation of a passage through which Jews could be assisted in escaping from the registration trap. That was a painstaking effort and he had to go about it very cautiously not to arouse suspicion.
Calmeyer began accepting fake documents, dubious claims of origin, argued against deporting children and creatively interpreted the regulations to make "full Jews" only "half" or "quarter Jew". They were still discriminated, but at least not deported. That is how he saved Jaqueline and her family, too. The fact that Calmeyer never got caught was down to pure luck; the SS was on his heels on more than one occasion. There is a document in the archives of the Gestapo HQ's issued in August , ordering an investigation of Calmeyer and his suspicious machinations, but the threat of the approaching Allies diverted SS attention elsewhere.
How many people owe their lives to Calmeyer, cannot be exactly determined. Jerusalem estimated it to 3, but there is documented evidence which suggests an even bigger number, between , Had he refused to be part of it though, he would not have been in a position to save thousands of lives. Hans Calmeyer passed away in Twenty years later the Yad Vashem posthumously honored him as 'Righteous Among the Nations' - a recognition only those can receive who risked their lives to save the persecuted. One of the most famous German resistance fighters, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, was first a Christian, second a pastor and a teacher, and rooted in these two was his natural opposition to the Nazi regime.
He sharply criticized the Confessing Church —of which he was a founding member- for its failure to do more for the persecuted. Unlike his clerical colleagues, he offered resistance to the Nazi regime from the outset. Two days after Hitler came to power, Bonhoeffer delivered a rad Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber gained an early reputation as a critic of the Nazi movement.
The more time progressed, the more courageous and outspoken he became. He met Hitler in an attempt to normalize the State-Church relationship, which began to deteriorate as soon as the Nazis gained power. When in the authorities in Upper Bavaria attempted to replace Catholic schools with "common ones" and the Nazi Gauleiter ordered the removal of crucifixes from all schools, Faulhaber offered fierce resistance.
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During the Kristallnacht in , the Cardinal supplied a truck to a rabbi of the neighboring Synagogue, to rescue sacred objects before the building was torn down. Following mass demonstrations against Jews and Catholics, the SA mob attacked Faulhaber's palace and smashed its windows. Faulhaber did not cave in. Throughout his sermons until the collapse of the Third Reich in , he vigorously criticized Nazism, despite the growing number of arrests and deportations of clerics into concentration camps.
Attempts on his life were made in and in After the war he worked with the American occupation forces and received the West German Republic's highest award, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit. Emmi Bonhoeffer is one of the many great examples of how important the wives' role was in supporting their husbands while they were plotting against the Nazi regime.
Her quiet consent, courage and moral stance were invaluable for her husband, Klaus Bonhoeffer, in his fight against Hitler. They married in and became parents to three children. Klaus was working for Lufthansa and was ver He was directly involved in the 20 July plot and although he protected his wife by not telling her all the details, she naturally knew of the plans. Klaus was arrested and imprisoned after the failed assassination attempt in Emmi fought like a lion for her right to visit her husband in detention, and they managed to work out a system to be able to pass coded messages to one another.
He bravely withstood the most terrible torture imposed on him and only gave in when they threatened to abuse his wife. Emmi personally protested to Roland Freisler —the notorious Nazi judge- about her husband being severely mistreated in prison. After Freisler was killed in a bombing, they had high hopes that Klaus might be released. The day Emmi was expecting him to come home, their house got a direct hit by a bomb and she almost died, trapped under the rubble.
The only thought that kept her alive and made her gather all her strength to dig harder, was that Klaus cannot come home and find his wife dead. Certainly, the " Offensive of Truth ", the publicist battle against the regime abroad, caused much more damage to the National Socialist interests than the attempts to assist resistance groups in Germany proper. Far more than newspapers, journals, information services, circulars and bulletins could so far be named only for the Reich- German emigration, mostly militant papers of parties and ideological groups. The more important periodicals, frequently sequences of the former party organs or of reputed politico-cultural journals reached, besides the German-speaking public in Czechoslovakia, Poland, Switzerland, the Saarland and Austria, also politicians, institutions and editors in foreign countries.
