How many signs do people need to recognize upcoming fascism?© 7 September 2018 Marthijn Uittenbogaard
In The Netherlands a new dutch version of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf has been published. It is called Mijn strijd. The old version from 1925 was called Mijn kamp. But the dutch word 'kamp' is an old fashioned word for struggle. 'Kamp' is more commonly used for camping. So renaming this book makes sense. The dutch state confiscated the copyrights of this book and in 1974. They forbid people from buying and selling this book. Due to the copyright laws and the time since World War II has passed, a new print has become available this year. This edition has many accompanying texts in it. They don't want it to influence people in favor of fascism.
Because of this new version of Mein Kampf, the weekly opinion magazine De Groene Amsterdammer published three articles about this book. One author is the historian called Chris van der Heijden. Because of what he wrote I am now writing this text. The others are Arnon Grunberg and Thijs Kleinpaste.
Arnon Grunberg is a kind intellectual who dares to speak out more than other so called intellectuals do. He, for instance, signed a petition to not ban the pedophile association Martijn. On two occasions he interviewed me. His text about Mein Kampf is a text I can agree with. He sees parallels in today's society and he often warns people in his writings about this. Thijs Kelinpaste, essay number 2 about Hitler's book, focuses in his article on the language Hitler used. This can be very interesting but I found his article not so interesting.
I want to write here about the third essay by historian Chris van der Heijden. What struck me was the text, sort of his conclusion, that we could not have foreseen what was coming. Many people at that time wrote antisemitic texts, he argued. But all those people, including Hitler, never wrote things about an industrial mass murder. Van der Heijden writes that many people quote Hitler, that he wrote about the use of poison gas in World War I. Hitler wrote that it would be a good thing if this gas was used on Hebrew people's spoilers (Hebreeuwse Volksbedervers - how do I translate this correctly?). Van der Heijden writes that this is a terrible thing to say, but if you read it as the use of Zyklon-B, then that is wisdom afterwards.
Chris van der Heijden also argues that before 1933, the people in Germany considered Hitler as on ordinary shouter. He was not admired by the people, that came later. Well, Hitler's party, the NSDAP, had 37.3% of the votes in 1932! If you talk about using gas on Hebrews and the society is very anti-semitic, then it is not so strange to see that great dangers are lying ahead. Of course, you can never describe how things will be going in detail, but all the terrible signs were present. When reading this text it made me angry. I already had the next issue of De Groene Amsterdammer and I quickly looked if there was a reply from someone on this text. Luckily there was. An incoming letter from Frans van der Hoogte. He wrote: "What exactly was about to happen was not to be foreseen, but there were enough signs that it would be horrible." Indeed.
Family matters. Chris van der Heijden starts his article with writing about his dad. His dad was very interested in the ideology of Hitler. After the capitulation of The Netherlands, he went to Germany to study in Berlin. He used to be an officer in the Dutch army and he had bombed Germany three times. In Germany he came in the so called SS Mannschaftshaus, a place for the future elite of the new Nazi empire. He also bought Mein Kampf. This was in January 1941. The brother of Chris van der Heijden is also a public figure. This younger brother Haye van der Heyden is (or was) a famous scenario writer for television shows. A, for many years famous, sitcom, which he wrote, was canceled after Haye spoke out his sympathy for Geert Wilders' PVV party. Haye van der Heyden, on another occasion, also wrote about the Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte, that his handling with crime is what people democratically want, and that we have to respect this. Many people are killed on the streets in the name of this fascistic Duerte.
You are not responsible for the actions and opinions of family members. But I'm afraid something went wrong in the upbringing of Chris and Haye. They are seeingly blind. They are hearingly deaf. Do they, secretly inside, admire fascists like Hitler? Where Grunberg warns us for not making the same mistakes, the Van der Heijdens sprinkle sand in our eyes. They do this in a right wing, very intolerant, climate. This is dangerous. My message: keep your eyes open and speak out against injustice.
The three articles about Mijn strijd: www.groene.nl/series/mijn-strijd - De Groene Amsterdammer - 29 August 2018