The German reactions to Nazi anti-Jewish policies Essay
Source B is a report by a Social Democrat from 1935.
It tells us hat the German people had many different reactions to the Nazi anti-Jewish policy. Some people “don’t take it very seriously” because the country has other matters to worry about; the vast majority of people are influenced and support the policy but the majority ignore or even oppose what’s going on. They don’t agree but don’t say anything to stop it, they are apathetic. In the other sources we can also find examples of apathy.Source c tells us that generally the crowds were “silent”; showing they neither supported or opposed what was going on.
It also says that they seemed “gravely disturbed”. It shows that they saw what was going on but ignored it and didn’t want to get involved. In source D it tells us that the people were apathetic to begin with. He is almost saying that they were ignorant to the fact that this “minor harassment” was anything serious until ‘Kristallnacht’. He says that although the Jews weren’t really liked the public did want them exterminated.Source F tells us that the Jews were accepted into society but after ‘Kristallnacht’ people didn’t really want to know.
It doesn’t exactly tell us they were apathetic but it implies that they were aware of what was going on but ignored it to save themselves. Source G film were two short clips. The first from a British documentary on world Wars and the second part was a Jewish film on the Holocaust. The first part implies that there was an apathetic feeling among the German people. They sympathized with the Jews but did not help.
They ignored what was going on.The second gave more or less the same view, but more that they just stood back and watched rather than sympathized. Source E disagrees with source B as it says that many German people did get involved in killing the Jews It also says that it was the German public doing this, not just Nazi party members. Source C also says that some people did support the Nazi policy.
Gangs such as the Wrecking squad broke into the Jewish shops and burnt them. Also people in crowds were reported to have been agreeing, e. g. : as one man shouted ‘Why not hang the owner in the in the window? and cheered on the killing. Source C also says that some people in fact did not agree and were opposed to the regime and did not agree with the killing of the Jews. In on incident Germans were seen to be making passages through the crowds for the Jews to escape through.
Source G implies that some Germans opposed. We can see this when we see an SA member guarding the entrance to a Jewish shop, turning away anyone who tried to enter. This shows us that even though it was a Jewish shop, customers still wanted to go in.Whilst we have some evidence to support the interpretation in, they all have flaws and limitations.
Source C was written by an American reporting from one particular place. It is on one anti-Jewish and one event. It says that ‘a wave of destruction’ came over Germany. He couldn’t have known this as he was not all over Germany at one time; he was just in one place and for all we know this was a one off situation. We cannot assume that this happens all over Germany.
Source F only implies that all the Germans went along with the policy.It is place – Oldenburg and again we cannot assume this is the same across Germany. It doesn’t tell us how the German public reacted after ‘Kristallnacht’. The source was written in 1985; 40 years after the incident itself and has been taken from someone’s memories. These can be biased and can’t be flawed as people forget aspects of things as they get older and may not remember what actually happened and fill in the gaps with their own beliefs of the incident. Also this source was written by a Jew and so should contain some bias.
Source D was from an interview with a former Hitler youth member.This is a key fact as this shows the source will be limited. He will be trying to cover up what the Nazi’s did and he will pity himself for not knowing what was going on around them. Source E has limitations in the fact that it was written by a Jewish historian.
He uses information that is already secondary (it has been taken from a report in the 60’s and 70’s) and therefore even more unreliable. The information the source based on specific war criminals – Reserve Battalion 101. He is only talking about the Final Solution, which makes the source limited as it is only one policy out of many.It was also the last of the policies; it doesn’t have any other information before The Final Solution. It doesn’t have any other information on any other places or incidents in Germany.
It was written long after the events took place with already secondary information, which makes this an extremely flawed source of information. Source G contains limitations as both pieces of films were made long after the event- over 50 years. The second bit of film was a Jewish documentary and it was all about the ruthlessness of the Nazi’s and is biased. Source B also has many limitations.
It was written by a Social Democratic party Leader who at the time was exiled and so he was not even in the country. He has no evidence to support his claims and is also biased, as he was the Nazi opposition at the time. It was written in 1935, which was before Kristallnacht. The fact that Source B has so many flaws, that it undermines the whole question of assessing how the Germans reacted to the Nazi policies. We need to compare the source to one that itself has no limitations.
Each of the sources has limitations or flaws but this is the case with every source you will get.Ultimately, we haven’t enough evidence to support Source B. If we wanted to fully understand how the Germans reacted to Nazi anti-Jewish policies, we would need a great deal more evidence and much more research on the reactions of each of the policies from every German at the time all around the country. We will never fully know how the public reacted to these policies and we can only go by the information given to us by sources such as Source B, and we have to accept that there will always be limitations and flaws.