The G-Spot: Nazis Are Unequivocally Bad

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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
-George Santayana

There are many people in the United States who feel that the political left is waging a war on the White male. Just as people of color cannot control to whom they are born, neither can a White male in the United States which may lead to this erroneous assertion. There are those who even feel that Whites are being disenfranchised and need to fight for their rights. There are clearly racial, gender, and class disparities within the United States but it can be argued that those who are trying to erase those disparities are in fact overcompensating and perpetuating race discrimination. Regardless of how you feel about these issues, Nazis are assholes.

The images from Charlottesville were disturbing to many. We live in a great country that allows the freedom of speech but that doesn’t change the fact that protestors with Nazi flags are distasteful to most of us. The swastika is not just isolated to the South because the White separatist movement is pervasive throughout the United States. Over the years, I have taken care of at least thirty patients in California with swastika tattoos, and those are just the ones that I could see.

For all of you aspiring neo-Nazis out there, I think that a history lesson is in order to see if this is really the group with whom you identify. Before carrying a banner with a swastika or getting a lovely tramp stamp with Adolf’s favorite symbol, you should know what this really stands for.

According to Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer, the Holocast was “rooted in an illusionary world of Nazi imagination, where an international Jewish conspiracy to control the world was opposed to a parallel Aryan quest.” The National Socialist German Workers’ Party (or Nazi party) originated in 1920 with the widespread belief that some races were superior to others. In the 1930’s, the rights of Jews were steadily restricted. There was a boycott on Jewish businesses, Jews were excluded from civil service, all Jewish lawyers were disbarred, and Jewish students were restricted from schools and universities. Many Jewish businesses were forced to close or sell to Germans. Jewish authors, artists and composers were excluded from publications and performances.

In 1935, Hitler prohibited Germans from having sexual relations with or marrying Jews. The Nuremberg Laws also stripped German Jews of their citizenship and deprived them of all civil rights. Nazi policy was aimed at forcing Jews to emigrate. When Germany annexed Austria in 1938, the same hilarity ensued. In November 1938, a Polish Jew and illegal immigrant, Herschel Grynszpan, shot a German diplomat in the German Embassy in Paris. In retaliation, the SS and German citizens destroyed over 7500 Jewish shops, damaged or destroyed 1000 synagogues, and 30,000 Jews were sent to concentration camps (although most were released within a couple of weeks).

After Germany occupied Poland in WWII, they gained control of about 2 million Jews. They were placed in ghettos with restricted food supply and poor public hygiene or in labor camps. As Germany annexed other territories, they sent the Jews into central Poland in the ghettos and labor camps. Although about half a million Jews died from starvation and disease, they were not initially part of the extermination of the Jews. As time went on, the guards at the labor camps became more brutal and the death rate increased as the guards beat and starved prisoners as well as outright killing them. Extermination through labor became a policy and Germans estimated the average prisoner’s life span in a concentration camp was three months.

After Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, they encouraged the occupied Soviet territories to murder Jews. Although some were sent to Poland, many were killed by local police with the assistance of the SS. One massacre in the Ukraine resulted in the death of thirty two thousand Jews in two days. Shooting this many Jews proved inefficient and Himmler was concerned that the mass shootings were causing psychological problems in the SS. Germany looked for more efficient methods for killing the Jews. They experimented with gas vans that killed people in a sealed compartment in the vans but this also proved inefficient.

In January of 1942, the leaders of the Nazi party met and developed the “final solution to the Jewish question in Europe.” This plan involved forced labor where most were expected to succumb to the poor conditions and being worked to death. The rest of the 11 million Jews in Europe and adjacent territories would be killed.

The Germans built six extermination camps for mass murder with gas chambers. Jews were packed into trains beyond capacity and were not given any food nor water. As an added bonus, they were forced to pay the fee for a standard-fare ticket. Mercifully, children under four were free. Upon arrival to these camps most were told to undress and herded naked into gas chambers being told that they were showers or delousing chambers. Gold teeth and fillings were then removed by prisoners of the camp who were then tasked with disposing of the bodies. Germans made soap out of the fat from exterminated Jews. Some inmates were placed into rooms without food or water until they died. Initially bodies were buried but later they were dug up and burned. Auschwitz is estimated to have killed over a million people.

If killing 6 million Jews wasn’t bad enough, torture and human experimentation were rampant within the camps and encouraged by Nazi high command.

Janowska was one of the camps where Nazi sociopaths thrived. Jews there were forced to work 12 hours per day and when they showed signs of fatigue, they were placed between rows of wire and left there to die. The prisoners were inspected daily and if an SS officer didn’t like their appearance, they weren’t paying attention, or often for no reason at all they were shot in the head.

Each executioner had a favorite way of killing Jews in the camp. Some were shot, flogged to death, choked, hung, fixed to a cross, or cut to pieces with knives or axes. Women were mostly flogged to death or killed by stabbing. Janowska developed its own death waltz that was played during the murder of many Jews.

Fritz Gebauer was a particularly sadistic commander. He was known for strangling women and children with his own hands. In the depth of winter he would have people tied up, placed in a barrel, then the barrels were filled with water. They remained there until they froze to death.

One of his deputies, Gustav Wilhaus, would regularly fire a machine gun from the balcony of the camp office at the prisoners to amuse his wife and daughter. He would then pass the gun to his wife who would do the same. Reportedly on one occasion Wilhaus ordered someone to toss two four year olds into the air while he fired at them. His 9-year-old daughter applauded and cried, “Papa, do it again, papa do it again!” So he did.

