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ALEXANDER KIMEL - HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR
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DIRECT CAUSES OF THE HOLOCAUST

by ALEXANDER KIMEL

There were many factors contributing to the Holocaust, such as anti-Semitism, Demonization, Versailles Treaty, economic displacements of the Weimar Republic, but Hitler's mental health was the Direct Cause of the Holocaust. There is circumstantial evidence that Hitler was afflicted with disease called "General Paresis", causing his paranoia, megalomania, delusions, flight from reality, and all those symptoms that provide the only rational explanation of the insane killings.

SYPHILIS AND GENERAL PARESIS.

Mein Kampf- Hitler's biographical book is a good guide to Hitler's psyche. One of the mysteries not covered in the Mein Kampf is why did Hitler not serve in the Austrian Army. Hitler was born in 1889 and in 1910, at the age of 21, he was subject to the conscription to the Imperial Austrian Army. In 1913 Hitler left Vienna for Bavaria, without being drafted into the Army. Hitler either dodged the draft or was found unfit to serve for health reasons. Ernest Hanfstaengl- a member of Hitler's entourage writes in his memoirs about Hitler's health problems:
"One thing that became borne in on me very early was the absence of a vital factor in Hitler's existence. He had no normal sex life...It was part of hidden complexes and a constitutional insufficiency which may have been congenital and may have resulted from a syphilitic infection during his youth in Vienna."
Syphilis is a very unusual disease, with unusual patterns. The first stage begins after an approximate 3-week incubation period. During this stage all symptoms appear; rash, breaks in the skin, sores, and a person feels generally unwell. After a period of about 9 months, all the symptoms disappear, even without any treatment, and the second, latent stage starts. In this stage, a person is not infectious and syphilis can only be detected through the blood test. The latent stage lasts from 1 to 50 years.

In the third and final stage - the tertiary stage the disease causes permanent damage of parts of the body; ulcers of the skin, lesions on ligaments bones or joints. Tertiary syphilis is most serious when it attacks heart, the brain or the nervous system. When syphilis attacks the brain it causes the inflammation of the brain, called "encephalitis". Today syphilis is a curable affliction and it is almost extinct, but in the thirties it was quite frequent. In a 1930 published textbook "The Human Mind", Karl Menninger gives the following description of syphilis:
Many people who have syphilis don't know they have it. Those who do know it rarely suspect the possibility of its affecting the nervous system. Brain syphilis follows original infection by many years. It is difficult for the public to realize that syphilis far more frequently betrays itself by queer conduct than by starting skin eruptions. Brain syphilis may exist for years without being suspected by anyone, least by the victim.
When the sickness attack the nervous system it is called neurosyphilis, and it can kill, paralyze or render insane. The psychosis caused by encephalitis or neurosyphilis is accompanied by progressive paralysis, and it is called general paresis. It is almost certain that Hitler caught syphilis in Vienna.

Because of the disease Hitler was exempt from the service in the Austrian Army. In about 1914 the symptoms of the syphilis disappeared and the latent stage started. The disease was not treated and the infection remained latent, until it resurfaced in 1935, with start of the final tertiary stage.

It is also possible to pinpoint the date of this affliction. In 1908 Hitler shared a room in Vienna at Stumpergasse with his childhood friend Kubizek. In August of 1908 Kubizek went visit his parents in Linz, and Hitler remained alone in the room, rented from Frau Zakreys. On November 20, 1908 Kubizek returned to Vienna and to his amazement discovered that his friend Hitler moved out suddenly taking all his possessions, leaving no message and no forwarding address. Hitler vanished. "Unknown to Kubizek, Adolf was living only a few blocks away from his old lodgings. In Austria every change of address has to be reported to the police and accordingly on November 18 he signed a police registration giving his address as Room 16/22 Felbergasse....The new room had more light than Frau Zakreys's room and cost more money. He liked the place well enough to stay there for eight months, living alone, rarely leaving his room, speaking to scarcely anyone, and having no visible occupation."

It is save to assume that Hitler's strange behavior was due to the syphilis that was the cause of the break with his friend and the strange solitary life. In my Kampf Hitler shows a tremendous preoccupation with syphilis. Two whole sections were devoted to syphilis. Hitler wrote:
Particularly with regard to syphilis, the attitude of the leadership of the nation and the state can only be designated as total capitulation. ..This Jewification of our spiritual life and mammonization of our mating instincts will sooner or later destroy our entire offspring.
In 1935 Hitler fell ill, he complained about cardiac pains, excessive gasses and insomnia, but refused to be examined by a doctor. Speer writes in his memoirs:
Hitler was never seriously examined at the time but experimented with treating his symptoms by his own theories.....Later he was persuaded to undergo an examination by Morell (Dr. Theodore Morell, specialist in skin and venereal diseases).....The other injections and drugs he gave to Hitler were not generally known; they were only hinted at. ... And in fact the injections had to be given more and more frequently.

