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View Full Version : Would you have survived in Nazi Germany?


Mr. Kobayashi
05-02-2013, 03:26 PM
Inspired by a podcast (http://pilkipedia.co.uk/wiki/index.php?title=Series_5_Episode_4#2._Steve_the_Nazi_Pinup_.281:37:45.29) in which one of the participants feels guilty that they would be just fine in Nazi Germany as they have blonde hair and blue eyes. If you had to live under the Nazi yoke, would you be just fine or are you screwed? Made the poll multiple choice as the options (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazi_concentration_camp_badges) aren't mutually exclusive.

DrDeth
05-02-2013, 03:35 PM
Nope. Every living relative was sent to Dachau as a “political’- those that survived were sent by Stalin to his concentration camps. None ever came out. From a few letters that got out, the family was “protected’ by the heirs to the Austro-Hungarian Empire while in Dachau, but that didn’t help when Stalin took over.

randomface
05-02-2013, 03:42 PM
So how would a non-Aryan non-Jewish mechanical engineer who is too narcoleptic to serve in the military fare?

silenus
05-02-2013, 03:48 PM
Probably. Given my last name, I might even prosper. :p

Czarcasm
05-02-2013, 03:49 PM
Probably not-minimum of three badges for me.

MrDibble
05-02-2013, 03:50 PM
I'm an anarchist, a pacifist and non-white (not sure how they were classified). I likely wouldn't have survived.

Mr. Kobayashi
05-02-2013, 03:50 PM
I'd be screwed - while physically I might be all right, I don't think I resist could keep my mouth shut about affairs and would sooner or later mention the wrong thing with the wrong person listening. I'd probably also resist being conscripted, giving me a black/red badge for the camps. Obviously if the authorities know of your modern liberal sensibilities you're in big trouble, so the question there is how much you can keep quiet.

I had to shorten the options for the poll; for example the Black Triangle also includes alcoholics, vagrants and prostitutes - see the OP link in for the full list of the persecuted elements of German society.

@ randomface; don't think being narcoleptic would necessarily get you off the hook (see the Stomach Division (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/70th_Infantry_Division_%28Germany%29)) being a mechanical engineer you'd be highly prized for war industry. They even had amputees working in the factories, so if you wouldn't be up for that you've got a black armband like me for being a pacifist.

Zsofia
05-02-2013, 03:50 PM
I like to think I'd be sent down with a black triangle, but really? In real life? I'd keep my head down and my mouth shut, probably. (And they don't come whiter than me.)

AK84
05-02-2013, 03:53 PM
I am muslim, South Asian. Light skinned, dark haired, dark eyes......nah would not have made it.

JohnnyMac
05-02-2013, 03:55 PM
Anarchist, transgendered, vagrant. On psych meds. Three strikes against me, badge-wise.

a35362
05-02-2013, 03:59 PM
Liberal.

Mr. Kobayashi
05-02-2013, 03:59 PM
I'm an anarchist, a pacifist and non-white (not sure how they were classified). I likely wouldn't have survived.

A link on black people in Germany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_in_Nazi_Germany) - not officially classified, still considered racially inferior although bizarrely could join the armed forces (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-177-1465-16%2C_Griechenland%2C_Soldaten_der_%22Legion_Freies_Arabien%22.jpg).

Prof. Pepperwinkle
05-02-2013, 04:02 PM
Pacifist, and they'd probably catch me hiding one or more undesirables. So, no.

SanVito
05-02-2013, 04:05 PM
As long as I can sort myself out with a Lavender marriage, my pale skin and Anglo- Saxon surname will do me well. Otherwise, I'm screwed x

Larry Borgia
05-02-2013, 04:14 PM
As a "first degree mixed race" (half Jewish half Nordic) I might have survived if I kept my head down, petitioned for reclassification, etc. My blue eyes and small nose would help. I'd like to say I would oppose the regime but that's an easy boast to make, a difficult one to prove.

Elmer J. Fudd
05-02-2013, 04:14 PM
What color badge was for smart-asses? There is no way I could last 12 years without making hundreds of jokes about the mental midgets in power or the goons and cowards that kept them there.

Jophiel
05-02-2013, 04:20 PM
Blond hair and blue eyes. I'm of Polish & Bohemian descent which means I'd physically fit in if I lived in Germany. I'm Catholic but not particularly vocal about it and my understanding is that persecution there was more against the clergy than the lay population.

I'd likely get by just fine. I could make some declarations about how I'd fight the power but instead I was the sole vote (so far) for the first option.

Edit: I'm assuming life as a peace-time civilian rather than "Would a bombed building in Berlin have fallen on me" or "Would I be conscripted and shot dead on the eastern front".

Grrr!
05-02-2013, 04:26 PM
Smoking a cigar, drinking a stout with my feet propped up on the table.

Mr. Kobayashi
05-02-2013, 04:31 PM
Edit: I'm assuming life as a peace-time civilian rather than "Would a bombed building in Berlin have fallen on me" or "Would I be conscripted and shot dead on the eastern front".

Yep, just surviving in day-to-day life. If transplanting your life into Hitler's Germany is a bit too abstract imagine if you woke up and found your nation running under a Nazi regime.

Tamerlane
05-02-2013, 04:36 PM
Half-Serb with a fully Serbian name with roots in Ustashe-held Croatia. I'd be toast or at least slave labor somewhere.

OttoDaFe
05-02-2013, 04:43 PM
Racially, I'd probably have snuck into the lower echelons of the Volk (dark hair and eyes, but 100% European ancestry). Despite that, I'd most likely have ended up with a black triangle — not because of any overt actions, but because a) I'm not a joiner, and b) like Mr. Kobayashi, I'd eventually say something in the wrong place and at the wrong time that would call my enthusiasm to National Socialism into question.

(As I said in another thread, one of my college friends had a grandfather who had served in the German army in WWI and emigrated to the US in the 1930s. The grandfather said that living in Nazi Germany was remarkably like being in the trenches: as long as you kept your head down and stayed in the rut that was already there, you would probably survive; stick your head up to see what was outside, and you'd likely get it shot off.)

Mr. Kobayashi
05-02-2013, 04:44 PM
As a "first degree mixed race" (half Jewish half Nordic) I might have survived if I kept my head down, petitioned for reclassification, etc. My blue eyes and small nose would help. I'd like to say I would oppose the regime but that's an easy boast to make, a difficult one to prove.

This is a very good point. There are many who are proud liberals on these boards, but if told by some government sanctioned jackbooted thug that if you don't drop that attitude and fall in line we will end you and your family, how many would condemn themselves and their loved ones for their beliefs?

The reason I think I'd still be screwed is that I don't think I could help keeping my gob shut. There's a section in the excellent The World At War documentary that interviews ordinary Germans; paraphrasing one woman mentions that a man following Krystallnatch saw the destruction and muttered 'shameful', or words to that effect. A party official was in the crowd and demanded his address. Accidentally getting on the 'radar' of the Gestapo I think would be dangerously easy for me.

DCnDC
05-02-2013, 04:47 PM
Possibly. Chinese. Could likely pass myself off as Japanese (they're German, how're they gonna know?) thus an "honorary Aryan". Or as long as I'd not joined the Communist Party of Germany, as many Chinese in Germany did at the time, I'd probably be okay.

However, I'm sure they'd have gotten around to us eventually.

Little Nemo
05-02-2013, 04:55 PM
I wouldn't have been a favorite child but I probably would have been okay. Not a blue-eyed blonde but I'm white enough. Not a German but not a Slav. Raised a Catholic but so was Hitler. A little union work but nothing radical.

Septima
05-02-2013, 05:09 PM
I'm neither blonde nor blue-eyed, but I am an ethnic Norwegian, and descended from three prominent Odel farming families. Which was pretty much the bestest thing you could be to nazis, even better than native german in some cases. Mouth shut etc. I'd be a nazi pet, basically. I am not brave.

That my whole close family were in the resistance at the time *might* be more of an issue, but I'd still live - I might spend the war in a forced labour camp with my relatives, but I'd survive, as they did.

Thudlow Boink
05-02-2013, 05:16 PM
I'm pretty sure my "type" could have survived just fine; I just hope I would have had the courage to do something that would have precluded me getting along just fine in Nazi Germany.

Atomic Alex
05-02-2013, 05:21 PM
That's actually an interesting question, I'm blue-eyed with light-brown hair and in decent physical shape so in that respect I'd be fine.

