History 08/01/20 “Work makes you free” and other terrible slogans in the Nazi death camps

the fact that the Nazis had a weakness to different kinds of slogans for anybody not a secret. And words, phrases, and quotations were used by the German propaganda, not only to strengthen the military spirit of soldiers or “advertising” famous ideology. All sorts of slogans “decorated” and the gates of many concentration camps.

the Camp “education”

Despite the fact that the existence of Nazi concentration camps knew almost everything, the Germans tried to build them away from the settlements in the first place in order to minimize the contact of prisoners with the locals. And talking about “death factories” in Germany was not accepted. At least, so says the author of the book “History of Nazi concentration camps” Nikolaus Wachsmann. Wajsman considers the speech of Heinrich Himmler, was broadcast on radio on January 29, 1939, a rare opportunity, when the authorities openly talked about the camps and their device.

it is Noteworthy that Himmler assured the audience that in the camps practiced and let the strict but “fair” practices, and also referred to the slogan, “decorating” the gates of concentration camps: “the Path to freedom exists.” As said Himmler, the stages for achieving this goal are: obedience, diligence, honesty, neatness, cleanliness, sobriety, truthfulness, willingness to sacrifice and love of Fatherland.” The Nazis were in awe of the words of Himmler and soon the phrase “the road to freedom” in different variations began to appear over the entrances to many of the camps. However, such “visual agitation” of the camp commandants was used long before the speech of Himmler.

Arbeit macht frei

If you believe Andrew Miller, author of the book “Transition”, the slogan “Arbeit macht frei”, which translates from German as “Work makes you free”, was placed above the gates of a number of Nazi concentration camps. For example, the phrase “adorned” above the entrance to Auschwitz, Theresienstadt, Sachsenhausen. In fact, “Work makes you free” is the title of the novel by the German writer Lorenz Diefenbach, whose heroes, cheaters, and players, stand on the path of correction. However, Konstantin Dushenko, the author of the book “Great dictionary of quotations and aphorisms” said Diefenbach also not himself invented this phrase. Rather, it is a parody of the medieval saying “City air makes man free”. There is also a version that “Arbeit macht frei” is a paraphrase of the new Testament volume of the “the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:32), the former is popular among the German Lutherans.

whatever it was, over time, the quote has gone viral, and since 1928 the authorities of the Weimar Republic began to use it to promote public works. 5 years later the inscription “Work makes you free” appeared on the gates of the Dachau concentration camp. Says Konstantin Dushenko, a title of Diefenbach as a slogan for prisoners was first introduced by the commandant of Dachau, SS General Theodor Eicke. According to Anna Fold, the author of the book “Remember that all of this was” Nazi slogan “Work makes you free” was only a cruel mockery of the prisoners of concentration camps who had become free only after he died.

Jedem das Seine

“Jedem das Seine” can be translated from German as “to each his own”. These words, says Leonid Mlechin in his book “the Third World war. Can it be stopped?”, became a symbol of the Buchenwald concentration camp, located in the heart of Germany, near Weimar, the cultural capital of the country. This phrase, the Nazis also borrowed. Konstantin Dushenko, the author of the book “world history in sayings and quotes”, argues that “to each his own”, sounding Latin as “suum cuique” goes back to the writings of Plato. The Greek philosopher in his “State” he wrote: “Justice is that everyone had their and sang too, his”.

However, the phrase “suum cuique” vstrechesa and other authors. For example, if you believe the Marina Barinova Svetlana Maksimenko, the authors of the textbook “Roman individual right”, the ancient jurist Ulpianus saw the essence of law is to “to live honestly, not to harm another, to give each his own”. Through many centuries the words “suum cuique” became the motto of the Prussian king Friedrich I, and then was on the gates of Buchenwald. So just quote the Roman jurists turned into a nightmare for many prisoners, one of the largest concentration camps in Germany.

Yulia Popova

© Russian Seven

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