November 28, 2004


Quest for Nazi father shatters German myths (ALLAN HALL, 11/28/04, Scotland on Sunday)

WHEN Beate Niemann went in search of her father she hoped to find a man she could be proud of, but instead uncovered a truth that lay hidden for nearly six decades under family lies and deceit.

While she went looking for Bruno Sattler, a father, First World War soldier, Berlin policeman and family man, she found only SS Major Bruno Sattler: mass murderer with the blood of hundreds of thousands of Jews on his hands.

At a time when Germans have begun to embrace victimhood about the Second World War, projecting themselves as having suffered equally under RAF bombs, from Red Army rapes and under their Nazi masters on a scale that somehow equates with the millions upon whom Germany inflicted its savagery, Niemann’s story shatters this cosy attempt to retreat into shared pain. [...]

She said: "I went in search of father I never knew and I hoped that the nagging doubts I had had about him down the years would be dispelled and I would find a man that I could be truly proud of.

"Instead I found a man who was a mass murderer, whose life was glossed over by my mother; my mother who lied to me and who continued to lie up until the day she died. I found a man who, when I was being suckled on my mother’s breast, was ordering mobile gas wagons each day to a concentration camp outside of Belgrade to kill women and children.

"I found a man who gave the orders for tens of thousands of Jews to be shot in Smolensk and outside Moscow and who participated in the destruction of 500,000 partisans, Jews, gypsies and others in Yugoslavia.

"This is what I found. This is the truth. It is inescapable. And in my greatest rage I wonder why, why he didn’t even have the decency to kill himself, to do that small thing for me?"

Before he went off the deep end, Danial Jonah Goldhagen wrote a useful book showing just how extensive the participation of even "ordinary" Germans in the Holocaust had to have been.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 28, 2004 10:38 AM

Amazing, a whole nation of darwinists.

Or Christians.

One proposition is a lot easier to swallow than the other.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 28, 2004 8:14 PM

Not the whole nation. But all Nazis were Darwinists, some were Christians.

Posted by: oj at November 28, 2004 9:25 PM

Southern slaveholders were apparently Darwinists before Darwin, asserting the superiority of one race over another. And almost none of them were Christians, I guess. Perhaps they were a people that traveled back from the secular, Darwinist future in a time machine built by Nazi scientists.

Posted by: Social Scientist at November 28, 2004 11:55 PM


No, they didn't believe they were a different race but not actually human. That was wrong, of course, but an understandable mistake at the time.

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2004 12:04 AM

Darwinist aside, one can't help but think that "ordinary" Germans were somehow complicit in the concentrations camps. If not complicit at least knowledgeable of the purpose for they supported the facilities with local goods. I visited Dachau in the fall of 1959, some 13 years after the closing. My overal memory has faded over the years but certainly remember how close it was to the town (about 10 min drive).

Posted by: TW at November 29, 2004 12:20 AM


On a windy day, I'm sure you could smell Dachau from downtown Munich.

Posted by: Bart at November 29, 2004 5:40 AM

Was it a couple months ago, that the topic was about the 'heroic' generals who tried to do in Hitler? (As I recall, they BOTCHED IT !! )

Yes, we shoulda sued for a mealy-mouthed "paper"(negotiated) end to WWII instead of surrender. Not just the generals, but the "ordinary" guys doing their daily chores with the gassing wagons ... deserved something better than surrender.

Also, there was that mean-ol' Eisenhower, who made townsfolk living near the death camps - - made them personally lift the dead undesirables, and carry them from the many piles of corpses to mass-grave burial pits. Those poor townsfolk, let's shed a tear for those Germans!

Posted by: LarryH at November 29, 2004 7:12 AM


They wanted to surrender.

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2004 8:16 AM


They didn't want to surrender, merely to negotiate.

Posted by: Bart at November 29, 2004 12:05 PM


Yes, every other surrender in history was negotiated. They, of course, had things we needed, like an intact military. By not negotiating we lost the war to the Soviets. We then turned around and used Nazis anyway and helped cover their crimes in order to make them better allies, giving us the worst of both worlds.

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2004 12:19 PM


Posted by: Bart at November 29, 2004 1:16 PM

Was the most appeasement-like surrender in history. The officers didn't even have to surrender their swords and Chamberlain had the Union troops salute the Confederates. FDR didn't listen to his Chamberlains.

Posted by: oj at November 29, 2004 3:02 PM

Southern slaveholders were apparently Darwinists before Darwin, asserting the superiority of one race over another. And almost none of them were Christians, I guess.