Of course if I had been born and raised in Nazi Germany I wouldn't be the same person I am now, wheras the person I am now would happily sign up to overthrow the Nazi regime (or regimes like it, I'm kind of regretting telling friends about a year ago that I'd join up if David Cameron took a head-stagger and decide to overthrow the North Korean regime!) but I strongly suspect that 'Nazi me' would be goose-stepping his way across Europe with the best of them...

But then I did grow up during The Troubles in Northern Ireland and never went down the extremist route, or was tempted to do so, so there is that to consider.

geneb
05-02-2013, 05:28 PM
Brown hair, brown eyes, visibly white (technically Melungeon), no delusions of resistance unless they came after me first. I'd probably be fine.

artemis
05-02-2013, 05:31 PM
I answered the question assuming we're talking about "current me" being in Nazi Germany; I think "current me" would get in trouble for holding radical political views, because I probably wouldn't be smart enough to shut up quickly enough to keep off the Gestapo's radar once the Nazis take over. But if I'd actually been born at the turn of the century, I suspect I'd have been fine had I found myself in Germany at that time: I'm of Germanic stock, and I suspect my political views back then would be different then from what they are now. So "turn of the century me" would probably have been a good German and survived just fine.

snowthx
05-02-2013, 05:33 PM
Jewish. If not for my ancestors immigrating from eastern Europe to the US in the early 1900s, I would not be here to write this.

panaccione
05-02-2013, 05:40 PM
Liberal pacifist of german decent. But, in that reality, I probably would have just kept my mouth shut.

TruCelt
05-02-2013, 05:40 PM
Blonde hair - well, it was when I was a child, so - check.
Blue eyes - check
Fair skin - check
African American ancestry -check (but they'd probably never have found out)
Mouth shut - highly unlikely

This is a really tough one. If it was just me I know I'd have been freedom fighting and leaflet distributing my way straight into the camps. If I'd had Celtling though. I've often said there's very little that I wouldn't do for her, and it might've been true there too. I'm heartily ashamed to say that I may have kept my head down for her sake.

:sigh:

April R
05-02-2013, 05:47 PM
My grandmas maiden name on my dads side was Goodman
Http://houseofnames.com/goodman-history/Jewish.
Also my husband would be screwed as well. His mom's maiden name is Jaffee.
http://ancestry.com/name-origin?surname=jaffe

April R
05-02-2013, 05:54 PM
That should have been Jaffe with one e. I missed the edit window

Odesio
05-02-2013, 06:02 PM
A link on black people in Germany (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_people_in_Nazi_Germany) - not officially classified, still considered racially inferior although bizarrely could join the armed forces (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b1/Bundesarchiv_Bild_101I-177-1465-16%2C_Griechenland%2C_Soldaten_der_%22Legion_Freies_Arabien%22.jpg).

I learned something new today. Thanks, Mr. Kobayashi!

Silence Lenore
05-02-2013, 06:05 PM
My mother and her family did ok, so I most likely would have too. Me: light brown hair, blue eyes, pale skin, tall & strong with child bearing hips. But, if you are asking my present day self & my family, no, not fine at all - my husband is half Jewish, so it would be off to the camps.

Trinopus
05-02-2013, 06:11 PM
Brown hair, brown eyes, visibly white (technically Melungeon), no delusions of resistance unless they came after me first. I'd probably be fine.

I might be able to live down my prior record of writings on political topics -- but if they found copies of my old essays, I'd be toast.

Also, what's "fine?" I'm healthy enough, I'd get drafted and put in the army and die under fire at Kursk. Or, as a civilian, I'd die from shrapnel from a mortar round somewhere outside Berlin. Or simply get an infection from stepping on a tack and die for lack of antibiotics.

RandMcnally
05-02-2013, 06:20 PM
I learned something new today. Thanks, Mr. Kobayashi!

Same here. I had no idea, I just assumed.

The Great Sun Jester
05-02-2013, 06:32 PM
I'm a blue-eyed non-aryan, but I think I'd be at least as OK as anyone else who looked like der Führer.

However, if the shit hit the fan, right now, I'd probably end up with a black triangle for being mentally ill. My son would not last 10 minutes because his crazy is very documented, and he has a criminal record. He'd wig out the second someone laid hands on him to the point where he'd be shot in the living room. Likely the entire houshold would be wiped out in the same episode if it happened at home (as opposed to at school), or the folks coming to get him would be wiped out and the household would be on the run. It'd get ugly very fast. If we knew about the camps I think we'd all be killed resisting. Not because I and my family are brave and resisting is the right thing, but because if we know we're targets, any fate would be better than the camps. But I think most people didn't know about/believe in the camps back then. Hm...no, for one reason or another, we would not likely have made it.

alphaboi867
05-02-2013, 07:08 PM
I could scamper back in the closet. I'm white of Irish & German extraction, but am a natural brunet (so was Hitler). Technically I'm Jewish in the matrilineal line from a great-grandmother who converted, but I assume in this scenario I'm just being plopped back in time so any papers I had would be forged anyway. None of my grandparents were Jewish anyway. My biggest problem is that like most American men I'm circumcised so I'd have to come up with an excuse for that.

Miller
05-02-2013, 07:18 PM
White, blue eyes, brown hair. Once the Nazis were in power, I'd have kept my head down, stepped back into the closet, and done my best to survive. So long as no one looks into what I was doing before Hitler took power, I'd likely be okay, but I'd have been pretty vocally anti-fascist and pro-gay rights back when those positions weren't death sentences, so I suspect it wouldn't take much looking to find something to hang me for. The trick would be not giving anyone a reason to look.

Rhiannon8404
05-02-2013, 07:23 PM
I'm of Irish and Scottish stock, red hair w/hazel eyes. I would probably be just fine if I kept my mouth shut.

AtomicDog
05-02-2013, 08:00 PM
Nope. I'm black.

The Hamster King
05-02-2013, 08:09 PM
By myself I could probably keep my head down and get by.

But I'm married to a left-wing Jewish university professor who's very vocal about her politics. We're going to the camps.

Broomstick
05-02-2013, 08:23 PM
Based on the apparent fact that every member of the European branch of paternal relatives failed to survive the Nazis I reluctantly have to conclude that I wouldn't have survived, either, no matter how Aryan I may or may not have appeared to be.

Guinastasia
05-02-2013, 09:15 PM
Nope, I'm epileptic with OCD -- I'd be sterilized for sure. And the funny thing is, I kinda find the idea of the Nazis hating me to be a good thing. (Even though I'd rather NOT have epilepsy or OCD).

Qin Shi Huangdi
05-02-2013, 09:18 PM
As a subject of the Empire of Japan, I'd have gotten along fine enough as an "honourary Aryan" studying history and literature as a student at Berlin or Heidelberg, provided I didn't try to deflower any pure Aryan maidens.

chizzuk
05-02-2013, 09:34 PM
I would likely be just fine. I'm about 60-70% ethnic German and the rest is some mishmash of British Isles Protestant. And I look it. The only Catholic in the family is an uncle who married in, no Jews whatsoever. I'm basically as WASPy as it gets. Not gay, no history of mental illness. And I'm timid and boring and would keep my head down.

VunderBob
05-02-2013, 09:40 PM
Other: I'd like to think I would have been part of the Resistance, in which case I would have had a life expectancy of about 5 minutes.

I am ethnically German/Swiss, on my father's side, and Scandinavian through my mother. Blue eyes and brunette.

samclem
05-02-2013, 09:49 PM
While I responded that I would have survived, my 18 year old self would have caved at any sign of a problem. My 68 year old self would have gone down swinging(I hope).

etv78
05-02-2013, 09:50 PM
Toast: Disabled liberal.

monstro
05-02-2013, 09:51 PM
Hellz no.

Qin Shi Huangdi
05-02-2013, 09:54 PM
Just keep in mind that not everybody who considered himself a Communist, a socialist, or a liberal were sent to a KZ-there were millions of Germans who'd voted for or even been a member of one of those parties before Hitler took power and if the Nazis had persecuted or slaughtered all of them they couldn't have had a functioning country.

Jragon
05-02-2013, 09:58 PM
I have blonde hair and close-enough-to-blue eyes. I'd love to say that I'd be incarcerated immediately for protesting the HORROR and TYRANNY, but really, I'm pretty good at keeping my head down and not making waves if I really need to. Hell, I can even hide most of my mental issues (including a couple that nobody on the planet but me know about). If/when I was drafted I may get slammed for cowardice, though. I'm not a pacifist in that I think countries shouldn't go to war, but I don't think I'm really cut out for the military and no amount of training or boot camp will change that. I guess if I were assigned to guard a concentration camp there's a good chance I'd be traumatized to the point of either suicide or death-by-insubordination, though.