Press services, announcements, speeches, book publications of prominent politicians and reports on the personal experiences by persecuted persons contributed to the fact that the political emigration could at least temporarily develop into a serious opponent of the Third Reich in the international public opinion4. With the beginning of the war this activity of the exile parties was almost reduced to insignificance, as had already before the connection to the inner resistance.
Except for Switzerland and Sweden, which prosecuted "illegal" actions against the Third Reich by penal law as violation of their neutrality, a direct fight against National Socialism was a rule only possible in the frame of allied warfare.
German resistance to Nazism
Thus individual members of exile parties tried to contribute their personal share to the overthrow of the NS-regime as members of propaganda institutions, as advisers of decision-making authorities on the war, in the service of the allied forces or in resistance movements of their countries of asylum. The representatives of the democratic parties and the Free Trade Unions however made an organized collaboration with the military enemies of Hitler dependent on a minimum of political agreement or autonomous room for maneuver.
Since the allies strictly refused on principle even a partial self-determined collaboration of German organizations in their battle against the Third Reich, the possibilities for action were extremely limited. Contrary to the first period of exile, the. The ambivalent relationship of the German exile toward the allies had already been present in its position literature at the end of the Thirties. Apart from the Communists with their definition of the "imperialist war", which had until been determined by Moscow, the other political groups too viewed the military confrontation with the Third Reich more or less as a traditional clash of interests between imperialist powers and not exclusively as "civil war between democracy and dictatorship".
On the other hand, however, they assumed that the chain of external successes of the regime could only be broken by the military confrontation with the foreign countries and that the fall of National Socialism through the German resistance must be preceded by setbacks at the front lines as a triggering moment. According to the slogan "For Germany, against Hitler! Until the exile groups saw indeed in the allied declarations on their peace aims a fair chance for the construction of an independent democratic Germany within a European community of states.
It was therefore important to inspire confidence with the public and the parties and politicians of the host countries in the self-generating forces of the "Other Germany". The battle against the " Vansittartist " thesis of the basically authoritarian, militarist, imperialist and anti-humanitarian nature of the German people and its collective guilt for the rise and the atrocities of National Socialism became a main concern for the exiles.
After the Teheran conference at the end of , when the agreement of the powers to the cession of German territory to Poland had become known and plans for the division of the Reich emerged in the discussion, the non-Communist exile groups tried to counter the plans for the cession of territory, the transfer of the population, de- industrialization and dismemberment of the state by protests, memorandums and comments. The insight in the futility of such actions caused the replacement of the anti-fascist period of exile by a phase of democratic patriotism. Although the non-communist parties still considered National Socialism the main enemy, they placed political self-.
To the exiled politicians waiting for their return, the motto "With the face toward Germany" now took on a different meaning. Hans Vogel, the last chairman of the Social Democratic executive committee in exile, confessed at a commemoration ceremony for the German victims of the NS-regime in October : "We German Social Democrats still wish, despite the non-application of the Atlantic Charter to Germany, the collapse of the Third Reich.
But we regard with unveiled concern the circumstances under which this collapse seems to take place. The victory over Hitler is not at the same time a victory of democracy. We are only for the unconditional surrender of the Nazis and their generals. But we are against the unconditional surrender of the German people.
If the plans on the treatment of Germany which are now being proposed in the allied camp become reality, then it is hard to see how Germany's fate will differ from the gloomy picture that the Nazis drew up. We shall fight against it even if, like now, the whole world seems to turn against us! In the same year Siegbert Kahn, member of the party leadership of the German Communists in Great Britain, wrote in loyalty to the new post-war plans of the Soviet Union to the Czechoslovak president- in-exile, Edvard Benes : " We feel deeply ashamed that the German people have permitted the enslavement of the European nations and, until today, have contributed nothing to shorten their suffering.
We assure you, Mr.
