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A Mind In Prison
Transcript of A Mind In Prison
a German boy and becoming
a German soldier during WWII. "I believe that every German
of my age and older who lived
in Nazi Germany during the
Holcaust has to answer these
Where were you?
What did you know?
What did you do or not do?
What have you now to say?" Manz gives the background of his
childhood along with the background of
the German people and economy at the
time. He tries to explain to his readers and himself his actions during this time. Germany was a country suffering hardships after losing WWI. The people were starving and totally at a lost which made them more susceptible to fall for a leader like Hitler. "It was a difficult time for parents to raise children, a time of economic hardship, high unemployment, and political chaos." Manz tells of how his father influenced his thinking as a young boy. He had out burst of hatred for the Jews. He was a German Chauvinist who blamed the Jews for all their problems. Manz describes his father as a very kind and loving father. He spent time with his kids and made them toys that were the envy of all the other kids. Manz says had he been a cold cruel father he wouldn't have had such an influence over his thinking. He explains this to show why he as a young boy of 10 and 11 embraced his father's teaching.. By: Bruno Manz Our main character and author today is named Bruno Mars. He uses this book to try to explain his background and to
work through the guilt feelings
he experienced from being part of Hitler's army.
Manz struggles with how he missed the signs of being on the side of evil. In the Crucible of Despair "His nationalistic conceit is perhaps best exemplified by his favorite saying, Von deutschem Wesen wird dereinst die ganze Welt genesen (The German Character one day will cure the whole world)." Manz recalls many times when his father would go into a rage over his hatred for the Jews but his mother didn't share this hatred. She had compassion for everyone and knew many people were suffering in Germany at the time. Chapter Two A Whirlwind of Seduction and Doubt Berlin, Germany, A street fight between Communists and Nazis in the early 1930's At the age of 10, Maz began seeing the heated debates and bloody fights between the Nazis and the Communist. His father who had been injured during WWI was engaged in heated debates rather than physical. Manz says he was impressed by the physical strength of the Nazis and at his young age mistook this brawn as heroism. "I suppose what attracted me to the ugly scene then was my naive belief that might is right." Manz began his active support at this time by buying swastika labels with his own money earned at a part time job. He would paste these swastikas on houses or advertising columns. Manz remembers thinking of Hitler as "a coming messiah". He had mentally pictured an impressive and handsome image of Hitler. He was totally disappointed when he sees an actual picture of Hitler.
"However, instead of a youthful hero, an aged wretch with a little mustache stared back at me. I was dumbfounded! 'This can't be the Fuhrer,' I muttered with disbelief; 'this must be someone else.' But, undeniably, there was his name and the swastika in the claws of an eagle." Manz feels being disappointed in Hitler's appearance was a sign that he missed telling himself this was not a man of greatness. Chapter Three
Violation of a Defenseless Mind Manz became a member of the Hitler Youth in 1932, six months before the Nazis were in control. Manz remembers marching endlessly and weekly group meetings in the Hitler Youth. During these meetings they were given information and in the context that the Nazis wanted to present them, although they presented information as truth, it often was not.
"... the Nazis murdered Luxembrug in Moabit prison in Berlin and threw her body into the Landwehr Kanal. This criminal act was portrayed to us as a deed of patriotic duty." Manz did attend school at this time. He had one teacher that made a great impact on his life. They called him Theo, his first name. "I admired Theo for his dedication to the cource of democracy, and even more so for the way he expressed it. Although I rejected the idea of democracy, Theo made me feel that there was something about it worthy of the support by a good and honest man. "I heard his (Theo) voice, but I closed my mind, while the clarion call of the Fuhrer was ringing in my soul. It was an uneven contest: here the lonely voice in the desert, there the siren song of the Thousand Year Reich." Manz feels if he had of listened to Theo he would not have continued on the same path and perhaps freed himself from the "invisble chains of mental servitude." Chapter Four
Imprisonment of Seventy Million Minds "...January 30, 1933. Germans would always remember this day as 'The Day of Power Seizure.'" Within weeks the first Jews and Communist were sent to concentration camps. It was the beginning of the worst time in all history and yet he along with other Germans were euphoric. "This was the beginning of paradise! Germany would break the chains of Versailles and the Jewish conspiracy. Everybody would find work. Nobody would go hungry. My mother would never again weep while the bailiff carried our furniture away. The Fuhrer would change everything for the better, and a new Germany would arise from the ashes of defeat." Manz describes himself as neither "wise nor brave." He was only eleven and had been preached anti-Semitism for years.