I'm kind of ashamed, but in practice I'm almost certain that as long as I didn't have the misfortune to be tested in the military (and I'll admit, that's a long shot), I'd probably be just fine at shutting up and doing what I'm told, regardless of how much I go "thisiswrongthisiswrong" in my head while I'm doing it.

Fair Rarity
05-02-2013, 10:07 PM
White, non-blond, brown eyes. My mouth would get me in trouble. I wouldn't be standing on a street corner screaming or anything to call attention to my beliefs, but I'd privately say something to someone, the wrong someone. I have chronic foot-in-mouth disease and a strong case of book-smart/street-dumb.

Jragon
05-02-2013, 10:21 PM
White, non-blond, brown eyes. My mouth would get me in trouble. I wouldn't be standing on a street corner screaming or anything to call attention to my beliefs, but I'd privately say something to someone, the wrong someone. I have chronic foot-in-mouth disease and a strong case of book-smart/street-dumb.

Hmm... I am a bit too trusting. Even sans a silly 1984-esque O'Brien/Brotherhood sort of ploy, a lot of "friends" (and even family) were snitching on each other in Nazi Germany (and East Germany after it). I think that may be my undoing.

Fretful Porpentine
05-02-2013, 10:22 PM
Lefty college professor type, so they may have come after me on political grounds (especially in an era when being an unmarried professional woman was enough to make you conspicuous). But, on the other hand, I'm blonde and fair-skinned and reasonably good at keeping my mouth shut, so maybe not.

MrDibble
05-02-2013, 10:59 PM
This is a very good point. There are many who are proud liberals on these boards, but if told by some government sanctioned jackbooted thug that if you don't drop that attitude and fall in line we will end you and your family, how many would condemn themselves and their loved ones for their beliefs?
Well, some of us proud liberals have already had to answer that sort of question...

Beastly Rotter
05-02-2013, 11:14 PM
I'm a 6 foot blue-eyed blonde with German and Danish ancestry: they'd probably have put me in charge of something.

Lobot
05-02-2013, 11:18 PM
Except for the disability, I would have been fine. But, you know, it's that one little detail...

stui magpie
05-03-2013, 12:05 AM
Blond Hair
Green and yellow eyes,
Fair skin

Dunno. Def would have kept my mouth shut in public and as lower profile as I could muster.

Rala
05-03-2013, 02:58 AM
Hmm. Hard to say. I'm blonde, green eyed, pale skinned and of British and German descent, so I'd have that going for me. It depends on how well I could keep my mouth shut about all the other stuff.

I don't think of myself as a communist, but I'm pretty friendly with the Marxist group at my university. We chat whenever we run into each other at same-sex marriage and refugee rights protests, I've attended a few of their meetings and signed a bunch of their petitions, and I used to subscribe to Socialist Alternative newspaper. I am a liberal. Dunno if that'd be enough to get me in trouble. Although if I were in Nazi Germany, I'd either be a hell of a lot more or a hell of a lot less radical, and I honestly don't know which way I'd go.

I'm queer, but I could stay pretty damn closeted if my life depended on it. Plus, I'm female, and it was mostly men who were sent to camps for homosexuality.

I'm also a pacifist, but again, I'm female and nobody would be trying to conscript me. Like with the liberal thing, it all depends on whether I could keep my mouth shut.

Sunspace
05-03-2013, 03:22 AM
Why would the Nazis kill me? Let me count the ways...

1. Jewish grandfather. And I look like him.
2. Socialist upbringing. That's almost... Communist!
3. Bad eyesight. This would probably put me under 'disabled'.
4. Esperanto speaker. Like #2, this would put me in the 'politically untrustworthy' class, if there wasn't a separate category.
5. Had a Jamaican girlfriend. Race traitor!
6. Lotsa depression. Mentally infirm!

Kamino Neko
05-03-2013, 03:39 AM
I'm a queer, pacifist, social democrat, with a physical disability.

I'd be screwed.

I would probably keep my mouth shut about the first three once the Nazis came to power, but that last is hard to hide, and I would be vocally against them before they started killing people, and, well, I don't fancy my chances of nobody making note of that and bringing it up later.

vontsira
05-03-2013, 03:50 AM
I'm dark-haired, but Caucasian -- no Jewish blood in the family, so that wouldn't be a problem. Am apolitical by temperament. Am a coward, and -- even without the issue of possibly putting loved ones at risk -- would have kept my head down and kept quiet (while inwardly feeling distressed about a lot of what was being done). Think I'd probably not have got into trouble.

Assuming making it through the war -- feel that it would have been poetic justice for me to be located at war's end, in the Soviet occupation zone, later German Democratic Republic. Still -- just, however many years or decades more, of behaving in a way for which I'd already had plenty of practice.

Johanna
05-03-2013, 04:43 AM
Gay. I'm so busted.

aruvqan
05-03-2013, 04:45 AM
Yes but mainly because I am a firm believer of avoidance. My ass would be on the first ship out I could book passage on, I am not so 'owned' by my surroundings or belongings that I would not sell everything I couldn't pack and hit the road.

Descent wise, my Mother's side of the family come from Altekirchen and were Anabaptists who bailed out of Germany back in the day for religious freedoms found in the US.

Otherwise, I am a trained inside outside mechanic who would be valuable in the war industry though unable to produce children, and I am stuck in a wheelchair or on crutches because of injuries though I am not certain about the German's 'rosie the riveters' programs. As a female I might instead find myself as a secretary somewhere that wheels are not a problem.

On the whole, I would prefer to run.

Shakester
05-03-2013, 05:06 AM
On the positive side: blue/green eyes, light brown hair (sometimes described as "blond" by people with black hair). Fair skin, tall, thin.

Ethnicity: Scottish Protestant/Irish Catholic... so, not perfect (from a Nazi viewpoint) but acceptable.

BUT: I'm an actual working-class lefty who can't imagine ever ever accepting a right-wing dictatorship. Current politics is bad enough, actual Nazis would be (and indeed are) my sworn enemies. So, red triangle for me.

SciFiSam
05-03-2013, 05:11 AM
Blonde hair - well, it was when I was a child, so - check.
Blue eyes - check
Fair skin - check
African American ancestry -check (but they'd probably never have found out)
Mouth shut - highly unlikely

This is a really tough one. If it was just me I know I'd have been freedom fighting and leaflet distributing my way straight into the camps. If I'd had Celtling though. I've often said there's very little that I wouldn't do for her, and it might've been true there too. I'm heartily ashamed to say that I may have kept my head down for her sake.

:sigh:

Exactly the same here. I'm gay but wouldn't have come out back then. I'm also not 100% white but nobody would have known and there were no official sanctions against Africans or Indians.

My very blonde, blue-eyed, physically healthy daughter would have been the Nazis' darling. Unless she started arguing with them, which is a possibility.

When studying WW2 at school (where she's the only blonde) she got a lot of bizarre hassle for being a Hitler Youth despite being as anti-racist as they come. It was intended to be funny, I think, but I didn't like hearing "Hitler Youth" and "Nazi" yelled at her when we were out (happened all of twice when she was with me, but that was enough).

Obviously, it was nothing compared to what the Nazis did to people but it did strike me as ironic that what some kids took away from lessons about how the Nazis slaughtered people because of their backgrounds was to tease her because of hers.

RickJay
05-03-2013, 08:23 AM
I don't get the thing about blonde hair. You guys don't really think you needed blonde hair to get by in Nazi Germany, do you? I know they idealized it, but in real life, lots of proud Germans had brown hair.

Given your set of assumptions, I might have made it. I'm a white, straight Gentile with no other markers against me. Let's suppose that we're transplanting me back in such a way that today, May 3, 2013, becomes May 3, 1945, so the war's about to end and I'm a 41-year-old German. Would I have made it? Possibly. I am a bit old to have been pulled into military service right away, but I probably would have been at some point in 1943 or 1944, so maybe I got killed in battle and maybe I didn't. The odds are PROBABLY not, but not comfortably so.

Dangerosa
05-03-2013, 08:32 AM
My mother is German and Dutch. I'm a "heads down" sort of person. (Brown hair, hazel eyed German Dutch, but light skinned).

