For seven years Holocaust specialist Paul Weiser has been invited to Glendale Community College to talk all things Holocaust. Weiser was once again welcomed by the Gauchos for his annual Holocaust presentation on Sept. 27 at 11:30 a.m. at the GCC Student Union. Students and faculty gathered in room SU-140D and SU-140E for what would be an insightful look into arguably the darkest time in world history.
Weiser began his presentation in 1933. He made it clear to his audience that although the killing did not start till 1942, that there was a process leading up to the eventual genocide of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, handicapped, and other minority groups affected during this time.
“When you talk about the Holocaust, you sort of just jump in, but so much preceded it that it doesn’t really give credit to the history.” said Weiser.
Weiser described how during 1933 there were only 500,000 Jews living in Germany which was by far the least amount of jews in one place in all of Europe. He mentioned that even though the Jews in Germany were obviously Jewish, that they were too assimilated into the German way of living that they considered themselves as much German as someone who wasn’t Jewish.
He even stated that 12,000 Jews gave their lives in the German military during World War I.
The belief that they were just as much German as anyone else is what would eventually be their downfall as 1942 neared.
Weiser described that the first law against Jews was in 1933 which is known as the Law for the Reestablishment of the Civil Service. The law stated that if you were not Aryan, you could not work. However, the Nazi party did not mention what being an Aryan was so the very next the day the law was wiped out.
Once the Nazis had an idea of what an Aryan was, Weiser mentioned a couple of failed propaganda attempts that included competitions in Germany for most Aryan looking baby and soldier so they can be on posters. Once the baby and soldier were both chosen and stapled all across Germany, the Nazis found out they were both Jewish.
That went to show just how unprepared the Nazis were to label Jews as non-Aryan.
Just as Weiser was beginning to get to the meat of the Holocaust, 1 p.m. came around and it was time for him to cut his presentation short.
Although he was not able to get in depth about Hitler’s rise to power, or the actual killing that went on in the concentration camps, Weiser was able to inform the audience with what led up to the Holocaust. Something that many teachers or professors do not get into.
“We’re having genocide every day and I believe that if we are not aware of the past, then things can creep up on us once again,” said Psychology professor Dr. Deborah Van Marche.
Afterwards, students made sure to thank Weiser and even made sure to tell him to back next year.
“I joked in the beginning that until I get it right I’ll keep coming back,” said Weiser.