There were lies you were told about WWII, Hitler being evil wasn't one of them
I remember a while back there was this immensely popular post with a gif of Hitler flattering his wife, that had tons and tons of notes from all these people gushing about how they had no idea Hitler was human too. When I criticized it, this older blogger claimed all these tumblr teens were taught in school to “dehumanize” Hitler, and now they were learning more than the simplistic narrative they were taught in school. It was, according to them, mind-broadening and important. The dehumanization of Hitler they claimed is a huge problem, and a bigger problem was young people thinking too simplistically about this complex person.
But this is the thing:
It’s true you are taught a simplistic and misleading narrative about World War II and the Nazis in school. But the problem isn’t that you’re taught to think badly of Hitler and Nazis, who committed mass murder, torture, enslavement, and other human rights abuses. The problem is you are taught that the US was the good guy and the Nazis were the antithesis to everything the US represented and now represents. You’re taught that the US came in and saved everyone in the name of freedom and democracy and crushed those Nazi fascists! And everyone lived happily ever after.
When in reality, the US invented eugenics which inspired the Nazis’ Aryan racial ideals in the first place. The Nazis modeled their treatment of Jews, Romani and other minorities after how the US treated Black people. Not only that, but the US refused the entry of many European Jews fleeing the Holocaust into this country. The US refused to help the Jews and other minorities targeted by Nazis. The US ignored pleasbegging them to destroy gas chambers when they were so close within striking distance in Europe that they hit one accidentally.
What happened was after Pearl Harbor put the US at risk, they got involved and then they made up a story about why they were the good guys and why the Germans were the bad guys, about how they were now all about saving the world and the poor Jews. And the truth about antisemitism in the US (there were literal signs saying NO JEWS and shit, which you never learn about in school), about eugenics in the US, about the US’s deadly passivity for much of WWII, is actively erased, glossed over or explained away. And meanwhile, irony of ironies, the US sent thousands of Japanese Americans to internment camps–which of course were not the same as Nazi Germany’s extermination and concentration camps, but weren’t exactly the kind of thing someone who was ideologically opposed to Nazis would do. (You’re taught about the internment of Japanese Americans in school, but you aren’t encouraged to think about it as compromising the US’s alleged position as ideologically opposing Nazi Germany).
The US has used WWII to its advantage to create a particular narrative. It’s arguably a big reason antisemitism in the US changed and Jews started to achieve much greater access to whiteness. Associating Jews with whiteness dissociates Nazis from American racism and eugenics, despite how much mental gymnastics you have to do to ignore the fact white supremacy was at the core of Nazi ideology (people continually allege Jews were white in Nazi Germany despite the fact Nazis killed them, literally, to purify the white race). It takes the conversation away from the end result of white supremacy: genocide and brutality. Think about how important that would have been in the 1930s and 40s when the US was even more overtly racist than it is now. How would the US look: a nation where PoC, and Black people especially, were constantly exposed to violence and oppression? When what allowed the concentration camps in Nazi Germany to exist was a change to their constitution that allowed the deprivation of human rights in particular spaces, and all Roosevelt had to do was write an executive order depriving Japanese Americans of rights just as easily. Criticisms of white supremacy and human rights violations in Nazi Germany open up the same criticisms toward the US. I’m not the first to have that idea. Harper Lee tackles it in To Kill a Mockingbird.
Tumblr SJ who complain the Holocaust gets “too much attention” compared to other social injustices also seem to miss this point–they suggest it’s ~Jewish privilege~ or white privilege that explains why everyone cares more about the Holocaust, ignoring the fact that the mainstream narrative in the US about the Holocaust and WWII also often erases the long history of antisemitism in Europe and the history of it in the US. The narrative suggests Nazis arbitrarily decided on Jews as a scapegoat and ignores the racialization of Jews in Europe. There’s also an implication that with the end of the Holocaust came the end of antisemitism. Many aspects of the mainstream narrative around the Holocaust is hurtful to Jews. Ignoring the role of white supremacy in the Holocaust does no marginalized people any favors: as well as making it too easy to let the US off the hook for creating eugenics in the first place, it also erases Romani, who were targeted in the genocide, and are still definitely not racialized as white to this day.
The US is a racist empire (and I say empire because we currently live on colonized land and also exert worldwide control) and while I don’t like comparing Nazi Germany to anything, we’re not the opposite of Nazi Germany by any means–we certainly were not in the 1940s when we fought them. I don’t think the US is the same or even similar to Nazi Germany (as I said, I don’t like making lazy comparisons like that), but I think both the US and Nazi Germany have two terrible things in common: white supremacy and a government that has the power to deprive citizens of their basic rights at a moment’s notice.