My father has Roma in him - at this point the family has been "passing" since the 1920s, and the other half or three quarters is mixed Slav, but I take after my mother and my father has an Italian last name, so I could have passed.

Now, my Roma great grandparents, could they have passed had they stayed? Don't know.

shiftless
05-03-2013, 08:56 AM
Everyone in my immediate family is blonde haired and blue eyed. The whole family could do a poster for Nazi purity, as long as they didn't include me. I have the eyes but everything else on me is a bit darker. My siblings have always teased me about being adopted. So, as long as my family didn't turn me in I would be OK.

panache45
05-03-2013, 12:15 PM
I've got the double whammy: Jewish descent and gay. (My grandfather's entire extended family was wiped out.)

Mr. Excellent
05-03-2013, 12:45 PM
Jewish descent, but I'd have absolutely no qualms about hiding it, and I'd start doing so very early. (What? I want to live!) I assume there were non-religious reasons for circumcision back in the day; I'd appropriate one for myself. I've got dark hair and pale-ish skin; like plenty of other Dopers, I'm about as "Aryan"-looking as Hitler. So long as I stayed quiet about my politics and avoided religious services (easy, since I'm an atheist), I expect that I'd have a reasonable shot at making it through. I'm slightly too old to be an attractive candidate for conscription; I'd be in trouble by the end of the war, but probably not before then.

Filbert
05-03-2013, 01:08 PM
Don't exactly look classic Aryan, but my all family's protestant English as far back as I can trace, (which is quite a long way), and though there's a lot of mental illness in the family, I don't think it's close enough to tarnish me by association, so I'm OK on background.

I'm pretty left wing and pacifist, but as I'm female and don't have a history of being really politically active, I reckon I'd stand a decent chance of getting away with that, unless I got caught hiding people or otherwise actively resisting.

I have some friends who would certainly be in deep trouble, so I'm pretty sure I would be at least trying to help them, even if I wasn't otherwise doing more than laying low.

Rachellelogram
05-03-2013, 01:10 PM
In my favor, I'm German with a German surname. Blue eyes, light brown hair, pale skin. On the other hand, I'm a liberal pacifist and racism really bothers me. On the other other hand, I'm also kind of a coward loner who doesn't stick my neck out when it comes to politics.

So I probably would have kept my mouth shut and survived based on my ethnicity/looks, but I'd have felt really guilty afterward.

Capt Kirk
05-03-2013, 01:15 PM
Blonde, blue eyed, mostly German ancestry as long as I didn't mention my Native American blood, which is in no way apparent, I would probably be fine. Depending on the situation I would probably end up in the Heer, dead on the Eastern Front.

Capt

vontsira
05-03-2013, 01:39 PM
Blonde, blue eyed, mostly German ancestry as long as I didn't mention my Native American blood, which is in no way apparent, I would probably be fine. Depending on the situation I would probably end up in the Heer, dead on the Eastern Front.

Capt
Your Native American blood wouldn't have been a problem, would it? I had the impression that Germans, including the Nazis, were fine with all things Native American. Aren't Karl May's tales of the American West, with many of his heroes noble red men, a perennial favourite in Germany?

Capt Kirk
05-03-2013, 01:48 PM
Your Native American blood wouldn't have been a problem, would it? I had the impression that Germans, including the Nazis, were fine with all things Native American. Aren't Karl May's tales of the American West, with many of his heroes noble red men, a perennial favourite in Germany?

Maybe, but the Nazis were big on the racial purity thing and I would rather be considered pure Aryan if I found myself in Nazi Germany.

Capt

Anaamika
05-03-2013, 01:51 PM
nm

vontsira
05-03-2013, 02:05 PM
Maybe, but the Nazis were big on the racial purity thing and I would rather be considered pure Aryan if I found myself in Nazi Germany.

Capt
Agree, would have been better for (relative) peace of mind; but as a PP touches on, by no means everyone who in some way fell short of the full Nazi ideal, was slaughtered. If that had been done, a functioning country would have been impossible; and the regime could, in its twisted way, be pragmatic about a lot of things.

BMax
05-03-2013, 03:51 PM
I have some Greek and Native American Ancestry, but it doesn't show. The majority of my ancestors on my father's side came from Bavaria, the rest from Ireland, and there's some Dutch on my mother's side so I'm certain I never would have had trouble 'looking foreign'.
If I was born in Germany around the turn of the 20th Century, I would have gotten out when the Nazis came to power; emigrated to America or anywhere else that would take me. That is, if I hadn't been killed in the post-war partisan fighting.
Had I been born after "The Great War", I'm sure I would have ended up dying on the Eastern Front.
If you were to transplant today-me to 1934 Munich or Berlin, I would have likely said something to reflect my pro-union politics, been picked up, interrogated and sent to a camp somewhere that my electronic and technical skills could be used.

Hypno-Toad
05-03-2013, 04:20 PM
Also, what's "fine?" I'm healthy enough, I'd get drafted and put in the army and die under fire at Kursk. Or, as a civilian, I'd die from shrapnel from a mortar round somewhere outside Berlin. Or simply get an infection from stepping on a tack and die for lack of antibiotics.

Yeah. I'm very WASPy so at my current age (42) I'd have been drafted sometime in the later stages of the war. Hopefully I'd not be subsequently killed or wounded in combat. I'd definitely have been hoping for a posting to the western front.

Mona Lisa Simpson
05-03-2013, 04:48 PM
Well, Im pretty liberal/socialist in my leanings, but I have spent time learning to shut up when appropriate (learning, not entirely mastering) so I might have been ok. My Dad is a Mason so that would have been a strike against.

So if the Liberal/socialist Freemason thing could be hidden, I would be safe. Green eyes, WASP and Nordic lineage (although Great Grandmother was a Red Finn, so maybe not... other side of the family is White Finns) . I'm pretty white bread looking. Good breeding stock, and waring nations need cannon fodder. If political affiliations could be hidden, I would be ok, but I am NOT OKAY with that.

Qin Shi Huangdi
05-03-2013, 07:26 PM
Why would the Nazis kill me? Let me count the ways...

1. Jewish grandfather. And I look like him.
2. Socialist upbringing. That's almost... Communist!
3. Bad eyesight. This would probably put me under 'disabled'.
4. Esperanto speaker. Like #2, this would put me in the 'politically untrustworthy' class, if there wasn't a separate category.
5. Had a Jamaican girlfriend. Race traitor!
6. Lotsa depression. Mentally infirm!

Not sure about point 5, but the rest are probably tolerable. After all Heinrich Himmler wore glasses.

One interesting point to raise though, while in Anglo-American countries circumcision became popular during the Victorian age, I'm not so sure about Germany. So if one is circumcised and gets examined by a doctor or something, that may raise some problems...

Shakester
05-04-2013, 12:36 AM
By the way, someone earlier mentioned being Pakistani: that wasn't necessarily a problem in Nazi Germany. The Nazis were usually quite happy to cultivate non-Aryans who were opposed to the Commonwealth &/or the US &/or the Soviet Union:

Indische Legion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indische_Legion)

Being a Muslim wasn't necessarily a problem, either:
Mulsim Waffen SS divisions (http://youtube.com/watch?v=02dGyzsz-ek)
Haj Amin al-Husseini (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haj_Amin_al-Husseini#Ties_with_the_Axis_Powers_during_World_War_II)

Shakester
05-04-2013, 12:39 AM
And also:
Black Africans in the German Army "Freies Arabien Legion" in WWII (http://youtube.com/watch?v=83b6DSdiSbI)

Donnerwetter
05-04-2013, 02:00 AM
I abhor military discipline and I cannot march in line (literally, not just figuratively). So I'd have a pretty hard time (must have inherited this from my father who ran away when they tried to put him in a uniform in the last days of the war when he was just 15 years old).

vontsira
05-04-2013, 04:30 AM
One interesting point to raise though, while in Anglo-American countries circumcision became popular during the Victorian age, I'm not so sure about Germany. So if one is circumcised and gets examined by a doctor or something, that may raise some problems...
At the risk of being accused of a prurient excess of interest in this issue: I have read that this matter quite often put guys in Hitler's Europe, in danger. On the European Continent in that era, non-religious circumcision was uncommon, and usually done only for specific medical reasons. Nazi petty officials and "enforcers" generally, were often ignorant, and not open to new information -- being circumcised, put one under suspicion of being Jewish, and it was not unknown for Gentiles to be liquidated for this reason alone.

