Originally posted by no1marauder
That is a really touching story.
If Hans Hauck really had a choice not to kill people in order to progress the monstrous agenda of the Third Reich
and decided instead to risk his life to support it, he was morally reprehensible.
Contrary to what No1Marauder might like to insinuate, I have *not* claimed that the
Third Reich had no racism against black people. Indeed, Hans Haupt said that he
experienced much racism throughout his life (at least until 1945) in Germany.
But he also said that he was able to find some white German friends (apart from his white
German relatives) who gave him enough encouragement to avoid complete despair.
Not all Germans were equally racist against black people. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics,
Jesse Owens became quite popular with the German public, and he reportedly received
many offers of marriage from infatuated young German women.
Before Hitler had come to power, black American entertainers in Berlin often had found
that the Germans were more tolerant and less overtly racist than white Americans were.
Beginning in 1933, Nazi racist propaganda had not completely succeeded in changing that.
Hans Jochen-Marseille, a famous Luftwaffe fighter pilot, formed a close friendship with a
German-speaking black South African POW, 'Matthias', who agreed to serve as his valet.
Marseille (a Berliner) was a devoted fan of jazz and admired black American musicians.
The Nazis disapproved of the fact that a German national hero (praised in Goebbels's
propaganda) could enjoy sharing so much of his everyday life with a black African.
Long after war, 'Matthias' was the guest of honour at a reunion of his Luftwaffe unit.
During the First World War in German East Africa, the Schutztruppe (under the command
of General Paul Emil von Lettow-Vorbeck) evidently became the first modern Western
army to be 'racially integrated' to a substantial extent between white and black soldiers,
who marched, ate, and fought together. All the senior officers, of course, were white.
But sometimes black Africans (who had been promoted after showing exceptional bravery
or leadership) could give orders on the battlefield to lower-ranking white Germans.
Being very anti-Nazi, retired General von Lettow-Vorbeck refused to accept Hitler's offer
to become Germany's ambassador to the UK.
_Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Memory in the Third Reich_
by Tina Campt (2004)
(Tina Campt is an American academic of black African heritage.)
Hans Haupt told Tina Campf that he volunteered for active military service at the front:
"I was asked if I wanted to become a soldier. I said yes. I now had a chance...the normal
chance, 50-50 (he had estimated a 50% chance of survival on the Ostfront).
Either I make it through or not. And I made it."
--Hans Haupt (p. 116)
"And in 1942, I was called up (conscripted) with *my own permission*. It depended,
I could have then said, 'You didn't want me, and now I don't want you (the army).'"
--Hans Haupt (p. 118)
Hans Haupt explained that he wanted to be accepted as an equal by other German men:
--"And I went (to fight at the front) because I saw it as a chance. It was the first time
that I was treated the same as others. Because the other 'Aryan' German boys, my mates,
my schoolmates, they were called up, too. And I wanted that, and then I was called up."
--Hans Haupt (p. 119)
Hans Hauck also was aware his fate could be harsher if the Third Reich's authorities
suspected that he was disloyal. He said that he knew of another black German man who
refused to accept conscription and was 'sent to a camp'. He was not heard from again.
Hans Hauck seems to imply, however, that he *could* have accepted conscription into
the German army *and refused* to fight at the front *without* being 'sent to a camp".
(There was a Waffen-SS unit of Indian volunteers (recruited from Indian POWs) that
never participated in combat.)
It's clear enough that, despite racism in Germany, Hans Haupt considered himself a German
and he preferred to identify more with white Germans than with, say, black Americans.
Despite racism in the United States, most black Americans preferred to consider themselves
Americans, comparing themselves to white Americans, rather than identify as black Africans.
"...in order to progress the monstrous agenda of the Third Reich."
But how much did Hans Hauck know of 'the monstrous agenda of the Third Reich'?
I know of no evidence that he knew of the Holocaust. I see no reason why Hans Haupt
should be held to a different standard of responsibility than other Germans, many of
whom were much more educated (he left school at age 14).
General Fridolin von Senger und Etterlin (a well-educated man outside his profession)
was anti-Nazi to the point that he seriously considered resigning from the German Army
and emigrating rather than serving under Hitler. Nonetheless, after giving much thought
to the matter, he decided to remain in his homeland and do his best in fighting for Germany.
After the war, historians have generally accepted that General von Senger was sincerely
anti-Nazi and deeply torn by what he perceived as conflicting principles.
Peter Spoden, a Luftwaffe night fighter pilot, has challenged the notion that everyone
who fought for the Third Reich must have been 'morally reprehensible' or a 'war criminal'.
He pointed out that his military service consisted mainly of attempting to shoot down
RAF bombers aiming to destroy German cities along with their civilian populations.
According to the latest research, there probably were hundreds of thousands of Germans
of 1/2 or 1/4 Jewish ancestry who fought for the Third Reich in the Second World War.
Were all these Mischlinge also 'morally reprehensible"?
Were all the black American men who volunteered to fight for the US Army in its brutal
campaigns against native Americans ('Indians' ) also 'morally reprehensible'?
Were all the Irish Catholic men who volunteered to fight for the British Empire in its campaigns
of conquest against non-Western peoples also 'morally reprehensible'?