Remember this lady? The one who was misidentified as a Bernie Sanders supporter by an outright fascist who loves Der Drumpf?
Well, here she is in her own words. See if you can spot what’s wrong with them:
Ms. Peterson, who was born in West Berlin in 1946 and became an American citizen in 1982, said she took offense to the comparison of Mr. Trump to Hitler.
“They said Trump is a second Hitler,” Ms. Peterson said. “I said do you know what that sign stands for? Do you know who Hitler really was?”
“I make the point that they are demonstrating something they had no knowledge about,” she said. “If you want to do it right, you do it right. You don’t know what you are doing.”
That is when she made the Nazi salute — a gesture that is banned in Germany — as a form of counterprotest. But that is all it was, she said.
“Absolutely I’m not a Nazi, no,” she said. “I’m not one of those.”
Did you catch it? Yes, that’s right: She could not have known “who Hitler really was”, any more than the rest of them. Because she was born in West Berlin, AFTER the war ended, and when the Allies had divvied up the land and begun the process of de-Nazification. It commenced promptly in January of 1946, the year she was born. And since my own parents are German, I can tell you with some authority that the credit for that doesn’t reside entirely, or even mainly, with the Anglo-American occupiers and their top-down efforts to erase the swastika from everything:
West Germany was left to cleanse itself. It was not the seamless process of confronting the truth that is usually told. As Taylor puts it, Konrad Adenauer’s conservative, complacent country took “the sleep cure”. The 1950s and early 60s was an era of forgetting. Germany paid billions of Deutschmarks in compensation to Jews, but few Nazis were prosecuted. In 1952, 60% of civil servants in Bavaria were former Nazis. It was in the 60s, when a new generation of Germans began asking their parents “What did you do in the Third Reich?”, that the real transformation began and New Germans sensitive to their recent history emerged.
This much is true, and this process is currently still going on. (It’s gaining fresh relevance today, too, as Germany confronts a neo-Nazi resurgence in the shape of AFD, PEGIDA, and other assorted refugee-hating bandits.) In the immediate post-war era, most Germans were only too happy to forget that Nazism was ever a thing. They were too busy getting on with the hard work of rebuilding and surviving…and in the case of my mother’s family, of integrating as “foreign German” refugees from Eastern Europe.
It also helps to remember that only about 10% of all Germans were ever members of the Nazi party to begin with, and that Nazi sympathies beyond party membership were also very much in the minority. “Convinced Nazis”, as my father calls them, were at most no more than two German adults out of every five. And that was at the height of Hitler’s popularity, before Germany went totalitarian and all their elections became a farce. With him dead in the Führerbunker, and the Allies in country, the average German was only too happy to try and forget him. As the saying goes: Schwamm drüber, und fertig — sponge over it, and done.
So there is precious little chance Birgitt Peterson could have grown up knowing “who Hitler really was”. The original Nazis were kaputt a year before she was born. Not only that, Germany was actively in the process of getting rid of their influence before she was even old enough to remember them. And by the time she was old enough, no one was talking about that shit anymore. Germans were simply too busy rebuilding their fractured country (countries, rather, since the Russians had split off their portion in the east and turned it communist). No one wanted anything more to do with Nazism in Germany for decades thereafter. No one even wanted to talk about it.
Meanwhile, in the States, Der Drumpf’s own father was not exactly clean of racial animus, either. He was arrested during a brawl between New York police and the Ku Klux Klan in 1927, and later on, as a rising real estate mogul, he refused to rent to black people. He was so horrid that he even pissed off Woody Guthrie, who reworked the lyrics to a song in his “honor”.
Der Drumpf’s own blatant racism is hardly a coincidence, then. He inherited it just as he did his father’s wealth. It’s gotten to the point where people want to remove his name from buildings the world over. His racism has become such a liability that his name — the only asset he actually trades on anymore — is mud in real estate circles. How anyone can support him and still claim they’re not a fascist is beyond me.
But you know what? I’m not surprised that this silly old woman doesn’t know what fascism really is, any more than she knows her adopted country’s nasty past. After all, this is the quality of supporters that Der Drumpf routinely attracts:
If Birgitt’s Hitler salute isn’t emblematic of the Party of Drumpf, this assclown and his addled brain certainly are.
I will agree with Birgitt on one thing, though: I too would like to see the Repugnican party broken up for good — nay, abolished like the Nazi party in Germany. It was fascist already when Dubya was in office, and it’s even worse now. There’s just no fixing it anymore.