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Book delves into the warped mind of Adolf Hitler

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'Black Earth: The Holocaust as history and warning' by Timothy Snyder (Tim Dungan Books)
'Black Earth: The Holocaust as history and warning' by Timothy Snyder (Tim Dungan Books)

Yale history professor, Timothy Snyder, has written not just another book on the Holocaust, he has instead, delved into the warped mind of Adolf Hitler and concluded that Hitler was not just an “Uber” anti-Semite who hated Jews but a “racial anarchist” who considered Jews a “pestilence” infecting the entire planet and distorting its natural order.

According to Snyder, Hitler admired Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” theory, and to him the German “race” was the fittest and thus most likely to be the winner in any contest to inherit the largest portion of the earth and be its “natural” rulers. To Hitler’s ecological view, the universe was a brutal place designed by nature where the strongest species took by force what they wanted or needed and where the weak, were destroyed. Hitler, according to Snyder, thought of people simply as animals not human beings.

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“There is, in fact no way of thinking about the world, says Hitler, which allows us to see human beings as human beings. These ideas which allow us to see each other as human beings…..come from the Jews,” Snyder writes.

In Hitler’s mind, the only opportunity for the world to revert to its natural order – that of brutal racial competition – was to eliminate the Jews. Snyder draws these conclusions from his study of Hitler’s Mein Kampf, his manifesto written while he was in prison after World War I.

The Jews’ obsessions with morals, human and workers’, rights were full of “Communist ideas” and were to Hitler an inconvenience and interfered with his dream of expansion and creation of lebensraum or living space for the German race.

Hitler’s wish was to acquire the rich, fertile lands of his neighbours in eastern Europe “the black earth” and turn the Slavs – whom he considered sub-human – into slaves, only too happy to co-operate. The Jews lived in these regions in large numbers and had influence, particularly in Poland, where approximately three million Jews lived rich cultural lives and even participated to some degree in the political sphere; they were in the way and had to be eradicated.

In Hitler’s view of the world – his alternate universe – races struggle against each other, kill each other, starve each other to death and try and take land. Hitler did not consider the Jews a race, in fact, he referred to them as unnatural or even supernatural and he suspected that their nefarious influence extended throughout the world.

Snyder is multilingual and bases his observations on Hitler’s original writings as well as other sources not previously explored. Hitler’s resentment after Germany’s defeat in World War I and his ecological view of the world never changed from these texts. Hitler did not acknowledge nations or states, only race played a role in his mind. In 1938, after he became Chancellor and Fuehrer of Germany during the Great Depression, he planned the invasion of Poland, Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union in order to take their lands.

The substitution of local government with anarchy and chaos, deprived Jews in these countries of their rights and citizenship, rendering them stateless and easier to kill. Because eastern Europe was predominately anti-Semitic, Hitler had plenty of collaborators; in addition to anarchy, there was the opportunity for plunder without retribution.

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Few Jews were murdered in Germany, they were transported and killed in Belarus, according to Snyder. In Denmark where the government remained functioning, fewer Jews were murdered because the Danes refused to comply. In Estonia which was invaded by the Soviets and then by the Germans and chaos ruled, mass murder of Jews reached almost 99 per cent. Where anarchy reigned supreme, the Final Solution was most effective, Snyder notes.

In a chilling conclusion, Snyder worries that present world conditions – climate change, rising anti-Semitism in Europe and North Africa, wars in the Middle East, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and drought and hunger in many regions, create the fertile ground, once again, to scapegoat Jews and bring destruction and ruin upon them.