President, that we are fully aware of the guilt and the responsibility of the German people. We know very well that the Czechoslovak people will have to take all measures against further German imperialist aggressions. Both quotes illustrate that even before the fall of the NS-rule the anti-fascist solidarity of the political emigration which had been again and again wished, proclaimed or in parts attempted, had definitely fallen apart.
More efficiently than all ideological conflicts of prewar times, the mutual accusations of being guilty for the victory of the enemy over the working class and the controversy over basic principles of the social order and the democratic system, the question of national loyalties now became the separating agent of political exile. At the latest since the "Other Germany" gathered in two separate camps. Also in the Western countries of asylum the Communist party turned away from the tendencies toward a specifically.
German road to socialism and entered a complete alliance with the political objectives of the Soviet Union. What already before had been a firm principle of the Social Democratic leadership became until the end of the war a unifying principle of the Socialist groups in exile : The refusal of an alliance with the Communist party under Soviet influence5. When the military fall of the Third Reich was taking place both camps of German exile had reached an all-time low because of their political failure : On one side the emigrated Socialists in England, Scandinavia, Switzerland and the United States as isolated traditional communities, whom the allies did not without reason initially deny the return home; on the other side the Communist cadres in the Soviet Union and in the socalled "West Emigration", whose political and physical survival depended on how far their behaviour, also in the past, could be brought in line with the Soviet interests.
Actions of resistance and propaganda work had neither been sufficient to prevent the rise of National Socialism nor to speed up its defeat in the war. Lewis Edinger's verdict in his book "German Exile Politics" of therefore might seem to be quite obvious: " In retrospect, it is more than doubtful that the surrepetitious efforts to organize an anti-Nazi revolution from abroad were worth the sacrifices which they involved".
However, considerations of this kind apply to all European resistance movements which gained mass character and material efficaciousness only with the advance of the victorious allied forces. But in contrast to the internal and external resistance movements of the occupied countries, there was no place for the German exiles within a national liberation myth : The new German states were to be constructed on quite different political and psychological preconditions.
Thus the critical question has to be asked, which contents of the history of exile may claim to have had that continuous impact on past and future which justifies their classification as "German politics in exile". The former leader-in-exile of the group Neu Beginnen, Karl Frank, has doubted this quality in an expertise of the year on the exile of the German labor parties for the American Secret Service on behalf of many other observers and fellow sufferers.
He writes : " This emigration is over-aged, it represents the survival of dogmatized trends It is a crowd of veterans of the old parties, who conserve all of their mistakes. According to their wishful fantasies, developments which were stopped forever a decade ago, can be expected to continue after an Allied victory". But this description of the circumstances disregards those learning processes which constitute one of the few elements of emigration history that are truly specific of exile and relevant to the later German developments.
The starting point, if not the precondition, of this learning process was the destruction of the traditional milieu of emigration which had developed after by the German conquest of the continent and the following political " acculturation " of the remaining cadres in Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian host countries. The thinking on the future of Germany that took place there during the last two war years had programmatic results which anticipated the most important elements of the new democratic and social order and which in the long term contributed to its construction in the Western part of the countries by exerting personal and intellectual influence.
The main activity of the exile organizations after was aimed at the preparation of political, social and economic plans and programs for an autonomous German post-war republic. They were intended to serve as operational concept for the democratic forces at home and, after the expected failure of their occupation policy, as an alternative for the Western powers. For despite all the hard conditions. On the other hand one foresaw that the Western powers would very soon get involved in conflicts with the expansive Soviet Union in the Central European area.
Certain revisions of the war result in favour of a democratically-oriented Germany would then came within the range of possibility. The traditional fixation of the Left on the competition for the leadership of a united labor movement was now succeeded by the central question of a future political alliance.
Only by the combination of the free and democratic freiheitliche labor movement with the democratically-minded parts of the bourgeoisie the realization of a modern social order would be possible. As a common basis served the general conviction that private and state capitalism had definitely been discredited by the economic and political experiences of the thirties and the instrumentalization of the economy for the war policy of the Third Reich.