"It carried me away like a tidal wave." Chapter Five
No Escape The Nazis encourage and gained support by supplying the people food. The people were both starving and freezing. However it too was a lie. They took money from the people to feed them. "Nobody shall go hungry!
Nobody shall freeze!" Thousands of kids from the Hitler Youth were sent to collect money each sunday. Most of the money was spent on arms and war preparations. "It was an unpleasant duty that I preformed perhaps a hundred times." Hitler came to Manz's hometown in the spring of 1933. He spoke at a huge sports arena. Manz went with his father to hear. They had very high seats and for the second time Manz was disappointed in Hitler's appearance. He appeared small as did the others but he expected him to appear physically different. However his deliverance of his speech was as great as he had expected. He had the ability to captivate his audience. "The huge hall was transformed into a cauldron of deranged minds." "He was the Germanic messiah, and his vision of the Third Reich was a covenant of national glory and happiness." Manz never heard Hitler again in person but heard repeated speeches of his that were required at school. They also marched them to the movie to watch newsreels of his appearance "Today I believe that the whole Nazi movement would have been impossible without this demagogue of unprecedented proportions." Corrupt and bad leaders will come and go "... but the evil genius of Hitler comes only once in a thousand years." Manz isn't writing his book to go into detail about the evils of Hitler, but to explain why he fell for so much of the lies along with the other people. The people were in despreate need of relief from their hardships. Although Manz doesn't condone his actions, he tries to explain them. The magazinge called Der Sturmer had articles that demanded the annihilation and extermination of the Jewish race. It also told lies that kept the German people in favor of Hitler. "... the wider the defamatory magazine drew the circle of alleged conspiracy, the more plausible if appeared to us." The worst lie he feels the Nazi's government reported was to report the concentration camps as harmless holding places. "They were shown at their daily routine such as washing up in the morning, singing on their march to work, or receiving their wholesome evening meal. These rosy pictures were confirmed by numerous printed interviews with the prisoners." Even though the British concentration camps were bad, Manz readily accepted these reports with relief. He probably accepted too hastily. Hitler's book left Manz disappointed, he says it was "stale and tired." Others Also commented on the same lines. Hitler was a charismatic speaker but when looking at his words alone they didn't move people. Manz mother was never swayed to follow Hitler or have feeling of hatred for the Jews. She refused to join the NS women's organization also. Once when the children had upset their mother she in a rage revealed to them she had "Jews among her ancestor's." Manz was greatly upset by the images in "Der Sturmer" about Rabbi's grinning over bowls of children's blood. His mother calmed him down by showing him those types of articles were not in their regular newspaper. His mother appeared to be more levelheaded but his father had more influence over him. Chapter Six
The Master Jailor Jungvok was for 12-15 year olds although Manz wasn't 12 yet he automatically became a member. His first year he had a leader who had been a boy scout and pretty much carried on as such. He was only 4 or 5 years older and Manz remembers this as a happpy time but also a short time. The leader was soon replaced by another young man, Heino. He became the only, "official in the Nazi establishment I was genuinely afraid of." His focus was military training. He pushed them to aggressive fighting and pitted them against each other. He enforced the beliefs that Germans were superior and would rule the world. "Today I believe that Heino really understood what Hitler wanted to do - that is, mold us into fearless conquerors. Chapter Seven
Professors of Propaganda Manz talks about his education and his dislike for some teachers. He was drawn to some teachers even though he disagreed with their teaching and then had issues with teachers who taught what enjoyed or agreed with. This shows the turmoil he had inside him. One school director brought more doubts when he insisted Hitler was the "greatest religious founder of all times" Manz wasn't so sure. Theo was still at this school and became Manz only happy hours at school. He taught and helped them discover new things with out Nazi or anti-Semetic influences. "'You see, the truth lies sometimes deeper than you think. When somebody claims that he alone is in possession of the truth, you should be suspicious.'" This statement made Manz decide to be a mathmatician and physicists. Part of Manz schooling was the viewing of many propaganda films. There films worked very well on the young minds. These films helped keep the hatred for the Jews fresh. When a Jewish assassin killed a member of the embassy a few days before November 9, 1938 what better time to take revenge. "'Spontaneous' reprisals occurred all over Germany. That was the infamous Kristallnacht of 1938." Theo was greatly distubed by kristallnacht.
