A Protected Jew in Nazi Germany
When Hitler gave the ok to slaughter an estimated 6 million Jews during the Holocaust, it was one of, if not the worst atrocity any man has ever committed against humankind. Which is why a new report coming out of the Jewish Voice newspaper in Germany is utterly shocking.
A recently found note signed by the infamous SS leader Heinrich Himmler stated that one Ernst Hess should be saved and protected, “as per the Fuhrer’s wishes.” If you’re as shocked as me, I understand. Even with this amnesty supplied by Hitler, the fervor that had taken over Germany at the time won out, and eventually Hess was forced into years of hard labor at a concentration camp. Even a years worth or protection for a German Jew is surprising, especially granted by Hitler himself. So why did Hitler do it?
Hitler and Hess were in the same infantry unit while serving in World War I, and Hess was even Hitler’s superior at one point. Just because they served together doesn’t mean they were friends. Many of the men who served with Hitler described him as “quiet, with no friends.” But Hess had stayed close to others he served with and Fritz Wiedemann, who eventually became on of Hitler’s most trusted aides helped Hess get in touch with Heinrich Lammers, the Head of the Reich Chancellery.
This gave Hess a way to ask for leniency, especially for his daughter who would be branded a “first-degree half breed” because even though Hess was raised a Protestant, and married a woman sharing that faith, Hess was a Jew to the Nazis, which made his daughter unwanted.
Hess relied on his perpetual service to his country, his service in the military during WWI, and his time spent as a judge, as a way to justify a pardon for his family, or at least his daughter. It bought him time, being allowed to live in a German-speaking part of Italy and even receiving pay, but once the Italians joined the Axis he was forced to move back to Germany, after attempts to move to Switzerland and Brazil.
Surprisingly after that whole ordeal the note was written which granted the immunity, only to have it taken away shortly after. He was sent to a concentration camp where he worked with timber used to build barracks. His daughter, Ursala Hess, claimed that he would not have survived if he had “not been as fit as he was.” Nazi officials even called him “a Jew like no other.”
He survived the forced labor and after the war turned down a opportunity to return to his form position of judge. He then became a railway executive and reunited with his family.
This anecdote shows a side of the internal struggle in Germany that has never been seen before. Even an order by Hitler couldn’t stop the mob that had engulfed most of Europe. If this note has survived history imagine if there were others that were not, and how often this could’ve taken place. But without those pieces of evidence all we are left with is a question, and a mystery.Google+