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  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Historians' report on Finance Ministry under Nazis concludes it was key to Hitler's agenda

    BERLIN - Germany's Finance Ministry has released the first part of an independent commission's investigation into its Nazi past, showing civil servants played an important role in Hitler's anti-Semitic agenda.The book released Monday, "Bureaucracy and Crimes" by historian Christiane Kuller, concludes that the ministry played a key role in stripping Jews of their money and possessions.In a presentation at the ministry — a Nazi-built building that served as Luftwaffe headquarters — Kuller said after the war the ministry's civil servants claimed they were only following rules and regulations they were given.But she found the long-term employees used their knowledge with "high efficiency" to apply existing regulations "systematically in a racist way."...

  • Originally published 06/06/2013

    Secret photos of Hitler's bunker

    Robert Conrad knew things could get uncomfortable. There were the guards, the explosions, the dark tunnels. He could easily stumble across a detonation in progress, run into a policeman or even land himself in jail.And yet, in the summer of 1987, Conrad donned a construction worker's coverall and a hardhat and hid his camera, a Praktica model with a 35-millimeter wide-angle lens, in a leather shoulder bag of the type carried by many workers in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) at the time. To lend his disguise verisimilitude, Conrad made sure a Thermos jug could be seen poking out of his bag. He wanted to be absolutely sure to look just like any normal construction worker.Thus disguised, the photographer snuck up to the fence around the construction site on Berlin's Otto Grotewohl Strasse and climbed over the barrier. Once inside, he had to suppress the impulse to start running. "I walked very slowly across the site, as if on eggshells, so no one would notice me," he recalls. Conrad was uneasy. Where was the entrance into this underworld of dark concrete ruins that had been buried for decades under Berlin's streets? Would he be able to climb down into the infamous "Führer's bunker," where Adolf Hitler shot himself in April 1945?...

  • Originally published 05/21/2013

    Masha Gessen: Are Totalitarianisms Like Snowflakes?

    Masha Gessen is a journalist in Moscow and the author of “The Man Without a Face,” a biography of Vladimir Putin.MOSCOW — Just saying that a Jew should have been made into a lampshade does not make you an anti-Semite, or so a prominent columnist asserted recently. And just because both Nazism and Soviet Communism were totalitarian regimes does not mean they are comparable. Such arguments, counterarguments and variations of them have dominated Russian blogs, social networks and some of the traditional media for the last week.

  • Originally published 02/02/2013

    Obamacare = Holocaust?

    As the debate over Idaho's proposed state health insurance exchange heats up, state Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll (R) compared the role of insurance companies to "the Jews boarding the trains to concentration camps," saying the federal government is using private insurers and in the future will "pull the trigger" on them, the Idaho Spokesman-Review reports.Nuxoll defended the analogy: "I felt badly for the Jews - it wasn't just Jews, but Jews, and Christians, and Catholics, and priests. My thing was they didn't know what was going on. The insurance companies are not realizing what's going to end up in their demise."

  • Originally published 01/11/2013

    Klemens von Klemperer Dies at 96; Wrote of Nazi Era

    Klemens von Klemperer, a refugee from Nazi Germany who wrote what is widely considered the seminal history of the movement among the country’s conservative elite to overthrow Hitler, died on Dec. 23 at his home in Easthampton, Mass. He was 96.His death was confirmed by his son, James.Dr. von Klemperer, an emeritus professor of history at Smith College, was one of a generation of refugee historians who helped lay the groundwork for modern German and European studies in the United States, a group that also included Hajo Holborn, Fritz Stern and Peter Gay.A privileged child who came from a family of German bankers and industrialists, he had taken a leading role in demonstrations against Hitler as a student in Vienna before fleeing to the United States in 1938....

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