"Boys, the things that happen this night in our country will be to the shame of our nation for a thousand years to come. Heil Hitler. Sit down." Although the boys disagree with Theo they all cherished him too much to turn him in and knew had any one boy reported him he would have been sent to the concentration camps. Kristallnacht finally opened some eye about the injustice of hating all Jews. Manz's mother told a story about a Jewish man who was killed on kristallnacht and even Manz's father showed a brief moment of guilt. In 1939 before he turned 18, he volunteered with his parents' written consent. He recieved his marching orders to report for military duty at midnight on New Year's Eve of 1939 along with his classmates. Years later Manz tried to find Theo, but all he could find out is that he disappeared. Chapter Eight
Long Obedience, Short on Purpose Due to too many volunteers and not enough aircraft, Manz did not make the cut and was sent back to the training camp. On the return trip "... a few care worn figures wearing yellow star of David Badges sneaked into the car." The look in their eyes haunted Manz. "This was worse than murder, this was violation of the soul, this was torture! It was the first time I witnessed a Nazi barbarity with my own eyes, and it plungedme into a whirlwind of contradictory feelings and thoughts." Manz goes on to describe some of his early basic training. Manz describes his initial military training as unpleasant for the most part. The officers charge usually made life miserable on the lower class. Manz and his classmates bond together to deal with the situation. Manz talks about a dozen high school graduates that formed a circle of friends."Heinz" from Dortmund was killed in action that became a commissioned officer. He died in a Russia prisoner of war camp in Siberia. "Karl" also from Dortmund also spent time at Russia prison of war camp. He told Manz after the war he had spent a year in a straight jacket. A year after he married and hanged himself. Another unnamed friend was killed in the battle of Britain and the last circle member he talks about was Helmet. Helmet is now a neo-Nazi. Manz was granted his first leave in June 1940. He had still not seen any actual fighting, still in training. While at home they recieved that France had surrendered and peace was at hand. Manz's family had gone to a garden restaurant to enjoy his time off. They noticed a Jewish family that lived near them also at the restaurant. His father became enraged and had the owner make them leave. Manz was embarrassed about his father's actions as was his other family members.
"Only my mother murmured so softly that my father could not hear it, 'Poor people what have they done?'" Manz began to believe that Jews within their were good but that the Jewish conspiracy Hitler preached about still existed. He believed this conspiracy of Jews lived in America and as long as America stayed out of the war, things would be fine. Manz admits now that he didn't know the truth about many things or plans that Germany had in mind. Chapter Nine
The Artic Ocean Front Nazi propaganda represented Stalin was conduting anti-Semitic cleansing also indicating that a war with Russia wasn't in plans. So when they attacked the Soviet Union in June of 1941 most Germans were shocked. Manz recied marching orders to an undisclosed destination. They left Berlin, traveled to hamburg, on through Denmark, by ship to neutral Sweden. On to Oslo, traveled north to Trondheim, continuing North to th Swedish town of, Haparanda and then took a Finnish to Kemi. Eventually they reached Rovaniemi which was the headquarters of the 20th Mountain Army. They moved on to Nikel, Russia and stayed at the Petsamo air base. Manz spends the winter and spring here where he says "everything was inadequate: food, clothes, ammunition, equipment, fuel and anti freeze for the tanks. "I had long ceased hating collectively and anonymously. I hated only the war, nothing else." Manz was granted a leave in the summer of 1942. He describes a long trip back to his parents. He was shocked to find his parents both emaciated. At this point, the Germans still believed hey would win the war but Manz was unsure as Hitler had declared war on America by now. After his short visit he began the long journey back. Chapter Ten
"Do You Want Total War?" "January 1943 a top secret telegram Reichmarshall Goring arrived at the Petsamo air base. I was the first to read it: 'The Fuhrer has ordered the establishment of ninety air force field brigades.' That was serious; that meant me!" "The fiasco at Stalingrad was my greatest shock during the Nazi era, except for the total defeat of 1945 and the devastating truth about the concentration camps." Manz listened by radio to Goebbels powerful speech in Berlin. This was considered his best and most effective speech ever. He ended each sentence screaming "Do you want total war?" and the crowd replied back each time "Yes!" "It was a masterstroke of propaganda that mobilized the last reserves of a nation on verge of exhaustion." Yes! In February of 1943 Manz received his orders. The commander presented him with the Cross for Distinguished War Service Second Class. Manz became a "Landser" or a German infantryman. The training was hard and conditions worse. The troops could not prepare for the Arctic winter. Manz forgot his fear of the Jewish and focused on the Russians. He was horrified of ending up in a Russian prisoner of war camp and agreed with his comrades that ending his life would be the best option. Manz was given the position called "Kompanie Trupp Fuhrer" This meant he was "over on elite group of five men who served as messengers to platoons and battalion headquarters." Although dangerous at times he preferred this job to the other routine jobs. Manz was becoming famous for his motivational pep talks and asked to speak to other companies besides his own. Chapter Eleven