Obersturmbannfuehrer Rokita’s hobbies included ripping prisoners’ bodies apart. Heinen, a true environmentalist, would try to see how many Jews he could kill with one bullet.

Medical experiments were rampant in concentration camps. Nazi high command ordered experiments on freezing. Young, health Jews or Russians were either placed in a vat of icy water until they froze to death or strapped to a stretcher and placed outside naked until they froze to death. They also experimented with various rewarming methods including sun lamps so hot they would burn the skin.

At the Ravensbrück concentration camp, they performed experiments on bone, muscle, and nerve regeneration as well as bone transplantation from one person to another. Sections of bones, muscles, and nerves were removed without anesthesia and many victims suffered intense agony and those who survived were deformed and crippled.

In one camp, they wanted to study head injury. A young boy around 12 years old was strapped into a chair where a mechanized hammer hit his head every few seconds. Eventually he was “driven insane” from this torture.

There were many experiments where those in the concentration camps were given disease, such as tuberculosis and bacterial infections then tested with various drugs, most of whom died from that disease. In one camp they exposed subjects to mustard gas to inflict severe chemical burns. Different treatments were then tested. This was of course without anesthesia.

In one camp, about 90 Roma (an ethnic group also referred to as gypsies) were deprived of food and water and were just given sea water. They were so dehydrated that they would lick the freshly mopped floors.

There were numerous other experiments. Subjects were given poison, burns, gunshots or amputations, all without anesthesia, and different treatments were studied.

This is just the tip of the iceberg describing the atrocities that the Nazis performed. Not only did they ignore human suffering, they delighted in it. They treated Jews, Roma, homosexuals, mentally ill, and mentally disabled as subhuman and subjected them to abhorrent conditions. The lucky ones were killed quickly while millions were worked to death, starved to death, or died from inhumane conditions.

Think of this when our President said that there are “some very fine people on both sides” in reference to Charleston. If you are a Nazi, you are an asshole. If you have a swastika tattooed on you, you are an asshole. Those who choose to demonstrate with Nazi flags have a right to free speech. However, as a country, we need to condemn them unequivocally because you have a right to free speech but you are still an asshole. This should not be a politically divisive issue. During WWII, our country was united in the opinion that Nazis were bad and needed to be stopped. When you proudly display a swastika, you are endorsing an ideology that led to inhumane atrocities that are beyond comprehension.

Greg Greenberg
Greg Greenberg grew up in Santa Monica, California. After undergraduate training at UCLA he attended medical school at Ohio State University and completed a residency in family medicine in Columbus, Ohio. He moved to Redding after residency in 2004 and has served the Redding community as a family physician, hospitalist, emergency physician, and, most recently, in addiction medicine. When he’s not enjoying the calm atmosphere of the emergency department he enjoys the chaos of being a full-time parent as well.
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76 Responses

  1. Avatar conservative says:

    American anti-semitism on the decline. My grandparents and parents often expressed sentiments. When America was transitioning from rural to urban, “Jewish bankers” were blamed for recessions, depressions and World War I. Google “American anti-semitism” for articles.

    Northstate demographics are funny. I’ve lived in many places, never one with so few Jews.

    The most unfailingly ethical man I worked with in my career was a Jew.

    • Fifteen years ago I ran an email list for area musicians and at one point I shared the fact that we were Jewish. I immediately received a private email from a concerned friend on the list who cautioned that — in this area — I probably should keep that quiet. I was dumbfounded. I explained: That is not the way I work. But perhaps that attitude has an effect on perception?

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        When we first moved to Redding, I went into a small shop on Bechelli Lane to purchase a household implement. The shop-keeper was chatting with another customer. The topic was Redding’s African-American community. “Used to be, the niggers in this town knew their place. Now they think….” This went on for 5 minutes while the customer nodded in agreement and offered his own supportive commentary.

        That evening I told my wife, “We’ve made a mistake. I don’t want to raise our kids in this fucking town. I’ll start looking for a job in Sacramento tomorrow.” She talked me off the ledge, but to this day I wonder if that event was the message from the fates that we chose to ignore.

        • I think the bigots are a small minority — I love this community because of the MANY good, kind, generous people I come in contact with daily.

        • Avatar Jennifer says:

          Thank you for your compassion,

        • Avatar Gary Tull says:

          I overheard a similar conversation not so long ago at an industrial shop on Eastside Rd. while purchasing metal flashing and having it cut to size for a home roof repair. Same n-word bombs spewed at high volume. That was when I said to my wife, “I don’t think I can live here much longer”. Unfortunately, that was not the first incident I have encountered of its nature. Still totally disgusted but it takes time to move.

          • Avatar Louise Hanson says:

            I think I would have walked out of the shop and taken my business elsewhere and been very open and honest with the owner about exactly why.

        • Avatar Tom says:

          Unfortunately, I still hear it all too often. Erin is right, I believe, that it is a minority, but it is a strangely proud and vocal minority.

    • Avatar Christian Gardinier says:

      Conservative, many of you are empowering Nazis and the Alt-Right movement is on the rise. The alternative right (or alt-right) is a disparate group of provocateurs who hate political correctness and love Mr Trump. This movement’s recent rise is said to have been encouraged in part by the rhetoric employed during the 2016 US presidential election campaign, in which Mr Trump was accused of “textbook racism”, anti-Semitism, and anti-Muslim bigotryThe phrase “alt-right” started to gain traction in the mainstream media when Mr Trump, as then Republican nominee in July 2016, tweeted an image of Hillary Clinton alongside a six-pointed star resembling the Star of Israel containing the words: “Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!”

