A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

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Jeffk 1970
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A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:01 pm

I finished reading “Why the Germans? Why the Jews?” by Gotz Aly. One of the interesting things I found is that Aly shared personal details from his own family. One of the members of his family he discusses is his maternal grandfather, Friedrich Schneider, a member of the Nazi Party. Friedrich’s journey mirrors many of the people he discusses in his book so I wanted to share it with you.

Mr. Schneider spent his early years in a small village and attended school in a one-room schoolhouse, he made poor grades in school and left to become a salesman. His bad leg prevented him from fighting in WW I. He met his future wife in Munich. Initially after WW I he worked for a company that manufactured rail cars, ironically the Versailles Treaty produced a boom in rail car production due to the shipment of goods to pay for reparations. He lost his job in 1926 after contracts dried up, his wife opened a shop to produce income for the family. He later found another job as a salesman, by 1939 he worked in the company’s headquarters. He made enough money to purchase a home.

As far as his relationship with Jews, Aly related that his mother, who was eight-years-old at the time, enjoyed going to a Jewish department store. The store had a huge attraction, it contained Munich’s first escalator. At some point (Aly doesn’t explain when), his grandfather told his mother to stop going. One day in April 1945, Friedrich saw a long line of concentration camp inmates walk past his door. He later told his daughter, “That was the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” later adding “What was done to the Jews definitely went too far.”

As far as his membership in the Nazi Party, Friedrich joined the party after he lost his job with the railway company. This happened sometime after April 1st, 1926.

His statement to Allied authorities:
“I became unemployed on April 1st, 1926. As the provider for a family...I faced a dire situation. I went to a meeting of the NSDAP at which...Dr. Buckley spoke about how to alleviate unemployment and because I believed what he said I joined the party.”

Both the Allies and his de-Nazification proceeding concluded he was a harmless, industrious and honest person. Aly remembered him as a good man.

To me Aly’s grandfather was a typical German of the time. He wanted a better life for him and his family and saw the Nazi Party as a means to that end. His antisemitism was typical also, not malevolent but in some ways passive, willing to countenance an expulsion but not mass murder. Note his statement above, how he believed what was done “went too far.” This tracks with other accounts I’ve read.

When I get a chance I’ll add more, Aly’s family history is fascinating.
Last edited by Jeffk 1970 on Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:06 pm

interesting, thanks, I have this book on a shelf of "books to read" and need now to move it closer to the "read soon" area on the shelf :)
"It was still at the stage of clubs and fists, hurrah, tala"

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Jeffk 1970
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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:09 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:interesting, thanks, I have this book on a shelf of "books to read" and need now to move it closer to the "read soon" area on the shelf :)



Wait, I actually read something before you did????? Holy moly!!!! :lol:



It’s really good, I marked other passages and will add more to this thread.
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Jeffk 1970
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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:10 pm

The good thing is it’s relatively short.
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Statistical Mechanic
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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Mar 17, 2018 7:11 pm

LOL
"It was still at the stage of clubs and fists, hurrah, tala"

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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Denying-History » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:56 pm

Statistical Mechanic wrote:interesting, thanks, I have this book on a shelf of "books to read" and need now to move it closer to the "read soon" area on the shelf :)

It's something I would actually recommend starting immediately. Not to encroach any form of rush onto you.
« The Terror here is a horrifying fact. There is a fear that reaches down and haunts all sections of the community. No household, however humble, apparently but what lives in constant fear of nocturnal raid by the secret police. . .This particular purge is undoubtedly political. . . It is deliberately projected by the party leaders, who themselves regretted the necessity for it. »
Joseph E. Davies

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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:00 pm

LOL not gonna happen . . . as explained in Books/Reading thread . . . :)
"It was still at the stage of clubs and fists, hurrah, tala"

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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sun Mar 18, 2018 1:03 am

Denying-History wrote:
Statistical Mechanic wrote:interesting, thanks, I have this book on a shelf of "books to read" and need now to move it closer to the "read soon" area on the shelf :)

It's something I would actually recommend starting immediately. Not to encroach any form of rush onto you.



It is relatively short...... :D
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”

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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby NathanC » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:48 pm

I have this and I’ve read it. I really recommend it. It’s my favourite book for trolling Antisemites on Facebook. Few things feel better than citing Aly’s well founded explanation that envy of Jews adapting better to industrialisation compared to non Jews was the utterly petty and pathetic root cause of most Antisemitism , in order to ruin the antisemites’ day.

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Re: A Case Study: Gotz Aly’s Grandfather

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:23 pm

I’ve got more to say on this book that I will add here.
A joke going around Moscow during The Great Terror:

The NKVD knocks on a door.
The inhabitants ask who it is.
“NKVD.”
“You’ve got the wrong apartment. The Communists are upstairs.”


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