The Great Retreat "I believe that everybody, once or twice in his life, is called upon to stand up for truth and decency." In the spring of 1944, a comrade named Roper point blank told Manz that Jews were being systemically killed at Thersienstadt, which was in Silesia, Germany. This shook Manz to the core but he chose not to really accept it. He answered, "Well, if thousands of our people are dying everyday, we must see it to that equal number of our enemies also die." This conversation and how he chose to respond is the moment Manz says he is most ashamed of to this day. Manz was granted his last leave from the war in the summer of 1944. His hometown of Dortmund was heavily damaged this time. His parents cried when they saw him while he was shocked again to find them so starved. Food rations were below levels to maintain weight. As Manz learned of the Allied invasion he now doubted Hitler's strategic blunders but not his crimes. Manz saw Roper one last time when he returned to Rovaniemi, the capitol of Lapland. Manz heard someone address him from behind as Corporal Manz. Turning, he saw it was Roper and he was surprised he addressed him formally. As Manz reached to shake his hand, Roper lifted his to show he was handcuffed. Manz was told not to speak to the prisoner but later found he had tried to desert and was caught by bloodhounds. He was later ordered death by a firing squad. In September 1944, the 20th Mountain Army was cut off from the homeland. It was decided for them to retreat. The retreat didn't go well and the Russians caught up to them. After weeks of fighting the company was reduced to 60 men. Marz finds himself in charge as others in command have been killed or injured. As they were trying to get away, Manz gives the order to throw their gas masks away. He felt abandoning the bulky equipment would save them from becoming Russian captives. A few months later this brought Manz an indictment for sabotage before a military tribunal. Manz and his men finally reached Hammerfest where a ship waited to take them to an unknown place. As they were leaving the German battleship, the "Tirpitz" had keeled over. Rescue boats were trying to cut holes in her release the 1800 sailors trapped, only 85 escaped. Manz visited the "Arizona" 48 years later and he was reminded of the men on the "TIrpitz".
"But the sailors of the "Arizona" died in the defense of freedom, while the sailors of the "Tirpitz", knowingly or not, died in the service of evil." Chapter Twelve
Total Defeat Total Disillusionment Although Roper was sentenced to death by a firing squad he was to be sent back to Germany first. Manz find out later, the ship he was on also sank. "In the following fifty years I thought of Roper perhaps a thousand times. He was a victim of Nazism, as was Theo, my cherished teacher from high school. Today I considered Roper a victim of the Holocaust, though he did not die in a concentration camp, but in the icy waters of the North Sea. The same hatred that sent millions to the gas chambers sent Roper to his watery tomb. Today, I wish I had understood this on that fateful morning in 1944, when we were standing watch and he told me about the ongoing genocide." Manz was ordered to give his men a pep talk on fighting til the end, he felt it his duty to keep mens' morale up and did a great job. So much that he was recommended to be promoted a sergeant. Although approved before the collapse of the Third Reich, Manz was informed about his promotion while he was at a British prisoner of war camp. The Nazi propaganda continued up to the very end. A special announcement announced that Hitler had fought til the very end and died, saying he died in action. Manz was devastated, mentally and physically. He describes this as the very lowest point in his life that lasted for 12 months. Finally, and slowly he realized he was "mourning the death of a monster", accepting this he began to heal. Manz quoted the Bible - saying "The truth shall set you free." Manz and his men were sent to a transition camp with a handful of Britain soldiers on guard. Because Manz could speak English he was chosen to be an interpreter. Manz was given certain privileges as an interpreter and had more free time. During this time, he began to blame Hitler for losing the war. This was the start of healing process and setting his mind free from his mental imprisonment. Manz was released to return home in September, 1945. Dortmund had been destroyed and his parents had been evacuated to Teutoburger Wald. "Even though my mind was still filled with despair and humiliation, it suddenly was suffused with a miraculous sense of wonder and gratitude, as I felt the mental chains loosening and the injection of ideological poison ending." Chapter Thirteen
The Truth Sinks In Manz reunites with his family and although the war is over they suffer considerably along with the other people for the lack of food. There were food shortages all over the world. "And since the Americans virtually had to feed the world, one cannot hold it against them that they fed their friends first." Manz tells of how they continued to suffer for three more years but not never being able to convince his father that Hitler was wrong and that there was no reason to hate the Jewish race troubled him just as much. Since Manz father was a native of Saarland, he and his family chose to move there hoping for better conditions. One advantage was finally having a newspaper and radio. As Manz begins to receive the first reports about the Nazi atrocities it was the conclusion to his mental imprisonment. At first Manz denied the genocide reports, the ovens, and the piles of bodies. He doubted everything but at the same time longed for the truth. "It was a spiritual hunger that rivaled even the physical craving for food. At the same times I felt in my bones that I would see the truth soon." Manz chose to believe no words, spoken or printed. He had been lied to for so long he trusted nothing. Finally he discovered the truth in faces. He studied and collected thousands of pictures. That was where he saw the truth. Whether the faces revealed suffering, pain or guilt, Manz slowly discovered the truth. He used pictures from The Nuremberg trials, the other war crime trials and documents from the ghettos and concentration camps.
