If you tune into the American Hero Channel, you’ll most certainly come across a program relating to World War I or II. Sometimes the film footage has been colorized. Most of the shows are in black and white, which suits the whole idea of war in a way. Cut and dried – black and white – winners and losers with a huge dash of political intervention. Those two wars were so much more than that. War shows the blackest side of the human condition, yet there were those who brought light to the darkness through resistance.
The atrocities of Nazi Germany are widely known. Some people claim today that the Holocaust was a myth. How can that possibly be true, when we have film documentation of it? How can those stories lose their validity when there are still living survivors with memories of concentration camps and gas chambers? We should never forget or try to erase those images from our minds or our history books. They are reminders of the inhumanity of those who would stop at nothing to obtain power.
Not all of Germany followed the dictatorial rein of Adolf Hitler. In 1897, Carlo Mierendorff was born on this day. He fought in the First World War as a volunteer. From 1918 to 1922 he studied philosophy and political economy, receiving his doctorate in Heidelberg on the subject of economic policy of the German Communist Party. He became an active member of the Social Democratic Party and a dependable Social Democrat.
In 1929 he was appointed press office chief on the staff of Wilhelm Leuschner, the interior minister of Hesse, and became one of Leuschner’s closest colleagues. He then became even more active in politics and eventually became known as one of the bitterest opponents of the National Socialist Party and its propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels.
In 1933 Mierendorff returned to Germany from a trip to Switzerland. He was arrested, maltreated and tortured in concentration camps until 1938. After his release he renewed contact with his former political comrades. He succeeded in resolving contradictions between socialist and Catholic viewpoints. In June 1943 he drew up plans to create a resistance movement called Socialist Action. The plan never came to fruition, because Carlo was killed in a bombing raid on Leipzig on December 4, 1943.
It was men like Mierendorff, working behind the scenes, that defied Hitler and wouldn’t stand for his barbarism. Spending time in a concentration camp for five years makes an impression on a soul. He knew from personal experience the truth of the Holocaust.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY – CARLO MIERENDORFF!