(Moslems are of course circumcised too; but these dorks would have been pretty unlikely to know that, or believe it if told about it.)

alphaboi867
05-04-2013, 04:46 AM
I think the easiest way to get around the circumcision issue is to simply make up a story about getting caught in your zipper as a kid, then shoot off some slurs about "that damn Jew paediatrician" for good measure.

AK84
05-04-2013, 05:57 AM
By the way, someone earlier mentioned being Pakistani: that wasn't necessarily a problem in Nazi Germany. The Nazis were usually quite happy to cultivate non-Aryans who were opposed to the Commonwealth &/or the US &/or the Soviet Union:

Indische Legion (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indische_Legion)

Being a Muslim wasn't necessarily a problem, either:
Mulsim Waffen SS divisions (http://youtube.com/watch?v=02dGyzsz-ek)
Haj Amin al-Husseini (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haj_Amin_al-Husseini#Ties_with_the_Axis_Powers_during_World_War_II)

So my choices are

1) Get cut to ribbons for being a non Aryan, despite the fact that I am of Iranic origin.
2) Be hanged by the British for treason.

Mr Hobson.:rolleyes:

Shakester
05-04-2013, 06:33 AM
So my choices are

1) Get cut to ribbons for being a non Aryan, despite the fact that I am of Iranic origin.
2) Be hanged by the British for treason.

Mr Hobson.:rolleyes:

The Nazis wouldn't have death-camped you just for being who you are. Plenty of Indians, including Muslims from what would later become Pakistan, were treated the same as other Commonwealth PoWs, which was no picnic but was a lot better than the slave labour camps and the death camps.

And you'd have only been hung for treason if you'd signed up to fight for the Nazis: the majority of Indian PoWs didn't.

Nava
05-04-2013, 06:49 AM
Southern European. So long as I managed to keep my big mouth shut, I figure I'd be chugging along with the rest, never realizing that some of the neighbors who'd moved away hadn't hopped on a train of their own volition.

Donnerwetter
05-04-2013, 07:06 AM
The notion of blond and blue-eyed Germans really is a stereotype. For instance, if you go to the South West of Germany, you'll find a majority of folks with black hair and a rather dark complexion; the Nazis were well aware of this. Nazi leader Joseph Goebbels (who was 5 ft 4 in and had a club foot) really didn't look like a Nordic God. And Hitler's hair wasn't blond either.

Shakester
05-04-2013, 07:13 AM
Southern European. So long as I managed to keep my big mouth shut, I figure I'd be chugging along with the rest, never realizing that some of the neighbors who'd moved away hadn't hopped on a train of their own volition.

Franco was smart enough to stay out of WW2, but Spain was a fascist dictatorship just like Germany at the time, and the Nazis played a very active part in the Spanish Civil War on behalf of Franco.

Lots of Spaniards volunteered to fight for Nazi Germany, including an entire infantry division (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Division) and a whole lot of airmen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Squadron).

As a Spaniard you'd have been just fine in Nazi Germany.

Qin Shi Huangdi
05-04-2013, 05:40 PM
The only ethnicities for which you're automatically doomed are if you're fully Jewish or Roma. Slavs and blacks also would have a hard time although it depends on a lot of factors. Otherwise, you would be tolerated and likely to survive unless you have something else the Nazis find problemetic.

CalMeacham
05-04-2013, 06:06 PM
Good question. A branch of my family lived in Poland during WWII, and they changed their last names because it sounded "too Jewish" (there are some moderately well-known people with my last name who are, in fact, Jewish. They live in the US). I don't think any of them were taken during the German occupation.

On the other hand, the Nazis had it in for non-Jewish Poles, too, and they executed almost 2 million non-Jewish Poles in the concentration camps. So I couldn't guarantee that I'd have survived.

Ludovic
05-04-2013, 06:36 PM
I answered both "i'd be fine" and "no - I'm a liberal" because it depends on a lot of factors. Most importantly, how imaginary me would weigh the evil of the Nazi regime versus the danger of opposing it when it hadn't yet consolidated power. After they had, I would try to lay low and figure that there wouldn't be anything I could do against a regime that geniunely had a lot of public support.

However, even if I had been an active anti-nazi liberal in that time period, I may have still been okay, because if every liberal who had simply written letters to the editor and/or attended anti-nazi rallies had been arrested, there would be a serious shortage of workers.

But another wrench in the works is my possible Jewish relatives. I have a great-grandfather with a jewish-sounding name, although he most likely was not Jewish*. My brother also married into a self-described half-Jewish family. Now, neither of these would have gotten me in trouble with the authorities by themselves, but I wonder if added to my attested anti-Nazi feelings this may have made the difference. Especially if someone had it out for me if they considered me insufficiently pro-Nazi (which I wouldn't have the heart to do realistically despite the danger. I'm not good at faking.)

*My dad told me a story about how he had Jewish teachers growing up in New York who were unabashedly prejudiced against him because of his German blood. If he had had a Jewish grandfather this probably would have been different. At the very least, even if my dad had been "embellishing" the story which he is wont to do on occastion, I would have expected him to say "and I told him that I had a Jewish grandfather and would have been considered Jewish by the Nazis, but that didn't sway him at all!".

njtt
05-04-2013, 10:57 PM
If (as I largely do anyway) I had kept quiet about my political opinions, I would probably have been alright. (I am assuming that if I had grown up back there and then that both my political opinions and my general political demeanor would nevertheless have been similar to what they are now. This is, no doubt, a baseless assumption.)

I do have a Jewish uncle, but he is not blood relative, so I suppose I would be in the clear there. However, they might not like the fact that his wife, my aunt (who is, of course, a blood relative, as are their children), converted to Judaism when she married him.

Steophan
05-05-2013, 12:08 AM
Well I'm pale and grey eyed, so physically I'd have been ok... but I'm also a mentally ill bisexual trade union member (much as it pains me to admit the latter in public).

I might have been able to get by, or I might have ended up killed for answering back to the wrong jackbooted thug. I doubt, in all honesty, I'd have been fighting the system from within, I'm sure I'd have been able to tell myself that they weren't that bad.

gigi
05-05-2013, 12:22 AM
White, brown hair, gray/green/blue eyes, of German descent. In theory pacifistic, and liberal on most issues, but the only thing I would hope I would not compromise is being Roman Catholic. I know Catholics were killed but it doesn't look like they were an official category?

PandaBear77
05-05-2013, 12:33 AM
I'm not disabled but do have a mild case of cerebral palsy. That probably would have been enough to do me in.

If not, being a Christian would have gotten me killed, as I would have hid as many Jews in my house as possible.

Bayard
05-05-2013, 12:39 AM
I'm an able-bodied white guy of mostly Northern European ancestry. I'd like to think I'd resist, but really I'd probably keep my head down. I am married to a South Asian. Not sure how well that would go over. Of course, if I'd lived in Nazi Germany, I probably would not have had the opportunity or inclination to marry a non-white.

In the introduction to his great novel Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut writes:
If I'd been born in Germany, I suppose I would have been a Nazi, bopping Jews and gypsies and Poles around, leaving boots sticking out of snowbanks, warming myself with my secretly virtuous insides.

In March, researchers from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum announced (http://nytimes.com/2013/03/03/sunday-review/the-holocaust-just-got-more-shocking.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&) the results of their 13-year effort to catalog all the concentration camps; ghettos; killing factories; "forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named 'care' centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel" in Europe.

They counted 42,500 such sites.

Dr. Dean, a co-researcher, said the findings left no doubt in his mind that many German citizens, despite the frequent claims of ignorance after the war, must have known about the widespread existence of the Nazi camps at the time.

“You literally could not go anywhere in Germany without running into forced labor camps, P.O.W. camps, concentration camps,” he said. “They were everywhere.”


Millions of ordinary citizens knew of these places, kept quiet, and later feigned ignorance. Would I have done any better? I seriously doubt it.

elfkin477
05-05-2013, 12:52 AM
Blue eyes, extremely fair, and red hair. I think I probably would have been fine physically because I know you didn't really need to be blond to get a pass. And though I'd like to think I'd fight injustice, if I was a thirty-six-year-old woman in the 40s, I'd probably have 3 to 6 kids I'd be super worried about to keep me from shooting my mouth off, you know? So...I'd have likely keep my head down.

vontsira
05-05-2013, 01:45 AM
In March, researchers from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum announced (http://nytimes.com/2013/03/03/sunday-review/the-holocaust-just-got-more-shocking.html?pagewanted=1&_r=3&) the results of their 13-year effort to catalog all the concentration camps; ghettos; killing factories; "forced labor camps, where prisoners manufactured war supplies; prisoner-of-war camps; sites euphemistically named 'care' centers, where pregnant women were forced to have abortions or their babies were killed after birth; and brothels, where women were coerced into having sex with German military personnel" in Europe.