"There were all kinds of faces: Jewish, German, Polish, American; men and women; old and young; innocent and guilty." Manz describes this as his break through. The truth he was seeking could be found in these pictures. It also helped him discover why as a boy who couldn't finish Hitler's book.
"It is not an overstatement to say that the powerly of Hitler's language, both in speaking and in writing, was a reflection of the bareness of his soul."
"It was the complete absence of any constructive idea or tender emotion." "By the end of 1946 my mental liberation was complete... The man to whom I had looked up as humankind's genius, Adolf Hitler, was unmasked as the personification of evil... Humankind has at all times seen frightening barbarities by all races and nations, but never crimes as massive, calculated, and unnatural as the systematic genocide that is now known as the Holocaust. It has been my fate to serve the creator of this horror system, and I shall bear this consciousness for the rest of my life." Chapter Fourteen
Drunk With The of Freedom In 1946 Manz had basically nothing to begin a new life. He finally managed to find a college accepting students. He began studying physics and mathematics. "The main obstacles were hunger, lack of heating, unavailability of books, scarcity of consumer goods such as paper and pencil, evaporation of knowledge during the war, and the fact that we were required to spend one hour per day clearing away rubble." One seminar he took discussed the destruction in Europe and the guilt of Germany. He felt this was a healing class because he needed to talk about the atrocities. He found out many Germans were reluctant to talk about the Holocaust.
"...the historical responsibility of the German nation was openly debated. I hungered for such discussions because I sensed that they helped heal my psychic wounds."
He felt his mental imprisonment was in the past but but he still had wounds that were not healed. In 1947 Manz heard of America granting the Philippines their independence. He had a hard time understanding such "an act of national self-denial". This encouraged him to study more about the land Jefferson and Lincoln. Manz met his future wife, Renate at this school. Renate being a teenager during the war serving as a fire fighter in Frankfurt. Her family had been thrown out of their house an their books and furniture confiscated. These books were later returned, stamped "beschlagnahmt" (confiscated) inside. These books are keepsakes in their home today. Chapter Fifteen
A Semblance of Normalcy Returns Manz and Renate were married in 1953 and he also received a diploma in the theoretical physics and accepted a position of research assistant to the director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the Technical University at Aachen. Manz finds most Germans refuse to discuss the Holocaust to his find "Die Zeit" magazine and was truly impressed "'Diet Zeit" has been the voice of those intellectuals who want to discuss the sins of the past and the duties of present.'" One objective is to remember the victims of the Holocaust by featuring a victim in each issue. Manz was always eager to discuss the Holocaust and found the manager at the American General Elective, who was also a German, felt the same way. They shared many views especially how incomprehensible the massive genocide was. Manz revealed to him how Roper had tried to tell him and he had done nothing. "'We are all guilty, in one way or another," he murmured.'" Manz had the opportunity to immigrate to the United States in 1957. After going throughout the paperwork process he sets off for America. He was greeted by a fluent German woman by the name of Dorothy. She was resourceful, knowledgeable, and warmhearted. She was also the "...child of Jewish parents who had fled Germany under Hitler..." "But there was not a trace of resentment or reproach in Dorothy's behavior, and we became immediate friends. Fate was smiling upon me. A graceful Jewess welcomed me to America. A dream had come true." Bruno Manz lives in New Mexico today. Presented by: Taylor Eubank