First: 1932 Registering All Firearms : Weimar Republic
Second: 1933 Nazi’s use registration to track down ‘Enemies of the State’ Jews and collect their guns
Third: 1938 November 9th – 10th: Having confiscated Jewish guns Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) begins
Fourth: 2013 Will history repeat in America for the Tea Party by the O administration?
BY HALBROOK in the Washington Times : What made the Nazi Holocaust possible? Gun control
This week marks the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of the Broken Glass, the Nazi pogrom against Germany ’s Jews on Nov. 9-10, 1938. Historians have documented most everything about it except what made it so easy to attack the defenseless Jews without fear of resistance. Their guns were registered and thus easily confiscated.
To illustrate, turn the clock back further and focus on just one victim, a renowned German athlete. Alfred Flatow won first place in gymnastics at the 1896 Olympics . In 1932, he dutifully registered three handguns, as required by a decree of the liberal Weimar Republic. The decree also provided that in times of unrest, the guns could be confiscated. The government gullibly neglected to consider that only law-abiding citizens would register, while political extremists and criminals would not. However, it did warn that the gun-registration records must be carefully stored so they would not fall into the hands of extremists.
The ultimate extremist group, led by Adolf Hitler , seized power just a year later, in 1933. The Nazis immediately used the firearms-registration records to identify, disarm and attack “enemies of the state,” a euphemism for Social Democrats and other political opponents of all types. Police conducted search-and-seizure operations for guns and “subversive” literature in Jewish communities and working-class neighborhoods.
Jews were increasingly deprived of more and more rights of citizenship in the coming years. The Gestapo cautioned the police that it would endanger public safety to issue gun permits to Jews . Hitler faked a show of tolerance for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, but Flatow refused to attend the reunion there of former champions. He was Jewish and would not endorse the farce.
Flatow walked into a Berlin police station to comply with the command and was arrested on the spot, as were other Jews standing in line. The arrest report confirmed that his pistols were duly registered, which was obviously how the police knew he had them. While no law prohibited a Jew from owning guns, the report recited the Nazi mantra: “Jews in possession of weapons are a danger to the German people.” Despite his compliance, Flatow was turned over to the Gestapo and died later in the Theresienstadt concentration camp,
People aware of this history are concerned about the public pronouncements by the 2008-2016 United States Administration, saying that ‘Tea Party’ people are Bible waving, intolerant Christian, gun toting terrorists.
This scenario took place all over Germany — firearms were confiscated from all Jews registered as gun owners. As this was occurring, a wholly irrelevant event provided just the excuse needed to launch a violent attack on the Jewish community: A Polish teenager who was Jewish shot a German diplomat in Paris.The stage was set to instigate Kristallnacht, a carefully orchestrated Nazi onslaught against the entire Jewish community in Germany that horrified the world and even the German public.
Under the pretense of searching for weapons, Jewish homes were vandalized, businesses ransacked and synagogues burned. Jews were terrorized, beaten and killed. Orders were sent to shoot anyone who resisted.
SS head Heinrich Himmler decreed that possession of a gun by a Jew was punishable by 20 years in a concentration camp. An estimated 20,000 Jewish men were thrown into such camps for this reason or just for being Jewish. The Jewish community was then held at ransom to pay for the damage done by the Nazis.
These horrific events were widely reported in the American media, such as The New York Times. After Hitler launched World War II, the United States made preparations in case it was dragged into the conflict. Just before the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress passed a law noting the Gestapo methods and declaring that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms may not be infringed by such measures as registration of firearms.
Kristallnacht has been called “the day the Holocaust began.” Flatow ’s footsteps can be followed to see why. He would be required to wear the Star of David. In 1942, he was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he starved to death.
Works about Theresienstadt
- Where Death Wears a Smile (1985), produced by Australian journalist Paul Rea, alleged that dozens of Allied POWs had been murdered at Terezin, where they had been illegally held.
- The Answer – Justice is a book by Alexander McClelland, an Australian veteran and prisoner at Small Fortress, who refuted Rea’s claims.
- Paradise Camp (1986)
- Voices of the Children (1997), American made-for-TV documentary
- A Story about a Bad Dream (2000)
- Prisoner of Paradise (2002)
- Defiant Requiem: Voices of Resistance (2013) (Film of multi-media concert-drama performance in New York City), broadcast on PBS, April 2013
Drama films/TV movies: (featured in particular episodes of the series)
- Transport from Paradise (Transport z Raje) (1962), Czech
- Holocaust (1978 TV miniseries)
- War and Remembrance (1988 TV miniseries, part of Winds of War adaptation)
- The Last Butterfly (Poslední motýl) (1991), in Czech and English, dubbed, with British actor Tom Courtenayand others
- Way To Heaven (Himmelweg) (2005), by Juan Mayorga, an award-winning Spanish playwright, inspired by the visit of the Red Cross to Theresienstadt. The play has been produced world-wide, including London, Paris, Madrid, Buenos Aires and, in 2009, 2010-2011, New York City and Sydney.
- Dreams of Beating Time 1994 by Roy Kift. A play about the classical musicians in Terezin, most especially the conductor Kurt Singer, and the parallel career of Wilhelm Fürtwängler in Germany.
- Camp Comedy 1998 by Roy Kift. The play deals with the dilemma of the German cabaret start Kurt Gerron when he was "requested" by the Nazis to make a documentary film about the "sweet lives" of the Jewish inmates in the camp. It contains original songs and texts from the Karussell cabaret. The play is published by the University of Wisconsin Press in "The Theatre of the Holocaust. Vol 2". It was premiered in Legnica (Liegnitz) Poland in September 2012 under the title "Komedia Obozowa" and subsequently invited to the annual Warsaw Theatre Meeting in April 2013. It won the "Broken Barrier" award as the best play at the 24th "Without Borders" Theatre Festival in Cieszyn (Poland) and Cieszyn (Czech Republic) in June 2013.
- Canadian musician Ruth Fazal has composed Oratorio Terezin, a full-length production scored for orchestra, children’s choir, adult choir, and three vocal soloists. The oratorio is based on children’s poetry from Terezín combined with passages from the Hebrew scriptures. It premiered in Toronto in November 2003, and subsequently visited concert halls in Prague, Brno, Vienna and Bratislava during March 2004. In May 2005 a tour of Israel included Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Karmiel, and it was the main cultural event of Holocaust Memorial Day in Tel Aviv on May 5, 2005. The US premiere took place in February 2007 at the Tilles Centre on Long Island, and at Carnegie Hall, New York City.
One wonders what thoughts may have occurred to Flatow in his last days. Perhaps memories of the Olympics and of a better Germany flashed before his eyes. Did he have second thoughts about whether he should have registered his guns in 1932? Or whether he should have obediently surrendered his firearms at a Berlin police station in 1938 as ordered by Nazi decree, only to be taken into Gestapo custody? Did he fantasize about shooting Nazis? We will never know, but it is difficult to imagine that he had no regrets over his act of compliance. Note: Alred Flatow died inTheresienstadt concentration camp.
Today, gun control, registration and prohibition are depicted as benign and progressive.
Government should register gun owners and ban any guns it wishes, Americans are told, because government is inherently good and trustworthy. The experiences of Hitler ’s Germany and, for that matter, Stalin’s Russia and Pol Pot’s Cambodia, are beneath the realm of possibility in exceptional America. Let’s hope so.
Still, be careful what you wish for.
Stephen Halbrook is research fellow with the Independent Institute and author “Gun Control in the Third Reich: Disarming the Jews and ‘Enemies of the State’” (Independent Institute, 2013).