At the end of the war Hitler's health deteriorated significantly, and there was a general opinion that Hitler suffered from Parkinson's disease. In 1945 General Guderian, visited Hitler in his bunker under the Reich Chancery and describes Hitler appearance .
It was no longer simply his left hand, but the whole left side of his body that trembled.... He walked awkwardly, stooped more than ever, and his gestures were both jerky and slow. He had to have a chair pushed beneath him when he wished to sit down.
Hitler's armament minister and close collaborator Speer also visited Hitler in his bunker in Berlin, and gave a more vivid description of Hitler, sickness:
"Now, he was shriveling up like an old man. His limbs trembled; he walked stooped, with dragging footsteps. Even his voice became quavering and lost masterfulness.....When he became excited, as he frequently did in a senile way, his voice started breaking. .......His complexion was sallow, his face swollen; his uniform, which in the past he had kept scrupulously neat, was often neglected in this last period of life and stained by the food he had eaten with a shaking hand....I was constantly tempted to pity him......in the hopeless situation, he continued to commit nonexistent divisions, or to order units supplied by planes could no longer fly for lack of fuel. ...He frequently took flight from reality and entered his world of fantasy....he claimed he was in a position to conquer Bolshevism by the strength of his personality and in alliance with the West."
Outwardly the symptoms remind Parkinsonism, a disease due to the degeneration of the nerve cells in one part of the brain, usually as a result of arteriosclerosis. It manifests itself in trembling and muscular rigidity that interferes with all movements, from facial expression to locomotion. It occurs fairly often in old age. Hitler was at that time 56 years old, and besides the trembling and stooping he showed signs of flight from reality. Parkinson's disease does not affect the functioning of the brain just the motor coordination. Hitler's moodiness, flight from reality, fits of temper, sulkiness indicates the disease to be general paresis, and very often paresis is accompanied by the Parkinson's disease.

The psychological symptoms of paresis are megalomania, paranoia, and lack of sense of reality, dulling of the moral senses. According to the Textbook of Abnormal Psychology the paretic is extremely domineering, irritable, full of grandiose delusions, and likely to feel that he is an object of persecutions. Mentally they seem to be in a sort of dream world in which their own ideas, wishes fears, and everyday occurrences are mixed up with no distinction between fact and fancy.
.{The paretic} will be changeable, easily angered, sulky, have fits of crying and wailing with self-pity....He will be careless in the face of danger, lack foresight with respect to approaching difficulty, and be quickly reassured after severe misfortune. ...Abrupt alteration of emotions is in common."

" As the disease progresses the motor symptoms become more and more pronounced, The disturbance of speech becomes quite obvious...Movements are slow, clumsy, and awkward...His gait is unsteady and shuffling .. His features become flabby and expressionless while his voice is monotonous or tremulous. "
Hitler's affliction and behavior looks like a textbook case, so exactly it fits the textbook description.

DELUSIONS:

Delusion is defined as false beliefs, which cannot be modified by reasoning or demonstration of the facts. Persistent and systematic delusions are characteristic of psychotic states caused by General Paresis. Hitler had many delusions; he considered himself the greatest military genius of all times, the greatest philosopher, law giver, master builder, etc. Rauschning quotes Hitler bragging: "Providence has ordained that I should be the greatest liberator of humanity. I am freeing men from his restraints of an intelligence that has taken charge."

PARANOIA

Another symptom of the General Paresis is Paranoia, defined as a psychotic disorder characterized by highly systemized delusions of persecutions or grandeur, suspiciousness, and hostility. Hermann Rauschning describes Hitler's odd behavior:
Hitler has states that approach persecution mania and dual personality... He often wakes up in the middle of the night and wanders restlessly to and from. Then he must have lights everywhere. .... Sometimes Hitler wakes up at night with convulsive shrieks. He shouts for help. .... He shakes with fear, making the whole bed vibrate...Sweat streamed down his face. Suddenly, he began to reel off figures, and odd words and broken phrases, entirely devoid of sense. It sounded horrible.
Hafstaengel describes one of Hitler's birthday parties when Hitler lived in a House owned by a Jew. At the party Hitler did not touch the food, and this was his explanation:

But this house belongs to a Jew and these days you can drip slow poison down the walls and kill your enemies. I never eat here normally.

MEGALOMANIA:

Megalomania is defined as extreme over-evaluation of oneself. Hitler was a megalomaniac. When the Austrian Chancellor, Schuschnigg, visited Hitler to discuss the Austrian German agreements, Hitler bragged: "I am the greatest German in all history!... I have reached the most a German leader has ever reached in German history."

SULKINESS AND CHANGE OF MOOD:

Hitler was known for his outbursts, temper and sulkiness. Wagener comments about Hitler:
"[He] could fly into an indignant rage, whereby the vein on his forehead from the top oh his nose to his hairline swelled and grew blue in almost terrifying way, and his voice cracked , so it seemed that he would fear for his life-and for our own as well....Hitler's mood fluctuated between blackest depression and uncontrollable rage. Among intimate friends, Hitler let himself go. I often heard him shout and stamp his feet. The slightest contradiction threw him into rage. People began to be afraid of his incalculable temper.

He behaved like a combination of a spoiled child and a hysterical woman. He scolded in high, shrill tones, stamped his feet, and banged his fist on tables and walls. He foamed at the mouth, panting and stammering in uncontrolled fury.

BRUTALITY AND TERROR

For Hitler terror, brutality and violence were favorite tools, and he admired brutality in others, even in his enemies. Goebbels notes in his Diaries about Hitler's admiration for Stalin's brutality: "The Fuhrer, incidentally, has a rather high regard for the Soviet war leadership. Stalin's brutal hand has saved the Russian front. To hold our own we shall have to apply similar methods on our side."

CONCLUSIONS

In Vienna Hitler adapted Social Darwinism and the brutal outlook on life, caught the bacillus of anti-Semitism, and got infected with syphilis. Those three elements shaped his personality. His repressed sexuality found an outlet in anti-Semitism that became the focal point of personality. Syphilis developed into general paresis that caused his paranoia, detachment from reality, delusions, blurring the moral restrains. Social Darwinism induced him to seek solutions to his inner conflicts in limitless brutality and senseless killing. The idea of getting rid of the Jews became the most important aim in life, more important that the winning the war, and the conquest of Europe.

Even if we don't accept the circumstantial evidence of the of Hitler's general paresis, all symptoms of extensive paranoia, delusions, megalomania, brutality indicate a mental health problem that abundantly explains the irrationality and absurdity of the Holocaust. In my opinion, this should be the main theme of the Holocaust Education.


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