More like the general tendency for "Men of Sin" to cite any generally-accepted authority -- Bible, Koran, Darwin, Freud, you name it -- to give cosmic-level justification to whatever they wanted to do anyway.

Posted by: Ken at November 29, 2004 3:33 PM

The Old Testament is all about racism -- one Chosen one, and all the rest.

And Orrin is dead wrong about the slavery arguments as they developed around 1820-60 in the United States. The commonest justification at the time was that Africans were a 'mudsill race'; it was never denied that they were human. (Though that argument had been made by the Dutch against the Hottentots in the 16th century).

And Orrin is also wrong about the Germans. All Germans were either Jews, Christians or atheists. The Jews and atheists (communists) were not Nazis. Guess who that left?

Not all German Christians were Nazis, though nearly all were; but all Nazis were Christians.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 30, 2004 2:18 AM


Virtually all Nazis were raised as Christians. However, some were children of people who were participants in neo-pagan movements that tried to create a master race, the Nueva Germania movement comes to mind. Those people became Nazis.

You are correct if you mean to say that the official Christian churches in Germany were pusillanimous in the face of Hitler's predations against the Jews. Their response to Hitler's attempt to exterminate the physically and mentally unfit is very instructive.

Except for a certain strain of weird racism/authoritarianism that infected both the Lutheran and Catholic churches of the time, I think it is difficult to say that the Nazis were Christian or certainly that the Christians were Nazis. That strain originated almost simultaneously among both in the late 19th century. Karl Lueger, the Catholic mayor of Vienna, and Alfred Stoecker, Kaiser Wilhelm II's Lutheran chaplain, were its most famous progenitors. Both men clearly saw their racism as an important aspect of their Christianity, as did their adherents. Hitler himself effusively praises Lueger in Mein Kampf.

I would ask you for example to consider what happened in the overwhelmingly Calvinist city of Mannheim(Rhenish Protestants are Calvinist) where the Germans protected Jews in large numbers.

Posted by: Bart at November 30, 2004 6:10 AM


Jews aren't a race, they're a religion. Nothing wrong with punishing aberrant ideologies, which are mutable, unlike ethnicity. Nazism is Naturalist and therefore, by definition, atheist.

Posted by: oj at November 30, 2004 8:50 AM


Jews aren't a race, they're a religion.

So Darwinists try to wipe out a religion, not a race, based on the religious struggle for survival among the species? I think you'd better go with "Jews are a race" if you want to call the Nazis Darwinists.

Posted by: Social Scientist at November 30, 2004 6:08 PM

Why? The Nazis were idiots.

Posted by: oj at November 30, 2004 7:18 PM

Nobody is a race, Orrin, that's Christian mumbojumbo.

Christians have never in history had any difficulty about identifying and singling out Jews for persecution.

What they called them is irrelevant.

I agree with Bart that Nazi ideology was incoherent and contradictory.

Telling German Christians to kill Jews was like asking a dog to eat meat.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at November 30, 2004 10:35 PM


See? He denies there are races in order to get Darwinism off the hook.

Posted by: oj at November 30, 2004 11:19 PM

If I were getting anybody off the hook, it'd be Christians, but that's impossible.

You set up your phoney darwinism because you are unable or unwilling to accept Christianity's sin against the Jews.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 1, 2004 2:14 AM

Regretably my European Christian ancestors persecuted, and probably even participated in the murder of Jews. They, for very human and to them logical and aprpriate reasons, BUT SINFULLY, lashed out at Jews for the death of Jesus Christ. They misunderstood much about who God considered to be the apple of his eye and failed to recognize how privileged they were to be adopted into God's chosen family of people. It's horrificly tragic that this sinful behavior continued into the 20th Century and continues in some circles today within Christianity. Beate Niemann's experience illustrates how effectively we humans can insulate ourselves from the truth our our own sinfulness (and the sinfulness of those whom we admire) and how easily we humans can be caught up in the grasp anger and hate. May God have mercy upon us all.

Posted by: David at December 1, 2004 3:25 AM


I accept them.

Posted by: oj at December 1, 2004 8:30 AM

No you don't.

At every chance, you attempt to lay off the blame on darwinists, who had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at December 1, 2004 8:45 PM

Darwinists weren't around until the 1860s. I don't blame them for pogroms or the Inquisition or the Albigensian slaughter or whatever. They were only responsible for eugenics and the Holocaust and various other explicitly Darwinist events.

Posted by: oj at December 1, 2004 8:48 PM