Nazi Terror: A Short Autobiography of a Jewish National Socialist is a myth-shattering account of what it was really like for a Jew in Hitler’s Germany. Weichardt’s father was Editor of the Berliner Morgenpost and his mother was a Jewess. His story, which is rich in detail, is a gripping read and a real eye-opener.
A Typically Astonishing Excerpt from Nazi Terror (pp. 13-16)
The next anti-Jewish measure was the Arier paragraph, which eliminated non-Aryans from all government positions. Everybody with one quarter or more Jewish background was considered non-Aryan. Exempt from this law were all Jews who had fought for Germany in the World War or had lost sons during that war or who already held government positions before that war. Certain exemptions for meritorious individuals could be granted. All non-Aryans in government positions had to be retired (not fired!) with their pensions forthcoming. Businesses, large or small, were not affected; doctors could continue their practices but were not compensated for treating patients insured under the government-run health plan. Many, many – including high party officials – stayed with their Jewish family doctors who had treated them for a long time. The number of university students of three-quarter or all-Jewish ancestry were limited to the percentage of their numbers in the populace. Still pretty good, when compared with the experience of deserving whites under Jewish-imposed affirmative action in America. Students with one-half or less Jewish ancestry were under no restrictions at all, and even had, at a later date, to join the nationalist student organization. They were not permitted to join the SA or SS. Joining a nationalist organization became, in effect, obligatory for all Aryan students.
The immediate effect on the private lives of most Jews was in the beginning only minimal. Some personal experiences will show this. Since my early teens I had been an avid gun lover. In Austria, where we lived at the time, there were in effect no restrictions on the possession of handguns or rifles. If there were, they certainly were not enforced. At the age of fifteen I could walk into one of the finest gunshops in Vienna and purchase any weapon in the store, as long as I had the necessary money. Unfortunately I didn’t, but after some time I had scraped together a sufficient amount to start my modest collection by acquiring three low-priced handguns. Shortly thereafter, in 1929, we moved to Berlin. In Germany, under the Weimar Republic, one had to register each gun with the police. There were no restrictions on possession except if you wanted to carry them. In this case you had to have a hunting licence which required a lengthy course in gun handling, marksmanship, game laws and the handling of bagged game. The police had absolutely no say or power to refuse you the ownership of your guns when you came to register. It was a purely bureaucratic measure which enabled the police to trace a gun involved in a criminal action.
My guns were registered in the name of my (Jewish) mother, who had contributed the money for their original purchase, because I was only fifteen years old and could not own firearms until I reached maturity (21 years). After Hitler came to power, nothing was changed in the existing gun regulations; nobody had to turn in the registered guns – period. My mother still had them on the day of her immigration to the US (May 1941) and gave them to a friend of mine because importation of firearms was prohibited under US law.
The laxness with which the firearm laws were enforced was clearly demonstrated in the days after the Reichstag fire, when most people feared an imminent Communist uprising. Suddenly untold numbers of veterans or members of patriotic organizations were seen walking around, proudly displaying their wartime military Mausers or Parabellums strapped to their sometimes paunchy bellies. After a while, after the communist threat had been eliminated, they were politely reminded that carrying of firearms in public was against the law and the guns were put back into drawers at home. The sale of ammunition was never restricted.
Suddenly a long-time dream of mine promised to come true: the ownership of a genuine Parabellum in good condition. One of my friends had heard of a deal whereby members of the many existing nationalist party organizations could purchase retired army pistols in lots of one hundred at a price of fifteen marks per gun. The price of a new Parabellum was one hundred and fifty marks in those days, which was about the monthly income of a lowly worker, if he had a job. My search for prospective customers was frantic. By charging an extra mark for my services I had to sell only fifteen guns to earn sufficient money for the purchase of a gun for myself! Alas, my plan was of short duration. Some envious or overzealous citizen felt obliged to inform the authorities of my dreamy deal. It was followed by the famous knock on the door, and on opening I faced three agents of the secret police (Gestapo). No hands in the pockets groping for hidden arms, no shouted orders or threats, only showing of identifications and the polite question if I had any firearms at home and if they could see them. I asked them in, got my guns and asked my mother to show the registration receipts. The disappointment of the rather mild-mannered gentlemen at the measly display was obvious and they asked about the whereabouts of the one hundred Parabellums I was suspected of harbouring. My heart sank and I told them about my, now surely aborted, hoped-for big deal, which as yet had not been completed. They looked greatly relieved and the man in charge said that a perfunctory search of our premises was in order. No drawers were ripped out and emptied, nothing was displaced or damaged – only a short look under beds, into armoires and storage cabinets. When they were ready to leave the man in charge spotted a letter on the table with a Jewish-sounding name of the sender and being obviously informed about my mother’s racial background he very kindly admonished her that because of the new conditions prevalent to be especially careful and not to break any of the existing laws. With that they apologized for the inconvenience they had caused and left. My loaded guns remained on the table.
In order fully to appreciate this story you must remember that the Parabellum was at that time still the most powerful and sophisticated military handgun on the European market. Today’s equivalent would be a fully automatic MP5 or Ingram. Just imagine somebody informing the “democratic” American government that I was stocking one hundred of those, possibly intending to sell them to some shady characters harbouring racist or otherwise non-PC views. Can’t you just hear Janet Reno screaming and ordering her trigger-happy minions into action? The roar of armoured trucks loaded with SWAT teams in full battledress would be deafening and reinforced by the clatter of helicopter-gunships hovering overhead, in case any difficulties should develop. The headlines would shout: Gun Crazy Rightist Has Arsenal Endangering His Neighbourhood! Governor Might Call In National Guard! Remember the recent actions of the American government in the case of a man who sold a shotgun, allegedly one quarter inch shorter than the law permits, to an undercover agent, which resulted in the deaths of a mother holding a baby in her arms, one unarmed child, the family dog and a marshal. Or the one involving a religious nut who could have been arrested any day by a single cop while the former attended to his shopping in the local supermarket. Result: about eighty people, mostly women and children, incinerated alive. I think my imagined scenario above is an understatement.
My next run-in with the authorities of the Third Reich happened about three years later and was a little more ominous. I had just received the notification that my application for voluntary service in the newly-recruited army had been definitely denied and I was understandably very bitter because service in the armed forces was considered an honour and privilege, not an onerous duty. Instead of swallowing my badly injured pride I complained to everybody who would listen to me, ending my complaints with the caustic question: “Why me, when even the top general of the Luftwaffe, Erhard Milch, had a Jewish father?” Well it didn’t take very long for the knock at the door...