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Personal Thoughts…An Open Diary

 

 

New Book on Nazi Germany Effects Reviewers Memories

 

Joe Ball | CNBNews Contributor

 

Purposes of a book review often are to recommend a good read, educate, or warn a potentia reader not to waste their time. Screen Shot 2020-06-27 at 14.30.57

In the case of a book I recently read there was another experience – – a personal catharsis .

The book is “The Third Reich at War” (Penguin Press, NY Press contact is Sarah Hutson, 212-366-2826, Sarah.Hutson@us.penguingroup.com).

The author is Richard J. Evans, a Cambridge University Professor of Modern History.

It is the final volume of his trilogy on the history of Nazi Germany.

The volume I recently finished starts in September, 1939, when German troops invaded Poland.

It’s last chapters report on the war’s end and immediate aftermath.

In between – – for over 760 pages ! – – is an inside look at the historical events, presented by personal testimonies.

It is personal to the extent that people from many nations, who lived through the Germam brutalities, genocides and just, plain evil, tell their feelings and experiences via their daily life.

Also included are events and dialogue from actual German, Axis & Allied political & militar leaders of the time.

New Thoughts

My catharsis is a turnaround of my opinion about much of the German population of the 1940’s & 1950’s based on how I felt before, and after reading the book.

I was a PFC, later a Corporal, in the U.S. Army stationed in Wurzburg, Germany, 1952-1953.

My primary MOS was rifleman. My secondary MOS was reporter-writer. I was fortunate in that a reporter-writer, public information soldier was needed and I was assigned to a Military Headquarters’ unit.

At arrival, I was part of the U.S. Occupation Forces.

That designation changed while I was there.

Germany became part of NATO, and their military became new “partners” with our & other Allied Forces.

As “partners” in NATO, we Americans were unofficially encouraged to be friendly and helpful to Germans. (It was a time of high tension with the Russians.)

I accepted the role.

I remember we had assigned to our communications group a photographer-soldier.

He was Jewish.

I’m also Jewish.

He was bitter about the German people.

I was more forgiving.

At the time, I was assigned to a military district encompassing about eight German cities, including Schweinfurt, Bamberg and Bad Kissingen. As a news writer, I was supplying stories to German newspapers, U.S. military publications and hometown newspapers in the U.S.

I mention all of this as preface to my reading the book.

Hindsight

After finishing the book, I now see my 1952-53 experiences with the German population different than I did then.

It changed my whole perspective

The book is fastidious for the history it provides in its 764 pages. (There are an additional 100-plus pages of notes to the chapters and bibliography.)

In short, the presentation is well documented. And the titles to the chapters summarize so well the contents, right from chapter one, entitled “Beasts in Human Form”.

Most of the world today – – those old enough – – are aware of the Holocaust.

In 1952-53, I, in Germany in the U.S. Army, wasn’t really conscious of the full extent and horrible cruelty of the German national-policy murders of civilians.

I knew Jews were persecuted, and killed.

I heard the numbers: Six million exterminated.

Beyond Imagination

The number is so large that to associate is not as strong as mentally visualizing a single live infant being thrown into a grave to die on its mothers corpse. The book paints those mentally- unforgettable mind pictures.

I also didn’t know that Slavic people, (Polish, Russian in the main) were considered less than human and were also slaughtered by the millions.

And the killings! Babies. Children. Women. Civilians. So Brutal. So Merciless.

By “civilized” Germans.

The book gives a chronological, factual account of the war. It is so permeated by the horrors performed and accepted by German people, it makes one stop reading…and just think…

Personal Experiences Here

Yes, as a boy/teenager in South West Philadelphia, I had experienced anti-Semitism.

It came from boys my age, as they walked through our 57th and Florence Ave. neighborhood to their school, Most Blessed Sacrament, 56th and Chester Ave.

We were taunted as “Christ Killers”. And there were fights. Mostly fist and no-harm street wrestling.

Blood was not shed, so the slanders were just one of those things.

Not in Germany.

The book points out that anti-Semitism, seeing Jews as sub human’s, was especially strong by Germans born after World War 1.

In 1952-1953 they were people in their 30’s. And so, were part, one way the other, of the Holocaust.
Now, I wonder how the German translator in our PIO office, a former Wermacht officer who was taken prisoner in North Africa, really felt about me.

Or our office’s German secretary, Analice.

What did their minds really harbor?

While the Germans were the initiating Jew killers, populations of other countries, under German domination fell in line to seek out and butcher Jews. They included vast numbers of people killers from Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, France.

Today, the vast majority of those people are gone, dead, from natural causes, and old age.

“The Third Reich At War” reports, so vividly, on Hitler’s genocidal plans for the racial restructuring of Europe.

My four ancestors on both my mother and dad’s side came from Germany (Olm, Aschaffenburg, Bingham on the Rhine).

If those before me had not immigrated to America in the late 1870’s, this book review would not exist.

Neither would I.

By: Joe Ball, Publisher

Published on January 20, 2011.

Personal Thoughts…An Open Diary

New Book on Nazi Germany Effects Reviewers Memories

By: Joe Ball

Purposes of a book review often are to recommend a good read, educate, or warn a potentia reader not to waste their time.