That’s the story you’re not taught in school. That’s the mind blowing epiphany that actually matters.
Hitler being human is a fact of course. But he was a horrible, horrible human being, probably one of the worst in history. And making excuses for him being primarily responsible for wiping out one third of population of a people (Jews; edit: see here), 90% of the population of another (Romani), as well as countless other atrocities doesn’t make you interesting, edgy or counter-culture. It makes you downright despicable.
Sadly, it seems tumblr’s teens find the idea of Hitler flirting with his wife more interesting and mind-blowing than the idea that everything they were taught about the US’s role in WWII is slanted to mislead them.
I’m really sorry!! I wanted to post this sooner but my inspiration was lost so I couldn’t write anything good. This is one of my favourite chapters of this story so far… I hope you enjoy it, because something good will come in a few days! ^^ (Wish me and my inspiration good luck!)
Rae was, as always, at Finn’s. Gary got used to it a long time ago. It wasn’t something he bothered too much. He and Linda were friends for many years and he was happy his son and Linda’s daughter got on well.
Today was one of those boring days in Stamford. Finn had been studying on his own in his room, bored, so he called Rae to come over.
You're right, the article doesn't say that she fell deeper in love with Damon than Stefan. That would be silly. Because she's not in love with Stefan at all.
I could make a witty remark on your message, I really could, but I’m not going to. You know why? Because I can actually argue that Elena is not in love with Damon at all either. I doubt Elena knows first thing about Damon.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Elena loves Damon. Love is.. well, love is something you can’t really describe with words. It’s a little bit illogical, and a lot of times it doesn’t make sense. Humans have such a large capacity of love.. one word, one look, one second in someones presence can make you love a person. Love is a feeling. It’s fleeting. It comes and it goes. You love something one minute, and the next out of mind, out of sight rule applies. It makes no sense at all to love something indefinitely at one point, then shed it out of our systems few minutes/hours/days/weeks/months/years later. And yet, we do it. So many before us did it, and so many after us will do it as well. Good people love bad people, and bad people love good people. You love a wrong person, a wrong person loves you. Love doesn’t choose, just like a leaf doesn’t choose a place to fall when it gets detached from a branch. After all, Hitler had a wife who loved him dearly. It’s that simple, but that complicated. Love.
But falling in love, ah, that’s something you could write a textbook about. Who you fall in love with is who you are. You fall in love with someone because they remember you take your tea with two spoons of sugar. You fall in love with someone as you watch them sleep, as you watch their eyes flicker, their nose crinkle, their lips twitch. You fall in love with someone because they remember your siblings birthday. And because they accept your friends as their own. Even if they wouldn’t choose them for their friends in normal circumstances. Especially then. You fall in love with someone when they share a piece of their past with you, a part of their life you will never be a part of. You fall in love with someone because they give you a part of themselves. You fall in love with someone when they get you flowers, or chocolate, or let you beat them in a video game, or don’t let you because they know how much you hate when someone goes easy on you. There are so many examples because humans are so brilliantly different in so many ways and they fall in love with someone because of so many different reasons.
Elena fell in love with Stefan that first night he came to her house and they spent hours talking. Elena fell in love with Stefan when he gave her that book, and a smile. Oh, she fell in love with a smile. Elena fell in love with the words Stefan said. And when he had put that necklace around her neck. Elena fell in love with Stefan when he saved her best friend. She fell in love with him more when they sank into each other. Elena fell in love with Stefan when he took Caroline to the bathroom to wash blood off of her face. Elena fell in love with Stefan as she kissed tears off of his face when she told him she’s leaving him. She fell in love with him when he was leading her to the top of that hill. Elena fell in love with Stefan every time he told her something about one of the lifetimes he lived without her. She fell in love with him when he was afraid to tell her the truth. She fell in love with him when he told her the truth, even though it made her shudder.
Elena fell in love with Damon.. why? Why?Why?Why? When did Damon do something remotely similar for Elena? When did he give her a piece of himself to hold? The only thing he did is hide more of his faces from her. When did Damon give Elena something so she could say that is why she fell in love with him, that is why she had let herself fall off a cliff even though she couldn’t see the bottom? When he had let her go, after she begged him to do so for the hundredth time in the course of these five seasons? No, that is not why you fall in love with someone, it is how someone shows you they love you.
I’m not arguing that Elena loves Damon passionately inexplicably illogically a lot deep, however you want to describe it. But I’m arguing she’s in love with him.