  2. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    Greg says: “For all of you aspiring neo-Nazis out there, I think that a history lesson is in order to see if this is really the group with whom you identify.”

    Part of me thinks that our neo-Nazis (and don’t forget their numerous closet sympathizers) are well aware of the history of atrocities that Greg then lays out in horrendous detail, but they either don’t care, or they embrace that history. Part of me thinks that that they’re not fully aware of or accepting of that history, because they’re typically dumber than dog shit.

    I periodically conduct an awful thought experiment that I’ve been doing ever since I was young. Germans in the 1930s were people—not unlike other Europeans—who had experienced (after WWI and during the world-wide Great Depression) something akin to The Shit Hitting The Fan. There is nothing innately bad about Germans—they just broke bad. Really bad.

    So here’s my thought experiment:

    1. Who among the people I know, If The Shit Hits The Fan, would be gladly marching “enemies” off to the death camps? These people are usually fairly easy to identify, because in everyday life they’re already flaming assholes—bigoted, mean, self-righteous, dumb, and often with rabid persecution complexes / victim mentalities.

    2. Who among us would be horrified by the rise of fascism, but do and say nothing out of fear? These people are harder to guess, because being a coward isn’t as in-your-face as being an asshole. In fact, it’s a damned hard question to ask yourself when you look in the mirror. To what end would I put myself and my family at risk by pushing back?

    • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

      Although many surely do, I don’t think that many of the people donning the swastika are truly aware of horrors of the holocaust.

      As far as human nature, history has proven over and over that many will turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. In the 1950’s the Milgram experiment studied people’s propensity to follow orders from authority. It was a great example of what we are capable of.

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        The actual footage of the Milgram authority obedience experiments is horrifying. The nervous, stressed-out laughter of some of the “teachers” (the actual subjects) who are inflicting what they think is real pain via shocks of increasing intensity, while the “experimenter” urges them to continue, even as the “learner” behind the wall screams in pain and begs to be let out.

        Two-thirds of the subjects administered shocks to the point that would have caused death, which was simulated by having the “learner” go silent at the actual lethal voltage. And then they kept administering more shocks, at the urging of the authority figure.


        You can watch the entire 45-minute documentary on YouTube, or short pieces of it. No flagship American research university would allow those experiments to be run today.

      • Avatar Sassie says:

        Good point Greg, just look at how the rest of the world looks the other way while the Rohingya Muslims are being slaughtered.

  3. Adrienne Adrienne says:

    Erin, that would confound me also; however, given the vagrencies of the human condition, I don’t find it difficult to believe. How sad that we humans seem to have the tendency to make ourselves feel better about ourselves by demeaning someone else. Has Peter Paul and Mary said , ” when will we ever learn , when will we ever learn ! “

  4. Avatar Marilyn Traugott says:

    Thank you for a very powerful article. A News Cafe readers are a rather discerning lot and I’m sure understand the intent of what is written, but when “spell check” in its overlooking of the correct spelling of the wrong word lets something like the following slip by, it points out the need to read carefully before publishing: “Nazi policy was aimed at forcing Jews to emigrate. When Germany annexed Austria in 1938, the same hilarity ensued.” ??????

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      You might be a little tone-deaf to the use of irony—saying the opposite of what is meant for emphatic effect.

      Example: “Yeah, great comment! It was probably a spell-check/editing oversight!”

      Now imagine me rolling my eyes as I say that out loud.

    • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

      That was just a little sarcasm given the horror of what was happening.

  5. Avatar Richard Christoph says:

    Thanks for the reminder of what we humans are capable.

    Mom and Dad met during WWII while stationed in England where Mom was U.S. Army R.N. and Dad a medic. Mom, with misty eyes, always reminded me yearly that I had been born on the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

    For those who have not seen it, the 9 1/2 hour documentary “Shoah” is available on Netflix DVD. The extensive interviews with survivors, witnesses, and perpetrators provide a chilling and unforgettable lens through which to view the darkest era of the last millennium.

  6. Tom O'Mara Tom O'Mara says:

    If Greg’s eloquent essay does not suffice, you will find a trip to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. absolutely chilling. I spent four hours in it and then had to leave. The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Museum of Tolerance in L.A. is a close second.

  7. Avatar Virginia says:

    The company my husband worked for for 15 of the 16 years was owned by a man, who happened to be a Jew. No matter what, the man’s long time workers like the man, and if necessary defended him for the fine person he was, who just happened to be born a Jew as I just happened to born a Catholic.

    Because one thinks politically a little different doesn’t make that person a bad person as to many today seem to think if one is a left or right they are bad. To me that is as bad of reasoning as the Nazi was. The same as when American of Japanese descent were called hateful names during WWII.

    I remember my mother inviting a black student from SJSC to our home in 1941. He was a very fine manm and he played beautiful piano music for us. Mother invited our friends of many years, who happened to live next door, to hear the young student play. After the young man left, my mother told her friends she was so disappointed in them because of their actions while they enjoyed the music. You see, they came from Kansas. Had little to do with black people in their area. San Jose was not the place where black people didn’t have problems in the 1930 & 1940s, but many people were like my parents. It wasn’t the color of the skin or the way you worshiped God, but the human you were that counted.

    Today, there are too many people throwing too many labels around as to what a person is or is not. If that continues, then are we Nazi’s too! So right or left or center, think what you say or how you describe a person and their thoughts. Don’t take one thing out of context and condemn the person. If one judges too harshly, they become what most of us dislike a neo-Nazi.

    Remember, also, using nasty language to express yourself doesn’t make you better than the person you are speaking about. It makes you as bad or worse because you lack the language skills to verbalize!

    • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

      Extremes can be dangerous and Nazis are on the extreme. I’m not condemning someone for voting for Trump, I am condemning them for identifying as part of a group whose intent was genocide. I would love to sit down and have coffee with Bill O’Reilly. I have no interest in exchanging ideas with Nazis.

      Language is used to convey meaning and emotion. My use of language was intended to convey emotion and a certain amount of levity. Nevertheless, your point is understood.

      • Avatar Virginia says:

        It was not your language I was referring to or anything in particular otherwise. Sorry if that was what was implied……… You did a fine job of explaining Nazism. But do wish you hadn’t brought in our President. There are many others who are much, much worse than he, but they not condemned most times.

        Just my thoughts from an old age!

        • Avatar Don Cohen says:

          You are correct, however those others are not President of the United States of America. Many feel he should be held to a higher standard. Just my thought also from an old age. Just older sadly not wiser.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      The latest research (you can look it up): The use of swearing is positively correlated with having a larger and more fluent vocabulary. Both use of swearing and language fluency are positively correlated with intelligence. Swearing is not a sign of language poverty, lack of general vocabulary, or low intelligence.

      A few positive attributes of swearing:

      1. It reduces pain—swearing has a measurable analgesic effect. Examples include a woman swearing during childbirth, or swearing when you hit your thumb with a hammer.

      2. It reduces stress—think of swearing as blowing off steam. (I made liberal use of this watching my SF Giants make a mess of this year.) People even swear in life-or-death situations. Often the last words recorded on jetliner black boxes are swearing.

      3. It produces a heightened emotional response to the message. “Donald is a really bad person” does not have the same emotional resonance as “Donald is a goddamned flaming asshole.”

      • Avatar Virginia says:

        There still is no good excuse. Just shows lack of enough good vocabulary to make your point!

        • Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

          Steve both swears and has a superior vocabulary.

          • Avatar Virginia says:

            Shouldn’t all of us be held to the same standard!

          • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

            Virginia — I’m perfectly capable of making my point without cursing. If I want to convey a certain emotional emphasis, I sometimes use curse words. Not always, but I recognize them as a linguistic tool. I will grant you that the use of curse words can descend into laziness, and repeated use of them can lead to reader habituation, dulling their utility.

            As for everyone being held to the same standard—whose standard? This privately owned news/opinion platform sets its own standards, and I’m fine with that. Cross the line, and the proctors throw your comments overboard (a fate that I assure you I’ve met). What Doni and her helpers tolerate is up to them. Most of the time, it seems I’m not violating their standards. If my posts were content-free rants of curse words and nothing else, I’m sure far more of those comments would be relegated to the trash bin.

            It’s clear that you’re emotionally invested in the notion that the use of curse words “…makes you as bad or worse because you lack the language skills to verbalize!” and you’re not going to back away from that, regardless of the opinions of academics and others.

            I’ll just leave you with this: Some people say that the overuse of exclamation points is a transgression similar to swearing—you don’t need to “shout” everything you post. It’s overly emphatic and lazy—let the sentences speak for themselves. But you’ve ended every post in this thread with an exclamation point. :::cluck, cluck::::

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Steve said, “As for everyone being held to the same standard—whose standard?”

            When it comes to swearing, I would posit that men have a relative position of privilege in Western society.

          • Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

            Tim — Bounce enough opinions off one another, and eventually we were bound to agree on something. Though, you wouldn’t know that swearing in women is discouraged in our culture if you spent a few hours around my wife or oldest daughter. They’re both capable of peeling the paint off the walls, and not shy about it. I’m the one who ends up saying, “Hey, hey, hey—my grandkids are in the room.”

  8. Avatar conservative says:

    Many books have been written about the rise of the Nazis. The media played an important role. The German armed forces thought they would win the war in 1918 after Russia left the war. The propaganda they read and heard on the radio confirmed that. Jews, Communists and unions rioted because of food shortages and war weariness, but were not the main cause of Germany’s surrender. The German media created the lie that Jews were communists and communists were Jews. That was taught in schools and homes as well as the media. When the Weimar Republic failed because of the treaty of Versailles, Jews got the blame.

    I think the North State is becoming more tolerant and more diverse. Churches have done a lot to teach tolerance. The Catholic Priest and Lutheran minister who golf with the Rabbi and share sermon ideas are a lot different from the clergy in the 1950s who were taught apologetics (the reasons other faiths are wrong). “Mixed marriages” were condemned from the pulpit. Young people who have Jewish or black room mates in college or who date outside of their ethnic group slowly break down the barriers which divide us.

    • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

      I agree. When I first looked at moving to Redding 13 years ago, I was concerned about the lack of diversity. Those who I have known around here who are non-White can definitely feel that they are treated differently from what I’ve been told. In the last decade, Redding has seen a lot more diversity and tolerance. This article was not really directed at out local Nazis. It was in response to Charlotesville and the comments of our president.

  9. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    The problem with today’s hard right movement, which is right at home here in rural Shasta County, is the membership generally doesn’t sport swastika tattoos. This melding of the Tea Party and the Alt-Right is explicitly racist, but while many of its members are “fine people” who happen to be anti-Semites, they are very careful not to raise in public what’s known as the “Jewish Question,” or the JQ, the alleged nefarious influence of Jews in the worlds of finance, film, civil rights, etc. Often, such people will employ their unwavering support for Israel, or use the term “Judea-Christian” civilization, to signal they couldn’t possibly be anti-Semites, as Steve Bannon did this past weekend in front of a Christian family values audience. This I”m afraid has become more pernicious during the Trump era, with commentators on FOX News using terms such as Cultural Marxism–in its form as an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory–in mainstream media. You’re right, Doc, to worry about those guys with the swazi tats. But they’re just the tip of a rather ugly iceberg.

    • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

      I agree, the alt right seems to have a strong foothold with overt and covert racism. When David Duke endorsed Trump during the election and Trump’s response was not to denounce his support but say he didn’t know who he was, he made his stance clear. As Steve Bannon’s puppet, Trump quietly supported the racist alt right. I actually don’t think that Trump is racist as much as seeking approval from his base.

      Clearly Trump was a statement from those in this country who felt their voices weren’t heard, including the White male who was feeling disenfranchised.

      I hate the symbolism but I think Jews in the United States are doing just fine. It’s the covert racism that has become more overt thanks to a president who doesn’t know how to condemn hate speech and social media that allows everyone to express their uninvited opinion (just as I am doing now).

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Winner winner, chicken dinner, R.V.

      The people up above talking about a “small minority” of local yahoos simply don’t have their collective whetted finger in the air to gauge which way the wind is blowing. I see guys flying Confederate flags and bumper stickers and the like almost every day in Redding. I’ve met actual people who insist that Obama was a Muslim Trojan horse. I’ve read comments in the local fishwrap’s website like: “Kill liberals before they kill America.” And those are just the most overtly Nazi-ish of the type—they have a base of sympathizers. Spend enough time at the bar at Riverview G&CC or any other place where dudes get liquored up, and you get a solid feel for how many of Trump’s “good people” are drawn to in-group/out-group sorting and rank authoritarianism.

      Just because you don’t sport a swastika tattoo doesn’t mean you don’t have fascist breath.

      • Avatar hollyn says:

        Steve, I love your last sentence. “Just because you don’t sport a swastika tattoo doesn’t mean you don’t have fascist breath.”
        And sadly, it is so apt here in upstate California.

  10. Avatar Joanne Gifford says:

    Thank you Greg, wow !

  11. Avatar Carrie Dokter says:

    We attended a special viewing of Shoah when it first came out some years ago. It was mesmerizing to say the least! To hear it first hand from victims and perpetrators!

  12. Avatar cheyenne says:

    Unless things have changed since I left Shasta County the local yahoos that are hateful are a small minority. I worked in the schools, was involved in sports, participated in volunteer groups and the fact is that Redding is a small community where if one does anything they will be involved with minorities, gays, Jews, Mormons, Seventh Day Adventists or other groups. I saw the rise of Asian gangs in the community that was filled by Sacramento outsiders, including drive by shootings, but the RPD put a stop to that with information meetings held at the schools I worked at. And the white militia groups were in Shingletown, not Redding. They were going to load all their guns into RVs and rush down to the Mexican border and protect against the invading army of Latin Americans. The man who shot up the Jewish Museum in DC was from Shingletown.
    In fact, the local yahoos have consisted of whites, blacks, minorities, gays, Jews that have gotten along well with each other until outsiders came into town and started the divisions. I, just like all the other local yahoos, knew people from dumpster divers to the county sheriff and got along with each other. If things have changed it was those who arrived after I left that changed things.

  13. Avatar hollyn says:

    Excellent article Greg. And your last paragraph is spot-on. Obviously, most Trump supporters are not neo-Nazi’s or even alt-right. Nonetheless, we know who the Nazi’s and the alt-right supported in the last election—not to mention the Russians. Very fine people, indeed! (Eye-roll)

    • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

      Thank you Hollyn. You make a good point because a lot of Trump supporters feel like they’re automatically branded a racist by supporting him. The left doesn’t help that and I think it makes them more defensive.

      What’s unfortunate is when the president is too afraid of offending his political base to say Nazis are bad and what they represent is evil. I’m not offended as a Jew, I’m offended as a human being.

  14. Avatar Beverly Stafford says:

    Wow! Great article. However, I agree with Steve Towers that the geniuses who sport swastikas probably yell, “Right on!” all through the paragraphs – that is, if they could read.

  15. Avatar Tim says:

    Fascinating display of self delusion and objectification.

    Step 1: Describe the worst of the Nazis, with no context
    Step 2: Assert moral high ground over Nazis and refuse to converse with any you so label.
    Step 3: Objectify. Call them Nazi. Asshole. (Same psychology behind using obscured silhouette for target practice while drill sergeant yells about evil Ruskie, Jap, gook, reb, yankee, red coat, etc)
    Step 4: Insinuate that a wide array of ideological foes are Nazis (e.g. all those “on both sides” with whom you disagree) and therefore dismiss any counterpoint on the basis of asserted moral superiority.
    Step 5: Assert your progressive bona fides by alluding to your work on 30 Nazis (“I can’t be a bigot, I have black friends”)

    The problem with moral superiorty is we have none. You must ignore the US genocide of 9 million native americans (and, more recently, 1/4 million+ muslims). Ignore unethical US medical experimentation on Blacks. Ignore US forced sterilization of undesirables (as recently as 2010 in California). You must also ignore the way the US & its allies treated Germany after WW1. Blaming a vicious dog for being vicious is pretty disingenuous for a party that beat it with a stick while growing up.

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      Never mind that much of what Tim describes as Steps 1-5 can’t be found anywhere in Greg’s essay. Never mind that people who tattoo swastikas on their bodies *invite us* to objectify them as Nazis and assholes. Never mind that the Nazis in Charlottesville were chanting “Jews will not replace us!” as a group, which doesn’t leave much room for anything other than dismissing them for what they are, in whole. And never mind that if anyone *isn’t* ignoring the horrible things that America has done in its past, it’s liberals—it sure ain’t alt.right conservatives who regard any criticism of our past as evidence that we hate America.