In its place a socialist planned economy was to step which would align its production targets with the consumption needs of the majority; the working population and the consumers would be guaranteed a large degree of codetermination. While in the beginning the left-wing groups still demanded to realize this new order by means of a revolutionary militant party if necessary, the Social Democrats saw their task in convincing the majority of the population of the public weal character of this policy within a pluralistic democracy. To them, it seemed all the more necessary to prevent the revival of class-like barriers between the parties which would endanger the desired basic political consent of the entire nation.
The unified Social Democratic party was to be not only in a position to represent the interests of a majority beyond the traditional industrial workers, but also to open itself in its ideological self -conception to the pluralist principle. Five essential elements of the West German post-war development. The causal strand between these conceptions of the years to and the history of the Federal Republic of Germany will partially remain the subject of theoretical arguments.
The historical relevance of German politics in exile, which goes beyond the archeology of the Wei- marian period and the factography of emigration, has been defined as follows :. Because of their direct contact with modernity [during exile] and because of their deliberate dynamic consciousness they actually represented the intellectually best organized sector of these forces. In other European societies the same post-war co-operation between bona fide antifascists and those who had tended - for the time being - towards the authoritarian or fascist alternatives of the Twenties and Thirties, has been implemented by national solidarity against foreign occupation during the victorious period of the resistance movements.
Germany, however, had been "conquered, not liberated". As a result of this working compromise politics in exile have, for a long time, been excluded from the textbooks on contemporary German history7. For over-all evaluations and bibliography see Werner Roder and Herbert A. Strauss eds. Forschungsbericht, Weinheim, For the literary and cultural emigration see Hans-Albert Walter, Deutsche Exilliteratur , Stuttgart, , , 7 vols.
Ein internationales Jahrbuch, 5, Munich, , p. Ein Handbuch, Munich, Notizen aus deutschen Erfahrungen, in Friedrich Stadler ed. Liste des illustrations Major german and austrian parties-in-exile, [link] Social democratic refugees in France, [link] Geographic distribution of German and Austrian political exiles as compared with the distribution of Jewish emigres from Germany and in the sequences of foremost countries of refuge approx. I The terrorist energies of National Socialism were not only directed against those groups, organizations or individuals who resisted factually to its claim to power in all fields of German public life.
NUMBERS : Geographic distribution of German and Austrian political exiles as compared with the distribution of Jewish emigres from Germany and in the sequences of foremost countries of refuge approx. Contrary to the first period of exile, the 3 WERNER RODER surviving parties and groups during World War II concentrated on the internal discussion and on attempts to influence opinion in the host countries in a different sense : Whereas in the time before the war information on the crimes of National Socialism and the demand for an uncompromizing position of the democracies had been in the center of public activities, the propagation of the "Other Germany" and the question of a future post-war order in Germany predominated now.
Ill The main activity of the exile organizations after was aimed at the preparation of political, social and economic plans and programs for an autonomous German post-war republic. For despite all the hard conditions WERNER RODER which Washington and London planned to dictate to the conquered Germany, the long-term perspectives for the future lay in the view of the Social Democratic leadership in an alliance with the Western democracies : On the one hand they placed their expectations into the economic and political pressure for a federation of the Central and Western European states, which would sooner or later lead to the incorporation of the German polity which would in this manner become a partner.
Five essential elements of the West German post-war development GERMAN POLITICS IN EXILE, are contained in the planning work of these war years which I have labeled as the post-anti-fascist period of political exile : - The Social Democratic People's Party, whose ideological and social spectrum should be wide enough to unite socialist and bourgeois democrats under concrete political objective - the autonomous unified trade union for the representation of the economic interests of the wage earners on a politico-economic level and by politico-economic means; - the precondition of a positive political fundamental consent in parties and population as a basis for a viable republic after Hitler; connected with it - the refusal of a class alliance or a political unity of action with a Communist party that follows Leninist principles and finally - the political, economic and cultural orientation of the future Germany toward Western Europe.