She fell in love with Stefan.. fell fell fell. Did you ever hear someone gets up from love? No? Because they don’t. You know when Elena goes to Stefan for advice, and he gives it to her, he finds answers somewhere in the shreds of his heart, and she looks at him in that way, like she admires him, respects him, listens to him? That’s Elena falling in love with Stefan a little bit more. Without even knowing. Without trying to, or intending, or being aware of. Falling in love with someone.. it’s like a building built out of building blocks. It’s so hard to disassemble.
When you fall in love with someone, you stay in love with them forever. Even if it is in memory. You push that building deep inside of you to make room for more. You’re still in love with the first person you ever loved and the second one and the third one, even the ones that have hurt you. Your insides are intertwined with so many people, people etched in you.
Elena’s love for Stefan is a building made out of building blocks, it keeps getting built day by day, block by block. Because he’s close. He’s there. He’s always there. Inside of her. Outside of her. She just pushes him aside, to make room for something else. She never broke the building.
Julio Barreiro Rivas is a Spanish sculptor, composer, writer, and historian living in Venezuela. The octogenarian was born in the Galician province of Pontevedra and since then has led a pretty interesting life: heading up a family band called Los Hijos de la Casa Grande, masterminding an alleged orgy island for senior Venezuelan military officers, and claiming to have met Hitler. In fact, Julio has an interesting theory about Hitler: He says that history’s most despised man never killed himself at all and actually died and is buried in a cemetery in Galicia, northwest Spain.
“This finding wouldn’t change Europe’s history; it would just modify it,“ he told me modestly during a 30-minute international call. "People in Berlin and Russia know that Hitler and Eva were very unlikely to commit suicide one day after their wedding. Their friend Franco needed to compensate them for their favors in times of war, so he kept Hitler’s gold in Spain.”
Admittedly, there are a vast amount of holes in Julio’s story. Who are these “people in Berlin and Russia” who “know” for certain that Adolf and his lover would not have spent their honeymoon killing themselves? And how does he know that the former fascist dictator of Spain owed Hitler a favor? Still, Julio is committed to his tale and tells it with a burning intensity. When you speak to him, you get the feeling that this isn’t a prank, a joke, an attempt at being snide, or even some kind of artistic allegory. When I spoke with him, he genuinely seemed to believe what he was saying.
“Even more nonsensical is the story about their bodies being burned with gasoline in the chancellery garden,” Julio continued. “Only those who would be truly interested in eradicating the memory of Hitler would believe it. That is, the Germans, who might believe it out of shame, and the Russians and the Americans, because they weren’t able to catch him.” Or just people who don’t really care about where exactly history’s most evil man is rotting. But Julio went on.
“Hitler set off early in the morning of April 29th, 1945, aboard a three-engine airplane. He landed in a small village called Córneas, hidden amid the mountains of Lugo, where an escort from the Guardia Civil [the Spanish military police] and some donkeys carrying saddlebags full of gold bars and other relics were waiting for him. He headed for Samos, through the towns of Cebreiro, el Hospital, and Triacastela, where he would eventually meet a committee from Samos’s convent. I don’t think anyone can refute my theory, since I saw Hitler, alive and kicking, in the convent.”
I guess he’s right. Who can dispute the claims of an 80-year-old Spanish man in a funny hat? According to Julio, he was 14 when he first encountered Hitler, Eva Braun, and some other German and Italian refugees. He was helping his uncle, a stonemason, build the Guardia Civilheadquarters in Samos, and the contract included a little secret job: the construction of an underground maze beneath the building for Hitler to live in. Apparently Franco was on very good terms with Mauro Gómez, who was then serving as abbot of the monastery, and the fascist leader visited Samos in 1943. Julio said that it was thanks to this job that he got to see the Nazi fugitives.
“I was the master builder’s nephew and the friend and confidant of the monastery’s abbot. I gained the confidence of all the people lodged there. I got to meet Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva personally in 1945. Aside from being a very pretty woman, Braun was young and nice, and the only thing she could say in Spanish was, ”Hola, ¿cómo estás, guapo?” [“Hello, how are you, handsome?”] I made friends, doing a job as their errand boy. He would tell me about all the things he used to buy for them and that Germans must have a lot of money, since they handed out really generous tips.”
