Jerry Klinger
Shaping the Future by Remembering the Past

18 Steps to the Rise of a Fascist Society, Friedrich Kellner, Oct. 7, 1939.

Bundesarchiv Bild 101II-MW-4012-04, Frankreich, Dönitz bei Offizieren

Recently, I was asked to review, My Opposition, the Diary of Friedrich Kellner, a German against the Third Reich (1939-1945), being republished by Cambridge University Press shortly.

Kellner kept an extraordinary contemporaneous diary of insightful observations about the rise and ultimate fall of the Third Reich. Kellner was a German who loved his country, who loved his people, the German people. He was a small-town minor administrator who was fundamentally opposed to Nazism. Kellner risked his life and freedom by voicing opposition to Nazism only to be denounced. He narrowly avoided being sent to a concentration camp.  The experience made him realize how tenuous his life was if he continued to actively speak out.

Instead, he opted to maintain a secret diary of his observations of Germany’s descent into self-destruction and Nazism. Kellner knew if the diary was ever discovered his life would be at an end.  He kept the diary for the future. Kellner wanted the future to know how the evil of National Socialism came about and what it had done.

Kellner listed 18 key elements of German National Socialism that enabled the Fascists to take control of Germany’s Democratic society.  The 18 points written just one month after the invasion of Poland, today echo with horrifying parallels our contemporary society’s descent into an intolerant Politically Correct culture.

His words from then are accurate warnings of our less and less free society of today.

“October 7, 1939” and a contemporary response.

“How can a reasonable person think there can be any eternal values carried within such a cagey and criminal system?” Friedrich Kellner.

1: “The enforced greeting, “Heil Hitler.”

Politically Correct language requirements.

2: “Splitting the people into Party members and non-Party members.”

You are with us or against us.

3: “One-sided control of public opinion – meaning a press with just one voice.”

Media becomes an extension of the State or of a single political point of view.

4: “Suppressing free expression of opinion.”

Stopping opposition or alternative voices on Campus, in the Media and censoring them in the public domain.

5: “Protecting the Old Fighters and Party members, even if they are criminals.”

Criminalizing specific groups, turning a blind eye to one’s own criminal behavior.

6: “Persecuting decent citizens only because they once had another opinion and perhaps referred to the Nazis as an abscess.”

If you do not agree with a view, you are the problem and must be silenced.

7:  “Persecution and extermination of the Jews.”

Kellner hated that German society was diseased by antisemitism.

Germans knew from the beginning about the extermination of the Jews.  Returning German soldiers reported what they had seen at sites of mass executions. The Holocaust was not a secret, Kellner recorded.

8:  “Disrespect for people’s religious convictions.”

Every reference to faith, God, or eternal values must be eradicated from public discourse or display.  Anti-religion becomes the new religion.

9:  “Continuously changing the laws:  new laws in great volumes, and thousands of regulations.  Even specialists can no longer keep up with their own subjects.”

Governmental control by Legal obfuscation – more rules the better for society.

10: “Unbelievable over-organization in the nation and, in particular, in the Party and its institutions.”

Continued centralizing of the government to control ultimately national life.

11: “Dreadfully unproductive offices (and a bloated bureaucracy).”

Socialized controls of life – a vastly expanded unelected, unresponsive Deep State not responsive to an electorate.

12: “Irresponsible expenditures without taking income into consideration.”

Take from the rich, give to the poor.  Then take from the poor for the State.

  1. “Protecting the worst people in the State (pardons, etc.).”

Pardon criminal elements in the name of humanitarian reform, even if guilty. Destroy equal justice under the law.

14: “Tax burden without end.”

The power to tax is the power to destroy.

15: “Mendicants in bulk (NSV, WHW). Badges, etc.”

Creation of a victim society and culture who owe all to the Central Government.

16: “Easy sinecures and benefits for Nazi Party members (minor offices, utensils, uniforms, toys, circus, fanfares:  Sieg-Heil, Sieg-Heil)”.

Those who agree with the power in control, get the benefits.

17: “The Fuhrer commands and we follow!”

Centralized authority.

18: “We owe everything to our Fuhrer.”

Centralized authority – centralized leader – fascist/totalitarian control

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana

About the Author
Jerry is the president and founder of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, www.JASHP.org. He is the son of Survivors of Buchenwald and Bergen Belsen. He is a former Yeshivah student and served with the IDF in the Sinai. He is the author of over 100 articles in publications ranging from the Jerusalem Post to the Prairie Connection to the San Diego Jewish World. Jerry is frequently interviewed on T.V. and Radio about the American Jewish experience. The Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation has completed projects in 37 US. States and in 5 countries. Over 7,000,000 people annually benefit from one of JASHP's projects. JASHP has completed seven projects in Israel. Most recently, the first ever historic memorial to the Exodus in Israel, July 2017. The Exodus was known as the "Ship that Launched a Nation". December 2017, the Machal Memorial in Jerusalem to the 5,000 Jewish and non-Jewish volunteers who came to Israel when they needed her most during the War of Independence.
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