They counted 42,500 such sites.


Millions of ordinary citizens knew of these places, kept quiet, and later feigned ignorance. Would I have done any better? I seriously doubt it.

If I'd survived the war, and been in what was to become West Germany -- I hope I'd have had the smallish amount of courage necessary (with worst consequences, being disliked by my fellows) to admit that I'd been well aware of what was going on, but had been too frightened to do or say anything against it; to say how guilty I felt; and to do what practical stuff might be possible, to make amends. But, Mr. Brave I definitely am not -- so, I don't know.

Sparky the Wonder Spirit
05-05-2013, 01:57 AM
I'm ethnically Germanic and Slav, with a German surname and light hair/blue eyes. And I don't tend to be vocal about my political beliefs or affiliations. So I'd probably be fine. I'd like to believe that I would be part of a Resistance cell, or that I'd help hide Jews and get them out of the country, but who can say how they'd act in that kind of situation? People who think they would be good end up being cowards and people who think they're crap end up being heroes.

JustinC
05-05-2013, 09:22 AM
I likely would've got myself into trouble. Some of my mother's Polish ancestors fled from the Soviets in 1920 after one of them, a teacher, was hung from a lamppost for speaking out.

eenerms
05-05-2013, 12:05 PM
My grandparents barely made it through along with my father and uncle. The British almost shot my grandfather. He had maps that he used to get from Antwerp to Lier. My grandfather was a Belgian accountant and scholar, he was fluent in English, German, French, as well as flemish.He was moving his family to Lier because they thought there would more food. A nurse with his group stopped the Brits from shooting him. I probably would have survived if I kept my mouth shut. We come from a long line of survivors.

Slithy Tove
05-05-2013, 12:24 PM
I have a hard enough time surviving in corporate America. I don't relish my chances if the people at the top had the power to kill me, not just fire me. (Imagine if Adolf Eichmann had Excel).

Actually, I'd wind up in the soap dish anyway, having had one Jewish grandparent. The other grandparent on that side was Miskwaki tribe, which makes for a coincidence because the Jews and the Miskwaki are the among the few genocides ordered by heads of state: Hitler and Louis XV, respectively (most genocides have been more spontaneous actions, or ordered by field commanders while their rulers looked the other way).

Annie-Xmas
05-05-2013, 01:58 PM
I have extremely pale skin, so I'd be okay despite my Native American heritage. But my very dark skinned brother would not survive.

DrDeth
05-05-2013, 04:34 PM
I have extremely pale skin, so I'd be okay despite my Native American heritage. But my very dark skinned brother would not survive.

Strangely, altho certainly dark skin might not get you into certain SS units, it wasn't something that discriminated against.

And yes, I know, most of us were raised in 20th century America and would be considered smartasses and too outspoken back then. But assuming you were born back in 1920's or 30's and you wouldnt have the worldview. Hell, even Americans raised back then didn't all have that attitude.

Alessan
05-05-2013, 06:22 PM
If I had been born in the 1920's or 1930's I wouldn't be me, I'd be someone else. The person who I define as "me" is a product of my time and place as much as a product of my genetics. Either I imagine myself in Nazi Germany with exactly the same personality I have now, or I imagine a stranger who superficially resembles me but is not "me" in any real sense of the word.

KRC
05-05-2013, 06:37 PM
Dead. I look Aryan but I'm part Ashkenazi and part Native American and I'm a mentally ill alki. And even in the darkest times I probably still would have yelled "Weenie!" at Hitler.

claramorena
05-05-2013, 07:29 PM
I could survive but I would have to change my ancestry from Mexican( Native American and Spanish) and Anglo to Italian or Spanish. Also I would be miserable and my parents would be imprisoned or sent away. So most likely I would try to runaway to another country.

Slithy Tove
05-05-2013, 08:07 PM
If I had been born in the 1920's or 1930's I wouldn't be me, I'd be someone else. The person who I define as "me" is a product of my time and place as much as a product of my genetics. Either I imagine myself in Nazi Germany with exactly the same personality I have now, or I imagine a stranger who superficially resembles me but is not "me" in any real sense of the word.

Good point, but remembering that movie Europa Europa, whoever I am differently as I time-travel back then and there, I'd better retrieve my foreskin for the journey.

The Great Sun Jester
05-06-2013, 12:42 PM
If I'd survived the war, and been in what was to become West Germany -- I hope I'd have had the smallish amount of courage necessary (with worst consequences, being disliked by my fellows) to admit that I'd been well aware of what was going on, but had been too frightened to do or say anything against it; to say how guilty I felt; and to do what practical stuff might be possible, to make amends. But, Mr. Brave I definitely am not -- so, I don't know.Patterns of Childhood is a good address of this issue. It's about a post WWII German family, the parents grew up during the Nazi years and answer some very pointed questions from their kids. A lot of the time the answers boil down to, "You had to be there to understand how and why it happened."

John Mace
05-06-2013, 02:25 PM
I don't get the thing about blonde hair. You guys don't really think you needed blonde hair to get by in Nazi Germany, do you? I know they idealized it, but in real life, lots of proud Germans had brown hair.

You know who else had brown hair?

Yeah, I'd probably get by just fine. Ethnically, I'm a European mutt with who knows how many different ancestries, but most are northern European and so I'd be OK. No known Jewish ancestry, and although raised Catholic, most of Bavaria is, too. No physical problems, and no homosexual tendencies.

You guys who don't think you could keep your mouths shut are giving yourselves too much credit. When you grow up in a system, you learn to survive.

Daylate
05-06-2013, 02:34 PM
Can answer this with certainty. Lived in both Berlin and Hamburg in 1933 and 1934. I was too young to remember very much, but my Father and Mother had no problems. Dad was an engineer employed by an American company (Winkler, Koch) to build an oil refinery for the Germans. Have got a lot of neat photos from those days.

DrDeth
05-06-2013, 03:01 PM
I could survive but I would have to change my ancestry from Mexican( Native American and Spanish) and Anglo to Italian or Spanish. Also I would be miserable and my parents would be imprisoned or sent away. So most likely I would try to runaway to another country.


Germany was on reasonably good terms with the Spanish, and there was nothing special about being a American Indian.

Dr. Woo
05-06-2013, 07:22 PM
Appearance-wise, I'd be okay: female, blonde, green-eyed Aryan-looking. The problem would be, as it is in real life, self regulation. However, I suspect the prospect of being summarily shot would have an amazing effect on my ability to STFU.

On my first visit to Amsterdam as I wandered around the city I tried to imagine what it would be like during the Nazi occupation - how it would feel to come out of a shop and see a couple of storm troopers standing on the street corner. It didn't take much imagining to work myself into a sweat right there on Leidsestraat on a nice spring day in 1992.

Qin Shi Huangdi
05-06-2013, 07:54 PM
Germany was on reasonably good terms with the Spanish, and there was nothing special about being a American Indian.

The Nazis even declared the Sioux "honourary Aryans".

monstro
05-06-2013, 08:04 PM
I think a lot of us would be surprised at how "easily" we could have survived. Including the people who don't think they'd have been able to keep their mouths shut.

I once got into it with my mother about what kind of slaves we would have been. I told her flat-out that I would have been a "good" slave. Not because I would have loved shuckin' and jivin'. But because I am scared of pain. Hell, I can't even look at a belt without sweating, and I wasn't eaten spanked that much as a kid! I wouldn't have necessarily been the hardest working one, but I can't see myself having the balls to runaway. Or sass-mouthing anyone. The most rebellious thing I could see myself doing would have been stealing food.

My mother, quite the afrocentric type, was OMG! aghast. How dare her daughter renounce identification with Harriet Tubman, throwing her lot with the Uncle Toms and Aunt Jemimas! Of course, my mother saw herself as being the perfect anti-slave. Leading rebellions. Telling off Missy and spitting in her food. Clutching the slave children to one breast, and slaying the white men with the other. It was wrong, in her eyes, that I couldn't see myself setting fire to the whole establishment right alongside her.

