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Actual experience of opposition to totalitarianism


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ST. PETERSBURG. One of the main books of 2017, The History of a German by Sebastian Hafner, was published in the publishing house of Ivan Limbakh.

Dictatorship does not come suddenly. Her pioneers are perspicacious and can wait. They appeal to weaknesses and phobias, instigate low instincts, manipulate public consciousness, falsify facts and incite hatred. The difficult economic situation and the inability of the democratic forces to unite their efforts are an excellent catalyst, accelerating the arrival of totalitarianism.

So it happened in Germany. As early as 1932, the coming to power of Hitler and his party seemed unlikely. The situation changed radically the following year. Political intrigues, the lack of consolidation between communists and social democrats, economic problems, hypnotic charisma of Hitler played a role. He skillfully pressed on the pain points. He spoke about the collapse of the great empire, revenge for the painful defeat in the First World War, unemployment. He promised to revive national pride, cope with corruption and the Bolshevik threat.

Nobel Prize laureate Friedrich von Hayek said that dictatorship is the most effective tool of violence and forced planting of ideals that are binding for all. For five years with unemployment, as well as with a multiparty system and democratic freedoms, it was finished. Opponents of the regime were in concentration camps or in the grave. The mass extermination of Jews, Roma, Slavs, people with mental disabilities, the persecution of liberal intellectuals, homosexuals, priests who did not want to serve the regime are part of the cannibalistic plan to strengthen the power of the Third Reich.

It was not possible to sit out on the sidelines. Protestant pastor Martin Niemoller (Martin Niemoller), sent to Sachsenhausen and Dachau for open criticism of the Hitler regime, pronounced his famous speech «When they came...» after the war. It was about his own mistakes and about the conformism of intellectuals. The book «The History of a German» (Geschichte eines Deutschen: Die Erinnerungen 1914 - 1933) is also about this. And also about how gradually the stupidity and dehumanization of the nation took place, about the prerequisites of a local tragedy that developed into a world catastrophe. About the sweet feeling of comradeship, inseparable from the war and become a poisonous bait. On the unequal struggle of a small man with the state, forcing him to abandon his convictions and support any crimes to which authority is committed. Otherwise - a concentration camp or death. Hafner chose freedom, emigrating in 1938 to England. He wrote research on Churchill and Hitler, articles for The Obsever. Son Oliver found the manuscript of «History» in the table two years after his death and published it.

The author of an afterword and a brilliant translation into Russian is an employee of the Public Library of St. Petersburg Nikita Alekseev. The book, acquired in Weimar in 2002, shocked the relevance and frightening parallels.


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