Sunday, March 18, 2018

Hate Mail - The Odd Experience of Defending Someone I Really Don't Like

It's kind of odd, me defending Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) who I didn't like as a Cardinal and didn't like as a Pope.    The fact is he didn't voluntarily join the Hitler Youth, in 1939 membership became mandatory for German boys after the age of 14, he was conscripted into it when he turned 14.   His brother said that he didn't like it and skipped a lot of the meetings.  Which, considering that about the same time the Nazis took away his cousin and murdered him along with other disabled people, I believe.   Also supporting that is the fact that when he was conscripted into the anti-aircraft corps, he deserted as soon as possible and returned to his home, where the Americans having occupied it, they interned him in a prison camp for several weeks.  He ran from the Nazis, to the Americans.   

I can't imagine the 14 year old Simps would have resisted such a conscription, depending on the government that drafted him, I'd imagine he might be an enthusiastic little thug.  

But why let facts get in the way of a nice little bit of bigotry.  

Update:  Depending on the persistence and type of resistance, refusal to follow the law on the part of the 14-year-old Joseph Ratzinger could have led to his arrest perhaps that of his parents.  

By the time the Hitler Youth became compulsory, perhaps only 10 per cent of its members were diehard National Socialists;  the rest were a mixture – some bored, some annoyed, some seething on the inside, but most of them willing to go along with whatever their society seemed to demand.  And yet, like the White Rose to come, there were those who few who took a stand, not only as teenage rebels, but consciously, as political dissidents.  Between 1940 and 1945, 1,807  inmates were executed in the Brandenburg prison alone for political reasons,  some after years of forced labor.  Of these, 75 were under twenty years of age;  22 were high-school pupils or university students.  In Hamburg between 1933 and 1945, for all of those sentenced for political “crimes,” 11 percent were youths

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose:  Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn 

It's a while ago since I read it, as I recall all of the members of the White Rose who were guillotined had joined the Hitler Youth and the female equivalent before it was compulsory, so membership in it was not necessarily an indication of mature political ideology or moral judgement.   When the war in Europe ended on May 8, 1945, Joseph Ratzinger had been 18 years old for about three weeks. 

It's so easy for someone who has had their ass planted safely on North America for their entire life, as a member of the privileged class, white, upper-middle class male, to make casual judgements about people who live under a totalitarian dictatorship.  But, then, everything has been easy for you.  You're so like Donald Trump.  

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