I asked him about the specific purpose of the tunnels, but Julio was reluctant to provide an exact answer, apparently out of respect for his trade. “Soon after I arrived in Venezuela, I was hired by a government-owned company for the construction of a holiday resort and for other projects that I consider a state secret. What would the Venezuelan people think of me if I revealed these other secrets? I was not directly hired to build the Guardia Civil headquarters in Samos or Hitler’s bunker-apartment. But I think I am the only survivor who knows where he is buried. These jobs were commissioned by Franco. What would happen if I went to Spain and lifted the stone leading to Adolf Hitler’s tomb?“
I would pay to see that. I would also pay to see Hitler dressed as a Benedictine monk waltzing around a Galician convent. It is a fact, however, that Galicia was a strategic enclave for the Führer. Germans kept antennae in the town of Cospeito, submarines in the waters of the Atlantic coast, an airport in Las Rozas (Lugo), and even a tomb in San Amaro’s cemetery in A Coruña. Some alternative historians, like Abel Basti, also support the theory that the dictator didn’t pass away in his bunker but fled to Argentina from the Galician coast. Julio explains that he doesn’t know exactly how long Hitler could have been living in Galicia, although he is confident that his remains are still there. Unless a fire that occurred in 1951 eliminated all traces.
“It looked as if the monastery fire was a case of arson, with the only purpose of burning down any trace of Hitler and his cronies from Samos Convent,” Julio asserted.
Based on this information found in a newspaper archive, Franco visited Samos again after it had been rebuilt in 1960. It wasn’t until 1947 that Julio found out how Hitler got to Galicia. “My master announced that we had to leave, loaded with suitcases crammed with iron, for the construction of a furnace. We went past El Cebreiro, arrived at Piedrafita, and we plunged into a stone path. After a long walk, we got to Córneas. The first thing we saw was the majesty of a German three-engine airplane that, as we found out, had landed there on the first of May, 1945, where it had remained for nearly a year.
“I spent three months working in Córneas. The landowner told me how they had ruined his potatoes. There were eight passengers on board, including a woman. He also said that one of the passengers got injured when landing. I believe there must be someone in this little village who remembers the plane.”
At this point, I started to feel like a detective in a Nazi B movie. It is easy to find data on the web apparently confirming that a three-engine aircraft, namely a C-352, did land in Córneas. For example, here’s a comprehensive article by Luis G. Pavón, published in issue 67–68 of theRevista Española de Historia Militar, with photographs and details about this most strange event. Most of the facts match Julio’s description: anonymous and mysterious passengers, a skilful Blue Division pilot, strange accidental deaths of some witnesses, the Guardia Civil reception, and the remains of the aircraft guarded by soldiers for months. According to this version, the plane landed in 1950, coming from Getafe (Madrid), and both the plane itself and its passengers were Spanish. I point this out to Julio.
“That story cannot be true, since by that time the war was over, and so was the Blue Division. I was at the Pontoneros barracks, in Zaragoza. The locals in Córneas told me that the plane landed on May 1, 1945, with a frightening noise. That was the same day the Second World War ended and the German disengagement was a fact, so all the Spaniards from the Blue Division had to rush out.”
I decided to travel to Córneas following in the supposed footsteps of the Führer. If you are ever looking for a place to hide and never to be found, this is it; it’s basically just a bunch of micro-villages scattered throughout a mountain valley. According to Julio, the plane landed in a spot called Escanlar, on the property known as Finca do Noceiro. The mistress of the house confirmed it happened, though she could not specify a date. “It happened many years ago; I wasn’t here at that point. My husband knows about it, but he’s napping now,” she said. I decided against asking her if Hitler was one of the passengers. “Do you know if any of the passengers were German?” I asked. “No idea,” she replied. “Those who were on board were fine. I think they just ran out of fuel.”
I asked a few more neighbors, who also said they were too young to remember. One of them said that a few years ago a Gypsy had visited the village who remembered things vividly. “He said that he came to help scrap the plane when he was a kid and that he had great memories of those days.” I didn’t find anything else, and I have no idea why I expected I would.
I asked Julio whether it was true that he had tried to contact Baltasar Garzón, the judge who avidly pursued the extradition of General Pinochet, the prosecution of the Basque separatist group ETA, and the opening of an inquiry into crimes against humanity committed by Franco. If there was one man in Spain who might be up for investigating Julio’s version of the facts, it would be Garzón.
“I went to Garzón when I found out he was interested in looking for the dead bodies of the victims of Franco’s repressive regime. It would be important for Spain and the entire world if they searched the catacombs of the monastery of Samos and found the remains of the most dreadful criminal in the history of humanity. It took me so long to tell him my version of events because there used to be a strict control over state secrets.”
Perhaps tellingly, Garzón never answered.
Hitler buried in a Galician tomb, secret tunnels, fascist monasteries, mysterious planes. Is Julio right or wrong? Is he crazy or not? Maybe no one should listen to the ranting of an 80-year-old man without skepticism. Draw your own conclusions. I only know one thing: There’s a part of me that really wants to believe.