Maybe it is wrong. But mind you, this is a woman who can't bear to spend five seconds in a normal swimming pool without screaming "LORD JESUS, HELP ME! I'M DYING OF HYPOTHERMIA!"

It's totally easy to imagine oneself as the heroic figure. But there's a reason why we know Harriet Tubman's name. There weren't a whole lot of folk like her. If what she had done was natural, she would have had more company with her on those midnight escapes. Besides, neither my mother or I would be here if it hadn't been for all those "normal" slaves who just wanted to live. I'm not ashamed of being able to identify more with them than I am with my personal hero, Ms. Tubman. If I could see myself as Harriet Tubman, maybe I wouldn't think what she did was all that awesome.

Atomic Alex
05-06-2013, 08:13 PM
Good point, but remembering that movie Europa Europa, whoever I am differently as I time-travel back then and there, I'd better retrieve my foreskin for the journey.

I've read this sentence several times but I can't quite parse it, could you explain what you mean? (in my defence its way past midnight here). Thanks.

btw I agree with Alessan, and I recall a very similar question being asked by a teacher and discussed when I was at school, I remember thinking that the only honest answer is, 'I don't know', and that those who said they would be fearless fighters for 'le resistance' were full of it.

edited to add I also agree with monstro's post, the reason we remember certain peoples names is precisely because they were exceptional, most people just kept their heads down and hoped the bad stuff would happen to someone else...and from the safety of 21st century west its difficult to judge them too harshly.

2gigch1
05-06-2013, 08:41 PM
I'm physically the poster child for the Aryan Nation. 6'2" blonde & blue.

I would hope I had the backbone to fight against the evil or flee before it was too late, but I probably would have been caught up with so many Germans who were swept into war and would have died in the cold on the Eastern Front. Hindsight being what it is I believe I have the moral character to have avoided the nastier parts of German Socialism and thus would have been sent into the meat grinder with the rest of the citizens.

So yes, though I would have passed the physical qualifiers, the chances of surviving the Third Reich are slim no matter what you look like.

2gigch1
05-06-2013, 08:47 PM
edited to add I also agree with monstro's post, the reason we remember certain peoples names is precisely because they were exceptional, most people just kept their heads down and hoped the bad stuff would happen to someone else...and from the safety of 21st century west its difficult to judge them too harshly.

No. Shit.

I've been watching an excellent documentary series World War II: The Apocalypse.

As I watched the parts where British children were rounded up and sent north to keep them safe from German bombs, the cruelty endured by citizens of all countries, the pure cruelty inflicted by Japanese soldiers on all who stood in their way...

No nation owned the rights to Good and Right but I am sure many young people today have no clue how incredibly evil people can be to each other.

Ludovic
05-06-2013, 08:57 PM
So yes, though I would have passed the physical qualifiers, the chances of surviving the Third Reich are slim no matter what you look like.Definitely this as well. Not only could any walking male of almost any age have been blown to bits on the Eastern Front or in final defense of Germany or died in a Soviet POW camp, all Germans also were in danger of bombing, starvation, and Soviet atrocities.

Slithy Tove
05-06-2013, 09:16 PM
I've read this sentence several times but I can't quite parse it, could you explain what you mean? (in my defence its way past midnight here). Thanks..

In the movie, a Jewish boy is mistaken for Aryan and put into the Hitler Youth. He uses a piece of thread to hide his circumcision, but it becomes infected.

Otherwise, let me see how close I came: my parents were involved in Civil Rights in the 60's, our lives were threatened by thugs regularly, eventually there was a home invasion by armed men; the cops told us we'd brought it on ourselves, and we moved out of town. Some similarities but not nearly in the same order of magnitude. But, I was a child made aware that I'd been marked for death by assholes, and I didn't think there was much I could do about it. One doesn't really think about these things, one just experiences them. And, for the rest of ones life, one never fully comes to terms with them.

(Every so often I relate this on the boards, and I apologize in advance to anyone who's long ago found it tiresome)

jtur88
05-07-2013, 02:01 AM
Considering that I would have been raised and educated by a German family in German schools, I'd might have fit right in.

But then I was raised by a reneck father and went to flag-waving American schools, and I don't fit in with American political philosophy very well, so maybe not.

DaphneBlack
05-07-2013, 02:10 AM
Well, I'm Jewish, but I'm also blonde and blue-eyed. It's possible you know! My entire Jewish side of the family is blue eyed.
I don't think hair color and eye color would do me much good, though I know there are isolated incidents of Jews "passing" in various ways, or getting exemptions. My friends grandfather survived by working as a secretary for a Nazi officer.
None of my extended family seems to have died in the death camps; most of us were out of Europe by then, but my great uncle died fighting for the Red Army.

Plumpudding
05-07-2013, 03:13 AM
I voted other, for which I will explain:

I'm blond and blue-eyed norwegian... but I'm liberal, I'm involved in artitistic endeavours of the avant-garde(ugh) kind, and I talk waaaay too much. And waaaay too loud. And I don't really have a family of my own to protect or any of that.

So I can't really say. Who knows, maybe with stakes so high I'd be able to keep my head down, mouth shut and all that. Maybe not.

In any case, I'm very happy I don't have to live under such conditions. I've met people that survived the camps as political prisoners, and I can't say I envy them having had that experience.

vontsira
05-07-2013, 05:33 AM
Getting a little bit off-track from the primary focus of this thread (chances of survival for people of whom the Nazi regime would, in one way or another, have taken a dim view) ... anyway, I feel that male posters here who consider that although they would have been highly-acceptable Germans, they'd be enormously likely to have been killed on the Russian front -- are being a bit over-pessimistic.

Whilst the Eastern Front was the most dangerous place for a member of the WW2 German army to be sent to; very many guys served on that front, and did come through alive and more or less in one piece. Assorted things could, and did, happen to people -- as always in war, "the luck of the draw". A considerable number of guys were taken prisoner by the Russians, but managed to survive that experience, and ultimately come home (in some cases, as late as the mid-1950s).

I gather that in the Western-occupied zones of Germany, later West Germany, former members of the German forces in WW2 whose service had actually been in occupied countries of Europe, often claimed "for public consumption", that they had spent the war on the Russian front. Not particularly admirable, but understandable. Wonder whether it worked the other way around in East Germany -- guys who had fought in Russia, telling the "opposite" fib and saying that their service had been in other places...

Lobot
05-07-2013, 06:15 AM
I can tell you that my grandfather was a Russian sent to fight on the Eastern front and, yeah, it was pretty much considered a death sentence. (My family weren't well regarded by Stalin's goons, shall we say.) That "many guys served on that front, and did come through alive and more or less in one piece" means very little when you're one of the countless who aren't so lucky.

vontsira
05-07-2013, 08:02 AM
Whatever -- nobody is able to choose what happens to them, and nobody says that it's fair.

SciFiSam
05-07-2013, 08:07 AM
I can tell you that my grandfather was a Russian sent to fight on the Eastern front and, yeah, it was pretty much considered a death sentence. (My family weren't well regarded by Stalin's goons, shall we say.) That "many guys served on that front, and did come through alive and more or less in one piece" means very little when you're one of the countless who aren't so lucky.

A lot of people did survive, though. Going on this thread, you'd expect Germany post-war to have about ten men under the age of fifty and over the age of 16 left.

Surly Chick
05-07-2013, 08:29 AM
Blond hair, blue eyes, tall - the perfect Aryan but I don't think I'd be able to keep my mouth shut. Although that's easy to say when you're not in that situation. Maybe I would have been too scared to say anything - who knows.

vontsira
05-07-2013, 08:57 AM
A lot of people did survive, though. Going on this thread, you'd expect Germany post-war to have about ten men under the age of fifty and over the age of 16 left.
It wasn't even that bad in Paraguay, after the very horrible mid-19th-century War of the Triple Alliance.

Atomic Alex
05-07-2013, 11:59 AM
No. Shit.


Well there's plenty of people who don't bother to distinguish between the Nazi's and ordinary Germans of the period and consider them all equally Evil and there are plenty of people who fondly like to imagine themselves heroically hiding Jewish refugees, plotting to overthrow the regime or boldy speaking out for truth, justice and morality when the reality is they'd be doing what the majority of people actually did...keep their head down and hope the cup passes to someone else.

But how much the 'ordinary Joe/Jane' supported the regime is one of those questions its practically impossible to answer.

