The Nazis Loved Conspiracy Theories, and Conspiracy Theorists Love Them

Nov. 11 2020

From 2015 to 2018, a series aired on the history channel investigating various claims that Adolf Hitler faked his death and escaped to Latin America after World War II. Such outlandish theories calling the death of the German dictator into question have proliferated since the event itself, and, if anything, have grown more widespread. They are among the subjects treated by Richard Evans in his new book The Hitler Conspiracies, as Robert Philpot writes:

Evans, one of the world’s foremost experts on Nazi Germany, [does not of course] believe that Hitler took refuge at a Tibetan monastery, or fled to Argentina on a submarine with Eva Braun, or that the couple had two daughters, one of whom—Angela Merkel—went on to become the chancellor of Germany. The truth . . . is rather simpler. As a wide range of eyewitnesses testified to, after marrying Braun and poisoning his dog, Hitler and his new wife retired to his study on April 30, 1945. A short while afterwards, the pair committed suicide and their bodies were taken into the gardens of the bombed-out Reich Chancellery, doused with gasoline, and set alight.

But these are not the only category of conspiracy theory the book covers:

“Hitler is a figure who, in an increasingly secular age, attracts the attention of a lot of people because he’s a kind of icon of evil; he’s universally recognizable, . . . and he’s obviously hugely important in the modern history of Europe and the world,” Evans says in an interview.

As Evans shows, the Third Reich was itself “built on the foundation of a conspiracy theory”: the idea that the Communists had set the Reichstag alight in February 1933 as a prelude to seizing power. . . . But there was no Communist plot; a Dutch ultra-leftist, Marinus van der Lubbe, who was caught red-handed on the scene, acted alone. . . . Likewise, the conspiracy theory developed by the Communists—that the Nazis had themselves set fire to the German parliament and pinned the blame on the hapless van der Lubbe in order to do away with their opponents—was also a lie.

And of course, the central tenet of Nazi thinking, anti-Semitism, is rooted in the belief that a vast and nefarious Jewish conspiracy is responsible for the world’s misfortunes.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Adolf Hitler, Anti-Semitism, Nazism

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism