Monday, October 28, 2013

Behind the Page... Night of the Long Knives

During the "Night of the Long Knives," thousands of Nazi SAs were murdered by the SS. The head of the SA, Ernst Rohm, was embroiled in a power struggle with the head of the SS Heinrich Himmler. Rohm lost. On the pretext that Rohm was a homosexual, Himmler had Rohm murdered (along with a thousand- maybe more- other SA members). Hitler and Himmler also used this as an opportunity to murder a few German generals that they suspected would oppose their long-term plans for Germany. This event solidified both Hitler's and Himmler's power base. Because of the Enabling Act giving near dictatorial powers to Hitler, no real legal recourse was pursued. The photograph is of Hitler and Rohm.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Adventures in Germany

After our first year of teaching, my college roommate and I saved all of our little pennies so that we could spend a month backpacking through Europe. Excellent decision! We had tons of fun. We began each morning with coke and chocolate. For some reason Germany had big cans of coke. That made me inordinately happy. So here's a pic of me c. 1997 in Germany with my big coke.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Behind the Page... Nuremberg

Nuremberg is the city in Germany that the Nazis chose as their literal rally point. They held annual rallies there and built a huge stadium to accommodate these. Many view Nuremberg as the symbolic seat of Nazism as this is where the infamous Nuremberg Laws were passed. More on that next time. The symbolism of Nuremberg also partially influenced the decision to hold the post WWII war crimes trials in that city. More on that in the next book. :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Influences and Inspirations... Nazi Germany Senior Seminar

When finishing my history degree at Texas A&M University (whoop!), I chose Nazi Germany as my senior seminar taught by Dr. Arnold Krammer. Dr. Krammer rocked! He brought in Holocaust survivors as well as a former Luftwaffe pilot. Once again the reality that these were REAL people impacted me. I chose the Resistance as my topic for my paper and presentation. REAL people making life and death choices based on what's right, not what's popular or safe. (The pic is c. 1996 when I took the seminar, and Keith and I were dating and skinny.)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Behind the Page... Bonhoeffer

Behind the Page... Bonhoeffer
The character "Uncle Dietrich" in Slow Boil is based on the early 20th century German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He truly was one of the few Germans that saw Hitler and the Nazis for what they truly were from the very beginning. If you'd like to learn more (a lot more) about Bonhoeffer, I highly recommend the biography about him written by Eric Metaxas.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Influences and Inspirations... Auschwitz

Many people have asked me about inspirations and influences for Slow Boil. I spent the summer of 1994 in Poland on a mission trip (see pic). At the end of the summer, we visited Auschwitz Concentration Camp which is now a memorial and museum. In one of the barracks, hung pictures- 8x10 head shots- of former prisoners the vast majority of whom perished in gas chambers. Seeing these faces, knowing that these were real people, had a profound impact on me.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Behind the Page... Nazism vs. Communism

The German Communist Party was the first political target of the Nazi regime. Germans who were active in the communist party were some of the first individuals to be sent to Dachau, Nazi Germany's first concentration camp.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Behind the Page... Himmler's criminal element

Heinrich Himmler formed his own group of enforcers in the Nazi Party- the Schutzstaffel or SS, less commonly known as the Blackshirts. In 1933 he facilitated the release of select criminals (many were violent offenders) to fill the ranks of the SS.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Behind the Page... No dogs or Jews allowed

During the summer of 1933 in Nazi Germany, signs reading "No dogs or Jews allowed" became a common sight in store windows. Small business owners who did not adhere to this policy were subject to intimidation and violence from the Brownshirts. The Brownshirts never had to worry about any sort of legal ramifications for their actions.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Behind the Page... Brownshirts (SA)

Sturmabteilung (SA) were more commonly referred to as Brownshirts. They were the early thug enforcement branch of the Nazi Party. They were led by Rohm who at one time rivaled Hitler for Party leadership.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Behind the Page... May Day

May Day celebrations in Europe are reminiscent of Valentine's Day celebrations in the U.S.; it is traditionally considered a "romantic" holiday. In May of 1933, the Nazi Party coordinated massive book-burning "celebrations" to commemorate May Day. Books written by Jews or anyone else whose writings were counter to Nazi ideals were burned.