      Ignore all of that. What’s most boggling about Tim’s comment is that he seems to be arguing for a nuanced treatment of……of……of fucking Nazis. He’s like, “It’s not black and white, you simple fools. There are shades of gray.”

      Nah. Tim. Nazis, rapists, serial killers, child molesters, people who beat their dogs for fun……all 100% flaming assholes.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        Steps 1-5 are a breakdown of the rhetoric in Greg’s essay. It is all based on the popular assumption, which you seem to share, that everyone in Charlottesville protesting the removal of the statue of Lee was a Nazi.

        “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” — George Orwell

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          Tim — You keep trying to say that I label everyone who marched with the Nazis as Nazis, when you know damned well I’ve drawn a distinction between Nazis and Nazi sympathizers.

          I will say again that if you’re a Nazi sympathizer—marching with Nazis who are chanting “Jews will not replace us!”—and normal people don’t want to work very hard to distinguish you from the Nazis, too damned bad.

          You seem to want to give Nazi sympathizers a fair shake. I don’t feel compelled to do that at all. What Nazis did historically was evil and repugnant, and anyone who links arms with neo-Nazis is a vile POS.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Since you are replying to a 2 day-old comment as if it were new, I can see how you might reach the conclusion I have not acknowledged the progression of your position.

    • Avatar cheyenne says:

      Tim, as I can focus on one part of your rant as totally false, it makes the rest of what you say false. My daughter, along with other former and present Shasta County residents, were stationed in Bosnia to protect the Muslims from genocide.
      The forced sterilization of undesirables, pedophiles, was a choice, stay in jail or be sterilized and be on strict parole.
      9 million Native Americans, you must be counting their horses and dogs too.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        Whatever you say there, Stephen Decatur

        Statement: 9+ million native americans died during colonization.
        Support: Estimated native population 1500: ~10-12 million. Estimated native population in 1900: ~250,000-300,000.

        Statement: The US is responsible for the deaths of 1/4+ million Muslims
        Support: Estimates of direct & indirect civilian deaths from the War on Terror (250,000-500,000)

        Statement: The US performed unethical medical experiments on Blacks.
        Support: The Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the Dow Carcinogen study, the Oak Ridge Plutonium study, etc

        Statement: California forcibly sterilized undesirables as recently as 2010.
        Support: (it was not done by consent or in exchange for early release!)

        Statement: the US and its allies treatment of Germany following WW1 was like kicking a dog.
        Support: Ordered to pay reparations it had no way to fund in 1919, France and Belgium invaded Germany and occupied to Ruhr, taking raw materials. Other trade restrictions meant extreme scarcity and poverty. Hyperinflation followed. Things started to look up just before the Great Depression hit in 1929. Nazis came to power in 1933.

        • Avatar cheyenne says:

          The number of Native Americans living in the Americas before Europeans arrived has been at best speculated and any number proposed could be true. What is not speculated is that most of those natives died from diseases they had no immunity from contacted from the Europeans long before the westward expansion of the United States. That the US carried out a systematic genocide on certain native tribes is true, but not in the millions.
          While actions in Iraq and Iran are arguable it is not arguable that the Serbs in Bosnia were carrying out genocide, complete with all the atrocities Nazis used, against the Muslims. If America had not intervened the Muslims could have seen the demise of their culture completely. And as a footnote, both the Serb leader and the Iraqi leader were executed by their own people.

    • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

      Tim, I’m pretty sure that none of my best friends are Nazis. As a bit of a liberal, I am appalled at genocide of the Native Americans, internment of the Japanese while we stole their stuff, and oppression that African Americans have suffered. I’ve been debating writing about White privilege after some of the recent reading that I’ve done because it is absurd to think that everyone is treated the same in our country. Talking about Nazis being assholes doesn’t minimize the atrocities that others have suffered. Nevertheless, Nazis are absolutely and unequivocally Assholes.

      • Avatar cheyenne says:

        Greg, I wish somebody would write about “White Privilege”. I have lived in mostly white areas all my life and never knew “White Privilege” because most around me were white. The cops profiled white people because most of the criminals were white. After 1962 all government jobs, even in Utah, had to diversify their work force by hiring minorities. The truth of the matter was a black person had a better chance of landing a government job in Utah than Washington DC. So what is “White Privilege”? I would not be the one to write about White Privilege because I have never known it. Is white privilege working as a substitute custodian for six years sometimes six days a week at six different schools because that might be the job I got? Is working as a sub and being turned down for a job because HR had to consider minority hiring? I was told that by a school district right there in Redding. I don’t know how anybody living in a mostly white area can write about white privilege.

        • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

          Cheyenne, White Privilege doesn’t mean that you automatically have success from being White. It does mean that, based on systemic discrimination that occurred until about 60 years ago, White people in the United States have had more opportunities and resources. Since our parents socioeconomic status has a large effect on ours, it is not a level playing field.

          They being said, everyone in this country has the opportunity to succeed. Some just have more opportunity than others. White privilege is not an excuse not to try. My parents both grew up fairly poor and both succeeded and are affluent. That had nothing to do with race, that is ability and drive.

          If you grow up in a neighborhood where nobody talks about going to college, the most successful are selling drugs, and the police pull you over for looking suspicious, it’s hard to succeed. White privilege is not as black and white (pun not intended) as either the left nor right portray. Because every White person doesn’t have privilege and every Black person isn’t disadvantaged.