In the movie, a Jewish boy is mistaken for Aryan and put into the Hitler Youth. He uses a piece of thread to hide his circumcision, but it becomes infected.


Thanks, sounds unpleasant!

btw recently watched the Italian movie 'Life is Beautiful', I don't think I've ever seen such a mix of clever humour, heartwrenching sadness and casual horror before. Good film.

2gigch1
05-08-2013, 12:07 AM
To be clear No. Shit. was my Amen to the thought that we can't judge now what we would have done then: it was an emphatic agreement. No snark intended.

Sometimes the written word does not relay the response correctly. Sorry if there was any misunderstanding there.

Mr. Kobayashi
05-08-2013, 01:24 AM
White, brown hair, gray/green/blue eyes, of German descent. In theory pacifistic, and liberal on most issues, but the only thing I would hope I would not compromise is being Roman Catholic. I know Catholics were killed but it doesn't look like they were an official category?

Priests could get themselves in big trouble if they got political and violated the terms of the Reichskonkordat, but there were far too many Catholics for official persecution.

vontsira
05-08-2013, 02:34 AM
Priests could get themselves in big trouble if they got political and violated the terms of the Reichskonkordat, but there were far too many Catholics for official persecution.
From what I understand, it was much the same for the Protestant churches -- Germany being about half Catholic, and half Protestant; tending to be the former in the south and the latter in the north, with various local "blips".

Boyo Jim
05-08-2013, 04:45 AM
I've had the sad thought about myself that because of my penchant for rules and order, I might have become a gamp guard.:eek:

Atomic Alex
05-08-2013, 04:52 AM
To be clear No. Shit. was my Amen to the thought that we can't judge now what we would have done then: it was an emphatic agreement. No snark intended.

Sometimes the written word does not relay the response correctly. Sorry if there was any misunderstanding there.

Ah, yes I did think you were being snarky. Apologies, as you say the perils of written communication!

Enuma Elish
05-08-2013, 04:54 AM
I chose black triangle. I have blonde hair and blue eyes. My ancestry is German/Danish. I have an absolute hatred of unreasonable/unfair/do-what-we say-because-we-say-it authority. I would have not been able to keep my mouth shut.

I would have either fled Germany in the 30's, or, if I had stayed, been killed for not keeping my mouth shut, at the least.

I am very curious how many people in this thread or on this messageboard would rebel against a dictum by President Obama to kill far right religionists such as the Westboro Baptist asshole.

It is easy to claim I, or you, would do such or such in some past time, but do any of us really know what we would do in a similar modern situation?

I think I know how I would react, based on how I have reacted to authority in the course of my life.

I am truly curious how far the left-wingers would follow Obama. The left seems to follow him not as a human being, but as an icon.

Mnemnosyne
05-08-2013, 01:29 PM
I don't think I would have fallen afoul of any problems, personally. I'm white, non-jewish, don't look slavic or anything of that nature as far as I know. The major danger for me would be getting drafted and sent to a terrible combat position, I think.

Scholar Beardpig
05-08-2013, 04:59 PM
I'd be great. Brown hair, green eyes, 75% WASP 25% German, and a yen for keeping my opinions to myself. I'm a bit gimpy in the hip, but certainly not disabled. If I was the right age, I might have joined the Luftwaffe. Hell, I'm such a careerist that I'd probably join the party.

Ummm... that should not be taken as any indication of my heartfelt support for Nazism, but rather as a comment on my general spinelessness in the face of peer pressure.

RickG
05-08-2013, 05:15 PM
Twofer here. Jew and (mostly) blind.

Both my kids are blonde and blue-eyed (recessive light-haired genes in both my own and my wife's families--clearly some mixing with the local populations in the past), so they might have been able to "pass" given the cooperation of a friendly Gentile.

Tethered Kite
05-08-2013, 05:26 PM
The poll is problematic for me. It implies that being blue-eyed and blond was all one needed for a free ride. The truth is that no one was safe under that regime unless his behavior met with party approval.

From my understanding of history there were people from the various forbidden categories who survived. And there were blond, blue-eyed people who didn't survive. It was dependent on who they knew, who they associated with and their behavior/survival skills as well as their identifiability.

I guess I've already proven to myself that I'm a survivor. But I'm thinking that if the Germans had decided to use me as an incubator for beautiful German/Nordic babies, as was their wont, I may have found myself in a less than ideal situation for survival.

Qin Shi Huangdi
05-08-2013, 09:40 PM
Incidentally a lot of the people due to their skills can probably secure a noncombat position in the Wehrmacht becoming a mechanic or a medic or a staff officer rather then be sent to the front lines against the Bolshevist hordes.

vontsira
05-09-2013, 02:54 AM
Incidentally a lot of the people due to their skills can probably secure a noncombat position in the Wehrmacht becoming a mechanic or a medic or a staff officer rather then be sent to the front lines against the Bolshevist hordes.
Hoping that a true anecdote will be acceptable here. A late uncle of mine registered as a conscientious objector to service in the UK's armed forces in World War 2; he was assigned to do farm work in the British Channel Islands, and was caught there by the German invasion of France and adjacent islands in summer 1940. The conditions that obtained in the Channel Islands were probably the least stressful out of any World War 2 German-occupation situations. There was no bombing, with the British not wishing to harm their own people; and any sort of violent resistance was out of the question -- enormous German garrison, small and crowded islands with nowhere to hide.

In the latter part of the war, my uncle became friendly with a German soldier. This guy, Karl, was mild-mannered and not an impressive physical specimen: his assignment was, being in charge of the German-language library for the occupying troops. He confided to my uncle that he considered that Hitler was insane, and that the war was as good as lost; but he saw himself as a loyal German with no alternative but to do what his country required him to do. Early in 1944, Karl was posted away from the islands, to do his librarian bit on the French mainland. He and my uncle exchanged addresses, and agreed to get back in touch when the war was over. Karl's new posting was to the city of Caen -- which was heavily fought over, and basically wrecked, in the D-Day campaign a few months later. My uncle never heard from Karl again; which does not conclusively prove anything, but would seem not to look very good for the poor guy -- a non-combatant in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mr. Kobayashi
05-09-2013, 08:45 AM
The poll is problematic for me. It implies that being blue-eyed and blond was all one needed for a free ride. The truth is that no one was safe under that regime unless his behavior met with party approval.

Hence 'mouth shut' at the end of the first option - of course you still needed to keep quiet, but from a purely physical standing you'd be a lot better off than someone who was disabled or 'looked Jewish' and what have you.

Tethered Kite
05-09-2013, 11:47 AM
Hence 'mouth shut' at the end of the first option - of course you still needed to keep quiet, but from a purely physical standing you'd be a lot better off than someone who was disabled or 'looked Jewish' and what have you.

My blue/blond FIL, part of the resistance, lived in northern Holland at this time and has told me stories about good people of all types trying to resist the evil however they could without putting whole communities at jeopardy. He had screaming nightmares until he died.

Being blue-eyed and blond-haired as Qin Shi Huangdi mentioned could also enable people to find a niche from which they could sabotage while looking appropriate. Their mouths were closed but it didn't make them safe.

I find it divisive to use eye and hair color as code for non-other. I'd have been more comfortable with Germanic appearing. A nitpick, I know, but it struck my "defensive bone."

Sampiro
05-16-2013, 09:17 AM
I'm a blue eyed blonde homosexual. Since I'm not partnered or promiscuous I could probably have taken a beard (slang: a woman who poses as a gay man's hetero love interest) to avoid the camps, but I would have been subject to blackmail and the best case scenario with my gay friends is that we wouldn't be able to associate as a matter of mutual safety.

aruvqan
05-16-2013, 08:35 PM
I'm a blue eyed blonde homosexual. Since I'm not partnered or promiscuous I could probably have taken a beard (slang: a woman who poses as a gay man's hetero love interest) to avoid the camps, but I would have been subject to blackmail and the best case scenario with my gay friends is that we wouldn't be able to associate as a matter of mutual safety.
One of my best friends in high school and I had a similar agreement - we agreed that if it ever became absolutely drop dead needful that he gets married we would go ahead and get hitched - he would have his discreet lovers and I would have mine. We probably would have tried to arrange that his love interest was also married and we would have a regular 'bridge game' on saturday evenings and that his wife was agreeable with the deal and she and I could hang out and watch TV or something for the evening. Better be thought of as 'swingers' swapping :p

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