In the case of a book I recently read there was another experience – – a personal catharsis .

The book is “The Third Reich at War” (Penguin Press, NY Press contact is Sarah Hutson, 212-366-2826, Sarah.Hutson@us.penguingroup.com).

The author is Richard J. Evans, a Cambridge University Professor of Modern History.

It is the final volume of his trilogy on the history of Nazi Germany.

The volume I recently finished starts in September, 1939, when German troops invaded Poland.

It’s last chapters report on the war’s end and immediate aftermath.

In between – – for over 760 pages ! – – is an inside look at the historical events, presented by personal testimonies.

It is personal to the extent that people from many nations, who lived through the Germam brutalities, genocides and just, plain evil, tell their feelings and experiences via their daily life.

Also included are events and dialogue from actual German, Axis & Allied political & militar leaders of the time.

New Thoughts

My catharsis is a turnaround of my opinion about much of the German population of the 1940’s & 1950’s based on how I felt before, and after reading the book.

I was a PFC, later a Corporal, in the U.S. Army stationed in Wurzburg, Germany, 1952-1953.

My primary MOS was rifleman. My secondary MOS was reporter-writer. I was fortunate in that a reporter-writer, public information soldier was needed and I was assigned to a Military Headquarters’ unit.

At arrival, I was part of the U.S. Occupation Forces.

That designation changed while I was there.

Germany became part of NATO, and their military became new “partners” with our & other Allied Forces.

As “partners” in NATO, we Americans were unofficially encouraged to be friendly and helpful to Germans. (It was a time of high tension with the Russians.)

I accepted the role.

I remember we had assigned to our communications group a photographer-soldier.

He was Jewish.

I’m also Jewish.

He was bitter about the German people.

I was more forgiving.

At the time, I was assigned to a military district encompassing about eight German cities, including Schweinfurt, Bamberg and Bad Kissingen. As a news writer, I was supplying stories to German newspapers, U.S. military publications and hometown newspapers in the U.S.

I mention all of this as preface to my reading the book.

Hindsight

After finishing the book, I now see my 1952-53 experiences with the German population different than I did then.

It changed my whole perspective

The book is fastidious for the history it provides in its 764 pages. (There are an additional 100-plus pages of notes to the chapters and bibliography.)

In short, the presentation is well documented. And the titles to the chapters summarize so well the contents, right from chapter one, entitled “Beasts in Human Form”.

Most of the world today – – those old enough – – are aware of the Holocaust.

In 1952-53, I, in Germany in the U.S. Army, wasn’t really conscious of the full extent and horrible cruelty of the German national-policy murders of civilians.

I knew Jews were persecuted, and killed.

I heard the numbers: Six million exterminated.

Beyond Imagination

The number is so large that to associate is not as strong as mentally visualizing a single live infant being thrown into a grave to die on its mothers corpse. The book paints those mentally- unforgettable mind pictures.

I also didn’t know that Slavic people, (Polish, Russian in the main) were considered less than human and were also slaughtered by the millions.

And the killings! Babies. Children. Women. Civilians. So Brutal. So Merciless.

By “civilized” Germans.

The book gives a chronological, factual account of the war. It is so permeated by the horrors performed and accepted by German people, it makes one stop reading…and just think…

Personal Experiences Here

Yes, as a boy/teenager in South West Philadelphia, I had experienced anti-Semitism.

It came from boys my age, as they walked through our 57th and Florence Ave. neighborhood to their school, Most Blessed Sacrament, 56th and Chester Ave.

We were taunted as “Christ Killers”. And there were fights. Mostly fist and no-harm street wrestling.

Blood was not shed, so the slanders were just one of those things.

Not in Germany.

The book points out that anti-Semitism, seeing Jews as sub human’s, was especially strong by Germans born after World War 1.

In 1952-1953 they were people in their 30’s. And so, were part, one way the other, of the Holocaust.
Now, I wonder how the German translator in our PIO office, a former Wermacht officer who was taken prisoner in North Africa, really felt about me.

Or our office’s German secretary, Analice.

What did their minds really harbor?

While the Germans were the initiating Jew killers, populations of other countries, under German domination fell in line to seek out and butcher Jews. They included vast numbers of people killers from Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, France.

Today, the vast majority of those people are gone, dead, from natural causes, and old age.

“The Third Reich At War” reports, so vividly, on Hitler’s genocidal plans for the racial restructuring of Europe.

My four ancestors on both my mother and dad’s side came from Germany (Olm, Aschaffenburg, Bingham on the Rhine).

If those before me had not immigrated to America in the late 1870’s, this book review would not exist.

Neither would I.

Published on January 20, 2011.

Joe Ball, Philadelphia-area publisher, advertising agency owner and radio show producer, has been named chairman of the U.S. International Film & Video Festival judges committee in the Business-to-Business category. The subject materials are videos submitted by businesses, production firms and advertising agencies from throughout the U.S. and internationally. Ball continues to lead American Advertising Services, 29 Bala Ave., Ste. 117, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004, a firm he founded 55 years ago.

Republished by Gloucestercitynews.net with permission of Phillybizmedia.com

Related: Author Joe Ball

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