          Just to mix it up more, why do Asian Americans tend to be successful even though many come over here poor (or for a few our country took everything away in WWII while interning the Japanese). Again, more complicated than Black and White.

          All things being equal, do you think a Black man and a White man are treated exactly the same at a traffic stop?

          • Avatar cheyenne says:

            My wife and I were janitors in Shasta County and not financially wealthy. Our oldest daughter graduated from Anderson High and joined the Army. Through their education programs she had her college paid for and after leaving the Army worked in many high tech jobs nationally and internationally. She tried to work in Redding but found very few jobs and those barely paid minimum wage. She went to Seattle and to Germany for work. Now she owns a $600,000 home here in Cheyenne and a $300,000 home in Anchorage where she works for the US Marshals. Now she is moving back to the lower 48, probably to Colorado where her best friend from Anderson lives in Boulder. The only decision she has to make is which job offer to take.
            That is not white privilege, that is having the desire to succeed while others only find excuses.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            1) I feel I have more freedom today than my parents and grandparents.
            2) I rarely or never see negative caricatures of people like me.
            3) I am not made to feel ashamed of my heritage.
            4) I do not have to hide my beliefs in public for fear of severe reprisals.
            5) Public schools rarely or never teach things radically divergent from my morality.
            6) Public schools encourage and help prepare children to enter careers like mine.
            7) I regularly interact with local representatives in ordinary work and social engagements.
            8) I rarely am the victim of crime.
            9) If I am victimized, police work diligently on my behalf.
            10) My beliefs are fairly portrayed in the media.
            11) Schools, businesses, and governments aren’t allowed to give others preferential treatment over me.
            12) I feel I mostly have control over my own destiny.
            13) I can be pretty sure of being heard when I’m the only one like me in a group.
            14) I can talk with my mouth full without people thinking everyone like me does so.
            15) I do not fear my children and grandchildren will have to leave the area to find a good career.
            16) I feel respected in my community.
            17) If my children misbehave in school, teachers and staff won’t blame it on them being people like me.
            18) I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my people or a triumph over my upbringing.
            19) The music I like can often be heard in public & polite company.
            20) If everyone in my city or county protested a new state law, it would probably be changed or repealed.
            21) If I have a conflict of ideology with someone, I’m not the only one expected to compromise.

      • Avatar Tim says:

        My point is that by labeling a large swath of people “Nazi” you are guilty of the same objectification and dehumanizing prejudice as the Nazis themselves. It changes the way the brain works, you psychologically disengage and stop using higher order brain functions, which makes it easier to do really nasty things to your fellow man.

        And what good does such ad hominem attacks do? Aren’t you just beating your chest in front of likeminded people and further isolating those whose mind you’d really like to change?

        • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

          I’m labeling the people who identify as Nazis to be Nazis. Or at least those donning a swastika. I don’t think that’s a huge logical leap.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            You framed your essay on Nazis with: “Think of this when our President said that there are ‘some very fine people on both sides’ in reference to Charleston” and then you further clarified “This article was not really directed at out local Nazis. It was in response to Charlotesville and the comments of our president.”

            Thus, you insinute that supporters of the Unite the Right rally are Nazis. Yet supporters included:
            New York Lightfoot Militia
            Pennsylvania Lightfoot Militia
            Three Percenters
            Virginia Minutemen Militia
            American Guard
            Anti-communist action
            Augustus Invictus
            Nicholas Fuentes
            James Allsup
            Daniel Friberg
            Pax Dickinson
            Jason Kessler

            While many/most of the above have unconventional views, they are not Nazis. But rather than engage them on the merits of their positions (or lack thereof), you lump them together in a convenient little bundle which you then feel free to disregard (quote: “I have no interest in exchanging ideas with Nazis.”)

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            Tim — Anyone who marches alongside people carrying Nazi flags while chanting “Jews will not replace us!” is either a Nazi or a Nazi sympathizer. Your laundry list of Nazi sympathizers, some of who may not in fact self-identify as Nazis, doesn’t make a whit of difference to me or anyone else with any sense.

            If you stand arm-and-arm with neo-Nazis, you deserve to be lumped with them. You’re an anal orifice and deserve to be treated like an anal orifice.

            You say to Greg: “…you are guilty of the same objectification and dehumanizing prejudice as the Nazis themselves.”

            The same? It all weighs the same? Nazis calling for separation of the races, overthrow of the Zionist government, worse. Greg saying he doesn’t want to talk to Nazis. It’s the same dehumanizing prejudice, in both quality and quantity.

            :::rolls eyes again:::

            Tim, you’re so far out in right field, you’re a dot on the horizon.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            There were plenty of Nazis at that rally and that certainly made for compelling news. But that doesn’t make everyone there a Nazi any more than a large, boisterous contingent of Bernie Sanders supporters at a Democratic convention makes everyone there anticapitalist.

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            You’ve just repeated what I said. No, not everyone there was a Nazi. Yes, they were all willing to be associated with Nazis and all that they stand for. They are rightfully damned for standing with Nazis—it makes them Nazi sympathizers.

            I don’t like Antifa, largely because I don’t like their tactics, which include smashing windows, vandalizing cars, carrying weapons, and looking for opportunities to commit acts of violence. (I don’t mind the anti-fascist sentiment at all.) I won’t go to a big anti-whatever demonstration in the Bay Area if it’s likely that Antifa is going to be there, because I’m not going to give them the comfort of my support.

            Also, there is a distinct difference between being a socialist and a racist. Grumpy Uncle Bernie is not the moral or political equivalent to the Grand Wizard of the KKK. You seem to have issues with false moral equivalencies.

          • Avatar Tim says:

            Metaphors suppose a logical similarity, not moral equivalency.

            Interesting that you damn as Nazi sympathizers those who attended the Unite the Right rally, but who did not march with the facist groups on their way to the rally. If I stand with those who attended the rally but did not support Nazis, do you condemn me as well? If so, do you condemn those who stand with me? Just how many degrees of Kevin Bacon does it take to earn the Towers seal of approval?

  16. Avatar James Fossen says:

    If anyone thinks that the reverberations of those long ago times are relegated to the history books, you are sorely mistaken.

    Mom, Dad, 3 grandparents and every aunt and uncle I had lived through German Occupation.

    By the wars end, mom at 15, had lost her mother and a sister to illness and was placed in an orphanage.

    At 19 she moved to America with my father and many many other family members.

    Mom is still with us at 87 and lived in Redding.

    My father and his older brother ran across the Swedish border as late teens while being chased by the Germans. Because of this my grandfather was held in a German camp for many years.

    My grandmother was left to raise her youngeest son wondering if she’d ever see her two older boys or husband ever again.

    I see pictures of my grandmother; A forced smile with cold eyes. I see this in my some pictures of my mother as well.

    The presence of a grandmother I never met, who passed in 1939, has been near every day of my life. I see her in my mothers eyes. I hear her in my mothers sorrow.

    My mother misses her everyday.

    For my father? Depression. Alcoholism. Estrangement from several of his 5 children. Multiple divorces and in the end, the victim of suicide, 40 years after wars end.

    72 years after the end of the war and here I am, born 1961, carrying the scars of those aweful aweful years.

    The war has not ended for many of our seniors (and their children).

    The Germans who participated in the horrors of those times have earned a place so special that NO others may join. It’s theirs and theirs alone.

    There is no room for a Swastika flag anywhere, anytime, anyplace.


  17. Avatar trek says:

    Your story not only tells of wartime atrocities but also reads of your own hatred to a current sect of society. You write that you have “taken care of at least thirty patients in California with swastika tattoos, and those are just the ones that I could see.” Why would you help a person in need if you dislike them so much? We have that very freedom to say “no” from our fellow Americans fighting in wars that not all agreed too or came home from. Were you not able to speak up and say you would not help those with swastika tattoos inked on their flesh? If you dig deep enough you can find stories about WWII Nazi’s that actually helped Jews survive. Like the above poster my grandparents also emigrated to the USA from Austria, in the early 1920’s.

    • Avatar Tim says:

      Political ideology is a protected class in California; you cannot legally refuse service to a Nazi just because they are a Nazi.

      • Avatar Christian Gardinier says:

        Tim, call it what is is. Many will have more respect for a person that is open and honest than for a person that tries to hide behind rhetoric.

  18. Avatar trek says:

    In the United States, the only time a patient has a right to care is when that patient needs true emergency care and accesses the emergency room of a hospital that accepts federal money through Medicare (see EMTALA.) Even then, if a patient is deemed not to require emergency care, he may be refused care and told to see his primary care physician or to check in with an urgent care clinic.

    • Greg greenberg Greg greenberg says:

      I work in an emergency department and I am bound by EMTALA and medical ethics to treat those patients to the best of my ability. And I do so, albeit usually while throwing in a sarcastic comment about the swastika.

      Trek, it’s not actually a hatred toward that portion of society. I have an intolerance of intolerance. I have the same disdain towards those who use the “N word” in front of me.

      The swastikas that I see don’t offend me as a Jew. I’ve never felt threatened or been treated unfairly because of my ancestry. I am indignant for those who have been treated unfairly, albeit Jews, Native Americans, African Americans, Latinos, Muslims, etc.

      • Avatar trek says:

        Your headline caught my attention and I totally didn’t associate your story with your last name nor your ethnic background. Makes more of an interesting read to me now.

  19. Avatar Kathryn McDonald says:

    Tim is right that not everyone who marched in Charlottesville is a Nazi. The rest were Nazi sympathizers and white supremacists. Trump’s failure to condemn them and, indeed, to say that some of them are “nice people” says all I need to know about his character (which isn’t to mean that he doesn’t reveal his lack of character in many other ways). I agree with Steve: they are assholes.

  20. Avatar Tim says:

    Here is one last example: protestors at UC Santa Cruz, including two officers of the Student Union, recently shut down a College Republican meeting, calling its members Nazis, White Supremacists, and Facists:

    I can tell you from personal experience it wouldn’t be unusual for College Republicans from a particularly liberal school like UC Santa Cruz to be to the left of Democrats in other states, so I find the notion of a gathering of Nazi Banana Slugs absurd.

    P.S. How did “Sympathizers” become a derogative? Shouldn’t everyone aspire to sympathize?

  21. Avatar Tim says:

    “Hate can be a deeply stimulating emotion. The world becomes easier to understand and much less terrifying if you divide everything and everyone into friends and enemies, we and they, good and evil. The easiest way to unite a group isn’t through love, because love is hard, It makes demands. Hate is simple.

    So the first thing that happens in a conflict is that we choose a side, because that’s easier than trying to hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time. The second thing that happens is that we seek out facts that confirm what we want to believe – comforting facts, ones that permit life to go on as normal. The third is that we dehumanize our enemy. There are many ways of doing that, but none is easier than taking her name away from her.”

    — Fredrik Backman, Beartown
    (Thanks to Hollyn Chase for the book recommendation)